Stones on a Grave


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Sara has never been out of the tiny town of Hope, Ontario, where she has been in an orphanage all her life. After a fire destroys the orphanage, clues about her parentage, a medical certificate and a Star of David, lead her to Germany. Despite her fears, she doesn’t speak the language, she knows no one in Germany, and she’s never been on an airplane, Sara arrives in Germany determined to explore her newly discovered Jewish heritage and solve the mystery of her parentage. What she encounters is a country still dealing with the aftermath of the Holocaust. With the help of a handsome, English-speaking German boy, she discovers the sad facts of her mother’s brief existence and faces the horrible truth about her father. Ultimately, the knowledge she gains opens up her world and leads her to a deeper understanding of herself.



Publié par
Date de parution 29 septembre 2015
Nombre de visites sur la page 4
EAN13 9781459806610
Langue English

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IN EARLe JUNE 1964,the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls burns to the ground, and its vulnerable residents are thrust out into the wo rld. The orphans, who know no other home, find their lives changed in an instant. Arrangements are made for the youngest residents, but the seven oldest girls are sent on their way with little more than a clue or two to their pasts and the hope of learning about the families they have never known. On their own for the first time i n their lives, they are about to experience the world in ways they never imagined…
For more Secrets:
Kathy Kacer
For Zac, Jesse, Leila, Izzy and Zoe— a new generation that will need to remember
Table of Contents One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty-One Twenty-Two AUTHOR’S NOTE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
THE SMOKE WASchoking Sara, sucking the air out of her lungs. It billowed in massive clouds from the orphanage roof, exploding like lava and pouring across the sky. Sara stood on the lawn facing the disintegrating buildin g, shaking uncontrollably. She pulled a blanket around her shoulders, wondering briefly h ow it had gotten there. Had she grabbed it when she ran from her room? Everything w as a blur. Who had awoken her, screaming in the middle of the night? She had a vag ue recollection of one of the girls— was it Toni?—pounding on her door and calling out f rantically, “Fire! Sara! Dot! Tess! Get out of the house! Run! Ruuuunnn!” Sara had staggered from her bed. She remembered clu tching her roommate Dot’s arm before scrambling down the long staircase, falt ering in the dark. They had practiced fire drills a thousand times in the past. But no one ever paid much attention. This was no rehearsal. This was real. Girls pushed up behind Sara as she stumbled against the ones in front. “What about Tess?” Dot yelled. “Not here.” Sara had known without even checking th at their roommate would not be in her bed. She would be out roaming, as she often did in the middle of the night. No time to dress, Sara realized, glancing down at h er nightgown and bare feet. No time to take anything, except the tin box under her bed. It held all the money she had been saving. She didn’t even know how much was ther e—had resisted the urge to count it these last couple of years. She was waitin g for a special occasion, maybe her birthday, to see how much she had saved. If you ever had to leave this place, what would be the one thing you would take with you?Dot had once asked. This box! Sara g to find a taste ofclutched it to her body and gagged, strugglin something clean in the sooty night air. “Are all the girls out of the house?” Mrs. Hazelton , their matron, was pacing, her eyes scanning the lawn where the girls were huddled in t wos and threes. She too was wrapped in a blanket; her hair, usually so neat, wa s wildly disheveled. This was the first time Sara had ever seen the administrator of the or phanage in a nightgown. Mrs. Hazelton was always so wellgroomed, so perfectly pu t together. Sara couldn’t even imagine the woman actually sleeping! “Don’t you worry, ma’am, everyone’s out.” It was Jo e who responded. Their cook held two of the littlest girls in his arms. Their f aces were buried in his shoulder. Sara watched their bodies writhe and tremble against his chest. “I’m countin’ them all, just to make sure. And Miz Webster is here too.” Their home economics teacher lived on the first floor of the house. “She’s got a couple of th e young ones with her—Donna and Jen.” Sara was counting as well. First the Seven. They we re always called the Seven: herself, Toni, Betty, Dot, Malou, Cady and Tess, wh o had now mysteriously appeared, fully clothed, along with the younger girls. Were they all there? It would be okay as long as everyone was there.Please be there! Others were gathering on the lawn—townspeople who u sually kept their distance from the orphans. But now they looked concerned. Th ey moved in between the girls, handing out blankets. Perhaps that’s how Sara’s had found its way around her shoulders. She searched the crowd for a sign of Luke but could n’t see him. Did he even know what was happening? Would he come if he did know? S ara pushed that thought away.
“He’s not coming, you know.” Dot was standing next to her, holding little Debbie in her arms, a sobbing bundle of tangled hair and twit ching limbs. Dot could always guess what Sara was thinking. “I keep telling you, he cou ld care less.” Sara shook her head. It was true that her boyfriend didn’t have the best reputation in town. But deep down she’d always believed that he c ared—more than that: he loved her, even though it was hard at times to explain th at to her roommate. “He probably doesn’t know about the fire, or he’d be here for su re,” she shouted back to Dot. That was it. Luke just hadn’t heard yet. “Are the fire engines coming? Can you see them?” To ni called out, always anxious, plagued with nightmares. Her face was silhouetted a gainst the sky. Only a sliver of a moon still glowed above, disappearing in and out of the billows of smoke. What time was it? Two o’clock? Perhaps three? “They’re coming. I can hear them coming,” Betty rep lied, calmly, protectively. “Are they coming?” Toni repeated, eyes wide, shakin g. “Joe said they were on their way,” Sara heard herse lf call out above the other cries, though she felt disconnected from her response. She was trying to keep her voice even. Maybe that would help still Toni and the othe rs. But Sara’s heart was galloping, and her breath came in shallow gasps. She clasped h er hands together and rubbed them hard—a nervous habit. If she wasn’t careful, s he would rub them raw. And the smoke kept pouring out of the building. It didn’t help that the stench was nearly as suffocating. Acrid, sour, foul—like the b urned dinner that Joe had served up a week earlier, but multiplied by a thousand, tens of thousands. The flames were next, breaking through the back part of the house where t he rooms were—her room—and arcing up into the blackened sky. And the sounds! W ho knew a fire could be so noisy— metal twisting and melting, wood crumbling—a cacoph ony of noises reaching a deafening crescendo. It howled like someone gone ma d, pounding inside Sara’s head. “Are you all right, dear?” Sara, startled, looked into the eyes of an elderly woman who had appeared with the other folks from town. She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. “The building was old and run-down. Everyone knew t hat,” the woman continued, shouting above the sound of crackling timber. “This was bound to happen.” Sara nodded again.What are we going to do?Where was Luke? “You’re not hurt?” Sara shook her head.Not in any way you can see. “It’s just a building,” the woman said. “So old and rickety. It’s a wonder this didn’t happen years ago. Glad everyone’s out. That’s the m ost important thing.” Sara nodded. Still no words. It’s not just a buildi ng, she thought, defiantly—and sadly. It’s my home—our home. And it’s disappearing . She clutched her tin of money closer to her chest a nd glanced back at the house just as the sign above the doorway—The Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls—began to crumble. And then, in front of her eyes, it disi ntegrated, letter by letter, and tumbled to the ground, the pieces floating almost in slow m otion, held aloft by a spring wind that whipped across the lawn. “Stand back!” Malou shouted. “I’m scared!” cried Dot. “Hold on to someone.” This came from Cady. A fireball exploded high in the sky. Toni screamed and bolted for the river. Betty tried to go after her, but two of the younger girls were clinging to her as well, laminated against her legs.
And then, in the sudden stillness after the blast, Mrs. Hazelton’s voice reached out into the night air, singing, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound…” Others joined in. That saved a wretch like me…” Sara stood stunned and out of breath.What’s going to happen to us? Where will we go? “Stand back, everyone,” Joe shouted. “It’s comin’ d own.”