Please allow me some artistic license with dates as this story moves along. If I were to make the dates entirely accurate, I would become an incredible history buff but would have no time to actually write the story. Any exact dates given in reference to historical moments will be the correct date, but if I don’t specify, forgive me. And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Hours later, Katrine drew a breath as she finished relaying the horror of the last few weeks. Her small farm in western Germany had been overtaken by Nazi troops as they spread out to gain control of the resistance in the area. She had been in the surrounding woods gathering wildflowers and small firewood when the troops arrived, and had watched, frozen, from just inside the treeline as her elderly grandparents were carted away by the armed men. She had desperately wanted to go to them but a soft voice held her still. The voice told her that it was too late to help her loved ones, but that she would be able to help other. She just had to get to Hollerich and wait for a tall blonde to come walking down the road. By joining this woman’s fight, she would be able to make a difference. “I got here two days ago, and have been watching the road. This morning, the voice told me you would be here by dusk.”
Valerie gently took Katrine’s right hand and placed it over her heart. Holding the woman’s gaze, she placed her hand over Katrine’s heart. They sat this way for sometime, each searching the others eyes and through them, their souls. With a nod and a smile, Valerie dropped her hand. In this slender, smiling face, she had found a confidant and helpmate. She spent the next several hours bringing Katrine up to date on everything that she had seen and done in the time since she arrived on the shores of France. It was past midnight when the two finally slept, hand-in-hand, neither willing to lose touch with this budding friendship.
The sky was just beginning to lighten when Valerie felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. Katrine’s voice whispered in her ear. “Quickly, they’re coming”
Valerie’s eyes shot open, her body ready to jump into action. “How long?”
“By sun up. We must hurry.” Katrine moved away and began thrusting their belongings into her rucksack. “We can’t leave any sign of our stay.”
Valerie had risen quickly and rolled the blanket up into a cylindrical shape. As Katrine stepped out of the simple tent, Valerie grabbed the two support posts from inside and followed. With quick, sharp tugs, the four anchoring stakes were pulled up and Valerie tucked poles and stakes against the blanket before rolling the bundle into the tent. As Katrine shouldered the rucksack, Valerie tied a long cord to either end of her bundle and and threw it over one arm and her head, leaving her hands free to grab a tree branch. While Valerie used the branch to eliminate their footprints and the signs of their tent, Katrine tossed branches and debris haphazardly across their resting place.
The girls moved further into the trees until the found a stream. Quickly, they shed their shoes and stockings and rolling the waistband of their skirts, drew the material above their knees before stepping into the icy water. They waded upstream, supporting each other as their feet went numb from the cold. They were nearly three miles from their campsite when they spied a large boulder jutting into the stream. Teeth chattering, they climbed onto the boulder and cuddled together for warmth. As the sun rose in the sky and warmed their frozen feet, the girls heard the sound of heavy trucks rolling towards Hollerich. The invasion of Luxembourg had begun.