The Broken Man – Chloe May, Year 8
Creative Narrative written by Year Eight student Chloe May. It is based on the father character from the novel, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.
He took a long drag of his cigarette, the addictive smoke filling his lungs, as time passed; all too painstakingly slow for his liking. The prisoners’ uniforms haunted his dreams at night, the guilt of what he’d done finally burdening his mind. The death of his son had affected him so deeply, that he felt very little anymore. His whole life was a numb, tireless routine, waking each morning to cold sheets beside him and watching innocent people suffer, knowing that he was the source of their pain.
He had killed his own son, and he had killed the sons of many other people too. This thought ran through his head every minute of the day. His guilty conscience almost too much for him to handle. Every night he sat forlornly, at the family dining table, wondering where he went so wrong. He withdrew himself from humanity, only speaking to the soldiers when absolutely necessary. In fact, when he associated with the soldiers, he rarely spoke to them at all, but rather yelled spitefully, his voice laced with venom. Something about the soldiers infuriated him, maybe it was the fact that they didn’t stop him from becoming a murderer, they simply watched on as he took the lives of blameless people. They didn’t stand up against the Fuhrer, and neither did he, instead he let himself be played like a pawn. The Fuhrer ordered him to exterminate a whole race, and he acted without hesitation. He was profoundly ashamed of the weak willed man that he had become, that he had allowed his opinions to be swayed so easily.
The circles under his eyes grew darker every day, his eyes became a lifeless window to his destroyed soul. He slept restlessly each night, but in truth he barely slept at all. His usually bright face was masked with tiredness and lined with guilt. He didn’t like to look in the mirror anymore because when he did, he saw the murderous face of a monster. The monsters’ dark eyes would stare back at the broken man, piercing into his soul. The look of regret was sunken deep into his face. He would spend his restless nights, questioning where he went so wrong, and why he acted like an ignorant young boy, refusing a mothers’ guidance. If only he’d listened to her.
He had only received one phone call from his family in Berlin. Gretel had phoned briefly. She told him that Elsa did not want to talk to him again, and that she blamed him for the death of her only son. Gretel also told him how depressed her mother had been lately, barely stepping a foot out of bed. That was all she managed to tell him before the phone suddenly disconnected. He was only just coping with the loss of his son himself and the abandonment of his family. But now knowing that his wife was that ashamed of him, that she didn’t want to talk to him again, dug him deeper into a pit of depression. He had never felt so alone before.
He took another long drag from his cigarette, in a way the cigarette represented his life; burning out with each minute that passed. Smoking was his feeble attempt at release, an escape from his current situation. He sat slumped, smoking in his office chair, serenaded by the soft pitter patter of raindrops that glided gracefully across his window like ballerinas on a stage, while the shell of the family man cracked daily, and the broken man that he saw in the mirror replaced him.