I thought I'd try writing something completely different from what I normally do. This is what happened.

The day had been a grey one, shrouded closely by the battle-stained sky, but after dusk, the clouds had dissipated to some degree, allowing patches of satin night and ghostly, silver moonlight to be seen over the darkened earth.  The world was still, as still as a world at war could ever truly be.  Silence hung thick in the summer air, disturbed only by the infrequent rumbles of distant automobile engines and the occasional moaning of cattle.

    The girl sat listening to this quiet and its interruptions.  She sat there in her bed, leaning back upon her pillow, her blanket pulled up over her bent knees.  She listened because the silence was good, and no good things last long.  Not in war.  One day, the stillness would be broken by the sound of artillery fire.  Hopefully, that day would not be tomorrow.  Similarly, one of these nights, the calm would be shattered by the shrill wail of the air raid sirens.  Hopefully, that night would not be this one.

    But listening for the footsteps of Death is a most exhausting activity, and at length, the girl grew weary of it.  She turned her attention instead to the full moon as it slid out from behind a cloud.  It stared through her window like a great, glowing blind eye, casting a square of pale light upon her bedspread.  The moon did not care who lived and who died.  It could not be bothered to take sides.  The moon only watched, cold and unsympathetic, from a canvas of blinking stars.  So it was and so it always would be.

    Softly, the girl sang a song for the moon.

    A slight breeze rustled in the trees outside before arriving at her open window and stirring the curtains.  It was a chilly wind, much cooler than the air around it, and it made her shiver and pull her blanket up to her shoulders.  When it had died away, the silence was broken once more by the clatter of a train crawling along the tracks that ran alongside the village.  Only freight trains came along this route at this time of the night, slow snakes of cattle-cars winding eastward through the lightless countryside.  Something about these trains unsettled her.  The sounds they created made her think of the rattling of bones.

    Once the clacking of the freight train had faded into the night and silence had resumed, the girl lay down and closed her eyes.  The calm was not to last, however, for scarcely had she settled into the warm mattress when the reports of two gunshots announced themselves in the moonlight night.  They sounded close.

    She tensed, daring not to move.  There came another shot, followed by a man's enraged cursing, then a spell in which nothing happened, at least nothing audible.  The girl was just about to relax again when there came a sound from the forest, as if someone or something was crashing through the underbrush.  This was accompanied shortly thereafter by a strange sort of whimpering and snuffling, during the course of which it became clear that whatever it was had come out of the woods, jumped the wall, and was now in the garden.

    As quietly as was possible, the girl crept out of bed, carefully closed the window, and pulled the curtains shut over it.  She didn't want to hear any more sounds tonight.

The End

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