Pen poised on the white and empty paper, she wants to write the words she has been swallowing for decades and are now rotting her entrails. Those words rumble in her lungs but never jump onto the tongue to escape the rot she carries inside her.
She recalls the girl with the dark curls and bright smile, whose open and generous face quivers in her memory; and a lump forms in her throat. She remembers the terror and uncertainty of the times, and tells herself, as always, that what she did was right, that she did it for the common good, and she fulfilled her duty.
She wants to cry; dry and hot tears sting her eyes, but never fall. The cough attacks her again, and her body rattles as the guilt reaches her withered heart. It shakes her like jello, and she sets down the pen; it leaves a blue dot on the white paper. A tiny fleck of rotting saliva lands on the blue dot and expands the ink like an ocean. The ink slithers over the paper, and before her stunned eyes a picture begins to form. She tells herself the girl with the dark curls and bright smile escaped, survived, and lived a long and prosperous life, but those decades of wishful thinking vanish as the picture emerges.
Her phlegmy cough thunders through the room like a death march. Famished, naked and humiliated figures appear on the paper, and the girl with the dark curls and bright smile stands out among them.
The sun dips below the horizon and stains the room with an infernal glow of red and orange and yellow, and she knows her time is finished. At last, the tears boil into her eyes and stream down her wrinkled and hollow cheeks, burning them like lava, and she knows this eternity awaits her.
The red tears fall onto the paper and the blue picture shifts and moves until the young and friendly face of the girl with the dark curls and bright smile gazes at her.
“Why? Why did you denounce us?”
The cough attacks again, and her rotten and useless lungs vomit the reasons: jealousy, and because she believed in the Führer.
She wants to inhale those reasons, but the infernal light winds itself around her throat, choking her. She flails and gasps for air, then falls face forward onto the white paper; her empty eyes staring into oblivion.