Musa Publishing – Deadly Delirium

Today I bring you a short story about the Holocaust.  I know there are several people out there that love to read stories that have to do with this tragic yet moving event in history.  One of my favorite books I ever had the privilege of teaching was Night by Elie Wiesel.  Deadly Delirium actually won Musa’s young adult contest a while back, the theme of which was love.  Check it out!

Standing up for what’s right can mean risking everything.

Though Johanna and her older brother, Karl, lost their parents to Nazi rule in Germany, they have not stopped standing up for their beliefs. Now Communism is in full force in East Germany and they have been imprisoned along with their friend, Franz, for their resistance efforts. Johanna falls ill and becomes delirious with fever. Is there anything that can be done or will Karl and Franz be forced to watch her slowly die? As her life literally flashes before her eyes, will Johanna have the strength-and desire-to survive?


I doubled over as coughs wracked my body. The sound echoed off the metal walls of our small cell.

My older brother’s brow furrowed. “You sound worse.”

I strained for breath. “Yes.”

Our only other cellmate, Franz, muttered something under his breath.

“What did you say?” Karl asked.

“It’ll be a wonder if any of us survive the winter.”

“Have faith. Don’t let the Communists win so easily. If we band—”

The rest was lost to me as I fell into another coughing fit.

That night our routine continued. Me coughing every couple of minutes and Karl wrapping his arms around me to control my shivering.

“Karl,” I gasped. “I just want…”

“Yes, Johanna?”

“…this to…be over.”

“I know. I want you to get well so badly.”

“I mean maybe…” Coughs interrupted my sentence. He waited patiently.

“…dying isn’t so terrible.”

“Don’t say that!” His voice quivered. “You’re all I have left in this world.”

His lips brushed against my burning forehead. “I love you.”

I willed my coughs to stop so I could say the four words without pausing. “I love you, too!” And I meant it, with all my heart.

The next few weeks were a blur. I lay on the ground, delirious with fever. It was hard to distinguish reality from my dreams. I dreamed of the food we used to eat. Beef, corn, baked potatoes, cakes…they floated near my mouth…just as I was about to eat them, they would disappear. I would feel fingers opening my mouth and pouring warm soup down my throat. It tasted bad but soothed my parched throat so I didn’t struggle. Water became my favorite thing in the world.

I could hear snippets of conversation but they didn’t make any sense.

“Karl, you need to watch your…”

“…don’t worry.”

“I am worried. What will happen if…”

“I’m willing to take the risk.”


~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on September 24, 2012.

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