Categories > Movies > Incredibles > Skeletons


by RapunzelK 0 reviews

Karl tries to keep sanity and humanity together.

Category: Incredibles - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Horror - Characters: Other - Warnings: [?] [V] - Published: 2006-05-22 - Updated: 2006-05-22 - 1369 words

They sent him a man next, an older fellow nearing sixty. He'd been working hard to prove his worth that they might not kill him. His bones were riddled with stress cracks, becoming bent and soft from the dual punishment of malnutrition and hard labor. He knew as well as Karl that it didn't matter. In the end, he would die and be burned like all the others. Still, they were both determined to put it off as long as possible.

Karl did his best, but the damage had been done and the man- Isaac Günter- was already badly infected. Anyone with at least one biology class under their belt knew that a human could not stand water much hotter than eighty degrees, that was why there were safety valves on boilers and water heaters in homes. There was no reason why this should be methodically tested on half a dozen people. He couldn't offer bandages or even salve, only empty words, vague and disguised for fear someone should be listening.

Isaac didn't want to talk about his family, instead he spoke about dignity, basic rights as a human being. In his heart, Karl agreed with every word he said. This was no way to treat people. No one should be subject to this. Even criminals were given better treatment than this. He couldn't say a word, not without giving himself away. He had to send him back only half-tended. The infection spread and he died the next day. Karl caught a glimpse of his body as the undertakers dragged it away to finish the job.

He didn't understand how everyone else could sleep at night. Surely not all of them were convinced these people were no more than animals, livestock to be bred or slaughtered as they saw fit. Didn't they find the sight of animated skeletons unsettling? Didn't the rancid odor of human waste and sweat from the stables and the acrid, choking stench of burning flesh from the crematoriums sting their eyes and make them gag? Did they not hear the howls and shrieks from the clinic, the moans and puking from those marked as unsuccessful experiments? Karl decided they must all be blind and deaf, rendered utterly senseless by the mindless carnage around them. They had to be. How else could they go along calmly while all this went on at every side? But then, they could shut it out by closing the door, by pulling the blind, by simply turning away.

Karl didn't have that luxury. He discovered that the first night he hesitantly removed his glasses before going to sleep. He put them on again immediately. He hadn't known his room was directly above one of the holding tanks, nor had he wanted to know that the officer in the room next to his was being entertained by one of the little Jewish girls, still pretty despite her nearly bald head. If the prisoners were animals then the staff evidently had no qualms against bestiality. Through the invisible walls he could see people and objects, some healthy some not so much. Someone was tanning skins in one of the outbuildings. Karl shuddered and fought the urge to be sick, noting the hides were the wrong size and shape to have belonged to quadrupeds. Shoving his glasses back into place he dove into bed and cowered under the covers, trying hard to block out what was going on around him. His stomach twisted and wrenched, imploring but he ignored it, forcing the choking sensation down. He wanted to vomit but the thought of venturing out into the corridor chilled him more. He thought about crying but someone might hear. Worse still, tears would leave salt spots on his lenses and that would necessitate removing them in order to get them clean. That he would not do. Trapped inside this haunted house full of the living dead, a grisly surprise hidden in every corner, Karl decided he wanted to see no more than strictly necessary. His glasses would stay on no matter what.

He didn't sleep that night. If he did sleep, he didn't remember and it certainly didn't feel like he had. The anxiety just kept steadily climbing from that point on. It had taken him months to drive the image of the next door neighbors in the far away university boarding house in Dessau making love from his head. He had a feeling that this would be branded into his mind forever.

He would add to that catalogue of images over the weeks he spent there. In terms of plain and simple hours and minutes he only spent a little under two months at Buchenwald but it felt like an eternity. It seemed every five minutes a new horror, an assault to eyes and mind and heart, was being thrust upon him. The administrators would ask him what had gone wrong as if ignorant of what they had done, as if it were not perfectly obvious. He began to wonder if he was not in fact stranded in an asylum and he the only sane one of the lot, unless of course he was the one losing his mind. He was, but not quite in the same way. Day by day he could feel his resolve slipping, his sanity gradually eroding under so much abuse. Surely he'd crack soon. They'd find him out and he'd be the next rat to be flayed and molested, his insides stirred with a stick and his hair burned away in quack attempts to permanently dye it blonde. He'd be spared the dye needle. His eyes were already blue.

"Mengele would love you," they told him. "Clever and a dwarf to boot! Who knew someone so little could be so smart!"

Karl was not exactly encouraged by this. Mengele, mercifully, was hundreds of miles away butchering people in Poland. Twins and dwarves were widely rumored as Mengele 's favorites. He collected them the way the officers collected cigarette cards and pin-up posters. Twins, particularly identical twins, fascinated him. They provided the perfect, natural example of both specimen and control. One he would experiment on while the other would be left alone for a time. In the end, both always died. The dwarves he treated as pets or toys rather than people, but did not experiment on them. Instead he took them in and cared for them, unintentionally saving many who would have otherwise been exterminated for their "deformity". To Karl it proved that somehow God would manage to wring something good out of a madman's strange desires. He wondered what good could possibly be wrenched out of /Buchenwald/?

Karl himself stood just one inch under four-feet tall. Because of his brilliance and medical skill he had been allowed to live, but for how long he was not sure. He really had no desire to be added to Mengele's half-pint menagerie though it might prolong his miserable life. He never actually considered turning his scalpel on himself, though he had some of the more considerate staff ask about him. Food did not excite him, no more did anything else. Though he did his best to hide it, it was obvious that life at the camp was not agreeing with him. He smiled and joked about a delicate stomach and nervousness about being stepped on. They laughed and smiled and patted him on the head and forgot all about it. It was harder for Karl to forget. He didn't notice the gray hairs appearing amid the dark ones, or the thinness of his face. It was difficult to ignore his insides, however. The constant knot in his stomach made it difficult to eat and the ghosts of what he had seen that day kept him awake at night. He didn't mind sitting up with them. Reliving the scenes in the horrible, graphic detail of his dreams was far worse. He wondered sometimes if he was not already dreaming and this was just a nightmare from which he would soon awake. Other times he wished he could fall asleep and not wake up. Then if they decided to slice him down the middle he wouldn't be awake to notice it.
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