Franz wakes up. Suddenly. It’s already morning. Between nine and ten, maybe. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t have the time.
Right away, he can feel something is different. It might be in the way the light lands on the floor. Or in the way the sun puts his arm through the window and lets it lay across the room like a dead body.
Franz’s brain feels like it’s being compressed between two huge metal screws.
There’s something different in the air, too. Everything is way too still. Nothing to be heard, apart from the martial marching rhythm coming from outside. Bom-bom-barabom. On and on. Like a mantra. Franz first stays in bed. Hypnotised. Then he finally summons enough strength to get up and walk to the window.
All he sees is people. Nothing but people. Lines and lines of them. Walking like robots. One behind the other, as if marching to the gallows. They all are tall, skinny, with a vacant gaze. Like a skeleton crew. Like a zombie army. Trotting along. Going God knows where.
They all look alike. Dressed the same way. Hair cut short. Franz can’t tell whatever they are. Men, women, children, old people?... he feels alienated. And nauseated. The whole scene has a weird feeling about it. Like a bad omen hovering over it.
Without him even realising it, the faceless people marching have turned into uniformed army men. In the way they walk, he can see dead bodies, skulls and bones. Even foretell the demise of all mankind. Something sinister is afoot. And all he can do is watch, and wish he weren’t there.