A twitch runs through my stiffened body. It works its way from my hands, up into my arms - into my head. I open my mouth and gasp. My fingers are clawing into rotten wood. Gripped by a wild urge to move, I throw my head back and forth, lash out, and dig my cold hands into the wood above me. Again and again, I scratch the ceiling of my dark prison until individual pieces begin to come loose. The wood creaks. It won't hold up. As I writhe like I am out of my mind, a flood of cool earth falls upon me. It pours over me inexorably, penetrating my numb mouth and lying heavier and heavier on my body. But the urge to move does not cease by any means. Ascend... I need to ascend.

I laboriously set about removing the earth bit by bit. I can't breathe... but I don't need to breathe. I don't see anything. But I don't need to see. I just have to get to the top. So I raise my arms, push them torturously through the resistance and dig. Dig. Dig. Now I stand - enclosed in an earthen, constricting grave. I keep fighting my way to the top. Keep going. I am merging with the ground as it penetrates my skin - filling out my body... suddenly, my left hand reaches the surface in a strangely comforting freedom. I pause for a moment, when a dull astonishment rises in me due to a gentle breeze clinging to my hand. Freedom embraces it. And I want more. I want more! I want to get higher! As soon as I can feel the breeze with my entire arm, I bend it, support it on the damp earth on the surface and pull myself up. My face escapes the darkness.

Heavy raindrops pelt me while I try to exchange my relieved groaning for a breath. I want to breathe. I want to taste the fresh air and the rain. My head splashes into the mud in disappointment when I realize that my fluttering lungs are hardly able to do so. Then I pull myself up further, surrounded by a storm of sounds - the sounds of a storm. Thunder. A mighty thunder, followed by a bright lightning bolt that rips apart a cloudy sky. The thunderstorm and the constant trickling of the rain mixes with distant groaning from sources unknown to me. Numerous sources. Soaked and covered in mud, I stand there. My legs feel strange, old and rickety to me. I want to examine my body, but my desire is broken. Broken by something much stronger. I feel a lovely presence. I feel...my family.

When I look around, I see them. They come to be with me, to comfort me. To share the burden of the deep bleakness in my being. To take part of it away from me. Dark, swaying silhouettes approach me through the storm, from all sides. They are circling me. My eyes move languidly through their rows. Their jaws crack in both hasty and gentle movements as their soothing presence gives me warmth. Yes... This is my family. They are me. Then a new feeling attracts my attention. It manifests itself slowly in my stomach, rises through my chest and finally into my head. The others feel it too. We know what to do. Purposefully, and as agreed, we move in the same direction.

A faint smell fills the atmosphere. A sweet, satisfying smell. We have to get there. We must find that smell and share it like a good family does. Tired, our frail-looking bodies stumble through a soft, pale-green sea. Tired... But inexhaustible. Here and there, flat stones curved towards the top adorn our surroundings. In front of some are deep holes and piles of earth - the open birthplaces of my loved ones. And before others, there is still movement in the ground. I move towards it, grab one of my brothers by the shoulders and pull him up before I welcome him with the same warmth that I was given. I can feel his gratitude. The gratitude of being free. The gratitude of having a place in the world. With us...

Together we join the others and leave our Garden of Eden. Then, high buildings become visible. They surround the fine smell that attracts me. The outlines of the buildings shine in the thunderstorm and show us the way. Suddenly, the smell intensifies. The place of its origin magically draws us towards it. We turn into an alley and find him. The something that emits the smell shines in a radiant glow towards us. A bright, beautiful, white angel.

I need to touch him - appropriate him... so that he can touch my inner desolation. Heal it. Together, we grab him. Then we hear his voice. I can't ask for a more beautiful sound. It doesn't sound dull like everything else in my ears. It radiates well-being and vitality. I want to be closer to the voice. Stronger than ever. So I kneel beside the head of the angel and approach the place where the voice is loudest. Then I bite into the soft flesh - take the tender lips into myself. The liquid that drips from them and runs down my dry throat makes something flash inside me.

A thought - A picture tries to force itself into my head, to assemble itself from several scraps. Then I revel, dazed in the memory. The distorted, seemingly distant image of a woman. She stands in front of me, stretches out her arm and touches my cheek tenderly. "Please don't go, honey... Stay here. Stay here with me," she asks...and smiles. Suddenly, I regain consciousness. My urge to linger with the smell gives way to a feeling that is difficult to grasp and that now tries to take shape in me. Still I kneel on the ground and look around. My...family? Is that what they are? A thought keeps racing through my head. It's dreadful. Burning, deeply sad horror. The others are greedily tugging at the flesh of a neglected woman lying injured on the wall. Whining, she tries to push her attackers away, but the disfigured hands of the putrid creatures dive euphorically into her belly and emerge bloody from her intestines. Confused, I stand in the turmoil. What... what am I doing here? Something is very wrong here. I have to get out of here.

I run and run - staggering through the streets, past people. No. They are really angels. White and...no! People...they're...exhausted, I lean against a cold, damp wall and throw up. I gag again when I recognize the vomit as one of my shriveled lungs. Then my gaze falls on a windowpane. I see my own reflection. Carefully, I approach and look at it. A desolate, half-decayed creature is staring at me. Half my face has given way to a bald head. Only one eye - my left one, is still loosely in the eye socket. The woman's blood still sticks to my tattered mouth and as I examine the rest of my body I find that there is hardly any skin, let alone flesh, under my broken, dirty clothes. I shake my head in disbelief and stagger backwards. I need help. I scream, but only a pleading groan comes out of my throat. A little girl with an umbrella is coming towards me. She can help me! She has to help me! Excited, I reach for her arm. Help me, I'm trying to say, but it still doesn't sound like words. She screams out in panic, tries to free herself from my grip and accidentally pulls me to the ground. My skull clicks on the wet asphalt and a new thought shoots into my consciousness by the impact. A new image grabs me - takes me in.

I'm driving...and I feel calm. A...highway...there's an old piano piece on the radio. I love piano pieces. The melody sounds strange. But nice...soothing. For a few moments, I remain anchored in the memory. A colourful landscape flows in the form of a washed-out stream past the window of my car. Then something pushes me back to my real situation. But I don't want to leave. So I try really hard to stay in the car. It's so beautiful...in the car. Fulfilling...until I see a truck pull into my lane. He comes towards me at breakneck speed. Nervously, I pull the wheel around, but I can't avoid it any more. The truck shoots through my vehicle and then...blackness...nothing.

"Sir?", a voice comes to my ear, "Sir?! Are you all right? Come on, let me help you up." I get helped up and...I...I lose control. Everything sinks into me. I'm sinking into myself. I feel something dying - being repressed. I feel the last remaining spark of a human mind, in my rotten brain, give way to something boundless and eternal. And I see...yes...I see him. My savior...my angel.

My German original.

Translated with DeepL / Fixed by the community

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