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A Shattered Illusion, A New Reality : A World War 2 Short Story

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Posts: 3
Joined: March 2012

A Shattered Illusion, A New Reality : A World War 2 Short Story

Post by SydneyPshortstories » Sat March 3rd, 2012, 9:48 am

This is the first short story i wrote for my Personal Project, the second is Last Words. This story is set in 1941 in England, and the second is set in 1941 in Hungary. If anyone has any feedback or criticism it is welcome!
By: Sydney Patterson

1,324 words

The sound of ringing church bells erupted from her windows, waking a well rested Tabitha from her slumber. A biting October air floated through her open window, rousing her further. Hugging her blanket around her, Tabitha listened keenly for the bells signifying the time: 10 am. Rising upright, she took a moment to soak in the tranquility around her; blackbirds singing, perched in the apple tree in her yard, the hum of her brother’s radio seeping through her bedroom walls, the morning sunshine casting a welcoming shade of yellow across her wooden floor. A beautiful disguise of an autumn day, one could almost believe. Raised amongst anxious middle class women, fervent with gossip and scandal, Tabitha Waldor-Król had long adopted intuitiveness beyond her years. For a mere 14 year old girl, she was exceptionally perceptive, and, over the months prior to this first day of October, she had become insightfully observant of her surroundings, coming to the conclusion that her surroundings had become an illusion. In reality, she should be strolling towards the Synagogue for Sabbath prayers with her parents and younger brother; but in this new world, religion had fallen short. She listened carefully to the telltale sign of her parents’ quotidian argument – a wave of voices rising and falling, spilling out of the bedroom down the hall. The voices ranged from shouts of words far from genuine delivering an impatient point, to whispers - a self conscious afterthought, aspiring to overshadow that which came before. Her parents had been plagued by disagreement for 2 years, uncharacteristic tiffs commencing just as the war had begun and escalating to near daily altercations. This, however, remained a silent subject within the Król household and social circle.
Her mother, Eleanor Waldor, had spent the majority of Tabitha’s speaking years educating her daughter on how to communicate without misrepresenting herself or disgracing her family. And, foremost, the sole lesson successfully engrained into Tabitha’s mind: “Never speak of family matters.”
Stepping out of bed and clothing herself in her mint green satin dressing gown, she felt soothed and livened by the cool fabric against her skin, as she reflected on the irony of her upbringing. Her mother, ever concerned with maintaining a stately and aristocratic appearance, nevertheless resorted to the unfavorable and unsightly boldness of quarreling with her husband. It seemed that even the most mundane of things resulted in bickering and their equal anguish over the state of their beloved countries –though it could confidently be said that Belgium holds significantly more affliction – exacerbated frustrations between the two.
Sinking into her plush bed slippers, she crossed her bedroom - the epitome of neatness, thanks to the overworked, underpaid and financially desperate maids her mother employed. Entering her en-suite bathroom, she clutched her robe closer to her body and tugged twice on the well worn chain hanging from the ceiling. A diluted fluorescent light filled the room, bouncing dully off of every surface and, subtly lighting her face in the harsh realness of mirror. Her tired reflection peered back at her, the lines of her faced etched far too deep for a beauty of such youth. With every sour word that crossed the walls separating herself from her patents, the lines of her faces sank deeper, the crevasses reflecting her sorrow. Free-spirited as her mother and gentle natured as her father, the weight of her parents' despair lay heavily on her heart - as if their fight was taking place within her.
"Tabitha! Elliott! Come to the parlor!"
Her father's deep voice, laced with a heavy Belgian accent, broke through her daydream. Taking a moment to assess her reflection once more, she splashed some water on her face and hair and pulled the chain once more.
The Waldor-Król family parlor was an extravagant place, a refurbished remnant of its Victorian era predecessor, the room exuded an air of luxurious class. Its high, golden crowned ceilings that stretched the vast expanse of the parlor, and wooden floors polished so well you could see your reflection, carried Tabitha to the happy memories of her childhood spent playing games in the safety of the lavender colored walls. However, parents’ sullen faces shattered the illusion Tabitha had come to know brusquely sucking her back into reality: on this first of October, in this true 1941, she could be neither happy nor safe. Perched somewhat stiffly on an old love seat, the Króls watched as she and her brother sat cautiously on the wooden seats just opposite, their father offering a comforting smile. Tabitha and her father, Bernard, had always been told how closely they resembled one another, like two grains of the same seed; they shared the same curly amber brown hair and shocking hazel eyes. Nonetheless, it had begun to seem as if their physical resemblances were also shared spiritually, as they had both adopted the same weary expression, deeply thoughtful, with the exhaustion of inner turmoil clearly discernible on their faces. Somewhat poetically, he had once shared his reflection of his old home, Belgium, with Tabitha "The face I wear bears true to my condition, a man can only survive the destruction of his home for so long..."
At this moment, Tabitha's intuition told her that she would soon understand, that the destruction of her home was more imminent than she could've expected. As if reading her very thoughts, her mother broke the silence in an uncharacteristically weak and troubled voice,
"Children, we're moving to America; to New York, where your aunt Patricia lives."
Tabitha felt the floor slip from underneath her, her heart falling to the soles of her feet, she opened her mouth to protest, to scream, to shout, but she managed no more than a breathless squeak.
"We're what? No! You can't, this is our home! How could we leave it?!" her brother Elliott jumped to his feet, his voice trembling. He was right; Cambridge was their home, the only place they've ever known.
A pained expression momentarily crossing her exquisite features, her mother continued, “I know. We know. Trust me, this decision wasn’t made hastily or without discussion.” She threw her husband a pointed glance, saying everything and nothing all at once. This was not what she wanted.
But what is this? Thought Tabitha, her mind flustered from the realization of her mother's words.
She drifted back to August of that year. Another of their middle class neighboring families had locked up their home and disappeared without explanation. Her parents had feigned bewilderment around their children, in an attempt to disinterest them from the sudden exodus. But in truth, they knew more than they would care to, and disagreed accordingly. “You know what we have to do, Eleanor.” Her father had said, eliciting more hushed sobs from his wife. “And you know why we can’t. We can’t” her mother replied, her breathing interrupted by her cries once again.

Dragging her focus back to the present her mother reached out for her hand, taking Tabitha's delicate and young fingers in her own.
“One day, we’ll explain it all to you. But now, you’ll follow us without question or complaint.”
Peering pointedly at her brother, as if to transfer his strength, her father continued, “You may not understand, but in these times of war, death and destruction, family is our only defense. Our family is our armor."
Tabitha felt the weight of her father's words settle on her heart. Electricity ran through her veins, striking her like a beam of lightning; she was jolted with courage and her heart was set alight with the fire of a thousand suns. She held her mother’s hand like a lifeline, soaking in her parents’ words of encouragement and condolence. Though she was awash with fears of the future, now disillusioned, her father’s words became her mantra, circling her head and soothing her soul. In these times of war, death and destruction, family is our only defense. Our family is our armor.
Last edited by SydneyPshortstories on Sun April 15th, 2012, 4:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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