In his dreams the old images came back to haunt him again.

The same images. The same desperate inability to act, the same sterile white-hot fury-Bitte in the corner by the sofa with her arms covered in needle marks and eyes like black, empty wells. The pimp, thin as a rake with jet-black, straggly hair, eyeing him scornfully and sneering. Hands raised, palms up, and shaking his head. And the other man-her face over the shoulders of the naked man. A sweaty, hairy back, heavy buttocks thrusting violently into her and pressing her up against the wall, her legs wide apart and her eyes reflecting his own, seeing what he sees… just for a second before he turns on his heel and leaves.

The same images… and imposed upon them, penetrating them, the image of the ten-year-old with blond plaits, roaring with laughter, running toward him along the beach. Arms out stretched, eyes gleaming. Bitte…

He woke up. In a cold sweat as usual, and it was several sec onds before he remembered, before he got the upper hand… the weapon… the intense feeling of bliss as he swung it through the air and the dull thud as it penetrated their necks. The life-less bodies and the blood bubbling out…

That blood.

If only that blood would flow over those dream images.

Cover them in stains, make them incomprehensible, unrecog nizable. Destroy them. Settle the bill once and for all, reduce all debts to zero… But even so, it was not about his torture. It wasn’t about the images, it was about what the images were based on. The reality behind them. The reality.

Her revenge, not his. That ten-year-old running toward him, whose life had come to a sudden stop. Who was blocked and obstructed in midstride, just as abruptly and inexorably as in the photograph. It was about her and nobody else.

He fumbled for his cigarettes. Didn’t want to put the light on. Darkness was what was needed; he didn’t want to see any thing now. He struck a match. Lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply, resolutely. Immediately felt that warm sensation again spreading through his body, a tidal wave flowing up into his head and making him smile. He thought about his weapon again. Could see it before him in the darkness. He was an exhil arated Macbeth suddenly, and he wondered how long he would have to wait before it was time to let it speak again…