The River Cold and Vile

Frida tried to maintain her composure. The ship was now passing through the strait between Pagensand and Schwarztonnensand with a water level barely deep enough for periscope depth, even in the center of the channel. Cloaked by the dark of night and the silence of fifty men holding their breath, the U-boat ventured farther and farther into Nazi waters.

Miraculously, they had not encountered any resistance yet. The Elbe was unnervingly quiet tonight.

Frida looked up at Dieter with nervous eyes, and he smiled back reassuringly, his ears wiggling, or trembling, in the dark.

“We’ll make it,” he mouthed.

Frida closed her eyes and prayed.

She thought back to the events of the past 24 hours and wondered if the world she knew would ever make sense again. The things she had seen, the measures her country would take… this was beyond war.

And the man she had thought she’d follow for a lifetime was merely a character in a military charade. The lump on her head reminded her of that. Could she ever love him again?

The End

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