50 Miles Northeast of Manaus,
Brazil, South America—1943
In a few hours, the jungle will become alive with early morning sounds of chattering monkeys, hundreds of musical songbirds, and cries of the Macaws showing off their brilliant plumage. Little Maria Sanchez lay beside her mother as the morning sun began making its appearance through the cracks in the walls of her hut, shining off her brown skin. Opening her large, round eyes, Maria held a hand up to block the bright light. Her father had awakened early that morning to lead a hunting trip and taken her older brother with him to learn the skills of the hunt and finding food for the village.
“Mama, are you asleep? Maria whispered to her mother.
“Mama, are you asleep?” she asked again, resisting the temptation to shake her.
With no answer from her mother, Maria quickly and quietly got dressed, put on her sandals, and slipped outside to play with the other children in the cool morning hours.
“Maria! Maria! Grab him!” Little Rosa yelled out breathlessly.
Little Rosa no sooner got the words out when a young black and white piglet ran between Maria’s feet. The scurrying piglet sent her flying backwards into the side of her hut, collapsing part of it inwards onto her mother.
“Maria!” Karina yelled out, seeing the head and shoulders of her daughter come through the wall. “What is happening?”
Instead of answering, Maria sprang up and began chasing the little piglet as it ran towards a small group of children. Seeing he was cut off, the piglet turned sharply to the left, straight into Maria’s waiting arms. The startled piglet saw Maria reaching out for him and tried to stop but couldn’t as its hooves dug into the soft dirt, sending him head over heels into Maria’s outstretched arms. With Maria’s arms encircling the piglet’s middle, they both rolled over and over in the dirt as the piglet struggled, before managing to wriggle itself from her grip and escape. With its freedom regained, the piglet began running toward the center of the village where an old woman was busily making arepas for breakfast. The woman watched in amusement as the piglet swerved left then right, trying frantically to avoid the children—that is until it came closer… and closer to her stack of arepas she was preparing for breakfast.
“Grab him,” the woman screamed.
One by one, the children leapt with outstretched arms trying desperately to grab the elusive and frightened piglet, only to have him slip from their grip again. With each miss, the chase came closer to the woman and her arepas. She moved around and stood in front of the arepas, trying to shoo the piglet away by waving her arms in the air but the little piglet refused to change direction. Instead, he plowed through the stack of arepas, sending them flying through the air and landing in the dirt! Little Maria saw the scampering animal turn from the woman and head toward her. Jumping hard, Maria managed to grab the piglet and wrapped her arms and legs tightly around him, once again tumbling in the dirt.
“I have him!” Maria called out jubilantly. With scathing glances at Maria, the woman stomped around picking up her arepas, wondering if any of them could be salvaged.
“You children!” the woman screamed seeing all the arepas ruined and lying on the ground.
“Come Maria, we must go and wash that dirt off you before your father returns from the hunt,” Karina said, placing the piglet back into his pen.
At the pool, Maria saw other mothers cleaning dirt from their children as they frolicked in cool water as it cascaded over a rocky cleft into a shallow, crystal clear pond.
For some time, everyone bathed and had fun until it was time for them to return to the village and prepare food for the men when they returned from the hunt with fresh meat.
Maria watched her mother put small amounts of corn in to a large hollowed out stone, crushing it with a smooth one until the corn was a fine powder. With the corn ground, Maria’s mother showed her how to mix the corn into dough and fry it on a flat stone until the arepas were a golden brown. While she watched her mother cook, Maria saw men out of the corner of her eye approaching the village, carrying something. As they came closer, she could see the men had a large boar hanging from a thick pole. Quickly women gathered around the men, taking the beast from them to clean and prepare it for dinner.
With women cleaning and wrapping the boar with large wet banana leaves, more women filled a large pit with wood. Once the wood had burned down to hot ambers, a thick layer of very wet banana leaves covered the bed of burning embers and then river rocks were placed on top. After the boar was finally positioned in the pit, it was again covered with another thick layer of very wet banana leaves and left to cook for several hours.
“Papá! Come see what I did,” Maria said, triumphantly running to her father, jumping into his arms and hugging him.
Taking his hand, Maria led her father to where she had made arepas.
“You did this?” he said, marveling at her accomplishment. “Si, Papá. Mama showed me how to do it just like her mama showed her when she was a little girl like me.”
“I am very proud of you. Do you know where your mama is?”
Maria looked around and jumped in the air for a better view. Seeing her, she pointed enthusiastically, “Mama is over there.”
Turning, Diego saw Karina checking the boar before covering it with the final layer of banana leaves. Satisfied, she and two other women began preparing the roots they gathered earlier that morning.
“Karina, our daughter learns quickly,” Diego said proudly.
“Si. She will make a fine mother some day.” Observing a worried look on Diego’s face, she asked him, “What is wrong? You act strangely.”
“Deep in the forest, there are many men with white skins and light hair. They are building something that reaches to the sky. While I was there, I saw them put a large object on the top. I was close enough to hear them speak in a language I could not understand. It sounded like one of the men called it an ‘atombombe’. I do not know what it does but I fear for our lives and village.”
“Our lives?” Karina asked in incomprehension.
“Si. We must leave now before it is too late—everyone.”
German Nazi Camp
Five Miles from the Native Village
Five miles from the natives’ village, a red flag bearing the swastika of Nazi Germany was being raised to the top of a sixty-foot flagpole. Standing at rigid attention, and fronted by a man with a bottlebrush mustache, men in uniform saluted the flag as it was making its ascent to the top.
Colonel Hartmann stood behind and to the right of Adolf Hitler as he began addressing his men from a raised platform. Looking around at his men, Hitler began with a powerful display of hand and body motions, “You are the best that Germany has, and have worked long and hard for this day. Today Germany will prove to the world once and for all, we are superior in every way. In twelve hours,” Hitler paused to look at his watch, and then continued almost to the point of yelling, “we will test fire a new weapon so powerful it will bring terror to our enemies. We will show the world WE are the chosen people. Germany will usher in a new era of such advance weaponry; our enemies will have no choice but to surrender unconditionally. you will be moved to a safe site to observe the weapon in action once you are dismissed. With the successful detonation, you will realize the promise of Germany as the ultimate world power.
After speaking for an additional twenty minutes, Hitler stepped back and sharply saluted his men.
For several minutes, the men continued to salute and cheer, “Hiel Hitler.” Even after Hitler stepped down from the podium and was driven off in his car, the cheering continued.
Colonel Hartmann stepped up to the podium and waited until the car completely disappeared from view before speaking. Holding his hand in the air for silence, he began giving instructions. “I want everyone to evacuate the base immediately and go to the bunkers for this test firing. Those of you who have volunteered to stay for the last minute preparations will take shelter in the hardened underground bunkers at the ten-minute mark. Your job will be to make sure the test dummies, tanks, the buildings, and most importantly, the electronics and test equipment are all ready.”
At the conclusion of the Colonel comments, Lieutenant Kuper called out, “Attention—dismissed.”
For the next eleven hours, all systems were checked and re-checked by a second group, leaving nothing to chance.
“Papa, why do we have to leave our home?” Little Maria asked, tears streaming down her face.
Diego knelt down in front of his daughter, hugged her fiercely, and tried to answer, his voice catching in his throat. “If we stay here, I feel bad things will happen.”
“We will die,” Diego choked.
“Because some bad men have a very dangerous weapon and they plan on using it.” With all their possessions loaded on litters and on their backs, the entire village started out on their long trek to a new home, and safety.
Five miles away, the sky suddenly lit up so brightly that it inflicted pain on the eyes of those who tried to watch.
“What’s that Papa?” Maria asked, pointing to the brightly lit sky. “What makes the sky burn?”
“I don’t know Maria,” Diego hugged Karina and Maria, tightly burying his head between the two of them. “Close your eyes Maria,” Diego said. “It is not good for us to look at the bright light; it will hurt our eyes.”
Confused, Maria did as she was asked just as the shock wave and heat from the detonation vaporized everything into oblivion.
- : https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Berlin-Jack-Turner-Adventures-ebook/dp/B07BN9CQDQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1539023738&sr=8-2&keywords=n+w+vance
- : https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ghost-of-the-berlin-n-w-vance/1120317869?ean=9781469967066
- : http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Ghost-Berlin/N-W-Vance/9781469967066?id=7390250915004