Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
I was going to say that everyone knows of Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese soldier who hid for many years, not knowing that the war had ended. But most, probably, do not. His war and its scattered detritus have now long since been replaced by new wars and new tales of loss and the lost.
But here now a teenage girl sits in a thread-bare Nazi officers uniform and she, too, does not know that the war is over. She does not know what war is. She does not know of time or age or mortality. All she knows is the sun.
The swastika that’s clutched by the great bird on her cap is but a shape and nothing more. A thing that she draws in the snow.
At night she picks and she peels away at the bones of her family, for these sticks they also hold no meaning. They are but the struts to hold up the roof and the walls of skin. Just as they do with the creatures that wash up and bleach on the blackened and frost trimmed shore.
She is eighteen but she has no need of this number, she has no concept of the fear that accompanies the creep that is death. If she did then she’d worry that her skin has prematurely puckered and her eyes have been robbed by the glare of the snow. And that her cells are being eaten by a shrill heat that whines and shimmers without stop.
The air bites and she pays it no mind but there’s also something else that now shudders her skin. Something is coming. She has no words but she forms in her head an old memory, a feeling that many years ago wrapped around the face that gazes out and down from the wall by her bed. That thing. Its glare as cold as the ice that cracks and she knows it is bad and not good.
Creatures like those from her cap swirl up above and she imagines that they sluice out from the sun. It’s a door, she thinks. A portal of light and from this place the things they will come.
“Guten Morgen ruft die Sonne/ The sun calls, Good morning!”
A beckoning call to the sky. She feels it. The heat from the sun as it pulls at her face. A stinging pall the same as that which wraps and holds her in sleep.
Endless nights and, slowly, she cooks curled beneath the hovering Haunebu that perpetually hum in rows within the crumbling hanger at her back.
Her eyes close and her head floods into a dream. She is standing atop the disc and the hatch is no longer locked tight. A thing with long hair and thin smiling lips reaches up, offering her a blemish-less hand and she now remembers the word for mother.
The girl’s eyes open to a painful squint, she will wait. She will wait for them for as long as it takes. And they will come and they will fly her away. Up and into the glorious black hole that burns at the center of the sun.
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