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I was about three, my mom said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think she was expecting me to say, “A mommy,
like you.” Instead, I popped off with,
“I want to be a writer.” I can still remember her face. She said, “Well, don’t you think you need to
learn to read first?”
didn’t think so.
Bohle Montague is a BYU graduate and a free-lance writer, having written for
television, radio, newspaper, and magazines including The Ensign and Meridian
Magazine. She has also been published as
the author of book length historical non-fiction and fiction.
non-fiction work includes the book, Mine
Angels Round About, the story of the LDS West German Mission evacuation of 1939
which occurred only days before the Nazi invasion of Poland.
LDS fiction, Fireweed, is loosely
based on her interviews with the evacuated West German missionaries and their
studied with Dwight Swain and Jack Bickham, as well as David Farland. Her
writing awards include those from LDS Storymakers, Idaho Writers’ League, and
Romance Writers of America.
Social Media Links –
workers, either leaving their workplace late or going early. All of them
expressed surprise the bombers would come over at such an hour. Several said
someone set off the sirens by mistake, that they would not have to wait long
for the all clear. Someone else, an older, faded-looking woman who had come in
after Lisel, sighed heavily. “How much longer can this war go on? I am so tired
of the whole thing.”
not be long now. Those British have about had it. In a few weeks, they will be
begging us for peace. A few more weeks and it will be all over. You will see.”
guns. Then cannon from the chasers. Lisel clapped her hands over her ears.
shook the earth around and beneath the shelter. Lisel was thrown from her seat.
She heard the crack of wood and masonry as the walls twisted with the force.
Someone screamed. Someone called out in prayer. Dust swirled in the clouds that
choked. Underscoring the commotion came the hiss of severed pipes. Lisel
smelled the sharp, piercing odor of gas. A rumble near the stairway spewed more
dust. Lisel gagged on the contaminated air. It was truly the end. The building
above her was collapsing. She would die, crushed to death, in the dark, buried
beneath this building with people she did not know. For the first time in
weeks, she cried out in prayer. Not for rescue, not for mercy, but in bitter
new dread shot through her. Lisel scrambled to her feet and reeled toward the
stairway, her hands over her mouth and nose. She collided with someone in the
dark. Someone else pushed her. Lisel pushed back and fought her way over the
heap of crumbing rubble that blocked the way to the stairs. From behind,
someone shoved her forward and she stumbled. The smell of gas came stronger.
railing and groped for the wall. The man ahead of her broke through the door
into the early morning and Lisel followed. The cold air hit her lungs like ice
water. The atmosphere smelled of smoke and Sulphur and stung her nose and
burned her eyes. She ran into the street. The dawn was a dirty yellow.
pelted her shoulder. Her first thought was that it was hailing. Then she
realized it was not hail but ash and flaming cinder and shards of metal
shrapnel falling from a burning sky. With freshened fear, Lisel ducked her
head, threw her arms over her hair and sprinted down the street toward the
railway station. The distance seemed miles and miles. Sparks eddied around her
like tiny, flitting, orange birds. A smoldering cinder fell against the skirt
of Lisel’s coat and she slapped at it with her bare hand, sobbing between
gritted teeth with fear and anger. Fear for her life and anger because the
cinder had left a black hole in the aged-thin wool of her only coat. Lisel ran
on, over the slick, uneven cobblestones.
doorway, three people, their faces turned toward her in expectation. One
beckoned. Lisel swerved and pitched toward them. They reached for her. Lisel
felt their hands on her arms, pulling her into the doorway. One banged her back
with the flat of his hand, putting out sparks that scorched her coat.
the doorway and covered their faces. Lisel’s breath burst in and out of her
lungs. Whether from the exertion of running or the fear, she did not know. Both
were the same.
loathing in the man’s voice. Then she heard him spit and felt the splatter near
her foot. She turned and looked into the grim faces of her rescuers. The shaved
heads, stubby beards, and pallid skin of the two men made them look almost
identical. Their pale eyes blazed at her with the same identical hatred. They wore
the badge of the Polish slave laborers, a purple “P” over a yellow diamond.
The woman shrugged. “She looks as
bad as we do.”
coat. She might have been a little older
than Lisel. It was hard to tell. Her
face was gaunt, her complexion jaundiced and flaky.
swirling sparks. “Did the Germans allow us shelter during the raids? Why should
we share ours with one of them? I say we turn her out.”
flaming cinder. A nearby fire stained
the morning sky with red. And in the distance, black smoke rose in rounded
masses until it looked like some blossoming, poisonous flower. Lisel gritted
her teeth and clenched her fingers into her palms. They would have to fight her
to put her out in that.
Lisel so he blocked her from the street. “What satisfaction is there in merely
turning her out? I say we give these Nazis what they have given to us.” He
grinned, showing a row of blackened, decayed teeth. “When they find her body, they will think she
was killed in the air raid.”
herself out of a collapsing building and run through a street raining with
death. She had spent several weeks, unsheltered, in a room of shattering glass
and the last year huddling in an air raid shelter. Death no longer held the threat it once had.
From this moment, she was no longer frightened. Only contemptuous.
than a couple of scarecrows like you to kill me, she sneered.
took a step toward Lisel, his claw-like hands reaching for her face.
man’s arm. “If you act like a Nazi, you
become a Nazi.”
drew back in a snarl. “Nazis deserve no compassion.”
Therefore, we can be more generous with it,” the woman came back softly.
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