In Loving Mem­ory of Luke, the Brother I Mur­dered

Pasatiempo - - Stories - by Skyler Colt Man­zanares

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.

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