Karl, one of the characters in my novel Julia’s Violinist, appears as an adult character in the novel, but part of laying the groundwork for his personality involves letting the reader get to know him as a child.
In this excerpt, eleven-year-old Karl, has been sent to a foster home on a farm on the outskirts of Berlin. In the nearby boys’ school, he is determined to get revenge on the teacher who seems to have it in for him.
A Snippet from Julia’s Violinist:
Herr Solberg nagged him. “Karl! What’s this? Did one of those farm hens run across your page? Who is supposed to be able to read this? You’ll copy this work again after class.” Karl smirked and lapped up the attention he received.
The next day at recess, the boys, as always, paraded two abreast around the inner court of the schoolyard. Karl had what he needed—an elastic band and one of Frau Bauerman’s hairpins. In the middle of the yard, Herr Solberg stood, hands behind his back, ever watchful, his gleaming pate bobbing as he teetered back and forth from toe to heel. Karl kept his hands down and to one side as he loaded the hairpin and drew back on the elastic band between his thumb and pointer finger. He released the stretched elastic and immediately dropped it on the ground. Karl used Peter’s body as a screen to hide the laughter he couldn’t keep inside.
Herr Solberg’s hand flew to his temple, slapping himself. His bald head swivelled. Eagle eyes searched the line of boys. In seconds he had traced the path of the flying object and pointed to several of the boys around Karl.
“You four. Step out.” Karl, Peter, and two other boys stepped out of line. “Empty your pockets.” The boys all had various small items in their pockets, but Karl had nothing. “One of you did this.” Herr Solberg pointed at the red welt on his temple. “You will tell me who did it right now, or you will all be punished.”
Peter had a pained grimace on his face. Karl could see him struggling with his conscience. Although Peter mostly looked at the ground, his eyes constantly flicked over to look at Karl as if he was waiting for him to confess. Moments later Peter broke down and pointed at Karl.
Herr Solberg took Karl by the scruff of the neck and hauled him into the school, lifting him so that the tips of his toes were all that touched the ground as he walked. Karl tingled with excitement. At the end of the break, the class had to witness his punishment. Karl stood at the front of the classroom looking at the faces of his classmates. Some covered their mouths to hide their expressions of horror at the pain they knew was coming, while others beamed openly in gleeful anticipation.
Herr Solberg pointed. “Bend over the table.” He took his cane and smacked the table beside Karl. The knocking of knees on desks appeared to give Herr Solberg pleasure. His lips stretched back into a sadistic grin. He wiped a bit of drool from his mouth and proceeded to give Karl’s backside three hard whacks.
Karl winced but didn’t cry. When it was over, he sauntered back to his desk with a smirk.
“I’m really sorry, Karl,” Peter said on the way home, “but he was going to cane us all if someone didn’t speak up and I was the only one who knew you did it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Karl threw back his shoulders and pulled himself up as tall as possible. He walked with a swagger.
“But it must have hurt like hell, getting your bottom hit like that.”
“It wasn’t too bad.” Karl stopped abruptly and reached down inside the back of his knickerbockers. He pulled out a huge handful of straw. “I expected to get caught.” The boys shrieked with laughter as they ran home.
Julia’s Violinist is available in paperback and all e-book formats at Smashwords.com
and at all amazon sites, particularly
Find out more about Anneli Purchase, her copy-editing skills, and her books at her website:http://www.anneli-purchase.com