It was twilight in the air, and in each individual throat they are was a clearing, half a noiseless uttering, and half a tangible fear that no one else could quite understand, in this was true for every person, they were all holding their breath. People came home from work, other people went off to a midnight splurge of activity, still others would not make up until later on, so that there was no motion because every one was either holding the course, or was gone to the utter villages to take refuge. But each day, there were more and more who decided that they were not going to be here. It was still a trickle, but now it was a large trickle. And everyone knew it.
Over in the other world, more people were there, mainly soldiers and the like, or people who didn't understand what had happened to them, but were getting out of the city, quickly. The soldiers, primarily, were green, there is no use to say otherwise, because at the front was still along way from Paris. But it was getting closer.
When one reads of times like these, it goes by quickly, but that is an illusion, because each minute on the clock, someone is dying, and someone's life is being born. People eat meals, and they do those things which polite society does not mention, but they happen in a large city, to a great degree. You would not want to think about how much shit occupies a minute of time. And with every minute thousands of flies swarm over it, never knowing that anything is wrong. After all, to their eye, it is all just excrement, and there is no war or peace about it.
Meanwhile those freshly embalmed stirred themselves and tried to figure out what had happened, it was bewildering, One moment they were alive, the next minute they were alive but in a different realm, and not all of the bodies were exactly fresh. In fact, at the moment when someone who was hale arrived, there was a screaming effect when he, for almost always was he, screen out in terror when it one was far less immune to the circumstance. Remember that at the blast center, the man who was hit, took of the worst of the damage, and so got hit the hardest, while only if you inches away, his friend got away with, comparatively little damage. But both were dead, but the man who had been hit the worst, was nothing but a pile of rubble. This had an effect, because nothing worked on him in the afterlife, and he was screaming tangle of ruin. Which, if his better able companion, knew it, would be last thing he ever did. But it was so easy for some. These incidents were, however, relevant brief in nature at first, but they were becoming more frequent, and has they to into Paris, they were becoming more frequent.
Albrecht had sweaty palms, though he didn't know why that was, he cleaned them over and over again, but they remained. He drew them together, even though that was not the best idea in the world. It was not as if they were cold, and in fact quite the opposite, and yet he could not help it.
“I don't know why my hands are so freezing, when the rest of my body feels warm. There is something wrong with me, though I don't exactly know what it is.”
She glanced down at his hands, checking them both top and bottom. It was obvious, to her, what was the problem.
“You have poison ivy, and you should get it looked into. For now, stop rubbing your hand.” then he noticed that she had not dropped his left hand with her right hand. And he felt warm, though he should probably tell her that that was not a good idea, because she too would get poison ivy. He stated to protest, and thought the better of it.
Instead, he looked out along the river Seine, with the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower in their wake, gradually drifting behind them as they looked back. “Why are we going this way, do you have a plan?” he turned his face up quizzically.
“Yes, actually, I do.”
“May I know what it is?”
“Behind us, lies the Eiffel Tower, which is nice to look at, but is a grand target. Over on the other bank, lies what could be called the German forces, which for the two of us, would be an insurmountable problem. So we are going to go this way. Which though filled with houses, will be the best option.”
“I'm not sure that that is reasonable, shouldn't we go down the bank towards the Eiffel Tower and beyond, the Germans will probably take the place, and then dictate terms. Then it will be all over but the shouting.”
“I don't think they're going to win, and this is why I believe so.”
He listened intently, but he was still skeptical, though increasingly the air of Paris got to him, and he was much less certain of becoming German victory, then a while ago.
“Go on.” He said.
“You have many cities in Germany, and you took Paris easily the last time.”
“To say the least.”
“But Napoleon the Third, though he thought of him self as great leader, wasn't. Not unreleased. He was actually a man of peace, and did all of the things of peace quite well, and did all of the things badly that were of war. Though he tried his best, with his breastplate. Bismarck was a man of war, though he didn't like to do so very much. ”
“And you think times are different?”
“The positions are exactly reversed. The French are men of war, the Germans are in of peace. The Germans have quite lovely things to wage war with, and the men are truly honed to their work. But they do not have the willpower, not this time at least, who knows about next time.”
“But why will they not carry the day on third, or fourth, or however many times it may take them?”
She stopped, and looked at him, though she was shy, her eyes gleamed. “There is not going to be a next time, though of course your generals may not realize, and will give it their all.”
“Why are you so sure about this?”
“Because I've seen you, and you are more like, but your ancestors are not. If you were directing, I would be very much afraid, but your fathers, I know them well, and they are nothing to be afraid of. Your people, when they are in charge, are different story.”
“So you think my generation is ...”
“We should make peace, with your kind.”
He nodded. Though is mind was different, it had many of the same thoughts. The old men of his generation were old fat, bursting through with buttons, while the young men were trim and lean. He had often told him self, “if only I would have been in command...” he would not have done things wrong way, is commander was a fool, but he followed orders. So, actually, they, on this point, were mostly in agreement.
Then he noted, they were already dead.
They wandered down the left bank, and then they saw something which was highly unusual, you see all the lights were dim, but there was one like, just up ahead, which was bright. Why it was so perplexed both of them. Because individual people could not run the lights, or anything else that was to hand. But here it was, light, as bright as it came.
Of course it was Albert who spoke first.
“That is unusual, how did one light out of several, become lit?”
They stood there on the street, just to make sure that they had not missed anything, or that anything was out of place. Then they saw what looked like a little girl, dressing and by all accounts, curtsy, though they could not tell to whom. It was very strange, because why would a little girl be there, they could understand adults, but not children.