The family was gathered around the curtained window, their faces scared, hopeless, crumpled and cold. I tried to see what they were looking at but it was too crowded for me to get a view. Cheers came from the street below. Words I didn’t understand were spoken. "Jews out! Victory to the German Reich! SEIG HEIL!" Karl hugged me tightly; his sharp, jagged, bitten fingernails scraped the skin beneath my golden fur. But I didn’t complain because his clouded eyes looked too far away for me to reach him. The humans carried on talking. I heard words like Nazi, Jews and Anschluss! There were lots of times when Karl’s father would huddle around the radio and everyone would be as quiet as a Nile crocodile watching his prey. Weeks passed.
Then, one day, I heard loud bangs, rough noises and shouts. I tried to block that day out of my head. But of what I do remember, Karl’s father was taken away, along with his uncle. Karl’s father came back, but his uncle did not. When he eventually came back, he wasn’t the same. He didn’t scratch behind my ears and he didn’t pass me his uneaten food under the table. But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me. It was when... When... Karl and Rosa left. We brought them to the station, their tears silently rolling down their cheeks. When we arrived, before they got on the train, Rosa clutched me tightly, and buried her head in my fur. Then her father handed her a book with me on the cover! Then she left, with Karl. I knew they weren’t coming back. I cried every night.
Fast forward. Back to now. The soldier, the one who had taken me from Karl’s mother and father held me down. My fur stood on end. I shivered. I felt a cold, hard circle on my neck. I twisted me head around. A gun! I barked so loudly. Then I realized. There was no chance he would change his mind. I slumped to the ground. But when he pulled the trigger, I still jolted when it entered my body. Then, I was still.
By Megan Ní Mhathúna, Rang a Sé, Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch, Baile Munn as part of the One Book, One Ballymun project