"But you are change and so am I
You evolve and I so too
But there it ends.
For mortal you then death is change
The means of evolution
And there it ends
But I am one and no more than one
Can this oneness be."
The weather had changed. Unlike yesterday it was raining. The grey of the buildings deepened by the slow but relentless dripping from the sky. No one was in the street but Carolin did not mind, the bleakness, the solitariness, both in contrast to her pensive mood. Downstairs, Wagner could be heard, The Ride of the Valkyries, scratching itself out of a gramophone.
There were few lights to brighten up the gloom. The moon moved overwhelmed by cloud, a sometime orb of softly glowing white. House lights were few and only minor cracks and half lit blinds declared traces of their presence. The one street light alone linked rain and wind and street and puddle in slowly changing pattern.
Now to Carolins surprise another glow appeared. Around the corner swept a vehicle, horizontal beams revealing slanting rain. Grey and big it stops outside. Men emerge. She sees them cross the road, their number three or four. Their sharp knocking on the door can be heard clearly even from where Carolin spies across the darkness but the sharp staccato brings no sharp response. A burst of unclear shouting followed by another set of knocks and Marlene half squeezes open her front door. They do not wait but using weight thrust forward forcing door and startled woman back. It is apparent Marlenes visitors are in charge, she an unwitting accomplice. Carolin can see Marlene in urgent talk, and then without coat or hat, she emerges. The front door slams, the car door slams. Then quiet.
A minute or two passes. Then the side doors open. Two men emerge. Which two can not be known, their greyness blending with the setting,
Carolin waits in unknown dread, waits fearing sounds she does not want to hear.
The dreaded staccato knock occurs, followed by muffled loud voices, shouting "Polizei. Open up." Carolins mother can be heard making reluctant moves to the door. Father is away giving one of his late lectures.
Once the door begins to open, there is no waiting for these urgent men. Tall and large, dressed in grey they fill the small entrance, their bulky presences dominating Carolins mother. Carolin does not move. Her ears now sharply attuned to voices, reducing the loudness of the scratched out Wagner; all the universe is now background. "We believe Miss Carolin Krug lives here. Is that true?"
"Yes, but why? What has happened? Has she done something?"
"She must come with us. We need to ask her questions."
They did not explain further, They were adamant Carolin must present herself and go immediately to the station.
Carolin came reluctantly, slowly down the stairs. She looked at her mother. "Mum, they have Marlene."
They wasted little time in reaching up and taking her by the arms. Anxious, fearful, Mother knows not what to do. She will come with them. She cant. She will follow. Where are they going?
Carolin stumbles down the few steps, feels the sharpness of running rail as she is bundled into the back of the vehicle. Marlene is there, unhurt, but even in the darkness, very much stressed. Marlene is demanding to know what it is all about but getting no response from the four black-grey silent figures that fill the remaining seats.
All they can do is look at each other, whispers, words all met with an authoritarian "Stille"
The strong purr of the engine now intrudes. The car turning, knocking over bins, erratic clattering breaking through the relentless unquestioning softness of quietly falling rain. The grey men have come. The grey men have gone. Rain, grey rain falls. Softly falls onto the ground, onto bin and returning rat interested in discarded tin. Rain, gray rain falls on to the womans hair whose anxious eyes alone tell a little of what has come and passed.
Once the car has turned and picked up speed, the night becomes a blur of hissing tyres, clockwork wipers, dim lit lights flashing by. Clear screen, click, wet screen, crick, clear screen, click, wet screen, crick. The only movement that makes sense. The only measure of close and far. The only rhythm by which to ponder destiny.
By the time they reach the station, Marlene is more gathered in her thoughts but Carolin, uninformed and unknowing, increasingly shivers from cold and tension. Marlene noticing places hand on knee and as they are forced from the car, a little squeeze, linked eyes, a reassuring small smile steeling both for what is to come.
Down long passages they are swept, Old passages, dark passages , peeling , unpainted, green, grey, plaster, steel and wood. Into a wooden chair Carolin is forced. A guard, not any of the men who brought her here, stands near. Marlene is taken immediately into another room. The tall, grey men are gone.
It is deliberate. She can hear them. She can hear what they are doing, she can feel the menace of this place. She can hear but cannot know all that is said. Just the loudest parts. And there is one who is very loud, the one in charge.
"What were you doing in Mullers field?"
"Lies. I know what you were doing!"
"How many did you take? All three or some left for your English speaking friends?Eh!"
"Why the dog? What were you doing in the wood?"
The same questions repeated over and over again. And occasionally small sections of Marlenes replies.
"We didnt know"
"We didnt take any. "
"No one helped us. We didnt do it"
A short time, long time later it was Carolins turn. Marlene hustled out, Carolin hustled in. One chair, only one. Wooden with metal arms. Nothing else but three men.
One man also grey and large, but older than their captors, took immediate charge.
He gestured to the seat. No words. He waited, back turned until she had complied.
"Mary had a little lamb, a little lamb today.?"
Carolin was silent.
"A little lamb, a lot of lamb, three lambs full sir. I am right. Am I not? Three lambs. One! Two! Three!"
His outstretched fingers sudden, rapid close to her eyes, to shock her, causing her to blink.
"The dog, vicious and trained. Trained by you or her?"
"Mullers field! My field! My sheep! My three lambs you took."
All this spoken lowly, not the loudness he had used for Marlene. But vehemently, spittingly pointedly at her. The eyes all the time linked to hers defying her to look away.
She dared to answer.
"We did nothing. We only had a picnic."
The low, male voice now rose in anger, screaming inches from her eyes, Lies! Lies! No more of your lies. He poised, menace in voice and frame towering over her recoiling body, trapped even more by his hands placed on either arm of the chair in which she crouched.
This man now close sent dark, fearful emotions searing through her psyche. This was a man in tune with his vocation. A quick imitator, destined, according to those around him, to rise rapidly in the force.
A quick imitator, but not intelligent. He had seen his mentors succeed with just these methods and with real ease he moulded them to his own.
The inequality of his position and those brought before him, he exploited to the full. He sat them down, towered over them, invaded space, denied them dignity, His aim was fear, a use of authority. A predator of fear, waiting for a word, a clue, which vindicated what he knew, his victims guilt. None escaped his relentless menace and when a victim failed to submit, a sense of failure drove him even further, ever closer, until his spit added further to the degradation, intimidation of this alien, despicable, intolerable, antisocial misfit.
She was the misfit not he. Here was his domain, an institution where he naturally belonged. She was the intruder dragged unwitting into an alien world. Here for her actions, here to admit guilt, allowing justice to occur. He was at ease with her discomfort, his colleagues watching, learning, admiring belonged with him. She was alone.
Whatever virtue there was in her life, in this place, at this time, in these circumstances it was gone. It could not come to her defence, shield her from this tirade. It could not bring a state of reason where evidence for and against could be weighed. This was an institution in its time; an institution whose nature led to fear and violence, freed by a society with which it was as one. He was but one, of the many ones, that the institution and state evolved, by feeding on a growing, mutual, negative, fearful energy.
So this much admired man dealt with this much despised girl in a most accepted manner. He towered, he raged, demeaned but all to no avail. She did not submit, resisting his relentless glare, his increased menace, not held at bay, but resisted, endured until in disgust, he turned away.
And now Muller moves his hand and his junior joins him. Carolins eyes locked to Muller. Muller her accuser, the eyes of fear and innocence. His movement away is no relief, a device timed to pressure, for now with renewed nearness, renewed fear .Fear increased. The man she had not watched, the one no longer seen, now bends her arm, twists her hand around the wooden chair. Her arm is numb, paralysed, she twists but no release. The eyes too close, demanding eyes, demanding once again. Sobbing now, but no answer. His anger now in failure; with slash of hand he cracks her face. Black stars, white stars, tongue all numb, in fear she repetitively sobs:
"Sir, I cannot, cannot. Cannot dont you see."
He licks his wounds, wiping his face of excess saliva, glowers at the girl and states with slow deliberation. " Let them go. I am not convinced but another chance will come."