Tea Leaves and Diamond Bracelets


Match Seven: Leiden:

Ludwig lay unconscious in his hospital bed. It had been three weeks since Gilbert found him on the living room floor not moving with his eyes open and shirt covered in blood. The doctors were able to get him stable for the time being. But they couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t wake up.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” the main doctor told Gilbert. “All his vitals are stable. There is nothing wrong with any of the major organs. All of the tests came back clean.”

“So why won’t he wake up?” Gilbert asked.

“We can’t figure it out,” the doctor said. “There’s no way to wake him up either. We’ve tried everything.” The Prussian man lowered his eyes.

“Oh…” he said.

“Can you tell me what happened?” the doctor asked. Gilbert shook his head.

“No,” he said. “It’s like I said, I came home and found him like that. I don’t what to tell you.” On the contrary, he had an idea what happened. Ludwig, I told you to stop looking, but you had to keep going. Why didn’t you stop?

He looked at Ludwig still unconscious in his bed.

It felt so cold in the darkness. He could hear whispering over his head. There was that doctor talking to his supposed parents during the war. He told them that there was nothing he could do to save their son. He had served Hitler well. Now, the parents had to make a choice of taking him off life support or let him stay a vegetable for quite a long time. The room became quiet. The couple whispered to each other for a moment.

And then they made their choice.

“Can you hear me?”

Ludwig opened his eyes. The woman in the raggedy red coat sat on the foot of the bed. She looked like she had been crying.

“Lydia?” the German man asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Where did you go?” he asked. “I tried to look everywhere for you.” The man could see fire in her eyes. She clutched her coat with her fist.

“Liar,” she hissed under her breath.

“What?” Ludwig asked.

“Liar,” the woman said again. “Do not lie to me.” The air in this empty room became colder. Lydia’s empty cold black eyes seemed to glow red. Her pale skin made her look that much creepier. Ludwig shivered, but he couldn’t look away.

“Lydia, please,” he pleaded.

“Do not lie me!” she screamed.

“I’m not lying!” Ludwig said. He tried to remember the time they spent together. She used to look much healthier and had a smile on her face. He promised that he would keep her safe during the war. But, he knew the truth. War was an ugly thing. Still, deep inside of him hoped that he would at least come back for her.

“I really tried to look for you,” Ludwig said. “I really did.” Her face became distorted like an image glitching on a computer screen.

“Liar!” she screamed again. Her voice started to sound like a growling demon. Lydia started breathing heavily. The German man tried to remember everything about them. Too many fragments skipped around in his head. He could see that old smile over the demonic-looking face. Her eyes glowed bright red.

-Poland, 1936-

A young German man stood in a park with a young woman with dark hair. She had a dreamy look in her eyes. They spoke, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. The man pulled her into his strong arms.

-Present Day-

Ludwig didn’t remember any of this.

Lydia’s face came within inches of his. He could hear her breathing heavily. Her empty eyes could drill holes into his soul. What did she want with him? Why wouldn’t she let him go? Speaking of which…

Ludwig took a look around. Where are we? The only thing he could see was thick grey curtain and the bed that they sat on. He couldn’t see anything else. Sharp nails dug into his cheeks as she whipped his face to hers.

“Why did you betray me?!” she screamed.

“I don’t understand you!” Ludwig said. His voice came out choked up. When did she turn into this monster with the glowing red eyes and breaking face? Lydia’s face glitched out again in his vision. Her nails dug into his cheeks.

“I did try to look for you,” Ludwig said again. “I searched for you for months. I couldn’t find you or your family.”

“Liar!” Lydia barked. “You betrayed me!” The more she screamed, the more the room shook. He couldn’t find anything to make her believe him. It didn’t help that he didn’t know what she wanted.

“What do you want with me?” he asked. The woman didn’t speak. Ludwig couldn’t read what the woman was thinking. Her empty eyes still had fire in them. To him, they looked like they had dulled, but he couldn’t be to certain. Did she even understand him?

“What do you want with me?” Ludwig asked again. “I want to help you. Just tell me what you want. Please, talk to me!” He’s said this before. She’s been upset at him for something that he’s done in the past. The young man would have to beg for her to talk to him.

“Lydia, please!” he would beg. Sometimes, she would walk away from him with a cold look in her eyes. That would stick him worse than any knife had in the war. The young man couldn’t think of a way to get her to speak.

“Why do you hurt me like this?” Ludwig asked both in the past and now. There it was again. That fire in her eyes turned cold. He didn’t know if it had gotten worse before. His ears caught a low growl.

“Lydia?” he asked. Her moved from his cheeks to his throat. There was life in her eyes now. Only, it was the life of a hungry demon wanting to tear his soul to pieces.

“I want retribution!” she screamed. Her voice didn’t even sound human anymore. The wails of a thousand demons could not compare to such a sound. Ludwig could feel his ears bleeding. Nothing about Lydia looked human anymore. The cracks all over her face grew deeper. Blood started leaking out. Her nails dug so deep into the skin that she started to draw his blood. More images started to flood the German man’s head.

They used to be so happy. But their relationship wasn’t supposed to happen. By 1939, the tide of the Europe turned for the worst. War to end all wars. Looking back, he could only bitterly laugh. The Germans were screwed over and everyone went broke. Desperation can bring out the ugliness of a nation. He saw it all around him. Lydia and her family became scared. He pulled her into his arms and promised that he would protect her.

He should’ve known that he wouldn’t be able to keep such a promise. His boss saw her as ugly and unhuman. She and her family needed to die. The young man could never understand it himself.

“It’s not my fault,” Ludwig said.

“You were just following orders?” she asked. He slowly nodded. Lydia let go of his throat and rested her head on her lap. She broke into sobbing. Ludwig didn’t move. He couldn’t be sure if this was an act or real.

“Lydia?” the German man asked. “Lydia? Lydia?” But then, she froze. Ludwig reached out to touch her shoulder. The crying turned into a low growl. When she looked up, Lydia looked like a complete demon. All of the skin on her face looked burned away. The cracks were do deep all over his skin. Blood ran down from where eyes should be. When she opened her mouth, there was no tongue inside. Despite this, loud demonic-like screaming filled the room. Ludwig covered his ears as sank down onto the hospital bed. Lydia jumped forward with her bloody claws at him. It all happened too fast. Ludwig only caught a glimpse of her ruined face.

And then…

The room went quiet.

Ludwig’s body shook like having a seizure in his real hospital bed. A nurse pushed the panic button.

“Doctor! Come quick! I need some assistance!” she screamed over the intercom. Doctors ran into the room to see Ludwig shaking badly. They fought to keep him stable.

“What’s going on?!” Gilbert asked as another doctor ran by.

“We don’t know,” the doctor said. “He just had another attack.”

“Another?!” the Prussian asked.

“This is the worst one today,” the doctor explained. “We don’t know what’s causing it. They keep getting more frequent.”

“Why aren’t you doing anything to stop it?”

“We can’t find the source. Like we said, the tests all come back clean. We think it’s his brain, but we aren’t too sure. All we know that these fits keep getting worse and more frequent. If this keeps up, your brother could end up having irresistible damage to his brain and his body.” The doctor pushed up his glasses.

“Are you should he doesn’t have a history of epilepsy?” he asked.

“No,” Gilbert said, shaking his head. “Isn’t there anything you can do to stop these fits?”

“We are taking everything that we can,” the doctor said. “We’ve been giving him medicine to keep him sedated. They have been helping to calm the fits, but we don’t know how much long he can take this.” Gilbert looked at his brother seizing in his room. Two petite nurses held him down as another doctor drew out the needle.

“We are monitoring these organs as we inject him,” the doctor with Gilbert said. “We will let you know when we can find the cause. Until then, we will keep track of how much his heart can take.” He dashed into the room with the rest of the doctors and nurses.

“How is he doing?” he asked.

“I just injected him,” one of the other doctors said. Gilbert stood in the doorway as his heart sank.


In the corner of the room, Lydia Hansel stood watching her former lover as they tried to sedate him again. She had no emotion on her face. She’s been there ever since he was admitted into the hospital. Lydia won’t leave until she has her revenge on the man who betrayed her. She wouldn’t be the only one.

Despite the rage, she still had small amounts of heartbreak in her empty, soulless eyes.

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