The Watcher

The Search

It appeared as every worker for the Reichsbank and their families were in the streets around Sachsen platz shouting the name of little Hilde Zäpernick. She had not been seen since her brother, Kurt, had last looked over his shoulder toward where he and his brother, Wilhelm had been playing with a red rubber ball which they had left on the street. It was a ball that his recently turned 11 year old sister Hilde was pleased to finally be playing with now that her brothers were returning to the apartment, leaving it upon the street allowing her finally to have a turn with it. The voices rang out across the square. The tight community that was the artists colony, as some liked to call it, but more over it was the Reichsbanks workers with some bohemian additions, predominantly all knew Hilde or knew of her. Whilst many parents would have their differences with one another, the children were innocents and often paved the way in building bridges between sparring families, and were often the first in approaching new families to the area by branching out to the new children that arrived, all with the intention of sharing in the innocent joys of youth. Hilde was one child who, known to most, was always thought over as a happy and spirited child, so it was of a great disturbance and a shared concern that not only that she had been taken but that it was also a concern that any child may have gone missing from this well respected and close knit community.

Theodor Müller, upon hearing the news from the two women that had been talking semi-discreetly in front of his apartment building rushed to get his bicycle. At best he had hoped she had just wandered off, maybe towards her Lyceum on Preußenallee, or even towards her old elementary school on Leistikow Straße, could she have wandered toward the green lightly forested space around the Spandauer Bock building that belonged to the Spandauer Berg-Brauerei, maybe, he questioned, that she had not wandered away, perhaps, with the growing use of the automobile and the access that people had, especially as there was a growing second hand market, she had been taken, either way he wanted to help search so into the dusk he cycled calling out her name along the streets as he pedalled, his voice echoing between buildings and in courtyard, bringing more people to the awareness that something had happened.

On Sachsen Platz, as Theodor Müller begins his cycling, Wilhelm Grothe, as gardener begins his own search.

The gardens of Sachsen Platz were formed from an old gravel pit. From the street it may just look like a normal gardened platz, but it is however quite different. It had been conceived at the same time that the district itself had been conceived in 1909, however, due to finances, delays and principally the Great War the work had barely begun by 1919. It would have been, if it was completed as initially planned, the newly appointed gardener for Charlottenburg Erwin Barth’s first great commission for the city of Charlottenburg and a tribute to the work of Barth’s mentor Fritz Encke’s Klettenberg gardens in Cologne.

Barth had been tempted by the imperial majesty of Charlottenburg, the city that bordered the slowly growing and creeping boundaries of the Hauptstadt Berlin but his ideas were very different to those who came before him. There was not to be the small fenced gardens, with ornamental flower beds lining pathways, rather he preferred a feeling of the natural a blend of the world of humans and nature coming together and he wished, with the designs of his new park to create a clear and sharp break with the old garden styles that could be visited at the Charlottenburg palace a short distance away. So within the old gravel put he designed the Brandenburg world in miniature. It would have falling limestone cliffs, on the eastern half, like those in Rudesdorf, a large pond would be formed at the centre of the western half to create a swampy environment for the fauna of Brandenburg, a notoriously sandy and swampy land. Pine trees, that grew in abundance in Brandenburg but rarely seen in the city of Charlottenburg or Berlin would be planted rather than the more common oak, linden or the sycamore. A children’s playground would adorn one corner and a small sheltered pavilion, rising over the street another, as if some medieval fortress watchtower guarding the garden from those that may wish to disturb the relative peace within.

Once the Great War had come to an end, finally the much delayed plans were begun and upon completion the maintenance and care were entrusted to William Grothe.

He had stayed at the garden latter as he often did in the cooler evenings of the summer to tend to the flower beds, pathways and ornamental features of Sachsenplatz, for a platz designed as a replica of the natural fauna of Brandenburg it certainly took some maintenance to keep it looking natural. William Grothe, not Wilhelm, Willi with an i or Willy with a y, lived over the rail tracks to the east in Charlottenburg proper, a city that was now, since the Greater Berlin act of 1920 part of Berlin, much to the disgruntled displeasure of the people of the beautiful Charlottenburg who thought themselves better than their Berlin neighbours. He had an apartment on Dancklemannstraße, at number 53, and had he been at his home it would have been much harder for the residents to search the park. Only he knew it well, and for much of the 2.3 hectares that constituted the area of the park, only he could enter, in order to preserve the plants from the heavy feet of the unappreciative.

He meandered down the paths keeping his eyes wide as they strained to see through the shadows that were growing darker and longer with the passing minutes since the first shouts had revealed that Hilde had been missing. There was always a fear that a child had found their misfortune on the stones that had been laid to resemble the lime stone cliffs so he checked with an assertive gaze the area where the cliffs met the grass, he knew the garden well and was certain that his deep understanding of the area would display to him quickly a foreign object that did not belong within the gardens walls. Lifting the branches of the low lying bushes he searched for a child in the thralls of a game of hide and seek, or a child that had fled a friend or foe. Further down into the base of the old gravel pit he moved, however, so far, not a trace of a footstep but his own could be seen, no blades of wild grass were bent or broken, no leafs trodden, or even the rich brown of the mud imprinted with the crepe pattern of the sole of a shoe.

At the water’s edge of the pond he scans where the water sits stilly against the ground. Only a small trickle of water falls into the pond to avoid the stagnation that would slowly result in the starvation of oxygen from the waters, but the trickle is so small the water has no ripples, it doesn’t rise or fall, there is no shore, and further more no other traces are visible of the signs of a young girl wandering into the waters. Defeated and dejected, but confident Hilde is not within he returns up the steep embankment. Climbing slowly against the gradient of the hill he once again emerged at the street level where an air of desperation was falling over the community as more and more searches of places that Hilde was commonly known to frequent were in vein. When he appeared at the gates, William Grothe, was met by those hoping that his search had resulting in some sign, but with a shake of his head, the group, that had gathered solemnly dispersed to investigate a different location.

It was shortly before 8 that Heinrich Asch looked from his window of the upper floor of number 89 Westendallee and noticed the commotion below. He had spent the late afternoon in the garden with Wilhelm Zäpernick and Herr Birkner who also lived in the same building at number 89 where Hilde had been playing on the trellis to the displeasure of her mother. Bemused by the mass of the people on the streets he decided to descend the shallow stairs of the stair case and to investigate what the commotion may be. When he reached the street one of those that he had viewed from his window, one of the frantic pedestrians asked him what the time might be, to which he, looking at his wrist watch, replied that it was 6 minutes before 8. In front of the building he caught sight saw a group of people that included Wilhelm Zäpernick.
“What’s going on?” Heinrich Asch asked.
“Hilde’s missing,” Wilhelm Zäpernick replied, his gaunt face appearing even more sullen and sunken than usual, and his blue eyes were wide with fear.
“Missing?” Asch repeated.
“Her mother went to call her in at 7 to do her homework but couldn’t see her, no ones seen her for over an hour!” Wilhelm spoke hurriedly.
“Where’ve you searched?”
“All over.”
“The building site?” Heinrich pressed.
“On our way now,” said Wilhelm.
“Anyone been to the police station or the hospitals?” Heinrich pressed.
“Not yet.”
“I’ll go, if there was an accident on the building site perhaps she was taken to the hospital.”

Thoughts were very much now on an accident having happened on the Gillesbau. Gathered on the corner, a stones throw from the door to number 89 the group of men look to the entrance way of the Gillesbau on Sachsenplatz. Little more than one hundred meters separated the two. They moved slowly towards the entrance to the building site, between the gaps in the fences they could see the bare brick walls awaiting render and dark spaces where someday light would emit from.

They found the gate, a wooden construction held together by horizontal iron bars and one singular angled piece locked. They’d heard the gates being rattled not long before and presumed that it must have been the watchman securing the sight to protect the worker’s tools from greedy hands. A heavy padlock hung from a chain wrapped around the space between the two halves of the gate. In the dying light a shadow could be seen wandering alone. They shout for the shadow to come closer which it does.
“We need to search the building site.”
“I can’t let you do that.” The shadowy figure replied, that now, in walking walking from the shadows of the building, it was clear it was the guard Schulz.
Schulz was known amongst the residents, despite only being a guard on the Gillesbau for a relatively short time. Schulz, was a war veteran, an injured war veteran and had been shot through the left eye whilst with the 9th Infantry Regiment Stargard, on the 7th of October 1914 near the small village of Chanoy. He was very new, even relatively, in Berlin having only relocated to the city in April and had been working for the Gillesbau for only 5 weeks, but a one eyed war veteran in a quiet district was hard to miss. “I can’t let you wander around the site I’m afraid.”
“Why not?” One of the men pressed.
“I’m not allowed to. What’s happened?” Enquired Schulz.
“His daughter Hilde,” another of the men replied, “she’s missing.”
“I’ll have a look around the site for you.” Schulz said helpfully. “One of you wait here, I’ll have a look and return.” Schulz disappeared into the building site once again.

Some of the men dispersed to continue the search for little Hilde Zäpernick elsewhere. Heinrich Asch was already far away at the Police station ringing the bell, he enquired of the officers if a young girl had been found, and he provided them with her description, he could describe her well having been a neighbour and friend of the Zäpernicks for a few years. But no luck, the police had not had any missing children handed in, but they had heard of the disappearance. Heinrich Asch moved on, the hospitals were next.

After half an hour Schulz returned to the gate. The men moved closer to look through the gaps between the wooden boards at the guard, hopeful of news that there would be some news. But alas, Schulz could only say that he had found nothing. There was nothing else to do but to continue the search of the wider area. There was of course the courtyard to search, maybe she could have wandered to the U-bahn Station at the end of Schwarzburg Allee, Bahnhof Neu Westend, the station that was situated on the platz that was predominantly yet to be built, she couldn’t have been dejected by her mother’s refusal to go to the gymnastic games with Waldtraut, could she? The men departed. However, as they did so, a woman and a man approached the fence, they spoke through the gap to the guard as well, and asked “have you seen little Hilde,” to which the guard again replied no. Once the couple were almost out of view, he unlocked the gate, slipped to the street side, relocked it and proceeded to circle the Gillesbau’s fence.

The searches continued with increased panic as the time ticked on. But with no trace of Hilde in the gardens, on the streets the searches kept coming back to the Gillesbau that was slowly becoming the centre of the neighbourhood and everyone’s fears.

Gustav Flade was feeling advanced in his age. He’d been born in Neustettin, a small town nothing comparable to the size of the real Stettin, before the formation of the German Reich, in the year that Prussia was at war with Austria. His age meant that he avoided the Great War but he had celebrated his 52nd birthday on the day that the Kaiser was forced into exile and the German Republic, that had just been celebrated the previous day, was proclaimed. 11 years later at the age of 62 he was not long from retirement, if it were to be possible, the recession of the earlier part of the decade had wiped away his, like most other German’s savings, now he needed the job and being a Prussian of true character was strict about his duties, thus this evening he was walking from the Neu-Westend Bahnhof and the hands of the clocks on the platform was not even signalling half past ten, and he wasn’t due to swap with the guard Schulz until 11pm.

He was used to the streets being quiet at this late hour, and was surprised, upon his approaching of the Gillesbau, by the number of people wandering the streets. As he walked along the Reichstraße he chose not to turn down the Schaumburgallee, the street down which he would usually walk to get to one of the entrances to the building site, but rather, with the higher number of people on the street he chose to walk toward the commotion out of curiosity and use the Sachsenplatz entrance. He didn’t trust Schulz, he found him to be to fond of slacking on his duties, spending more time in the guard hut with his dog than performing the duties of a guard, he was also known for allowing children to play on the building site, something that he, Gustav Flade, was very much against and had warned Schulz over a few times previously, to which Schulz replied with, “it’s my duty, I’ll do it how I wish.” The closer he got, the more people he could distinguish huddled in groups in the dim of the night that had finally set over Neu Westend.

Upon hearing the footsteps of the older gentleman Gustav Flade a group of several people turned. They watched him as he alternated between the dark and light of the lanterns that lined the streets, then, upon realising the figure belonged to that of the authoritative and older gentleman, even as a
lowly watcher, they ran to him.
“Herr Flade, Hilde is missing?” They spoke.
“Hilde who?” Flade returned, there were a fair number of Hildegards and Hildes in the area.
“Zäpernick!” The group cried.
“And you’ve searched all around have you?” Flade asked.
“Not the building which you guard. Schulz would not allow it.”
“Have you lights?” None of the group had. “Find some lights and come back.”

“Any luck?” Theodor Müller asked of Heinrich Asch upon his return from his search at the local hospitals and the police station.
“None,” Heinrich Asch responded dejectedly. “Yourself?” He asked of the 16 year old.
Theodor Müller had met the returning Heinrich Asch in the middle of the street that separated the Gillesbau and Sachsenplatz, “none,” Theodor replied with a shake of the head. He had cycled the neighbourhood for over two hours and found nothing, he, like so many others involved in the search had gravitated back to the Gillesbau. So far in all of the searching not a trace of the young girl had been found, not a footstep in the gardens, a piece of fabric on the street, even a sighting, it was, at this moment as if she had vanished completely.
“Who’s that?” Heinrich Asch pointed as he spoke towards the silhouette of a lone figure at the gate to the Gillesbau.

“Well here’s a nice story, what’s going on here?” Gustav Flade asked of his colleague who was stood behind the gate between two coloumns of stone. His dog tied to a stall. He had entered the building site, placed his bag in the watchman’s hut and found Schulz outside.
“Herr Flade its you,” a voice came from behind the watchman. Flade turned and saw the young Theodor Müller, still pushing his bike, stood at the gates with Heinrich Asch, their eyes turned to Schulz. “Hilde Zäpernick…”
“is missing, I know,” Flade interrupted.
“We wanted to search the building.”
“You can’t!” It was Schulz’s turn to interrupt. “We’re to guard the site not to enter the building, we can’t let you enter either, it’s not safe.”
“Get a lamp, I’ll let you in if you get a light,” Flade spoke, overriding his colleague with age and authority. Heinrich Asch quickly disappeared, running to his apartment at number 89, where the lights were still on in the ground floor apartment on the right.

He was quick to return, as were others who Flade had told could search the building as long as they had a light, and they gathered beyond the gate on the building site. The group included, Wilhelm Zäpernick, Hermann Fuhlbrügge of number 84, his son Paul, Wilhelm Feuerhoff of number 91 and his wife Frau Feuerhoff. Wilhelm Feuerhoff noticed the shadowy figure standing in the background and asked of his wife, “Who’s that?”
“That’s the guard Schulz,” came his wife’s reply.
“We’ll go together, we’ll stick together,” Flade iterated. “Workman don’t tidy their tools up often, so be careful.”
“I’ll wait here,” Theodor Müller said, “can’t leave my bicycle out.”
“Ver’ well. Come on rest of you.” Flade spoke and turned toward the building.

Now they were beyond the gates and picketed fence, those that made up the search party, could see more of the building, that many of the children had seen, but them as adults to which barriers represented something not only physical but also something mentally had not seen. They could see the masses of building materials piled up on much of the open ground, the reason the guards were employed were predominantly to ensure that these were not stolen. They could also see that the basement windows to the Gillesbau were very low, so low in face that they were almost level with the ground.

The yellow light cast by the lamps illuminated the recesses of the construction sight. As a group they stood together raising the lights high so as to cast longer throws across the earth but they saw nothing, nor did Flade. Once the grounds had been searched Flade then brought out his loop of keys and unlocked one of the doors to the new building.

Exploring the upper floors of the building first they wandered past the discarded tools of the day, of wooden chips from joists, cement bags and bricks but not a trace of Hilde was found. The dog would have been little use, it wasn’t trained as a sniffer dog but rather as a dog for growls and barks and thus Flade had left it tide to the kennel near the watchman’s hut. From the top they worked their way down. Still nothing. All that was left was the basement, Schulz went first and quickly disappeared into the darkness as he ran ahead leaving the others to cast their light afresh.

There was a smell of lime, not the citrus variety but of the builders lime used for the whitewashing of walls and in the laying of concrete floors. Roofing material was stacked in many of the corners that one day would play host to the no-longer required, or not so treasured keepsakes of future residents. Flade led the way, the residents bringing flashes of light through the maze of subterrainean corridors. Rarely Schulz would reappear, but quickly once again disappear as he ran ahead into the dark. Wilhelm Feuerhoff made a mental note that when Schulz did appear he always seemed to be smoking. Hilde’s name was cried out but no reply ever came. On and on they searched, glad to have Flade, for it would not be easy to find one’s way around the basements and bottoms of elevator shafts in the dark and not get lost. When the search of the cellars had ended Schulz bid a farewell to Flade and disappeared and half an hour later at 2 in the morning the search concluded in vein. Not a trace of Hilde was found and in the earliest hours of the next day the tired figures emerged from the building site. Flade made his apologies that nothing was found, the search party disbanding and now solemnly walking into the dark of the night to return to their own homes. Flade locked the gates behind them and returned to the guard hut, in which he found some food for the dog that had been tied to the kennel the whole time and settled in for his usual nightly routine, now that nothing more that could be done.

Wilhelm Feuerhoff returned to his home at number 91 with his wife. Hermann and Paul Fuhlbrügge returned to theirs at number 84 and Heinrich Asch returned with Wilhelm Zäpernick to their building at number 89. Slowly the remaining lights in the windows of the flats of the bank of buildings that belonged to the Reichsbank turned off allowing the building to blend with the night apart from one light that remained bright that of the ground floor apartment on the right at number 89, and of course the light across the road in the guard hut.

The truck trundled along. The steel leaf springs of the truck bounced with the cobbles of the road and with the weight of the brick materials in the flat bed. In the tiny and thin cab that was only a fifth of the width as the engine bay that stretched out before them was Wilhelm Schulz who’s name was written on the side as it was his business was driving and with him was his employees Erich Scheffler and Arthur Deter. They followed Reich Straße and turned onto Sachsenplatz. The Gillesbau was already swarming with workers and the gates that had been locked and guarded by Flade the night before were now open, the guard hut empty. Wilhelm Schulz turns the large wheel and guides the truck through the gate to where they can unload. Pulling up, Deter and Scheffler jump from the cabin to the ground and move swiftly around to the flatbed to begin unloading the brick load.
“What you do with her then?” A construction site worker asked of Erich as he approached to help unload a stack the bricks.
“What you mean?” Erich enquired, puzzled to what the construction worker meant.
“Where did you leave Hilde?” He asked. Erich looked to Arthur, and Arthur to Erich, both puzzled as to what the construction worker was implying and to which Hilde he was referring.
“She was always playing around your truck, we see her all the time.” There was more and more construction workers, the ones that would help move the bricks, crowding around the truck. Erich and Arthur still were perplexed. When the employees of the Gillesbau had arrived the news of the disappearance of the local girl had spread fast and with active imaginations groups had come together to speculate as to what had happened. Some the previous day had seen Hilde, her distinctive blonde hair, blue eyes, and spirited attitude making her well known by sight to the workers, playing around the truck and talking with Erich and finally the realisation came to Erich and Arthur to whom they were referring. Erich was shocked, as was Arthur, they knew Hilde by sight as the other workers did, but they knew her well, they may not have remembered her name, but she remembered theirs and referred to them both by their first names.
“Well, that can’t be right,” Erich said in reply, “she had only last night gone and got cigarettes for me!”

The cool light of the new morning had brought no further answers for a community that was in shock and reeling at the loss of one of their own. To have searched so long and so hard but with the result so grim, in respects to not a single piece of evidence as to what might have happened to the young girl having been found, left the community broken and beyond saddened. With the loss of a child, to a kidnapper, to a murderer, to both perhaps, surely the Zäpernicks had not slept and with no miraculous return of Hilde smiling and running through the door it was a day that surely would allow for no rest only for the pursuit of answers.

For the workers of the Reichsbank they could not stay to help the Zäpernicks in their cause to find their missing daughter, their jobs would not permit. Even Theodor Müller had, despite staying awake late in the search for Hilde, had to rise early and return to his job as an apprentice baker the next day. However, the disappearance of Hilde was never far from their minds.

In the early afternoon of Tuesday the 13th of August 1929 Hildegard Zäpernick 11, born on the 11th August 1918, became a missing person in the eyes of the police and the official work was about to begin.

It started with a few officers arriving first, they asked the simple questions of passers by, workers and the residents: Do you know Hildegard Zäpernick, can you describe her, when did you last see her, would you say she was a happy girl? They took notes and documented what some had to say and came to the conclusion that she was indeed missing. A quick search with William Grothe of the gardens once again revealed nothing as did a walk around the open ground of the Gillesbau. They asked Frau Zäpernick for a description of her daughter and when she had last seen her and then departed. It was obvious to the police that something was a foul and required a department higher than that of their own and so the case was referred up the ladder.

It was also at some time during the morning or early afternoon that the news of the eleven year old’s disappearance made it to the newspapers, but as of yet it was not so interesting for that the papers wished to to print more than the bare minimum, which they did.

Tuesday ended with no news. Hilde was still missing. There was no evidence of foul play, kidnapping or murder. The police who had been assigned had nothing to go on, but in Abteilung IV or Department 4 of the Kriminalpolizei it was unsure as to which branch would take the case. Would it be Inspektion A, murder and assault, or E for moral crimes, or handed to I the Erkennungsdient, the service that would search for the minute clues, for fingerprints, or traces of fabrics, but none would have a point at which to begin. For no one had a clue what had happened to Hilde, so it was decided a Sonderkommission, special commission, would be formed with the case number 6604.IV.K18.29. and they’d start with another search.

On Wednesday the work for the Criminal Police under the heading Sonderkommission Zäpernick began. Kriminal Kommissar August Quoß was part of the team along with Kriminal Secretary George Rosse who had been deployed to co-ordinate the matters on the ground. There was much to be done and the first thing that they ordered was for the pay books of the Gillesbau to be made available. They needed to know where everyone was on Monday, but to know where everyone was they first had to ascertain who everyone was. The pay book for the Gillesbau would help greatly. It would list all of the 140 workers contracted to the site and their address making it much easier to have them tracked down by the uniformed police, to provide statements and most importantly to gather alibis.

The Kriminal Kommissioner began himself by doing a sweep of the area. He walked to number 89 Westendallee, where from behind drawn curtains curious faces gazed out at the work the police were doing below, he noted how close the Gillesbau was to the home, how much of the building could be seen, how secure the wooden fence was, and that it was laced with gaps. There was, as it was a working day nonetheless for the Gillesbau, many trucks stood statically on the curb with a variety of construction equipment, he took note that it was probably there was vehicles stood around when Hilde disappeared.

Next was to cover the areas that the residents had covered on the Monday evening and into the night. Steps had to be retraced and the garden searched once again but this time not by a gardener looking for broken foliage but by the trained dogs of the Berlin Polizei. The Kriminal Kommissar observed as the dogs, Afra, Bera, Rena and City were drawn from their cages within the large automobile used by the dog department of the police and firstly taken into the park that had been divided into search sectors. It was still the common theory that it must have been an accident that had befallen the young Hilde and therefore the waters and the crevices of the park needed to be searched in greater depth.

From the stone pavilion that resembled a medieval watch tower Quoß could look on. The gardener William Grothe and his assistants had returned to help and to guide the police down into the bottom of the garden. The handlers, dressed in their blue uniforms used their Gummiknüppel to move the foliage from infront fo the dogs noses, and to help point the dogs in a direction they felt may have been better. But still nothing was found. From the gardens of Sachsenplatz they were brought to walk the gardens behind the bank of houses of Westendallee but again nothing. Finally one officer took a dog into the Gillesbau building itself, but despite many hours again nothing was found.

Now minds were turning to the possibility that if no evidence of Hilde being assulted, injured or worse lay on Sachsenplatz then surely the only reasonable conclusion would be that she was abducted.

As the Kriminal Police were going about their work, onlookers were prying. The morbid curiosity of the people as to what was unfolding led to more walks being taken than usual by people who held their heads forwards but cast their gaze to the side, journeys were diverted and meetings unnecessary held. It was how Martha Barthel, resident of number 85, and her sister Marie Talke found themselves taking an early evening stroll through Sachsenplatz. They had wandered through the higher garden, the one that was at street level as where the officers and their dogs had been was off limits even in normal circumstances to the general public. They were curious as to what was unfolding and wanting to turn their ears to the conversations and street level interrogations of residents and the workers of the construction sites by the Kriminal Police. Slowly they drifted along the pavement that ran along the edge of the park from Reichs Strasse and toward the buildings of Westend Allee. Curiously they gazed at the entrance of the Gillesbau, observed the police going about their business but with nothing to defer they walked on. It was then that they noticed the figure. A man. He was stood at the corner of the street where Sachsenplatz met Westendallee. They watched him. He barely moved, but they could see his eyes watching the police vehicles, the great noisy automobiles that emitted the rich smelling fumes of engines not tuned correctly, that were coming and going, and he watched the movement of the police. His skin was white and he shook, they witnessed, terribly. His hands were barely even able to light the cigarette in his hand as the flame danced around the loose ends of the rolled tobacco. They waited and watched him further. They watched as he drew deeply on the cigarette a few times, the burning end glowing bright and plumes of smoke belched from his nostrils as he looked on, but after just a few draws he discarded the cigarette with an anger, as if the cigarette did not hold the answers or release that he was looking for within it. Detectives began to walk the street then toward the shaking, ghostly white figure, and quickly the figure disappeared into an entrance of the Gillesbau. Photographers appeared on the street took a few photographs, and after they had expended their bulbs the figure reappered on the street. He, the figure, caught sight of the two women, of Martha and her sister Marie, and gazed at them with such intensity that they felt their feet move before they could process the thought of fleeing. They moved quickly back towards the homes of Westendallee. They looked back and the figure was gone, but no sooner had their gaze returned to where their feet where carrying them they bumped into a man.

He was tall and thin, a wide version of the toothbrush moustache on his upper lip and close cropped blond hair, his eyes were tired and blood shot, and he seemed taken as taken by surprised as the two ladies who crashed into him.
“Oh, Herr Zäpernick, we do apologise.” Marie said to the man they had crashed into that they now realised was the father of the missing girl. “We’d just seen a strange figure standing on the corner, smoking, he gave us an awful feeling inside as he stared at us.”
“Oh,” Herr Zäpernick, solemnly replied, the grief he was feeling tangible within his voice, “that’s the guard, he know’s our daughter very well.”


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