Okay, since I can't bring myself to update the original, I decided to revise it :P Same story-line, same characters, but hopefully better writing and story construction :) Starts as the original did, with a diary entry from our dear old Oskar, but a longer one :) Enjoy again, my friends...
...The Angel Waiting at Hell's Gate
And if you want to set the mood, I listened to Vladimir's Blues by Max Richter when writing this. Beautiful inspiration :)
Prologue: For Sacred Germany
January 10th 1939
I shouldn't be up at this hour, the doctor says it isn't good for me.
But I am a doctor, am I not?
Lucine would have my head if she realised that I was up at this ungodly time.
She'd tut, roll her eyes, and leave me here.
If she only knew.
If she only knew the reason why I was up at this time.
Then, maybe, she would understand why.
The light of my life.
The better half of my sullen, broken heart.
Whoever said the greatest pain to be felt was losing your soul mate had obviously never had a child.
Because, if they had, I believe that they would rethink their words.
But whoever said that the no parent should have to bury their child.
They were correct.
It's sleeting outside now, I can see the droplets on the window pane.
If I peer close enough, I can also see small, helpless snowflakes pasted to the glass, slowly melting as the heat from the warm, cosy inside pane collided and overtook the cold, slower air from the outside.
Is that all we are, as human beings, are we nothing more than snowflakes?
Waiting for the heat from the fiery chasms of hell, to come and claim us as their own?
I always thought we were more than that.
More than just specks of dust.
But now I realise we are nothing but.
Like our ancestors stretching back through the millennia, we are nothing more than bones, which will eventually be ground to dust, and fall back into the rich tapestry of life and its continuum.
Our lives a but a brief moment, a brief thread in said tapestry.
And when we die, that thread of our lives is removed and another thread is woven in its place.
And we will be forgotten.
For the most part.
Our bodies will turn to naught but ash, and as the memory of us is ebbed away as people who knew us also are woven out of the tapestry of life, we become no more than a headstone on a patch of earth.
There is a bible in this room, during a spell of irate, passionate grief I opened it.
Do you know what I came across?
Malachi Chapter 4 Verse 6.
"He will turn the hearts of their Fathers to their children, and the children to their Fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
I am not a God fearing man.
I am far from it.
I always used to believe, however much the sciences, with which I am heavily involved, tried to prove the world wrong.
And it often did.
I still believed, as many people do, that there is some great celestial, all-knowing being watching over every single human, whether they be rich or poor, kind or cruel.
But at this moment, I now believe in the absolute certainty of death, and that no matter how hard people pray to their 'God', whatever a 'God' may be defined as, there is no escape from that inevitable, absolute certainty that one day, whenever that may be, we will slip from this world into the veil between life and whatever life-after-death in which you believe.
Some of us slip far too early.
Others far too late.
And for some, they feel the need to disappear behind that veil.
Whilst others fight against it.
Julia never fought.
Though I don't think she ever had time to accept.
Nor do I think she ever would've wanted to.
Her smile, her broad, happy, genuine smile.
That is one of the many happy, glorious memories which I will take from the short time we shared on this earth.
And it was such a beloved time.
Such a cherished time.
But, I suppose, I should be grateful in the fact that she is the only one of my children who will never grow up.
The only one who will never have to make life's most difficult decisions.
The only one who will remain mine.
She went quietly, as always, barely made a sound... I think had it not been for her cold skin against mine, I would not have noticed.
People often say that the dead look peaceful.
She definitely did.
Like a fallen angel.
Pale skinned except for rose tinted cheeks and lips, her golden hair brushed neatly back behind her elfin ears, framing her beautiful, tender face.
It were as if she were sleeping, not dead.
I often wondered whether any of the patients who die under my care feel pain, and if I conclude that they do, I wish them the greatest of relief on their journey to wherever their souls pass beyond this life.
It's funny that I used to think of that place as heaven, but now, I am not so sure.
But for her...I wished for her... my darling girl... I wished for her not to leave me at all.
Not to leave the comfort and safety of my warm embrace, not to leave the wonderful, happy world to where she had been sent.
I watched the light leave her eyes, I felt the warm leave her skin, I smelt her sweet scent disappear, yet desperately linger on the contours of her skin, I heard her final breath escape her lips, I tasted the bitter pain of loss as I sensed her body give out one last heave and her liberated soul passed through mine.
My worn, difficult soul which is still trapped in the incarcerating structure that is the human form.
But, there is one thing that I am most certain of, as our souls touched for the first, and final, time.
I felt a warmth run through my body.
Through every fissure of my being, to the tips of my hair and the depth of my legs.
I felt unexplainable warmth.
I am most certain that that was her final goodbye.
If you ask anyone who knows me as the man, not the professional, they will tell you that I do cry, that I do shed a tear or two.
Often at meagre things, like the new baby birds as the chirrup in amongst the blossoms and fresh leaves of the spring, like the day old gangling colt foal as he stumbles on still uneasy legs toward his ever waiting, ever patient mother.
But now, for me, there is no reason to cry at the bird or the colt.
There is no reason, no reason why I should cry at such pleasantries.
I have lost someone who was a half of me.
My darling Julia.
Who is now gone.
Not gone to a better place, no, the best place for her is down here in the protective love of family.
Not gone to be free of pain, because she never though herself in it.
Not gone to save someone else, because who else is there to save but her darling self?
Not gone...not gone...for committing some kind of sin because she had none...she was perfect...in every way...in every light...she was my darling.
And no one can ever, ever take her away from me.
Not now, not ever.
As the beauty and elegance of the world which I love, of the country which I was once proud to call my homeland, as the false gossamer curtain is lifted to reveal to horrific scars underneath, can I not just have one piece of serenity in this world?
The serenity that comes with being a father; loving and being loved in return?
I suppose not.
But, then, as my dear friend Dr. von Lessner knows, and has often reminded me...
...very few of us get what we really want in this cruel, bitter game called life.
And, finally, I feel that my cards have finally been played. My die have finally been cast.
My piece has finally reached the end of the board.
What is there left for me?
But to wallow in my grief and watch as my beloved Deutschland falls under its darkest clouds.
Or to make a stand, and do what is right by the entire human race? To stop the barbaric acts against these peoples who have done no harm, inflicted upon them by those whom I know.
Those whom I thought I loved.
I think I shall do that.
Until she comes for me.
And I can finally see her beloved, sweet face again.
Dr. Oskar Keller
Hope you enjoyed :) Reviews much appreciated and repaid! :) I tried to have a mix of emotions considering Oskar has just (literally) lost Julia, for you original readers, I know you know all about her, but for any new readers, do you think Julia will play a part in the story?
Until next time...