This is the sixth part of my short story THE WAR. Please, would you proofread it.
As I returned to the warehouse, I found my place occupied by another person. I did not want to quarrel knowing that we all were in the same hell. There was no place to hide, not even the darkest corner could protect a prisoner from the guards. My eyes swept around and I saw that there was almost no empty space. There must have been at least 500 or more men.
The only available space was close to the entrance - nobody wanted to be within the sight of a heavy machine gun and the guards’ piercing eyes. I sat down on the piece of cardboard beside an old man. He was lying on his back, his coat rolled up as a pillow. A dark beret covered his grey, curly hair. His walking stick lay beside him. I asked him how old he was. He slowly turned his body towards me and said in a rasping voice, “I’m 85.”
“Didn’t you tell them how old you are?” I asked him.
“Of course I told them. I even showed them my ID card, but they didn’t care.”
“You certainly must remember the Second World War?” I asked him
“I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was with the partisans then. I was awarded a medal for bravery. I’ve somehow stayed alive, but this time they’ll finish me off.”
“Don’t you worry, the old man,” I said, “You’ll survive this war also.”
He sighed wearily and closed his eyes. He could not find solace in my words. As a partisan he had at least a gun in his hand and could defend himself or run into the mountains where Germans would not search after him, but here he was trapped, his life depending on the guards and their mood.
I turned to my right and talked to another man in his fifties. He told me that he had been working in Germany for years. He returned home for a short holiday and unfortunately, became caught in the conflict. His acquaintances in Germany advised him against the travel to Bosnia, but he did not want to listen to them. He could never have believed that a neighbour would turn against a neighbour, a friend against a friend. Now he was paying dearly for his naivety.
Our discussion was broken by a sudden arrival of a red BMW. There was a loud screeching of car brakes and four men came out. They were all dressed in dark uniforms and had red berets on their heads and held AK-47 in their hands. They strode towards the entrance, and when I saw them standing there like dark heavy curtains, I knew that they were bringing death.
They were all burly but for a lanky man who seemed to be their leader. His haggard face was disfigured by a deep and large scar which covered his right cheek from his eye until his chin. A long, shining sabre was hanging from his belt. His black boots were perfectly polished. He gave an impression as if he had just stepped out of a military parade. I felt my heart beating faster. I could almost breathe the smell of death around him. I knew that for him it was easier to kill a human being then to perform any other act. His dark eyes had a strange intense gaze, as if under the influence of a drug or it could be sheer hatred. There was a complete silence in a warehouse. Without being told, everyone felt that the four men in front of them had blood on their hands and were searching for more.
“So here you are!” He said in a harsh voice. “I knew you’ll come! Why did you listen to your bloody president? He is in Sarajevo eating well and enjoying life while you are here, sleeping on the dirty floor, hungry and thirsty. But if you had been clever, you would have been with us. Instead, you want the war. I’ll give you the war, tonight.”
He guffawed and turned around followed by his three companions. But they did not return to the car but went into the adjacent warehouse wherefrom we soon heard screams and pleadings of the prisoners who were beaten mercilessly. Although I could not see them, their screams and voices upset me deeply. They were innocent just as myself and they suffered at the hands of a madman who, if he wanted could kill them all and never face justice. When the dark quartet finally emerged from the warehouse, sweaty and tired, and returned to the car which drove off at speed, everyone heaved a deep sigh.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thank you for correcting my mistakes.
I just have a question regarding one sentence.
I am wondering if you have forgotten to add "he" in the sentence:
"He gave the impression that had just stepped out of military parade."
I think I also need "he" in this sentence,namely: "He gave the impression that he had just stepped out of military parade."