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After going up with them, it didn't feel right to Zus. They were rude, disrespectful and didn't take "no" for an answer. He wanted them to help his brother, Tuvia, and the rest of them which were looking for a safe haven in the woods. The one place where the Nazi officers couldn't find them, as of now at least. They wanted to leave them to a fate where they would be killed without mercy. Zus couldn't let that happen. He couldn't let his brothers Aron, Asael, Tuvia be sentenced to death for practicing their religion. Couldn't let them be shot like animals like his other siblings, like his parents. 


He couldn't let Idzi, Alfons, Feliks, Rajmund, Bogusław, Metody, Eliasz, Mieszko, Jakub and Jerzy be put to death with all the others. He wouldn't allow it. 


Zus looked at the leader of this particular group. The leader stared back at him, cold. There was no hope for his group hiding in the woods if this is what he was working with. A man who only cared about himself.

He cleared his throat and Oleg smoked carelessly as he leaned back and watched him. "You wanted some of my best leaders for..for nothing?" 


Oleg chuckled, it was like venom. "Don't act so surprised," he said. "We needed more men."


"You have enough men to make up for the losses in my village!" Zus snappped at him. "I need to get back to them. I haven't got time to sit around when peoples lives are on the line."


Oleg stood up, watching his injured leg, and leaned forward. "But you will be back. You and your people, you'll need us."


Zus growled under his throat and lifted his gun. He shot the man in the leg. Oleg grunted once the bullet pierced his flesh. He stared up at Zus, anger and surprise in his vision.


Zus mocked him, "Don't act so surprised." And left. 




The journey was long and tiring. It was worsening with the winter settling in. He had heard the news of a young girl, mid-20s, having a bad in the place where they currently camped but he pushed the thought out of his mind when he thought about what could've happened to her. He had to get back to Tuvia. To Aron and to Asael. 


He had to. There was no way he could let them suffer in such conditions as these. What had his people done to deserve this? Religion and all the above, their only crime. 


Where was God when you needed him the most? He thought blankly but shook his head. He had to keep going, for everyone. It was his last thought before his vision went black. He distantly felt something snap and sharp pain. 



The Forest, September 1942


The Winter chill seeped into Tuvias bones. They had found his younger brother on his front in the snow. He had broken his ankle, it was swollen and angry. It pulsed under his touch while he had checked it. Now back at camp, Zus was spiking a high fever. There was only one Doctor in their camp and she had been ruthlessly taken from them by the Nazi scums. There was no doubt she was dead now. 


Tuvia cradled his brothers head as his friend, Kornel, poured water onto his head. "Will this work?"


Kornel looked at him from where he was dabbing the water on his brothers head. He looked hollow when he spoke, "My Mother did this for my ill family. We were always sick. There was no medicine. Jarosław contracted the Scarlett Fever. He was barely old enough to walk. He died the next day because there was no medicine," the man sighed tearfully. "But then she had Iwon. He also got the fever. She poured water on him, Iwon kept screaming and told Mother it was burning him, and she kept at it until early morning and he lived." 


Tuvia said nothing and kept looking hopefully at Zus. He murmured useless 'wake ups' to him over the course of the cold water. How long until they could see a real Doctor? 


"I don't know how to do this," Kornel mentioned. "I only watched Mother. She was going to get a job as a Nurse. Then the Nazis came and killed everyone off. Iwon, Tomasz, Gerard..." He shook himself off and wiped his hands on a towel. "Enough about that now. He should wake up."


"You should follow in her footsteps," Tuvia told him, throwing him a grateful smile that reached his eyes this time.


"My Mothers footsteps have been crushed by the sound of Nazis marching into my village." 


There was always something to feel hollow about...


Iwon, Tomasz, Gerard...




Blinking awake, Zus looked through slitted eyes and into the concerned eyes of his brother.


"Tuvia?" He rasped. He felt a cold hand smooth over his forehead. It felt pleasantly cool against the boiling heat that surged through him.


"Zus," Tuvia replied, affectionately. Then more seriously, "You have a fever. You need to rest."


Zus panicked, trying to get out of the confines of his brothers arms. "No, they'll kill you all...We must..we must.."


Tuvia sighed. "We know. We heard about it. You were mumbling about it in your sleep."


Zus squinted. He breathed in harshly. "Then why...?"


"We are prepared for this attack. I won't fall back."


"So we're g-good?" Murmured Zus, a little weakly.


"Yeah," he smirked, ruffling his hair. "We're good, little brother."