Sunday 2 December 2018

A Story Inspired by a Song by J.J. Toner

guess the song
clue... a journey?
Burg Stahleck 55422 Bacharach, Germany
Sunday February 13, 1955

Dear John,

Just a quick note to tell you how I’m getting on.

The authorities in London have been less than helpful. They say they have no record of anyone called Kurt Müller working for them. The name Kevin O’Reilly drew a blank as well. I managed to find a few of his wartime contacts. I even found an old girlfriend called Lina who lived with him for a few months in Fulham in 1944. He was a bit of a dog, my papa! Lina’s current boyfriend is called Greg Ellis. He also knew Kurt during the war. Lina and Greg are both Dutch. You’d love his red sports car. It’s beautiful, but very noisy and produces a lot of black smoke.

The only clue I had to go on after that, led me to Holland, then France, and finally here, to the Rhineland. I have a strong feeling that I will pick up his trail again here soon.  I have a meeting arranged tomorrow with a shady character who says he can help – for a price!

It’s snowing outside. I’m nice and warm, tucked up in bed, but I can see the snow through the window, and it’s magical. There was a heavy fall during the day. My feet got wet just walking from the bus to the youth hostel entrance. The snow reminds me of Elmshorn. It snowed a lot there in the winter and when I close my eyes I can still see the silver river meandering through the white landscape.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about us. Your last letter was a bit distant, I thought. I was really sorry to hear about your mother. Reading between the lines I’m not sure that you feel the same way about me as you used to. I know I’ve been a pain these past couple of years, and I think you understand why. I always knew that Kurt wasn’t my biological father, but imagine the pain and heartache I felt when I heard the truth. How would you feel if you discovered that you were the offspring of a monster, a man who was responsible for the deaths of millions? After he was assassinated in Prague, the Nazis retaliated by destroying two villages. They shot all the men and shipped out all the women and children to Auschwitz and they were never seen again. Can you imagine anything so horrible?

I realise now that I reacted badly to the news, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I don’t deserve to be happy. Happiness is for good people, and I’m afraid I don’t qualify. I must be carrying Heydrich’s evil genes. How else can I explain my reaction to the news about your mother’s illness? I felt nothing. Nothing. How could anyone be so cold, so uncaring. Honestly, I don’t deserve your love.

My life has been tough. Living with my grandparents in Elmshorn pretty much since I was born, with infrequent and short visits from my mother, that was bad enough, but moving from Germany to Ireland was a real wrench. I lost all my friends and had to start in a new school where I couldn’t even speak a word of the language. You can imagine how that felt for a nine-year-old. I was so lonely. I always knew Kurt was not my real papa, but the day when my mother told me whose daughter I really was, that was the worst day of my life, the day when my life changed forever. Nothing could have been the same after that.

I hope you can understand, my darling John. You have been the one shining light in my life. Without you, I probably would have ended it by now. I can picture your reaction  to that statement, but it’s true. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve thought about it, worked out all the different ways I could do it. My life has been hard, and there were times when I couldn’t, didn’t want to, go on. You saved me more times than you will ever know.

What I’m trying to say is that I love you, and there’s nothing I’d like more than to have you make love to me, and to show me how to love you the way I want to. But I’ve met a man from Holland. We’ve had a couple of meals together, and he’s been very understanding. I don’t think I could imagine spending the rest of my life with him though. So don’t worry. I’m not going to run away with Hans. But I need time to think about the future. Kurt’s Mama is getting older every day (aren’t we all) and I’m worried that she might need me soon. Her health has not been the best, lately. You will remember I told you that was why I needed to take this trip before it was too late.

There’s a huge mountain here and honestly, sometimes the task I’ve set myself feels like a mountain sitting on my shoulder, weighing me down. But I can’t stop now. I have to find out what happened to Kurt, why he never came home after the war. Perhaps then I can find peace and get on with my life.

Write to me, John. Tell me how you feel. I need to be sure that you still feel the same way about me as you used to. I really couldn’t face any more heartache in my life.

All my love,


about the author
Bitten by the writing bug in my early teens, I finally started writing again in 1996 after half a lifetime of procrastination. Not that I was ever short of good excuses. For 35 years I worked with computers, first as a petroleum geophysicist, then with medical and veterinarian scientists, accountants, engineers, and in a variety of industries, from health care through manufacturing to shipping. My work took me all over Europe, and yet I found the time to marry, build a home, father three kids, and get my golf handicap down to single figures.

I have been a full-time writer since 2007.

Twitter link 

JJ Toner is a Discovering Diamonds reviewer

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Note: There is copyright legislation for song lyrics but no copyright in names, titles or ideas
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The Full List of Authors

1st        Philip K. Allan     
 2nd      J J Toner         
 3rd       Catherine Kullman    
 4th       Helen Hollick              
 5th       Richard Tearle    
 6th       Barbara Gaskell Denvil
 7th       Nicky Galliers
 8th       Angela Macrae Shanks          
 9th       Katherine Pym  
10th      J G Harlond    
11th       Anna Belfrage
12th      Richard Dee
13th      Inge H. Borg
14th      Annie Whitehead
15th      Louise Adam
16th     Charlene Newcomb
17th      Alison Morton                         
18th      Kathryn Gauci
19th      Helen Hollick 
20th     M.J. Logue
21st       Helen Hollick 
22nd     Cryssa Bazos               
23rd      Jennifer Wilson                       
24th      Elizabeth St John  writing as Julia Darke                         
26th      Helen Hollick
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  1. Oh brilliant!! I had no idea what the song was! And what a womderful take on a great song!

  2. What a brilliant story, so full of interest and information, you really feel you know Anna at the end of this letter. A lovely piece of writing.

    1. I really felt for Anna - I just wanted to give her a big interweb hug! (Love the song as well!)

  3. Brilliant cliffhanger story. And yet, I dare not ask.

    1. Agreed Inge .... J J is this a part of an already written novel, or one you intend to write? I'd be really interested in Anna's full story....

    2. It's a short, short version of a novel I'd love to write, but probably never will.

  4. Loved the way the story gradually revealed itself a within the bleakness of the scenery. Really drew me in! As mysterious as the song title (which I didn't guess either, but made perfect sense at the end!).

  5. We've some very talented writers joining in!

  6. Great story with all sorts of dimensions. Always one of my favorite songs.

    1. Thanks Katherine. The backstory is contained in 4 of my WW2 books.

  7. quite grim. I feel sorry for John...

    1. I think she finishes up with him in the end (when the song kicks in) :)

  8. Great story for a wonderful song. Well done.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn. There's nothing like praise from a master storyteller!

  9. Things certainly are complicated for Anna. I was clueless about the song, J J, and like Anna B., I feel sorry for John!

  10. I've always liked this song & knew it must have a deep meaning. Super combination of story lyrics, thanks.

    1. Thanks, J.G. And thanks for reviewing one of my books (ages ago).


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