Beyond the Wall

Partially based on a true story. Some facts ARE true.

The year was 1962. Peter Fechter was separated from his sister, Poppy, when the Berlin Wall went up. He was lost in East Germany, and she was trapped in West. At the young age of 18, follow Peter as he tries to discover how to get back to Poppy, and back to West Berlin.


3. July 22, 1962- Peter's Perspective

"Morning, Peter." Helmut tied on his apron.

I sighed. "Did you see the headline?" I threw the newspaper at his feet.

He bent to pick it up and unfolded it. "No Escape for East Berliners Now, Berlin Wall Secured by Gunmen with Rifles." He read aloud. Helmut dropped the paper and sat on a bench behind him. "We're never going home."

I nodded, realization hitting me like a cargo train. "I'm never going to see Poppy again."

Helmut ran his fingers through his hair. "My wife..." He whispered.

I turned away from him, thinking. I was soon interrupted though, as the owner of the bricklaying company yelled at us to get back to work. I exhaled and picked up my mortar and my masonry shovel. I laid a brick on the wet glue.

"Helmut?" I asked my partner. He smoothed out the mortar on his window next to me. Our original assignment, the foundation for the building had been called off, and we were repositioned on an apartment complex, covering windows that faced the Western side of Germany. Many people had been escaping this way, jumping out of windows, with their families and escaping to freedom. I wished I could be so free with my life, but the money I was making here was good, I could give Poppy an education this way.

'Peter?" Helmut responded, reminding me I had called him.

"Do you think we could escape?" I asked, dead serious. I would do anything to get back home, to my sister.

Helmut stopped and looked at me. "How would we do it?"

"Well," I paused, thinking for a moment. Then something caught my eye. "Look!" I pointed to the carpenter's workshop next to the border. "We could hide there for a night, then we could jump from the window of the building and into the death strip!" I pointed to the thin piece of wood between the wall of the shop and the fence. " We could run across that and climb over the fence. We'd be right in Checkpoint Charlie!" I exclaimed, excited at my discovery.

Helmut moved quickly to me, one of his mortared hands covering my mouth. "Sshh. If we want to get away with this, we must be discreet!" He let me go and I nodded. "We leave tonight."

"Are you sure?" I whispered.

"If we wait, what better advantage are we getting? It will only get worse here, our best shot would be to leave suddenly. Unexpectedly." He laid the brick on top of the mortar he had just applied.

I nodded. "Meet outside the carpenter's house, tonight."

Then we both returned to our work, as if nothing had happened. We would be discreet. We would make our leave unexpected.

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