Mason clutched mother’s hand, his steps quickened to keep up. There were so many people. The young boy felt fear mix with the excitement of a new adventure.
Firecracker pops filled the air. He heard cries of surprise and yelps of alarm. Mason loved fireworks but could not see over the heads of the people as mother pulled him up the hard steel stairs and into the trains’ interior.
“Mommy, stop. I want to go see the fireworks.”
“Shush Mason. Not now.”
Tears filled his eyes. How could she be so mean? He heard more pops and cracks and pouted in defiance of her words. The fireworks were still going on and he wanted to see them. He yanked from her hands’ grasp and turned to exit the train. So many people. They roughly jammed into his small body. Mason pressed against his mother’s wool coat. A raven-haired girl fell at his feet. The crowd stepped upon her tiny arms, torso and face until she was no longer visible.
Mason looked up at his mother, “Mommy, they’re hurting her.”
“That is not your concern, Mason.” She pulled her son close. “You stay near me or you’ll be next.”
It was getting warm; he wanted to take off the heavy coat and hat. It was futile even to attempt to raise his arm or move his hand more than a couple inches from his body. The pressure of the other people’s bodies hurt. Each second brought them closer, squeezing and squishing his small frame.
“It’s hard to breathe, Mommy.” Tears ran down his cheeks. The excitement of a train ride replaced by pain and grief.
The shrill scraping of the trains‘ steel doors as they closed caused his ears to pound and his head to throb. This wasn’t fun anymore. Mason wanted to go home. He embraced mother‘s leg. His sobs grew louder. Mother raised his head, fingers under his chin, and wiped the tears from his face.
“Don’t fear, Mason, We are going for a visit to a camp in the Ukraine. There will be yummy food and a nice place to live. Won’t it be fun spending each day with Mommy?”
Mason’s face brightened at the thought of food and of spending days with his mother. He just knew this would be the most exciting adventure of his life. He smiled in anticipation; his eyes twinkled with delight.
He was fast asleep when the train pulled into Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Author and radio show personality Monica Brinkman mixes suspense, horror, and spirituality in her writing which can be found at Amazon. You can get to know her more personally on It Matters Radio, the Internet based program that she hosts.