And then, there was nothing.
I fought through the incessant rain of the dead streets, consumed by my thoughts, more than a few events whirring through my mind as I tried to pull myself together. My mind kept going back to the fragments of information I had put together through my skilful stalking, investigation and eavesdropping. Fear coursed through my veins, and I couldn’t help but feel pathetic at willingly having worked for the Gestapo all this while. I had always been ambivalent regarding my work, but nothing so far had prompted me to leave. That is, until she came along. In her, I found a confidante, who guided my temperamental heart to the path of truthfulness and justice.
I glanced around furtively and increased my pace, my mind already by the niche in the wall where my loyal typewriter lay, ready to unravel a new story to the public. I was just two streets away from home. Subconsciously, an article began to take shape in my mind – which names I would include, which secrets I would help unearth. I was just a street away. I began devising a skilful plan of action to ensure anonymity. I was now at the bend by my house. Suddenly, I became very aware of my hurried, telling pace, my feet feeling disproportionately large. Left, right. Left, right. Left, right. My mind tired itself in its attempt of controlling my eager legs. As I took the turn, preoccupied, thoughtful, I felt something tip over my umbrella. Impulsively, I knelt over to catch ahold of it. There was a split second between my kneeling and it happening, where a chill crept down my spine, foreshadowing the pain that would follow. Then, my skull moaned as someone took a piercing jab at my head. My periphery began blurring out, and my eyes went in and out of focus. Within seconds, I had blacked out completely.
I woke up to swollen eyes and a parched mouth, with a hollow throb beating at the back of my head. I lay lifeless, limp, willing my eyes to fight back my eyelids. After several timeless minutes that rolled over into hours, my eyes emerged victorious, but in vain. I was blanketed in nothingness. I blinked slowly, twice, only to face the darkness again. For a fleeting moment I wondered if I had gone blind – what would a journalist know about brain damage? My knowledge was limited to the limited floggings I had witnessed. My dilapidated brain chose to practice reckless optimism, assuming I was simply too far down for there to be any visibility. How that was optimistic, I knew not. It was at this point that I felt the metal chains burning into my flesh, holding me down, challengingly. Slowly, relying on tactile tellers, I began drinking in my surroundings, trying to put together where I might be, and if I could escape. I had never stopped to marvel at the skilfulness of the Gestapo, but in this empty timeless room, it provided for an easy distraction.
Within minutes, however, my spirit deflated – there was only so much my empty surroundings could tell me. Hopelessness began creeping into me, swallowing all evidence of the bold, daring journalist of before. All that kept me alive, fighting, was thoughts of her.
It was hours before I heard the faint tapping of footsteps. I felt a huff of cold breath by the side of my neck, followed by four icy fingers on my shoulder, and immediately, I knew who was holding me captive. I let the tears snake down my face, as I mumbled, “Agnes?” In response, a raspy, composed voice exclaimed, “Heil Hitler”. I felt a cold metal barrel pressed hard against my forehead. There was a loud bang, and a searing pain, and then, there was nothing.