And here it is folks! The first part of the last part of The Berlin Wall! (The first part of the last part?! Eh, you know what I mean.) Click here for the previous chapters of this story. I hope you enjoy!
The ground came up to meet us as we hurtled toward it. The balloon, unable to hold itself up because of its rip, suddenly plunked down on top of us in the basket. Now we weren’t able to see where we were going and it was all the more terrifying. We all waited for the jolt that would tell us we’d hit land. It seemed like we would never stop falling.
But, of course, we did stop. The basket thudded to the ground with a bone-crunching “THUMP!”. As soon as we hit the ground, my left arm started burning. My head whipped forward as we stopped, and I hit the edge of the basket hard. My head started aching so badly I could barely see. I thought I was going to pass out.
Through my pain I heard a voice sobbing. I lifted my aching head and looked around. Everyone was lying on the bottom of the basket, either stunned or injured. I looked over to Maria, and saw that it was she who was crying. Her face was turned away from me. I crawled over to her as best I could.
“Are you alright, Maria?” I asked her. I feared that she was badly injured. Maria never cried unless it was really serious.
“Oh, Greta!” she sobbed, turning her face to me, “Oh, Greta! I’m just so happy to be free!”
“So am I, Maria, so am I,” I whispered. I was surprised, but also very much relieved. Maria was crying tears of joy, not tears of pain!
Now that I knew Maria wasn’t injured, I crawled around and asked everyone else how they were doing. Maria’s mother was fine, just a little shaken. Maria’s father thought he had a twisted ankle, but he insisted that it was nothing. I came to Kristopher last.
“How are you doing Kris?” He didn’t answer. He was lying face-down in a corner by himself. “Kristopher, did you hear me?” I asked again. No answer. I tried to pull him into a sitting position, and as I turned him over, I saw that there was a deep gash in his forehead. He was unconscious. I quickly called Maria and her parents over to help. Maria’s mother bathed his forehead with some water that we had brought with us in the balloon, and Maria wiped his cut gently with her dress.
Slowly, Kristopher opened his eyes. He smiled at Maria.
“I’ll be alright,” he told her, still smiling weakly. He became dizzy when he tried to sit up, so we made him a comfortable bed from what we could find in the balloon and told him to rest.
Now that everyone was taken care of, I had time to look around us. We had landed in someone’s back yard, narrowly missing a tree growing there. I did not recognize the place, but I hoped whoever lived there would not mind that we had ripped up a lot of their lawn when we landed. “Everyone,” I announced, “I am going to go knock on the door of this house and ask whoever is living there if I can use their phone to call a doctor for Kristopher.” I had remembered at the last minute that people in West Germany could use their phones. Everyone agreed to my plan, so I climbed out of the basket, walked up the back steps and knocked on the door. As I waited for someone else I decided to ask whoever came to the door if they knew where my family lived.
A servant opened the door. “What is it, miss?” she asked politely, although secretly I’m sure she was disgusted at my unsightly appearance.
“May I use your phone, please? I would like to call a doctor.” I smiled and attempted to look a bit more civilized.
“Why certainly, ma’am,” she replied, “I hope it is nothing urgent.”
“No, not urgent, he just needs a doctor,” I said.
“And where is this poor fellow at now?” she asked, looking concerned. I was rather embarrassed to tell her, but I did anyway.
“Well, he’s… he’s actually in your back yard,” I said, flushing. She was very surprised.
“We have just escaped from East Germany,” I said quickly, trying to explain. “You see, the living conditions are horrible over there, and you know, the wall, and we just had to escape, so we came over in a hot-air-balloon and landed in your backyard, and then Kristopher got a cut in his head and he’s too dizzy to sit up, so we need a doctor.” I leaned heavily against the doorframe and tried to catch my breath.
The servant looked at me like I was crazy – for which I certainly didn’t blame her.
“Well, the telephone is in here to your right” she said. She hesitated, then said “Are you sure you don’t need a doctor?” She looked at me doubtfully.
“No, no, I’ll be fine,” I pushed past her and found the phone as quickly as I could. I had almost forgotten how to dial, I hadn’t used a telephone in so long.
After I finished my call, I turned back to the servant, who was still staring at me.
“Excuse me, but do you know where the Linbergher family lives?” (Linbergher was my last name.)
“Why yes, miss,” she said, “you’re standing in the very house.”
I was astonished. Now that I looked around, the house did seem familiar. I guessed I just hadn’t recognized the backyard in all the excitement. But, there was one thing that made me skeptical: we had never had a servant when I lived here.
“When were you hired?” I asked the servant.
She looked startled at the sudden question. “Well Miss, I.. I think two years ago, if I remember correctly.”
I was relieved. No wonder I didn’t know her. I suddenly laughed.
“Where is your mistress?” I asked.
I was hardly able to contain my excitement as the servant led me along the hall to the dining room. I cried out in pure joy – for there before me, just sitting down to dinner, was my cousin Joyce… and my family!
Hooray! Stay tuned for the finale!