Die Gesichtslosen Soldaten

The faceless soldiers emerged from a monochromatic fog. Marching over hills and through rocks, the soldiers simultaneously brought one leg forward, snapped it straight at the knee, pulled it back, then repeated with the other leg. The number of faceless soldiers grew, until the hills themselves were composed of faceless soldiers who brought one leg forward and snapped it straight at the knee.

The fog lowered, and from it, long, pale arms emerged as the fog smothered the feet of the faceless soldiers, who pulled one leg back, and brought the other leg forward.

The arms bore white hands, each one bearing six fingers, two of which were thumbs that curled from either side of the row of fingers. The pale hands reached out, clawing at the faceless soldiers, tearing flesh away from their waists as the faceless soldiers snapped one leg straight at the knee. Not just blood, but torn chunks of flesh fell to the ground and were pulled into the dark fog. The hands tore away more and more, as the faceless soldiers shed away flesh and bone.

The faceless soldiers still brought one leg forward, snapped it straight at the knee, pulled it back, then repeated the other leg.


Die Gesichtslosen Soldaten was written with ambiguity in mind. The idea was to paint an image of soldiers following their orders without question or hesitation, even though they would be literally torn apart by the environment around them. I made sure, however, to not explicitly state that the soldiers themselves were valiant heroes or brainless drones for doing so. The German title, as well as the description of the soldiers as being faceless, was done to feed into the idea that the soldiers might be mindless after all (the German title being an illusion to Nazism because anything with "Germany" and "soldier" in the same sentence just has to be about Nazis). The persistence of the soldiers, however, could also be seen as admirable if one should take on a patriotic perspective. After all, only a soldier has the grit and determination to walk on as they are torn apart.

Which interpretation is "correct?" Well, neither. Even in my own mind, as the author, I don't have my own opinion on the writing. It just is what it is.