„I will not walk out of here. This is the house I will stay in. No matter what direction the future might be, it is always the wrong direction. It is exactly what they are waiting for.
Yesterday, it might still have been possible. I could either have taken the land route, over the mountains, or  else I might have made it to the coast. The ship is waiting to fight the storm. But I know it is doomed.
In my situation, there is no way out. The persuers have taken position. If you allowed matters to go this far, every step you take gets you closer to the trap. They never told me. They placated me, appeased me, made me feel secure. And all of a sudden, overnight, everything turns into the opposite. Everything that was still true yesterday is now no longer valid. I do not know the new rules.
What remains for me?
I lock the doors and the windows. I also lock the basement and back doors, along with the way in through the roof. I switch off the lights. I no longer breathe. I listen. I will hear them coming. If they do not come, everything will soon be at an end.
No. I will definitely not walk out of here“…

Yes. That is how it should be done. I said it aloud to myself and re-read the text I had just written one last time.
Satisfied with my work, I leaned back, enjoying my nibble at the Cotes du Ventoux. Delicious! This was exactly what I had intended. Using few words to express a hopeless situation with pen and paper. The protagonist was not going to have a chance. For me, it is an atrocious concept. There was nothing I ever hated more than hopelessness. Perhaps that was why I kept building up mental concepts of these kinds of situations. Like others had their mental concepts of a game of chess.

In this scenario, there was no way out, except if the protagonist had been able to make himself invisible, or if he had been able to climb over all kinds of obstacles like Spiderman. For the unfortunate man, there was no choice except to lock himself in and wait for a miracle. The fact that he did not want to give up was proof of a strong character. Never ever give up, no matter what. An admirable attitude. I would not have had the strength.

As likely as not, I would have put an end to it myself. Quick and painless. Either using a revolver or pills. Fortunately, so far, I have never had to cope with this kind of situation.

In my life, it was all just a game. And as soon as I got fed up with it, I just stopped and looked for some diversion. I either continued reading one of the many half-finished books, or I spontaneously decided to go for a walk. Just hiking through the city. Totally without a plan.

Perhaps that is what I would do now? To be sure, it was dark already, but why not? Did it still rain?

No. It  had stopped raining!

How strange that the black “Golf” was still parked on the street.

And unless I was mistaken, someone sat in there now, too. Unfortunately, it was impossible to see from the sixth floor if it was the same guy as today at noon.

But maybe it was a woman? From up here, you really could not say.

The only reason the “Golf” had caught my attention was that on this side of the street nobody ever parked in front of our house. Due to the left bend, you had next to no view of the oncoming traffic.

At this moment, the person sitting in the car again seemed to look up at me.

Or was that just my imagination?

Who would want to spy on me? After all, I was totally inconsequential.

Not knowing what to do, I paced up and down the room. Some diffuse sense of safety made me also switch off the light and continue my pacing in the darkness. I no longer felt like strolling through the city. That guy might well have followed me. Thank you, but thank you, no. I did not answer the telephone, either. Ever since noon, it had been ringing on the hour every hour, without anybody saying anything when I took up the receiver.

Was there perhaps some connection?

I am sure it was just happenstance. You had to stay cool and not let circumstances upset you.

Suddenly the front door bell rang.

Who would want to talk to me so late? It was after 10 p.m. already.

Just to be on the safe side, I took a glance out of the unlit window. Nobody was now sitting in the car.
No. It was definitely empty.

Maybe it was that gentleman ringing at the door? Or that lady?

To be perfectly honest, I was a little apprehensive And I refrained from looking through the peephole. I pretended not to be in my flat. I avoided all noise, even though I found it ridiculous that I was now behaving just like the man in my story. That was absurd, wasn’t it?

But hey, who was I talking to, anyway? Myself, or what?

How had the person at my front door come into the house?

There was a second ringing of the door bell. This time it continued for quite a long time.

I crept towards the front door and cautiously put my left ear against it. My hearing was better on the left side than on the right. But there was nothing. No breathing. No footfall. Nothing. I had left the key inside. Good. At least, nobody would be able to open the door from outside.
All of a sudden, I realized that I was behaving like a thief in my own flat. But was this really my own flat? In the darkness, everything seemed so alien. The bulky clothes stand in the corridor, the closed doors to the other rooms, the table in the sitting room. It looked like some obscure animal ready to jump at me in the darkness. Everything seemed alien. I even found myself alien.

What day was today? Monday? Tuesday? Or maybe Sunday?

I had no idea. Now I thought this is a typical blackout case. How lucky that I was still capable of thinking at all. Perhaps all was not lost, after all?

Full of new inspiration, I very silently went back to my computer.

I meticulously re-read my text. Perhaps there was a chance to escape, after all? For several minutes, I racked my poor brain.
But I did not find a way out. There was no escape.

Already tending towards giving up, I again reached the last line of my text, where the protagonist says: No. I will definitely no walk out of here. Period. That was clear and definite! With his relentless character, there was no way to find a compromise.

Then, all of a sudden, I had an inspiration: how about being carried out? I almost laughed out loud for joy when the idea came… Well, couldn’t the guy let himself be carried out, since he did not want to walk out? Or could not? That was it!

He might well have indulged too much anyway, with all his desperate mood. Who could blame him? In this hopeless situation!

All he had to do was call an ambulance, pretend to have had a cardial infarct and let himself be carried out of the house. After all, he only said he was not going to walk out, hadn’t he? He never said he was not going to let himself be carried out.

And once he arrived at the hospital, the game would be a totally different one. There were totally different opportunities to flee from there. Who knew if he would ever arrive at the hospital, anyway?

Fantastic, I told myself, congratulating myself on this stroke of genius.

Well, now I really had earned a good gulp out of the bottle. Perhaps even two or three or four of them… All it took was brains, wasn’t it? Definitely: yes!

It was easy to call the ambulance. Even though it was not at all easy to find the telephone number of the nearest hospital in the sparsely lighted nocturnal room. After all, you could hardly see anything.

The ambulance was going to arrive in no more than 10 minutes. I had told them to hurry. I thought it might be easier if I rode with them and told them where to go…

(Translated by EG)
PS: Yes! On Thursday, June, 30th, 2011, you will, of course, read another episode with “Carl and Gerlinde”…

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