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What I've Become
My eyes burn as the smell of human flesh cook, the skin melting off the bones. The dead eyes scream at me as they fall out of their sockets and onto the other melted bodies. The remains start to melt into one and then to ash. The hair on my arms are singed from standing too close, and tears flow down my eyes from the stench of death. I can’t decide between living and breathing. I knew all of these people. All 400. I killed a boy and his mother, the ones who changed my life. This is what I had become, a murderer, but I saved others in the process. I had never even held a gun until two weeks ago.
My hands are shaking as I point my gun at a human for the first time. I just received my gun that morning. I thought I looked impressive, powerful, with it, but now as I’m pointing my barrel at a father, his screaming wife, and son around my sister’s age, I feel a change in me. I don’t think the boy understands the situation. He just sitting there as calm as can be.
“Vroom! Vroom!” I scream, pushing Papa’s wine bottles like the cars I saw outside. The bells on the door rung, and looking up I see a man I have never seen before. His friend is wearing the same brown clothes as him. They talk to Papa harshly, but I don’t know what they are saying.
“Schatzie, come here!” Mama called. Running to her, I trip over my pretend cars which cause one of the strange men to yell at me. He started yelling louder, and Mama helped me up. Now Mama is screaming back.
The other man who isn’t yelling, held up his gun. He points it at Papa, and Mama grabs me by the shoulder toward her. She is crying as she covered my eyes, and I heard a loud bang. One of the men picks me up, and Mama cries louder, yelling incoherent words through her sobs. Mama falls to the floor sobbing. The other man, the one that was always yelling, grabs Mama by the arm making her yelp in pain. Why was she crying? Where did Papa go? I don’t see him standing behind the counter.
I take her son to the truck and put him in the back with the rest of the Jews. The drive there is bumpy, mostly because my hands are still shaking from killing my first Jew. I can still hear his wife crying and see her tearing her clothes and praying to her God.
Mama is still crying. I want her to stop. I don’t like it when she is sad. This is my first time in a real truck. I wish Papa was here with us. Why didn’t those men bring Papa in the truck?
I just can’t seem to get that’s woman’s face out of my mind. Her whole life seemed to end before her eyes. I stop the truck for we have finally reached the camp. Opening my door, I made my way towards the back where the Jews are kept.
The Jews pile out of the truck and only two remain. I help the woman out of the truck, her eyes were red from crying. She looked into my eyes and said, “I forgive you.” She quickly shuffled off, then ran back realizing she forgot the boy.
As he climbs into her arms, he looks at me and smiled. “Thank you for the ride, Herr.”
I don’t know what to say. I destroyed their family and took them from their home, yet they still showed me kindness. Jews don’t seem to be as bad as I was told.
“Here, put these on,” ordered the tall man from the truck and threw striped pajamas at me. They were quite dirty and smelled funny.
“Thank you, Herr,” I uttered, being polite like Mama always told me to be.
The man stares at me for a second, confused. Then something in the man’s eyes lightened. They seemed to soften. He gave me a warm smile; then he realizing what he was doing, and his eyes went cold and dark again.
“Come, shatzie,” Mama commanded as another man, dressed as the first, yelled at us to get a move on. She took me by the hand and guide me back outside. Everyone is wearing the same striped pajamas.
“This is where you will stay,” barked the yelling man.
“Thank you,” I responded again respectfully.
The man gave me a glare and stormed off. Mama patted my back. “Everything is going to be alright.” I believe her but wonder why the man never said “you are welcome.”
For some reason, I am able to walk around, harassing and abusing all of the Jews as expected, but when it comes to this boy and his mother my heart seems to melt. They stay positive even though they are living in a labor camp, being beaten and pushed to do more than one could handle. The little boy is always saying please and thank you, he is friends with just about every Jew in the camp. I’m not the only German that has a soft spot for him and his mother. Even some of other Nazis show feelings towards her. She is by far the most beautiful creature in this camp. When she works, her long silky jet black hair sways in the wind. Her hands are gentle as she sorts through the rubble. The way she moves and talks, she is just stunning. The others talk about how she would make a fine wife. Then the Sargent yells at us about how “we can’t mix with those animals.”
The Furior decreed that we Germans can not reproduce with the Jews. It just feels so different with her. How can such a attractive creature be so horrible? Maybe i’m just going crazy. That’s it. The Jews are just trying to soften me so that they can live. I won’t let down the Furior though! I’ll kill them all myself if I have to.
Mama’s hair isn’t as soft as it used to be. I push my fingers through her hair to get all of the tangles out. “Mama, will you come out and play with me?”
Coughing hard, she quietly says, “Not today my love.” She rolls over in the dirty small cot and coughs some more. She has been sick for a while now. She is getting hotter everyday, even though the air is cold now. She keeps on saying Papa’s name and how she will see him soon.
Going through the list again, I make sure that all those incapable of work are on. Just making minor adjustments by adding two people to the list. Walking down to the Sargent, I smirk at my new additions to the list. “The inventory of those being moved, Herr.” Looking it over, he nods and gives me the order to carry it out. With the boy and his mother now added to the list, I am overjoyed with the command. Her beauty and kindness made me question the Furior, and now that all the weak and sick are being moved to the death camps, it is a perfect time to eliminate my temptation.
Being shoved and pushed around I keep on falling to the dirt, the train car squeezes a lot of us Jews together to the point where there is nowhere to sit. Mama picked me up and set me on the car. Then she was pulled up and we were pushed to the middle. More and more people were climbing on and it was starting to get more crammed and it was getting hotter. Suddenly, the big door shut with a bang. The train whistled. I’ve never been on a train before.
I can just smell death in the air. Such a sweet smell. I want to see my temptation shrivel away and die. Hitler is my Furior. My God! He will be so proud of me. I brush off the dirt from my uniform as the train comes to a stop. Walking over to the car doors, I open the first door and the smell that comes out is worse than death. The Jews start to fall out, and one fell on top of me. He shuffles off and apologizes. I whip out my gun and shoot him. My second victim. This time it felt good. I look around and want to shoot them all, so I start firing until I run out of bullets.
Waking up to a bright light, people start to shout and push. I curl up into a ball as people start to step over me. A lot of them are tripping over me and the others that are on the ground. “Mama?”
“David?” I hear her yell.
“Mama!” I’m scared. The light is too bright, I can’t see. I feel a tug on my arm. Looking up I only see a shadow of a face. The sun is too bright, so I gaze back down.
“Come, schatzie,” Mama’s words gently ease my muscles. She picks me up and jumps off the train. I take in a deep breath of air. This camp smells worse, not as bad as the train but worse than the last place we stayed at. My pajamas are really dirty, but I hear one of the men in the brown suits say that we get to take a shower. I’ve never taken a shower before, I just take baths. I’m scared that I’ll get soap in my eyes.
I lead the old and the weak. I feel powerful knowing their futures. They don’t even know what’s coming. Opening the heavy metal doors, I bark at the smelly dogs to strip and put all of their shoes in one pile and clothes on the racks. “It’s shower time.”
Mama takes my hand as all of us enter another big room. I look around that tall room, and I don’t see any shower heads like the one in Mama and Papa’s bathroom. The big doors close. I don’t like people seeing me naked. Mama always said to stay covered.
People start to shout, demanding where the water was. Mama sits down. She is still very sick. A scary sound pops above me then it hisses like a snake. I look up and see a cloud of smoke. It smells funny. Some people start scratching at the door and try climbing up the walls. Many start screaming. Scared, I drop to the floor next to Mama. I tell her that I don’t want to shower anymore. She doesn’t respond or even move, so I lay next to her and try to fall asleep.
Finally, the cries stop. These people just complain all day long. Opening the doors just a bit to let the gas clear out, I start chuckling at the good I have done. Temptation is gone. Dead! I’m free. Germany is free. I start to drag out the lifeless bodies, and I just can’t help but smile. We shave off everyone’s hair. When I get to David and his mother, I shave their hair like all the other Jews. But I can’t just stop there. I shave off their skin. Tare out their eyes that hypnotized me into second guessing Herr Hitler. I brake their bones and enjoyed hearing them crack and seeing them bend in ways unnatural. Then I throw them on top of the rest. Lighting the soulless beasts on fire, I watch in awe.
My eyes burn as the smell of human flesh cooks, the skin melting off the bones. The dead eyes scream at me as they fall out of their sockets... This is what I had become, a murderer, but I saved others in the process, Germany. “Hail Hitler!”