#WritersWednesday: October 3 – He’s always close, and he knows I know

 He turns up in the most unexpected places, always in a different disguise, sometimes charming, sometimes hideous: but I have never failed to recognise him. When I finally meet my Maker, I will ask Him how it is that that creature can be left free to roam and spy on people at will, and I really look forward to His answer – Him willing.

I am restless at times, often when the moon is full: so I get up, awake, taking care not to wake her up, my sweet angel deep asleep. If the weather allows I open the bay window on the terrace, and I look at the sky, listen to the stars. Last night I heard some movement in the shadows of the garden. At first I did not pay much attention: the garden is alive with small animals at night, foxes, hedge hogs, frogs, mice and all types of insects, and of course night birds… The noise persisted, it sounded like some leaves being lightly scattered on a wooden floor.

So I put on my shoes and started walking in the noise direction, closing the window behind me – just in case. I rarely carry any weapon, and indeed the only gun in the house is my old Mauser, a relic of Africa, which never leaves my soldier’s canteen in the loft. This is a quiet neighbourhood, not a burglary in ten years we have been living here, and, besides, I fear no-one! I stood by the edge of the little pond, the noise had stopped. I walked down the small grassy slope, where the shadows are deeper.

As I turned towards the full moon, I saw him: a smaller version of his usual self, as he had taken the shape of a sad, very small girl. She had been playing in the leaves, making that soft noise I first heard from the terrace. She looked at me and said in a tiny girl’s voice: “I lost my way Sir”. And of course I replied: “No you have not, and I know perfectly well who you are!” She said nothing, looking at the ground, the little face sadder than ever.

I felt a sudden chill: “Go away, I recognise you whatever shape you wear, I am not your dupe”, I snapped, as I walked away. As I got to the terrace I heard small cries in the bushes, near the pond, at the bottom of the garden.

In the morning I checked the patch where I saw him, there was no trace, but I found nearby the remains of a disarticulated rag doll, half eaten by the foxes.

Photographs: © Sybil, petite sorcière, and Nouvelle Arrivée, by cfyrch on Flickr

#AtoZChallenge: April 18 – P is for Panzer

The year is 1942. At night he sleeps under his tank, wrapped in a light blanket. But then it is still only autumn. In the morning he washes in cold icy water, polishes his boots, oils his Mauser, and talks to his men, before they resume their journey, further East.

They worship him. He is a decorated hero, and hates the thugs who rule his country, and have sent them all to war, in this immensity. Yet he is a member of an elite caste: an officer, a knight. He wears his iron cross with pride, as his father has done before him.

He looks at the map. Only 100km from Stalingrad.

A prisoner of war, after Paulus’ s surrender, he will die in Siberia, of cold and starvation.

So doomed knights fade into the night.

General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the Ger...
General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the German Sixth Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)