"Stella, cold, cold, the coldness of hell. How they walked on the roads together, Rosa with Magda curled up between sore breasts, Magda wound up in the shawl."
Rosa, her infant daughter Magda, and 14 year old niece Stella are prisoners at a concentration camp. Magda, silent and hidden in the shawl, is unknown to the German soldiers. Food is scarce. It is presumed that Magda will die.
"It was a magic shawl, it could nourish an infant for three days and three nights. ... Rosa knew Magda was going to die very soon; she should have been dead already, but she had been buried away deep inside the magic shawl, mistaken there for the shivering mound of Rosa's breasts; Rosa clung to the shawl as if it covered only herself. No one took it away from her. Madga was mute. She never cried."
Rosa's fears are realized when Madga is eventually discovered. Written with spare prose, the ending of this story is truly horrifying.
The story is paired with a novella entitled "Rosa" and published as The Shawl. "Rosa" picks up thirty years later, as she has survived the Holocaust and is living in the United States. This short book may be a good choice for the next read-a-thon.
Teddy Rose is hosting Short Story Monday this week. Check here to see who else has a story to share.