Microfiction Challenge: Lonely Boy




Peter sat in his pen, bored and lonely. He hadn’t seen his Papa in a few days.  “Don’t worry, little one,” Papa had told Peter. “Soon we’ll be safe. I just have to buy the right papers.”

But now Peter wondered where his Momma was. When she had put Peter in the pen and told him to take a nap, her face looked pinched. After she kissed him, she left quickly, forgetting to place Horsey in the pen with him. Peter put his thumb in his mouth, but he couldn’t get comfortable without Horsey.

Peter heard a voice. Was it Momma? He pulled himself up and stood holding the rail of his pen. No, these were loud, commanding German voices. The voices came closer; German soldiers entered the room with Momma’s friend, Charlotte.

“No, you are mistaken. This is my house, and my little boy.” She picked Peter up. “Here are his papers. See, he’s named Elbert, after my dear, late husband.”

“Those nasty Jews do not live here anymore,” she said with a shudder of disdain.

The soldiers left.

Charlotte held Peter tightly. As tears rolled down her cheeks, she said, “Your Momma is gone. Now you must call me Momma. Thank goodness your father left these papers here before those German pigs picked him up.”


This story is in response to Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. This week’s challenge uses the painting above as a prompt. The artist, Else Berg and her husband, Mommie Schwarz were both Jewish artists living in the Netherlands when WWII broke out. They refused to wear yellow stars. They either did not go into hiding or they were betrayed (the accounts vary).  In either case, they were picked up in November 1942 and murdered at Auschwitz.

31 thoughts on “Microfiction Challenge: Lonely Boy

  1. “Woman in Gold” was excellent. Our book club recently read “The Nightingale,” historical fiction that looks at the French resistance and includes a little boy like this one.

    I love your micro fiction, Merril. I’m going to give it a shot once I get this long fiction WIP out the door. You inspire me.

    • Thank you so much, Carol! I’ve never written microfiction before these few pieces. I’m glad you’re enjoying them!
      Yes,The Nightingale was good. Your book club might also enjoy City of Women. It’s about what ordinary people do in extraordinary situations, in this case WWII. The city of women refers to Berlin. I think it would spark great discussions.

  2. Thanks, Merril. Right now I am reading the memoir Johanna Reiss wrote about her husband’s suicide when she went to Holland to research for her holocaust memoir–what became The Upstairs Room. A couple years ago I posted a review of TUR–I used to teach it. A fellow blogger is bringing Reiss to my daughter’s show so I will get to meet her, and I didn’t realize what had happened to her “behind the scenes” of the writing and I didn’t know about this memoir which was published apparently in 2009. So what you wrote here feels very close right now.

  3. So sad, Auschwitz was along with the tyranny and murders of so many people, Merril. It is so hard to comprehend such horrors.
    You really were able to animate, make this come alive by taking the child’s (Peter’s) point of view. Sad about the artists dying. Thanks for writing this unique micro-fictional piece. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Microfiction challenge The child: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s