Match Thirty: Raining Blood:
Lydia Harel. Who are you? What happened to you? Why are you trying to go 6972 Polanów so badly even after it’s gone? What are you after? Where do you go?
Ludwig rubbed his forehead. All the files covered his desk. How long has it been? Every lead he followed ended up being a dead end. He didn’t know who would be able to know anything about the Harel family. The German man sat back and sighed. How could someone, let alone a whole family, disappear without a trace?
“What are you trying to tell me, Lydia?” Ludwig asked. One possibility played over and over again in his head. But, that didn’t seem possible or rather he didn’t want it to be so. Could she and her family really have been… He turned his had when he heard the doorbell ring.
“Hm? Who could that be at this hour?” The German man got up and walked to the front door.
“Who is it?” he asked.
“I’m lost and I need directions,” a woman’s voice murmured. Her voice sounded strangely familiar. Ludwig looked through the peep hole. The woman in the red coat stood outside. He quickly opened the door. She stared at him with that thousand-yard stare. Her right hand clutched her collar.
“It’s you,” Ludwig said. “Who are you really? You can’t be Lydia Harel. You would have to be at least eighty. Are you her granddaughter? But how?”
“Who… am I?” the woman asked. Her eyes looked so empty. The German man wasn’t sure if he was looking at him.
“Yes,” Ludwig said. The woman pressed her lips together. He walked back into his house. The German man made it into his office. All of the paper lay scattered on the desk. He picked up the file of the Harel family’s pictures. Ludwig spotted Lydia’s picture as the second to last on the right. A sinking realization came over him. He ran to the front door.
“I know who are you now,” he said. “Are you…?” Ludwig stopped in his tracks.
The woman had disappeared.
Ludwig backed up from the door. His stomach turned as he dug in his brain for an explanation. That can’t be possible. What is going on here? Ludwig felt an icy chill running down his spine. When he turned around, there stood the woman in her thick red coat. Her eyes were filled with tears. Her face looked so sullen like the bones were sucking in the skin. In fact, her skin looked like in was crumbling on her hands and her face. Ludwig held up the picture by her head.
“Are you…?” he asked. The woman trembled. She murmured something barely audible in the room. A trail of blood ran down the corner of her mouth.
“What did you say?” Ludwig asked. The woman’s eyes looked hollowed out and bright red. More blood ran from her mouth.
“They killed me in the war!” she screamed. “My family was innocent! They took everything from us! We lost our bakery and our home! It’s all because he betrayed me!” Droplets of blood splashed everywhere. They felt so hot against the German man’s skin. The woman’s tears began to turn into blood.
“I don’t understand!” Ludwig shouted as he began to tremble. “Who are you? Why are you telling me all of this? What do you want from me?!”
“I want to go home!” the woman screamed. Her eyes started to glow blood red. More blood splashed onto the floor. The house began to shake. Ludwig saw only red and black around him. He tried to scream, but his voice got lost in the violent silence.
He could smell fire. And then…
Ludwig awoke to wailing around him. He could only shades of black, red, and gray. The smell of smoke made his nose curl. His eyes darted around the emptiness.
What is this?
He tried to find an escape, but didn’t even know where he was. He froze as he felt like he was being watched. Ludwig slowly turned around. The woman floated inches away from him. Her eyes were now just deep red empty pits against her wrinkled mask-like face. She kept scratching her right arm.
“Who are you?” Ludwig asked. “Tell me, who are you?”
“I am Lydia,” the woman said at last. “Lydia Harel.” The German man shook his head.
“No…” he said. “That can’t be. She went missing and was never found. Her and her whole family.”
“It is true,” she said. “I was killed during the war. My lover betrayed me. He promised me that my family and I would be spared. He lied to me! He lied to me!”
“But what does this have to do with me?” Ludwig asked. “I didn’t do anything to you. I don’t even know you.”
“He was you!” she screamed. “You betrayed me!” The German man shook his head.
“No, I didn’t!” he shouted. “I am not the man you loved.”
“Liar!” Lydia screamed. The nails on her right hand formed together into a long dagger. “I will never forgive you!” She raced towards her target. Ludwig tried to turn and run away.
My leg… Why can’t I move?
His eyes widened at the numbing sensation. The blade with through him, but he couldn’t feel it. His eyes trailed downwards to see the empty pits of Lydia’s eye sockets. When she opened her mouth, blood swirled inside. His jaw dropped as a deeper shade of black dropped into his vision.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
How is he, doctor?
It does not look good. We’ve run the tests.
I’m sorry to say it. But there’s little to no brain activity. He’s just a living organ farm.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
So what should we do?
Let’s talk to the family first.
What? What is this? Ludwig could smell bleach all around him. When he opened his eyes and looked down, he saw a young man with blonde hair lying unconscious in a hospital bad. Tubes and machines from the World War II era were hooked up to his body. Ludwig couldn’t see anything else in the white room. By the door, he could see a doctor talking to a man and a woman. This wasn’t any ordinary doctor either. Judging by the dark brown uniform, he had to be a military doctor. Probably worked for the SS. The woman at the door broke down crying. The man beside her, probably her husband, rubbed her on the shoulder. After a few more seconds, the doctor walked over to the young man lying in a coma.
Germany felt a heavy twinge in his chest. Blood erupted from his mouth. The image around him started to fade away and disappear. Lydia Harel’s face appeared in his mind. Tears of blood ran from her eyes.
“I didn’t… do… anything to… you…” He peeked to see tears from Lydia’s empty eye sockets.
“Why?” she asked. “Why did you leave me? Why did you betray me? Don’t you love me? Don’t you remember who I am? It’s me, Lydia. It’s your Lydia, Nikolaus.” Tears ran down the German man’s face. He began to see Lydia Harel in a time when she was alive. Her smile rivaled the sun. She looked so much healthier back then. Tears filled the German man’s eyes.
“I didn’t betray you,” Ludwig said. Tears streamed down his face. He leaned in and kissed her on the lips. Only for a brief second, he saw himself in happier times with her. Whether this was real or an illusion, he could not say.
She faded into soft red dust.
“I’m home,” Gilbert said. From the first site of the open front door, the Prussian man had a gut feeling that something was amiss. He ran inside with his gun drawn.
“Hello?” he asked. “Ludwig? Ludwig? Are you in here?” Gilbert took one more step forward when his boot touched an arm in the dark. He looked down and all of the color drained from his face. Ludwig lay on the floor with his shirt covered in blood and his eyes wide open.
“Ludwig! Ludwig! Speak to me!” Gilbert shouting, shaking his brother. He heard him make a small mumbling noise. The Prussian man checked for a pulse. He breathed out a sigh of relief, but he knew that he had to move fast. Gilbert pulled out his phone.
“Berlin emergency,” the operator said on the other line.
“My brother’s hurt really bad!” Gilbert shouted. “There’s blood on shirt, but I can’t find the source!”
“Is he still breathing?” the operator asked.
“Just barely! Oh god! Please hurry!”
“Okay, give me your address.”
“Take a deep breath and calm down.”
“Do you want to help your brother? Then I’m going to need you to calm down and give me the address, okay?”
Gilbert took in a deep breath. “Alright.”
“Thank you,” the operator said. An ambulance arrived within thirty minutes. Ludwig was taken away on a stretcher. Gilbert followed behind in a panic.
The whole time, Lydia Harel watched them. She held her hand to her chest. She wasn’t finished and she wasn’t the only one.