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Friday
Apr222011

Ein Brudermord

A very short story ("A fratricide") by this Czech writer.  You can read the original here.

It has been proven that the murder occurred in the following manner:

At around nine o'clock on a clear, moonlit night, Schmar, the murderer, positioned himself on that precise street corner where Wese, the victim, had to turn from the street where his office was located onto the street on which he lived.

Cold, all-penetrating night air.  Yet Schmar had on only a thin blue coat; what is more, the coat was unbuttoned.  He felt no cold; he was also always in motion.  He held his murder weapon, half bayonet, half kitchen knife, wholly exposed in his clenched fist, then ran it against the brick of the cobblestones until it gave out sparks.  Perhaps he regretted his actions; to make up for the damage, he stroked the blade like a violin bow over the soles of his boot while he, standing on one leg, bent over listening at once to the sound of the knife on his boot and the sound of the fateful alleyway.

Why did private citizen Pallas, watching from his window on the second floor nearby, tolerate all this?  Human nature, that's why!  Shaking his head with his collar turned up and his robe belted around his wide frame, he looked down.  

And five houses down, diagonally across from her, Mrs. Wese, her fox fur over her nightdress, looked here and there for her husband, who today had been delayed for an unusually long time.

Finally the door bell in front of Wese's office rang – too loud for a door bell – all through the city and up to the heavens.  And Wese, that diligent night worker, stepped out of his building and into the street, still invisible, only announced by the clock; and the cobblestones counted his placid steps.

Pallas bent out even further; he did not want to miss a thing.  Mrs. Wese closed up, calmed by the clock rattling her window.  Schmar, however, kneeled down; since he momentarily had no other bare spots, he pressed only his face and hands against the stones; where everything freezes, Schmar glows.

Wese was standing just on the dividing line between the streets, supporting himself with only his stick. 

A whim.  The night sky seduced him, that dark blue and gold.  Absent-mindedly he gazed upon these colors and stroked the hair beneath his propped-up hat: nothing over there conspired to hint at his immediate future, everything remained in its senseless, inscrutable place.  That Wese proceeded was in and of itself very reasonable, but he proceeded into Schmar's knife.  

"Wese!" screamed Schmar, standing on his toes, his arm stretched out, the knife sharply drawn down.  "Wese!  Julia waits in vain!" and Schmar stabbed him on the left side of the neck, then the right side of the neck, then deeply in his stomach.  Wese emitted a sound similar to that of water rats when sliced open.

"Done!" said Schmar, and then threw the knife, the superfluous, bloody ballast, towards the nearest house's façade.  "The bliss of murder!  Winged relief by the spilling of another's blood!  Wese, you old night shade, friend, drinking chum, you ooze upon the dark streets.  Why aren't you simply a bubble stuffed with blood so that I could sit on you and you would completely and utterly disappear?  Not everything has been accomplished; not all budding hopes ripened.  Your heavy remains lie here, already inaccessible to any approach.  What is, in so doing, that silent question that you ask?"   

Pallas, choking on all the toxins in his body, stood at his double-wing door as it sprang out.  "Schmar!  Schmar!  I saw everything, I missed nothing!"  Pallas and Schmar sized each other up, which satisfied Pallas.  But Schmar could not be satisfied.  

Followed by a crowd of people at the sides of both men, Mrs. Wese hurried over with a face aged violently from the horror.  Her fur opened and she tripped over Wese because her nightshirt-covered body belonged to him; the fur coat that covered the married couple like the grass plot of a grave, however, belonged to the crowd.

Schmar, stifling his last qualm, pressed his mouth into the shoulder of the police constable leading him ever so gently away.

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