Die Todnacht

by , under Fiction Prompts, Friday Fictioneers

Graz the Ragman trundled his barrow through a landscape he did not recognize, though he had  lived all his life in Dresden. Where the Frauenkirche had stood was now a tumble of scorched stones, smoke and dust hanging in the air like a shroud. The baker where his mother had sent him for the Sunday loaf of rye had vanished altogether,  replaced by a smoldering crater.

In the haze ahead he a saw little dog trotting between piles of rubble. It was carrying something in its mouth.  Graz could see it now.  A child’s arm.

He could not unsee it.

 

Friday Fictioneers

Beginning on the night of February 13, 1945, more than 1,200 heavy bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on Dresden in four successive raids. An estimated 25,000 people were killed in the bombings and the firestorm that raged afterward. More than 75,000 dwellings were destroyed, along with unique monuments of Baroque architecture in the historic city center. The scale of the death and destruction, coming so late in the war, along with significant questions about the legitimacy of the targets destroyed have led to years of debate about whether the attack was justified, or whether it should be labeled a war crime.

  1. jellico84

    Oh, how horrible. I was right there, seeing the images in my mind. Such a tragic tale of history. Well told. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Mike

    War begets war, and sadly each war seems to get more horrific. It seems that as human beings we are unable to learn from such tragic events

    Reply
  3. Lynn Love

    You described this beautifully, Josh. A perfect understated balance of language and image. A horrible, horrible event.

    Reply
  4. James

    I first became aware of the Dresden firebombing when I saw the film “Slaughterhouse Five” based on Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war novel. If two governments which to war on each other, so be it, but leave the citizens and especially the children alone.

    Reply
  5. Rowena

    Brilliantly written and constructed, although I do wonder whether someone slipped something into your tea. The prompt was very dark and my thoughts also went to WWII in Europe, although I set mine in the Brisbane floods of 2011. I was in Cologne in 1992 and there was this display set up outside Cologne Cathedral, which they called the Complaining Wall For Peace. It showed photos of the destruction in Cologne and in particular mentioned Bomber Harris, who does seem to have a case to answer.
    I have been told that my great grandmother who was first generation Australian of German parents and a husband of Scottish descent, used to listen to the German news on the radio during WWII. I’ve also been told that she wanted to hear both sides of the story. Well, at least the propaganda from both sides.
    xx Rowena

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  6. J Hardy Carroll

    It was a precursor to what took place against Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. When the US bombs Asian nations, there is no restraint of any kind.

    Reply

Don't just stand there.