by BehrBeMine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I hate the Nazis and their cause as much as anyone else... But did they not have souls? Did some of them not ache for what they helped do?
For my Aurora.
- - -
The sky is unremarkable, grey. No sun shines through to create false hope; no thunder cracks to scream out in place of those who cannot. But the scent in the air promises rain. Tiny droplets of water God cries, and maybe it's the Jews he cries for.
The soldier's footsteps on the ground make staccato, hollow sounds. He runs from his fellow Nazis to look for any strays. Any that disobeyed.
A few blocks over, the Jews are being ordered from their homes, and marched toward the trains. The trains that will carry them to a future that promises nothing, to a camp that oozes death, to the last home they'll ever see. He can hear soldiers barking orders that the Jews do not understand. Can hear the soldiers' impatient voices screaming at everyone, "Mach schnell! Mach schnell!" -- "Hurry it up! Move faster!" After all, they don't have all day.
There are many more Jews to round up. Many more lives to destroy.
He runs to the block where he was instructed to look, catches his breath as he looks upon the homes that are now so peaceful, when only moments before they were full of screaming soldiers, terrified parents, crying children. No sound emanates from the still, abandoned houses.
He looks upon the house closest to him, takes quick deliberate steps up onto the porch, and carelessly throws the front door open. The force he used sends the door so wide open that it hits the wall on the inside. Paint is chipped, but not a sound, not a breath, not a cry erupts to give away anyone else's presence. But he has a hunch. There's someone in there.
His heavy boots signify that death is coming as he slowly makes his way into the house, looking around at the quaint living quarters. Despite himself he notices the warmth the home radiates, the feeling of a close-knit family. A family he sent off to be torn apart.
He gnashes his teeth and moves on; heads up the stairs to the bedrooms. That's where they always hide. In the closet, under the bed, behind the opened door - - sucking in their breath to make their bodies as skinny as possible, trying to make it appear that the door is wide open.
Those are the first three places he looks, and in the first two bedrooms, he finds nothing. He taps on the walls to see if they're hollow. How desperate these animals are to build false walls to enclose themselves for safe keeping. For their deaths, most likely. That doesn't matter. He must make sure.
He exits the master bedroom, and makes his way to the bathroom. He opens the cabinets below the sink, rips away the shower curtain. Finds no one. He makes himself perfectly still for a moment, stilling his breathing, hoping to catch someone off guard as he suddenly slams his palm down onto the sink counter. The sound is sudden, and it is loud, and... he hears a yelp.
A little voice, a frightened voice, and he can't believe that worked.
Turning on his heel, he stalks out of the bathroom and makes his way to the final bedroom on this floor. It's a step above a nursery, but not a big step. A room fit for a five year-old. The bedsheets are rumpled. A plush brown teddy bear stares back at him with its unmoving, uncomprehending eyes.
It is the bear that makes him pause. He thinks of his niece, who he hasn't seen since he reported. Since he began killing for his fuhrer.
He shakes his head violently as if to rid his thoughts of the small girl who he loves. For he cannot think of her now. The child who lives in this room is not his niece; she's a Jew. She doesn't deserve that teddy bear.
There is a large chest at the foot of the bed. Its wooden lid closed, it sits suspiciously, making him wonder... It's the perfect hiding spot.
He dashes over there in the blink of an eye, and throws the heavy lid off the chest. And he is met with a scream. A piercing scream so full of terror, it hurts his ears to have to listen.
"Shut up! Shut your mouth!" he orders as he lays eyes on the child, a small girl no older than six. But she cannot comprehend, cannot understand.
Her scream finished now, she chokes back tears, and stares up at him. Trembling, waiting for him to do his worst.
He cocks his rifle, and points it at her head.
Notices the pink ribbon tied in her hair. Notices the way her dark waves cascade down alongside her face in a way that makes her look so pretty, so perfect; so innocent. Makes her look like all other little girls. Like his niece.
He can imagine her mother, shushing her child and whispering that she loves her as she holds her tight to her chest. Can imagine the mother's tears falling upon her child's face as she sets her into the toy chest. Can hear a soft voice that resembles his own mother's pleading with the child to be quiet, to not make a sound, and to not come out for a long, long time.
Can imagine the girl's mother shutting the lid and saying goodbye.
Although he silently demands that his mind stop thinking of such things, still it continues. He imagines the child's terror at hearing his boots slap the street outside, and hearing them trudge up the stairs, hearing them entering the room. Can imagine her pleading to God that he didn't hear her yelp after he made such a racket in the bathroom. Can imagine her heart beating a mile a minute as he threw open the lid and looked upon her.
What he can't imagine is being on the opposite end of that gun. Simply because he never has been. He has the right genes, the right family lineage. His blood is right in the very way that hers is not.
His hands shake. His indecision lies before him in the shape of a frightened child's face.
Jews are wrong, he remembers. They must be eliminated. They are not like us.
He closes his eyes and fires, pretending that behind his closed lids he doesn't see that teddy bear she'll never hold again.