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Short Story Summary

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In 1941, Lina Vilkas is fifteen years old when a group of Russian officers beat on the door of her home in Lithuania. Her mother answers and the officers rush in, placing the family under arrest but without any information why they are being arrested. Lina suspects it is because of her father and his late night meetings with people of the neighborhood. Lina, her mother Elena, and her ten-year-old brother, Jonas, are taken to a railroad station with many others. There, they are loaded onto train cars, crowded like cattle. Shortly after, the train cars leave the station. On the train, Lina meets a seventeen year old boy named Andrius. Andrius is a well-minded and stable but has to act slow so he won’t be taken away by the guards and separated from his mother. Lina realizes she doesn’t like him that much after she sees him teaching her brother to smoke a cigarette. There is a young woman on their train car who was taken from the hospital moments after the doctors cut the umbilical cord of her daughter. The child dies of malnutrition during the trip and the mother, Ona, who became sick and crazed after the death of her child, is shot in front of the group at a station a couple weeks later. Before they leave the station, Lina sneaks away from the train car with Jonas and Andrius to find their fathers after they heard that there were men in other train cars behind them. Lina and Jonas find their father and he believes they are going to Siberia. Lina and Jonas return to the train
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