This short story is only available in German.
Read the German version here!
I dragged myself down the lane, one hand clamped onto a fence. Splinters cut me, every breath stung, but I walked on. My rifle rubbed against my shoulder, its bayonet pointed in sharp defiance upward. I could hardly see for the rain.
The message rested in my pocket, heavy with the weight of responsibility. But I walked on.
Black shapes swooped and tumbled across my exhausted vision. I kept rubbing my eyes. Rain splashed into my skull, soothing my hair. The only thing that I could wash myself with now was rain. I held my arms open, the sudden onslaught of the downpour a glorious series of sensations against my skin. I opened my mouth to let the water trickle down my throat. It was bitter, strangely bitter…
Before the past we had a world, it was not great, just good. At the time of the ruining I was a child, as was my sister and elder brother, my parents were good people, our relatives and friends were good, most were. We worked, studied, learnt, improved, played, loved, hated, fought, made peace, it was a world.
We studied arithmetic, sciences, history, language, art, we did sports; my brother was about to study medicine. Mother was a vehicle designer, and bitter energy was never taken seriously beyond profit, father worked in urban planning. At week-ends we’d visit the countryside, go to the cinema, play in the parks, have picnics and parties with neighbours and friends.
Anne looks out of the window. The trees are shivering in the wind. Above, battalions of clouds chase each other across the sky. Anne needs to go to the shop. The forecast says it is warm outside, so it won’t be worth changing. She could put on a bra, push up her tiny globes, make the most of the little that she has. No. Why bother? No-one is interested anyway.
She sat a few feet away from him and looked at him with a typical smirk on her face. Though he was her grandfather of the blood relation, she never felt that bond with him. She would be suffocated by his presence but would not express it to him or to anyone else. How could she? She had to treat him well around her parents and show regard even though she never wanted to.
He lived at her house because in India it is customary to live with your parents and serve them well during their old age. That was what her father did too.
“Itee ! Make some tea for your grandfather. Its five o’clock.”, ordered her father.
Although she herself knew what the time was and also knew what had to be done at that time, which was to give the old man his timely cup of tea, she did not do it on her own. She waited for her father to giver her instructions; half expecting that there would be none that day.
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