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“Run goddamnit run! They’re swarming in!”
I peered my head out the shattered window to catch a glimpse of my malicious attackers, unceasing in their desire to end the lives of me and my platoon. I have no idea how they infiltrated our bunker, but I was keen minded and caught one of the damned krauts trying to slit my throat as I slept. Unfortunately for the bastard he met my Thompson machine gun before he could do me harm; and with the instincts of a true soldier I proceeded to storm room to room, slaughtering any of Hitler’s boys that I could find. I admit a slight maliciousness overcame me, as I often jeered upon hearing the quick screams of the damned jerrys cut short when I threw in a frag, and at least once I made an audible shout of joy when red crimson sprayed in the air upon a shot to the temple.
It was just when I thought I regrouped with the survivors of our platoon I shouted for them to retreat, opting myself to be the valiant last line of defense as my comrades would disengage for reinforcements; however, the only response from behind me was an inaudible scream of unimaginable horror. Immediately fearing the worst, I glanced behind and saw the familiar glint of gray helmets with a bell-like curve. Knowing my men were already lost, I fully turned around, Thompson in hand, and unloaded what was left of my clip to the kraut group of four or five, shouting at the top of my lungs as each was falling upon the other in a spectacular display of bloody carnage. The familiar stuttering of an empty cartridge followed, as well as several seconds of holistic silence; I couldn’t help erring a wry smile at my quick show of force that had no doubt kept me alive these many months behind enemy lines. Silence however was soon disrupted by a faint cry from the pile of cadavers I just created.
I stepped closer to investigate – gun in hand in case of survivors – and lifted one of the bodies; beneath it was crouched a young girl, around nine or ten, draped in what looked like a white hospital gown splashed with red. With her bloody hands draped over her ears she lifted her head and stared at me in pure terror, an unfamiliar but immediately recognizable sight beyond the likes of which I had never seen. Realizing the smoking barrel of my gun was aimed between her eyes, I quickly discarded that nasty bit of machinery and came to her eye-level, hers filled to the brim with horrified tears. In a sudden stroke of paternal instinct I held her tight in my arms, quietly murmuring that everything is going to be alright. It’s going to be just fine.
It was only then I realized my own attire, a blood-drenched white gown much like her own, and the quiet playing of a phonograph nearby that relayed the soothing sounds of Edith Piaf. If one listened closely, the distant wails of sirens soon accompanied that sweet tune.
It was 1946, the war was over.
Credit To – Len Lye