Black was such a comforting colour when he thought about it, and it suited her making her eyes seem darker and her hair glossier, such long long hair. But mainly it covered up the gentle soak of the stomach wound, he hadn’t meant it but sometimes things just broke when he got mad with them and he’d gotten made with her.

Maybe it would heal, it wasn’t very large and she was walking if rather slowely, he hadn’t meant too…

Her large eyes seemed to swivel in slow motion to him, she stared at him but he could not work out if she was angry, she was definately scared. That much he could tell.

She stumbled and he caught her, she did not shake him off, he felt that was a good sigh, earlier when she had smashed the plate, back then before his careless thought had wounded, well then she hadn’t wanted him near her, had rejected any attempt at touch.

He dressed her in black after the yellow sun dress had been streecked with red. He’d been amazed at how much blood had bloomed from such a small gash. She hadn’t screamed, just gasped and clasped her hand over the wound. “Help” she had whispered and crumpled to her knees.

They were bruised, he saw the bluish hurt on them as he’d pulled on the trousers. She’d asked why he wasn’t sure if she meant the wound or the clothing. He had not answered either way. The fight had gone out of her.

He wasn’t really sure what he was doing, he was pretty sure she needed help but then they would ask questions wouldn’t they and he knew where that lead – his body hadn’t scarred but it could never forget the pain of them trying to make him die, over and over again.

And then he’d gotten out, when they were killed and caught by their enemies, he’d walked out of the camp, into life… but where were his people?

He couldn’t find them, they were not among those leaving the camp in various advanced levels of dying, they were not in safe houses or in other countries – he looked for them, over and over. He found other, similar but not the same, faces he vaguely remembered from trade but they were not his people.

And then he’d found that people were soft, so fragile around him and he learnt to be careful because it was so easy to accidentaly kill. With a thought, a single thought but only if he was consumed by the rage. He’d almost caught it in time, but the split second was enough, and now she was dying, he was pretty sure of that, and he didn’t know what to do or where he was taking her. She probably thought he had a plan, she might not even have realised it was him that had hurt her, some how he thought she knew perfectly well that it was him but he pushed that thought down low low into his gut, he couldn’t process that – not right now, not when he had to think.

She was walking again slowly, it reminded him of being there, back there in time, in that place, with the filth and the muck and the fleas. Where were his people?

He felt so lost and alone, she had made that go away, she had made it go away for 12 fantastic years, but then she said it, he knew she would, but he had hoped, he had said, he always did and they always said it was ok and that they were the same and then… then often sooner rather than later they would change their mind.

She stumbled again, he did not catch her in time and she landed heavily on the ground. A passer by noticed and ignored his attempted to shoe them away. They got out one of those things, the talking things, the phones that he could not use and dared not hold.

Everything was chaos then, she held his hand and whispered “stay” that was all an it was barely air from her lips. He stayed, flinching as they entered the amubulance, it was not the same but some how the same as the thing they had transported him in back then… back when they thought he was an animal.

He would have run at the entrance to the hospital – it smelt that same way, the shit and disinfectant, the long corridors and metal beds, somewhere he sensed people were being sliced open, and… to his right, yes his right they were burning bodies or parts of bodies. It was a marble of sensation carving its way through his mind. He could feel the hospital’s layout, the annoyance and pain and joy and heartache that seeped into the walls and floors and occasionally the ceiling.

But he didn’t run because she fitted, arching her back and twitching, they rushed her through the doors and he lost contact with her, the world zoomed in small and he was a small floating dizzying bug.

They would swat him soon.

He was guided to a relatives waiting room, it was full of people waiting quietly or sobbing openly, no one was really aware of the others around them. He didn’t need them to tell him were she was, he could feel her. He could feel how weak her heart was now and he needed to be with her but they would not let him pass.

So he sat, and he waited. And the weak heart beat stopped… and then started again, but there… there in the quiet bit there was another little flutter and he sobbed then. Hot wet tears, huge and uncontrollable dripped out of his eyes.

They came and got him after an eternity, exhausted as he was from crying there was no way he could sleep, the dual heart beats were slicking within his mind.

“Your wife is quiet ill,” the young nurse said, “it was an old hernia operation site that opened up, she is lucky to be alive.”

“An.. an old scar?” he asked.

The nursed nodded not really paying him any attention, he was taking up time they could be doing worthwhile stuff in and though they were well trained not to let emotions leak, he could tell by the resonance of the body itself as they stood there waiting for the lift.

“Do you…” he swallowed, “do you know what caused it?” he asked, his felt nausea at not asking how she was but he knew she was stronger now, he could feel the beats throbbing, strong and big, if a little wobbly.

“Probably some deficiency but I’ll leave that to the Doctors, she’s just down here” and he had to fight himself hard not to just run away because he’d seen steel bowls and there were points and edges and he remembered the blood splatters and here he could smell blood and faeces and he began to shake.

“She is going to take some looking after but she should be alright.” and then the nurse was gone and it was just the three of them. He wondered if she knew and then chastised himself – of course she knew that was why she had brought the subject up. the horrible painful hurtful subject. She was on oxygen, her lips were still blue tinged.

She turned her eyes to look at him, the whites were blood shot, she was scared. Her lips moved.

“What are you?”

“A zigeuner” he said and shrugged, she knew it had been him, he had to run, she would be fine now. “I should have brought you here, I panicked” he said.

She stared at the ceiling tiles.

“I’m sorry” he whispered.

She nodded and closed her eyes, a tear glistened as it fell. He did not move, he couldn’t. He waited for her to raise the alarm.

He waited for the question, she did not speak german, she wouldn’t know what the word meant. He wasn’t really sure what it meant, not in the deep sense not in the sense of who he was.

“Will it be like you?” she asked softly.

He hesitated but then felt the little flutter of life, his shoulders sagged, “yes”.

She turned her head away as he took a step towards her, he stopped, the moment hung around them. “I am sorry, I will go, I will send you money.”

“You can’t go” she said barely audible.

“I must”

“You can’t it will kill me”

He nodded, knowing it was the truth.

“Maybe…” he began but she shook her head.

“It is too late,” she lay there, her hurt was to palpable, he went to her side. Her agonies where his as he rested his hand on her.

“Can it hurt you?” she whispered.

Her felt the shape of the life in his mind again, “no… only as one human to another”

“I thought…” she murmured, “I thought you weren’t human”

“I’m human,”

“Not like me”

“No not like you, I don’t know if I am like my people or not” he said slowly.

She nodded, she was tired, she wasn’t properly awake.

“How old are you?” she asked.

He shrugged, she didn’t see and the silence between them grew, he became aware she was asleep. They’d told him at the camp he was sterile, he’d believed them and no other women in all his long decades had succumbed. His brow furrowed as he watched her sleep as he felt her and the child and wondered how he had missed it being there for the last few months. It had become a subtle presence, slowly becoming, it had creeped up announced.

He loved it but she was right, it would kill. He thought of snuffing them both out but knew he would not, he had never intentionally killed, always by thought, careless not meant thoughts.

They had tried to get him to direct the thoughts, he remembered that now, making him hate himself had been a big thing. Hating all that he was, his history, his culture, not that they had really known what his culture was, he’d known that much. He hadn’t been fully grown when they separated him from the rest. They were not jewish, his people, many marked the same were and they had had variants to try and tell but they hadn’t know what he was. He seemed unique, they told him his people were vermin. He’d had a rat catcher dream.

He’d felt so alone, and his endless search since had turned up no one, not one person who was his. He hadn’t expected them to be like him but just that old familiarity. He had after the first 30 years given up and took what companionship he could get, he’d learnt the hard way how to control his temper.

No one connected until her, and he’d almost killed her, he’d just let all the others go when they started bugging about kids but he couldn’t let her go. But now he knew he must, she couldn’t stay with him and the baby, he hoped birth would be survivable for her.

She stirred and looked at him, “are you a witch?” she whispered on the edge of conciousness.

“No just a gypsy,”

“Romma?” she asked.

And he smiled sadly.




“…” she didn’t ask the question but he felt it anyway.

“I don’t know, my people… I was too young”

She nodded, “like my nan” she whispered and drifted off once more. But he didn’t need to ask, he’d seen it or her imaging of it but it was more than a picture made from a story. She’d plucked it straight out of the old lady’s mind. He stroked his wife’s hand, looking at her properly for the first time, he smiled sadly and wished he’d realised sooner.

He’d been looking in the wrong place for his people, they were scattered, a kid here, and straggler there. He felt them now, deeply rooted but grafted now with features of other peoples. They still had a smell, a shape though and now he knew them he could find them. Maybe they all were a little like him.

“You killed them” his wife whispered dispelling his warmth of future hope.

“W-what?” he asked, checking all the new minds he had just found.

“In the camp” he stood still, not wanting to listen and knowing he had no choice.

“They conditioned you to do it, dream therapies and things”

“no!” he hissed.

“Yes, it’s all there, you killed them”

“You can’t know that!” he wailed.

“A kid’s story…” she whispered and he sagged.

“The piper” he whispered.

“Yes,” she said and drifted away. Tears rolled down his cheeks and splashed the white linen. He’d found his people, a remnant because they were not asleep when he’d dreamed. He couldn’t risk finding them. There was just him and the unborn child, even his own people he could annihilate with thought, with dreams, with half rememberings.

He stroked her hair, and stared into a future he could not bear.

Posted: Sunday, May 15th, 2016 @ 12:49 pm
Categories: Short Stories, Story.
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