|What I Want
Author: Mythisea PM
A short narrative about a young French girl living near the Western Front.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Family - Words: 936 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 03-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2901414
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is just a short story I wrote for U.S. History class homework. The assignment was to write a World War I narrative. I don't really want to end this note with "enjoy"... Well then, thank you for reading! Commentary welcome, on anything from me not getting facts right to comments on my writing style (: There's a glossary of non-English sentences used at the end. Anything with a * beside it is listed and translated. I did try to stick to more common phrases though.
And this story is FICTIONAL, for ENTERTAINMENT ONLY. I'm not trying to put any nationality down with this, it's historical fiction from the point-of-view of a naive young girl. Please keep that in mind!
There is no stop. The noise is an endless barrage pounding on my ears. The movement is an endless heaving below my feet. Whistling, crashing, and shaking. Whistling, crashing, and shaking. Again and again! Is this but a world of constant whistling, crashing, and shaking, forever? If not, then why, oh why, will it never stop?
Wait, a pause?
The noise, it fades to a faraway murmur. The Earth is still as it takes a moment to rejuvenate itself.
"Comment allez-vous, Emma?*" My mother's honey voice washes over me, asking how I am. She is still alive! I am still alive.
"I am unhurt. And you?" Who does that voice belong to? Me? It must be mine. But when did my voice become so raspy, so foreign to me? When did it become so full of fear?
"I am okay as well. I am okay." Her voice is so close to me. It wraps me in comfort that only a mother can provide. It is a light, a beacon, a hope in the darkness of this inescapable war.
What once was a proud nation is now being torn to bits by the Germans with their guns, soldiers, and sheer cruelty. No Frenchman is safe here, out on the Western Front.
Yes, the Western Front. That is all we are now. We are only a front for the soldiers of this war to kill each other on. A front my brother Jean died on. A front my father still fights on.
The noise resumes. The steadily louder sounds threaten to engulf us, to blot out what is left of us entirely. Oh God, when will it ever end? All I want is for me and Mama to not be cowering in fear as bombs detonate so close to our home, for Papa to come back to us and his old job, for my brother to be alive again.
A whistle louder than any previous splits the air. A deafening boom shatters any sense of peace we had in our isolated space. Glass flies everywhere. Silence settles over the room. The air around me is still. Why is there blood splattered on my arm? I pause for courage.
"Ça va?*" A quavering voice fills the void surrounding me. But I remember this time; it is my own voice.
No one answers.
Shouting comes from outside. Footsteps are coming closer, probably trampling what is left of the Christmas Roses Mama and I planted so long ago. Were they even roses? I can not remember now; it has been too long. The door bursts open. 5 men crowd inside, words rush at me in a tongue I do not speak. What are these strange men, perhaps soldiers, saying?
"Ein junges Mädchen. Was für ein Glück.*" One man steps forward. He looks haggard, beaten by worry, but he still has energy to smile. I do not think I like this smile.
I start as my back hits the wall. When did I begin backing away? The man, the leader, is he? He is walking toward me. His boots are worn, broken-in and decorated in material from places I can not imagine, unwanted souvenirs from horrors I can not fathom. But now, as his boots softly, almost delicately, crunch the glass shards scattered about and soak in my mother's blood while stepping over her body and toward me, now I know what a few of the souvenirs on his boots belong to. What they stand for. I will never wear boots again.
"Don't be afraid, petite fille,*" French, I know French. "You must understand. You are property of Germany now. As such, you must help us, the soldiers, in any way you can. Trench life is hard, you see, unbearably tough on a soldier. We miss out on so many things. This war is cruel to our needs. It is your duty to give us reprieve."
Do not be afraid?
It is my duty?
These words fall on deaf ears, for mine have already heard their fill. My ears have heard stories; hushed whispers of women who have disappeared in the night. I know what it is these soldiers seek. It is my duty? I do not consider their wishes that.
The Great War has finally caught me. There is nowhere left to run. There is nowhere left to hide. No way to stop him as he takes my chin in his hand.
I want this Great War to be over.
I want Mama and Papa and Jean back.
I want my life to be mine again.
I want to live to be sixteen.
1. "Comment allez-vous, Emma?" -- "How are you, Emma?"
2. "Ça va?" -- "You okay?"
3. "Ein junges Mädchen. Was für ein Glück." -- "A young girl. What luck."
4. "petite fille" -- "little girl"