(Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER)
… One evening, a week after the strange incident at the restaurant, Gwiazda was on her way home from work in pouring rain, when she saw a young man lying on the pavement in the deserted street. He looked completely drenched, as if he had been lying there for some time. Gwiazda rushed over to him and kneeled down. First now she noticed that he was not wearing any shoes. His arms were stretched out to the sides making him appear as if crucified. Gwiazda tried to feel the young man’s pulse, first at the wrist, then at the carotid. There it was, but very, very weak.
He cannot stay here, thought Gwiazda, I have to call an ambulance. While she was searching for her phone, the young man opened his eyes and looked at Gwiazda. His look was clear, not confused. That was the young man, who had run out on his girlfriend or fiancée or whatever she was, when he saw the note on the floor, the note that said „Run as long as you still can“. With a clear voice he said: „You have to warn the Walker, they are after him!“ Gwiazda was paralyzed with fright. Again a mention of the Walker, or the Lone Walker, as the strange men at the restaurant had called him. „Who is the Walker? Who is after him?“ asked Gwiazda in desperation. She did not understand a thing.
But the young man’s clear moment was over, and his head fell to one side. „Hello, starlet“, somebody called, „what are you doing here?“ It was her friend and neighbour Holger. Gwiazda was glad to see him. „Holger give me your umbrella and then call an ambulance. This young man is injured, but I don’t know what is wrong with him. He urgently has to be taken to a hospital!“ she shouted. Holger did not ask any questions, but gave her his umbrella and called for an ambulance.
”They will be here in five minutes”, said Holger. ”Here, take my pullover and cover him, he must be freezing.“ The ambulance arrived as promised and picked up the young man. Gwiazda and Holger went with him, as they did not want to desert him. None of them had noticed the man, who stood hidden in the shadow of a house entrance, watching them. A tall man, with a black hat and a long black coat.
In the emergency room, the injured was immediately rushed into a surgery, while his two escorts had to tell a police officer what had happened. Their patience was put to the test. After about three hours a physician came to them and reported that the young man was severely battered, but was stabile now. He did not want to tell them anything about the injuries they had detected, as that was a police matter. He asked them though, if they had noticed that the young man’s trousers were soaked in gasoline? ”Now that you mention it”, answered Gwiazda, ”there was quite an impertinent smell of gasoline, but I was so focused on the injured that I did not give it much thought. Do you think that somebody planned to kill him? To set him on fire?“ The doctor shrugged „that is for the police to find out.“
Gwiazda would have liked to see the young man and ask him some questions, but that was not possible at that moment. She would have to be patient for a few days. Therefore she and Holger decided to finally go home and go for a strengthening drink on the way, as they felt in dire need of one. The one drink became three drinks and Gwiazda thanked Holger for his support. ”It was such good luck that you walked by at that moment! Normally you are already at home at that time!“ ”Yes, a lucky coincidence”, said Holger, who had become rather quiet. That was not at all like him, thought Gwiazda, but maybe he was just tired.
When three days later Gwiazda went to the hospital to see the young injured man, he was not there anymore, and the entire personnel, including the treating doctor, denied that he had ever been admitted to the hospital. That was rather strange! They were all lying, of course, as in the corridor, on a chair was Holger’s pullover …
A visit to the police did not bring any clarification either. The officer who had talked to her and Holger denied to have ever seen her before. What happened here? She was not crazy, was she? This must be a conspiracy or something, a state secret.
When she came home that evening, she noticed that Holger had moved out of his flat without leaving a message for her. When she tried to call him, his number was disconnected.
Gwiazda sat down on her sofa without taking her wet raincoat off (yes, it was still raining), and without switching any light on, and remained there, silent and lost in the dark.
To be continued …