Smuggle Trouble – Chapter 7 & 8 28 November, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Lukasz rang the bell. Back in the car was Clara, looking at him and waiting.

There was no movement from within the house. His hand moved over the doorbell to ring again and hovered for a second before thinking better of the idea and dropped down. The door cracked open, tugging on the chain and a piercing eye peeped through the gap.

“What do you want?”

“Hi, um, would you… can we…” Lukasz had never stumbled this much since school, “… in the car.” he continued, “She’s having a baby!”

The door slammed closed.

Lukasz went pale, all life and all hope seemed to drain from him.

His hands had been twiddling in front of him, but now they fell limply to his side.

He wanted to go back to the car, but he didn’t want to see the disappointment on her face.

The door opened.

The old man stood in the doorway with an old woman standing behind him.

“Well don’t just stand there gawping, bring her in!”

Lukasz tried to help Clara into the house, and the old man managed to help Clara into the house.

Soon Clara was in the house and was being well looked after by the old lady.

After 10 minutes of pacing, Lukasz spoke up.

“Is it nearly done?”

The old woman, named Starica, gave him an odd look.

“Is what nearly done?”

Lukasz suspected Starica meant “old woman” in some language.

“Ignore him, he’s an idiot.”

“Clara!” exclaimed Starica, “Enough of the negativity! Your baby should be brought into the world surrounded by positivity”.

“And kind rational intelligent thoughts?”


“Best keep Lukasz out of here then.”

“Nonsense! Your husband should be a part of this. Lukasz, why don’t you sit in the chair next to her and hold her hand.”

Lukasz saw Clara was about to object to their alleged marriage, presumably in an attempt to preserve her dignity, but Lukasz got there first, took her hand sat down next to her,

“Of course. I’m here for you my dear.”

He looked deep in her eyes, and their eyes had their own private conversation.

His said: “It’s fine how it is, no need to tell them.”

Hers said: “I hope you realise how dead you are.”

It was a message her grip on his hand was re-enforcing.

Starica was urging Clara to regulate her breathing. Deep slow breaths. Lukasz found it quite relaxing and drifted of to sleep. Clara didn’t.

He awoke to screams. It took a few seconds for him to realise they were his. Clara had found his hand again and was in some discomfort, thus Lukasz hand was in some discomfort. Starica was at the end of the bed trying to deliver the baby, Sweat was running down Claras’ brow and she looked at Lukasz with disdain as.

“Why don’t you give her a hand dear?”

She said ‘dear’ in the same way someone would say ‘I hate you and want you to suffer’.

His mind said, ‘No!’ his mouth said, “Yes…”. His mind regretted giving his mouth freedom of speech.

It was a noisy birth. The only thing that got through to him about the miracle of life in those moments were how graceless it all was.

“Lukasz,” said Starica, “take this one and clean him up, there’s another one on the way.”

He just gawped at the child which was suddenly thrust into his arms.

He didn’t realise how tiny a baby could be. He gently tried to clean Victor Jr as he suddenly dubbed the kid in his mind. Afraid to be too rough in case he hurt the fragile creature. Still screaming like a banshee in practice, Lukasz stroked Victor Jr’s cheek, something paternal inside him told him it might sooth. A small hand clawed at his and locked round of his fingers and squeezed.

Suddenly Lukasz was 5 again, standing outside a new school with the whole playground full of kids who all wanted to poke fun at him. He squeezed his mothers hand and everything was just a little bit less scary.

It was the first time he’d thought about his mother for years. Victor often talked of her, but he always just ignored it and refused to dwell on the past. It was too painful.

A fresh source of screaming broke his reverie.

Starica cleaned up the second child and gave it to Clara. She then took Victor Jr from Lukasz and finished cleaning him.

“You can be more rough with them, they aren’t as fragile as they look.”

Clara then took the other child, one in each arm. She looked like she had just battled through the entire German army. A mess, but beaming.

“C’mon my dear, let me take the boys for a while, you need some rest”.

Clara was reluctant, but was soon asleep from exhaustion.

Lukasz went into the living room and sat by the fire with the old man. It was the first he’d seen of him since he opened the door to them. Starica was sitting in the corner looking after the twins. If he called one of them Victor Jr, does that make the other Lukasz Jr? He shuddered at the thought. He couldn’t wish that upon anyone.

“So what are you actually doing in this area?” asked the old man.

“Just passing through”

“There isn’t many places to pass through to”

“We’re just leaving town for a while is all”

“An strange time to leave town” he said looking at the newborns.

Lukasz sighed. “Yes, these are strange times”

Nobody had anything to say to that and silence took hold.

The only noise in the room was the gentle nursery rhymes from Starica, and random popping of the fire. They sat for an hour, nothing changing. Both men starred into the fire, lost in their thoughts, lost in contemplation. The only warmth in the room was coming from Starica.

The old man spoke.

“She always wanted kids,” Lukasz looked up at the old man who was starring at Starica “It was me that always said no.” He looked back to the fire and seemed to be lost in it, “You are truly blessed my boy.”

The man drifted back into himself and silence descended between them for a while longer.

“I didn’t plan any of this you know.” Lukasz didn’t know why he was talking but it seemed to be the thing to do, “All I wanted was to make my way, to be successful, then it all comes crashing down with only myself to blame. Instead of a comfy life, I have lost my brother and have to look after a strong brave woman and the next generation of my family. I should be living the life, not running through the dirt dragging vulnerable people behind me. Trying to get out of here before the Nazis catch on.”

He felt tears forming, looking into the fire he could see his mother. He could remember going inside with a grazed knee and she would make everything all right again. That was the last time he had cried. He went to the window to share them with the world instead of the people around him.

The quiet road outside wasn’t as quiet as he would have liked. A Nazi car was stopped at the end of the drive with another Nazi on a bike talking through the car window.

“OK, that will do. Sorry, we got to go. You don’t happen to know how far the school is do you?” said Lukasz

“About two miles as the crow flys. Why?”

He marched, or more accurately hobbled to Clara, waking her up with a bemused Starica behind him.

“We’ve got to go. Now.”

“What? Oh, it’s you. How long was I asleep?”

“About an hour, now get up, we’ve got to go.”

“I don’t think she’s quite ready to move yet dear.”

“Do you have a back door?”

“It’s through there. Just head that way, straight through the woods, you can’t miss it.” The old man seemed to be the only one not confused by Lukasz hasty actions.

Lukasz clasped the old man’s hand and looked straight into his eyes, “Thank you. Thank you both.”

Clara took her two sons from Starica, thanked them both and followed Lukasz out the back door.

The old man stood at the door and looked out after them.

“Godspeed and good luck” he said under his breath.

Starica remained confused, but it only took one word for her to understand.

Chapter 8

“Any progress yet Sargent?”

“Not yet, do you know how far to the Atran School?”

“About two miles as the crow flies, but the roads wind round a lot further.”

“Ok, we’ll focus the searches in this area then, they can’t be far”


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