tagNon-EroticOverdue Message

Overdue Message

byjthserra©

Kornelia slowly crossed the street carrying the mail she had picked up at the post office, it felt heavy in her hand. The mail weighed very little, but the weight of its contents bore heavily on her. There were two letters and one formal looking envelope she recognized as coming from the government. Since her early years in East Germany she learned of the burden messages from the government often carried.

She stepped up onto the sidewalk and turned to head for her building. Faces blurred past her as she held her head down maneuvering between the people on the crowded sidewalk. Not used to the crowds of people, she found herself trembling by the time she reached the worn steps up to her building.

Kornelia opened the door and stepped into the dark hallway. Pulling the heavy door closed behind her, she leaned back against it and sighed, taking a few moments to regain her composure. Her fuzzy shadow led her towards the stairs, as the light though the glass in the door faintly lit the entry foyer. She passed through a small doorway, turned and paused, letting her eyes grow accustom to the darkness in the stairwell. One by one she climbed the creaking steps up three floors to her apartment where she carefully unlocked the door and stepped inside.

Instead of turning the switch to light up the room, she pulled back the faded, green curtains to let the sunlight through the clouded window. Kornelia slowly opened the neatly lettered government envelope and carefully began reading. She collapsed onto her chair as she read. Darkness seemed to encircle her as she turned her attention away from the letter and remembered:

--- --- ---


She cried silently, sitting on the floor, leaning against the damp wall. Around her others also cried as they huddled together on the factory's concrete floor. Everyone wondered, "What next?" They had been moved from the barracks and walked out of the muddy camp to this huge, empty building. The cold dark shrouded them as night crawled in.

Morning brought them all an answer, as a soldier opened the doors and shouted, "Hurry, everyone up. Now! Get in line, we are leaving." He then kicked a man near the door who had trouble getting up. "Hurry I said," the soldier bellowed, before turning and stepping outside.

Korenelia fell into line and followed as the large group walked out of the building and onto the road. The line seemed to go on forever; she could see thousands slowly shuffling into the morning with her. Kornelia walked alone, missing her son, Gyeorgy, whom the police had snatched him from her arms as they drug her away. That was over a year ago; still she heard nothing more of him.

Kilometer after kilometer they trudged across the countryside, driven down the damp road by the dark uniformed soldiers. The people didn't dare stop; gunshots at the back of the line echoed the fate of those who did. They walked for days, sleeping along the road, until finally arriving at the new camp.

Those who made it to camp had only the torn and tattered clothes they wore, all had the look of death, as they filed into the new barracks exhausted. They slept on the floor, since no beds were provided.

Kornelia helped dig the large holes in the following days, as nearby, strange buildings were constructed. At the end of each day she looked at the holes as she limped back to the barracks, and wondered. They continued digging for days, always wondering why they dug.

The holes remained open and the new buildings empty when the other soldiers came and freed them. Kornelia walked out of the camp again, looking back from the road she still wondered.


--- --- ---


Now, sitting at the table in her small apartment, Kornelia looked at the check enclosed in the envelope. She reached over to a cabinet, pulled open the drawer and dropped in the check. Looking out though the window at the blurry landscape, she smiled. The money was nothing, it could never approach paying for the world she lost, but the message, the message there was clear, someone somewhere had done something. Finally, after so many years, someone realized, someone cared, and someone said it was wrong, someone apologized. She felt a tear tumble down her cheek as she thought of Gyeorgy, of his tiny hands as they grasped her coat, of the tears he cried as the police too him away.

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