Categories > Movies > Incredibles > Skeletons

Two

by RapunzelK 0 Reviews

Everyone has at least one skeleton in their closet. Karl has over 300.

Category: Incredibles - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Horror - Characters: Other - Warnings: [?] [V] - Published: 2006/05/22 - Updated: 2006/05/22 - 842 words

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The first to remember him was a woman. She was a little older then he, perhaps mid-thirties, early forties. Undressed and shivering on the floor- whether from pain or cold he could not tell- her crossed arms did not quite disguise the evidence that she had been a mother at least once. He was not told her name, only her number. He asked it anyway, softly, guarded, afraid of who might be listening and tried to help her up.

She did not respond at first. Her vision ruined, thick navy tears streaming down her cheeks, she could only wonder at his light touch and the smallness of his hands. She had expected fingers long and grabbing like the talons of a hawk. Instead the hand gently grasping her arm and hoisting her to her feet seemed to be that of a child.

She was strong enough to sit herself on the examination table for which he was grateful. She might have been feather-light and while Karl possessed unusual strength for a man so small, she was simply too big for him to lift alone. She seemed surprised at the thin, waxy strip of paper separating her from the stained wood and more so at the flimsy towel he draped over her shoulders. He tried to coax her to talk. If she could keep her mind on something else she wouldn't pay as much attention to her pain.

Her name was Hannah, Hannah Ulrecht. She was thirty-four and had two children, the elder was ten, the younger seven. She'd no idea what had become of them but hoped they were safe. He listened carefully, encouraging to go on about her oldest daughter's misadventures in learning to ride a bicycle, their family fishing trip, and new automobile. She was crying again until she finished, but it had done her good to recall more pleasant times. He had cleaned the ink from her face, scruffed some delousing powder through her sparse hair and done what he could for her. It wasn't much. He patted her shoulder gently as she got to her feet, two soldiers entering to drag her back to the stables. That's all she was to them, an animal, a bitch, something to be thrown crumbs when she behaved and kicked if she didn't.

He would see her twice more. The last time he would watch her die, starved and stabbed with needle marks, already half-devoured by parasites and disease. The body died first here, trapping the spirit in a crumbling, pillaged casket of slowly rotting flesh. There was hardly enough to bury, decay had set in long before she perished. So little of her was left she could have easily been folded up into an ossuary. They did that, she'd told him, because like him they believed they would some day rise from their graves when the Lord returned for them. Cremation was the final insult. As Karl watch her ashes rise from the smoke stack and drift away on the wind, he cried. It was only the smoke in the wind, he said. His eyes were very sensitive.

Karl learned to blame a lot of things on sensitivity. The staff laughed at his almost hypochondriac tendencies and his apparent mortal horror of germs. No one had thought of latex gloves yet but he insisted on soap and alcohol, ammonia, delousing powder, clean towels, paper, and anything else he could wheedle out of the supply closet. They scolded him for wasting good equipment on "the Jews". He insisted stoutly that he would not examine patients who were contaminated. After all, would not disease and lice adversely affect the results of the experiments? They laughed at him but let him have his way, patting him on the head as if he were a child of seven. He hardly noticed. There was more at stake than his dignity.

They sent him others, countless others. He tried to show them what dignity he could, sending them back at the very least cleaner than they'd started and with a good drink of water. He dared not try to sneak them food. Some he saw only once, they either died on the table, in the stables, or by the hand of someone else. Others he saw two or three times, the strongest as many as five or six. "They ask for you, you know," one of the other doctors had told him once. "'Let me see the Little Doctor' they say. You're spoiling them, Von Straussen. You needn't waste courtesy and delousing powder on chattel."

"The delousing powder is for me," Karl had lied. "I do not want anything jumping into my hair."

The taller man had laughed as if hearing the most wonderful joke in the world. "How did you survive the fox holes, Shorty?"

"Why do you think I'm paranoid of lice?"

He laughed again and was still laughing as he turned and walked away down the hall. Karl watched him leave, a false smile on his face and a sick feeling in his stomach.
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