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Live, Love, Lose - 1. Chapter 1

Hey ! I hope you'll enjoy this first chapter and story as much as I enjoyed writing it !

"If you are going through hell, keep going.”
― Winston Churchill

~

April 1940

“This time, I’m gonna do it.”

Karl had a fierce determination in his eyes as he said that, the tone in his voice matching it perfectly. He came closer to the thing that had been his arch enemy for so long.

“This time I’m gonna empty the manure pit without running away after less than one minute spent in it.”

He had always found it disgusting, as far as he could remember. Well, who could possibly like such a thing? Only pigs did.

He took a deep breath and went down in it. It took him everything he had in him not to throw out and to resist. Well, it would make some more fertiliser if he did. Even though he doubted its quality.

He thought he would never see the end of it, but he finally finished he felt so proud of himself for keeping true to his word. He didn’t give up. He kept going until the end.

He had to tell his parents about it. He went to look for them. They mustn’t have been that far anyway. As he was walking in the direction of their house, he saw a group of men walk away, but they were not near enough to notice his presence. He wondered who they were, and what they could be doing here. They were definitely not farmers, let alone people from the village. Or else he would have recognised them.

He looked away from them as he kept walking, still looking for his parents. He found them near their barn. It looked like they were having a conversation. Was it about the men he had just seen?

He stopped in his tracks and observed them from a distance. They looked grave and concerned, even from a distance it wasn’t hard to notice. After a while, they both became silent, frozen in their respective spots, avoiding each other’s gaze rather awkwardly.

What could they be waiting for?

Even if he couldn’t hear what they had just said, since he hadn’t moved from his spot, he could still sense that something was off. He wasn’t stupid.

He decided to come closer to them as he saw they weren’t willing to speak anymore or to move. Their lack of reaction was intriguing. He needed to know what was on.

“What’s up? Who are these men?” He asked quizzically as soon as he was near them.

But his parents didn’t reply. They just looked at him with concerned looks on their faces, especially his father. Even when she looked worried, his mother still seemed to have a stern look on her face.

Karl looked back at them intently, his gaze going back and forth from his father to his mother.

He waited for a little bit before speaking up again.

“I have a right to know,” he said, his tone being a mix of firmness and slight hesitation, fearing he might have been scolded by his parents for daring to say that in such a tone.

He noticed his mother’s features becoming harder and his father’s brow furrowing.

“I…” he uttered hesitantly.

“Just go inside,” his father demanded, “farm work is over for today.”

To say that Karl was surprised by his father’s statement was an understatement. But he didn’t dare discuss his father’s decision.

He looked down at his feet before giving a last look at his parents and turning away to leave swiftly.

Once he was inside their house, he went to his room, deeming it was the best thing to do in this rather awkward situation. Once he was inside, he closed the door and kept walking until he reached his bed and sat on the edge of it. It was far from being a comfortable bed but it was better than sleeping on the hard floor. His room was quite empty, bare, and not that big, without any furniture to fill this void. He just had a small bed to sleep in which was placed against the wall opposite the door, and that’s all he needed. The only use of a room like this for him was to be able to sleep and nothing else. The walls were white, but not a clean and pure white, but rather a dirty white, proving that this room was really far from being brand new (there were even some cracks in the walls), and there was a single window located on the wall opposite to where the headboard of his bed was. There weren’t any curtains or shutters to hide the moonlight at night, but Karl didn’t mind that at all.

He just didn’t know what to do now, so he just remained silent and still on his bed, like a serious and disciplined schoolboy, his hands resting on his lap. He was so used to toiling in the farm and field most of the days that he didn’t know how to keep himself busy with anything else.

He just stared at the door blankly as if waiting for his parents to come in.

Anyway, at some point, he could hear some noise, which could only be his parents’ voices.

Shortly after he had gone to his room, his parents had entered the house as well, and his father had started to gather some things to pack them hastily into some sort of linen bag, unbeknownst to Karl. The said boy stood up from his bed to get near the door and opened it as discreetly and slowly as possible so it was slightly ajar.

“You can’t do that!!!” He could hear his mother shout angrily.

He couldn’t really see what was happening but hearing it was already enough.

“We have no choice, Inge!!! Don’t you understand??!!! That’s the only viable solution I’ve found!!”

“Of course we have a choice!!! Don’t say such silly things!!! You’ve completely lost your mind, my poor Aleksander!!! We can’t send our son to England!!! He will know no one there, he will have nowhere to live, and he does not even speak English!!! He will never survive on his own there!!!”

“I’d rather send my own son to a foreign country which he doesn’t know at all rather than let those nasty Nazis take him away,” his father replied in a stern tone, a tone that almost sounded threatening. “At least, England and its peoples don’t share the Nazis’ ideals. Do you hear me, Inge? Over my dead body, I will never let that happen!!!”

“I wish you could hear yourself speak… Why do you hate the Nazis so much? They won’t do anything to Karl, they won’t hurt him! They may have ideals that you don’t like, but it’d be safer for Karl to go with them rather than for him to be lost in a country full of people we don’t know and cannot trust. Okay, our country has been annexed, and we have no other choice than to accept it and live with it now! Why should Karl run away? It’s still his country and roots. He was born here and if he has to die, he will die here!!!”

“You really don’t understand, do you? They will send him to Germany, and maybe God knows where!!! Now that they have annexed Denmark, they won’t stop there!!! They will go on until they reach France and maybe further away!!!! Do you really want our own son to become one of them??!! A merciless and heartless soldier who kills innocent people for an absurd cause?!

“What are you talking about-”

“Stop!!!! Just stop, Inge!!! There’s nothing you can say that will make me change my mind. He’s my son and he will go to England whether you like it or not!!!!!!”

His father was so angry that even his wife who was usually so bossy was afraid and didn’t dare reply anything back. She was definitely not used to seeing her husband act that way.

“He will leave the house tonight. I’ll ask some guys I know to take him there. I guess some Danes will want to flee Denmark as well now that it’s been annexed. To fight to free it,” he was much calmer as he said that, but his tone was still extremely stern and grave. “Our army isn’t powerful enough to do anything against them. We’ve never been a warriors’ peoples. Our ancestors were though, but time has passed since.”

Shortly after he said that Karl closed his door all of a sudden before leaning against it with an unreadable look on his face.

This was definitely all too sudden.

 

Once the sun had set, Karl’s father accompanied him to the boat which he was to go aboard for the voyage to England. The sea looked even more beautiful after the sunset. It wasn’t completely dark yet, and the sky offered a wonderful show of pastel colors that reflected on the sea.

The boat had a reasonable size. It wasn’t too big or too small either, and it could welcome at least a dozen people on its board. The place where it was moored couldn’t really be considered as a harbour; it was more like a sort of inlet.

When they arrived near the boat, a man was already waiting for them. Karl’s father approached him and shook hands with him as they both smiled at each other. He seemed to be well acquainted with him.

Karl kept a little bit away from them, but he could still hear them talk.

“Thank you again for taking my son with you.”

The other man nodded at his father.

“No problem. But… if I may ask, why aren’t you and your wife leaving with him?”

“Simply because we can’t. We can’t abandon our house and our small piece of land, even if that’s not much. That’s all we possess… But don’t worry, Karl is a big boy now, he will be able to manage on his own. He doesn’t need us anymore. I have faith in him,” he said his last sentence while glancing at his son with a hint of pride in his voice.

The other man nodded again.

“Alright. Then you should bid farewell to him so we can leave.”

Aleksander nodded and once he did, the other male turned away to go aboard the boat to get ready for the departure. He didn’t want to depart too late.

Aleksander turned around and approached his son.

He stared into his son’s eyes intently before taking a hold of his shoulders. Karl was quite tall for a boy his age (he was practically six feet tall), but his father was still taller than him. Men in the family were said to be quite tall, well, at least on his father’s side. He had a grave look plastered on his face which was somehow making Karl worried.

“Listen, Karl, I know that my decision may look a bit brutal to you, but I swear that I’m doing this for your own good. Don’t think we’re getting rid of you or something like that; because that’s not true at all. No matter whatever ordeal you will have to face, I know you will overcome all of them with brio; because you are our son. My son. And don’t worry, we’ll see each other again. I just don’t know how long it will take until you can come back home. Never forget that you have Danish blood flowing into your veins, so don’t fear, resist and fight back if you have to.”

Karl remained silent, apparently too upset to reply anything. This moment of silence lasted for a short while until Aleksander suddenly let go of his son’s shoulders to hug him tightly. It seemed that Karl hadn’t expected him to do such a thing. He didn’t hug his father back right away.

“I love you, my son,” His father whispered almost desperately, now being on the brink of tears.

Soon enough, Karl could feel tears starting to well up in his eyes as well. He bit his lower lip hard so he could hold them back.

Boys didn’t cry, especially those with Danish blood, descendants of the Viking people, warriors.

But even his father who was a man was unable to hold his own tears back. So he just did the same. Without even realizing it, a fresh tear began rolling down his freckled cheek, and then another, and again another one. They just wouldn’t stop falling.

And now he was sneezing. He hugged his father back just as tightly, looking ready not to let go of him. Deep down, he didn’t want to leave his family. Especially not his father. Not like that.

“Remember: always stay strong and never forget that we love you,” his father whispered in between sobs, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible.

Karl nodded weakly. He knew he had no other choice. He couldn’t not leave. He couldn’t disobey his father.

He had trouble swallowing his own saliva, and thought he might have thrown up, hadn’t his father been there to comfort him. He closed his eyes before letting out a shaky breath.

“I love you too…” he whispered back feebly.

It was heart-wrenching for his father to see his son so sad and upset. It made him want to cry even more, but he had to set a good example for his son.

Karl tried to blink his tears away as his father pulled away to wipe his own tears with his forearm. They were blurring his vision by now.

His father took a hold of his shoulders once again.

“You’ll be okay, son,” he whispered, trying to sound confident again. “Now, it’s time for you to go.”

Karl decided to wipe his tears away with his hand. He just nodded at his father’s words, not really knowing what he could reply.

The man who Aleksander had shaken hands with earlier was observing them from the main deck of the boat as he was smoking a cigarette, leaning on the railing of it.

Aleksander gave his son a rueful smile.

“See you,” he just said with hope echoing through those two words.

Karl nodded once again.

“See you,” he replied, keeping on a neutral face.

He remained standing still for a few instants as if he didn’t know what to do now. A small strained smile suddenly made its way on his face. Afterward, he turned away to go aboard the boat with his linen pack on his back. Once he was on the main deck, he glanced one last time at his father who hadn’t moved from his spot.

Soon enough, they left the coast and sailed away.

Aleksander watched the boat go in sheer silence, the boat that was taking his son away from him; only the soft breeze whistling in his ears could be heard.

He could feel a single tear rolling down his left cheek.

It was a new life that awaited his 17-year-old son.

Copyright © 2021 LittleCherryBlossom26; All Rights Reserved.
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@drsawzallThank you so much for your comment ❤️ Any comment means so much to me. I'm glad that you enjoy the beginning of this story and I really hope you'll like what's coming next as much as I do! Have a good day and take care :)

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What a great start to a story in a historical setting. It be interesting to see what happens to Karl and his parents over the next few years as the war wages around then and what happens to Karl and what he does as he grows into adult hood away from his parents at this crucial formative time in his life

 

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Thank you dear ❤️ Well, I didn't want to start with a dull and long description. I preferred to get straight into action and I hope you'll be satisfied with Karl's character development and the rest of the story as well 😊 Have a good day and take care :)

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It's a bit of a sad start to what promises to be a good story and adventure for Karl, I look forward to reading more.

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Great start, with a lot of character building and information included without any 'dull and long descriptions'.

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