Berlin Wall: Chapter 5

Ready to read?  Chapter 5 is below, and you can read the other chapters here.


One night, as I lay in bed, an idea came to me. A crazy idea, it was true, but an idea that could possibly help me escape: the gates in the wall were guarded well, but if I couldn’t go through the wall, why not go over it? Of course, the big problem was I didn’t have an airplane, nor did I know anyone with an airplane, nor would I know how to fly one if I had an airplane. But I wouldn’t let these obstacles stop me.

About a month later, I thought of a solution: I would make a hot-air-balloon! I hardly knew any more about hot-air-balloons than I did about airplanes, but there was one big asset to a hot-air-balloon: I could make one. I could gather up scraps of cloth and sew them together, and this would make the balloon that would carry me to freedom. I was so excited I could hardly sleep that night for planning my escape.

The very next day I put my plan into action. I went around the neighborhood, collecting scraps of cloth, or buying them with the small amount of money I had saved up. Soon I had enough to start making my balloon. Now I was glad that Korrie had always nagged me to sew her clothes for Percy. It certainly had sharpened my sewing skills! Five more months and my balloon was finished. It took me awhile because I could only work on it in my spare time between chores and my job. Then, with the help of Maria’s father, I put the balloon together. Finally, the balloon was finished.

I planned the date of the journey with fear and rejoicing: fear because this was an extremely dangerous thing to do, for the soldiers could shoot a hole in my balloon and I could crash to the ground and be killed; but also rejoicing, for, despite the dangers, there was a chance that this journey would make me free!

Finally the day arrived. Maria and her husband and Maria’s parents and I got in the balloon. I turned on the gas and we went sailing up into the sky. Slowly, we gained altitude as we headed for the wall. We came nearer and nearer the wall, until we were fairly above it. Then, something dreadful happened.

A soldier happened to look up in the sky and spot us. He shouted, and more soldiers came to him and looked up to see us. Then they started shooting. There guns were powerful enough that they reached the balloon. We could hear bullets whistle all around us. Then, oh joy! We were past the wall and the shouts of the soldiers faded away. We were free at last!

But when it looked like all would end happily ever after, one stray bullet came whistling toward us. It hit the balloon with a “Plunk!” We all heard the sickening sound of tearing fabric, then the balloon starting falling, faster and faster. We were going to crash!




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