The Hamburg syndrome (B)

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Part (B) – The first part here

(Note: This short story is not a product of the author's imagination, but it is an accurate depiction of the script of a German film by Peter Fleischmann entitled: The Hamburg Syndrome. Filmed back in 1979... It is recommended to show the film first and then to read the short story as a summary.)

Eventually Dr. Ellerwin and Ulrike found a way to get to the city. They left the others behind and used a ferry to cross the Lunenburg River. The doctor until they reach his sister's house, was skeptical, he almost monologued:

– “Ulrike I'm confused, we may never find the cause of the disease. But what is disease; To be afraid of illness; The side effects of treatment; Must basically…”

He stopped for a moment and sat pensive… Then he continued:

– “I was thinking about adrenaline, released by our body due to emotions… But it can cause physical effects if not metabolized fast enough. It was a mistake to look for the dead for external symptoms.”

He looked around and listened. He was listening to music again... A strange sound… Ulrike told him that she also sometimes heard this fascinating tone and did not even know what it…

They finally arrived in Lunenburg, in the doctor's sister's apartment, but they found it empty. Ellerwein wanted to call a colleague who worked together in the lab, on errors during cell division. He picked up the handset, telling Ulrike:

– “In that laboratory every day a chimpanzee also died, to the point that they refused to give us others… Approximately 17 they died I think. The first death I saw in this disease reminded me of that laboratory. And you know why; And the 17 died in this fetal posture.”

Nobody answered the phone. The strange sound was heard again, something like music with parasites. The news from the TV was playing in the living room and the breaking news was the great devastation of an earthquake.. The epicenter was reported seventy kilometers from the capital, with tens of thousands of victims. The reporter covering the earthquake said: "The heat is making things difficult and there is an immediate danger of an epidemic".

The doctor listened carefully and at some point monologued:

– “Viruses are always present. Only under certain conditions do they become active and occupy our body. The treaty…”, he said as if he had found something unique. “Depends on the condition… On our condition… As long as a virus infects a cell and it divides indefinitely. Cancer cells are constantly spreading. A proof of immortality;”

The doctor seemed to have discovered something important. He looked at Ulrike and grabbed her hand…

– “I have a cottage in the mountains. We will go there…”

Suddenly Ellerwein stood still for a moment and then fell from the chair he was sitting on.. He slowly got the fetal posture…

Ulrike, after the death of the doctor, left home and returned to the car convoy, Out of the town. Two Italian women had now settled in the caravan. A mother with a newborn named Anna - Maria and Louisa. In the meantime, those gathered at the convoy were irritated and the situation seemed chaotic. A tank out of nowhere, that some had stolen, passed the convoy by pressing two cars, with the police behind to chase it. The caravan company finally decided to escape from a dirt road towards Giessen. The youngster, the dwarf and Ulrike both sat in the car with Fritz and the two Italian girls with baby in the caravan.

They reached the highway and entered illegally, because its use had been banned. They continued their journey on the asphalt and the young man tuned the radio to a station, saying he wants to connect with the other side. He said he had intercourse and the dwarf responded that he was feeling extremely well. In the caravan though, Louise got angry with Fritz's moaning and became aggressive, she was hitting him. After a while, fell dead. She was buried in the nearest cemetery, where a wandering old man on a bicycle took out the funeral remembering some words of Dante Alighieri. Then the mysterious old man said:

– “A toast to the disease. These are magical times when trombones call on humanity to redesign its destiny.. And this is the opportunity for bliss…”

– “When I was little I remember waking up in the morning watching the valley in fog and my grandfather singing in the stable…”, added Ulrike.

– “You are crazy…”, Fritz was thrown. “Remembering is a symptom of the disease. This is what they found. They know it from the infected. Before they die, remember their childhood. Their whole life plays backwards. Then they smile and fall into a fetal position.”

After this unpredictable attitude, continued their journey to deliver the caravan to the customer. They arrived in Giessen, where there was great upset. Officials spoke to a crowd announcing that the chancellor had died of the disease. Some protested with placards reading slogans. Slogans such as: "We want food and water", "The winners of the quarantine crisis", "The government is sleeping", "Everyone has the right to health", "Down with the speculators", "The rich are overflowing and our bellies are empty". There were trucks that picked up corpses in bags from the houses. Eventually they managed to pass the gathered crowd and hand over the caravan. Necessarily now, their journey had to continue with everyone being comfortable in the jeep.

After a few hours of travel, the night had arrived and the travelers were very tired. They found a rich mansion, in a deserted location. There was an illegal carnival party and the hostess let them in. People were dancing and having fun, others in carnival costumes, others wearing fabric surgical masks. A group of well-dressed elderly people were discussing what was happening:

– “The future is rosy…” said one of them. “With one move the crisis loosened the heavy bond.”

– “Soon everything will collapse”, added someone else. “We will have several jobs again.”

– “Uncontrolled demand, overgrowth. Paradise…”, added a third.

In the early morning hours Fritz, the youngster, and Ulrike with the hostess holding the baby, they left trying to find a way to cross a river. They found an old boat in a river. A woman was hiding inside, who as soon as he saw them was startled and shouted at them:

– “What do you want; It's my home here. I hid so they wouldn't catch me…”

– “Who wants to catch you;”, the hostess asked.

– “Scientists”, she replies. “They believe that there are too many of us in the world. And they are becoming more and more. And they stand back to back and smeared poison everywhere. And this thing stinks.”

At that moment a plane was passing over the river, at a very low height, spraying a yellowish liquid. The hostess got sick and they tried to get her, Unsuccesful. So that the baby does not have the same fate from hunger, Ulrike and the young man went to find milk from cows grazing in the nearby pastures. So they entered a restricted area, where a sign stated that he had been disinfected. Unfortunately for them, about a dozen men located them, all in similar attire. They wore green coats and green pants while everyone wore hats with feathers on their heads.. The young man was shot and some in medical uniforms arrested the girl…

They took her to a health camp, they undressed her and washed her with water under pressure. An elderly doctor came and prepared to inject her with an injection machine.…

– “I'm not sick”, Ulrike reacted.

– “How can you prove it?;”, the doctor answered her with more authority. “No one knows if she is healthy or not. That's why we have to cure them all, to win this war. We all have to take part and we do not want anyone to be weird.”

He tried to inject her. The young girl let out a scream and broke out. The doctor wondered what was inside her.

Ulrike started running naked outside the health camp with paramedics and police chasing her. He found the dwarf and the roaster and they took refuge in a mountain village. At the entrance of the village a monk was going down the slope shouting:

– “Glory to God, our prayers were answered. The disease was defeated. We did it. Bless God.”

In the mountain village, the announcement of the end of the epidemic was heard on the radios: "Only thanks to the help of the entire population was our country able to pass the terrible test. Thanks, we thank each one individually. But the danger is not gone… We will need your help to find those who have not been vaccinated. Be careful to find the suspects. In this case, indifference is a crime. ".

– “Lies, they are making fun of you”, cried the dwarf.

Further on, some people in medical uniforms arrested an elderly man and took him to a van with a cross..  He shouted for them to leave him alone and he resisted. A costumed man was reading a newspaper aloud to some villagers: "You saw; At first no one wanted to help, now we have to let them deal with it on their own. The whole of Europe was infected. The chancellor offers technical and organizational assistance. "The dwarf kept shouting:

– “Stupids, you did not understand what game you are played; You have to fight them with your nails and teeth. People are sick, this was a first warning. The next disaster is definitely coming.”

– “Shut up creep”, some residents shouted at him and attacked him.

The roaster tried to protect him. They also attacked him and chased him. In the commotion, Ulrike left and went to her grandfather, in a remote house on the mountain. There he was finally able to calm down. He made a swing, which reminded her of her childhood and talking to her grandfather. But it was not meant to last long. Suddenly, a helicopter approached and some men in sanitary uniforms got off and grabbed her. She resisted and called her grandfather to help her. But her grandfather only said ironically that this was a very short visit. He laughed and greeted her as the helicopter took off…

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