Chapter 10

Written by: Suraya Dewing

With the sound of the music box still playing on my mind, Brian and I made our way to the Library.

I know Brian was puzzled by my suggestion that we go there but it was as if some unseen force was driving me. I also was confident that I would be guided to the right section of the library.

As we walked into the rarefied atmosphere, I spontaneously clutched Brian’s hand and gasped as I pointed. “There, in the glass case.”

Even Brian’s cynicism disappeared as we strode over to look at an intricately designed Jaquet Droz music box. A tiny bird sitting in a golden cage was the mouthpiece of the music. Awed, I went across to the woman behind the counter.

“May I listen to the music box please?” I asked breathlessly.

The woman, in her late fifties, with a string of pearls hanging from her neck, smiled, took a key from a nearby drawer and led us back to the display case.

“You do realise I alone can handle it. The person who donated it to the library was very specific about how we cared for it.”

She carefully placed it on a nearby table, clearly set up for the purpose of playing the music box, wound it with jewel adorned fingers then let the mechanism go. And I heard it! That very same sound I heard in the boarding house. As it played I closed my eyes and memories flooded back. It was very much like watching a silent movie with a musician filling the silence.

But I saw it all: my mother bidding me farewell and my aunt telling me that she was now my mother because mine had gone to Europe to do important work. I could even hear my childhood voice asking my ‘auntie’ what the important work was. ‘Freeing Jews, our people,’ she had replied.

On the floor I could see the back pack that had carried my clothes. One last scene flickered before my eyes….my mother herding Jews through tunnels and to freedom. The music box stopped playing. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Brian awkwardly offered me his grubby handkerchief and I delicately dabbed away my tears.

“Where did you get this?” I asked as the woman gently returned the antique to its case.

“A woman, Maria, brought it in. She said her mother had asked her to donate it to us.”

------

When Brian and I returned to the hospital we were surprised to see that Maria had left. Anxiously we rushed back to the boarding house but she was also not there. Believing she would return soon we took a moment to quickly go through the letters. All the answers were there…my mother’s work for the secret Eiffel Tower resistance movement and Maria’s part in the chain that saved many lives. But whenever we asked after Maria people shook their heads and looked at us blankly. No-one had heard of Maria.

 

Comments

Whoo Hoo! There's a start for another story! And so nicely wrapped up. Very clever!
Wonderful ending, Suraya. How totally different from what I had envisioned when I wrote my chapter. Love these serials!
Terrific ending to what has to be the best story yet.
Thanks all! The serials are fun. They push me right out of my comfort zone and make me work at finding a creative way to move the story on or wind it up...depending on which chapter I'm writing. I also get the most amazing thrill when I compare these chapters with the ones we wrote when we started out. That's exciting!