The surrounding country side of waving grass rattled and wheezed; but the hedgerows blocked the light wind of the early morning from hitting Him. The small mound of hill that rose up behind the back of the barn cradled the building in its embrace and the wet smell of upturned dirt wafted around the area. All dressed in brown dyed wool that scratched against their knees and elbow creases, just like his did. They had come to rest here in front of the farm after having been marched down some miles of road with their hands on their heads and their guns stripped of their holsters. There was dried blood and bandages amongst the mass of men, the smell of defeat hung upon their muddied boots.
He gazed at them over the rim of His silver glasses and remained silent as the grave like he always was. He had been ordered to stand here with one of the machine gun teams as He seemed the perfect candidate. He had no proper emotional drive, so what he was about to do would leave no mark on him, the officers had said. The two guns had been set up on opposite edges of the hill and were originally pointed out as if protecting the prisoners and captors. It was a farce, for as soon as the last man in the line came to rest, their barrels turned toward the crowd with smiling teeth of pot-holed iron. Infantryman rifles turned as well. He raised his.
99 pairs of eyes raised themselves in fear.
He exhaled. The release. It flowed down his body, trickling water down his forehead, beading at his shoulders and creeping down to his hands as he freed his thoughts. The trigger gasped as he choked it. It only took a millisecond for the pin to drop, to ignite the powder and send the bullet shooting out of the barrel of the gun. The cold wood of the stock sprang back and collided with his shoulder as he fired into the throng of scared and frightened men in front of him.
There was nowhere for them to run and for that he knew he should pity them, though nothing quite like that stirred in his chest when watching the young men cry in desperation. There was something so very interesting how they clawed over each other like desperate dogs, letting those who were most wounded drop in puddles of their own blood and bone matter. Spring flowers of crimson red blossomed across fields of brown khaki. He didn't stop firing for war had come to his mind and he had become obsessed with his own embrace of destruction.
How He wished at times that He could be one of those 99 in brown, clawing away at the wall of the barn as the bullets came flying into their skulls. That was what brought him out here, his former need to meet death. What he had been doing back home had festered within him and now he had been sent to fight as a break. Now he was back to pandering death. These men in brown, before their capture, fought back. It jolted him with the adrenaline rush, unlike before where he would have to sit and wait and watch and let them die under his hands. All men died the same.
When the clip popped he did not stop firing. He kept pulling the trigger and the barrel kept clicking, wailing at him that it was empty. He didn't stop even as the laugh of the machine gun faded from his ears and silence descended upon the group. There was 99 of them, he had to fire 99 times to make sure to put everyone of those men out of their misery. It was grating on his ears to listen to them in their death throes. The rifle kept coughing away as he meticulously aimed it at every body, still pulling the trigger, re-cocking and pulling the trigger again. The bodies of those killed were fallen limply upon one another as though simply resting, but the aerated holes spoke otherwise. Red and brown and green of grass.
99 dead, one less than 100.
"Dieter." Suddenly there was a harsh jolt to the gun barrel as the Officer shoved it skyward.
His concentration broke then as he tilted his eyes to the man, almost offended that he had done so. He had not fired all the times he needed to yet, there was still 76 more shots to be had before he could complete the task. His finger still held close to the gun, fondling it softly in its wooden stock and wheezing barrel. They didn't let him finish, that snipped of knowledge fell into his brain and began to settle, forcing out the vision of the 99 men, one less than 100, dead on the ground in front of him.
He still needed to fire 76 times.