One of the darkest chapters in our world's history. Twisted Tales Contest, April 2021
|I tried… the Great Scribe in the Sky knows how hard. But the word STALAG flashily dominated - harsh, painful… as if struck by a laser beam in the deepest, blackest hole in the universe.
Erratic feelings continued to surface, but I couldn’t say why. I wasn’t even born until near WWII’s end; had no first-hand knowledge of a STALAG (The name insists on bold letters, becoming more staccato and harsh each time. Like the guttural ACHTUNG! ACHTUNG! German command.) I have no personal stories of loss or pain suffered by myself or anyone near and dear, yet my heart aches with sorrow whenever I read that word... STALAG.
Could I be an ‘old soul’ - a person who’s lived previous lives - gone through different stages of self-knowledge? It’s been suggested more than once.
Perhaps I was the imprisoned fighter pilot, spending three months carving and creating a violin from bed slats, with only a penknife and a piece of broken glass. Maybe an Allied airman in that hated STALAG LUFT 1, scraping excess old glue from chair joints; grinding and melting the powder down; creating new glue for that precious violin. That would explain my passion for recycling - way before it was trendy.
Was I the guard of the barracks one Christmas Eve when the creator of that treasured violin, a self-taught violinist, played ‘Silent Night’? Away in the background, singing the beloved carol in German, tears filling eyes? Is that why the ‘voice’ of a violin always brings a tear to my eye?
Maybe I was a hopeful tunneler, eternally trying to escape the hated STALAG? Or one of those poor unfortunates who died down there? That could explain my morbid fear of being underground, and my claustrophobia.
Imagine I was Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl hiding in a secret annex for over two years? Not in a despised and feared STALAG, but a prisoner nonetheless - cruelly incarcerated, living in abject terror of discovery. Final exposure and arrest ended her brief life in the horror STALAG at Bergen-Belsen. She died in the same month I was born. She wrote with her heart’s blood.
A persecuted and displaced Jew, fleeing with one suitcase of treasures? Like most, losing even those painfully few possessions? An explanation of my love of old things and reluctance to part with them?
Wishfully was I the heroic Schindler, saving 1200 Jews from STALAGS with many clever deceptions. Really? Anywhere near that kind of courage? Is that why I’ve been a rescuer of small, vulnerable creatures, handmade toys, and sorrowful hearts and souls—all of my life?
This is a can of worms. Pandora’s Box. My mind races with possibilities and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Clearly the word STALAG is far too dangerously charged with emotion for me to create a story with.
Ohh, hang on… I think I just did!