Masie was in the middle of a dream when she felt a nudge and then another. She rolled over and sunk into the covers a little deeper, “Not now, just a few more minutes.”
Her father chuckled, “You’re going to be late for breakfast. We’re going to visit a relative today remember? Come on, Bug, get up.”
Masie threw the covers off of her and sat up, “What time is it?”
“Well, your grandma is up and ready to eat and plan the day.”
Masie looked toward the window. Light was not seeping through the curtains of their room, “The sun isn’t up yet. Why do old people wake up so darn early?”
Her father let out a guffaw, “I think it has something to do with their bodies getting used to a long life of getting up to alarm clocks. Now, go get ready, Masie.”
Twenty minutes later, Minnie knocked on the door, “Are we ready for breakfast?”
Masie opened the door still rubbing her eyes, “Yep, are we eating here?”
Minnie nodded and lead them to the restaurant in the hotel. The table was already set. Masie looked at the spread as she sat down. There were breakfast rolls, marmalade and butter, yogurt, sausage and a cheese she has never seen before. There was a mug of cocoa at her plate. She looked around confused, “Where are the eggs?”
“This is a standard breakfast, Masie, and before you ask, the cheese is named Quark and the other is Käse. There is a boiled egg to the right of your plate, but I asked the server to bring you a scrambled one.”
”This is a lot of food.”
“Yes, but you don’t have to eat it all. Just pick what you like.” She turned to George, “I spoke to Ernst.”
”Uncle Ernst? How is he?”
She took a sip of her coffee and then added a little more cream, “He is doing well and is quite excited to see Masie and you as well. He says he may have something for our adventure.”
Masie swallowed a bite of sausage and took a swig of cocoa, “Do you know where he lives?”
Minnie nodded, “He gave me directions. I think it would be a good idea to head that way after breakfast.”
Masie chose a little yogurt and mixed in with some fruit. She ate her egg and some sausage. When the others were finished, they went to the car and started to drive. Masie watched as the buildings faded out of view and revealed the countryside of Germany. Putting her elbows on the window’s edge and her chin on her hands, she looked at the trees and the mountains in the distance. The rolling hills and myriad of flowers kept her attention until they turned onto a small road and stopped in front a modest cottage made of stone. On the front porch was a man in his sixties smiling and waving at them.
He walked to the car and opened Minnie’s door, “Minnie, it has been long time.” He accent was thick and his English, broken.
They hugged, “Yes it has, and you’re English is getting better.”
”Danke, I have been practicing with Americans on internet. It’s still not too good.”
He stepped back as George got out of the car and then Masie. He smiled as he looked at his grand-niece, “Guten morgen, little, Masie.”
She inhaled and nodded her head, “Guten morgen, Onkel Ernst.”
His smile widened, “Not bad, you speak Deutsch?”
“Not much, but I have been learning. I know a few phrases.”
”I see. Come in! Come in! It has been long travel. It is almost lunch.”
He lead them through the front door passed the hand-carved chairs and coffee table and into the dining room.”
He placed juice on the table, and started bringing out plates of hot potato salad, meatballs, and steamed carrots. Masie looked at her uncle, “This is lunch? This would be dinner at home.”
”Yes, this is lunch. We have our big meal in the middle of the day. We eat light in evening. This is to help, how you say, your body to process food?”
”Good for the digestion, you mean?”
”Yes,” He snapped fingers and tapped her nose, “That word, forget sometimes.”
They sat and caught up on family matters between bites and sips of juice or milk. When Ernst would slip into German, Minnie would translate and they would continue. After the meal, they helped him clean up and sat in the living room to talk.
Minnie looked at her brother, “You said you had something to show Masie?”
He held up one finger and went upstairs. When he returned, he held a small wooden box, and frowned as he handed it over. Masie saw the Swastika.
Ernst looked grim, “Before you ask, some of our family, not many, vere in that cult. Not a proud time for our family. Your great grandpa vas one of the evils that rounded up the Jews and the sick. Your great uncle vorked with Schindler. There is a carving on inside of box.”
Masie carefully flipped up the latch and opened the case. The writing was in the German. She couldn’t make it out. She handed it to her grandmother.
Minnie read it out loud, “To those who have seemingly lost the way, there is light at the end of day. Lines of blood across the land are the greatest treasure to be had. To find the next step to the treasure’s end, a go to the place where play never ends.” Minnie noticed the inside of the box was loose.
Masie wrinkled her face and put her head on one hand. Ernst was the one who spoke next, “There vas a part of a map in the top. I vill get it.”
Masie stood and started to pace. She tapped her forehead constantly repeating the second line of the riddle. Her eyes flew open and she looked at her father, “You think my great uncle hid the blood records of the ones he saved so the Nazi’s wouldn’t find them?”
Her father’s smile couldn’t be bigger, “That’s my Masie, mind sharp as a tack. That is what it sounds like.”
Ernst was nodding as he sat back down in his chair and handed the map to Minnie, “It is dated.”
”Yes, Masie has a piece to it that she lays on top of a current one.”
It was Ernst’s turn to smile, “She is a smart one.”
She sat down in front of Ernst, “Tell me of my great uncle, Onkel Ernst.”
”Diederich, like many others, vas lead to believe Hitler vould make Germany great again. Ve had been through many hard times, and ve vere looking for way out. Your Onkel began to see the Fuhrer for vat he vas, and started looking for others thinking the same. He knew vat Hitler vas doing vas wrong he had to be careful in finding others to help. After all, his vader vas fully on the Fuhrer’s side, and being caught meant being shot. He had tried, at first, to help the Jews and infirmed get out of Deutschland, but soon discovered it vas going to take more than just himself to do it. That is when he met Schindler. He helped Schindler make list of people and loved ones to one day reunite them, but it vas lost, when they vere discovered.”
Masie’s eyes were wide, “Did they get shot?”
”Deiderich took all the blame so Schindler would have longer to save those who needed it. He gave his life for vat he thought vas right, und now it looks like it is up to you to find the lost list of Schindler.”
”Lost list, but they found the list, Onkel, and they made a movie out of it.”
Ernst shook his head, “Nein, they found only one. Your Onkel and Schindler saved many more. No one knew how many.”
Masie opened her bag and removed the map she had with her. She placed the piece Ernst gave her where it fit on the modern map. There were three places marked on the map, two museums and a concentration camp.
Ernst pointed at the concentration camp, “He vouldn’t step foot there. He had a hatred for those places.”
Masie crossed it out, “…play never ends. That sounds like games or a playground, but the last two are museums.”
Ernst smiled and pointed at the second location on the map, “That is the Nuremberg Toy Museum. I think the next clue vould be there, yes?”
Masie nodded, “Yes, that makes sense.” She turned and hugged her uncle, “Thank you, Onkel.”
At that moment, there was a knock at the door. Ernst peeked through the window and saw a man in a dark suit, and when the man went to knock again, he saw a Swastika on his wrist. Ernst walked back to the living room and told his family to follow him. He lead them to the guest room and a hidden trap door, “Down this vay, your great onkel vas not the only rebel, and he get a lot of attention. There is someone at the door with a Swastika tattoo. Go down and follow the tunnel. It will lead around to the voods close to your auto. I vill hold him off.”
”There is no time.”
They scrambled down the ladder and followed the path.
It’s your turn: What happened next at Ernst’s house?
A. They are able to get to the car without incident and back to the hotel.
B. They are spotted getting into their car and the man gives chance.
C. George goes back inside to help Ernst.
What happens? It’s up to you! The person who participated the most will get a copy of the completed book for free. Once this book is published, all sales of the book will be donated tohttp://www.buildon.org/. This means, every time this book is sold, the money will go to this charity and this charity alone.