The city lay covered in darkness. Where was he? His corporal hadn’t yet come to inform him. Germany lay in ruins. Ella wouldn’t like this at all. Late home for her first dinner. ‘Lit. Colonel Matthews’, the shiny brass plate read. 25 years he had served in the army. Marjorie had been by his side for 49 years now. After a prolonged illness, life was taken away. Ella was his youngest daughter reminding of his dear Marjorie.
The knock on the door made him jump in surprise. Standing there, near the door was his corporal covered in blood. His eyes looked sullen and full of horror. His right arm lay dangling. Filled with remorse and fright, he whispered “Sir, Germany is in complete ruins. Alarms have been raised, but still the death toll has reached 10,000.” 10,000 lives, he murmured. “Sir, Robert Street now lies in ruins”, he again whispered. Robert Street! He exclaimed. Memories of Marjorie and their first walk around the newly-constructed house started flooding his brain. Ruins! It couldn’t be. Living in the same house for the last 30 years made him shudder. Ella, Jo, Rosie and May, with Jo looking exactly like her mother.
“Robert Street?”, he questioned the young man. Studying him carefully, he looked a lot like his nephew. ‘Sniper’, his fellow-mates called him. Known for his perfect aim at shooting, he had earned that nickname in the last four years. “Yes, sir. Unfortunately the house-”, he was cut off by the general’s deep voice. “House?”, he questioned. “Yes, sir. They found your house. It lay in ruins. Two bodies were found. One of Rosie and the other one May”, Sniper’s voice quivered.
Two bodies, Rosie and May. It couldn’t be. First, Marjorie, now them. Pounding his fist, he smashed the table. The room shook. The window pane lay broken on the floor. The sound made his fellow mate shudder. Suddenly, a bullet whizzed through the general’s cluttered office. “Duck”, he growled. Then another. Heavy firing now attacked the office. His revolver lay on the table. Any sudden movement would attract the enemy.
“Give me your gun”, the general muttered. “There’s no ammunition, sir”, the quiet but serious voice answered him. “Great Scott!”, he muttered. What would they do now?
Memories started coming back. The time when Marjorie and he first met. The son that was born to them, a year after they got married. Edgar, named after Marjorie’s late brother. He had run away from home when he was ten. Rosie, their first daughter was the only one who knew. But know she was gone too.
Another bullet whizzed past his head. After a few seconds, an arm pinched him. Turning around, he faced Sniper. The bullet had hit him. Blood lay oozing out of his abdomen. “Sir”, one last time he muttered, “Long live Germany!”, and with that, he heard a groan and once again, silence filled the air.
The revolver still lay untouched on the table. He would take that risk. Standing up, he quickly grabbed his revolver. Without warning, a shot was heard. The bullet had hit him. “Mein Gott!”, he muttered. “I’m hit”.
He was dying. The bullet had hit him in the torso. He had to shoot. Gaining strength, he staggered towards the far end of the room, positioning himself near the broken window pane. Shots were continuously heard.
He steadied himself. Taking an aim, he fired. He could see that his enemy was taken aback, by the sudden fire. Regaining composure, the enemy shot. The general ducked. He suddenly fell to the floor. Whispering to himself, one last time he said “Long live Germany!”.
General Edgar smiled to himself, full of pride and admiration. He had shot one of the top generals feared by his sector. Walking through the debris, he could see a photo lying on the floor. Picking it up, his pupils dilated. The girls in that picture, reminded him of someone. Who could it be? “Sir”, his best mate and fellow general, Robert looked up to him. “We found the bodies”.
“Excellent!”, General Edgar said. Dropping the photo, he made his way to the two bodies. One was of a young man. Too young, he mused. Nevertheless, he reached for the young man’s wallet. He couldn’t make out the writing, but could see a ‘Smith’ engraved at the back of the wallet.
The other body lay near the window pane. Bending down, he examined the body. The man was too old, he muttered to himself. Half the body lay under the debris. He could see a wallet. Reaching out, he took and opened it. The same girls, and then he dropped the wallet, still clutching the photo. ‘Colonel William Matthew’, was scratched at the back of the photo. He was too shocked for words. He had killed his father.