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“Tell me your name.”
There was some hesitation, but then the words came dutifully, if dismally—four digits—not a syllable more. He grinned.
“Do you remember Sarah? Sarah-Jane?”
“DO YOU REMEMBER SARAH-JANE?” The words blasted from the blackness like bullets.
She was lying. He could smell deception, as if it were a rotting carcass splayed before him. He stepped into the light, his formlessness becoming form in silhouette. He paused, and then he slapped her with brutal force.
The woman wept. Her breath came as a thin whistle through the wide gap where her upper teeth had been. Her eyes, bulging from her emaciated face, gave her the appearance of a humanoid insect.
The physician retreated to the console. He pressed three lamps, red-yellow-red in precise order. There was a slight delay, and then a projector lamp switched on, giving life to a grainy black-and-white image on a large viewing screen.
The subject was a handsome Aryan, no older than fifteen. He was once a violinist, a virtuoso from Braunschweig whose performances brought tears to the eye. And yet, like the Australian, and later, the American, he had been skilled in so much more.
The boy, clearly frightened, was on the verge of tears.
Grinning behind the lens, Brikker took the woman’s photograph, then distanced himself from the reliable oak tripod that supported a green 4 x 5 Graphic camera. It was a solid military model, the workhorse of the press photographer and madmen.
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