My muse has died, but can’t move on. Send “haunt me” for a drabble of my muse visiting yours as a ghost.
The calm he felt made him uncomfortable, leaving him to wonder where all his hatred had gone, when all his rage had disappeared. Anywhere between Normandy and taking a bullet to the chest. Probably closer to the latter.
Though Mick had felt that anger return in some places, he didn’t feel it now. Even as his body was rolled into a ditch under the enemy’s boot and his executioner walked carelessly away. He might have followed the man, if he could hear the ghost. If Mick wasn’t so focused on watching the dirt fall onto his face, spadeful after spadeful hiding his body away in the earth.
He stopped staring eventually. It took a while, left to watch the patch of mud that buried him, snow already beginning to cover up the disturbance. Forgotten.
No footprints followed him as he wandered the German camp, watching the mundane activities of the enemy. They did a lot of the things Mick was familiar with - handed out rations, repaired vehicles, tended the sick - even played cards together. Familiar scenes, unfamiliar faces.
Mick wondered if this was his punishment for not being buried correctly. Or maybe just because he was a bad person.
He desperately looked for someone he recognized, teeth gritted as he reminded himself not to shout, not to scream. He found what he was looking for sitting against a tree, keeping watch at the edge of camp. There were two soldiers there, one wrapped protectively in a blanket, the other letting out a bark of anger before storming away. An argument, maybe. He couldn’t tell.
The remaining soldier looked sad. No, Germans didn’t look sad. Defeated, maybe. Lost. Like he was struggling to pull the last fraying strands of his mind together, barely closing the gap that threatened to rip him in two.
This was the man who had shown him sympathy. Who had thrown bread at his head, of all things, rather than sending him a bullet. He had brought him back here, a prisoner. Had asked to send him off to another camp. Had argued with his superiors. Had pleaded his case and lied that he was not what they thought he was. Had seen him shot.
It was a strange relationship to have with someone. The last man you spoke to fully before death, who you shared the truth of your fears with and watched try to save your life, but didn’t know the name of.
Mick realized his hatred had left him the moment his life had. His anger was rotting in the same ditch as his body. Now all he felt was pity.
Pity for the living, this soldier included.
He sat down in front of the man, falling back against the snow. The German kept his head down, against the cold and the wind. Mick didn’t think he was crying. He had nobody to weep for but himself.
“…Ye’ a hopeless one, ain’t ye’?” The ghost laughed softly, leaning his head back with a sigh. The German’s sudden inhale of breath went unnoticed, the Irishman being too preoccupied with his thoughts, “Where’s tha’ no mercy German attitude, huh? Ye’ should’a shot me on sight, not given me bread.”
The other man was barely breathing, frozen and staring at the figure before him in terror from under his helmet. His fear went ignored as Mick continued, “Ye’ didn’ know me no more than any other American. But ye’ tried to save me…”
The ghost paused, letting out a quiet sigh. “I’d ask why if I didn’ already think I knew. An’, well, if ye’ could hear me.” He laughed at that, turning his gaze fully on the other man. He found two eyes staring back, the German’s body tense as a frightened animal, deciding whether to fight or flee. Mick swallowed thickly as wide eyes watched him in confusion, fearful as if waiting for him to pounce.
“I-!” He didn’t know. Well, he did. But it seemed irrelevant now, with death dividing the pair. Still, though, Mick wanted to know. It bit at his mind and left him itching with curiosity. As if he had any hope now of knowing the other man.
So he smiled, like he had before, “My name was Mick McCarthy.” He hoped the man would remember it, as he extended a hand, “What’s yours?”