Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Writeway Challenge #4

Olga gripped the basket. She tiptoed into the woods as ordered by Miss Magda. No one disobeyed Miss Magda, even though Gustav and Erich had always warned her that the Boogeyman lived in here. The trees towered over the five-year old, swallowing the fall sky whole. A branch snapped. Olga shrieked and fled back to the farm.

“What is dis noise?” Miss Magda stomped over to Olga. Olga shivered. Magda snatched the empty basket and turned it upside down. “Where are de mushrooms?”

Olga shrugged unable to meet the Polish woman’s eyes. Miss Magda tossed the basket and snatched a large stick from the ground. Olga crouched, wishing she would have braved the Boogeyman. As Magda swung the switch in her direction, Olga shut her eyes. She hummed the lullaby Mama tucked her in with every night. Guten Abend, gute nacht, mit Rosen bedacht…

“Go on.” Magda shoved Olga towards the house. “Go help in the kitchen.”

Olga sprinted to Mama’s side in the room that she’d lived in since the Polish couple took over their farm in June 1945. During the day she helped prepare meals and wash dishes; at night she slept on the cold wooden floor, alongside Mama and her two brothers. The smell of borscht simmering on the stove tightened her tummy. When she grew up, Olga swore she’d never have this stupid soup ever again.

“When’s Papa coming home?” Olga asked.

“Hush, liebe. Not now.” Mama tugged on Olga’s only dress, already hanging past her knees, and wiped away the dirt.

Olga twirled her long golden braid so tight around her finger, that her skin turned pink. She knew that once Papa came home then everything would go back to normal. She imagined Papa scooping her up and kissing each cheek. What she didn’t understand was that if the war was really over, why hadn’t Papa come home?

The above was my submission to the 4th Challenge of the Project Writeway Contest on 2/15/2012. The criteria was to write a historical scene with 400 words or less. This piece was based on an actual event my mom experienced growing up in Germany after WWII. 

Contest update:  I was eliminated from Project Writeway on Challenge #6: Personal Essay.  There were 60 entries narrowed down to 14 contestants.  I was the 9th to be eliminated.  It definitely felt like being on a crazy reality show, with the tight deadlines and not so easy challenges.  Wish I could have lasted longer, but was oh so much fun!

Have fun!


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