Echoes of Honor Pt. 13
Hey everyone. I’m just now getting around to writing and posting Saturday’s Echoes of Honor Pt. 13 post! Hope you enjoy. 😀
Karl pulled up an edge of the tarp that covered the car. Wilhelm seriously wanted him to drive this thing? Why couldn’t he do it?
Karl ran his fingers over the rough layer of paint someone had brushed over the letters on the bumper. No one could trace this car…Thankfully.
Straightening up, he peered in through the open window into the driver’s seat. He didn’t want to be behind that wheel…He had no idea how to use it.
It was embarrassing, yes…The son of a well-known German professor not knowing how to drive. The fact was, living in the city, Karl hadn’t needed to learn how to drive. He simply rode his bicycle or walked to and from school. The same for Sophie.
The second reason he had no idea how to drive was that his father was never around to teach him and his mother had nearly had a heart attack the day she tried to teach him.
There was no way he could tell Wilhelm that. The other boy seemed to out-better him at everything. He would just tell Wilhelm that he’d prefer him to drive. He had found the car anyhow…Where? Karl didn’t really want to know.
“What do you think Karl?” Wilhelm clapped him on the shoulder.
In the dim light of the shed where the car sat, Karl could see the excitement in Wilhelm’s eyes.
“It’s a good-looking car.” Karl swallowed hard. Please don’t ask me to drive it.
“There’s no one around for miles, want to take it for a ride?” Wilhelm looked at him curiously when Karl didn’t reply right away.
“How about you drive.” Karl tried to keep his voice light. “You can show me how everything works. I’ve never seen this kind of car.”
Wilhelm looked away.
Karl was puzzled. Any other boy would jump at the chance to risk his life driving as fast as he wanted. Wilhelm seemed reluctant.
“I can’t.” The words were little more than a whisper.
Karl looked at Wilhelm closely. “You what?”
“I can’t drive Karl. My family was always too poor to have a car.” Wilhelm looked ashamed.
Karl could hardly keep the laugh that burst it’s way out of his tightly pressed lips.
“I don’t think it’s funny,” Wilhelm said quietly. “Not all of us got privileges like you and Soph got. You father was a professor, right?”
“Wilhelm,” Karl said, trying to keep his voice serious. “I can’t drive either.”
“You are going to kill yourself!” Sophie called out from where she sat on a little rise near the shed where the car had been stored. She watched nervously as Karl practiced backing up. The back tire hit a stump and Sophie saw Karl get out of the car and kick the tire.
Supposedly, Wilhelm was going to teach Karl how to drive…At least that’s what both of the boys had said when they had come home the night before. Sophie watched as the car jerked to a stop. Karl must have slammed his foot on the break.
Sophie giggled. Deep down, she didn’t think Wilhelm knew how to drive that monstrous beast the boys called the car.
Philippe was sitting next to her in the dirt, trying to entertain Petr with several stones they had dug up.
Sophie was worried about Philippe. He had been a lot quieter these last few days, and his eyes lacked that usual mischevious sparkle.
“Petr,” Sophie said. “Why don’t you go back to where you were digging stones out earlier. Find some more so we can finish building this house.”
Philippe looked at her with a small smile. He looked eager to let her bear some of the weight he had been carrying.
Petr looked from Sophie to Philippe. “I knows.” Petr sighed. “You want ta talk ith’out me here.” The little boy got up and toddled down the hill towards the muddy puddle he had been playing in earlier.
“Thanks, Sophie. He’s a cute kid but I needed to talk to you. We don’t get many chances to talk alone.” The pained look was back in Philippe’s eyes.
“What’s the matter, Philippe?” Sophie asked softly. “You haven’t been your usual jovial self. Is this about David?”
Sophie bit her lip. She actually saw tears in Philippe’s eyes. She had never seen him cry.
“Oh, Philippe,” She reached out and touched his hand. “What’s the matter?”
From his coat pocket, he pulled out a crumpled envelope. “Karl gave this to me yesterday.” Philippe took in a sharp breath and wiped his eyes. “It’s from my sister, Marie.”
“She’s in trouble Sophie. The Gustopo too our father away, and put the house under constant surveillance. One of the resistance members snuck in through the basement last week and she gave him this letter.” Philippe’s hand shook as he put the letter back into his pocket. “I don’t know what to do. Marie sounds terrified…My older sister is never terrified.”
“Did you talk to Karl?”
“This is my battle. I don’t want to bring Karl or any of the others into this. It’s dangerous. The Gustopo know my parents have a son who is part of the resistance. I’m afraid they took my father to try to make him tell them where I am.” Philippe’s voice broke and he looked embarrassed. “I need to get my sister out of Berlin…Without Karl and the others knowing.”
“That doesn’t sound like a good idea, Philippe. Karl had contacts, someone could get your sister out.” Sophie had a bad feeling about this. She didn’t want Philippe running headlong into danger.
“I want to see and know my sister is alright Sophie. She’s one of my best friends.” Philippe’s voice broke again and tears filled his eyes. “I can’t lose her…”
Sophie took a deep breath. She needed to be strong for Philippe. “We’ll find a way, Philippe. The meeting with the other resistance leaders in Berlin is in a few weeks. If you think Marie can wait that long, we’ll get her out then.”
“We have to make a plan…And I think we should let Karl know.”
Karl was bad…Not just bad, but baaaad.
Wilhelm had no idea learning how to drive a car would take this much effort. It seemed like Karl was constantly slamming his foot on the brake, or nearly running into something.
How were they to go on their first mission at the end of the week? Karl couldn’t even keep the car steady.
“I think that’s enough for now,” Wilhelm rubbed his neck as he spoke. “Let’s hide the car and go home. I’m hungry.”
“Am I that bad?” Karl looked over at Wilhelm for some reassurance.
“In a word, you’re the worst driver I’ve ever known. I haven’t known many, but you are the worst.”
“Thanks. Real confidence builder you are.” Karl scowled and turned back to the wheel. “I’m going to learn how to drive this thing even if it kills me!”
Wilhelm winced. “Please don’t say that. No dying before the end of this week. We have a mission to go on.”
“You’re kidding.” Karl groaned, resting his head on the wheel.
“No. The end of this week we go on our first Echoes of Honor mission. That and our meeting with the other Resistance leaders right?”
Karl nodded. “I haven’t told Sophie or Philippe that they moved the meeting up to this week yet.” Karl’s forehead wrinkled. “Wait, how are we supposed to save kids and meet with the other Resistance leaders?”
“There will be a round-up of Jewish apartments on Friday. Before the Germans force the people onto trucks, we’ll sneak in and get as many kids as we can.”
Karl nodded for him to continue.
“We take the kids with us to where he meets the Resistance leaders. I’ve been in contact with one of them. He and his wife will take the kids in their car to a farm outside Berlin. From there, the couple will disperse the children throughout the countryside.”
Karl turned the key in the ignition to start the car. “Sounds like a risky plan.”
Wilhelm braced himself as Karl pulled the car forward. As the other young man tried to handle the car, Wilhelm looked up to where Sophie and Philippe sat. Why were they sitting so close and why did it look like they were whispering?
Before Wilhelm could think about it anymore, Karl slammed his foot on the brake.
Wilhelm glared at him.
“What? I nearly hit that pot-hole!” Karl pounded his fist on the dash.
“Karl,” Wilhelm said.
“Learn how to drive…Before the end of this week.”
That’s it for this post! Stay tuned for Wednesday’s Writing Well Series Pt. 3!