and a cloud of dust onto us

Nearby, another group was being brought up: my gaze met that of a beautiful young woman, almost naked but very elegant, calm, her eyes full of an immense sadness. I moved away. When I came back she was still alive, half turned onto her back, a bullet had come out beneath her breast and she was gasping, petrified, her pretty lips trembled and seemed to want to form a word, she stared at me with her large surprised incredulous eyes, the eyes of a wounded bird, and that look stuck into me, split open my stomach and let a flood of sawdust pour out, I was a rag doll and didn’t feel anything, and at the same time I wanted with all my heart to bend over and brush the dirt and sweat off her forehead, caress her cheek and tell her that it was going to be all right, that everything would be fine, but instead I convulsively shot a bullet into her head, which after all came down to the same thing, for her in any case if not for me, since at the thought of this senseless human waste I was filled with an immense, boundless rage, I kept shooting at her and her head exploded like a fruit, then my arm detached itself from me and went off all by itself down the ravine, shooting left and right, I ran after it, waving at it to wait with my other arm, but it didn’t want to, it mocked me and shot at the wounded all by itself, without me; finally, out of breath, I stopped and started to cry. Now, I thought, it’s over, my arm will never come back, but to my great surprise it was there again, in its place, solidly attached to my shoulder, and Häfner was coming up to me and saying, “That’s enough, Obersturmführer. I’ll take over for you.”

— Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones

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