Calm Surrender by: The Illusion Stalingrad has become a mausoleum for the shattered dreams of my people. The snow pays its last respects to the should this rifle will claim as it lands gently upon the metal. I gaze through he scope and scan the maze of death traps that I once ran through as a child. The desolate brick structures have been demolished by the ravaging Sixth Army like a flesh eating disease. The frozen stillness of the morning air pervades my usual continence and distorts my composure. The array of rich childhood memories tinge the edges of my concentration and the pungent aroma of gasoline and gun oil keep reality at bay. The chill of the metal against my cheek reminds me of the rigid truths I must face. Today, I am damned. The power I hold at the tip of my index finger will change the fate of even the most noble of men. The bullet becomes the silent angel of death. A movement catches my eye. To kill or be killed? That is the primal question of survival. Crouching amid the garden of carnage below, one lone German soldier has made a mortal move. With vigilance, he examines the terrain, desperately searing for the enemy like a child, lost, and looking for his mother. He has come to the valley of the shadow of death. I lurk here, only a short distance above, ready to avenge my people's despair. Was it worth it little soldier? Do you ever wonder what could have been? How must it feel to be so pitiful and nefarious? Nicht wahr? Your life means so little? You die for the cause. Now, you are all alone. Is your cause worth the numbness in your fingers and toes? General Frost is merciless. Was the hunger in your stomach as you stood before Hitler and vowed loyalty to him? Has he come to save you now? The tiny little heads of your children must be tucked into their cozy beds right now. Is this worth the tears they will shed as they visit your grave in years to come? Mother once told me that to kill another means you own their soul. They will linger upon the essence of our being and when we die, they are there to drag us to hell. For now, I am still condemned and this is still my duty. Many years have drifted past, collecting multitudes of disdain and relentless tragedy. My eyes have seen the demons of history come rapping upon the day, time after time and again. Will we ever manifest the lessons learned? Round and round the world turns, the cycles of life only come to begin again. Then one moment in time is separated from the grief and sustenance of suffering. The echo of death whispers through the mind of a lonely forelorn soldier. The silent messenger of promise desire encroaches. Do not fear death little soldier. Look into my eyes and we shall both know the peace of surrender. There is no shame in connecting with the enemy. I am no longer the enemy. I jam only here to take away your pain. He looks left then right. In one final movement, he is looking directly through my eyes and into my soul. Time suspends itself and there is nothing but complete forgiveness. I find myself completely consumed with a love that cannot be compared. The coldness of my stone heart becomes the warmth radiated by the first ray of sun on a cold morning. I feel his pain, but it is love. I feel his hate, but it is calm. There is a certain acceptance, and I know that it is time. I will serve him no pain. The bullet penetrates the young man's skull. The life of one has ceased, as the life of another is only just beginning. I lift myself off the ground and the tiny flutters in my abdomen remind me of my motherly duties. Through the eyes, love attains the death of suffering - and we all find our calm surrender.