Out of the Past
A German. A servant. A man of order.
The war destroyed my country. The aftereffects demoralized my people. When I was young, I grew up in a rural town that went from thriving to scavenging. We became a group of animals desperate for the next day’s meal. I was little more than a beast.
Now we are more. Now I am an officer of the Reich. We are rebuilding ourselves to be more than we ever were before. We are proud again. We are together. And we will be so much more.
I have worries, of course. Rumblings from the people and the upper party. But these things do not affect me. I know my duty, and I intend to do it. Nothing else matters.
What is the worst thing I have ever done: There were times after the war when I was suffering. The destruction was rampant, and my hunger great. When I had to, I stole. I fought. For nothing more than to satisfy myself, and my own needs.
What is the worst thing I can imagine myself doing: Acting like an animal ever again. Running away from my duty out of fear. Striking someone out of anger. Stealing for hunger. Going so far as to kill because I don’t have the strength to do the right thing.
What is the worst thing I can imagine someone else doing: The wrongs I have committed were just that: wrong. But they were evils done out of hunger or fear. If anyone were to cause hunger or pain not because they needed to, but purely for the sake of the act, I would never forgive them. To hurt someone not out of need, but personal enjoyment, is beyond anything a human should be able to do.
What have I forgotten: In the town I came from there were rumors. Stories, I should say. Little more than fever dreams and hallucinations, surely. Of a beast that stalked the hills, feeding on the dead and the weak. They say it looked like a man. Walked on two feet with two hands at its side. But in its other aspects horrible. Twisted and wrong. I think I saw it. I think it saw me.
Picking through the rubble I heard a noise. A wrenching, gurgling sound. Someone’s body jerking unnaturally, with a gaunt white figure tearing it apart. I know this did not happen, but sometimes I wake in a cold sweat remembering its eyes. They shone out in the moonlight, staring off through me like I was nothing. I ran and did not see it again. No, I never saw it. It was not real. It couldn’t be.
What is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me: For a long time there I was alone. My parents, brothers and sisters, somehow got separated from me and couldn’t find me again. After the first few days I knew I would be on my own for a while. After the first few weeks I believed it would be forever. I thought they had died, or left me to fend for myself, not knowing how hard they were trying to search for me. I have known no horror like that, as a child fighting and scrounging alone, believing there was nothing like comfort I would ever know again. Eventually I was proven wrong, but the feeling stayed with me. So did the fear.