Chapter no 124 – Delirium‌

All the Light We Cannot See

purple fringe flutters around von Rumpel’s vision. Something must have gone wrong with the morphine: he may have taken too much. Or else the disease has advanced far enough to alter his sight.

Ash drifts through the window like snow. Is it dawn? The glow in the sky could be the light from fires. Sheets soaked in sweat, his uniform as wet as if he has been swimming in his sleep. Taste of blood in his mouth. He crawls to the end of the bed and looks at the model. He has studied every square inch of it. Bashed a corner to pieces with the butt of a wine bottle. The structures in it are mostly hollow—the château, the cathedral, the market—but why bother to smash them all when one is missing, the

very house he needs?

Out in the forsaken city, every other structure, it seems, is burning or collapsing, but here in front of him is the inverse in miniature: the city remains, but the house he occupies is gone.

Could the girl have carried it out with her when she fled? Possible. The uncle didn’t have it when they sent him to Fort National. He was well searched; he carried nothing but his papers—von Rumpel made sure of it.

Somewhere a wall goes to pieces, a thousand kilograms of masonry crashing down.

That the house stands while so many others have been destroyed is evidence enough. The stone must be inside. He simply needs to find it while there is time. Clamp it to his heart and wait for the goddess to thrust her fiery hand through its planes and burn away his afflictions. Burn his way out of this citadel, out of this siege, out of this disease. He will be saved. He simply has to drag himself up from this bed and keep looking. Do it more methodically. As many hours as it takes. Tear the place apart. Begin in the kitchen. One more time.

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