In Loving Memory of Luke, the Brother I Murdered
She couldn’t help herself; the tears spilled out, one for every year she had loved him. And 16 little drops splashed onto the floor.
“Happy birthday, Anna!” Her mother pushed through the swinging door, and a cake was held in her arms. Her sister, Joice, and Luke, her brother, were giddy as they clapped and held something else behind their backs. Anna couldn’t help smiling as she saw Luke’s warm smile, radiant and clean, brighten the room. Ashley didn’t seem as excited.
“Cheer up, Ash, it’s her birthday. Don’t be mad you’re not the only girl in this house anymore who gets one of these,” Luke growled, as he held out from behind his back something Anna couldn’t see. And that got her really confused. Ash just turned red and scowled.
“What does that make me?” Anna’s mom slid the cake onto the table, 16 candles ablaze. The room erupted with laughter. “OK, Anna, cake or presents first?”
“Ummm ... cake!” And so it was. They all had cake, and then they turned to opening presents. From her younger sister, Joice, she received a necklace made from flax string and what looked like her new shirt’s fabric. But it was her second gift, a rarity in combination with cake, that was really strange.
From behind his back, Luke produced a pair of long khaki pants and a short blue shirt, topped with a navy cap. She took them and appraised them, not finding what was so special. She opened the pants and immediately looked for the star. When she couldn’t find it, she played it off as being on the inside. The shirt, however, also did not have a visible star. With large, fearful eyes, she looked up at her older brother. His playful smile was untouched.
“So, do you realize what it is yet?” he asked, anticipation overflowing in his blue eyes. He reached over and whispered into her ear. “It’s disguise cloaks. You can go anywhere!” He put his fingers to his lips and pointed to Joice. That’s when it hit her: clothes without the star! The Nazis would never know! Fear gripped her as she ran through houses, apologizing to the surprised families as the blood that oozed from her shirt bled onto their floors. Her breath was shallow, but she continued to run to the only safe place she knew— home. Would they follow her? Could she put her family in danger like that? If only she had been thinking about these questions before she reached the door and ran through.
She ran to her room and threw off her clothes. She got into her more traditional outfit, now heavy with the star, and realized she was still bleeding. She got a cloth from the dining room as her mother woke up to stare warily at her.
“Shh! SHH! Nazis are coming!” She ran into her room and proceeded to wipe up the blood she had dripped. And it was not long until a loud rap sounded at the door, followed by the sound of the door crashing into the wall. Three soldiers marched in, and she heard guns hit the floor.
She tried her best to compose herself and then walked out as Joice, Luke, Ashley, and her mom walked into the dining room, where three armed strangers stood. They were not strangers to Anna, however. “We saw a street rat run into this house. Where is she?” He took a sideways glance at his buddy, who nodded. The other’s eyes never left Anna.
“We know of no such person,” Luke stated, anger in his eyes. Joice couldn’t do anything but stare with the same fearful face as her mother. Ash just looked like she was about to explode.
The other Nazi walked over to the chief and whispered something to him, his eyes pinned to Anna. The chief just shook his head. He stepped forward, and Anna expected him to come to her. But instead, he walked over to Ashley. Her expression melted into panic. “Do you like going out at night?” He pointed his gun at Ashley. Anna felt the blood rush to her fingers. She ran straight at the Nazi, but Luke got to him first. He tackled the Nazi, with ferocity in his eyes. He knocked out the Nazi before the blood exploded through the room to give way to the bullet in his back.
“NO!” Anna dove at the Nazi with the smoking barrel. She took him down, and as the other tried to compose himself, Joice bit at his ankle. They all went down as Anna found the gun that had just killed her brother and a knife in a pocket.
She picked it up and thrust it into the officer. His face ran white as he drew his last breath. The other Nazi saw this and aimed his gun at Joice. Anna had already pointed her gun at him and shot.
Four men lay on the ground, and despite herself, Anna cried for them all. Joice fell over in shock as Ashley collapsed. Their mom was nowhere to be seen. “I knew this would happen. YOU!” Ashley turned on Anna. The funeral was held before the family was taken to a camp. Ashley only glared as her mother and Joice cried and held each other. Anna watched as her brother was put in the ground. She was told not to cry. She couldn’t help herself; the tears spilled out, one for every year she had loved him. And 16 little drops splashed onto the floor. She had murdered him, the one she loved the most. She was a monster. As if killing her brother was not enough, she had taken the lives of three more.
She didn’t speak again as they were carted to the camp, together at least. It was what all but Anna wanted. But who could blame her. She was a murderer, and she did not want her family to have to live with a bloodthirsty fiend.