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DUBROVNIK
DUBROVNIK

DUBROVNIK excerpt pages 150 - 152. Enjoy.

Celestine stood next to me behind the others. An HK MP5K reduced size submachine pistol seemed appropriate, it settled in her grasp like another appendage. I wondered if she knew her weapon could take off heads at 900 rounds per minute. A small bulge under her shirt revealed some type of gun at hand’s reach.Her uniformed shoulders complimented her supple face as it flushed with excitement. Her berry-colored lips were plump and moist. My eyes examined her body.I leaned down, kissed Celestine lightly on her red mouth and she bit my bottom lip. She pulled my body into hers. The vigor of her bite was vicious, and I hoped she wasn’t drawing blood. She released and withdrew. She then slapped me on a cheek.I wondered if the others took notice. What a contrast—she had a wild, aggravated assault side and a responsive, attentive side. Surrender was an unknown grief in her body language, and she couldn’t take chauvinistic advances from any man.She leaned her body on mine, and whispered in my ear. “I don’t like you and I like you. If you help us, then I will love you. I want to kiss you, but for now I am too young.”Nikola pulled me forward to stand beside him, on the other side of Alex and Dylan. Nicola pointed a finger at the first carrier.No gunfire pierced our ears yet. The roar from the boat motor and the stable soldiers behind the trees made me anxious. I looked down at the green grass and it seemed to turn brown. I snuck a peek at the roses and they hung upside down like bats.The troop carrier was a massive floating reservoir of death. The mechanical noise was deafening. It grabbed the sandy beach, powered up the slight grade and stopped. Troops burst from the ship, kneeled on the watery beach and surveyed the area.Every Croatian soldier behind the trees took aim at the enemy. Nikola lifted his M16 at the Serbs. He waited until all of them rushed over the gritty sand then arbitrarily fired. A Serb fell on his face; his life spread red upon the hot silicone. The other soldiers pushed forward their heavy boots digging into wet sand.At least forty Serbs frantically scattered in open space, on the place where a day before, locals and tourists sun bathed.The butchery began. Serbs fell dead by the dozens from the expert marksmanship coming from behind the trees. This was a victory pageant for the Croatians, a Balkan spectacle, even a fireworks display during the entire massacre.Silence was swallowed by the rancorous gunfire. Serbs shrieked, shouted and died. All the greenery in the park instantly expired. The trees were scarred and the turf was dyed red. My mind rotted in bereavement. Why was I here—certainly not for the love of Celestine or the friendship of my partner? I was here for personal survival.“Look,” Nikola said and pointed to the enemy. He meant for me to copy his action. Per Alex I had to win his confidence, my own life depended on it. I had to kill to be trusted. I raised Celestine’s M16, aimed at a human dressed in a beige combat uniform whose legs tripped in fear across the sand.I pulled the trigger and my aim was knocked into the sky by a feminine arm. Celestine was my guardian angel in this foreign land where they love their neighbors and kill their enemies, where their neighbors are their enemies.Only the smell of grease filled my nose. I didn’t hear the shot, but pulling the trigger pervaded my memory forever. I dropped the rifle and threw up my stomach first, then my liver and so forth with the rest of my internal struggle. My eyes closed, Nikola laughed and patted me heavily on the back. Celestine held me tenderly until my retching stopped.The unfiltered noise of annihilation had a rhythm with discord to living, how it smothered the senses of pleasure, it smelled of repugnance with an odor of revenge. I looked up not to find Peter Pan with his renegade of freaky friends searching for Never, Never Land; instead, I saw Celestine’s face concerned for my welfare.She joined Alex to contribute to the onslaught with their M16s, shooting and killing and shooting and reloading and shooting and killing again. Dylan sat behind the tree facing the opposite direction with hands covering his tender ears. Ninja sat with him panting in the heat.With Dylan’s age comes innocence and desire. The prospects of passion and power make a difference in one’s life and are anticipated. Within Dylan existed fear and destitution, two emotions that can evoke suicide. He looked delicate sitting beside the warmongers that defended their turf. I joined him and Ninja in our time of despair and loathing. What peace could we have, if war were the future?One didn’t fly over this cuckoo’s nest, but I felt madness invading my privacy. It was a cancer ripping out my heart and acid tears burning my eyes into granules. Murder had disgraced me forever and for what? For gaining the trust of a stranger, Nikola Broz, a son of Marshal Tito, for gaining friendship of his daughter.Had I killed? The ultimate sin would doom my life and this new Adam within me would die from dishonor. Just the idea of needing to kill had dishonored me.

Nikola took my slump shoulders within his hands and said, “Hvala;” thank you.