Chapter 7 : October, 1940; Part II
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The wand clattered from my hand, hitting the floor of the train compartment and rolling away to the sides as the train rocked side to side. In the blanket of thickening air, I stood still. Had it been me who extinguished at least nine train compartments? That was physically and magically impossible at the level I was at now. Or was it simply ironically something else? A power-outage? A blown fuse? Was I at my stop? And if so, I was there far to early. Fear iced my veins like never before. My sweaty palms padded over the slick bottom of the compartment. I had dropped to my knees. My breath was coming out in ragged, uneven gasps, tears nearly streaming down my face. Oh, what had I done?
And the compartment door flung open, the lock breaking as if it were a sheet of paper, with a resounding crash!
I screamed, the sound blood curdling in the silence that had formed over the train itself, crumbling to the ground and shuddering. My eyes were clenched shut and I had no idea what was going on around me, just many, many voices exclaiming in Polish, and German, that something was wrong with the train, or possibly, the conductor. The pendant felt cold against my neck and I clawed at it, searching for a warmth that had apparently fled the vincity. Faintly, I wondered, was this a dementor? Were these feelings, the intrepid fear, the shaking bundle of nerves that I had been reduced to - all a product of something my mother had warned me about?
I whimpered and looked up in the darkness that had enveloped each and every carriage before coming to the realization that the slender silhouette that was half crouched over in the threshold was none-other than my grandmother, muttering to herself in rapid Polish. I gathered myself, and pushed my body up off of the floor; not forgetting that the family heirloom - the wand itself, was somewhere on the floor around me. "Grandmama!" I hissed into the frigid air and she waved her hand, motioning me to get up of the ground.
"Stop crouching like a coward, child! Where's the wand? Light it, light it!" Her tone was frantic, heavy, and almost fear-seated. Immediately, I became ashamed. I always felt ashamed whenever I thought about Grandpapa Leopold and Grandmama Agata. But this, was far more severe. I had no idea where the wand was, and I most certainly wasn't going to take my chances lighting it after what I had just done with putting the lights out. My limbs shaking all over, I shook my head, the silver frames sliding haphazardly down my nose, sweat beading on my pale forehead.
"Grandmama, I don't know where it went!" I squeaked, a nervous habit of mine. "I. . .I t-tried putting out the lights in the compartment, and I did! I did to the entire train and and. . . it just stopped and rolled out of my hand, Grandmama! I don't know where it went!" I saw her hit her forehead with her hand. While under normal circumstances, her actions would have made me giggle - right now, they made me go stiff with fear and shock.
Slinking into the room like a cat, she squinted at the ground. I could see little flickers of what light there was off of her eyes, the same eyes as Momma's (this made my stomach curl into a ball, thinking of my mother), searching for the slender piece of wood that contained so many stories, so many magical properties that wielded the things we had inside us. I heard her snap her fingers from my frozen spot in the back of the compartment, near the window. "I need light. . . " She muttered, to herself. I made a hesitant move to wrench the closed draperies open but she shook her head violently. I could see the sudden movement in her silhouette as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. "No no! Are you daft, Minka? Take after your Grandfather, you do . . . daftest Wizard I ever met. Don't open those, you aren't the one who made the train stop!"
My jaw dropped.
Relief flooded my veins only to be disposed of because apparently, Grandmama could not find the wand - the wand that had been passed down generation to generation. I heard her swear in the darkness for having such poor eyesight. "I . . . I didn't?" Shock was etched clearly into my voice.
"No you didn't, wielki córka." She affectionately called me granddaughter in Polish as she shuffled from corner to corner, searching for something I had lost. If there was any light at all to see by, I could have sworn by her silence that she was rolling her eyes. My lips trembled. "You're at the Alwernia train station - I was waiting for your arrival, there's been a power outage caused by those sick-minded followers - they had wanted to delay the train arrival, and your grandfather is boarding up the house right now just a few blocks away."
Was that what the two men were talking about when the walked away from my compartment? I nodded silently, even though she couldn't see me. "Is Grandpapa alright?"
"He's faring; oh for goodness sakes child, you are entirely too clumsy to lose a wand like this!" Grandmama Agata's voice was caring, however it held a sharp edge to it that rattled my spine in disappointment. "To hell with 'no more magic in my bones'. It's the only way to find the blasted thing. . . " I blinked. What was she talking about? But soon, I knew. Her hand, shaking and withered, was outstretched in front of her, from what I could see, and the next thing I knew, she had muttered something, and a small light lit up underneath the seat I had been on. "Aha! Little devil!" She murmured and I crouched down to pick the precious item up off of the ground.
Stooped, I marveled. The tip was lit. But how could Grandmama achieved that? She didn't have a wand - Grandpapa had told her they couldn't afford, financially and physically, to go out and buy another. All they had was Grandpapa's wand and that was falling apart at the core. "Grandmama Agata, how . . . "
"Wandless magic," She brushed dirt off of the hem of her skirt and looked hurriedly around the semi-lit compartment, snatching the wand and muttering the same charm I had used that made me think I had plunged the whole entire train into darkness. "Wears me out like who knows what, but I can explain more to you when we're safe, at home. Come now, Minka." My grandmother, with extreme confidence, slinked out of the compartment and shaking, I took my suitcase from the seat and continued, making sure my mother's notes were still clasped firmly in my fists, or stuffed down my pockets.
I had so many questions I wanted to ask my grandmother, so many involving the train, Alwernia, Grandpapa Leopold, and wandless magic especially. How could you do magic without a wand? I hadn't even seen my mother do something like that! But alas, I kept my mouth shut and wandered behind her, listening to the abrupt voices complaining about the unprepared stop in various languages. Shuddering all over, shock still weighing heavily on my bones, I let my eyes wander around from compartment to compartment.
Finally, after passing a rather loud woman with a child clinging to her leg, crying, we exited the train and I was met with the scenery I had once called home. Home, however, looked different than it was before. The lush green trees that rose on hills, looked deadly, and foreboding; no longer welcoming like they had felt before. No longer was Poland safe, I knew that. But it was a risk that had to be made - because it wasn't safer in Dresden. The church spire rose from the green tops, and I prodded Grandmama. I knew that church spire, it was the one we walked past every day when I was young, around four years old. I knew that too, had changed. "Grandmama, over there is home, yes?" I felt like a little toddler tugging on my Grandmother's dress sleeve and immediately she hushed me, jabbing the wand into my side. I took it from her hand and looked at her eyes, following her gaze.
It was set upon two men - two men I recognized all too well. Grandmama Agata's hand tugged me back and I clutched at the wand, certain not to lose it, having it rolled underneath a train car and onto the tracks or something similar. I could no longer see Aleksander and his superior, but I could hear them talking in hushed, sharp German. "You fool!" The larger of the two spoke out loud. "If you can't carry out one simple direction, then you're obviously not one of us."
I heard Aleksander stammer. He wasn't so tough after all. But he did have a delicate way with words. "I didn't mean to tell him the wrong thing. He was ticking me off to no end and I thought it best to let him screw up the operation. Then again, it seems it was my initial mistake that caused this anyway." Had I seen him, I could have sworn from the tone of his depressed voice, that he was hanging his head in shame. So he was the cause of the quick stop? I gulped and continued to listen, my grandmother at my side.
"We're relocating you Schular! We can't put up with anymore of your incompetence!"
And that was all I heard, because as swiftly as she had stopped me, Grandmama had tugged me away, off towards Germany-Occupied Poland. Almost as bad as Nazi Germany itself. . . At least, I was doing this to protect my family. . .
Why is Minka going to German-Occupied Poland, when it was the original start of the war there? It's dangerous!Yeah, it's dangerous. But she's doing it that way - she'll save her family the trouble of being shipped off to a labour camp in Germany. Her mother mentioned before that they were taking Jewish students out of Minka's school the next day, and relocating their families into camps. Going to Poland would allow Minka to be absent, and therefore, buy the family more time to hide themselves. She's risking her own well-being, for their own.
How long is this story going to be?I planned out each and every chapter the other night out of sheer boredom. The events I have planned rack up to about 20 chapters, my longest fic on here yet.
Will we see anymore of Alfred, or Aleksander?I've noticed a lot of you readers like those two characters in particular.
And I dunno, will we? ;D
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