Merry Christmas and welcome to day two of 12DOC! Today, as a gift to you, I wanted to share a Christmas Short Story I wrote last winter. It will be in 8 parts, so be sure and check back for the next installment! Enjoy!
Based on the True Story of Elisabeth and Fritz Vincken
Part One: Will Papa Be Here for Christmas?
Christmas Eve, 1944 - Somewhere between Allied and Axis lines
Marta watched sadly as little Hilde pressed her button nose against the window pane. “Isn’t Papa coming home, Mama? He knows it’s Jesus birthday, ja?”
Marta smiled and came to stand by her little darling, all in the world she had left. “Yes, Hilde, my little angel, Papa knows. But remember, it’s not quite His birthday yet. You have to wait one more day. Maybe Papa is waiting until then to come, Ja?”
Hilde’s cheeks dimpled as she looked up at her mother. “Ja, Mama. He waits so he can be with us all day long!” Marta nodded and gently tugged on her five-year-old’s braids. The poor dear had no understanding of war and all the terrible things that went along with it.
Their family had never been touched by war…until 1938 when Gunther and their only son, Peter, had been called into the Wehrmacht, the German army. Marta had been given work in a hospital until she was nearly seven months pregnant with Hilde, their little surprise. Since Peter was seventeen, they had assumed they would not be able to have more children. What an unexpected blessing! How excited Gunther had been! A little girl! All other men may have wanted many sons, but not Gunther Engel. His dream had come true of having his own little girl, who adored him and waited at the door for him whenever he was on leave. Peter had written about wanting to meet his little sister very badly…
Marta forced a smile. Whenever she looked at Hilde, she saw Gunther: in her dimpled smile, her crystal blue eyes and her dark almost jet black hair…even the way she cocked her head to the side and grinned with mischief. She was Gunther Engel’s girl, that was easy to see.
But she couldn’t dwell on that now. She had to get supper on the table. “Are you hungry, Love?”
A giggle and bobbing black braids was her answer. Marta grinned and turned toward the fire place where their supper simmered in a large black pot. “Hmmm…Mama has got potatoes for her angel. And, oh! She found a carrot to put with it! And some mushrooms, too! Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“Ja, ja, Mama! Papa loves mushrooms. Me too!”
That was no surprise. The child loved anything her father loved.
“Will we have stollen this Christmas?”
Marta tried to keep her voice steady as she prepared to disappoint her daughter. “No, dear. Mother couldn’t get what she needed to make the stollen. Maybe Papa can find some and bring it. And if not, we’ll get some from Auntie Mem at New Years.” The bread-like cake was one of Hilde’s favorites.
Hilde pushed her bottom lip back and forth. “I really like stollen…maybe Auntie will make lots for New Years to make up, ja?”
Marta stirred their supper; it wasn’t quite ready yet. Hilde played with the doll her father had sent her last Christmas from France. It wasn’t a fancy porcelain one like he wanted to send her but it was sturdy and Hilde adored the cloth bodied doll as if it were a real baby.
“Well, I think the soup is almost ready. Shall Mama make some tea for our supper?”
Hilde clapped her chubby hands and giggled. “Ja! Ja, Mama!”
“Then tea we shall have, love. I just-”
Heavy footsteps from outside sounded near the window. Marta scooped up Hilde and blew out the candles on the table. Hilde’s smile disappeared as her mother tucked her between the bed and a stout trunk. “Not a sound, darling.”
The last thing Marta wanted was uninvited guests. A knock sounded. Marta took a deep breath. She prayed before opening the door. Lord, let it be Gunther.
Slowly, she pulled up on the latch and slid the door open a crack. She gasped.
And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed part one! Tune in next time for part two! And don’t forget to swing by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.