Anya Kojovic let the door bounce back on its hinges, gasping as the freezing air snatched the breath from her lungs. Icy hands clawed and tugged at the thin brown cardigan that hung loosely over her yellow cotton dress.
Thick patches of snow lay like dollops of cream glittering on the ground. Like the cream she put on the Babka she made with her grandmother back in Warsaw.
It was clear but for a few clouds smudged into the powder blue sky. There was the sound of tea boiling, because that's what they drank now. The shrill cry of the kettle shattering the gentle trickle of the creek.
She could hear the voices of the ladies singing as they washed, finding comfort in routines, clinging to anything that felt normal, holding on to something of home. At the same time trying to forget, trying to push the thoughts away, hold them back like the water in the dam they were building.
But frequently memories would flood in through cracks in the wall and she would remember.
She remembered dirty cobblestones and grey skies, the sound of her shoes on the road and the eggs that fell from her hands when the gunfire shot. Wide eyed, she had continued on, past the broken glass, bloodied snow and the skeletons of trees.
It had all come to an end, as it always does, after years of burning flags, protests, fighting, greed and word that stuck in her throat, a word that made her sick to say - hate. Pointless hate, unknowing hate, hate because you were told to, the worst kind of hate.
They fled the country, hearts still beating, fuelled by half hopes of a future. A word used tentatively for the fear that ravaged their bodies, the fear that...