'I think it's real tonight.' The children quickly realised that their parents were even more afraid this time around. Reacting the only way they knew, the youngest of them began to wail and cry as the room seemed to swing. Some of the adults tried to calm the infants. Others were unsuccessful in calming themselves. 'Shut that kid up!'
There's fog and ash... I think they let us out too early.
The book on top of the pile was The Whistler and she spoke it aloud to help her concentrate. The opening paragraph was numb in her ears. When she turned to page two, it was Rudy who noticed. He paid direct attention to what Liesel was reading , and he tapped his brother and sister, telling them to do the same. Hans came closer and called out, and soon, a quietness started bleeding through the crowded basement. By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel.
Should I go out? To see if they need help where the bombs dropped?
Don't be idiotic, you'll choke on the dust. No, no, saukerl, you're staying here. Stay here and tell him about the girl, about the book.
On their way up the stairs, the children rushed by her, but many of the older people - even Frau and Pfiffikus thanked the girl for the distraction. They did so as they made their way past and hurried from the house, to see if Himmel Street had sustained any damage. Himmel Street was untouched. The only sign of war was a cloud of dust migrating from east to west. It looked through the windows, trying to find a way inside, and as it simultaneously thickened and spread.
The Whistler, chapter one.
At home, Papa told Max all about it. 'There's fog and ash - I think they let us out too early.'
'Should I go out? To see if they need help where the bombs dropped?' Rosa wasn't impressed. 'Dont be idiotic, you'll choke on the dust. No, no, Saukerl, you're staying here. She looked at Hans very seriously now. In fact, her face was crayoned with pride. 'Stay here and tell him about the girl, about the book.'
Max gave her some added attention. 'The Whistler', Rosa informed him. 'Chapter one.' She explained exactly what had happened in the shelter.