Emma quietly rattled the key in the lock as she trembled in the rain. Before she could enter she caught a quick glimpse of the soaked newspaper under her feet: Allied Forces Advance to Berlin

Finally . . . ” she quivered, in good faith. Her hand gave a violent twist, and the door carefully shifted open.

Emma promptly stepped in and pushed the door shut with her shoulder. The faint sound of a crackling fire came from the living room. She made no sudden movements.

“Is this what you call 12 AM, dear!” The voice boomed down the hall and around the corner.

Emma sighed and banged the door with her first in fury.

“Damn it, Paul, it’s only 12:30 . . .  and besides,” she twirled around on her torn shoes and made her way to the softly lit doorway, “it’s raining like hell.”

“Then how come I was able to get back by then, hmm?”

“Maybe because I help lock up the factories every night while you fend for yourself.” She stepped into the living room.

“The curfew strictly states that we all get home b—”

“FUCK the curfew Paul!” Her arms stuck out in frustration.

“God, can’t you see we’re all in this war, and you — you can’t even bargain to do more than what your paycheck feeds you.”

The large man sat across the room, smoking under his cloak of shadows, cast by the grand window curtains across the fire. Behind his chair stood the library of books, barely touching the ceiling that loomed twenty feet above. The end of his cigarette ebbed in the darkness.

“I do what I’m told, dear, not what I believe in.” A puff of smoke floated around the chandelier in the center of the room.

Emma glided toward the closest window with her arms folded around her torso. She gently shook her head in disgust, peering at the only streetlight from behind the curtain. This was the only light that was visible on Silo Avenue.

“Do you wonder, Paul,” she began, in a rather gentle tone, “what it’s like? The dirt, the blood, pulling those frozen triggers.”

A flash of lightning spread across the floor in silence.

“The fear, Paul, that fear you and I will never know. Like most people I actually have nightmares — the city exploding at the mercy of the bombers, fire catching everywhere, buildings crumbling before our eyes. I practically wake in tears, and yet I go to the factory like everyone else.” Her eyes began to swell in agony.

“I never thought I’d pray that my dreams never come true.”

Emma shifted her weight to face the figure in the distance.

“But you never wake up. You never shed a single trace of grief. You’re a damn Nazi from all I can tell, Paul.”

She aimed her stare at the dark corner. Her voice was terse.

“What do you even believe in?” Emma took a quick breath. “What do you believe in, dear?”

The room fell quiet. The sound of rain and fire danced in unison, echoing the howls of wind from outside.

Paul chuckled to himself.  “Funny you ask,” he chuckled, flicking his cigar into the flames.

“You know I’ve always believed in what’s best for humanity. But we both know that opinions change.”

The fat man shifted around in his chair and reached for his coat pocket.

“But not people. People don’t change.” Paul pulled out his father’s ancient revolver. “They only mature.”

The firelight reflected off of Emma’s still face. The woman did not flinch.

He cocked back the hammer and leaned back in the chair.

Paul sighed, “You know I’ve always loved you, dear.”

“I hadn’t even the slightest clue.”

A bolt of lightning crackled into the night from the last house on Silo Avenue.

Alejandro Hervella is a sophomore majoring in Animation at SVA. He was born in New York City and raised in Westport, CT. He has been interested in writing since high school, and has found inspiration in the work of George Orwell and Stephen King.