The rough men hoisted the corpse on a rope. They left it dangling on a branch, hanging over their campfire, buffeted by rising laughter. It swayed in the darkness and flickering flame, as though the dead man’s shade hovered over their celebration, unable to escape their gloating. The laughter turned to singing and the men began to dance, lifting their steins into the air, saluting the swaying carcass.
The young recruit lifted his mug, but it trembled. He felt the gaze of the corpse, creaking in the tree, fall upon him. It was a gaze full of revenge; he thought.