A Story For All My Friends:.
During my whirlwind trip to Europe last year, I was visiting a place unfamiliar to me. The locals had cautioned me but didn’t specify why I should be careful. At the time, it didn’t bother me at all. The fact that they served me the best baguettes and flavorful coffee I’d ever tasted made such concerns seem foolish.
My only morning there, I very much wanted to take a walk in the unknown hills and fields surrounding the tiny hamlet in which I was staying. It was my goal to see all the sights I could squeeze into my trip, and preferably on foot. I headed toward a large expanse of open field, one I could see from my quaint bed and breakfast. A light fog obscured all the distant edges, waiting for the sun to peek and burn it off an hour or so later.
As I passed the edge of the pavement, I encountered a large yellow and black-edged sign, one which indicated “Warning: Stay Out!” in 3 languages. The urge to get away from people and places overpowered me, so I ignored the warning sign, deciding that the absence of a fence or any other observable prohibition to entry meant it was a forgotten relic, left as an inside joke or an indication of a property owner’s laziness.
About 50 feet past the sign, I still couldn’t see anything which warranted feeling unsafe. The grass seemed relatively maintained and it was quite peaceful. I continued on, but started noticing little bits of black and white-striped fabric. Soon, there were many more scattered whimsically on the ground. After several more steps, I noticed that some of the strips now seemed to be stained with what seemed to be blood.
Still ignoring any sense of danger, I quickened my pace, following the trail of thickening fabric pieces on the grass.
Suddenly, I noticed a large group of thin people wearing unusually clingy clothing and dark berets on their heads. Most were waving their arms in the air, while some seemed to be doing so in patterns I couldn’t quite discern as if they were trapped behind a barrier I couldn’t quite see. Their clothing matched the black and white-striped fabric pieces strewn about the field.
I bolted toward the tree-lined edge of the open field, some yards away. As I approached its perimeter, I could see a large rectangular sign facing the opposite direction, away from me.
As I cleared the field, I swiveled to read the sign’s large black lettering.
My skin crawled and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up, as the realization struck me that I had just survived the last remaining WWII French mimefield.