By Erich Maria Remarque

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Zone

Translated via Charlotte Mandell

Francis Servain Mirkovic, a French-born Croat who has been operating for the French Intelligence providers for fifteen years, is touring by way of educate from Milan to Rome. He’s sporting a briefcase whose contents he’s promoting to a consultant from the Vatican; the briefcase incorporates a wealth of knowledge concerning the violent heritage of the Zone—the lands of the Mediterranean basin, Spain, Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, that experience turn into Mirkovic’s specialty.

Over the process a unmarried evening, Mirkovic visits the websites of those tragedies in his reminiscence and recollects the wear that his personal participation in that violence—as a soldier struggling with for Croatia in the course of the Balkan Wars—has wreaked in his personal existence. Mirkovic hopes that tonight could be his final within the area, that this trip will expiate his sins, and that he can disappear with Sashka, the single girl he hasn’t deserted, endlessly . . .

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Eine Frauenstimme antwortete. ‹ fragte ich und merkte, daß ich heiser war. ‹ fragte die Frau. ‹ Ich konnte meinen Namen nicht verraten. Ich wußte nicht, ob es seine Frau oder ein Dienstmädchen war, aber beiden konnte ich mich nicht preisgeben. ‹ sagte die Frau. ›Ich bin ein Freund von Doktor Martens‹, erwiderte ich. ›Bitte, melden Sie ihm das. ‹ ›Bedaure‹, erwiderte die Frauenstimme. ‹ ›Sie müssen eine Ausnahme machen -‹, sagte ich. ‹ ›Wenn das so ist, können Sie mir ja auch Ihren Namen sagen -‹ 42 Ich dachte verzweifelt nach.

Eure Inquisition mit ihren Folterkammern im Namen Gottes hat uns gelehrt, wie man Feinde des Glaubens behandeln muß. Wir sind sogar noch weniger scharf - wir verbrennen nur in seltenen Fällen lebendig‹. Ich hing damals an einem Kreuz, während er mir das erklärte - es war eine der harmloseren Arten, Namen von Häftlingen zu erpressen. Der Priester am Altar hob die goldene Monstranz und segnete die Menge. Ich saß sehr still, aber mir war, als schwämme ich in einem lauen Bade von Rauch, Trost und Licht.

Jemand erkämpfte dort einen Weg gegen die Richtung, schob Leute beiseite und glitt zwischen ihnen vorwärts. Ich sah für Sekunden ein helles, zorniges und entschlossenes Gesicht und glaubte einen Augenblick, es sei eine Frau, die etwas vergessen hatte. Ich erkannte sie nicht gleich, weil ich sie hier nicht erwartet hatte. Erst als sie ein Stück an mir vorbei war, wo die Menge sich 53 lichtete, sah ich an einer Bewegung ihrer Schulter, mit der sie sich schräg vorwärts arbeitete, daß sie es war. Sie schien nirgendwo anzustoßen; sie glitt zwischen den Menschen hindurch, und gleich darauf stand sie fast frei in der breiten Mittelreihe vor den Kerzen und der blauen und roten Dunkelheit der hohen, romanischen Fenster, schmal und klein, plötzlich und schon fast allein und verloren.

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