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Run Hope, Run!

Run Hope, Run!

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A young girl running away from a nazi monster

This is a fictional story of a girl named Hope Altman during the Nazi rule. It talks about the tormented life of people during the regime.

By Kavya Nallabrolu    |    Illustration by Diya Dhiman

Recently a memory resurfaced; I was in ninth grade and in school we were studying about Nazism. Seven years later, I still remember the image of more than 100,000 pairs of shoes in the Auschwitz Museum. They belonged to the people who unfairly died in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. Our teacher told us that there was a memorial built in Berlin, in the memory of those who tragically passed. Coincidently during that time my dad was in Germany for work. So, I practically begged him to carve time out of his tightly scheduled trip and visit the memorial to pay mine and his respects. And he did.

Pile of boots at Auschwitz concentration camp
Pile of boots at Auschwitz concentration camp

When he got back, he sat me down and narrated this story. I, of course, paraphrased it a little.

Through the tiny window over the small box like attic, the world seemed bleak and so it was for 10 years old, Hope Altman. She sat there in a dark, still little corner shaking like a leaf garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-grey wincey which did little to shield her from the whacking winter wind. Her face was thin and much freckled, but the chin was very pointed and pronounced; her forehead was broad and full and extending down her back was two braids of very thick, shabby, decidedly golden hair which in daylight shone as the sun does on a glorious Sunday morning. Her big emerald eyes could narrate the tragic cause of her hiding from the world in the attic which her sweet-lipped mouth failed to tell.

The sky was a smooth blend of blue and orange, all the birds chirping were going back home like during any other twilight but that evening was not ordinary. Her jolly, merry father who was otherwise as calm as the fields of heaven had an expression which could only be defined as agony; her tender, benevolent mother who never so much as raised her voice clutched Hope’s right forearm so tight that she believed it might snap like a twig. Little did she know they were trying to flee the horrors of Nazi occupation?

For she was blissfully unaware of the biased, unjust, inequitable, gruesome war that stumbled upon her kind. Hands shaking, tears tumbling, voice quivering; her mother was frantically packing over the coffee table, when the bad men, as her father had described, came busting through the door. They wouldn’t let go of her parents no matter how strongly they struggled or how loudly she shouted. For the last memory she has of her parents is her father’s not so jolly and her mother’s not so tender faces screeching “Run Hope! Run for your dear life.” Fear washed over her, drowning her scrawny little frame with its gigantic wave. So she ran, she ran as fast as and as far as her tiny legs could take her. It had been a fortnight ever since that detestable evening.

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The sound of her stomach grumbling brought her back to the dreadful present. As you see, food was a luxury for her; one she could only have by gambling her life. The night was as dark as those animals that were looking to hunt her down. She hugged her dainty little body closer to herself, trying, trying mighty hard to hold on to her Hope, her name, because she knew her only peaceful escape from this biased war were her dreams. And so she dreamt her last dream that bleak mid-winter night.

An orange sheen hovered over the moving sea, reflecting off every wave. Half of a glowing sun disappeared into the water’s horizon. The cool water lapped at her feet, frizzing and bubbling like brine. She couldn’t help but smile as the wind caressed her face. Waves ahead roared and rolled down, crashing onto the shore of the beach with a soft hiss; peeling away at the deep bronze sand beneath her feet as she felt a soft grip on her right forearm. She looked up, and the last thing she ever saw was her father’s jolly, merry and her mother’s tender, benevolent face.

Diya DhimanKnow the Illustrator – Diya Dhiman
Diya Dhiman is an adoring dog mom. She loves adding minute details and splashes of colours to her drawings, narrating stories through her art.
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