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’ve gone back to my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, which follows a group of young Shoah survivors during the early postwar years. Part II tells the story of what happened to some of them while they were separated.
Mirjam Kovács, a graduate student in Budapest, fled back to her hometown of Abony immediately after the Nazi invasion in March 1944. Though this put her in considerable danger, it also enabled her to find a way to send her youngest siblings to safety. Even in the death train, she still hasn’t given up hope.
The escape she engineers is inspired by the 2006 German film The Last Train (Der Letzte Zug). Last week, she got the inspiration to turn a rock into an axe with help from other passengers.
“Why didn’t we notice that before?” Zakariás asked. “There’s a small hole in the floor over there.”
Gusztáv, Oszkár, and Fábián crouched around the hole and took turns hammering away as day gave way to night. While they worked, Ráhel recited the Catholic prayers, stumbling over the long Latin words a little less this time.
“The space only needs to be wide enough for a child to fit through,” Mirjam said. “You don’t have to take out the whole floor, though I wish we could all escape en masse. Would anyone else like to give her children to escape?”
Petra clutched four-year-old Mátyás and two-year-old Veronika. “I’m not parting from my children unless I’m under pain of death, and even then I wouldn’t let them go easily.”
“I won’t give up Mórci, Lizi, or Markó either,” Mrs. Heyman said.
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.
Móric’s ears burnt. “I’m thirteen, Anyuka, not a little kid. I became bar mitzvah over half a year ago.”
“You’re still a boy as far as everyone is concerned. I haven’t even put you in long pants yet.”
Móric glared down at his knee-length trousers and said no more.