Russian rifle-fire kept the two soldiers pinned down behind the small anti-tank barricade. The older soldier, who appeared to be in his late '50s, pulled a stick grenade from his belt. The soldier next to him was young enough to be his son.
"This'll get him," The older man said, pulling the pin and holding the grenade for several seconds before throwing it over the barricade towards two Soviet snipers concealed in a trench.
The sound of the explosion followed soon after, accompanied by the death prattle of its target.
"They're gone, quickly, we've got to get to the machine guns before the next charge!"
The older soldier, his veteran status apparent, dragged the young boy behind him as the two of them moved to the next area of cover, past the broken bodies and corpses of infantrymen - both German and Russian - from the past battle.
The front line was a chaotic sight. Several trenches cut deeply into a landscape marred with shell craters and debris. The burning wreckage of tanks and artillery pieces, both that of friend and foe, littered the area. Tangled lines of barbwire criss-crossed the area, weighed down by the mangled bodies of the dead.
The veteran threw himself into a muddy trench, the young boy close behind. He waited for a second, trying to get his thoughts together.
"We run to the MG-42 nest on my signal," He peeked his head over the trench, taking in the area before him. "Ready?"
The boy nodded.
The two made their way towards the earthen defense works that housed the machine guns. The second wave of the Soviet assault was already beginning to advance, their artillery tearing apart the hillside and literally lifting chunks of earth into the air. The veteran pushed a dead gunner off of the MG-42 and wiped the blood and brain-matter off of the firing mechanism with his poncho. He took aim for a moment before he began to fire, pulling the stock into his shoulder to steady the weapon as he began dropping the enemy to the ground in droves. Their tightly packed ranks were taken down one after the other as the withering hail of bullets was rained down upon them.
The boy watched in morbid fascination as the veteran methodically butchered the entire squad. He pulled back the chamber and fed a new string of ammo in, letting the bolt slid forward as he brought the weapon back to his shoulder. Then, out of the smoke and the noise, a figure emerged in the doorway. A Russian soldier, his rifle at the ready, weeping tears of blood from a head-wound, stepped into view. The boy froze, fear governing his actions, he couldn't even speak. He watched in horror as the Bolshevik soldier plunged his bayonet into the veteran, forcing him to the ground with his strength before he had time to react. The bayonet was withdrawn and forced in again. The veteran screamed in pain as he writhed on the floor, reaching out for the boy as he was stabbed again and again.
Axel Mölders awoke in a cold sweat, tears welling up in his eyes. He had had the same nightmare for almost a year now, ever since he received the belated news of his father's death, his body left behind somewhere out in Leningrad, frozen and starved. There were no details of his death, so the dream always changed, a different portrayal of the horrifying image each night. The scenes were always chaotic, Axel's own visions of war from his sub-consciousness. He had never seen combat close up.
One of the other soldiers in the barracks stirred in his sleep, "Go back to bed, Axel, you stupid son of..." he trailed off back into his slumber, leaving Axel alone with his thoughts.
The sun was beginning to rise, its warm glow already starting to fill the room. Formation would be soon, and Axel would need some sleep. He dropped back down to his hard mattress and forced his eyes shut, knowing that if he managed to sleep again, the dream would soon follow.
"Just coffee," Kurt Hahn, a young corporal from the Sudetenland, sat across from Axel.
There never was much to do in the morning, and the two bike messengers always managed to grab a quick breakfast before their duties began.
It is Paris, France, 1944, four years after the occupation. The Resistance is in full force, casualties mounting as the partisans continue their assault against the foreign invaders. The world situation is looking grim for the German War Machine. The allies occupy all of North Africa and most of Italy, and the Russians are beginning to push their ways back across the Eastern Front. Rumors are spreading that the Yanks and the Brits are planning to invade Europe across the channel and the top brass is worried.
Axel picked his satchel up from off of the floor and dumped its contents out onto the café table.
"What do you have?" Asked Kurt.
"Standard 'intel' delivery runs mostly, doesn't look like much..." Axel shuffled through the papers and letters before him. "Hello, what is this?"
"What, what is it?" Kurt asked in his heavy Czech accent.
"Elements of the 4th SS are in town...Polizei, probably going after the partisans."
The waiter finally returned and dropped the two cups of coffee in front of the soldiers, spilling a considerable amount of it over the countertop.
"Can I get some sugar- oh forget it," Said Kurt, watching as the waiter walked off, muttering something in French under his breath. His hand drifted over his side arm's holster. "If only I could just plug all of these arrogant French bastards."
"It's not worth it, Kurt. You'd be in the brig in no time...not to mention I doubt the two of us would have enough ammo."
Kurt nodded with a smirk and took a sip of his coffee as toyed with the strap on his holster. "No telling what the hell is in this..."
"About time to-" Axel was cut off as the building across the street was torn apart by a devastating series of explosions, sending all sorts of debris into the air and the surrounding buildings and streets.
"Gott in Himmel!"
Kurt lifted himself up from the ground; the force had knocked over most of the patrons sitting outside of the cafe. The building, which housed one of the local divisional commands, had been completely destroyed, entire sections non-existent. The screams of the dying filled the air.
Axel sighed and dropped himself against his chair, brushing away the trickle of blood dripping down his forehead. It was the start of yet another eventful day for a simple bike messenger.
Beautiful as always. The day was at its peak, early morning when the masses seemed to come out and greet the day. Axel had been working for some time now, new chores always stacked on to his original tasks. He forced himself through the crowds, trying to keep his balance as the mob contorted around him. He found it harder and harder to muster respect for the French as the days went on, guerilla attacks taking more and more German lives.
"Out of my way," Axel shoved a group aside, trying to gain room to peddle.
As he managed to work his way out of the market crowd and into the open he heard a shout. Soon, shots were fired and someone began to scream. A man stumbled and fell out of a building window, his body covered in glass as he hit the ground.
Axel dropped his bike to the ground and un-slung his Mauser rifle. There were several more shots, and then everything grew silent. Axel stood nervously, his fingers tightening their grip on the rifle. The merchants and citizens around him stopped and watched, others coming in closer and trying to get a better view. Then, the front door of the building burst open and a man stumbled out, falling down the front steps and onto the ground. His hands clutched at a gunshot wound in his chest, blood seeping out from between his fingers. He stood up, stumbling about as he fought to stay afoot; then he began to run in the opposite direction.
"You there! Shoot him...don't let him escape!" An SS officer shouted from the shattered window.
Axel raised his rifle and aimed it shakily at the fleeing man. He had no choice, if he refused an order there would be dire consequences.
"Halt, stop where you are!" Axel pleaded, trying to find a way out of the situation.
The man did not listen. His breath seemed to catch in his throat as Axel pulled back on the trigger. The response was sudden, and he was not ready for it. The Mauser kicked back into his shoulder, the force of the shot lifting the barrel up as the report deafened his ears. He opened his eyes slowly to see what had happened. The man was lying on his stomach motionless.
"Excellent shot, soldier," The SS-Obersturmfuhrer shouted from the building.
Axel felt uneasy. There was a sickening feeling in his stomach, yet he also felt relieved. In his two years of military service, this was the first time he had ever killed a man.
"No!" Someone cried out from behind him.
Axel turned around just as someone tackled him to the ground. The Waffen-SS grenadiers were now out of the house and running towards the two. One of them grabbed Axel's attacker and pulled him off.
"Resistance sympathizer!" He shouted.
"...must be one of them," Another soldier added.
Mölders pushed back his helmet, which had been blocking his view, and looked at his attacker. The 'he' was actually a 'she,' a young blonde girl with piercing blue eyes; she couldn't be more than sixteen.
"Wait, no...there's no need for that," Axel said, pushing himself off of the ground.
"She's a friend of mine...she was just surprised I'm sure...you know how kids can be at times."
The girl began to say something but Axel wrapped an arm around her and covered her mouth, a fake smile played across his face all the while. One of the SS men looked at him unsurely.
"Fine then...we have more pressing matters to attend to. Let's get back to headquarters, have a team clean up this mess and search the rest of the house," The commander said as the group left.
Axel watched as they dragged off the bodies and boarded a truck, a few more soldiers loading up papers and equipment they had taken out of the building, before the entire group left the scene. The civilians in the area simply went back about their business, casually completing their purchases as if nothing had happened, a few cursed loudly and made obscene gestures towards the SS men in the distance. The girl began to move against him, kicking and punching as she forcefully pushed herself away.
"Why did you save me?" She spat out angrily.
Axel reached down and picked up the rifle, slinging it around his shoulder as he propped up his bike. "You remind me of a girl back home."
The girl seemed to be caught off guard by the remark, she turned away and crossed her arms. "Murderer..."
"It's part of my job."
She seemed surprised that he had heard her; she turned to face him.
"I assume you knew him," Axel said, mounting his bike.
"He was a friend of mine."
"It's not wise to make friends of Resistance members...or to tackle German soldiers while the SS are about," he added with a smirk.
She did not seem amused. Axel watched as the crowds began to gather around the scene, pointing out the shattered glass and the bloodstained pavement, looking to him with hate-filled eyes.
"I better get out of here...I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."
"That's because I didn't tell you it."
"Fair enough, au revoir," Axel said in his horrible French accent as he rode off.
Finished for the day and hours to kill before report. Axel found himself a little bar on the street and took up temporary residence for the evening. He couldn't stop thinking about the day's events. They played over and over in his head; he couldn't stop seeing his victim's face. He must have been around the same age. That's what struck Axel the most, he had his entire life before him, what right did he have to take it away?
Axel turned to alcohol to solve the problem. He tilted back his beer glass and downed most of the contents, wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve. The tender eyed him from the other side of the bar, an awful, almost evil smirk played out upon his lips; Axel couldn't help but think what kind of bodily fluids had been put into his drink.
"Mind if I join you?" Someone asked from behind him.
Axel turned to see the young girl from earlier, "Aren't you a little young to be hanging out in a nasty place like this?" He asked.
"I can hold my own," The girl replied with a smirk.
"What do you want? Here to seek your revenge?" Axel asked, fishing a cigarette out of his breast pocket and placing it between his lips at the corner of his mouth.
"No...I came...I came...to apologize, and to thank you for today. I was caught up in the moment. I'm sorry I treated you the way I did, you really did save my life."
"I knew what would happen to you if they took you away, that's all." As Axel spoke he spotted a few men in the bar pointing him out, their voices becoming loud and agitated. "I have to get out of here if I know what's good for me, you'll have to excuse my hasty exit. I appreciate the thanks," Axel quickly finished his beer and set the fee down on the counter-top, giving a quick wave to the girl as turned to exit.
"Wait, where are you going?"
"Back to the barracks," Axel reached into one of his pockets and drew a cigarette, placing it between his lips as he lit it.
"Mind if I come along with you?"
Axel was caught off guard by her forwardness.
"That wouldn't be very smart, I suggest getting home to bed."
With that Axel gave a quick wave, opened the door, and stepped into the Paris night.
The German Corporal stood on a small bridge, watching the water below. He took a drag off of his cigarette and exhaled a cloud of smoke through his nose. He wondered if it was like this for everyone, the first time they killed a man. In a way he was glad that he wouldn't be seeing the front anytime soon, but a part of him deep down was almost anxious to see more action. He tossed his cigarette away and turned to continue his walk towards base; however, he soon heard the sound of footsteps following him. Axel was wary of the situation, too many people saw him kill the Frenchman earlier, and his face was well known from his daily routes. He reached down and let his hand rest over his side arm, slowly letting it slide loose of its holster. He monitored the footsteps closely, listening as they stayed a measured distance behind him, following him as he turned down a side street. He knew the fate that would befall him if the Resistance were to take him prisoner, and so he decided to act. Axel drew his pistol and spun around on his heel, aiming at about chest level as he cried out, "Halt!"
"Mein Gott, not you again," Axel lowered his Luger, the same girl once again standing before him. "Are you following me now?"
"I'm sorry, you left so suddenly before we had a chance to finish our conversation."
"I was pretty sure we were finished," Said Axel, drawing another cigarette with one hand as he holstered his weapon with the other.
"I didn't even get a chance to learn your name."
"Axel, and yours?" He asked as he struck a match with his thumb and lit his cigarette, turning back towards the base as he continued his trek.
"My name is Demi, so you're heading back to your base are you?"
"Why the sudden interest mademoiselle? You wanted to kill me this afternoon and now all of a sudden you want to know everything about me. Now if you'll excuse me, I really have to get back."
Axel laughed and turned to face her. "You're serious?"
"Of course," She responded with a smile.
"Fine, guten abend," Axel gave her a wink and then began running in the direction of his base.
Axel was shocked when he awoke in the morning, realizing that he slept through the entire night without having his nightmare. He thought about what it could have been, and couldn't help but remember Demi. For some reason the French girl made him feel at ease.
As he returned to the barracks after the morning's exercises, he spotted Kurt approaching him nervously.
"Axel, someone is here to see you..."
"Someone from the Schutzstaffel...he says he wants to talk to you."
Axel felt his hands beginning to shake as Kurt escorted him to the commander's office. He wondered what an SS officer could possibly want with him. Kurt watched nervously as Axel entered the main hallway of the headquarters. The Oberst in charge of the base was standing outside of his office with his arms folded across his chest, his eyes narrowed as Axel approached. The Oberst nodded towards the door.
Axel stepped inside to find the same SS Lieutenant who had ordered him to shoot the other day.
"Ah, Corporal Mölders, please, have a seat."
Axel did as he was told and pulled a seat back from the commander's desk, taking a seat quickly as the SS officer sat down across from him.
"Do you remember the other day, Corporal? When you shot the partisan in the back?"
Axel nodded reluctantly, the thought obviously paining him.
"Good," The officer smirked, "That was a good shot by the way," He added. "Well, I'm sure you also remember the little girl who tried to attack her...the little girl who you claimed to be a friend of? The little girl who would have come with us had it not been for you?"
"Yes, I remember, sir."
"Well, Corporal, that's what is funny about this little situation...you see...our intelligence department, the SD, is almost positive that your little "friend" is a member of the F.F.I."
"The what, sir?"
"The French Forces of the Interior...the Resistance," The SS man seemed a bit annoyed. "What my commanders want to know is why a German soldier would want to protect a member of an enemy organization. Or perhaps why a soldier in the German Reich would have any contact with the enemy in the first place."
Axel could feel himself beginning to become flustered. He tried not to show it.
"Sir, I can assure you, she is not a partisan..."
"Well then, Corporal, for your sake I hope that you are correct. You are aware of the things that happen to soldiers who harbor the enemy, are you not?"
"Good then, that is all for now. It was my idea to simply get that little fact out in the open. We will be watching you for the next couple of days to make sure your assessments are correct. Oh, and Corporal, if you see that girl again...you tell us, alright?"
"Yes, sir, I will make sure to inform you."
"That's good to know, good day Corporal," The SS officer said with a smile as he left the room.
"What was all that about today?" Kurt asked as the two made their way down a crowded street away from the base.
"Too much stuff...I'm so confused, Kurt," Axel responded as he tightened his satchel around his shoulder.
Then, across the street, he spotted her. Watching the two of them as they approached. It was the girl, a slight smile played out across her lips as she stood, leaning against a lamppost.
"You go on ahead, Kurt, I'll catch up to you later."
The other Corporal stopped and turned back to face him.
"What's going on, Axel? Is something wrong?"
"No, just go on without me."
Axel propped his bike against the sidewalk, walking over to Demi.
"Hello there," She said happily, smiling at him cheerfully as he approached.
"We need to talk, now," Axel drew a cigarette from his pocket and lit it, his hands shaking nervously as he tried to calm his nerves.
"What is it, Axel?" She asked cutely, with a tilt of her head.
"Don't patronize me! You've got some sort of weird plan you are doing behind my back, don't you! Are you trying to get me killed? I should have known from the start that you were a member of the Resistance!" Axel pulled her off into an alleyway out of sight.
"Axel, what are you talking about? Calm down...what makes you think all of this?"
"The SS are watching me now! Me! I should've never helped you...I'm in danger now...all because of you!"
Tears began to well up in Demi's eyes as Axel let out his rage on her. He managed to stop himself, running a shaky hand through his hair as he moved closer to her.
"I'm so sorry...it's all too much to me. I'm just stressed out...I didn't mean to yell out you."
"You think I'm a partisan?" She asked, wiping the tears away from her eyes as she looked up at him.
"I don't know what to think. The SS said that if I ever saw you again that I was to inform them immediately. Just tell me this, how did you know the man that I killed?"
"He was a friend of my parents...I used to run errands for him."
"That's all? You're sure that is all?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
Axel managed to calm himself down a little; he felt that he had just gotten himself worked up and had carried things away.
"I'm so sorry...I didn't mean to get so angry," He reached forward and wiped one of her tears away.
"It's ok," She said, managing a smile. "Just promise you won't do it again."
"I won't do it again."
Demi stepped forward and pressed herself against Axel's chest. "You shouldn't scare someone like that."
The Corporal pushed her away, gripping her shoulders tightly as he looked into her eyes.
"You realize I can't see you again, right? It's much too dangerous...you've gotten me in too far over my head."
"Please Axel, don't do that. We can work out a way...in secret."
Axel shook his head as he removed his helmet and ran his fingers through his hair. "I can't believe I'm actually considering this."
"Tomorrow night then, at the bridge?"
"Yes...but it's against my will."
Demi laughed and gave the German a kiss on the cheek. "10 o'clock, don't be late."
Axel slowly made his way back to the barracks, his satchel empty, and his day complete. Night was upon the city and the streetlights were lit, illuminating his trek back onto the base. An officer had been shot in the back while visiting a local brothel and the area was on alert, so liberty for the evening was canceled. Axel was disappointed that he hadn't had the opportunity to get drunk, but he supposed going one night without drinking was better then a bullet to the back of the head. He stepped off his bike and walked it towards the gates, giving a casual greeting to one of the soldiers patrolling the perimeter on guard duty. As he approached the sentry post he noticed a man across the street leaning against a lamppost, watching the movement around the installation. They were just standing there, watching the base.
"Hey, you!" Axel cried.
The figure physically tensed as it was shouted at, before turning and running further into the shadows.
"See anything, Corporal Mölders?" The sentry asked.
"No...must've been nothing."
Axel watched the seconds tick away on his watch, waiting patiently on the little bridge. He had been thinking about his meeting all day, the thought filling him with some sort of bizarre anticipation, almost looking forward to the possible threat of being seen with a supposed Resistance member. He played it cool as he heard footsteps approaching, dropping his cigarette to the ground and grinding it into the pavement with the heel of his jackboot.
"I hope I didn't keep you waiting?"
"Of course not," Axel failed to mention he had arrived almost half an hour early, his anxiousness going through most of a pack of cigarettes.
Demi looped her arm through Axel's and directed them down the street as they began to walk, the young girl pressed up against the German soldier.
"What brings you to Paris, Axel?" She asked him.
"Luck I guess you would call it, I volunteered for the Infantry but ended up in the support wing doing auxiliary work. I've "fought" in this war for over a year and have been running messages the entire time."
"You sound like you aren't very thrilled...would you rather be fighting?"
"I guess there is a part of me that wants that, but I know I'm just being naïve. Our family has already had to suffer through the grief of front-line combat once during this god-awful war."
"I'm afraid I don't understand, my German is a little rusty..."
"My father...he was lost in the fighting at Leningrad."
"I'm terribly sorry," Demi rested her head on Axel's shoulder. "My father ran off to England after the fall...and left my Mother and I here."
Axel smirked, "At least you know that he is still alive."
"Tell me Axel...how do you feel about the war? About Hitler...the fighting...the invasions."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean do you believe that you are doing the right thing?"
Axel closed his eyes, his mind playing out its images of his father's death.
"I ask myself that question all the time...I can only hope that I'm doing the right thing."
"Do you feel that all of this is justified?"
"No, of course not. But that isn't my place to decide, I simply do what is asked of me."
"Axel," Demi stopped and turned to face the Corporal, placing her hands against his side. "Why continue...we've heard of the rumors, of the invasion. Why not get away from it while you still have the chance?"
"I couldn't do that...I couldn't abandon my friends."
"Not even as a favor?"
Axel smiled," "No, I doubt it."
He glanced down at his watch, almost an entire hour having passed since they had met.
"I'm going to be late for our curfew if I don't get back to base, I'm sorry I have to leave so soon."
"I'll come with you!" Demi insisted, taking a hold of Axel's arm as they began to run back in the direction of the installation.
Axel made use of his knowledge of the area's shortcuts, making it back in no time.
"It's almost 11:30, will you get in trouble?" Demi asked.
"No, I can slip by the sentries through a slip in fence...I'll be fine. I enjoyed tonight, Demi."
"As did I, Axel. Thanks for everything," Demi stood up on the tips of her toes and kissed Axel gently on the lips briefly before pushing him away. "Quickly, before you get in any trouble."
"Au revoir!" Axel whispered as he darted across the street and slipped into the base.
Axel awoke from yet another full night of sleep, absolutely refreshed after such a stressful day. He sat up in his bed and stretched, yawning a bit as he surveyed the squad bay.
Just then he could hear a large amount of commotion outside of the barracks building and all over the base. He could hear the guard running back and forth, yelling and shouting, their voices occasionally drowned out by a truck rumbling by. The other soldiers in the squad bay were begging to awake, the commotion growing louder and louder.
"Alarm! Alarm! Everyone up and dressed for the field at once! We are on full alert!" Kurt shouted as he ran into the barracks, still dressed in his sentry gear.
"What, what is all of this?" Axel asked.
"The allies! They finally did it! They've invaded!"
"At Normandy...the British, Americans, and Canadians...they're landing on the beaches."
"Have they gotten through?"
Kurt shook his head, moving back and forth nervously as he spoke. "They're being held on the beaches right now...but the initial reports say that it won't be for that long. The Panzer Divisions haven't even been sent out, but even when they do it won't be enough to hold them off at this point. Once they manage to break out, they'll be heading right in our direction."
"Are we mobilizing, are we being sent to the front?"
"No, we're retreating...orders are to evacuate the city before they all arrive...we're moving the headquarters back past the Siegfried line."
"Back into Germany!?" Axel shouted.
"Yes, we're abandoning the city...it's insane...the Resistance is fighting openly in the streets. Get your stuff...we have to be out of here shortly."
Kurt grabbed an extra ammo pouch off of his footlocker and ran out of the door, leaving Axel alone in the room. It was finally over, he thought. With the allies landing at Normandy, that would mean that Germany was surrounded. There was no way that the Reich could hold off three world powers.
Axel stood outside the main gate, standing guard while the first supply trucks began to pull out, loaded with weapons, ammo, furniture, equipment, and troops. In the distance he could hear the sounds of battle, rifle reports followed by the sounds of tank cannons gave an idea of how the battle was going. As Axel stood, smoking a cigarette nervously, Demi appeared from a side-alley across the street. Axel waved to her, and after glancing around quickly to make sure none of his superiors were watching, he ran across the street to meet her. As he approached she began to back away; she looked as if she was becoming aggravated.
"What are you doing here?" He asked.
"No, you must go...get out of here now...it isn't safe to be here!"
"What, what are you talking about, Demi?"
"Please, just do it, go!" She pushed him backwards and turned quickly, running back down the alley and out of Axel's view.
Just as she did, an explosion rocked the area, followed by several more smaller blasts. Axel was thrown forward against a building, his head smashing against the exposed brick. As he slipped into unconsciousness, Axel saw the base go up in flames.
Axel didn't know how long he had been out. He stood up, brushing some broken glass off of himself as he struggled to stay standing. His body ached all over. He reached up and touched the back of his head, glancing down at his hand to see that it was covered in blood. He shook off the light-headedness as best as he could as he tried to stay awake, knowing that if he blacked out again, he might not wake up.
The base was ablaze, fires burning uncontrollably around the entire area. Several trucks had been knocked over, their burning shells blocking the view of much of the rest of the base. Axel carefully stepped past the gate and took in his surroundings. The headquarters building was completely gone, its foundation and very little else remaining. Most of the barracks was caved in, and the second floor had collapsed. The fuel storage was nothing more than a large crater where the tanks once stood. The bodies of most of the remaining members of the company littered the ground, most of them burnt to an un-recognizable degree.
From the back of one of the devastated trucks, Axel heard someone moaning.
"Please, help me..."
Axel quickly ran to the back of the truck and dragged the wounded soldier out, placing him down on the ground so that he could see him. It was Kurt Hahn, almost unrecognizable due to his injuries.
"Axel...thank god you're alive..." He managed to choke out, his windpipe badly burned, air seeping out as he spoke.
Axel tried to sit him up, but the skin on his arms began to slide off, it was burnt so badly. Kurt screamed in pain, writhing about in Axel's arms as he tried to console him.
"I'm so sorry, Kurt...come on, you're tougher than this...you'll be alright."
"Yeah, you're right...this is nothing," Kurt trailed off as his life slipped away, his body falling limp in Axel's arms.
Axel set Kurt's body down onto the ground and stood up, wiping away his friend's blood on his uniform. He knew it was her now. It had to be.
Axel ran as fast as he could, cutting down alleyways and side streets as he tried to take the paths that she would have taken. He was consumed by a slew of new feelings, hate, rage, and an undying need for revenge. As he turned around a corner he spotted someone running in the distance.
"Stop right where you are, murderer!" He shouted, un-slinging his rifle and aiming quickly, just as she disappeared into another building.
Axel ran after her, kicking down the door as it was closed behind her. Demi ran to the other side of the building, a large warehouse, and tried to open the exit door, but it was locked from the outside.
The sounds of battle continued to fill the air as Axel clenched his fingers around his rifle, lifting it to his shoulder and aiming it at the terrified girl.
"You did it all...planned it all from the start...you killed all of them, you monster!"
"You said so yourself, Axel, 'It's just part of my job,' I was just doing what my country asked of me."
"Shut up. You used me...you used me just to keep the SS away from you and your partners. To buy you enough time to plant the explosives!"
"I did what was necessary...you would have done the same thing if you were in my position!" She pleaded from across the warehouse floor.
"You didn't have to do that...you didn't have to kill them all! They were leaving...we were pulling out of the city!"
"Axel, I didn't have any say in the matter...I was ordered to do it...just like you were ordered to kill my friend. Please, Axel...I'm sorry...I gave you the chance to get away from it all...Please..."
Axel lowered his rifle, thinking for a moment about what she was saying. Then he remembered Kurt, and quickly changed his mind. He raised the rifle and fired one well-aimed shot. Demi's face was frozen in a state of shock and pain, a slight whimper escaping her as a massive gout of blood poured forth from her chest. Axel ejected the empty shell casing and re-aimed, waiting for a moment before her life-less body dropped down to her knees, and then fell over onto the floor. Axel's job was done.
Axel stepped back into the remnants of the barracks, taking a seat on his charred bed. His area was one of the only parts of the barracks left intact. He un-slung his rifle and placed it on his lap.
"I'm sorry..." He said to himself. "I let all of this happen to you...I should've seen through this. It's all my fault."
Axel looked around at the remnants of the base, most of them still smoking. He wondered why out of his entire uneventful military career all of this had to happen to him in the span of a few days. He thought of his father among other things, and how a teenager had managed to mislead him and caused him to fail in his duties, resulting in the deaths of so many of his comrades. The tears welled up in his eyes as he dropped his face into his hands, the guilt building up inside. He could hear French voices inside the perimeter of the voice, members of the Resistance, coming to survey their kill. He could picture his body strung up upside down in a public square if they caught him alive. Without any further thought, the young German Corporal un-holstered his sidearm, put it to his temple, and pulled the trigger.