WeWriWa—Two lucky shots

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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. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, when a doctor in the Czech underground arrived to tend to escapees Emánuel and Adrián. I mistakenly said his surname, Svoboda, means “peace.” It really means “freedom” in many Slavic languages. When you’ve studied over 15 other languages, sometimes you get mixed up!

Dr. Svoboda has said the bullet to Adrián’s shoulder took off a nice chunk of flesh, and Adrián demanded it be pulled out.

U.S. Army medic treating a wounded Waffen SS soldier, 1944

“There’s nothing to pull out, my brave fellow.  It grazed your shoulder pretty deeply, but it didn’t actually penetrate you.” Dr. Svoboda wiped off the shoulder wound, daubed ointment on it, pressed a wad of gauze into it, and fastened it with medical tape.

“I’ll still have an ugly scar.  I’m too old to think the skin will grow back perfectly as it was before.”

“Better a scar than death.” Dr. Svoboda aimed the lantern at Adrián’s thigh and looked long and hard before slightly lifting his leg. “That second bullet went clear through your flesh and muscle, at just the right place.  It just missed your femoral artery.”

WeWriWa—The doctor arrives

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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. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, when 18-year-old Emánuel and 17-year-old Adrián were given olive oil to protectively coat their malnourished stomachs before eating anything.

The rescuing Czech partisans have introduced themselves, and Emánuel asked if there were any violins hanging around. Emánuel hasn’t played his instrument in eight months, and is longing to reconnect with his life’s greatest passion. The partisans have told him they don’t have any violins for him.

By lantern light, the doctor unwound Adrián’s bandage, which had become rather soaked with blood.  The wound was no longer gushing, though it was still steadily bleeding.

“I’ll help him out of his clothes,” Emánuel volunteered. “Don’t worry, I’ll cover you with a sheet, haver.”

Adrián closed his eyes as Emánuel maneuvered him out of his coat, shirt, boots, and trousers.  Mercifully, Emánuel covered him with a blanket, leaving only the bleeding shoulder and affected part of the outer thigh visible.

“My name is Dr. Svoboda,” the doctor said as he poured saline over each wound in turn. “My, that bullet took a nice chunk of flesh off your shoulder.”

“Just pull it out!” Adrián howled.

U.S. Army medic (45th Infantry Division) and captured Wehrmacht medic working together on a wounded German soldier, 6 February 1944, Anzio, Italy

Svoboda means “freedom” in many of the Slavic languages. Haver means “friend” in Hungarian, one of many Hungarian words taken from Hebrew and Yiddish. The Hebrew word for friend is chaver.

WeWriWa—First meal of freedom

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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. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, when 17-year-old Adrián and 18-year-old Emánuel were brought into a safe house under the protection of Czech partisans. One of the partisans just promised to fetch a doctor.

Egyptian olives and olive oil, Copyright Dina Said

The tallest partisan spoke to the four partisans who were already in the house, and two of them ran off.  The third partisan from the forest, a brunet with one blue eye and one green eye, rummaged around in the small pantry and came back with a bottle of olive oil.

“Both of you are really malnourished, and it’s best to give an empty stomach a protective coating before sending down heavier foodstuffs.  We’ll give you tea, mashed potatoes, and chicken broth after this.”

Emánuel grabbed the bottle of olive oil, let a generous amount drizzle onto his tongue, and gulped it down.  He then passed it to Adrián, who started to reach for it with his right hand.  A wave of pain shot through his shoulder and radiated down his arm, resulting in a loud gasp.  He dared not scream, either in front of these tough older guys or from fear of the wrong person overhearing.  Adrián took the bottle with his left hand and drizzled olive oil onto his tongue, then swallowed.

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One of my Sephardic friends told me about the custom of breaking the Yom Kippur fast with olive oil, for the reasons explained above. After not eating, or barely eating, for a long time, the body can’t just immediately adjust to normal food. The olive oil is a transition between fasting and regular food.

WeWriWa—A safe place

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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. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, when 17-year-old Adrián and 18-year-old Emánuel were taken up Boubín Mountain to a safe house occupied by their new partisan friends.

Adrián was shot during the escape, though he had enough adrenalin and strength to get to Boubínský Prales and away from his captors. Emánuel has had a very concerning cough since his time in the mining camp Jawischowitz, though he’s managed to contain it to avoid being killed.

This has been slightly modified to fit 10 lines.

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Little house in the Šumava (Bohemian Forest) region of what’s now the Czech Republic, Copyright Chmee2

When the cart stopped, the partisans pulled Adrián and Emánuel out of the hay and hustled them inside, where they were set on two thin pallets under exposed eaves.  These pallets were off in a remote, shadowed corner of the house, near a wood-burning stove.  The shortest partisan pulled up Adrián’s coat and tightly wrapped a thick roll of cotton around his bleeding thigh.  Emánuel buried his face in his sleeve to cough, finally letting loose with all the coughing he’d been suppressing since their escape.  Everyone stood back from him.

“I think he has some lung disease,” Adrián gasped. “We worked in a mine for three months; I was only a coal breaker, but he was an actual miner.”

“Don’t try to talk,” the shortest partisan said. “We’ll get a doctor in the resistance to come by, and he’ll help both of you.  I don’t want to imagine what you must’ve gone through.”

WeWriWa—On the way to safety

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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. This week’s snippet comes a few lines after last week’s, when 18-year-old Emánuel and 17-year-old Adrián ran across three Czech partisans in Boubínský Prales, one of the forests on Boubín Mountain.

One of the partisans asked where they were from, and Emánuel said they’re Hungarians.

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Copyright Chmee2

“I think I’ve been shot,” Adrián gasped. “My right shoulder and thigh are burning.”

The tallest partisan lifted Adrián onto his back, and the other two partisans supported Emánuel.  As they hurried to their destination, Emánuel suppressed his urge to cough.

At the edge of the forest, one of the partisans ran off, and came back with a horse-drawn cart full of hay.  Emánuel climbed in, and Adrián was lifted in, after which the partisans covered them with hay.  Every time the cart hit a rock, branch, thick snow, ice, or any other kind of disturbance on its way up the mountain, a fresh wave of pain swept through Adrián.  Though the temperature was still bone-chillingly cold as March approached, Adrián’s right thigh was nice and warm from the blood on both sides.  His right shoulder was warm too, though not as much as his thigh.