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When It Rains

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It never rains in this fucking place; but when it does, it pours. Fat raindrops hit the ground with a harsh hiss. The red soil smells wet. A damp heat permeates the barracks. Gloom soaks every corner.

Klaus looks out of the window. He puts out his cigarette, reaches for the lamp on the rickety table, turns it on. He fishes out a rumpled packet of cigarettes from the breast pocket of his green fatigues, takes out a new cigarette and puts it between his lips. He goes back to cleaning his .44 Magnum. When a man in combat gear walks into the makeshift armoury, Klaus ignores him.

"Hey, shithead."

Klaus grits his teeth. Arsehole. The idiot keeps opening and closing his mouth, making sounds. His armpits are sweaty and his words make no sense. I wish I didn't have to listen to him again. Never again. It's not difficult, he thinks, and inserts a new magazine into his Magnum. It's quite simple, actually. Klaus is used to it. It's his job. He loves his job. He knows he's good at it.

It would be nice to warn the bastard, even. See his face. Watch him as he turns around. As he tries to run. Does the idiot think Klaus would have a problem shooting him in the back? Idiot.

Of course, it's better to look at them in the face. Like I did with them. Klaus tucks his gun into his shoulder holster. Too bad it was through crosshairs. From a distance. Klaus tries at the same time to banish the memories and to cherish them. "You're always so remote, Klaus."

The filthy faggots knew it was possible. Even probable. There were rumours everywhere. Iron Klaus's gone crazy. He disappeared. He went rogue. He left a trail of blood behind him.

Klaus hasn't gone mad. He diversified. What's the difference between killing for NATO and killing independently? Cutting out the middleman. NATO is about defending capitalism against communism, isn't it? So, welcome to private enterprise. Klaus goes where the work is. And there is work everywhere. You just have to follow it. From the point of view of capitalism, it helps the aviation industry, too.

Following the work took Klaus to this country of arseholes in the middle of nowhere. Far enough that Klaus stopped speaking German. To think in German. Or English. He hasn't thought in German—or English—for a long time. Especially in English. He would have preferred a less effeminate, less debauched language; but the local idiots speak French, so Klaus speaks—thinks—in French.

The two bloody perverts spoke French to each other. The little red-headed faggot was French. Which had its advantages. It's more satisfying to kill people you hate. Most of the time, Klaus's job requires killing strangers. So, it's a bonus when you know your target. When you can pull the trigger looking at a familiar face. The face of your replacement.

Klaus didn't really know him. He hadn't seen him often. But he had seen enough. The little red-headed violinist who appeared more and more often where he had no right to be, for some far-fetched reason, opaque as a curtain of English rain. When it rains on the North Downs, the landscape becomes a lush mix of blue-green hills, snaking hedges and soft sheep.

Klaus had seen it coming before Dorian; but when Dorian had seen it too, he hadn't bothered to hide it. "I changed my mind, Klaus."

Wanting is better than having. For Dorian, at least. "It's not working between us, Klaus."

Dorian hadn't apologised. He never apologised. He explained himself. "There's someone else, Klaus." That's it. Goodbye, Klaus. Hello, René.

René. Frail, bland, red-headed. With a red flower between his eyes. Dorian's face striped with the spray of René's blood. René's body on the gravel. Dorian kneeling next to it, eyes raised towards Klaus, as if he could see him. Look into his eyes. He had already understood. He was calm, composed. The faggot had always been brave.

Klaus had bided his time. He had taken a deep breath. Slowly, in silence, he had withdrawn his weapon. He had stood up. He had turned around. He had left. He had not shot Dorian. Why kill him? Better to leave him with the knowledge of what had happened. What he'd done to Klaus. To his beloved René.

Goodbye Dorian. Hello new Klaus.