The Apparition

hammerfest

© Google 2017

Nine-year-old Erik Lund quietly crept out of Hammerfest’s historic Hauen Chapel. He never knew his great-grandfather and didn’t understand why people were upset at his death. Bored with the service, he went outside to play in the snow-covered cemetary. That’s when the man in the old-fashioned uniform appeared.

“You must not be here. Go back inside.”

Erik had seen men like him in a history book. They were called Nazis. They’d been here a long time ago.

“Who are you?”

“A man who regrets many things.”

Erik was too young to understand, but captivated by the stranger.

“Go inside to your family. Go!”

Erik started to get scared, turned around, and ran. He didn’t see the apparition vanish. He didn’t see the seventy-year-old unexploded German mine the ghost had kept him from detonating.

The next summer, a groundskeeper would find it and have it safely removed.

hausen chapel

Hauen Chapel in Hammerfest – found at Wikipedia

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw weekly photo prompt based on a Google maps location. The goal is to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 150 words. My story is 146 words long.

This week the location is in Hammerfest, Norway. After doing a bit of Wikipedia research on the town, I discovered Hammerfest had been occupied by the Nazi’s during World War II. When they left in 1945, they destroyed almost the entire town. Only the historic Hauen Chapel pictured just above this commentary, survived.

I also found out that to this day, mines and munitions left over from the war are still being found and disposed of. I decided that a long dead German soldier, regretting his role in Hammerfest, came back one last time to save a child from the consequences of this single Nazi’s actions.

For more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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16 thoughts on “The Apparition

  1. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but hope the apparition would somehow be linked to the dead man inside…or even be his grandfather at a young age, particularly with the apparition’s history as a Nazi history and the protection of the child. Very effective use of emotion.

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    • Thanks, Iain. I think I recall that not all German soldiers were members of the Nazi party. They obeyed orders because they were in the military and because they thought they were protecting their families and their country, even if they didn’t agree with what Hitler was doing. I’ve kept this soldier’s history deliberately vague, but imagine during the mass exodus of the German occupying army from that town in 1945, one of the soldiers was killed, one who was responsible for planting mines. Imagine he realized he was leaving behind devices of death that could kill for decades to come. He would be the town’s unofficial guardian, protecting the innocent from the danger he originally created.

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    • Thanks, Karen. Making history come alive is the hardest part. I can read the facts and statistics about historical events, but getting living, breathing people to play their parts in them requires a lot of imagination. Glad it gave you goose bumps. The other flash fiction ghost story I wrote that gave people goose bumps is Their Only Playground. Take a look when you get a moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A thought provoking take on the prompt. When my husband and I were in Norway, the hatred for the Nazis was still evident. A young woman – 17 years old – who was a tour guide on an old coal train outside of Orkdal, told the story of how the Nazis took it over during the war and stole all the regions coal. She practically sit on the floor while telling the tale.

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    • That kind of pain runs deep, Alicia, passed down from one generation to the next.

      My story doesn’t compare but may still illustrate something. About twenty years ago or so, my wife and I, along with my parents, took a trip to the south and went on several Civil War tours. One fellow had relatives in both the Union and Confederacy during the war, and the way he spoke, it was like the war happened yesterday or maybe just a few years back. In the South, the Civil War never really ended, at least in many hearts and minds. The pain lives on.

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