Le 15 octobre 1917

Black. The colour of deceit, of duplicity, of death; deep, enigmatic black relieved only by the pale oval of her expressionless face. There is no hate in her eyes but neither is there any forgiveness. There is neither acceptance nor fear, neither defiance nor kindness. She is simply here, and here is where she and her fate collide.

I had expected this would be easy for me but it is not. I find myself wishing that I was anywhere else, doing anything else, but this is a duty that I accepted freely. There is none other that I can blame for my circumstances. All I can hope for is that mine is the rifle with the blank charge.

The underofficer holds his sword aloft, the blade flashing in the early morning sunlight. A bead of sweat trickles onto my trigger hand. Unwaveringly, I keep the barrel of the rifle truly aimed at her heart. My own heart pounds in my ears and the world recedes, leaving only we two in the final steps of her lifelong dance.

The sword drops. I squeeze the trigger.

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