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Dismemberment

The storm of fire had climaxed, and the thundering of then guns was petering out into sporadic thunder claps. The little village at the end of the battlefield sat fixed in time for nearly seven centuries,  Now in just four short years, the small collection of families that settled there were on the brink of extinction. All the husbands and sons were gone. They were carried away by iron rails that connected the grandest city with the remotest homestead. Now the town was flooded with strange men. Wounded soldiers lined the bars, they’re torn and shattered, The blood pouring from their wounds painted the golden wheat a dark red and their corpses filled the untilled fields like crops rotting in the sun.
Chaos reigned in the wake of defeat. The soldiers fled into the woods and discarded uniforms lazily swayed in the wind on the dusty roads. The elderly, the wives, the mothers, and the daughters had been abandoned once again, and now they were at the mercy of the Eastern hordes, marauders known for their brutality as well as their insatiable lust.
Kaetha’s neatly arranged home was a state of disarray reflective of the world outside. Dishes shattered into ceramic shards on the floor, and the front windows had exploded inward showering the kitchen with particles of glass that gleamed like snow.
The war widow and mother of two was frantically gathering up every physical reminder of her husband and throwing into a pile on the floor. Shredded photographs were sprinkled over his uniform and kerosene was dumped on the heap.
Her two young daughters looked on while she struck a match and ignited the pyre. The flames consumed the few memories the children had of their father. Kaetha stood over the flames the acrid smoke and flood of tears stung her eyes. The fire cast her grief twisted shadow against the yellow painted walls o the kitchen. The war devoured her entire existence. Her husband was gone, and her home was going to be put to the torch. The sadness of finality is the heaviest and by far the most painful.
Her girls came to her side, and she held them close. Her children buried their faces into her neck trying mask the smell of the burning moments with that of their mother. Primal comforts were all that was left to them.
The family mourned as it watched it's formerly presumed future turn to ash before their eyes. Kathea’s husband and her children's father couldn’t protect them anymore. It was dangerous to have known and loved him. The enemy would punish them for it.
Kathea could hear the lumbering engines of tanks blended with the sound of men shouting in a harsh, unfamiliar tongue. Women shrieked and pistols popped, the victories troops began their celebration.
Kathea girls fingers dug into her flesh as they continued to sob, their silky blond hair covered the cheeks that had turned rose red from crying. She knew what the Russians did to German women, and now they were right outside her door.
She pushed her girls away and quickly stood up. They reached out to her, but she no longer had any time for grief. She had to act fast. Sh picked up a jagged piece of white dinner plant and held it up to her cheek.
“Quick we must make ourselves ugly,” she told her daughters.
her daughters responded to her frantic command with more tearful wailing.
“Pease hush!” she barked. “We have to scar our faces so that the Russians won't want us.”
She held the sharpest point of the fragment to her cheek and dug it into her flesh. Bright red blood began to spill from the laceration, flowing down her cheek, staining her white nightgown and dripping onto the floor.
“Girls hurry you must hurry!” She pleaded as she began a new gash. “they will be here soon!” She wailed.
She reached out for her youngest daughter with a blood soaked hand. The frightened girl pulled away. “We don’t have any time we have to make you ugly!” She screamed at the little girl
By the time Russian soldiers bashed through her door, Katea had carved away herself and daughter into blood-soaked nightmares. They cowered together in a pool of blood, being kept alive only by the adrenaline flowing to their thumping hearts.
When the Russians arrived, they had been peeled down to their pink stringy muscles. Kathene coddled the bodies of her daughters. The dismembered children were featureless blood-soaked nightmares with white teeth sticking out of bleeding pink tissue and big wide eyes drying in the air. Kathea held their corpses tightly to her heavy chest. Every rise and fall of their blood matted heads was one last breath taken by their mother.

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