The arendt files, p.6
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       The Arendt Files, p.6

           Ivan Rosemblatt
All Adam could do was keep moving. He had no strength left and could barely stand. He didn’t know if anything was broken, his limbs felt like lead and the weight of his own body, which perhaps he had never really felt before made him sway and stumble with each step. He had been grateful that it was autumn and there were leaves everywhere until he fell onto a large jagged rock hidden in the carpet of of oranges and reds and was knocked unconscious. Since then he had been dealing with the salty sting of blood flowing from his torn scalp down into his left eye. His head throbbed with heavy pressure and waves of nausea swept over him. He had vomited twice since then. “Well, I’d rather die from a concussion than be captured by those bastards.”

  He encoutered impenetrable brambles that went on for what seemed to for miles, forcing him to backtrack, go around, move contrary to where he had wanted. Nature determined everything. He did what he could.“Why can’t us city boys ever learn the names of plants or trees?” He felt that knowing the names of the trees and bushes, the birds and squirrels would somehow make a difference, that he would be treated more kindly, like less of a stranger, if he knew the names for things, like a tourist who has taken the trouble to learn a few phrases in a foreign land. “Of course these aren’t the names trees have for themselves. What would they care. I would need to think tree-ese. I’m not thinking straight.”

  He had continued stumbling, scrambling, climbing, crawling his his way up and down the hills without any sense of where he was going. He did his best to move West, to just create distance, not because he had a goal or destination, other than avoiding capture. His solace was that at least in this terrain, the enemy's vehicles couldn't help them. The canopy of branches kept him hidden from the sky, although he hadn't heard any planes. He understood the guerrilla fighter better than he ever had before. Rough terrain was the great equalizer. “The land is the only one who always cares for us, lends a hand, the sun always stands apart, distant.”

  At night the inchoate shapes of the branches against the black sky became indistinguishable from the memories that overtook him. In the darkness-the shapes and shadows out of the corner of his eye engaged the power of memory, of returning fire, shooting out at the road below him. The soldiers jumping out of the transports trucks, the heavy gun on the back of the jeep at the end of the convoy turning in their direction. His burst of fire had been a two second, thoughtless act of revenge and rage. The five or six flashes from the muzzle had momentarily illuminated the scene around him and he saw the mangle of flesh and bone that had been two of the men under his command.

  He chose not to turn and look, not to fix his gaze on it. Even in the chaos of combat he knew that those few images out of the corner of his eyes would stay with him, he knew that had to choose how much of the carnage he let himself examine. When he was younger he thought that confronting the carnage of war would help him to grasp the reality of death and he thought that he could desensitize himself, eliminate the fear by exposure, but he had been wrong. “The rebbe says that the body returns to the elements.” He didn't believe that this was what he meant, the solid body returned to liquid, revealed as water, how what was whole and a person could simply fall apart and crumble in sections. He felt a twinge of shame looking away. “Without a witness would their sacrifice even exist? Who would remember them? If they didn't win this war then they would be lost to humanity, nothing”. It was no wonder that the Greeks and Romans were always seeking glory and victory. He felt happy that he was Jew. God would remember him, and he would remember God.

  He had stopped firing as as he saw the soldier on the back of the jeep turn his cannon towards him. “Idiot!” he thought, “You gave away your position. Shit.” He took off running, grabbed Abe by the shoulder where he was crouched behind a tree. They could hear bullets landing in the dirt around them. He smacked Abe on the back of the head “Cease fire you moron. Retreat.” Adam looked up at him terrified and young, at that moment a child. Adam didn't pause or think anymore, he just pulled, leaned back with all his weight to dislodge Adam from his position, the boy was frozen, locked up and they had to keep moving.

  He was scared too, all he wanted to do was take off running by himself but he knew he couldn't leave them behind, he needed everyone with him. He kept scanning around him, tugging Adam who was starting to respond, saw Josh over to the right. “Come on!” he yelled. Josh looked up at him and smiled, happy to see the guy in charge. It was loud but they still had enough distance from the road to hear each other over the gun fire. Adam waved him over to them and Josh started towards them. “This is a good soldier” he thought. “Maybe we will be able to get out of this. It's so difficult to get them moving once they freeze up.” Back in Italy he had had to kick soldiers in the ass to get them going. They didn't like that, “Sometimes it's the only way to get . . .” after four steps Josh collapsed straight down, just fell and stopped moving. Adam's stomach sank. He had wanted to get them all out.

  He turned and started up the hill. “Holy shit, this is slow. We are going to be massacred.” Destroy infrastructure, kill some Nazi's, escape, kill some more Nazi's, that had been the plan, but this was looking no good. Gil appeared out of nowhere and rushed past him . Adam reached out to stop him but he flew by. In retrospect Gil had been doing the right thing, why had he even tried to slow him down? “I think I just wanted us all to be together. Maybe that's why he had tried to stop him.” Gil disappeared up ahead. Abe became suddenly heavy, stopped moving under his hand. He let go, that was all, and kept moving. He ran pausing every few moments to see if he could find Gil or Avi but he saw no one. Then he heard a big explosion and saw on the road that one of their mortar's misfired, in turn setting off one of the ammo trucks. The massive explosion sent nearby soldiers flying into the air like scraps of paper and candy wrappers in the wind. The gunfire stopped.

  Chapter 7

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