Categories > Movies > Incredibles > Skeletons0 Reviews
Everyone has one or two in their closet. Karl has over 300. Best if read after "Hinsight" and/or "War Stories".
The occupational hazards of having X-ray vision were many. Chief among them was accidentally seeing things you were not supposed to see and often did not want to see. After almost seven years of unintentional peeping- two of which had been spent in college- Karl had developed a certain tolerance for sights strange and disturbing. His glasses had since cut down his accidental spying. As long as he wore them his vision was as limited as that of any other mortal man, but without them, walls and floors disappeared, allowing him to see through and into objects. He'd learned to ignore the custodians, their forms no longer invisible behind walls and floors of wood and brick, as they made their rounds in the night, scrubbing floors and emptying dustbins above and below him while others slept. Tuning out the all-too visible amorous exploits of the couple in the next room had taken a bit more practice but he'd eventually prevailed. However, every time the drunk downstairs came home to his wife in a temper, Karl always wondered if he should intervene (a solution was duly reached by intercepting the downstairs tenant before he even walked in the front door). All those things Karl would gladly take back if only to be away from this.
There was nowhere to hide from it. He was being...well, not paid...but was expected to show up dressed, pressed and smiling, ready and waiting to tell the taller men in white coats what had gone wrong. Karl had never considered himself an actor, but every second of every day had so far been forcibly wrenched into an award-winning performance. No thanks to the academy. This was one aspect of bedside manner he'd never been taught. He would not have wished it on anyone. Two weeks here and he had already seen enough to last him several thousand lifetimes. He'd learned the first night not to remove his glasses for a second, not even to sleep or bathe. Seeing things at their outermost was bad enough, looking deeper was infinitely worse.
The prisoners- as Karl thought of them- were not kept in the officer's or medical staff's barracks. At least, they were not housed inside the same complex. The men were stabled in crude wooden huts surrounded by a high fence topped by concertina wire about a hundred yards from the "medical" complex. The women were kept in identical structures at the opposite end of the camp. There were few children, for that he was grateful. He and the other "doctors" and staff members were housed in a comparatively pleasant if Spartan building of concrete in the center. It was at least clean, but that didn't matter much to Karl. At the moment he would have paid dearly to be huddling in a muddy fox hole. Bullets and mines made sense, in a way. The attack was open and honest. This...this was wrong. It made no sense. There was no REASON for any of this to be happening and yet here he was, thrust right in the middle of it, with corpses surrounding him on every side.
Some of the corpses lived yet, they moaned down in the cold basement locker, choking on their own fluids as they slowly, painfully dragged towards death. Those were the "successful" ones to be brought out and tortured a second time. This wasn't science, this was butchery. There was no medical foundation for any of this nonsense. But it was not his place to say. All he could do was keep his mouth shut and observe, otherwise he might be next. He felt like a coward for thinking like that. He should have said "no", been shot, and been done with it. But he'd been too stunned to speak and so had been hauled off by his collar to join the German army. Which was the greater sin? To remain silent and stay alive, or to confess and die horribly with the other prisoners, honor intact? He supposed it didn't matter since he could never bring himself to open his mouth. He was simply too afraid. He would have felt ashamed but the fear left no room for anything except horror.
His powers, while desperate to keep them secret, were the only thing keeping him alive and off the examination table himself. Originally shanghaied for a field medic he now found himself serving as part of the medical staff at /Buchenwald/. Beech Forest indeed. The once noble patch of trees and quaint homes had been leveled by bombs and the heavy boots of invading troops. Now a sprawling camp of mud and concrete took up the space where pleasant things had once lived. If this was the forest then he and the other men were bears, waiting to devour the souls of the hapless prisoners who had not run fast enough.
The one mercy he'd been granted was that he had not had to administer any of the treatments. He'd managed to beg off and hand over or back out of it one way or another until the higher-ups had become accustomed to him serving as diagnostic staff only. It was bad enough having to watch. Karl refused in his heart if not with his mouth to raise a hand in such away against another human being. Instead he did his best to clean up the mess the others made.
They sent them to him, men, women, children, all of them ravaged and mutilated in one way or another. Shaved, naked, even in the dead of winter. He fought for what little comforts he could provide under the excuse of sanitation and science. Were not test subjects to be taken care of? Apparently this was not a major concern to those running things. Still, he managed to get his way in a few things; towels for modesty, paper for the examination tables, alcohol for clean up, and other small niceties that would be dismissed without thought or care. The staff didn't seem to notice. He hoped it made a difference to his patients. He had nothing else to give them.