Where did you go? the psychiatrist asks the countryside can’t remember where Elsa says sitting back in the recliner chair one leg crossed over the other pulling the skirt hem over her knees I was evacuated from the City because of the bombing put on trains with gas masks and some sandwiches and something else I forget what the psychiatrist nods scribbles notes studies the woman her expression the features pale eyes haunted at some village the train stopped and we were marched into the village and fostered on people in the village hall but no one seemed to want me so I was marched to a farmhouse on the outskirts of the village was it dark? the psychiatrist asks was it late in the day? the woman frowns tries to recall notes the eyes of the quack as she thinks him are dark as prunes his nose broad his lips thick greedy looking yes she says the sky was darkening when I arrived at the farmhouse there was a stink about the place I held my nose the psychiatrist smiles but continues to scribble his left hand she notes the fingers well kept the nails trimmed not workers’ hands she muses and who answered the door of the farmhouse? he asks she bites her lower lip and closes her eyes better to remember a man she says a woman looking over his shoulder the escort lady said he had to take me in and he said something rude and looked down at me but the escort insisted and so the woman took me in to the house and the escort went and the door shut behind the man Elsa breathes in deep and opens her eyes then what? the psychiatrist asks what happened then? he sits back in his black chair and puts down his pen and folds his fingers together forming a church like structure she looks at the quack’s hair dark but receding with hints of coming grey I was told to sit at a table and be quiet and the old man went out the back door and the woman gave me some bread and cheese and told to eat up she pauses remembering the house seemed cold there was a woody smell a fire was lit but low then what? he asks twitching his nose rocking back and forward slowly in his chair where did you sleep? Elsa shuts her eyes in a bed upstairs she woman said it was her son’s bed but he was in the War somewhere but the bed was cold and smelt and she said to undress and gave me a nightdress her daughter used to wear but she had died when young the psychiatrist stops rocking and leans forward he plays with the buttons of his waistcoat then what happened? he asks Elsa thinks hard pushing back her thoughts opening files with faces and events I lay in the bed in the dark and I thought I heard scratching noises and there was a wind outside the window then I must have gone off to sleep after a long day she stops and opens her eyes yes? the psychiatrist asks she places a hand over her mouth and her eyes stare at the quack taking in his lips and eyes and his nose can I go now? she says she gets up from the recliner no he says wait we must open this up she stands gazing at him I can’t she says why? he asks she stands still her hands holding each other in front of her groin I’ve told no one she says softly her words just reaching the air maybe it is time to unburden yourself he says she looks at the window at the sun coming onto the carpet at her feet the sunlight making a pattern on her brown shoes the man in the farmhouse what did he say? the psychiatrist asks she looks at him her eyes darkening fear there he notes as she picks up his pen I was a little girl Elsa says he said words I didn’t understand and the woman? what was she like? Elsa walks to the chair and sits down folding her hand sin her lap she said little she gave me food and drink and washed my few clothes and gave me her daughter’s clothes when mine weren’t dry the psychiatrist writes fast his hand moving her the page he studies her as she speaks notices her hands squeezing each other on her lap what did the man do? he asks she glares at him can’t say she says why? isn’t it better to let it out? his pen stops he returns her stare she looks down at her hands I wet the bed she says suddenly and the woman was cross and the man hit me the psychiatrist nods and writes often? he asks she looks at her hands how they grip each other the thin fingers wrestling each other she shuts her eyes she thinks back the image of the man there in front of her his hand raised his eyes grey and hard he pulled her hair he slapped her face and legs and her eyes flash open and the quack is there well? he asks what happened? she can’t say her lips won’t speak her tongue seems glued to the roof of her mouth the thick lips of the quack his nose his eyes are on her what happened then? he asks she wants to speak but her mouth has become dry the words seem heavy as if weighed down what did the man do Elsa? the quack says leaning forward in the chair his head near hers his breath having the smell of sour apples she recalls the bed the dark room the bed cold the light from a moon in the window the man’s shadow his hand over her mouth words she didn’t know his breath on her his hand touches her not hitting but feeling hot hand pushing her back words soft but unknown to her his finger on her lips hushing her what happened? the quack asks he leans towards her his face inches from hers sour apples smell dark room cold bed his daughter’s bed the dead daughter no longer there just the man and the quack leaning in words and touches here and there words she doesn’t understand and the wandering hand removing underwear.
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