Freedom4 mins 16.4K 4 mins 16.4K
Often in the battle between intuition and observation, intuition wins. In other words, we seldom give a chance for a situation to metamorphose before drawing conclusions. Humans tend to jump the gun, the barrel and the entire scene of the crime.
She looked towards her left as the crowded platform irritated her. She coughed relentlessly. Her eyes were swollen and her head was heavy. Her frail arms held on to her bag with all the strength she could muster.
There was a swarm of people. People from her village, people from nearby towns, people from another country. She took a deep breath and watched a group of men wearing droll caps walk through the platform. The tumult came to a halt as the train approached the platform.
All the people, akin cattle, boarded the train.
The destination was just as crammed with people. She looked around for a familiar face, alas; there were none. The horde pushed her to one side and she eventually found her path with a group of women. A long queue awaited. She stood on her toes and scuffled to get a good view of the end of the queue. No luck.
Soon, she saw the queue being bifurcated. A rather odd arrangement, she thought to herself.
The queue moved slowly. Someone was asking questions at the end of the chain.
There were whispers floating around of the questions being asked. She overheard two women behind her. "Not too old or too young, remember". She was flustered with questions of her own. But she knew better than to talk to strangers.
Upon her turn, a man wearing the amusing cap took a good look at her. He paused before he asked her how old she was.
14, she said.
She was 11. The lie was instinctive.
She was led to the queue on the right. By now she was restless. The commotion was endless, the crowd was only getting bigger. She held on to her bag tight.
She watched as the smoke diffused into the air at a distance. It was a factory of sorts, she imagined. She rubbed her palms and held herself tightly. Even though the weather was not very harsh yet, she felt a chill.
Work was all that mattered. She knew she had to work to survive. She was willing to slave till her last breath if that meant that she got her meals. She had seen the worst poverty, she thought. Her resilience would come of use now.
There was another queue to beat. She looked around. A man speaking to a woman and a child, seemingly his family, profusely. She squinted her eyes and tried listening more intently. The language was foreign. He seemed to be explaining something, vehemently to the snivelling pair. Although puzzled, she was not surprised. Maybe the fear of separation was heart wrenching.
A siren blared. Everyone tried to take cover. She was not scared. After all, the war brought tough times. She hoped they would end soon.
Two lovers at a distance wept at the thought of it being their last meeting. They exchanged necklaces and made promises. They were going to live through the war and see each other soon. They believed so with all their heart.
A few boys were busy stuffing their pockets with what they thought were their favourite toys ; some even as ridiculous as a dowsing and pebbles.
By now she was curious. She knew there were things she was not aware of; she was not exactly educated nor was she in the position to understand politics when all she could worry about was the source of her next meal. She recalled how she was treated in her neighborhood, but she assumed that that was only because she had to sometimes steal bread from the bakery next door.
She went to another girl who seemed about her own age. The girl was crying, holding on to a stuffed bear.
"At least we will be working in the factory and earning our meals." She said to the crying girl.
The girl held on to her stuffed bear tighter. "Mommy and I were told that that is where we will be killed with smoke. I can't find her anymore."
She was taken aback. She looked at the couple again.
The man seemed to be weeping as he spoke to the woman.
"If they come to know about my amputated leg they will take me to the gas chamber. If that happens, I want you to know, I have and always will love you."
A group of men marched at a distance wearing the cap with skull and bones.
The chimneys continued to disgorge the smoke.
She looked back in horror at the gate that read "arbeit macht frei".