#38 The Night of Broken Glass

by Melissa Albert

Outside, screams lift off into the unforgiving night. My father had closed up shop an hour ago, drawing the curtains tight. Bubby and I are helping him take inventory. Mama is gone. They took her away. Papa says she’ll be alright but I know that’s not true. He wishes I were too young to understand, but a twelve year old grows up fast when faced with only violence and hate.

Something shatters.

Papa yells for me to go into the cellar but I won’t leave him and Bubby. Approaching the window, my bare feet are accosted with sharp glass fragments. Pulling the curtain aside, I see the hole in the stained glass.

My mother made that. She devoted hours to creating it. Now it was ruined, just like her life.

Sometimes I pray to God. I ask him to kill the Nazis. I know I shouldn’t. You shouldn’t ask for death to be brought on others.

I miss her, though.

A rock is what shattered the glass. Papa tries to pull me from the window but I’m strong. He’s been giving me his rations.

Staring into the night, I see a boy my age. Ulrich. He pretends I’m not there. He is carrying a torch. His face is hard as he sets fire to my father’s shop. Papa takes me outside then goes back for Bubby. They don’t come back. I’m alone now. Mother is gone. Papa, too. And Bubby. Everyone is gone. So why am I still here?

6 comments:

Aerin said...

Kristallnacht. Powerful.

Bruce Roush said...

You distilled the hatred of a bygone era very, very well.

Sam Knight said...

Always a powerful time and place you bring us to in this story. The little things hit home and add depth. The boy pretending not to see her, her father giving up his rations. And her 'survivor's guilt.'

Melissa Albert said...

Thanks everyone, it means a lot!

Jade said...

The final question brings this to a painful close. I feel this narrator's strength and willpower especially well with these lines:Papa tries to pull me from the window but I'm strong. He's been giving me his rations.

Melissa Albert said...

Thank you, Jade!