She will never let that go
She was way smaller than he had expected. "I hope this interview is not just another part of your training, which your teacher assigned to you," he tried to break the ice. She only smiled, waved her hand a little and offered green tea, which he gratefully accepted.
"Here you are called by your ordination-name, but then, if I did my homework correctly, you were called Daisy?"
"Then... - yeah," she sighed, old memories or giving in to the current situation?
"Wasn't your real name, but it stuck, even if you didn't like it, right? Like you were stuck, on that Friday afternoon in the early eighties, to the gate of the ammunition-facility, with handcuffs and chains and the key tucked away."
She closed her eyes and gave him a little nod. Was that her strategy, letting him make the interview by himself, just nodding here and there? He changed course.
"What I never understood, this whole Nazi-facility, a big thing altogether and never touched to the present day... - could it have been that well hidden, during the war?"
Easy terrain. "Oh no," she explained, "It was very well known by British aerial reconnaissance, these buildings were spared by the bombers on purpose. Don't destroy your loot! During that time the flat-roofed concrete buildings, not yet overgrown with trees and shrubs, like it was intended and now is finally accomplished, thanks to nature's eighty years of reluctant collaboration, showed up clear as you might wish in every aerial photograph."
"Hmm. But today, if I aim the home-spying device of my choice to," he consulted his notebook, "52.60° north and 9.03° east, I'm only able to see a tiny fraction of the alleged four hundred buildings and the dozens of miles of streets, railway and other infrastructure."
She nodded again. "Today, most of it is well overgrown and some of it still well underground, it's a facility where the ghosts of war-time DPs, Nazi-Germany's unwanted humans of all walks of life and some Kapos who didn’t make it out of this home-made ring of hell may unperturbedly work out their karmic residues and only have to deal with the occasional hunter or logger."
Oh, well, he thought, now she's feeding me the special German version of the good old Chinese ghost story, poor me.
"This area," she carried forward her tale, "is sealed off from the everyday flow of time, not so much by the feeble fence, but much more effectively by the fear of locals of falling into some moss-overgrown funnel or duct, or into the remembrance of some hitherto never-dreamed-of entanglement of their forefathers with the local Nazi-infested builders guild or some other Nazi protégés."
"But then, in the early eighties," he tried to cut the looming demon-and-goblin story short...
"Then, a globally-engaged ammunition and blasting-agent producer had settled down in this proficient place of maximising pain and death, manufacturing a variety of contraptions capable of putting highly accelerated shards of metal into living human bodies, including explosive agents for the, during that times, much sought after all-purpose-fragmentation bombs."
"That was the time when you chained yourself..."
"Yeah," she again closed her eyes, "I kind of entered the full confront-the-industrial-military-complex mode, joined the resistance against re-armament and volunteered for chaining myself to the entrance gate of the facility during our demonstration."
Relieved, he steered back to the real story. "And the reaction was, in the small town, where most of the employees and the suppliers of the weapons-factory owned their little houses...?" She offered some more of the pure green tea. He accepted and feared she might drift off, so he nudged her.
"That year, Easter was celebrated in your town, traditionally accompanied by an impressively high piled up bonfire, as I was told. And it was topped by a life-size straw doll, recognizably garnished as yourself."
She sat the teapot down and gave him a little nod.
"How did you react?"
"I married, we built a house and had a son. Three sons." Did she smile?
"OK," he kind of searched for the handbrake, "but let's take one step back."
She sighed again. For heaven’s sake. That thought probably was no joke, she may be doing this really as an exercise and part of her practice!
But she concluded the history. "Some time after our protests the inventory of the whole thing was relocated – not because of the protests, but pure economization – mostly to Turkey, with the effect of decreased delivery times for the Turkish military. And from there, bombed out Kurds, victims of the very shrapnel-bombs, fashioned in our little German town with good tradition in bomb making, came asking for political asylum and were allocated by the federal karmic-aware bureaucracy to exactly our little town."
He didn’t have that turn in his homework. So, this impressively tough little lady, he thought and –, expressiv verbis: "So, you found yourself symbolically burnt at the stake and you nevertheless founded a family. In that exact town?"
"Yeah. And then I became heavily entrapped in the all too usual demands of a family-in-the-small-town-hell, took refuge in the bottle and nearly drowned."
"But ...," he actually felt an urge to cheer her up, "even so you successfully raised three strong boys, two of them", he peeked into his notes, "became artisans. And then you divorced?"
Again that little nod. "And then I moved to the other end of Germany and found myself a teacher and a job in this hospice."
As he packed his notebook and stepped, mind your head, through the low door of her room, he glimpsed a citation, obviously handwritten by herself and pinned to a small bookshelf. He only could read the last line, ... requiting the blessings. Tiantong.
The reporter stepped out of the weathered Bavarian house, looked up the slightly curved walls, the strong oak beams, probably two hundred years old and left visible. He checked the windows for signs of faces. Nobody there. Then he bowed.