As the fog lifts over the snowy French Alps on a cold winter morning a small green tank becomes apparent pushing over the snow and into view. Then in the blink of an eye hundreds of little green men pop their heads over the rocky white hills. As the sweet sounds of the tanks roar through the French valley thousands of people flood the streets in celebration.
As the trucks, tanks and troops stormed through the village, it seemed to trigger a hope in the hearts of the young impressionable. The whole of the town rejoiced thinking that the English had come to save us. I on the other hand knew the truth.
The troops headed my way; I decided to go to the back of my shop. I had just started re-heeling one of the local’s shoes, a scruffy looking thing with no laces and rips in the side, these shoes must have been at least five years old. Just as I started hammering a nail into the cheap rubber leather, a soldier walked in, as I sharply looked up I caught a glimpse of a smartly dressed Englishman and then smacked the hammer on my thumb.
As I stumbled into the front to the dark haired, dark skinned man. He asked politely for some laces. I reluctantly obliged, gave the man his laces and then ushered him out of the shoe. It’s bad enough having an Englishman in the shop, but a darkie it’s absolutely disgraceful. ‘Sir, if I may don’t you think that people should be judged by their personality not their colour?’
‘ Hush boy and get back to resoling those shoes.’
The celebrations that night were enormous. Parties all night and then when everyone was asleep they drove out leaving our whole town unprotected and vulnerable to the Germans. When the town arose the following morning the mood was dull, the banners which the night before were in full pride were now hanging half suspended and the whole town looked like the aftermath of a tornado.
Today things got worse as everyday life was resuming the roar of tanks was again heard by the small town of Rouen. This time though the reaction was not of joy but of fear. All around the town people were franticly hiding their possessions and all the shops were closed.
As the Germans closed in I decided to send my assistant to close up, as I was desperate to hide my most valued possessions. When I got upstairs I discovered a banner hanging out of one of the neighbours windows. Questions pumped through my head ‘should I tell them’ I shouted but heard no reply. Constantly I screamed but it was of no use the storm windows had been bolted and no sound was to be received by their young and yet so impressionable ears. As the bark of the deadly machines drew ever closer I felt panic, this was nothing like I had ever felt before. This panic was like total fear. Again more questions screamed through my head ‘what will happen to them more so what will happen to me?’
A sharp knock was made at the door, I waited, then another. My head was in a spin I couldn’t think ‘what should I do!’ I asked myself, for if I do go and I am accused for having the banner, I will be killed. But if I don’t go and they go next door they are sure to be killed.
I heard nothing for minutes but when I did it shook me deeply. Two shots coming from next door and then a lot of arguing and then another. All of a sudden I felt a feeling of extreme guilt. If I had went to the door and confessed to the banner I would have died but it would have been a good cause. For the death of a newly wed couple and their newborn is more of a tragedy than the death of an old, bitter man.
I felt a pain inside, not a physical pain but an emotional one. I started to question the meaning of life and then I realised something. I realised that my life was not half as important as I once valued it. I always heard from people that in times of hardship you should turn to your religion. I tried this but I only heard the shots, over and over in my mind.
I reached into my cupboard and pulled out a magnum 45. Once I valued this like my life, now I don’t value anything not even my life.