I stepped aside, nearly tripping over the curb, as a squadron of German soldiers marched past. The sunlight reflected off their helmets. They were so close I could have touched the eagle emblem on their field-grey jackets.
“You stupid Jew.” His deep voice slices through the air. “You know I could kill you for this.” He takes a step forward, his gear rattling against itself.
Benson checks the alley before stepping in closer. “They’re gone, Kasia. Everyone in our cell of the resistance is gone.”
I feel nothing anymore. “We knew we wouldn’t win. We knew we’d lose our friends in the fight.”
“But knowing feels so different than the reality of it all.” Benson exhales a long breath. “You and I are the only ones left.”
Romek slowed his strides to match mine as we meandered down the sidewalk, trying to drag the night on for as long as we could. I stayed close to his side, and he seemed to like that, for he inched a bit closer too.
Each note swelled with passion and despair, fear and joy. I lost myself in the melody, closing my eyes to the cruel world outside those walls, closing my ears to the sound of jackboots against pavement. My soul and fingers were in rhythm, sparking pieces of my heart into the evening air. As I lifted my fingers from the final note, I opened my eyes to find Romek staring at me with such wonder and admiration that it sent my heart beating wildly.
Copies of Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairy Tales have been sent to our advance readers this morning! Things are happening fast, people. On December 2nd, you'll be able to pick up your own ebook copy of the collection on Amazon!