Character: David Webster
He sees them sitting on the truck staring at him with a look that could only be described as contempt. They leer at his good intentions. He feels as if his feet are covered in cement. His heart is pounding, his palms are sweaty and he’ll force a smile that almost reaches his eyes forcing his body forward like a lamb to the slaughter.
Due to his nerves he asks all the wrong questions. “Where’s Bill Guarnere? Joe Toye?”
He hurtles himself back into their circle and keeps marching forward, even though he really wants to run the other way.
They had tried to help the prisoners by giving them food. Now here they sit staring at a table ladled with loaves of bread, cheese, and fresh butter. The smell in the room is intoxicating.
Some of the soldiers moan as they eat their fill. Why give the food back to the townsfolk after they denied the existence of hell itself. They will stuff themselves on their bounty.
David picks up a piece of bread, spreads on a generous amount of butter, and hands it to Joe. Joe smiles and they sit enjoying a last supper before moving on.
Character: Joe Liebgott
He feels dirty. The stench of the camp seems to have seeped into every pore, crevice of his body, and uniform. The smell of burnt flesh and death still lingers in his nostrils, and on his tongue. He’s never tasted death before and it makes him want to gag.
He scrubs his skin raw, praying to a God he’s not sure will hear. Please…please…and somewhere in his mind it changes to giving thanks that it wasn’t him dying in that camp. The thought makes him ill, for why should he give thanks?
He’s unsure if he’ll ever feel clean again.
His soul is frozen. He’s numb through and through. He can’t feel the ground under and behind him. Skip and Penkala are gone, GONE. Nothing left but charred earth. Lipton won’t let him see, and in a way he’s glad. He cradles the broken rosary in his hand, a link to the other side. He runs through his prayers in his head. Praying that Skip and Penkala are at peace and hopefully smiling down at him. Are they the lucky ones? To be out of this frozen hell, to never feel pain again, wondering if they’ll ever feel warm again?