TEXTE

©Carola Christiansen

KRIEG

Meine Eltern beneh­men sich selt­sam. Sie weinen.

Erwachsene wei­nen doch nicht?! Nur, wenn etwas rich­tig Schlimmes pas­siert. Jemand muss gestor­ben sein! Ich habe Angst.

Wer soll mich beschüt­zen, wenn die Monster unter mei­nem Bett her­aus­krie­chen?  Wer, wenn die ande­ren mich in der Schule hän­seln, weil ich zu klein bin, zu lang­sam, zu dumm?

Wer soll mir helfen?

Obwohl – in die Schule gehe ich schon seit einer Woche nicht mehr. Niemand geht mehr in die Schule, das behaup­ten zumin­dest Mama und Papa. Dabei war es doch so furcht­bar wichtig.

Lernen! Nicht für die Schule, haben sie immer gesagt – für’s Leben …

Und nun? Plötzlich alles egal!

Mein gro­ßer Bruder ist jetzt ein Soldat. Soldaten gehen auch nicht mehr in die Schule. Mama und Papa haben furcht­bar geweint, als er los­ge­zo­gen ist. Wieder! Dabei hat er doch am Computer schon Krieg gespielt. Mama hat sich geär­gert, doch er woll­te nicht auf­hö­ren. Er fand es so toll. Nun darf er in echt spie­len! Da müss­ten sich doch alle freu­en! Nein. Geheule. Das Schlimme ist, das darf ich eigent­lich nie­man­dem ver­ra­ten, er hat selbst auch geheult!

Erst hab ich’s nicht geglaubt, sei­ne Schultern haben so komisch gezuckt, ich dach­te, er lacht vor Freude. Nein. Er hat geheult, wie ein Baby! Fast so schlimm wie Mama. Aber dass Papa auch …

Die Welt ist völ­lig ver­rückt. Mitten in der Nacht zerrt Mama mich aus dem Bett. Es ist schreck­lich laut, die Geräusche machen mir Angst, und wir gehen in den Keller. Nicht ein­mal in unse­ren Keller, wir gehen in einen Nachbarkeller. Das ist siche­rer, sagt Mama. Wieso? Ich möch­te schla­fen! Wovor über­haupt sicher? Geht es um die Monster unter mei­nem Bett? Warum machen die plötz­lich so einen Krach?

Als Mama und Papa irgend­wann schla­fen, bin ich mucks­mäus­chen­still wie­der auf­ge­stan­den. Ich schlei­che mich nach oben, an allen schnar­chen­den Nachbarn vor­bei, drau­ßen ist es fast hell. Ich habe dann lan­ge über­legt, was ich zuerst tun möch­te, wo ich jetzt die Gelegenheit habe, weil sie end­lich bei­de fest schla­fen. Früher, und das ist noch gar nicht lan­ge her, eine Woche viel­leicht, bin ich immer mit mei­nem Fußball los­ge­zo­gen. Ich habe nur ganz kurz über­le­gen müs­sen – Fußball ist immer das Größte! Ich wür­de end­lich wie­der mit mei­nen Freunden kicken, ich hab die echt ver­misst! Selbst auf die ande­re Gang freu­te ich mich, die, die uns immer den Ball geklaut haben!! Also auf Zehenspitzen und Socken nix wie raus aus der Bude und den Fußi holen.

Komisch ist schon, was da vor der Tür alles her­um­liegt. Häuser sind ein­ge­kracht. Was ist da bloß pas­siert? Da sind rich­ti­ge Löcher drin. Bomben? Das hat Papa gesagt. Die wer­fen Bomben auf uns. Wer sind die? Die Feinde. Aber wer? Aliens? Wieso machen die alles kaputt? Wenn da noch jemand drin gewe­sen wäre!

Jetzt habe ich aber kei­ne Zeit mehr, ich ren­ne durchs Treppenhaus nach oben zu unse­rer Wohnung. Den Schlüssel habe ich natür­lich noch. Nur schnell den Ball holen. Überall sind Löcher in den Wänden. Steine und ande­rer Krempel lie­gen auf der Treppe. Und drau­ßen sind wie­der die­se schreck­li­chen Geräusche. So ein schril­les Summen und ein fürch­ter­li­ches Knallen und Krachen. Fast wie ein Gewitter. Doch davor habe ich natür­lich kei­ne Angst! Ich bin ja kein Baby! Vielleicht sind da drau­ßen nur Blitze und Donner. Elektrizität. Das habe ich von Mama gelernt. Kein Grund, sich zu fürch­ten. Mit dem Ball unter dem Arm lau­fe ich wie­der nach drau­ßen. Es sieht alles so anders aus. Überall lie­gen Steine, der Fußweg und die Straße sind auf­ge­platzt wie die Wassermelonen, die wir letz­ten Sommer vom Balkon gewor­fen haben.

Plötzlich über­kommt mich so ein star­kes Gefühl. Ich möch­te bei Mama und Papa sein. Warum bloß? Ich woll­te doch zu mei­nen Freunden. Ich kann gar nichts dage­gen tun. Es hat gera­de beson­ders laut geschep­pert, viel­leicht liegt es dar­an. Heule ich jetzt etwa auch? Das fehlt noch. Ich sehe mich um. Es ist nie­mand auf der Straße. Kein Erwachsener und schon gar kei­ner mei­ner Freunde. Doch eins ist klar: ich heu­le jetzt wirklich!

Ich habe doch Angst. Und ich bin ganz allein.

 

Plötzlich schreckt sie aus dem Schlaf. Ein beson­ders lau­ter Einschlag in der Nähe. Sie streicht sich die Haare aus dem Gesicht und sieht zu ihrem Mann, der eben­falls gera­de die Augen öff­net. Ihr Blick fällt auf das Lager neben ihnen. Sie braucht einen Moment, um das Bild zu ver­ar­bei­ten. Der Platz ist leer. Im Dunkel kann sie nicht wei­ter in den Raum schau­en, doch sie sieht es in den auf­ge­ris­se­nen Augen ihres Mannes, er hat es eben­falls bemerkt. Beide rich­ten sich auf. Sie flüs­tert den Namen ihres Sohnes. Erst fra­gend, dann zuneh­mend panisch, bis ihr Flüstern zu einem Schrei anschwillt. Rundherum tau­chen müde Gesichter auf. Verwirrt, erschro­cken und dann erbost. Wer wagt es, ihnen die weni­gen kost­ba­ren Stunden des Vergessens zu rau­ben? Die Ruhe, derer ihre aus­ge­zehr­ten Körper und Seelen so drin­gend bedür­fen. Einige Mienen spie­geln Mitgefühl wider, doch die meis­ten sind ein­fach resi­gniert und tod­mü­de. Ihr Mann nimmt sie in die Arme.

»Schsch, wir fin­den ihn. Vielleicht muss­te er mal verschwinden.

Einige lei­se Stimmen fra­gen: »Was ist passiert?«

»Unser Sohn ist ver­schwun­den! Wir gehen ihn suchen.«

Seufzend schä­len sich meh­re­re sche­men­haf­te Gestalten aus ihren Decken. »Wir hel­fen euch!«

Die ande­ren fal­len erschöpft zurück auf ihre Lager.

 

Erst bin ich nur gelau­fen, doch jetzt ren­ne ich. Erst habe ich mei­nen Fußi fest­ge­hal­ten, doch jetzt habe ich ihn ver­lo­ren. Ich ren­ne so schnell, dass ich hus­ten muss und kei­ne Luft bekom­me. Ich muss ste­hen­blei­ben. Die Luft briz­zelt so komisch, klei­ne leuch­ten­de Teilchen flie­gen durch die Luft. Eigentlich sieht es ganz schön aus, doch der Gestank ist fies, und ich krie­ge nicht genug Luft in mich hin­ein. Ganz ver­bo­gen ste­he ich da, ich keu­che und sehe den Eingang zum Keller, in dem Mama und Papa bestimmt noch schlafen.

Es ist so heiß! Die Luft tut weh. Auf mei­ner Haut und auch, wenn ich nach Luft schnap­pe. Ich ver­su­che trotz­dem zu atmen. Plötzlich sehe ich Mama, Papa ist dicht hin­ter ihr. Ich ver­su­che zu rufen, aber mei­ne Stimme ist wohl verbrannt.

Ich kann sie nicht hören. Doch ihre Münder sind weit offen, als wenn sie schrei­en wür­den. Komisch. Sind ihre Wörter auch ver­brannt? Geht das? Sie heu­len schon wie­der, das sehe ich ganz deutlich.

 

Sie sinkt auf die Knie, presst den Körper ihres Sohnes fest an sich, wiegt ihn vor­sich­tig. Ihr Mann kniet hin­ter ihr, umfasst sie schüt­zend mit bei­den Armen. Tränen strö­men über sein Gesicht.

Sie lächelt. Hört nicht auf vor- und zurück­zu­schau­keln. Flüstert lei­se Worte in die Ohren des Kindes. Die klei­ne Schar müder Helfer steht betre­ten um sie her­um. Schweigend. Schließlich tritt einer aus dem Kreis her­aus und reicht ihr die Hand. Sie über­sieht die Hand erst und schlägt sie dann zur Seite. Die Umstehenden lau­schen ner­vös den Einschlägen, die näher­zu­kom­men schei­nen. Kein guter Ort zum Verweilen. So groß das Mitgefühl ist, nie­mand möch­te hier und jetzt von einer Bombe zer­ris­sen werden.

 

Mama hat mich gestrei­chelt, wie ein Hauch so sanft. Jetzt flie­ge ich. Ich sehe sie unter mir, sie weint. Papa auch. So vie­le Tränen. Ich seuf­ze. Es hört sich selt­sam an, hier oben. Ich sehe, wie zer­stört unse­re Stadt ist. Ich sehe die vie­len Menschen, die wei­nen. Unser gan­zes Land müss­te eigent­lich über­flu­tet sein. Überall lie­gen Körper ohne Leben. Erwachsene, aber auch Kinder. Ich ver­su­che mei­ne Freunde zu erken­nen, doch alles beginnt zu verschwimmen.

Da sehe ich mei­nen Fußi. Tief unter mir. Er kul­lert durch die Straße, wie von einer unsicht­ba­ren Schnur gezo­gen. Im nächs­ten Augenblick höre ich einen gewal­ti­gen Knall und Flammen schla­gen hoch und ver­su­chen mich zu erwi­schen. Doch sie kön­nen mir nichts anhaben.

Nie mehr.

 

Eine Kurzgeschichte auf Englisch…

 

©Carola Christiansen

FREE ANGEL

She was fly­ing, final­ly. Wasn’t that, what Angels did?

My sis­ter admit­ted­ly did not have the best qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons for going through life with a song upon her lips. At least not a hap­py one. Even though she had the most beau­ti­ful name: Angel. Unfortunately it did not stop our father from bea­ting the hell out of her … But I am trai­ling off.

Our fami­ly was poor. Mother died when Angel was only a small child. The bea­ting star­ted soon after. Physically Angel resem­bled her name: A deli­ca­te, other­world­ly beau­ty. But insi­de? Anyway, after lea­ving home at age 17 she deve­lo­ped an unfai­ling abi­li­ty to fall for the wrong men. Wrong for her – but wrong for them main­ly. Probably it was this vic­tim thing: Once a vic­tim – always loser.

But when she deci­ded to put a stop to that, oh my!

Right in the midd­le of an extre­me­ly important mee­ting my mobi­le vibra­ted. Somehow it see­med to con­vey a cer­tain urgen­cy, the­re­fo­re I excu­sed mys­elf for a cou­p­le of minu­tes to take the call. It was Angel in tears. I sig­hed, it could only have to do with her latest hus­band. I did not like him from the first. While lis­tening to her tear­full sto­ry I made a quick count – it must be bri­de­groom num­ber six. God only knew why she always had to mar­ry them! Slowly the who­le tra­ge­dy unfold­ed befo­re my unwil­ling ears. But I defi­ni­te­ly had to rush back to my bewil­de­red busi­ness part­ners. I pro­mi­sed to see her later. If only I’d have known …

When I ent­e­red the bar, she was alrea­dy sit­ting the­re. Ever the dra­ma queen – but don­ning sun­glas­ses on a fog­gy November evening was a touch too much even for her. Therefore I expec­ted the worst. I gli­ded onto the bar stool bes­i­de her. She did not take off the glas­ses, just gave me a very tiny smi­le. The bar­ten­der loo­ked sur­pri­sed from her to me. I nod­ded. knowin­gly. Shooting a quick glance at her I said:

I’ll take the same”

We wai­ted for the bar­man to reap­pe­ar with my drink. She slow­ly rota­ted her glass, sta­ring silent­ly into the clear liquid. Ice cubes clin­king. I had to sup­press a shi­ver. My gin and tonic arri­ved and I took a big sip.

Why don’t you tell me what hap­pen­ed?” I felt for­ti­fied enough now to endu­re wha­te­ver she might spill out.

Thank you for com­ing and at such short noti­ce as well. This time it is real­ly serious.” She threw back her lumin­ous hair thea­tri­cal­ly. It made me won­der. Usually she’d just burst out with a heart­brea­king sto­ry of being wron­ged again by the next emo­ti­on­less hus­band of hers on whom she had put sta­kes on. Changes in the cour­se of action always made me ner­vous. So what did she actual­ly want from me? It was not her style to fidget. I felt alar­med. She flas­hed me a smi­le. I caught it in the mir­ror behind the bar.

So…?”

My Darling you’ll have to come home with me. Something hap­pen­end.” Her voice went down to a whis­per: “Something bad, real­ly, real­ly bad! I don’t know what to do about it. I desper­ate­ly need your help!”

Alarmbells rang like thun­der in my head. What had she done this time? Suddenly I felt down­gra­ded to some sort of gene­ral clea­ner for espe­cial­ly deli­ca­te situa­tions. Or may­be espe­scial­ly bad situa­tions. It was a fee­ling I didn’t enjoy. But she per­sua­ded me with a sweet smi­le to go with her  – and to pay the bill for our drinks befo­re leaving.

Now to under­stand, if only a frac­tion of the dama­ged way of her thin­king, you’ll have to know a bit more about what had hap­pen­ed to her in ear­ly child­hood. Unfortunately I am not a good wit­ness to that eit­her. But things have been heard and told: After Mum died, Father felt, for some rea­sons we never dis­co­ve­r­ed, that Angel was respon­si­ble for it. Not much later he star­ted bea­ting her. Seriously. So hard, she even had to skip school some­ti­mes. Broken bones, that bare­ly grew tog­e­ther again. A lot of pain for sure. But that had not even been the worst. I awo­ke out of my remi­nis­cence with a start. Gravel was crun­ching under the wheels, we had arri­ved at Angels home. I didn’t know what to expect and sud­den­ly I felt extre­me­ly vul­nerable. After I had bare­ly stop­ped the engi­ne she actual­ly shot out of the car. Then she stood for a cou­p­le of seconds in the head­lights, like a deer inten­ding to cross the road. Finally, after fumb­ling for her keys and near­ly vanis­hing into the big hand­bag of hers, she ope­ned the door, took a deep breath and step­ped into the dim lit hall. With that disap­peared out of my sight. I tried to calm mys­elf. Whatever it was it surely could be dealt with.

Inside I tried to focus in the near darkness.

Angel, could you plea­se turn on the lights?”

I tried to remem­ber whe­re the switch was. Somewhere on the wall near the ent­ran­ce for sure but my brain refu­sed to remem­ber whe­re exact­ly. Suddenly she cal­led for me, from some place fur­ther down the hall. At the very moment I thought I heard some distant moa­ning. Not good. Slowly I made my way into the void, lead by this faint dis­tur­bing sound. Then all of a sud­den light bla­zed all around me. It was so unex­pec­ted, that my heart star­ted bea­ting like a hare’s when see­ing a smi­ling fox. Yet what had been illu­mi­na­ted was neit­her some­thing to put my mind at ease, nor to slow the bea­ting of my poor heart.

Before the plush otto­man in front of the fire­place laid hus­band num­ber six, wrists effec­tively cons­trai­ned by hand­cuffs. His face obvious­ly had been under­go­ing a make­over with a base­ball bat. Or – as my reluc­tant eyes told me – a poker, for that was, what Angel held in a tight grip, while stan­ding over him. The end of the poker was drip­ping with blood, his blood. She was breat­hing heavily.

Angel! Stop!” I orde­red firmly.

She still hove­r­ed over him, rea­dy to hit again at the sligh­test provocation.

Tell me what hap­pen­ed!” I deman­ded. “Why have you cuf­fed your hus­band – and for God’s sake, why have you hit him?” And whe­re did you get the hand­cuffs?, I added but only to mys­elf. I knew she had near­ly unli­mi­ted means to get ever­ything she wan­ted. He star­ted moa­ning again. Not qui­te under­stand­a­ble with all the blood in his mouth, pro­bab­ly mis­sing some teeth as well. I cho­se to igno­re him. Questions raced through my head: How to get out of it this time? It never had been this dis­astrous befo­re. How to get him to keep his mouth shut about what she had done to him? Perhaps by fin­ding out, what he had tried to do to her, I told mys­elf. With for­ced calm I said:

Angel put that poker down. He won’t run, you have him secu­re. So stop stan­ding the­re like some appa­ri­ti­on from hell! How about try­ing to exp­lain instead.”

She told me, what I alrea­dy expec­ted. Again. Of cour­se. What did she expect? By mar­ry­ing a man, a woman nor­mal­ly agrees to con­ju­gal duties. I sig­hed. I near­ly felt sor­ry for him, hus­band num­ber six. It was not easy to remem­ber his face befo­re her seve­re bea­ting, but I thought he had been qui­te good loo­king, and rather inno­cent as well. I made a quick cal­cu­la­ti­on – the gar­den was big, but was it big enough?

Angel”, I began, “you have to … NO! No, Angel don’t!”

It was too late. All of a sud­den she had rai­sed the poker high and with one deter­mi­ned blow had split his head open. I clo­sed my eyes for a second. Amen! Poor guy. Maybe he had for­ced hims­elf upon her, but just as likely she had assu­med he might do it in the future. No way to tell. He was at least was out of his mise­ry. I was not. I had known it sure enough – she would get me into some­thing again. And here I was. With a dead body at my feet. And my beau­ti­ful cra­zy sis­ter, sprinkled with blood, stan­ding over it. Breathing hea­vi­ly, loo­king at me for sup­port. And at this moment I knew it, knew it with utter and devas­ta­ting cer­tain­ty – it would go on like this fore­ver and ever endlessly.

You have to try to under­stand the way a human brain func­tions. For examp­le how instincts and deep roo­ted fears of child­ren some­ti­mes are explo­i­ted by their clo­sest rela­ti­ves, the very per­sons they put their com­ple­te trust on in their short and inex­pe­ri­en­ced life, and how the deve­lo­p­ment of their social beha­viour will the­re­fo­re be dis­tur­bed and the achie­ving of the shi­ning glo­rious aim we call empa­thy sim­ply not being wit­hin their reach. Never having recei­ved love and under­stan­ding them­sel­ves they later will not be able to give it to some­bo­dy else. They have dif­fi­cul­ties to feel anything at all. It would take a lot of time and love to heal. But who could be able and wil­ling to sho­wer that upon them? Strangers? Social Workers? Do they real­ly have the time to heal the ever incre­a­sing mass of child­ren who grow up lov­eless and mis­hand­led or even worse used? Just keep the­se thoughts, the­se fee­lings in mind, when jud­ging what hap­pen­ed – and what will be hap­pe­ning next.

Husband num­ber six, Alvaro, was now a corp­se. Nothing more not­hing less. Too much to just brush over and con­ti­nue with dai­ly life  – soon it would grow uncom­for­ta­ble around him.

Shit!” I could not help mys­elf. “Why could you not restrain your tem­per for once? Don’t you know what’ll hap­pen, when he’s mis­sed by some­bo­dy? His fami­ly, col­leagues at work – he might even have had friends!” I beat one hand force­ful­ly against the palm of the other. “It’s not as if it’s the first time eit­her! You could, you should have lear­ned something!”

She loo­ked at me with this hurt expres­si­on. It made me grind my teeth. I had to remind mys­elf that she did not have the same fee­lings as ever­y­bo­dy else. Always try­ing, never suc­cee­ding, but the­re­fo­re again and again get­ting invol­ved with pro­spec­ti­ve can­di­da­tes for a hap­py future. What could I do to pre­vent it? Getting her locked away? That was out of bounds. For several reasons.

You do not have to worry. He does not have any fami­ly, everybody’s dead. And he just quit his job – so no pry­ing col­leagues to expect. And for friends? He is from Argentina, so the­re is not­hing to fear eit­her. As far as I know the­re has not been anyo­ne to inqui­re about him, at least not during the time we have been married.”

Fine, you think that’s enough to put me at ease? What about my con­sci­ence? Don’t you think I might feel some­thing like com­pas­si­on for him?”

She laug­hed. A har­sh sound. Not the usu­al Tinkerbell gigg­le. This one meant busi­ness. No cap­ti­ves on the field. Only death. My defence crum­bled like the wall of old Jericho. I saw the age old look in her eyes. To remind me. To pour the guilt over me again. I would never be able to escape. I clo­sed my eyes. I could feel tears prick­ling behind them. No use. No com­pas­si­on to be expec­ted. With a sigh I final­ly said:

Anything else I should know? Otherwise just get us ano­t­her old rug and a sho­vel from the shed.”

She nod­ded absent­ly. A few seconds later she was on her way.

After having put hus­band num­ber six to rest under a flower bed we res­ted as well, but rather in the salon with a good mea­su­re of finest Scotch in beau­ti­ful cut glas­ses. Sooner or later we would have to clean the mess in front of the fire­place but for now we just wan­ted to relax and try to for­get the nas­ty busi­ness of bury­ing a for­mer human being in the depths of Angel’s gar­den. After some time I felt inex­pli­ca­b­ly slee­py. The room star­ted to spin around me. Angel’s voice see­med to fade away, it only reached me through some­thing like a thick lay­er of cot­ton wool. Groggily I tried to shake my head free. It must have been a bad idea becau­se direct­ly after that I fain­ted, lost con­scious­ness or some­thing like that, for a few minu­tes. First thing I heard again was the pear­ly sound of Angel’s laugh­ter. What had hap­pen­ed? I wasn’t sit­ting in front of the cosy fire­place any­mo­re. No, rather on the con­tra­ry – I was stan­ding, shud­de­ring in the open win­dow of the west­ward tower of Angel’s man­si­on. Obviously I had unde­re­sti­ma­ted Angel’s deter­mi­na­ti­on to resol­ve future pro­blems. As well as her abi­li­ty to into­xi­ca­te and cajo­le someo­ne into com­ply­ing to her every wish.

While stan­ding on the edge of an abyss all kinds of thoughts start floo­ding one’s brain. Angel for examp­le, who having been bad­ly bea­ten by our father, but – not­hing else. You might right­ly ask of cour­se if that’s not more than enough?! And of cour­se it is!

But on the other hand if you look at her twin sis­ter – he never rai­sed his hand against her, but – ever­ything else! I had been raped by him sin­ce my fifth birthday.

Angel always sta­ted I got the good side of the bar­gain – if only she knew! I would never be able to bear child­ren. Not that I was in the least inte­res­ted in men, but still. I ope­ned my eyes only a crack and loo­ked into the pitch black darkness in front of my feet.

My sweet sis­ter”, she coaxed from behind me, “now you can make good ever­ything I had to endu­re. Every bro­ken bone, every swol­len eye, every twis­ted arm – do it for me! I will go on living for both of us. I promise!”

And how would you go on without someo­ne to trust, someo­ne who has always been the­re in the past to help you clean up the mess you’re always lea­ving behind?”

I half tur­ned to look her in the eye and near­ly lost my foo­ting. Everything beca­me clear this very second. When I fall, soo­ner or later it was ine­vi­ta­ble, Angel would go on living – but as me. Probably the poli­ce and God only knows who else, were get­ting too clo­se to her. She nee­ded a new iden­ti­ty. How immen­se­ly prac­ti­cal having a twin sis­ter up one’s slee­ve. A twin sis­ter, who, in her opi­ni­on, had to make good for a lot of things. In her opi­ni­on! Her scars, she could proud­ly pre­sent to whoever might be inte­res­ted, mine were invi­si­ble, only etched fore­ver into my soul.

Should I real­ly take this final step for her? Only one step and I would fall – and she would be free. And I would be free as well, I thought. Maybe it was what I always had wis­hed for mys­elf? Maybe it was no sacri­fice at all. I felt my resis­tance wea­ken. Just one litt­le step and – not­hing. No more calls for help from my cra­zy twin.

You are mad”, I whis­pe­red, more to mys­elf. Her sud­den laugh see­med to rise direct­ly from hell. I shud­de­red. But – the­re is always a but of cour­se, I thought of Rachel. My beau­ti­ful secret love. I never told Angel about her, natu­ral­ly. She would have done ever­ything to des­troy the rela­ti­ons­hip. She could not stand any­bo­dy com­ing bet­ween us. Her men never coun­ted. They were just the­re to brigh­ten her fea­thers, for show – look, I can! If I choo­se, they will be all lying at my feet. Until she had enough of them of course.

Dee”, she whis­pe­red, with a lot of honey in her voice, “plea­se! You know how hard it has been for me. Now you and you alo­ne have the power to set me free! Forever!”

Forever?, I thought bit­ter­ly, for how long real­ly? Until her next lover had to be dis­po­sed of. Who would help her then? When I was histo­ry. Suddenly from deep down in the tower I heard some­bo­dy approa­ching. Someone had star­ted to ascend the stairs. I was not sure if I was expec­ting help, but then the door ope­ned and I saw Rachel enter the room. Rachel with her usu­al soft but com­ple­te­ly self assu­red demeanour.

Rachel”, I cried out. But to my indiscri­bable hor­ror she wal­ked over to Angel and took her into a loving embrace.

I clo­sed my eyes. Then final­ly I made the one last step and flew.