Discover more from The Holy Loneliness Collective (english)
Nov 14, 2022
After our visit to old Ursel, Till and I had agreed without many words to ignore the whole thing. Maybe Till felt simply awkward to ask me to watch over his sleep at night. And I found it quite convenient to interpret this as a willingness to do nothing. But on Saturday, Till approached me with red eyes. Two more nights in agony and he was now ready to give even the most desperate way out a chance.
We decided that my hiding place would be under Till's bed. Since it is currently on bricks, it is high enough for me to fit comfortably underneath. We tried to make it semi comfortable with the help of blankets and pillows. We let one of Till's blankets hang over the edge of the bed so far that I couldn't be seen.
It didn't turn out to be the most pleasant night I've ever spent. It was uncomfortable, cold, and pitch black. I had a flashlight with me, but didn't dare to turn it on for fear of giving myself away. To keep from falling asleep, I listened to an audio book. ('The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss) But with one ear only, so I would notice anything going on in the room. I had taken a glass of water with me, but had not considered that I would have to go to the bathroom at some point. I fought against it, knowing very well that the drude would come exactly when I had left the room. At least the increasing urgency kept me awake.
The hours dragged by. Till slept restlessly and often tossed and turned. But I noticed nothing to indicate the arrival of the drude. But she came. I didn't perceive anything from her, no clicking of the door handle, no footsteps, no sudden icy breeze. Only Till's breathing, accelerating. Then an eerie whimper that turned into a stifled gasp. It was time. With trembling fingers, I fumbled for the vial in my pocket. As I loosened the cork, it slipped from my hands and fell to the floor. Immediately, a stench flooded the room taking my breath away. Horrified, I cupped my hands in front of my mouth and nose and fought the urge to retch. Seconds later, loud shouting and rumbling announced that the pestilential smell had also reached Till. I was on the verge of unconsciousness at that moment, which is why I didn't notice everything very well. But I think I remember among all the shrill and panic-stricken screaming the words 'Go away, go away, go away!!!! Come back tomorrow!'. Then the retching reflex overcame me. I just managed to get my head out from under Till's bed. Then I threw up crashing on the floor.
When I regained my composure, I heard a strange choking sound behind me. I turned my head and saw Till. He was laughing. Tears were running down his cheeks and his body was shaking uncontrollably. It must have taken a minute before he could breathe calmly again. Then he looked at me with red eyes and said, 'That was by far the silliest thing I've done in my whole life.'
Sleep was out of the question that night. So we tore open the windows, cleaned the room, and went to the kitchen for an extra early breakfast. We were both trying hard not to let it show, but of course we were waiting for the knock on the door and for the drude to show herself in her true form. The sun crept over the horizon but could not penetrate the thick fog. We made ourselves a second breakfast, losing more and more hope. But then it happened. The doorbell rang. We exchanged a tense look and walked together to the front door.
It was Leo. We stared at her in disbelief for quite a while. Then Till threw his hands in the air and just walked away shaking his head. Leo looked at me curiously. But I just shrugged my shoulders. 'Long story,' I said, 'come on in first.'