Chapter OneEdit

June 10, 1947.    To this day, I don't regret any choice I made. Yes, there are things that I wished never happened, but in all honesty, I was glad most of it had happened. I do in fact, miss a lot of people, but that's what war does to you. It takes away your sanity. That's why this world is so crooked. All that is left is insanity. War also takes away the ones close to you. The one's you loved and cherished. But there is nothing that can ever be done.   I tried to apologise for many of the things that happened, and while my apologies were accepted, it still did not feel right.    At the time when the war started, I was only 19 years old. I never felt happy during that war. I never felt unhappy during that war, either. So what did I feel? Nothing. I felt what my family felt, because I was too scared to feel anything else. Why would I defy my parents? Why would I defy my country? I knew wrong from right, hell, of course I knew wrong from right. But I chose to go with what my country believed was right.   But when I met her, oh, she changed every thing. She became a new horizon, she became what I fought for. She was what I felt. And she was the reason I kept fighting the stupid war for nothing, because she became everything. And even though that war was for nothing, I would've lost her too, if I hadn't continued to fight. There really was no need to regret falling in love. I couldn't regret that.  /7 Years Earlier/    They fought in France. The invasion of France wasn't easy, and Dieter could tell you that. Many Germans said it was easy, invading France, but Dieter said otherwise. The invasion was nearing it's end, that was clear to see, and it was also very clear to see who was winning - and who was losing. In a way, it was one of the shorter battles, making it somehow easier, but it was still a battle, and it was still difficult.    But, he still had to give it his all since today, or any day, could be his final battle in France, if the war continued on the course it was taking. And, it wasn't really like he was a fan of the French, anyway. They were so… bothersome. They never shut up, and they were flirts, and perverts, and the French woman wouldn't shave their armpits, honestly, they were the worst kind of people. No, they were the second worst people.   "Colonel Herrman," Lieutenant August Eberstark jogged up to Dieter, who was about to step outside, "Colonel, we're going home." A smile rose on August's face as he said the last word.    Dieter stared at August with wide eyes, "Lieutenant, you must be joking!" Dieter could not believe this! Sure, it was great, he got to go home after all! But, so soon? All ready? He hadn't expected to leave yet. "Who told you this?" Dieter asked.    August had a stupid grin on his face, he was excited. He finally would get to go back to his house in Berlin, go back to his wife, his daughter, his mother and father. And what could make him any happier? Nothing. After all, he fought the war for his loved ones. He fought for his beautiful wife, Abigail, his young daughter, Amalie, and for his mother, Caecilia, and his father, Emil.    Lieutenant Eberstark was a strong man, taller than Dieter, but not much older. Dieter was 19, but Lieutenant Eberstakr was 57. Dieter had joined the war in January, 1940, and he had met August. August was one of Dieter's superiors, but still, even he had superiors. August was a kind man, assisting the new recruits, and he took care of Dieter and showed him the ropes, as if he was his little brother. Dieter should've found it insulting, to be treated like a woman who didn't know anything about the war, but somehow he wasn't because he knew August's intentions were good. And Dieter was used to being treated like a child, or like a woman. August wore his military uniform, and his brown hair was tangled almost as if he had forgotten to comb it. His brown eyes were gleaming brightly, and it was almost like Dieter could see August's memories flash before his eyes, in a good manner. August seemed to have a happy life, he was married, he had a kid.     But Dieter, he didn't have a wife, or a young daughter. His parents, Angelika and Adolph, were proud Germans. Proud of their beautiful country. Dieter fought to make his parents proud, whether it was wrong or not, that wouldn't matter as long as his mama and papa were happy. At times, Dieter wished he was more like his older sister, Freja, who knew right from wrong, left from right, up from down. Freja fought for the English Army, and she did not care if mama and papa were proud. She was happy to do what was right, and have her parents not be proud of her, instead of doing the wrong thing, and have her parents be proud of her.    "General Hermann told me. Well, come on now, Colonel, let's go. They're waiting outside for us." Dieter heard August say, but he didn't pay much attention. He was thinking about his sister.   Freja. Dieter hadn't seen Freja in a year since the war started. They had gone their separate ways, or, actually, Freja had gone ahead first. She left when the war started in 1939, but Dieter left early in 1940. They were on opposing sides, and Dieter feared the day that he would be forced to fight Freja. Or, the day when they would fight in the same battle. And he wasn't sure if there really was a difference.       Dieter wasn't quite sure when he drifted off. He remembered getting in a car, but, before he knew it, he fell asleep. He didn't dream. He didn't have a nightmare either. He just slept. And all was darkness in his clouded mind, all was dark and quiet, and as always, Dieter felt like he could do nothing. And he couldn't. He really couldn't do anything. That darkness he saw, it was what was inside of him - it was his ignorance, his cruel nature, it was that clouded side of him that knew that something was wrong with being on that side, but it was also the thing that decided that he should be on that side.   Dieter understood when there was confusion, but his understanding was blocked. It was always blocked. By what? By what… Well, maybe what blocked his understanding wasn't a person, or a place, but rather it was a thing. War blocked his understanding. War was a lie when the truth was needed, war was death when there was no life, war was the cause for confusion - but war was not confusion itself.    With that darkness that surrounded him, he felt nearly worthless, nearly nothing. Some times, with that darkness, new things sparked a confusion in Dieter's mind. Sometime's it sparked an understanding. Today, it sparked an understanding.    But not one he would follow. Not one he would agree with. Because if he agreed with something like that, how much trouble would he get in? Or, if he just understood it, with not another word about it, wouldn't the same thing happen? Of course it would.  /A Few Hours Later/    "Dieter!" August's voice rang in Dieter's mind, snapping him back to reality, "Wake up!" August shouted.    Dieter groaned, he felt tired, but despite that he knew he had to wake up. So, he listened to what his superior had to say, and his eyes fluttered open, "Where the hell are we?" Dieter asked, his eyes trying to focus.     "Clearly we're outside," August answered, squinting at Dereck as if trying to figure out if he was drunk.    "Damn, well, I can see that! August, some times I wonder about you," Dieter said laughing. They were sitting at a table outside a restaurant in Berlin, Dieter realised. "My question was more like, how'd we get here?"    August rolled his eyes, and he leaned back in his chair, "Well, since you fell asleep, Colonel Hirsch and I had to take you out, and bring you here. Hirsch went on his way, but I decided to stay with you since I knew you wouldn't be able to find your way home," August paused trying to think for a moment, then added, "and don't pretend you would've found your way home, you wouldn't have. One time you fell asleep outside of the base, remember what happened next? It was a about 2 days and you still hadn't found your way back, and so I had to go get you. You nearly got captured by the French, you idiot."    Dieter laughed, "Oh, I remember that! Man, that was only in May, huh?" Dieter didn't wait for August to answer, of course, he got distracted. "What the hell is going on over there?" Dieter pointed across the street, to where a large group of people were gathering around.   Dieter and August exchanged nervous glances before getting up and running over to it. When they got there, Dieter and August found, with horror, a cop attacking a dark haired woman. "Was tun zum Teufel Sie?" August shouted in rushed German, then repeated it in three different languages, thinking the Cop wasn't German, "What the hell are you doing?  Que diable faites-vous? ¿Qué demonios estás haciendo?"   Without allowing the man to answer, Dieter and August preyed him off of the dark haired woman. Dieter yelled at the cop, "What the hell do you think you are doing, sir? How dare you attack this woman? What is your name?"    The cop straightened his back, realising that Dieter and August were at a higher position than him, he answered, "Gernot Kappel, sir." The cop had a German accent, and blonde hair with light brown eyes.   "Explain to me, Kappel, why the hell you would lay your hands on a woman? Explain this to me!" August and Dieter shouted in unison at Kappel.    Kappel stayed silent for a bit, but answered, "I have no excuse sir, except for…"    "Silence, Kappel! There is no reason! You should not be laying your hands on a woman!" August interrupted furiously.     "Yes, sir. You are right, Sir. This woman, I thought she was a Jew, so I meant to grab her, but she pulled away. As I tried to arrest her she ran off, I came after her, and this time I was not giving her a second thought. I was angry and began to hit her. I am still sure that she is a Jew, sir," Kappel said, pointing to the dark haired woman.    "Ma'am," Dieter said turning to face the woman, "What is your name?" The woman had jet black hair, and caramel brown eyes. She wore a floor length light blue gown, which was now tattered at the bottom, and dark in spots from when she was attacked.    "Marianne Estelle." The woman answered quickly, and Dieter tried to make sense of the accent.    "All right, Ms. Estelle, what country have you come from? What is your birth place? Where do you live now?" August asked.   "I came from Italy. I was born in Rome. I live in an estate in Rome. I am married, and have a daughter." Marianne answered, her voice trembling.    "Well, Kappel, there you go. She's Italian. Italian's are Catholics, not Jews. Now, next time, refrain from touching women…" Dieter began, but was interrupted by someone bumping into him.    He was surprised when he hit the floor and was eye to eye with a beautiful red haired girl. She fell on his chest, and he was laying flat. It was silent, and Dieter felt his heart beat faster in his chest as he stared at those bright caramel eyes of the red head girl. She apologised in a terrible German, "Tut mir Leid!"    Dieter laughed, "I speak English," he looked up at her, "and you should probably get off of me. I don't like to be on the floor." /3 Months Later/    Dieter was getting used to his life back home in Berlin, away from the war. He and August had not been sent back because, well, there was no need to be sent back, and now they were at their homes. Dieter every morning helped his mother cook their breakfast, and then he would go out on a walk and talk to the other Germans, and he would go here and there and everywhere, because Dieter loved that freedom.   Today was one of the normal days. He got up early, and started making the breakfast, before his mother would get up, and make the rest of the breakfast. When the breakfast was ready they all sat at the table. It was calm and quiet, and Dieter had also gotten used to this. Not much commotion, just silence. While the world went on with violence, misunderstanding, and hate, in the Herrman household there was peace, understanding, and love. And no loud bangs, explosions, and Dieter could see no one getting killed.    Angelika wore a knee length skirt in gray, with a gray jacket. Her light blonde hair was tied back in a pony tail, and her faded green eyes looked down at her food, and some times up at her son. Her face looked older than she was. Dieter feared that the reason Angelika looked much older than she was, was because she had to worry about him and his sister. She was so stressed. What mother wouldn't be stressed if their two kids were in the military?   They ate wurst and turkey and they drank beer and more beer. Dieter smiled as he picked up a glass of beer, "Mother, father, you're very funny when I've drunk 9 of these."   Adolph rolled his bright green eyes, and Angelika spoke, "He really is your son."    Adolph shook his head and raised his glass of beer, "Son, I do not need to drink any of these for you to be pleasantly funny looking," he said with a snort, and he combed his hair back.    Dieter squinted at his father, trying to decided whether to throw the glass of beer at him, or drink the beer first then throw the glass. Angelika looked up at Adolph and Dieter and a smile played on her lips, "My boys. So ridiculous. My husband acts like a child, and my child acts like a man. Dieter," Angelika said frowning, "tell us about the war. You kept quiet about it, we want to know. Now."   "Well," Dieter didn't know where to start, but he knew so many things, so he decided to say them all, "Mama, papa, I will be honest with you right now. Some parts in this, they are not good but I will tell you everything. Do not cry, do not ask me to stop because you were the ones that told me to start it," Dieter paused, sighed, and started again, "I wasn't there from the beginning, and you know that. When we fought in France, I watched dozens of my comrades die. Each day, some one I knew would be killed during battle. I didn't receive the news, no, because I was always there with them," Dieter stared at his parents, his eyes flaming with memories, "I survived, but they would all die. It was not something that made me happy. Yes, I was alive, and being alive was good. But when I watched my friends die, I felt like dying too. My Lieutenant, August Eberstark, who is now my best friend, he taught me a great lesson. He said to me, 'Yes, this war is very cruel, but we must continue on, we must fight for what we believe in, and then all the deaths would not have been in vain'," Dieter laughed at the memory, "Yes, Lieutenant Eberstark is a great example that even during a war, you can still stay sane."   "Were you ever injured?" Angelika asked, as if the thought had always been in her mind, but she had decided that it would be better to ask later. "I mean, did something ever happen? Something that scarred you mentally, or scarred you physically?"   Dieter stared at his mother and lowered his eyes, "Well, if I was injured in any physical way I would be forced to go home. Unless the injury minor and you wanted to stay, would they allow you to stay. You would have to heal though, if you weren't sent home, before you could fight again," Dieter's breath slowed, and he felt his throat clench and he felt his stomach lurch, he felt the same pain he had felt fourth months ago, when he had been hit. "A bullet grazed my side. They asked if I wanted to go home, they said that would be the better option, but I said 'If I go home, before long, I will lose my home because of this damn war, so I will stay'. They said they would have to tell my family and I said, 'I can tell them as soon as I arrive. They will not need to know'," Dieter raised his shirt to show his mother the scar, "This is what it left."   A white scar aligned the left side of his chest. It only hurt when he spoke of it. Angelika stared at the white scar like it was a missing limb. A look over horror crossed Adolph's face as he spoke, "Dieter," he paused staring at the scar, "why didn't you tell us?"    Dieter thought. Why didn't he tell them? He had a good reason at the time, but now, he really wasn't sure that it was that good of a reason. "Well," Dieter sighed, he felt the scar burn, "at the time this small wound meant nothing to me. It had scraped my side, so what? It wouldn't do much harm, so why have my parents informed? So, I told them not to inform you, and they didn't."   Angelika stared at Dieter with her tragically gray-green eyes, riddled with pain and emptiness and loneliness. Dieter felt that his mother wasn't the only one who felt that pain and emptiness and loneliness. He knew he felt it too. The same pain and emptiness and loneliness that riddled the eyes of Angelika Herrman, was also what Dieter held within him. Angelika spoke so quickly that Dieter had forgotten about the long moment of silence that had fallen between the three, "Continue, Dieter. Tell us more about the war. Tell us about the comrades that died, the ones that were injured. Tell us everything."   "Actually," Dieter said, "I watched so many die that it didn't really come to as a surprise to many whenever another one would die. A close friend of mine, Roderick, was killed. He was shot and killed and that was that. Mama, I think you remember Roderick. He and I used to play together when we were kids in the streets of Berlin."   It was silent after that. Just that story was enough for Angelika and Adolph to stop talking. 

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