Things were peaceful in Atlanta all through the month of June. Tommy regularly wrote letters to home, Samantha, Elizabeth, Chrystal, and Ingrid got along well together, and the weather was perfect
for the enjoyments of summertime.
Although things went well for the Martins, Parkers, Goldschmidts, and Chrystal's family in June, strange events started occurring in July.
It was mid-July, and Ingrid's birthday was coming up soon. She would be turning fourteen, one year younger than Samantha would be that following month.
Ingrid had been looking forward to her first birthday in America, wondering if it would be different than all those she had celebrated in Germany. She wondered how many girls
would come, although she already knew five would be there: Samantha, Elizabeth, Chrystal, Karen and Amelia. Ingrid knew that she would have the best birthday ever, because of two reasons: she had
wonderful friends and a new home.
Ingrid diligently swept the front porch of her house. The hot summer sun shone down brightly, heating the air and making it unusually hot out. Ingrid's mother and four sisters
were in town, and Christian, Ingrid's baby brother was asleep inside the house. Ingrid hummed one of her favorite German hymns, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". She had learnt it when she was very
young, but back in Germany, could only hum, whistle, or sing it in the privacy of her home or church, because the cruel German soldiers believed it was a crime to be a Christian.
When Ingrid was finished sweeping the porch, she shook the dust out of the rug and placed the rug back in front of the door. Then she washed the windows and knocked down the
cobwebs than hung in the corners of the porch.
After Ingrid was through with her chores, she sat down on the porch for a break. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and shielded her eyes from the bright and shining sun.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky today, but flocks of birds flew in the air and landed in the cotton field behind the cluster of trees at the end of Connecticut Drive. Children
ran back and forth and played games like marbles or hopscotch in the street. Dogs barked and cats meowed and at one point, Ingrid spotted a fat rat make its escape from a tomcat on the far side of
the yard. It was a beautiful day in the city of Atlanta.
While Ingrid was enjoying the sights of her neighborhood, she felt a cold whoosh of air and a chill run down her spine. She looked to see what it was. A figure stood in the
bushes with a scary looking mask on and laughed quite evil-like. And as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared. Ingrid half screamed at the sight of the figure. Was it real? Was it really there?
She just didn't know. Suddenly, Ingrid heard a bump inside the house and heard Christian crying. She didn't feel safe at home that moment, wondering if someone had been watching her. She quickly
went inside to check on her baby brother.
Inside, a vase had fallen off the shelf and had broken. Ingrid cleaned up the mess and threw it away. Then she pulled out a piece of scrap paper and scribbled a note to her
parents. She said that she was going to Samantha or Elizabeth's house and that if they need to reach her, that's where she'd be. Ingrid left the note posted on Christian's crib, picked up her
brother, left the house, and hurried to Revelle Street.
Ingrid knew that it was dangerous for her to be going to a neighborhood such as that of Samantha and Elizabeth. With Ingrid being an immigrant, there was always the possibility
of being the target of a potential trouble-causer.
She hurried down Revelle Street and first went to Elizabeth's house. There, she learnt from Mrs. Martin that Elizabeth was at Samantha's house.
"Tell us exactly what you saw!"
Ingrid sat with Samantha and Elizabeth in the living room of the Parker's house.
"Well," Ingrid began. "After sweeping the porch, I sat down on the steps for a break. Then out of the blue I felt all cold and a chill went down my spine. Then I looked, and
there it was: a scary looking 'thing' wearing a mask, laughing at me. Then it disappeared!"
Neither Samantha nor Elizabeth knew what to say. There was a long silence that filled the room, unbroken by the sound of the birds chirping outside.
Elizabeth, always the logical one, spoke up and said, "You probably just imagined it. The heat could have been messing with you or something. Ghosts aren't real."
Ingrid hesitated and replied, "I hope you're right, Elizabeth, but I know I saw something."
"Let's just forget all this stuff about ghosts and talk about something else," Samantha stated. "Let's talk about what's to come. Ingrid, have you started planning your birthday
"Not yet," Ingrid answered. "I know it would be nice to have all the balloons and decorations and a new dress, but my family needs the money that we would have to use to buy all
those things." She hung her head low and added in a sad tone, "We're just too poor to do so."
Samantha and Elizabeth exchanged glances and then Samantha said to Ingrid, "Elizabeth and I will supply the decorations. Why, we'll even sew you a new dress!"
Ingrid looked up quickly and said, "Really! You'd do that for me?"
"Of course we would!" Samantha exclaimed. "After all, we are your friends, and what are friends for? You'll have the best birthday party ever, Ingrid Goldschmidt! We'll be sure
The days of July passed by quickly, and the day before Ingrid's birthday had arrived. Her birthday was on the eighteenth of the month, which would be on a Wednesday.
Samantha, Elizabeth and Chrystal had met at Ingrid's house that morning. They had to do some cleaning and make preparations for the party. It would be a hard day's work, but
the next afternoon, it would pay off.
The small group of four began their work about ten o'clock. Elizabeth had written down all the things to do on a notepad: clean house, tend to flower bushes, plan party. There
might not have been much written on the list, but there were going to be plenty of things to do.
Elizabeth called off the orders after they ate a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs.
"Samantha, you go and trim back the rose bushes and water them well. Chrystal, you tidy up the inside of the house and do the small things such as dusting and mopping. Ingrid,
you polish the porch railings and any other metal or glass thing that looks as if it needs it. And as for me, I'll go and see if I can borrow a lawn mower from a neighbor and see if I can't get
this grass trimmed back some. Now let's get to work!"
Everybody scurried to get the supplies that they'd need and began to diligently do their jobs. It was fun, but it was also tiresome.
Morning went by well, that was, until Samantha found something quite frightening over by the rose bushes. She was trimming the branches, when suddenly, to her surprise, she
spotted an old piece of rubber come tumbling out of the thick bushes. Samantha nudged at the rubber with her shears and the cluster slowly unraveled. She jumped back at the sight of a frightening
mask, with its eerie face staring back at her. "Ingrid!" she called.
Ingrid, who was polishing the porch railings, dropped the rag she was using and ran over to the rose bushes. "What is it, Samantha?"
Samantha picked up the mask with the shears and held it up for Ingrid to see. "Was this what you saw that day?"
Ingrid, completely shocked, stuttered in reply, "Yes! Where did you find that?"
"It just fell out of the bushes," answered Samantha.
By now, Chrystal and Elizabeth had gathered at the bushes.
"Ingrid," Samantha said. "I think someone might be trying to stalk you."
"Really?" Ingrid asked nervously.
"I'm afraid so."
No one said anything, but soon, Ingrid asked, "Will we still be able to have my party here tomorrow?"
This time, Elizabeth answered. "Yes. We're going to have your birthday party here tomorrow, just as we promised. Nothing will stop us."
"Okay," Ingrid replied, quite unsure.
The mask had brought a scary feeling to the Goldschmidt house. Was someone trying to stalk Ingrid? Was anything bad going to happen? Samantha, Elizabeth, Chrystal, and Ingrid
had hope things would turn out for the best, no matter what.
The next morning arrived quickly. Plans had already been made for Ingrid's party. There was to be a tea party that afternoon, and a sleepover that night.
Ingrid awoke to the sound of birds chirping and food cooking in the kitchen. She laid in bed for a few extra minutes thinking about her birthday party. Then the thought crossed
her mind that she had went to bed when she was thirteen, and was fourteen when she woke. "Seltsam," she whispered.
Ingrid climbed out of bed and changed into the birthday dress that Samantha and Elizabeth had made for her. She pulled her hair back, just as she always did, then went into the
"Guten Morgen," she said to her mother.
"Guten Morgen und Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag," Mrs. Goldschmidt replied.
Ingrid sat down at the kitchen table and patiently waited for her breakfast. She didn't talk much while she was eating, and her mother seemed to notice.
"Sie schrecklich ruhig an diesem Morgen. Stimmt etwas nitch?" asked Mrs. Goldschmidt.
"Nein, Mutter. Alles ist in Ordnung," Ingrid answered.
After breakfast, Ingrid went outside and sat on the front steps. She looked around to be sure that no one was watching her, then she focused on the beautiful sun rising over the
horizon. Ingrid loved to watch the sun rise in the mornings, then to watch it set in the west in the evening.
Back in Germany, the Goldschmidts' house sat on a mountain, close to the sea. From the mountaintop, Ingrid could see the small village below, and the sea, not far from the
village. Ingrid loved her old home, but she and her family had to leave and come to America when the German soldiers invaded the town. Frieden, the place where the Goldschmidts used to live, was
mostly against the Central Powers and the German rule of that time. So, when the village was invaded, Frieden had to subdue to the German rule.
The day went by slowly for Ingrid. She looked forward to the party and sleepover, and meeting all her friends. She tried not to loose faith that nothing bad would happen, after
finding the mask. Everything will be fine. She repeated those words over and over in her mind again.
Samantha, Elizabeth, Karen, Amelia, Chrystal, and a girl that they knew from school, Jenny, were the only ones at Ingrid's party other than three of Ingrid's sisters. It was an
all girl party: no boys allowed. Everything started out fine during the tea party, but things took a turn for the worst, very unexpectedly.
All the girls sat around a table in the front yard, drinking their tea and talking. The neighborhood was peaceful and quiet. Birds chirped and people strolled past in the hot
summer heat. But suddenly, a rattling noise sounded from the wooded area at the end of the street across from the Goldschmidts' house.
The noise caught Karen's attention, and she asked, "What's that?"
"Probably just a squirrel moving," Samantha answered.
And then, out of the blue, a fox came running out of the woods. It was foaming at the mouth, which meant it had rabies, and the fox was positioned to strike at the girls at the
tea party. Then the creature charged, sending the girls running from the table and scrambling to get inside the house.
Samantha and Elizabeth grabbed two of Ingrid's sisters and took them inside the house. They quickly informed Mrs. Goldschmidt of what was going on, then raced back outside to
rescue the others.
Ingrid took Karen and Amelia inside. As Ingrid was going back out, Else and Gretchen, her two oldest sisters, were coming in. Chrystal bounded up onto the front porch. She
looked around to see if everyone was safe. But just as she was about to race inside herself, she heard a terrified scream come from the other side of the porch. She looked down, and saw little
Magda, cornered by the fox, who was about to lunge at her at any given moment. Chrystal did what she knew to do. She jumped down from the porch and swung Magda up to her sister, who was watching.
Chrystal was in danger now. She tried kicking at the fox. The fox snapped at her. Chrystal kicked once more, but the fox dug its sharp fangs into her foot, and she screamed. And out of nowhere,
Samantha appeared from the side yard with a big stick in her hand. She swung back, aiming for the vicious animal's head, and hit with all her might. The fox fell down, weakened by the strong blow,
and slowly and painfully died. Chrystal freed her foot from the dead fox's mouth, and cried out in despair, "I've been bit!"
Elizabeth, Jenny, Karen, and Else ran outside. "What happened?"
"The fox bit me!" Chrystal repeated.
Samantha and Elizabeth immediately went to help Chrystal up the porch steps. They helped her inside and sat down on the couch.
"I'll send Karen and Else to go get the doctor!" Samantha exclaimed. She raced back outside to send the two girls to town.
"Oh, my foot hurts!" exclaimed Chrystal, as she stretched out her leg and rested her foot on the foot stool.
"The doctor will be here soon," Elizabeth assured her friend.
Samantha rushed back inside. "They're on their way to get the doctor," she said, trying to catch her breath. She turned to Elizabeth. "If that fox was infested with rabies, what
do we do?"
"I don't know, Sammy," Elizabeth answered. "But we need to know how to treat this bite."
"Ma has a medicine book at home!" Samantha said. "Should I go and get it?"
"If it'll help us, sure!" replied Elizabeth.
"Okay," answered Samantha. "I'll take Amelia home with me. I don't suppose she needs to be here right now."
Ingrid came back inside crying helplessly. She went over to the couch and said to Elizabeth, "Everything is going wrong! I just knew something terrible was going to happen! I
just knew it!"
Elizabeth tried to comfort Ingrid. "That fox could have come at any time. My mother told me once when I was little that we never know what is going to happen in the future."
"I know that, Elizabeth, but why did it have to be now?" Ingrid asked.
"We'll never know, I suppose," answered Elizabeth. "I guess we aren't supposed to know. But we'll be fine. I promise."
Ingrid said nothing. She turned and quickly walked away.
Samantha and Amelia ran to their house as fast as they could. When they reached their house, they rushed inside, but stopped abruptly once they saw their parents sitting at the
kitchen table, Mr. Parker holding a brown envelope, and Mrs. Parker crying.
Samantha let go of Amelia's hand and stepped forwards. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"We got a telegram from the Army saying that your brother was... he was wounded while going into battle," Mr. Parker answered.
Samantha gasped. "Was it serious?"
"He may have to get his left arm amputated," said Mr. Parker.
Mrs. Parker seemed to cry a little bit harder, and Amelia went to her side.
Samantha stood in complete shock. She didn't know what to say. But then, she slowly began to tell what had happened at Ingrid's birthday party. "I've got some bad news, too,"
"What?" Mr. Parker asked.
"A rabietic fox invaded Ingrid's birthday party, and it bit Chrystal. I came to get the medical book," answered Samantha.
"You go ahead and get it," Mr. Parker said in a worried tone. "Tell Chrystal that we'll be praying for her."
"I will." Samantha raced upstairs to get the medical book, then hurried back to the Goldschmidts.
When Samantha reached the Goldschmidt residence, the doctor was already there. He was examining the fox bite. Samantha rushed inside and said, "I've got the medical book."
"Good," Elizabeth said. She took the book from Samantha and searched the index until she found RABIES TREATMENT. She flipped to the right page and began to read.
"Rabies are treated by cleaning the wound with water and wiping the wound with a medicinal cloth. A shot will need to be given in order to prevent the disease from spreading.
Rabies is a very dangerous disease, and needs to be treated immediately."
The doctor got a cup of water and poured it over Chrystal's wound. Then he pulled out a medicinal cloth and wiped the wound clean. The doctor then said that Chrystal would need
to go to the hospital for the shot.
After the doctor had left, Samantha announced the news of Tommy. "Pa said he was wounded going into battle, and that he might have to get his arm amputated."
"That's terrible!" Elizabeth exclaimed.
"It sure is!" added Chrystal.
"Well, I guess Karen and I had better be getting home," Samantha said.
"All right," Elizabeth said. "Tell your parents I'll be praying for them. Tommy, too."
"Okay," said Samantha. She called Karen, and they headed for home.
Mrs. Goldschmidt took Chrystal around to her house. Elizabeth stayed at the Goldscmidts' house, and she and Jenny would stay for the sleepover.
Nighttime fell. Everyone was pretty shaken after the rabietic fox attacked. Elizabeth, Ingrid, and Jenny sat in the Goldschmidts' living room. They discussed the events of the
day, and wondered how the fox got there. Ingrid didn't want to talk about the fox, so she quickly changed the subject.
"What do you think you'll do when this war ends?" she asked.
Jenny was the first to answer. "I'll celebrate and go around and visit all the veterans that came home. Then I'll focus on the future, like getting married and moving away."
"Oh, you're too young to be thinking about that stuff. And so are we," Elizabeth said. "You know the legal age to get married in America is eighteen, and that's three years away
for us, four for Ingrid!"
"Just day-dreamin'," Jenny said. She asked Elizabeth, "What are you planning on doing when the war's ended?"
"I'm not sure. How about you, Ingrid?" Elizabeth asked.
"Someday, when I'm grown and married, and got a family of my own, I'm going back to Frieden, and move back into my old house. That's only if it's still there," answered Ingrid.
"One day," Elizabeth said. "This terrible war will be over. And I hope it comes soon."
A shot rang out and the front window shattered. The three girls ducked and remained still.
"What was that?" Ingrid asked, shakily.
"Someone just shot at us through the front window!" Jenny said.
"Go in to the kitchen!" Elizabeth said. "Quick!"
Shots continued to sound and bullets whizzed past as Elizabeth, Jenny, and Ingrid crawled towards the kitchen. Just as they went through the swinging door that separated the
kitchen and living room, a bullet shattered the vase that sat on the table next to the door. Once the three girls were inside the kitchen, they hid under the table and prayed for their lives. At
any given moment, a bullet could come and kill one of the girls faster than light could travel.
The Goldschmidt family hurried into the kitchen. Ingrid's mother held little baby Christian in her arms, and Magda and Marlene clung to their mother's dress.
"Was ist passiert?" Else asked.
"Ich habe Angst!" Gretchen exclaimed.
Ingrid began to yell something to her family in German. "Wir haben hier jetzt gehen! Wir müssen fliehen! Zum anderen Haus! Beeilung!" She grabbed a heavy cooking pan and broke
the kitchen window. One by one, everybody left the house, and ran towards town.
As they ran, Elizabeth said, "Let's go to my house! We'll be safe there! We can hide in the attic!"
"Ja!" Ingrid said. She told her mother and sisters, "Wir sind auf die Martin-Haus gehen. Sichere there!"
Elizabeth led the way to her house. She dashed through the streets of the Atlanta suburbs as fast as her legs would carry her, and the others had somewhat of a hard time keeping
up with her.
Finally, they reached the house, and they barged inside without warning.
Mr. Martin stopped them as they came flying through the front door. "Hold it! Stop right there! What in the world is going on?"
"Someone was shooting at us at the Goldschmidt place!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "There's no telling if they might be after us now! We need to hide in the attic."
"Go, then! Hurry!" Mr. Martin said. He followed the group up the stairs and to the attic. Mrs. Martin and Johnny followed them. It wasn't safe anymore. Someone was causing
dangerous trouble, and it needed to be stopped.
Once everyone was up in the attic, they locked the door and huddled in the corner. Magda, Marlene, and Christian had been crying ever since the beginning of the uprising, for
the gunshots had startled them.
Elizabeth, Jenny, Ingrid, and Else sat in the corner of the attic. Ingrid was about to cry, but she was too angry to do so. "I want to go home! I want to go back to Germany
where it's safe! Me and my family aren't welcome here! America hates us Germans!"
Elizabeth felt sick on her stomach. She couldn't stand to hear her friend say such things. She knew that America was safe, and that the country didn't hate Germans, but she
didn't know what to say. She looked around the dark attic, and wanted to cry herself. Elizabeth said to herself through clenched teeth, "This just can't be coincidences. I'm going to get to the
bottom of it. I'll be sure of that!"
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