I love to look at the clouds. You'll never see the same shape twice. Their all made of water and air. They soar through the sky looking down on Earth. Mountains cannot stop them, they split apart and around. They can make rain fall wherever they wish creating jungles of vegetation and life. I wonder if they have seen things I have not. They may know the answers to my questions. I look upward and observe their complex shapes. I watch as the light hits them shading them white, yellow, orange, red, or purple. They sometimes like to group together and block out the Sun. They sometimes do not wish to be with the others so they drift across an empty sky. The clouds don’t care if the Sun is out; they just as easily float over the land in the night sky. At those times the only sight of them becomes the absence of stars and pure darkness in the sky. At other times I look at the clouds and they can almost become as bright as the Sun they cover. They shield us from the rays of the Sun, protecting our bodies from the heat and the draining of energy. They let us drink for most of the fresh water comes from them. They fill the rivers and quench the thirst of our plants. They do much for everyone, but for me they provide a pleasant distraction.
I looked away from the clouds towards the young man next to me. He turned 19 years old this year. We both laid here under the clouds, but still further up in the sky than the ones he observed. I watched him as he watched them. He would take very slow breaths and even slower exhales. His sound would ring out at the end of his exhale and he drew another line on the floor beneath us. We didn't speak to each other while we were up there. At the end of the day we would get up and go down into the building. I would say 'good bye' and he would say 'see you tomorrow.' The next day we would repeat the previous day's actions. He would observe others and I would look at the clouds. We had done these actions for many days in a row. The floor was marked with over a hundred lines. I had watched him from the beginning. I watched him mark every single one down. I heard well over a hundred of his sounds ringing out. I wasn't the only one, the ones he would observe had also heard each of his sounds ring out. And at the end of the day we would leave the roof and say our goodbyes once again.
I remember when they took the building back from them. My friend, whom I called Yapa, had been given command over the 30 men in our platoon. He was 24 years old and he was no officer. He was given command since any that were ranked higher than he was either dead or wounded. Yapa had received orders to take the building back from the enemy. The enemy outnumbered our platoon so the assignment was understood to be a suicide mission. Regardless Yapa ordered all of us to rush inside and take the building back. They yelled out for their country and stormed the building. 26 of the men died in the raid. The building was 4 stories tall so each of the 4 remaining men each took a floor. They guarded the building and the 10 civilians in the basement from the enemy that sought to retake the building. Only after several days did reinforcements arrive. They numbered 26 and were lead by an officer. They brought much needed supplies and proceeded to fortify the building. They laid rows of barbed wire and minefields to prevent the enemy from easily approaching. They stationed machine guns on the windows and mortars on the roof. The reinforcements also brought an anti-tank rifle. Yapa loved the thing and used it to destroy a dozen of the moving sheets of metal.
The enemy would attack the building multiple times a day. During lulls in the combat we would have to run and kick the bodies over so they would not block our sight. We managed to dig an underground tunnel to the nearest allied position. They supplied us and provided a few extra defenders. One of which was Anatoly, the young man who I would accompany on the roof. And so we defended the building for two months. For two months we were constantly attacked, a bomb hit the building at one point and destroyed part of the wall. We were surrounded on all sides with only a few men and 10 civilians in the basement. Yapa was finally relieved of his defensive duty once the rest of our army and took back their war torn city.
My friend Yapa survived the war and went on to live till he was 63 years old. The young Anatoly had both his legs blown off. He managed to live although many of his former friends thought he had died. It was only after 20 years after the war did many his friends learn that he had lived. I sat in the museum where many of the veterans of the war had a celebratory meeting for the 20 year anniversary for their victory over the enemy. On the stage was once of the most famous heroes of the war. He told of his dead friend that had killed 265 of the enemy. To my right was Anatoly who, in a wheelchair, went over to his mentor and friend. I smiled at the sight of the two mass killers of men. I was much different then. I have lived a long time. Long before the war I had decided to limit my influence. On the frontlines of the war I only watched. I find Death unpleasant so I looked up towards the clouds and wonder what they saw. Did they see the pain I saw? Did they also wish to help? Or did they know that it wasn't their place? I look up toward the sky and I wonder what do the clouds see?
What do you see?
Hi, so I used the past few days to catch up on the work and deal with pior commitments. I should be good to write for the next few days.
So this was based on a true story about Pavlov's House during World War II. Yapa is Yakov Pavlov, the leader of the Russians there. Anatoly is Anatoly Chekhov and yeah 265 is his kill count. The unnamed famous hero was Vasily Zaytsev. His kill count is said to be over 300 and he was Anatoly's sniper teacher. I recommend looking the event and these people up.
Let me know what you thought of the way I presented the Charaters in this chapter.
Thank you for reading.