Okay...another revision...as you may or may not have seen on my profile page, I am slowly revising The Angel, but, since I'm doing so well on it, it's Edward & Alice that is more likely to be finished first...I've been meaning to revise this for some time, as I've tied up a few loose ends and swept a lot of the useless stuff under the carpet...I've reinvented the Braun brothers, well, mainly Sven and Raimund :) Its going to have chapters varying between third and first person, and when it's first person, it's being narrated by our lovely Sven :)
Full Summary: A lone wolf is far more dangerous than a pack one. Matthias Braun, loved by the Luftwaffe and feared by the Allied forces. His ruthless, viscous aerial assaults rarely result in anything but an Allied loss. Dishonest, terrifying, merciless, and oozing with arrogance and good-looks, Braun supposedly has it all. But he is a young man living on borrowed time; a curse of the blood ravages his insides. As Hitler's Reich and everything in it begins to collapse, Braun runs; from his country, his home, his family and from the terrible crimes he committed. He leaves what remains of his shattered friends and relatives to pick up the pieces. And as the story of the man known as The Lone Wolf passes into legend, his whereabouts are uncertain. A story that spans almost two decades, where the legend of such a renowned fighter is born, and then reborn again.
If it's a crap summary, I apologise :)
I give you...
The Lone Wolf
Prologue: The Arrogant
The elderly man's knees groaned in protest as he bent down onto the dusty floor boards beneath him. For his ninety years, he was still quite agile, and when his great-grandchildren asked him why, he said it was all the exercise he had been made to do as a child. It had been so routine to him, yet whenever he had been asked to recall his time, he often found that it had slipped his mind. A fleeting memory instead of a solid one.
The man felt the lines on his face lift, his old, thin lips curving into a smile as he pulled out the large, somewhat heavy, wooden box in front of him. It was old, very old, according to the man's late father, it had been hand carved in 1854 and had passed down the family until it, eventually, was resting in the gnarled, cultivated hands of the man in the present. Catching the golden latch on the box, the elder felt the hot summer sun coming in from the rafters above him, bringing back the memories of a young adulthood spent on the hot fields of France, sunning himself on the wings of his plane.
Looking down for a moment, the man saw his hand as it once was. Not old, with liver spots and veins bulging out, not thin with spindly fingers and yellow nails. But young, young and strong, with wonderful power and flexibility. The grubby, aged gold of his wedding band was now a gleaming fresh metal, still hot from where it had been on the smithy's anvil.
Blinking again, the man realised it was just a dream.
His finger tips tingled as the contents of the box brushed past his skin. Postcards, newspaper cuttings, letters, telegrams, even sketches. But what moved the man the most was the collection of black and white photographs, with dates and places scrawled onto the backs with pencil. There were many places; Amiens, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Moscow, Stalingrad, Smolensk, Kursk, Belgrade, and more. They were of various things; landmarks, skylines, mountains, houses, even of trivial things such as breakfast plates. But there were also pictures of the people.
People whose faces would remain the same forever.
As the eyes of those he knew stared out at him, sparkling in the reflection of a long set sun, the old man raised a hand to his face and felt the creases fade, the years disappear, and the memories again became reality.
They were calling him back.
"Sven," the old man heard his name.
From the voice of someone long dead.
"Sven...," Matthias called him again.
"Happy Weihnachten!" I awoke to the seasonal greetings of the ever optimistic Lutz. Blinking, I opened my eyes to see him standing at the open door, wearing nothing but his great coat, trousers, vest and socks.
"Happy Weihna-," my reply was abruptly stopped as Lutz threw a ball of snow into my face. The cold snowflakes quickly melted and ran down the side of my cheek, dripping down my neck and below my vest onto the skin of my stomach.
"Come on, you should see the snow, it's better than what we get at home!" Lutz jumped and ran back out of the room, beckoning me to follow him. I got up slowly, aware that my body hadn't fully adjusted to the Russian climate. The snowfall here could be so great that sometimes it came up to your knees. Rather different to the warm conditions we'd experienced last year stationed at our usual base in Amiens.
I pulled my thick woollen socks onto my feet and the stuffed my feet into my grubby, not so shiny leather boots. Deciding that I'd be a bit warmer than Lutz, I yanked a jumper over my head and then swung my greatcoat round my shoulders.
Then, it suddenly hit me as I splashed ice cold water over my face in the makeshift mess hall and headed toward the large group mucking about like children in the snow. If it was Weihnachten. Then it was December 24th.
I ran out into the bitter Russian morning, my teeth beginning to chatter as I sunk into the snow and trudged over to the group, which was headed by Wolfram Scheperson and Gerhard Scholz. Lutz and the other younger boys were pushing one another into the snow and laughing, some were making snow angels and some were throwing snowballs at one another. It was rather funny to see them acting like five year olds when, the next day, we'd be back shooting down the Russians.
Scholz, the squadron's self appointed sage, stood with his fur coat wrapped around him. I always swore it was a woman's coat. His wooden pipe hung out of the side of his mouth and he flashed his white teeth into a smile as I approached.
"Oh, morning Sven," Scholz muttered as I walked up, puffing on his pipe he nodded "Happy Weihnachten."
"Same to you," I replied, the wind suddenly picking up and blowing freezing air into my face. I pulled the collar of my great coat up as to some protection and turned to Wolfram Scheperson, who stood opposite Scholz and at a right angle to Bernhard Weiss.
"Where's Raimund?" I asked of my little brother.
"Over there," Wolfram pointed with a gloved hand to where a group of younger boys bundled in the snow. Squinting, I could just distinguish the flaxen blonde hair of Raimund from the white landscape.
"And Matthias?" My eyes travelled over Wolfram, Weiss and Scholz.
"Sahib?" Scholz scoffed, using his self-imposed nickname for my other brother Matthias "Nobody's seen him since last night."
I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as Scholz laughed and continued "You never know, the Soviets might have done us a favour and shot him in the back of the head!" He let out a cackle and found himself rather amusing.
"Hey, don't say that," I could usually cope with Scholz's taunting of Matthias, I often agreed with him, but not on his birthday.
"Why not?" Scholz turned on me, his piercing green eyes resembling a hawk as he stared at me "What are you going to do to me?"
"I'll make sure you don't go home in two weeks," I found myself growling into Scholz's face, my hands gripping the slippery collar of his fur coat.
"Bloody thing!" I turned, letting go of Scholz, as I heard that familiar shout.
Peering out into the white, I could see a figure kicking the life out of a truck. Turning away, the figure started to head toward us.
"Damn," I heard Scholz mutter as we realised that it was Matthias coming towards us "Sahib's still alive."
I waved to Matthias, flailing my arms around so he'd see me.
"I can see you, Sven, idiot!" Matthias shouted "I'm not blind!"
"Might as well be," Scholz muttered to Weiss, supposedly under his breath "The rate he's going with the no kills, Goering will come up here and shoot him himself!"
I turned sharply and shot Scholz a glare; whilst I didn't like to admit it, I was overprotective of Matthias, though if I'd told him that, he would've never spoken to me again.
I was the big brother. And he was the little one.
"Right, everybody!" Wolfram, Matthias' best friend, gathered all the boys together and whispered "When Matthias approaches, we sing happy birthday, yes?"
"Why does he get happy birthday?" Scholz's pipe almost fell out of his mouth in horror "I never got it when it was mine."
"Because nobody likes you, Gerhard" Wolfram smirked at Scholz as Raimund bounded over and stood next to me, his cheeks and nose red from the cold.
Matthias' form had now appeared through the snow. He was wearing his short, dark brown leather jacket, and as he clambered through the snow, his hands were plunged into his pockets and his mahogany brown hair was fluttering in the wind.
When he finally approached, the squadron, including a reluctant Scholz, sang him happy birthday.
"Alright, alright," Matthias brushed off the birthday congratulations "Whatever. It may be my birthday and I may be twenty but that doesn't mean that the rest of you can't celebrate with me," he stood with his hands on his hips and pointed to the deserted car "I've got some drink in there for anyone who can be bothered to go and haul it back here."
At the mention of drink, half of the squadron, including Scholz, raced over, hoping to be the first to reach the crates of alcohol.
"Animals, the lot of them," Matthias concluded as he came to stand next to me and Wolfram.
"Takes one to know one," Wolfram's eyes glittered as he teased Matthias, before offering him his hand "Congratulations, Matthias. Twenty years old."
"I know," Matthias raised his eyebrows "I'll be an old man soon."
I remember laughing at that, thinking that Matthias would never ever be an old man, and if he was, he'd be a wonderfully unique one.
How wrong I was.
Matthias lifted his chin and stood next to me, watching Scholz and the others run towards the motor and clown around on it. He said nothing.
He seemed different that day; more mellow. But rest assured he would return to the arrogant little bastard that I loved.
I think if he didn't, then I would've been more worried.
Done! I'm happy with that. What did you guys think? For those who've read the original, which is better? And do you like the third person thing? Let me know!