Greg Adkins and Frank Gibson

Frank Gibson
Inspiration piece

Greg Adkins
Response Piece

The bombs always sounded like drums. Heavy, deep kettle drums. The difference was that these drums didn’t just sound percussive, they felt it. He could feel them, one by one, in the middle of his chest. Even deep in the bomb shelter beneath the synagogue he attended with his father, the brave man who had now gone off to defend his country from an adversary who felt that he had the best way to run the world. Even down here he could feel them. They were close, they had to be. It was his mother and the kind preacher who also confirmed his theory.

What to do? Here he was, 17 and yearning to fight, but held back by his father. “You can’t do anything out there that risks the family Pyotr. They need you. I am an old and broken man. I can’t help anymore. You can though. You can help make sure your mother and sister are fed and kept warm. You will grow up and be strong so that, when this menace is sent back to his steinhaus in Bavaria, you can help rebuild the country. They will need you. I need you.”

He remembered how sad he was when his father walked away, his rifle in hand and the old uniform hanging off of his old and withered frame. He could see the glint of heroism in his father’s eye, but knew that he was going out to die. He wouldn’t stop this monster from the south, In fact, he’d barely even slow him down. So why go? What difference could he make?

“Pyotr.. your father fought the first time German came with their drums of war. Yes, he is an old man, but he knows this enemy. It might have come with a more terrible mission, but it is the same enemy and your father can help. Now come away from the door, we need to make ready to pack and go.”

His mother. Calm in the face of so much chaos. He could see the deep lines on her face and know that they were born of worries from another time. His life had been quiet for the most part. His days spent and school and in the fields. It wasn’t always luxurious, but life was comfortable enough and he worried little. Even when the incursions started and the stories of this man who hated them began to come into the village, life was still calm. It never occurred to him that this man was out to destroy him, simply because he chose to worship God differently. It didn’t make any sense to him why this man cared and was killing people. What had he done to them? It just couldn’t be understood. And then the men came. Meetings with hushed voices and grave concerns. Furrowed brows and the meetings kept going later and later. He had to be stopped and was getting closer, but what to do? They had to do and try to stop him before he came too close, they had to go now.

It was the next morning when the first bombs fell. Everyone scrambled around and there was so much shouting, except for the men that his father was with. They were calm and told people where to go and what to do. Pyotr did as instructed and tried to keep everyone calm while he helped them get to where they needed to go. Finally, it was time for his father to go. After a brief discussion, Pyotr watched his father begin the long walk with the other men. He knew he just told his father goodbye. He went down into the basement of the syangogue and closed the doors while the bombs, those drums of chaos and destruction began to come faster now. He didn’t know if his father was still alive or not, but he was gone and now it was his time. So he would sit here in this basement and listen to the drums as they pounded the anger and sadness in his heart. Soon it would be his time. Soon he would honor the memory of his father.