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I have never waited this long. Not for something unknown to me
or the other thing, the one thats already become unknown to
me. My situation is my secret. Until they return. I cant think
of any more ideas that would provide me with a reason for hope.
I look around again. Im in a cellar room, thats all
I know. Just a few hours ago, I wasnt alone in here. Now,
theyre all gone. Dragged out of the room, some of them dead
within hours of being held in this room. I still remember each of
them stumbling inside hand-cuffed and bleeding, their eyes
trembling with fear.
Within hours, large
pools of blood were covering the floor. I still hear the screaming.
Now, the pools of blood are gone. Everything is dark-grey, even though
there is enough light shining in through the chinks of the door to make
some colors visible. In front of me, the chair to which they tied me
a few days ago. Otherwise, the room is empty apart from myself
and the chair, I can only see dirt and dust, some spiders and woodlice.
Im not grey. My hands are covering my knees. I feel that being
confronted with the sight of both when I wake up would be too much.
But I know I wont sleep. I dont want to look down on them
again. I close my eyes and see the faces of my brother and my parents
as they learn that I am dead. Ive always been someone who enjoys
dramatic scenes, but right now its not my choice, I cant
influence the images that are filling my head, ready to drain any sense
of sanity out of me. I try to imagine them happy, like on my nineteenth
birthday. Mutter had bought me a hat, not realizing it was two or three
sizes too big. I remember her laughing when I put it on. It was hiding
most of my face. Lukas laughed the loudest, as usual. He especially
liked laughing at me when I was reading poems. Generally though, we
had the same taste in literature: Remarque, Tucholsky, everything were
no longer allowed to read.
My brother. He was better at everything. He always had the greater ideas,
the more elaborate plans, the more fascinating women. Still, my envy
could never diminish the love I felt for him. Feel. When I think of
him, its even more impossible to think that I will
to calm myself down, as Ive been doing for the last twelve
ten? eight? days. I guess I should begin to get used to it by
now. I want to know what time it is. I want to know what day it is.
How can we define time? How can you gain any understanding of time?
By experiencing it like me at this moment? Or by using it, in liberty,
with the near-certainty that you have enough left of it?
If I make a decision, will I be happier? I try to sleep. How long have
I not slept for? Its more than a few days. Im such a coward.
Feigling. Schwaechling. Out of fear I cannot sleep, cannot think clearly.
Im hungry, at the same time Im feeling sick. In a few minutes
I will probably have to throw up again. What would Lukas think if he
saw me like this? Crying, whining, wetting my pants. Whats waiting
for me? So far Ive survived. But I dont believe Ill
make it. What a weird feeling to realize you have overestimated yourself
for so long. Until one day, one hour in which everything changes.
Red, the color of love. Im full of love. I laugh out loud at this
thought and begin to scratch my hands in order to show some more of
Suddenly I hear the lock turning and the door opens. One of the men
enters and stops in front of me. I dont look up anymore. I feel
that Im calming down. I think less about the future, I let things
go. Ill accept my fate, and I wont let my fear lead me to
humiliate myself again. This abhorrent fear that is threatening to destroy
everything. I sense that it is making them angry to see that my voice
is no longer trembling when I answer them, that my eyes are now dry
and that my pain is slowly turning into my secret.
I always thought I was courageous, brave, strong. Now I know that it
even takes me a great effort to complete the smallest tasks I set for
myself. I never would have thought that I am so weak. But thats
no longer important. Whats important is that they dont know
about Lukas and the others. I could never forgive myself if that happened.
"Einen Namen, sofort! Its a waste of time to still have you
live. You give me a name or youll be hanged, right now!"
he screams while he grabs me and starts smashing me against the wall.
For a few seconds I cannot hear or see anything. Then he lets go of
me. I fall down and throw up. He gives me about half a minute, then
he begins to kick my knees. I hold my breath so as not to give him any
satisfaction by crying out. I am ashamed, so ashamed, but for a moment
Lukas, I would never give away. But I thought
for a second
If I gave away Walters name, I could go.
No, they would never let me go.
And I could warn Lukas, send him away, force him to disappear.
Hes safe, hes too smart to let himself get caught.
Im a pig. Ein mieses Schwein.
"I was alone." I can barely hear my words. I look up. He shakes
his head, grinning.
"You really think Im stupid, dont you?" He is
still grinning as he kicks my knees again, then my genitals, several
times. Im straining to stay quiet.
Red is the color of power. I have power. I laugh heartily and dont
stop when he pulls me up and beats me in the face, again and again and
again but Im still laughing. He throws me down on the floor and
starts kicking me. I laugh and laugh and suddenly I realize that I really
do have power. A tiny bit I have, at this short moment until Ill
stop laughing. And hatred. I never thought I would ever hate this much.
I used to avoid it. Indifference is much more useful. But what is useful
for me at this point? Even love is inside me right now, even though
my laughter is fuelled by contempt. I feel so much love that I know
I cant do it, I cant betray any of them. This moment becomes
eternity for me even though its so short, even though I cannot
go on laughing for any longer. I cannot breathe. For a few seconds I
think Im going to die, but then I slowly recover my breath. He
stops kicking me and starts laughing. Then he leaves the room, filled
with a sense of power.
And yet again I have to wait. I want to die, please let me die, on a
rope so big that itll take me minutes to die and I feel sufficiently
punished for my endless foolishness. Meine Dummheit. Have I ever managed
to accomplish anything I set myself out to? I cant remember. Please
dont let me disappoint myself even more.
The man comes back in. "Heil Hitler", he says with pleasure.
I can barely open my eyes. "I said, Heil Hitler",
he repeats. I ignore him, almost indifferently.
I still love indifference.
"Oh, Ive already made you deaf? Good for you, then you wont
hear the interesting news I have for you." He kicks me in the stomach.
"Wake up, pig."
I guess its too late to try and defend myself.
"Your gutless brother was found dead in an attic. One problem less
for me." He laughs.
I dont believe it.
"You really cant hear me, can you? What a pity."
I must not believe it. I must not believe it. I must not believe it.
"So you need to tell me only one or two more names, not a difficult
task. Depends on whether you still feel like surviving, now that your
precious brother is dead."
I fight the urge to scream, I mustnt let it show.
He comes nearer and watches me closely. "Your brother has hung
himself, this gutless namby-pamby boy, this piece of dirt with no will
and character. Disgusting." He spits on the floor.
"He would never kill himself. He has more right to live than any
dumb slaves." My voice sounds unfamiliar, uncanny.
I taste blood in my mouth.
I dont feel anything when he kicks me again. After a few seconds
or minutes, he stops abruptly. "Now youll learn that it would
have been of more use to you to believe in our ideals than in your miserable
little brother who already shits his pants when he just imagines getting
caught." Then he leaves.
Lukas is too strong, he would never
He was afraid of not being strong enough, he thought he could save me,
he knew what theyd do to us.
He must have gone into hiding, hes gone into hiding.
Hes dead. And its my fault, Ive destroyed everything,
any chance for us to get through this. Why couldnt I have been
more careful? Suddenly, I can see him again. In front of a huge pile
of presents. On a bench with Walter. By a lake, fishing rods in his
hands. In the kitchen, with mum sitting on his lap, laughing hard. In
his room, kissing his last girlfriend. Crying, even though Ive
never seen him cry. In the attic, cord around his neck.
I start searching the floor, meticulously, without hope. It seems like
a miracle when I find a sharp stone, just right for this kind of purpose.
No longer will I have to think, wait or hope. I take the stone and use
it. And think of the color red again.
Red, the color of love.
© Lisa Timmermann Jan 2008
Lisa is studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at the university
Kit got out of her car and immediately felt like killing someone when
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Stories. I used to think they are a part of this world, of reality.
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