Tearing up pages, Stephan hauled them into the bin; missing a few shots that went directly into the vase next to it; but he couldn’t be bothered to pick it up. No, he had to write a 500 words history essay, which was due in for tomorrow, and unsurprisingly he forgot about it.
Moaning and groaning, he scribbled out everything he had written; whilst slashing through the page and ripping it into shreds.
“What is all this noise?” asked Karl as his brow furrowed; one eye darted across the room and the other one followed: there were heaps of scrunched up paper all mounted on top of each other, taller than Stephan. Shoving the paper out of the way, he walked up to Stephan and sat beside him on the armchair and to his astonishment he saw something that immediately captured all his attention; the title: ‘The Berlin Wall’. Baffled, yes that’s what he was: baffled.
“Grandpops, I have to do an essay on the Berlin Wall; but I can’t seem to think of anything. History is so pointless and I detest it so much!” exclaimed Stephan; his nose was blown up like an oversized grape, as he huffed, he exhaled all that he had inhaled; which made him choke on air. Spluttering and wheezing, he sat up; and with a watery grin; he looked at his grandpops.
“Can I help you?” asked Karl.
“But grandpops, what do you know about the Berlin Wall; this was way before your time” assumed Stephan; looking up at his grandpops he knew he had said something wrong; but didn’t know what.
“I was there when it fell down; I saw it all happen” Karl told him.
Stephan was perplexed; he didn’t know this. Maybe I should’ve asked sooner, thought Stephan; it would’ve saved me a lot of time and papers. “Did you help to break the wall down” inquired Stephan.
“No child, I was guarding the wall” responded Karl.
Stephan was bewildered; he had never thought of his Grandpops as being a guard. Nevertheless, he has never actually asked his Grandpops about his life before. All that he knew was that his Grandpops was born and raised in Germany; but nothing else. “Can you please tell me about it” asked Stephan.
“It would be my pleasure” replied Karl.
“I used to be a guard on duty during the night; during the times when Germany was being separated from east to west; this wall was cut through neighbourhoods and destroyed lives. It was an Iron curtain; and no one could get in or out. It was suffocating for them; it was suffocating for me; it was suffocating for all of the soldiers, but we couldn’t do anything about it.”
“Karl, you take the east side and I’ll take the west” ordered Klaus.
Then I saw them in my peripheral vision; a group of people fleeing from the east to west as there were more job opportunities, more freedom, more hope and a better chance of life. I was feeling pity for them, nevertheless I couldn’t stop myself. “Over there” I exclaimed; pointing towards a sandy, barren land.
All the guards looked across and pointed their soulless clunk of metal towards them. Oh, what have I done! I thought; blood ran away from my fingertips and made them numb. Every cell in my body reeled in shock; I could’ve saved them; I could’ve protected them; I could’ve kept my mouth shut.
As it flies out the chamber and into the air with great elegance, the bullet aimed for the target beyond the shooter. As it pushed through the air with great speed, it gained less distance than before. Until that moment when it strikes through him. The split second when the target falls and what was intended happens; as the bullet scrapes through the internal structure and organs. They could’ve been a father, a husband, a brother or an uncle; but the bullets aren’t merciful; they don’t think twice; they just kill barbarically.
Falling to their knees, a high pitch scream echoed in the ambiance; but was shot down instantly. The bullet tore through the soft human flesh, allowing arteries to spill. This coated the sand in a slick, thick liquid. Blood.
“Good call Karl” exclaimed Klaus.
I reluctantly saluted in acknowledgement.
“But grandpops, WHY did you shoot them? They didn’t do anything wrong to you” questioned Stephan; his eyes were staring right into his grandfathers, mesmerised by the blonde hair and the blue eyes.
Karl’s disappointment arrived as sadness; he was disappointed with himself. Why DID I kill them? Thought Karl. “I don’t know child, I felt like I had to do it”. He had no other reason and how could he justify his actions? No, there was no way he could.
The next night, I heard Walter bellow that there were 2 men approaching from the east; but he was mistaken. Oh, he was very mistaken: because there weren’t 2 but thousands of men patrolling towards them. We were overwhelmed by their demand for democracy; they wanted to have the freedom to go wherever they want, and they were going to take it.
Mass shootings began; I held my ammunition up in the air, achieving the maximum damage aiming at the centre of their being: their heart. This wasn’t right; I knew it but I couldn’t stop myself. If I stopped, my own people might kill me. Lying there, the dispatched human beings were smothered in soil and blood; not only their own but each other’s. Each one is a dead child, a dead mother, a dead father.
Crouching downwards, I got a better aim at them. My hands didn’t tremble; not even once because this was our wall, mine to protect and I swore to Germany that I would guard it with all my life. I remembered a time when there were barbed wires; malleable and untarnished; making a slim to none chance of survival. Nevertheless, now they have a wall; segregating lands and people; but Germany will do what it has to do.
“Stop!” screeched Klaus; all the soldiers looked at him bewildered. “I have gotten and order from the Commander, and he said that we have to stop shooting”
So that’s what we did: we stopped shooting. Putting my ammunition behind me, I held it tight to my backbone until I could feel its force building up. I saw natives weeping at their loved ones; bellowing in agony. Hope dwindled from their faces; leaving lifeless beings.
One person came; a brunette-haired boy; with an axe. Upon the handle of aged old oak was a blade of sharpest steel. It had been fashioned in a time when an axe could be anything, from homely firewood maker to something for defence; but now it was a freedom fighter just like him. The clashing of cement and the axe caused it to bleed of dust; the white power was haemorrhaged from this barricade. Soon enough everyone started banging and thrashing their materials; and we were just stood there in awe.
Knocking over pillar by pillar, the rejoicing crowds poured into west Berlin; as people from both sides danced on top of the wall. Klaus was staring in disbelief and so was I. How did they manage this? I thought. There I saw a woman beckoning me to come down; I came down and I saw them; all of them: the people of Germany who didn’t deserve any of this prejudice.
Tearing up the wall, the German people hauled the broken bits to the side; and some shards hit others on the leg; but they couldn’t stop because their freedom lasted on it, for the last 30 years they had endured this estrangement and they had suffered; but not now.
One thing was clear then: the years of division were at an end and Germany would be reunified; and rise above all
“Wow Grandpops, that was an awesome story. But are you happy that the wall fell?” asked Stephan; he didn’t know what to think of his grandpops he didn’t know what to say; he didn’t know what to feel about all of this. He felt bad for feeling this way.
“Yes, child I am” replied Karl “because without that I wouldn’t have met your grandmother, the women who beckoned me to come down and wouldn’t have seen what Germany was capable of.”
“Grandpops, can you take me to see remaining bits of the wall?” asked Stephan.
“Yes, of course I can” replied Karl.