Chapter TwoA Chapter by .
Charlie Travers was silent, but she could not stop the tears that continued to dampen her cheeks and upper lip. She held still as Mother buttoned up the back of her black dress.
“There you go honey. You look nice.”
Her Mother’s words didn’t take away from the gapping hole she felt in her heart. Jack was gone. The love of her life, best friend, confidant and brother, gone.
Charlie had prayed every night for the last week that the Navy had made a mistake and there had been survivors and Jack would be coming home. Her prayers drifted away, along with all hope, when the Admiralty declared a memorial service would be held for the sailors lost and no further searching would continue.
The eight year old girl took her Mother’s hand and was led outside and into a waiting car. It would take them to the service to be held at the Naval Cemetery on base.
The car bumped and bounced along the dirt road. Charlie watched the other homes housing sailors families, pass by as if in a fog. They arrived at the base in a short few minutes. A soldier in his pressed and spotless uniform open the door for the little girl.
Mother handed Charlie a handkerchief , “Wipe your face honey.” Her daughter did as she was told, handing it back before they made the slow walk through the Cemetery’s white arched gates.
The young girl glanced over to where another family knelt by a white gravestone. Her heart ached and another wave of tears began to fall. She looked up to her mom, gripping her arm.
“Mother. Jack won’t have a stone of his own. How will I go talk to him?”
Charlie’s mother wrapped a warm arm around her daughter, a tear of her own drifting down from watery eyes. “We’ll make sure he has a stone of his own. We can have it at the house, so we won’t have to go far to talk to him. Okay?”
The young girl nodded slightly and murmured, “Okay.” As she let her eyes drift out over the water of the small quay.
The service was short. Charlie couldn’t help but jump when the twenty one rifles shot into the air. When it was time to head back to the car, the young girl walked slowly. Her head looking downward at her feet.
Her small voice drifted in the breeze, “I miss you....”
Jack Travers was hoisted out of the German submarine and stumbled. He was weak with malnutrition and was severely dehydrated. The crew of the U-boat had only fed him enough to keep him alive.
The voices around him spoke only German, which he only knew one word, “Halt” which meant stop. A soldier not much older than himself roughly hauled him to his feet and pushed him forward, away from the submarine docks, towards a large building. It was a military hospital. Jack slumped against the white coat of a Doctor. Barely aware as the soldier rattled off a string of words and commands to the man.
A gurney was brought by two orderlies. Jack’s awareness slipped away as he felt himself be hoisted up and carried away from the main entrance. His last thoughts were of the beautiful smile and sparkling eyes of his little sister.
Charlie Travers mother was worried. It had been a two weeks since the memorial service and her daughter was barely eating anything and hadn’t spoken but a few words. She never went outside anymore, other than to school and her face seemed sunken. Her mother knew she was losing weight. In concern for her daughters welfare, she called Pastor Davis. An old friend of the family. He said he would stop by.
“Hey Charlie. How are you?” The pastor asked calmly.
The young girl glanced up at him and looked back away, “I’m fine.” Her voice came as a whisper.
Pastor Davis knew the young girl was mourning the loss of her brother. That was something he couldn’t change.
“Charlie. I know you miss him. We all do. Your mom is worried about you. She says you haven’t been eating and won’t go out and play with your classmates.”
“I don’t wanna eat. Nothing tastes good.”
“You mom said she made lasagna last night. She says that’s your favorite?”
Charlie clenched her fists and tried to fight back the tears. Lasagna had been Jack’s favorite too. The memory of him, his happy smile and the scruff of a mustache he had been trying to grow flooded the young girls thoughts.
Pastor Davis could see Charlie’s tears beginning to drip from between her closed eyes. “Oh Charlie. I know..” He began to speak, moving to put his arm around the hurting girl.
The young girl pushed his arm away and cried out, tears streaming. “I just want him to come home!” Pressing herself into the Pastor, she sobbed.
Davis put his arms around Charlie protectively and let her cry, while he remained silent. He knew that denial was part of the grieving process. He could only hope that Charlie would be able to work herself through it, before she wasted away.
When Jack Travers woke, he found himself laying on a bed. He had been bathed, dressed and shaven. He could hear moans and wails from elsewhere beyond the walls. It took him a few minutes to remember where he might be.
He glanced around the ward he was in. There were no other patients. A door squeaking brought his gaze to a female nurse entering the ward and walking towards him. He wondered if she spoke any English.
As she came up to the side of the bed he was on, she lifted up his arm and took his pulse. Jack’s eyes took in her features. She was pretty. In a German sort of way.
“Where am I?” He asked in English.
The nurse looked up at him and shook her head, speaking something in German.
“Do you speak English?”
The nurse looked at him again and shook her head, uttering another sentence in German before turning away with clipboard in hand. Jack watched her go.
The nurse returned shortly. This time, she was not alone. Along with the pretty nurse was a doctor and two German officers. Jack knew by the color of their uniforms and insignias they were Gestapo. He remained calm.
When the four reached the side of his bed, one of the officers spoke to the doctor. The doctor replied with a long series of sentences, all of which Jack didn’t understand. The German Officer nodded and turned to look at the young sailor. He lifted up his arm and hand and let Jack’s dog tags dangle from them.
In haltering English the German spoke. “Seaman 1st class. Jack Travers. ID number 365749. Stand up.”
Jack slowly slid his legs off the bed and came upright. Once standing he noticed he had several inches on both the German Officers. Deep down inside a part of him chuckled at that.
“You are being taken to Berlin. Put your hands behind your back.” The officer’s voice was unemotional and direct.
The sailor did as he was told. He felt metal cuffs slide around his wrists and lock into place, the chain between them jangled as the links rubbed against one another. Jack thought about asking the German Officer a question but stopped as a black hood was placed over his head.
“If you resist Heir Travers. You will be shot. Nod your head if you understand.”
Jack nodded his head. A hand grabbed his upper arm and he was led away. The young sailor soon remembered why he had joined the Navy. The ride in the back of the transport truck was loud, cold and bumpy. He also remembered Charlie. She was his strength. He told himself that he would survive. And that he would keep his promise and come back to his little sister.
© 2010 .
Added on November 16, 2010
Last Updated on November 16, 2010