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Pierre could count the few nights he had slept through since his departure from France. He never had actual dreams, he simply awoke in the middle of the night, terrified, sweating, and breathless. Tired and dizzy in the morning, he relied on heavy doses of caffeine to awaken a sufficient awareness of things. It was as if his memory had been siphoned from his mind. Day after day of a never-ending cycle, he had to figure out his surroundings and decide how to act. Cursed to cope with existing, he strove to live each day to its fullest. Then the next one, and further on. He was entirely placed in the present. No past, no future, just that day.
He survived by using whatever life provided to do so. His reality was as simple and terrible as that. He would be distracted by the offerings of the day, then emptiness would take over. Maybe he would heal one day, maybe never. A person watching him drink his coffee boiling hot might suspect he worshipped internal scars, and moved comfortably with pain. He alone knew his life had been shaped by loss. Nothing in the world could occupy the enormity of that place.
On this day, when he arrived at the train station he jumped into the first carriage he came to and quickly found a seat. He never read a train’s signaling or destination out of an inner refusal to know where life was taking him. Not because it would make a difference, but because he wanted to trust fate to take him where he should go. Life became easier that way: no planning ahead; no trying to figure out what was coming next; no looking forward or back.
Pierre had once told his wife he wanted to have as many children as possible. He had assured her there would always be food on the table, and their home would always be filled with laughter and joy. Young and naïve then, he had known nothing about life. One second, so fragile. Wife and five children gone. Death had missed him, but he would not miss those who had caused it. His daily circumstances meant nothing. He was simply passing time while trying to gain the courage to achieve his last wish, his sole reason for moving forward. No matter how long it took, or how it was accomplished, courage would be found. His day for revenge would come.