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It is melting into the snow, staining it bright red. I bend down to look closer. The smell of it hits me, and I would smile if I could. I am following someone you see. He was supposed to be dead, but it seems that he was stronger than I had given him credit for. I thought he wouldn’t get far in this new snow, but maybe I was wrong about that too.
It is cold here in Norway, and the dark shape of our castle home rises behind me. The chill wind cuts through my thick jacket and trousers. It is really quite pleasant. It won’t be pleasant for him though. He has escaped from me once, but not again. That’s why I tried to kill him, not because I was jealous of him as Ilsa says. Why would I be jealous of a prisoner?
Leopold thought I was mad when I brought back my old friend’s head and resurrected it. That was why I killed him. The master almost killed me for that, but I survived. I’m tougher than I look. Just like this prisoner. I wonder what his name is. I never took the trouble to find out.
I see the prints of his bare feet in the snow. Maybe he’ll catch frostbite before I find him. If he does I think I’ll study it. I never did do enough work on that kind of thing. Now I’m working on our army, or I would be if all my equipment hadn’t been destroyed. I have no spare time for that sort of research.
As I follow the tracks I wonder about this man. Why did he try to escape in the first place? He must have known that he had no hope. Verdammt Bolsheviks. I will see that he suffers a painful death. A bit of torture will be useful, as well as relaxing.
The tracks turn to the west, toward the sea. I hope he doesn’t have friends who knew where he was. I should have had him searched more thoroughly. It is possible that he had some sort of radio hidden on him with today’s technology. Often I wish we were still back in the 1940s when we didn’t have to worry about such things. A foolish wish.
The long edge of a fjord appears ahead, and I can see the deep black-blue of water ahead. The man has broken into a sprint here; I can see the distance between prints lengthen. Not too far ahead the snow is stirred up, as if there had been a fight of some sort. I speed up to see.
There is a dark shape ahead. As I draw nearer I can see that it is the prisoner. Is he dead? I walk up to the body and bend over it. It doesn’t seem to be breathing. There are strips of flesh torn off the shoulders that look like an animal has mauled him. Did I make those marks or was it a wolf? I can’t remember.
Suddenly he rolls over and springs up, clutching a long knife. Where did he get that? I leap backwards and the blade rips through my coat. I draw a weapon of my own; my usual baton sword. He backs off a little and I charge him, my blade drawing graceful lines in the air. He tries to block but I easily sweep past his guard and bury the weapon in his chest. He pulls free, blood gushing from the wound. Surely he is dead now? Yes, he collapses, but then he throws his knife in a dying gesture of defiance. It buries itself in my shoulder. I am too surprised to move for a moment, and then I rip it out. Blood starts to stain my jacket red. It doesn’t matter. I sling the corpse over my shoulder and start walking back.
Ilsa is waiting for me as I enter the gates. She says nothing, but turns away when she sees the body. I don’t understand her at all. Did she think I was going to leave a perfectly good body out in the snow for the wolves? Or is it something else?
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