This month I’m taking part in The Knights of Microfiction again, after several months away. This month’s challenge asks participants to use the phrase “The sky darkened” and to include the elements of a foul smell and a sudden noise surprising someone.
Mine is 196 words, and a scene with my characters Csilla Bergman, Klaudia Buchsbaum, and Aranka Rubin, prior to their appearing in the collection of stories I’m going to expand into a novel called The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. It follows the lows, highs, and gradual return to life of some of my Shoah characters, led by two teen girls, Eszter Kovács and Marie Sternglass, and a doctor in her early twenties, Caterina da Gama.
The girls featured here are Eszter’s only surviving female friends from her hometown. By the time they’re reunited after repatriation, Noémi Simonovitz, the fourth girl featured, has died. (One of many reasons I’m having serious doubts about whether my historicals with young characters would be considered real YA in today’s market. I just haven’t found enough current YA historicals, not counting history lite like The Luxe, to compare mine to.)
The sky darkened as the night fell with the rain. Klaudia stuck her tongue out to try to catch some raindrops.
“Isn’t it nice to be in a place where the sun and rain get through again?” she asked after she’d caught several juicy liquid morsels.
“Maybe, if you’re counting small miracles.” Csilla pulled a thin crust of sawdust bread out of her wooden clog. “Would anyone like some real food instead of raindrops?”
“I’d rather drink raindrops than eat any of that stuff. At least I know the raindrops are pure and healthy.”
Aranka grabbed the bread and gobbled it down. “I’m glad my family never had the custom of washing before bread and making a blessing. Who wants to delay eating?”
Noémi crawled over to a bucket and started gagging when she raised it to her mouth. Csilla rushed to pull it away from her.
“That’s the Durchfall bucket, not food. You’ll get real food again soon enough.”
The three able-bodied girls froze at attention when they heard rumbling flying low overhead. These planes were not followed by bombs.
“You think those are the Americans?” Aranka asked.
“One can only hope,” Csilla murmured.