The Martyr’s Song | A Short Story by Mark May

The Martyr’s Song | A Short Story by Mark May

This story was submitted for the 2015 Winter Quarter Short Story Contest. While it wasn’t a finalist entry, the judges enjoyed it, and felt it merited being shared with the community. Congratulations, Mark!

Chapter 1

The Arrival

It was incredibly cold as Otto Lemdek stepped out of the back of the truck onto the frozen ground below.

He looked around and noted the machine gun turrets, the barbed wire now gleaming in the setting sun, the search lights, the dogs kept for sniffing out prisoners, and felt a surge of pride. Only in the Third Reich would one find such a secure prison.

“New guards this way, into the Kommandant’s office,” a tall, lean sergeant was striding purposefully toward the new guards.

“Come on, move it! Into the office, now, now, now! We don’t have time for standing around here.”

As the lean sergeant marched into the grey administration building, the men all formed a line to follow him in.

 Then another guard whom Otto had not noticed spoke, “When I call your name step forward, hand me your identification papers, and then move into the Kommandant’s office.”

“BECKER!” A young fellow just behind Otto moved out of line and up to the desk where the two guards were sitting.

“Papers,” said the guard and Becker handed them over. After a brief verification, Becker was ushered into the inner office and the guard continued to call names alphabetically.




The names went on until finally, “LEMDEK!”

Otto stepped forward, handed over his papers, and followed the others into the inner office. The room was sparsely furnished with a desk in the middle, a shelf containing several books against the left wall, and a small safe in the right corner.

The office lacked decoration, with the only adornment being a large photo of their invincible leader on the back wall: the Führer, Adolf Hitler. The room was empty, save for the other young men called prior to Otto. However, more and more men were slowly trickling into the room from the outer office.

After a few minutes, all the new guards had been processed and were left to await further instruction. However, as time passed and no one appeared, the men broke into nervous talk.

“I wonder what it’ll be like here?” asked one of the guards on the other side of the room from Otto.

“Why do your care? As long as you are serving the Fatherland, what difference does it make?” retorted a heavy-set guard behind Otto, in a threatening voice.

“I agree!” said Otto, “You have been given a duty, to keep the filth of the Allies contained in this camp from escaping! You should be no more than honored by that duty,” finished Otto heatedly, and at this there was a chorus of “Aye!” from the other guards, and a grumble from the lone man.

BANG! The door of the office flew open and in walked a man whom Otto would estimate to be six and a half feet tall. He had broad shoulders, with powerful arms, and walked with an air of confidence—although he had a rather bad limp.

He wore the crisp grey uniform of an officer, bedecked with several medals, including the ribbon of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  As he entered, the men snapped silently to attention. This man’s every move vibrated with authority. However, the newcomer did not speak until he had reached his desk.

“So you’re the new guards,” he said in a soft voice, “Well first of all, I should introduce myself. I am your Commanding Officer, Major Wolfgang Hendersill, Kommandant of this prison camp, Stalag 9, and the former commander of the 40th Panzer division of the Russian Front.”

He let these words hang in the air, waiting for the effect which he knew they would have; he was skilled at dramatics. In this pause, there was a sudden outbreak of murmuring among the guards.

Otto had heard about the 40th division and its work in Russia, leading a strategic charge through the Russian defenses and paving the way for many German advances against the Soviets.

Otto had also heard that the commander of the division had been awarded the Knight’s Cross by the Führer himself for his efforts in Russia.

This was a man of incredible ambition and courage, a man who had clawed his way through the ranks and was just about to reach the pinnacle of his career when his dreams where annihilated by the injury to his leg.

Otto pitied him: all the work, all those hard, horrible years striving for a career that at the last moment was demolished.

“Settle down now. I was then stationed in this POW camp and I have decided to make this camp the best disciplined, the most secure camp in the entire Third Reich! Now, I have not told you this for conversational purposes, instead I tell you this to set a standard.”

As he said the last words a chill came over Otto; something had happened to the major that he couldn’t put his finger on, but knew he didn’t like. Something…. the major’s voice cut through his thoughts.

“If I so much as see any one of you,” Major Hendersill continued, “slacking on duty, fraternizing with the prisoners, or any other misconduct, you will be immediately pulled from your post and shot. No questions asked, no court martial. I will not tolerate insubordination.” The major slammed his fist down on his desk, to emphasize this statement.

Now Otto knew there was something he didn’t like in the major. No court martial, why that was a standard procedure! How could he be so blatant and hard? Well, Otto had heard some rumors about the courts, and their lack of any real justice, but those were just malcontents trying to stir up trouble…right?

 At the same time however, Otto understood the major’s words to his men. This was his final dream and any dishonor which fell upon the camp, fell upon him as well.

Otto respected him more than he had before, but still his feelings were mixed on the major’s attitude. He decided to be wary, but not let it show.

“Now, moving on from that, ah, unpleasant fact, you will find life in the camp quite rewarding if you follow my commands. After all, you are young. I’m sure that I can help your careers. You don’t plan to be prison guards forever do you? I have good contacts in the High Command and I can use these contacts for those whom I deem fit for a higher position in the Armed Forces. So when you start your first duties tomorrow, know that I’ll be watching. HEIL HITLER!”

Chapter 2

Father Francis Brent

The new guards shuffled back into the outer office where they were joined again by the lean sergeant. He marched them out onto the dark grounds and passed the rows and rows of prison barracks. These were rough huts made from rejected lumber.

Many of the planks had large cracks in them but, as Otto thought, these were rebels, men willing to stop at nothing to tear down the Reich which they, the Germans, had created.  Upon reaching the guard barracks, Otto was happy to see that these were much nicer than the prisoners’ accommodations.

The grey barracks were numbered in a row and constructed of good solid lumber. Upon entering, Otto found the building lined with bunk beds down both walls and a furnace at either end. The building was lit with no less than ten electric bulbs, much more than the prisoners had, judging by the meager amount of light showing through the cracks in the wood.

“These are your accommodations. You will be split into groups and observe the prisoner roll call, which is repeated five times each day. Assignments for the day will follow breakfast. Heil Hitler!” With the sergeant’s exit, talk erupted immediately.

“How about that major? No court martial! Just…Bang!”

“Wow these are some nice barracks! Wish home was like this.”

After Otto had washed, he went over to an unoccupied bunk and flopped onto it. It was soft and warm. Without much time passing he was asleep, dreaming of catching prisoners and being awarded grandly.

Otto was awakened to the sound of a whistle, and in the pitch darkness so were the other guards.

“Roll call! Meet me outside prisoner barracks 2! Hurry up!” called a voice in the darkness. After throwing on their coats, they went outside in the freezing air to watch the roll call.

There was not much to the process, just calling names off a list (in Otto’s opinion nothing worth waking a fellow up in the middle of the night for), but it was the first time he had seen the prisoners up close.

They were a motley lot, wearing a combination of uniforms from the various Allied countries. They were all thin and some wore about their faces looks of despair and on others, desperation.

After the roll was called it was back to bed, only to be awakened six hours later for the same routine. Again, Otto witnessed the prisoners, but now from the pale sunlight he saw they looked more like walking corpses than men.

Their cheeks were sunken and pale, their eyes dark and huge in their emaciated faces. Their bare hands looked like the hands of skeletons, white and thin. Otto felt sorry for them… but after all, these men were trying to destroy the Reich, they did deserve this. Didn’t they?

Breakfast followed roll call (nothing much, but as Otto thought there was a war on), and then to their assigned duties.

Otto was given the job of distributing food to the prisoners, which occurred at the back of the mess hall. As he approached, he suddenly heard voices raised in song:

Come on, Jerry, give us the bread,

If you don’t, we won’t get fed,

           Move it now, and give it here,

          When you do, we’ll all cheer.

Otto could hardly believe his ears. These men were singing! What were they calling him? Jerry? It didn’t sound respectful.

He was going to make them pay for their disrespect. Oh yes, they would pay.

He stormed around to the back of the mess hall and found himself in front of a large group of prisoners.

“Who wrote that song? Who authorized singing in the camp? Step forward now or you’ll pay later, I promise you!” None of them moved.

“Alright, you want to be smart? Since none of you will take responsibility, then all will be punished. Get back to your barracks!”

Up until now all the prisoners had been silent, but suddenly noise erupted. Otto could scarcely make himself heard over the din, but as suddenly as it began, it ceased.

The prisoners slowly began to part and Otto watched a man step out of the crowd. On his collar were two gold crosses. This man was chaplain. Why was this man even here? Chaplains get returned to their countries. He must be awaiting transfer, thought Otto.

He should have looked young, Otto would estimate him at being in his thirties, but his face was prematurely lined and his sandy hair streaked with grey. He was incredibly thin, thinner than the other men, and that was saying something!

His face seemed sad, but not a sadness of despair like the other prisoners, but a genuine concern for those around him. But his most stunning feature was his eyes: they were a soft, dark brown and kindness radiated from his gaze, like warmth from a fire.

“Sir, I heard you wished to know who organized this group,” the priest said, gesturing to the prisoners. His voice was soft, yet held a note of command, not like the Kommandant’s command, where he constantly needed to check the loyalty of his men, but a command that was certain and unquestionable.

“I did. I am Father Francis Brent. I saw the boys were getting a little restless, so I came up with a few verses to help them blow off some steam. Please, whatever punishment belongs here, belongs to me.”

Otto was taken back by this turn of events. First, this was a Catholic priest, an enemy to the Third Reich, commanding people to love their enemies, insisting that all people are created equal, and that there is a God and an afterlife.

Secondly, this rather frail man was asking to take the punishment for all these men. Why? What would he gain? Otto didn’t understand, but he did recognize courage and admired the man for it.

“Alright, if you say you organized this singing I believe you, but these men still could have disobeyed your orders. I will ignore your conduct this once. You will not be punished, but know that respect is demanded here.”

Chapter 3

A Crash Course in Faith

After his initial orientation at the camp, Otto’s days assumed normality. His duties consisted of divvying up the rations among the prisoners and guarding barracks 3, for which he was responsible. This barracks housed about 20 prisoners, including Father Brent.

Otto had learned that, although there was a senior POW officer, Father Brent was the real commander of the prisoners. He settled debates, organized events, played ambassador to the Kommandant, and kept them all in line.

Otto was interested in this man and how he kept order among the prisoners. Not once had he heard Father Brent raise his voice to a prisoner, or threaten one.

Otto took the opportunity to learn more about the priest during one of his rather boring patrol assignments. Seeing Father Brent passing by Otto called out to him, “Hey, prisoner! Yeah you, you got a light?” He did not want to appear too interested in the priest.

“Sorry, sir, I don’t smoke,” replied the priest walking over to Otto. This struck Otto as a bit strange. Why would this Catholic priest walk over just to say he didn’t smoke?

“Can I do anything else for you?” asked Father Brent.

“Um, not officially, no,” said Otto, checking to make sure no one was watching.

“Come in here.” Otto ushered the priest into an empty building. “But I would like to ask you, how do you keep the prisoners in line? I’ve never heard you threaten them or anything. They can’t always obey your orders.”

“Hmm, an interesting question. Well first off, one can never make a man completely obey another. God didn’t–”

“I didn’t ask about your God, prisoner,” cut in Otto.

“Yes, I know that,” replied the priest calmly, “but you did ask me how I keep discipline and the answer to that is a matter of authority, and all authority comes from God. Take your Kommandant. The loyalty of those in his command would not be a great concern for him if he had supreme authority, because no one would dare disobey him.

However, he is concerned because he does not have supreme authority. I do not have supreme authority either, as a man or as a priest, but it is not what I have, but what God has, since I stand for Him on earth.” Father Brent looked up into Otto’s face and saw his confusion.

“Have you ever heard of God before now?”

Otto shook his head, no one talked about God anymore, except for some old folk who mostly warned of catastrophes striking the Reich.

“Well if you’d like, I can try to give you a crash course,” said the priest with a smile.

Otto was torn. On the one hand, this fellow was trying to teach him about God, which was strictly against his Nazi beliefs. But on the other hand, his feet were tired, he didn’t want to go back to walking his post, he was dying for someone to talk to, and, frankly, this religion thing didn’t seem too dull. Father Brent seemed to sense his struggle.

“Sit down over here, and I’ll start you with the basics.”

That day Otto learned a great deal. He learned that God created everything in this world and everything in the next.  He learned about how Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and how God had promised a Redeemer.

At this point, Otto had interrupted Father Brent, “Why did He say that? Why did He promise a Redeemer? They disobeyed His laws, and He had every right to punish them.”

The priest laughed at this, which made Otto quite angry. He felt this was a legitimate question.

“Why are you laughing at me?” asked Otto.

“At you? Oh no, not at you, my friend, never. I was laughing at the way the Nazis forget about mercy. It was mercy that compelled God to send a Redeemer. He was merciful toward us, so He sent us a Redeemer to save us from our sins, after we learned our lesson, of course.”

Otto and Father Brent continued to talk about the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, whom God sent into the world to teach others about Him and to die for our sins.

Again Otto interrupted, “But if your God is almighty, then why did He have to die for our sins, why did He not just destroy sin and be done with it?”

“Because He wanted to teach us first before He died and because He had to offer His sufferings to God for our sins, to satisfy God’s justice,” said Father Brent.

“Think about it this way. If I stole from you, but then I admitted to stealing and was punished, then you would not be fully satisfied. I would have to return what I stole to you, right? That’s what happened. The theft is disobeying God. The punishment is banishment from the Garden of Eden. However, God knew that we could never repair the damage we made—giving back what we stole—without His help, so that’s why He sent Christ.”

“Here, I want you to take this,” said Father Brent, pulling a small black leather book from his pocket.

“It’s the Bible, the written Word of God. If you find anything you have a question about, just find me and ask. Hopefully, my transfer will continued to be delayed,” said the priest with a smile.

Father Brent handed Otto the book, leaving Otto to wonder at all he had learned.

Chapter 4

The Way to God

To say that Otto read the Bible which Father Brent gave him would be a gross understatement. Otto devoured it.

Never in his life had Otto encountered a book so full of knowledge, a book which explained the questions he had always harbored.

He stole away time with Father Brent as much as his busy schedule allowed and began to see the man as a friend, rather than a prisoner.

Otto’s questions ranged from, “Why did Joseph forgive his brothers? I mean, he had them at his mercy” to “Why did Jesus not answer Pilate? He might have been able save Himself from that terrible death.”

Father Brent was able to answer them all quite easily. He told Otto the uncluttered truth, about everything from Genesis to Revelation.

During one of their question and answer sessions, Father Brent posed a question to Otto, “Do you believe in what you’ve read?”

Otto hesitated. This was a difficult question to answer. If he said yes, then he was saying that the teachings of Jesus Christ were true, that all men were equal, that one had to love his enemies, and that there was an afterlife. If he said no, well, he was denouncing Christ’s teachings.

“You believe, yet are afraid too. You are like the seed that was scattered on thorny ground, you hear and understand, but the Word is choked by the anxiety of leaving the Nazis.”

“Keep your voice down would you!” whispered Otto.

“Why?” asked the priest. “If you believe in what you read, then you will know that one who believes in God fears nothing, not even death. The only thing he fears is separation from God.”

“I know! I know!” burst out Otto.

The priest looked up at him. He seemed to be judging Otto as if he were a scale, deciding on which side the final stone should be placed.

“Otto,” said the priest in an unusually soft voice, “Let’s stop playing cat and mouse. You are not afraid of death. You are not afraid of suffering. You are not afraid of pain, hunger, or thirst. You are afraid that God would reject you because you’re a Nazi. Am I right?”

Otto nodded. This was something that had been in the back of his mind since the first day he read the Bible. He, Otto, had lived his life according to his wants and pleasures. If someone was worse off than him, well that was their problem.

He had never lived out God’s message to “Love one another as I have loved you.” He had enthusiastically joined the Nazis, supporting their efforts fully.

It had been his dream to fight for the cause and to destroy the opposition which feebly tried to subdue them. He had enlisted as soon as he could. He hadn’t cared where he was stationed, just as long as he was of use to the Nazis.

Now he was seeing his past life was just selfishness and his dreams were to help a cause that was against truth, life, and equality. How could you come back from something like that?

“It’s as if my entire life I have lived in and helped Hell, and I was just another devil in it. Now I know what life is about, to do God’s will, but I can’t do it because I’m part of the other side,” Otto finished sadly.

“‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?’ Psalm forty-two, verses two and three,” said Father Brent.

“If you thirst for God, Otto, it is never too late to do God’s will. ‘Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me according to your mercy, because of your goodness, Lord.’ Psalm twenty-five, verse seven.”

“May the Lord give you the strength to see the truth and act on the Word of God, Amen.”

Father Brent blessed Otto and strolled back into the camp.

Otto stood there for a long time. A new clearness of thought had enveloped him.

If he wanted to be with God in the afterlife, then he had to do God’s will on earth. And if he had to do God’s will on earth, then he would have to oppose the Nazis. If he had to oppose the Nazis, he knew exactly what he had to do.

He turned to walk into the barracks he was guarding and closed the door on his past life.

Chapter 5

The Silver Whistle

As Otto entered the barracks, he quickly looked about. There were about twenty men who slept in this barracks, but now it contained just a handful.

It was only five minutes before three in the afternoon.

Otto expected most of the men were outside, and he would be relieved at the hour. He went outside to meet his replacement and headed straight to the wire fence. Thwhooere was only one gate, which was very heavily guarded.

However, about two hundred yards away to the left, there was a corner watch tower. The tower housed a search light, and that had to go for the escape which was going to happen that night.

Otto walked over to it and climbed up to its platform where he met the guard.

“What are you doing up here, private?” asked the guard.

“The Kommandant asked me to inspect all search lights,” replied Otto.

“Alright inspect away. It’ll give me a break, so that’s okay with me.”

Otto leaned down close to the light, shielding it with his body from the other guard. He saw the access panel and it gave him an idea.

“You, go get me a screwdriver, I got the wrong one,” Otto demanded.

“Oh, come on. Go get your own screwdriver, I’m on duty,” growled the guard as he leaned back lazily against the rail of the tower.

“If you don’t get me my screwdriver,” said Otto threateningly, “I’ll have to turn you into the Kommandant. It was on his orders that I’m doing this.”

“Okay, okay, I’m going,” barked the guard, and down the ladder he went, crossing the grounds to the tool shed.

Otto didn’t need any more time. He quickly took his knife and pried open the access panel, pulling every wire he could get his hands on, and then replaced the panel gingerly.

Then he was down the ladder, to hide outside the tool shed. He saw the tower guard walking back to his post muttering furiously, and then slipped quietly into the tool shed.

Wire cutters, wire cutters, where were they? There! He quickly grabbed them and looked around. Did he need anything else? There were hammers; they could be used as weapons in a pinch. He grabbed several and stuffed them inside his coat with the wire cutters and made a quick exit from the shed to the guard barracks.

Once inside he looked around. They were deserted. Everybody must be in the recreation building or on duty. He went over to his foot locker and began pulling out his possessions.

He grabbed all his money, his clothes, and a small sack to carry everything. He snatched his photo album, the letters he received from his family, and then he came across two books lying at the bottom of the locker.

One was the Bible Father Brent had gave him and the other was a copy of Mein Kampf. Otto looked at both of them, his old and new lives.

He placed the Bible with his other things, and then grabbed Mein Kampf and moved to the stove. By the time Otto left, it was just a lump of smoking paper.

It was about four-thirty when the sun began to dip below the horizon and Otto set out in search of Father Brent. He found him in his barracks, sitting quietly with his eyes closed and hands folded. “Father,” said Otto, and the priest’s eyes immediately shot open. “Father, I need to speak to you.”

“Speak away, Otto,” smiled the priest.

“Father, you and I, and as many of the men as I can get out, are leaving tonight. I don’t trust the Nazis to get you out when they say, so I’m doing it myself.”

The priest stared at Otto quizzically, not really surprised, just kind of intrigued.

“I’ve fixed it all, the tower light at the left corner from the gate is broken and I have wire cutters. I have a diversion in mind, too. All I need is your cooperation,” whispered Otto.

The priest got up and smiled at Otto, “I knew you would see the truth. Of course you have my cooperation. I’ll get the men together, but first I think it’s time for your Baptism.”

Otto stood, a little shocked. How could this man think of baptizing him, when Otto had just said he was going to escape from this dreadful prison camp that very night? But on second thought, he was about to put his life on the line, so maybe Baptism was a good idea.

“Alright Father. I want my new Catholic name to be Paul, because I too have seen the light.”

So that day, at sunset, Otto Lemdeck was baptized by Father Francis Brent in a poor, drafty POW barracks, before he underwent his dangerous quest to free the lives of others.

After his Baptism, Paul spoke to the men whom Father Brent had gathered. “Alright,” said Paul, “I’ve got an escape planned for us tonight. We will be leaving by the left watch tower from the gate, so once we are on the other side, we will head into the woods. We will bushwhack our way down the road a couple of miles, then we’ll head to town. I’ve got money and we’ll figure out our next move from there. I’ve got a diversion too, to get us out of camp unnoticed, and it will happen once were done here, alright?”

“And for any of you who are doubtful of Paul’s intentions, I personally vouch for him, on my honor as a priest of God,” Father Brent stated. The prisoners voiced their agreement.

“Okay, I’ll go and get the diversion started, but you fellows get your things together, alright? I’ll be back in a moment,” and with that statement Paul slipped out into the falling darkness.

He walked quickly, trying to avoid any unnecessary confrontations with guards. In a few minutes he was at his destination, the camp kitchen. There were no lights on, so he went to the back door, planted his feet firmly in the ground, and brought his shoulder into it hard.

There was a snap as the cheap bolt gave way and he entered the kitchen. It was a long galley kitchen with a pantry on the right and countertop and a stove on the left. He was heading to the stove when an idea hit him. He could get some rations for the men right here in camp.

He went to the pantry and saw that it too was locked, but this time with a padlock. How could he get in? He and the other men needed some food. He looked around the kitchen and was deciding that he would have to do without, when he saw at least fifty large loaves of bread sitting cooling on the countertop.

“Thanks, God,” muttered Paul, as he quickly grabbed some of them and stuffed them into an old potato sack he found out back. Now it was time for his diversion. Paul moved to the stove with resolution. He took his lighter out, grabbed the grease pan from the stove, moving his lighter under the solid grease to liquefy it.

Once liquefied, Paul spread a light coating of it across the countertops, floor, and walls of the kitchen. He then touched his lighter to each of the grease trails. They took fire immediately. He ran quickly out of the kitchen, closing the door, and began yelling, “Fire in the kitchen!” The entire camp sprang into action.

Paul meanwhile slipped back into the barracks to find the prisoners waiting.

“Come on, it’s time,” he muttered and they all moved out to the gate. Paul looked back and saw the kitchen windows, red with flame, smoke billowing from them, as the guards frantically moved to try and extinguish the blaze.

He and the prisoners crept stealthy and, once at the gate, Paul pulled the wire cutters out and distributed the hammers. It was hard going due to the thickness of the wire, but he made a big enough hole for a man to crawl through, then ushered the prisoners forward.

Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, and… where was the twentieth? Paul looked up and saw Father Brent standing there smiling down at him. What was going on?

“Father, through here quickly, there’s not much time!” whispered Paul, but the priest only shook his head and smiled.

“Father, quickly, we need to hurry!” said Paul.

“Don’t tempt me, Paul. Of course I want to leave, but what about the other men? They will need someone to look after them and help them. Who will administer the sacraments to them, if I’m gone?” said the priest.

Paul looked at him, horrorstruck. He was going to stay put, probably be put to death because of their escape, when freedom was a yard away. Paul got up, he’d get the priest out, whether he liked it or not.

“Father, you’re coming with me.”

“No, Paul, not this time,” replied the priest, and as he spoke he drew from his pocket a thin, shining silver whistle.

“I snuck this in here, when I was brought in. I hid it in under the sole of my shoe. I didn’t know why I did it that day, but I knew God had a plan. Today, I know why God let me take it in here. Leave, Paul, or I sound the alarm.”

Paul didn’t believe it. The priest wouldn’t blow the whistle on him. Again he tried to persuade the priest, “Father, please, think of the men that we ha–.” He had stepped forward as he spoke and the priest had blown his whistle. It was a high clear note, which resounded around the camp.

“Leave, Paul, the guards are coming. I’ll buy you some time.” The priest turned toward the barracks and was swallowed by the darkness.

Paul crawled through the fence, crossed the road, and met up with the other men.

“What happened, who blew the whistle? And where’s Father Brent?” intoned the men.

“What you heard was no mere whistle. It was the Song of a Martyr,” replied Paul.

That night they got to town, where they kept their heads down for a few weeks. Paul was able to make contact with the underground, who arranged for them to leave the country. Soon they were all safely in England.

Shortly after, Paul was settled in the country, where he began a new life as a writer. He lived to see the end of the war and the beginning of a new age for the countries which had been locked in the deadly struggle.

Paul searched and searched for any record of the priest who had saved his life and soul. He found that Father Brent had been shot shortly after their escape. Paul wished he could have thanked Father Brent for everything.

He traveled to Germany and found the former site of Stalag 9 and the mass graves of the prisoners. As he knelt among the graves, Paul drew forth a thin, shining silver whistle and played the single, haunting note of the Martyr’s Song.

About Mark May

MarkMayMark May is a ninth grade Seton student and has used Seton's curriculum since the first grade. He is a black belt in Tang So Do Martial Arts and plays basketball with Upwards Sports. He enjoys woodworking, building models, fishing, soccer, reading, and writing short stories.

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