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Good People

He doesn’t remember how he got to her room. Maybe they dragged him there. She lay on her bed in a nightgown, and pallor had already spread on her face. Her head rested on two pillows, her sculpted neck was slightly stretched, but it didn’t violate her tranquil expression. She seemed to have gone to sleep. Her arms were crossed on her chest, and her lower body was covered by a sheet. He cautiously approached the corpse, struggling with the fear that he would be called upon to explain why he had invaded her room in the middle of the night. He shouldn’t have left her with Frau Stein. His fingers crept along the sheet and touched her arm. They were even colder than her skin. He brought them to his lips and blew on them. Then he touched her arm, and let his fingers rest there. He didn’t dare touch her face. The questions that Erika Gelber would ask him were already whirring in his mind: Did you kiss her goodbye? Were you afraid of her dead body?

At last he gave a wild shout, shook off his fear and in one movement he leaned down, kissed her forehead and straightened up. Then he retreated until his hand felt the doorhandle. He went out, shut the door and stood in the dark corridor. There he stood until dawn with his back to the closed door of her room.