Vignette:Petals of a Flower

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Petals of a Flower
Antistin, Federal Republic of Arbenz
April 4th, 1979

f it wasn’t for the blood pooling around him, he’d be back home in time for the parade.

He doesn’t register the pain from the gaping wound in his abdomen. His eyes just flicker on and off as if there was a loose lightbulb tucked deep inside his head. His blood-stained hands have nothing to grasp at; not even the figure at the bunker door is in his reach. The heartbeat in his head is deafening; he can barely hear the mortar shells and artillery raining hell around him through each strained thump of his chest as he sits there, resigned to his fate.

“Are you afraid, exile?” spoke the figure. It was hunched over now, taking cover from the hail of shelling outside. “Your rifle’s in tatters,” gesturing to the shattered mass of black polymer and metal at the corner of his vision. It hurts to turn his head.

He tries to speak. There are so many words he wants to say, but his breath does not allow him to. “Tired,” is all he can mutter. “And a little scared.” Each breath he takes makes him wince in pain, even if his face doesn’t show it. He wants to smirk at his little remark, but the muscles in his face won’t budge.

His arms are heavy as he beckons the figure over with whatever strength and sanity he has left in his bruised and battered body; to his surprise, the figure follows.

“You know I won’t bother stitching you back up,” the figure spoke again. “What’s stopping you from pulling a pin?”

He finds the strength to sigh somehow, be it out of frustration or exhaustion. “I threw every grenade I had in your direction.”

“You got lucky, then.”

“Good to know I finally hit something.” He bares his teeth in a garishly red smile.

He pushes himself up with the last of his strength. The world outside the bunker fades away.

“My grandfather told me about the flower festivals at Blumenau when I was young,” He croaked. “He always praised that place as if it were a little bit of heaven in his world.”

“Your grandfather wasn’t wrong.” A muted chuckle came from the figure. “It’s beautiful.”

A lone tear falls from his blood-stained eye.

“Will the flowers be in bloom soon?”

“Soon, my friend,” said the figure to the smiling corpse.

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