WeWriWa—Surprising strength

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing excerpts which, as you’ll see in a few weeks, are related to a new project I’m researching, an alternative history set in Medieval Italy. This comes from my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, which follows a group of young Shoah survivors from Hungary, France, Czechoslovakia, and Italy as they readjust to the land of the living and decide where they ultimately want to settle.

It’s December 1945, and the friends have gone to the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence before departing for Paris. Young doctor Caterina was apprehended here by the Nazis in November 1943, despite a priest invoking the rule of sanctuary. It took three people to haul her off of Dante’s empty tomb.

Marie looked up at Dante, then behind the figure symbolizing Italy. “I can’t believe you squeezed behind this, Carine, nor that you managed to climb onto the top. I could never do that, emergency or not.”

“After everything we’ve been through, you doubt your own strength and ability? You were the one who climbed through a window after our escape. Had I had more strength, I would’ve climbed through that window with you.” Caterina reached up and caressed the marble figure. “We never know our own strength until that fateful moment. When it’s do or die, we surprise ourselves with what we’re capable of.”

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