March 7, 2003                                                 

Schlachthof, Munich


‘What the hell is he doing here?’  Martin looked around with abhorrence. ‘Of all the places!’

         The old and dirty buildings with broken windows and askew signboards were screaming the horrors of their victims from behind the hostile darkness. 

          Martin turned off the headlights and slowly approached the blue Audi. He had been tailing the car for the last three hours. And, it had been raining. Kristen was right. March in Munich was treacherous. He stopped twenty yards away from the car and killed the engine.


          South of Altstadt... South of the ancient city walls... Rushing towards the Southwest for its rendezvous with the Autobahn, the mighty Lindwurmstrasse -on which the rich kids raced their tuned cars in the dead of night when the police were not around- passed through the Schlachthof quarter like a ghost.  Truck drivers who had not got used to the smell yet, closed their windows in a hurry when they approached the familiar skyline and kicked their gas pedals harder. Trucks on that stretch of Lindwurmstrasse were said to go faster.  Some blamed the smell, some said it was just the fear. But, as though it was permanently etched into the air, that distinctive odor had never faded away, not even when the Föhn rolled down the Alps to comb the city with its warm fingers.

           Schlachthof of Southern Munich was nothing more than a cluster of slaughterhouses, some old and some not-so-old; and some abandoned to the millstones of time. 


           'Damn this rain,' grumbled Martin. 'You were right.  It has rained at the end.' 

           'Where did he go?' She turned around in her seat. Her eyes searched the dark streets around.

          There was no streetlight around other than the flickering one down the street; and, under the rain, it seemed even further away. The rain, the swinging old signboards and the flickers of the lone streetlight were throwing eerily deceptive shadows around.

          'He is not in his car. I can't see him around.'

             'I saw him entered this building.' Martin pointed to a disused building with broken windows and a twisted signboard that was no longer readable.