VIII.Mature

He stood up and walked to the eastward facing window, where the papers had been laying. He didn’t realise how late it was. The sun had begun to dip down behind the chimneys of the crematorium. They were pouring black smoke, casting long shadows across the ground. The sky was ablaze in a fiery orange. How unusual it was that no superior officer had visited him today. In fact, he was undisturbed all day. At least in the physical sense. His head was aching, and the stiff collar on his uniform felt uncomfortably tight. He stared out at the orange dusk. The whole camp was stained in a red hue.

The sound of a gunshot distracted him; he walked over to the westward window and peered outside. Just outside his wooden office was a soldier with his back to him, his gun pointing towards the ground at the body of a prisoner. He stood watching as the soldier shot the body of the prisoner once more, before he casually stepped over it and sauntered off. The soldier watching insensitively cringed as the corpse jumped up from the impact of the bullet. 

He caught sight of his own reflection in the glass and in the light his arms and hands were stained red. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes. He stared at his reflection, and as he went to move, a glimmer caught his attention. The sun had reflected off the single grey, shining medal that hung from his chest. It was an Iron Cross. His chest swelled with pride. He grabbed the gleaming Iron Cross pinned to his uniform. The tear was loud and pronounced as he violently ripped it from his shirt. He held it steadfast in his closed fist, feeling the points of it pressing painfully into his palms.

He stared at himself. His uniform lacked any colourful decoration. No brightly coloured stripes indicating rank, or badges of honour, except for the medal that was in his hand. He was young, but like any soldier before him, or that would come after him, he looked aged beyond his years.

The End

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