If you play with fire, you will burn.

Essay by behemothHigh School, 10th gradeB-, February 2007

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It was soon. The soon was going to come very soon. How I knew that I did not know but the fact was that it was going to happen Sunday. Sunday noon to be precise; that gave me exactly 24 hours starting from now. I would have to start praying soon. Who shall I pray for? The Jews in Warsaw? But what about the Jews in Kalisz? Yes, I most probably shall have to pray for them as well.

It was unearthly. How did they expect that from us? A paranoid commander who had us peering through the mist for every hour of the day? It must seem like I was destined for this 'soon'. Just the thought of twelve of us posted in our own choking little cave in the middle of the swamps. Who was going to want to fight for that hell?

The train was rumbling into a station.

Next to us was another train passing on its way into the frozen wastelands to the various static front lines. The mechanical 'For Our Fatherland' echoed off the tin interior. These men, the ones with the Swastika hammered onto their foreheads and with the Fuhrers words encrypted into their system, were the ones who would die with a clear conscience. We were very different from them: from our shackles which restricted us to the various horrors embedded in our memory. They would die for the Fatherland, for the Reich, and for its fervent nationalism.

Mostly it was inevitable. The claustrophobia, the nerves, the unnatural splashes in the murky swill, his habits, in the end it all gets to you, you know? So the day when I shot him in the back and saw his body splash dully into the shallows, straightening with little jerks, was the day...