Brutalist Stories #52

Ash

Building inspiration: World War II German coastal bunker

Another day in the dark. Another day stranded in the night. Here for who knows how long now, supplies running low, our power almost completely gone, there’s nothing or no one left, at least it would seem, until the moans and screams come.

Every twelve hours or so there’s something that creeps through the silence, these screams that echo through the dark, breaking this impenetrable black.

We’ve been held up in this bunker for as long as I can remember now, the soot and smoke from the war outside creeping in through the cracks in the concrete, the broken windows, the bullet-ridden walls and roof.

There’s been no sign of any survivors or soldiers or anyone at all for months, but the bombardment continues regardless between the silence and the screams. We don’t know when it’ll come next, there’s no regularity to it like the screams, but it comes, it always does. It might not come for a day, or a week or a month, but eventually the sky will fall and it will be the only time we can really see the devastation of what has taken place.

The explosions illuminating the scorched earth for miles all around, flattened and ruinous. Then they will stop and back left in the darkness.

I turn to my brother, look at his sunken cheeks, his hollowed eyes and grey skin, ashen in complexion, shaking with cold, bones jutting and creaking. “There has to be an end to this,” I say walking over to him, putting my hand on his shoulder.

He just looks up and attempts a smile, so little left of him now, of us all. “Soon, brother,” he says. “The end will come soon, and we’ll be able to step outside, and the smoke will be blown away and we’ll see the sky again, the sun again, and we’ll become fat in its shining light.”

This is his gift, to be able to bring about hope, even if it is in the smallest potions, and almost certainly worthless. He helps me, he helps all of us, the few that are left in the bunker, to hope that one day there may come an end to this torture, this horror.

“We don’t have much left, I know,” he holds onto my arm and pulls himself up slowly. “But we can keep going for a while longer, we have enough left for a little while longer, and it is in these darkest hours, that we must have the greatest strength.”

“You are correct, as always, brother,” I say and we hug and I feel his ribs against mine, and he rests his chin on my shoulder for a second and as his shallow breaths against mine, getting shallower and shallower until they stop completely and I know that he has gone.

Long had I been waiting for this moment, for his time to come, and for peace to embrace him. I begin to weep and despite knowing he has passed, I also know that he has gone to a lighter place, because it is for certain that there is nowhere, in life or death, that is darker than here.

He is in the light now, I hope that his determination when he was alive, the strength that he gave us was not in vain, but I fear I will join him there soon, in the light.

Building inspiration: World War II German Coastal Bunker

Musical Inspiration: Gojira - "Stranded"

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Brutalist Stories #52
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