A Father’s Love


“One more hour!” Johann thought as he shook his weary head after checking his watch for the tenth time in the last hour.
He could see her big, brown eyes shining as she jumped from foot to foot with excitement and unwrapped the birthday present he had just given her. The vision in his head was a clear as if she stood in front of him. It seemed a lifetime ago, not just mere hours.
He felt in his pocket and was comforted to feel the packet against his fingertips, but the cold dread in his heart still clung there like a wet shirt on your back in a summer’s shower.
The sound of the engine was pounding in his ears; he was surprised he still noticed after so many years. He checked all the gauges, everything was normal. He felt that they should reflect the turmoil in head; at least something should be outside the norm.
The signal approaching indicated he should slow down – at last, some action – his heart shook off the damp shirt and instead started dancing a polka inside his chest.
He applied the brakes and felt the engine respond, the large train would take some time to come to a halt but he knew this beast well and it responded as it should.
Again the beautiful face of Katika flashed in front of his eyes, he blinked her away; this was no time for regrets.
The packet in his pocket felt as though it would burn through his leg, he took it out, and, removing the revolver from the brown paper, admired its deadly beauty.
The engine finally shuddered to a halt and he could hear shouts from behind the locked door of his cab.
He checked the revolver and saw his own hand shaking almost uncontrollably – he tried taking some deep breaths, now was not the time for fear, that time had passed.
He stepped from behind the controls of the train and slowly drew back the bolt on the door, the shouting was becoming louder now and he thought he heard the sound of breaking glass.
“This is it” he said aloud as he opened the door and stepped through – there was no-one immediately in sight – he crouched down low and moved slowly forward, holding the revolver in front of him but not knowing if he could actually use it if the need arose.
He stopped as he came to the door separating the goods carriage from the passenger compartment; he could hear the cries of alarm now.
“Who are you people?” “What’s going on?” “Why are you doing this?”
Johann stepped through the door, “Please, we do not wish to harm you but we will kill you if you do not comply, all of you remove your shoes and then sit on the floor with your hands on your heads.”
The men didn’t argue, they were soft and fat and not one of them had an ounce of courage, the smell of sweat and fear was heavy in the air.
Johann was getting impatient; he knew the timings of the signal by heart and they only had a few minutes. “Hurry”!” he signalled to the floor with the gun, the men wasted no more time. Johann nodded at his comrade, “Damak ,Get the papers quickly!” he ordered.
Damak moved towards the men, “Empty your pockets!” he told them, one of the men started to sob quietly, “Please don’t kill us, we are only doing our jobs, we have wives and children, none of us wants to die!”
“Then you will do as you are told” whispered Johann.
Damak leaned over and collected the papers – the orders from Hitler for their trusted President to turn over their country to Germany.
Johann took the papers from Damak, he turned to his other comrades “Tie them, strip them and remove them from the train. Once you have done this, you must get as far away from here as you can. Now move quickly!”
He turned once more to Damak – “Destroy the papers then go as planned.”
“But, Johann, what of you? Are you not coming with me? Lisle and Katika are waiting for you at the border!”
“No, Damak, someone has to drive the train to avert suspicion for as long as possible. I cannot come with you, please take care of them for me.” Johann turned and strode towards the front of the train.
“Johann, wait! What shall I tell Katika?”
“Tell her that her father loves her very much and a father’s love drives a man to do things he may not otherwise do. Now, go! The signal will been green in less than a minute; we cannot afford any delay now!”
“Take care, Johann. Papa would be very proud”
“Goodbye, my brother. Go safely.”
Johan returned to his cab, the signal was green and he started the train back on its journey to Prague. He turned down the window and tossed the revolver into the undergrowth.
The train was running to time, “Ten minutes to Prague” Johann thought as he looked at his watch and smiled.


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