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     “If I find you are lying, we will take you all to Germany.” The soldier’s fear-inducing words spewed from his grim-set mouth. His face was impassive, as his steely eyes bored coldly into hers. Like so many Nazis, he was a monster that had been manipulated by Hitler into being.

     “As God is my witness, and on the lives of my children, we are alone!” Maria rattled inside as the pit snowballed in her stomach. She felt as if she were being held hostage in her own home.

     The soldier exited the house, while the other two climbed the ladder to the top of the barn. They repeatedly plunged a pitchfork into the hay. Maria could feel her world about to end as vomit rose up her throat. The sky spun, and the earth beneath her feet was quicksand. She put her hand on the back of the chair to stabilize herself. 

    A loud horn abruptly cut the air as an army truck pulled up to the side of the road. The red-faced driver yelled something out in German. Satisfied with his search, the intimidating soldier called his comrades down from the barn. He looked at Maria, leaned his rifle up against her face, and slowly traced a path down between her breasts with the barrel. His pupils gleamed like that of a snake and his lips twisted into an evil smile.

     “Next time I will have my way with you, and then I’ll burn your house down.” He pushed Maria back into the chair. “Remember my face, because you’ll be seeing it again.” The soldiers got into the vehicle and pulled away.

     Maria shuddered with relief, as silent tears flowed down her cheeks and pooled in her hands. Suddenly, she saw the partisan climbing down from the barn. A fury spread through Maria’s entire being as she sprang to her feet, knocking the chair over. Maria charged after him, her eyes blazing. She slapped his face with such a force that he stumbled backward.

     “I swear to God, if you ever endanger my family again, I will kill you myself!”

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