General Fiction posted April 12, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
sorry I signed it

The Petition

by jim vecchio

I voted Contest Winner 

I voted with the others.

I signed the petition.

They all said the cleaning lady had to go.

She just wasn’t doing her job right.

They found some dirt on the floor.

Not wanting to create any waves since I didn’t have tenure, I voted with the other teachers.

When I saw her that final day, before dismissal, I noticed those marks on her arm.

She was crying.

I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind.

All I knew was she was Polish; her name, Boguslawa Jedynak.

I had to do something, to tell  her how sorry I was, that I didn’t mean it, that I had to vote with the rest of the teachers.

It got so I couldn’t sleep. I had to find her.

I went to her last address but the apartment was vacated.

I spoke to everyone I could, just anyone who may have known her.

I discovered her first name, Boguslawa, meant “She who brings Glory to God.”

Her surname, Jedynak, meant “Only child”.

Ironic, because, as I dug deeper, I discovered her parents were among the 74,000 non-Jewish Poles consigned to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Barely five years old, she was forced to view the execution of her parents.

She witnessed the women forced to strip naked and those who defecated at the thought of being thrust into a death chamber.

The more I discovered, the more upset I became with myself for signing that petition.

Boguslawa was scooped up by one of them, a Romani, and was one of 144 to successfully escape.

That was when I lost track of her life.

Somehow, she made it to America.

Somehow she made it here, to our school.

Somehow, she nearly lost her life, found her life, and suffered loss once more.

She’s disappeared again, into this world, as if she were an unwanted life that never existed.

She must be out there, somewhere.

Boguslawa, I’m sorry.

Writing Prompt
Write a flash fiction story beginning with the words "I voted - " You can continue the sentence as you wish. Beyond the opening lines there are no rules. Maximum word count is 500 words.

I voted
Contest Winner



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