Chapter One

I was stumbling through the Black Forest. The year was 1942, and I had no idea what an American Jew, such as myself, was doing in Nazi Germany. It was enough danger that I was an American, an enemy of the Nazis, but the fact that I was Jewish made me feel that I was somehow in more danger than the rest of my fellow American soldiers in my regiment. I was 19 back then, and a real good pilot. We had just managed avoiding too terrible a battle with the Nazis. We didn't avoid it altogether, though. I had scrapes, cuts and bruises enough for a lifetime. Blood drenched my uniform, and my helmet- well, I lost track of it a long time ago. Just like I had lost track of my fellow marines when my plane crash-landed in this forest. So there I was, staggering around, hopelessly lost in the Black Forest, when I came upon a clearing with three boys and a good-sized cottage in it. Two of the boys seemed close in age, about eleven or twelve, I'd guess, but the third was much younger. They all fair hair and fair skin. They seemed to be arguing, and due to my two years in high school that I had taken German, I could understand some of what they were saying. The young one seemed to be stubbornly refusing to go inside, although the two older ones kept on insisting. Eventually, they gave up and went into the cottage, leaving the youngest boy outdoors. It was then that I heard a low growling and the snapping of a few twigs. It wasn't very loud, but I could hear perfectly well, despite my dazed state. I reached up to grab the handle of my machine gun in order to be ready if it was a Nazi or some other sort of savage beast. I couldn't see it properly, mostly because I've always had somewhat bad eyesight, but eyeglasses were much too expensive to be had back home. It turned out, I didn't need eyeglasses to see the beast preparing to attack the little boy, as it was a good seven feet tall and four feet wide. It was like hitting the broad side of a barn. I aimed at the hulking figure, careful not to allow my hands to shake while they held my gun, and fired, straight at it. I heard a woman's scream come from inside the cottage, and I saw the great beast attempting to lumber away, before I collapsed from blood loss and excitement.

I awoke to find myself in a mostly clean room, on a reasonably comfortable bed. Gingerly, I moved my limbs to see if they still worked. They did, but not without hurting a lot. Despite that, I forced myself to sit up and have a better look at my surroundings. I didn't get much chance before a figure, sitting, almost slouching in a chair at the opposite end of the room said something.

"Du bist ein Jude," said a feminine voice. Not the exact same voice that had screamed earlier, but she certainly was speaking German. My mind raced as I tried to translate it. I wished I had taken more than two years of German.

"Ja," I finally managed, scared stiff, but unwilling to deny my religion. "Ich bin Jude." My rusty German was coming back, a little bit at a time.

"Ich bin ein Jude, auch." I racked my brains to try and figure out what 'auch' meant. "Do you prefer English? I can speak good English, ja?" I nodded gratefully, and squinted at the girl. From what I could tell, she had dark hair, like mine, and pale skin. She seemed to be around my own age, maybe a bit younger, I couldn't quite tell.

"Thank you. What was the last thing you said?" I thought I saw the girl smile.

"I said I am Jew, also, ja? We are both the Juden." Now it was my turn to smile.

"How did you know I'm a Jew?"

"Your halskette..."

"My necklace? Oh you mean this one." I pulled out the chain with the Star of David that my little sister had given me before I left.

"Ja! Ihre Davidstern Halskette! I have one just like it! See?" She pulled out a chain of her own, with a silver Star of David pendant on it.

"Why-" I began, but I was interrupted by another woman's shouting from below.

"Fraulein Alisha? Wo bist du? Ist ir wach, noch?"

"Ja!" the girl, who I could only assume was Alisha, shouted back. I heard someone mounting a set of stairs, approaching the room we were in. The door banged open to reveal another woman, much older than Alisha, and fair haired like the three boys I had seen earlier.

"Sie töteten den Bären über meinen kleinen Lukas zu essen! Vielen Dank!" This was too much for me to comprehend, and Alisha laughed and translated.

"She said you shot a bear going to eat Lukas. She thanks you very much, ja?"

"Well, um, you're welcome uh... Nichts zu danken." the fair-haired woman smiled at me warmly.

"Sie sind verletzt. Sie sollten hier bleiben für eine Weile, jüdischen Freund. Wie ist dein Name, daß ich dich von ihm nennen könnte?" Utterly lost once more, I looked to Alisha for a translation.

"Did she just ask for my name?" I asked, and Alisha nodded

"She also said that you should stay here and recover. Aldonza is very good at the hiding of people."

"Oh," was all I could say. I didn't exactly trust these people, but Alisha seemed genuinely Jewish, and Aldonza seemed nice enough, even if I couldn't understand everything she was saying. "Well, um, my name is Tobias Grey. I guess you can call me Toby if you want to." I listened as Alisha translated that into German for Aldonza.

"Willkommen, Toby." Aldonza smiled.

XXX

Author's Notes: This story sprang from a dream I had awhile ago. Originally, I supposed the war to be WWIII or WWIV, but I changed it to WWII to have less guesswork involved. I didn't want to be like those sill people back in the 80's who made Back to The Future Pt. 2 and gave us all this fantastic technology in 2015 that probably won't happen for another century. Anyway, please review! Don't be afraid to give me constructive critisism!