First Place – Lydia H. (9-10th grade category)

First Place – Lydia H. (9-10th grade category)

Where To Go? – Lydia H.

The rusted barbed wire is cold to the touch leaving a brownish mark behind on my hand. As I look beyond the fence I see the mountains in the distance, and the smooth sway of bushes near. I ponder about what day it is, I stare at the dirt ground and think hard. 1933…1933…1933…I repeat in my blurred vague memory. At this rate I presume to be near Missler concentration camp, but I really don’t know… I don’t recall how long we’ve been walking..hiding.I see the small gray buildings in the distance and notice the wisps of smoke curling and dancing their way to the blue sky. One by one gunshots are heard, rattling the silent sky. Tears streaming down my face, I strain to push the image out of my mind of my people, my friends, maybe even my family falling before Nazi soldiers feet. Without a doubt in my mind my friends next to me are thinking the same thing. What once was sorrow is now rage building and stirring inside my chest. My eyes burn and I scream. I scream for those who cannot, who are working and dying for what reason? As I fall to the ground I get flashbacks of what feels like yesterday when I was being called to the dinner table by my mother who would slave over our meals three times a day. Where is she? A camp? Her grave? Is she safe?

I beat the ground with my hands like the dirt and grime will give me the answers. A firm hand of my friends presses on my shoulder. I stand and wipe away the stray tears that are left on my face. As we turn to walk away from the fence I stand tall, for I am not the boy I was months ago. I know more now; I have been through more now. As our bare, aching feet crunch against the dry grass we are quiet in our own thoughts. We walk slow, not willing to face what is left of our city, Kemna, Germany; not willing to bare the ache and loss we will continue to feel. I sense the cool breeze through the holes in my run down shirt. I wonder when the next time I’d get a new shirt, pants, or even shoes at all.

As the sun sets in the distance, the different shades of orange and pink change the mood of the evening. It is a sign of hope. The brilliant lights and rays give me hope, for there are still beautiful things in this world of hate and war. I savor the light for just a slight moment, take a deep breath and then run.