‘Signification’

The blue-haired hero has just had a narrow escape. I am wearing a black suit. My blue hair, a deep, dark blue, is somehow still visible even at night. —Not a great feature, in the circumstances, but I seem to be getting away with it. And I am apprehensive to discover that there is another like me, with green hair, waiting in the dark, at the entrance to what seems to be the only point of escape. I have no choice but to follow him. However, the way he talks gives me some confidence that he knows what he is doing. He takes me into a large network of buildings, part of which is a prison, and part of which is a kind of military headquarters. The whole compound appears to have only a very few entrances and exits. As we walk along a corridor that leads to a courtyard, I realise Mr Green is hoping we will not be noticed if we remain calm. Up ahead of us, standing in the moonlight, is a small group of people talking to each other. They haven’t noticed us coming and, if we’re lucky, we’ll pass without notice. In a moment, we are right on top of them, almost a part of the circle they formed … and we move past. But a voice calls out, speaking in German, and we have to respond. Mr Green raises his hand in a gesture of acknowledgement but does not turn around. This won’t do, and voices are raised. A commotion begins behind us as we make the run for the door. We escape. Why we are not followed into the dark, I don’t know, but as soon as the door is closed behind us we are safe in the dark landscape outside the prison. We are at the rim of a shallow glen. Pine trees, in thick forests surround us, but for the moment we are still in a large clearing. I see, high up on the other side of the glen, the silhouetted figures of a small group of soldiers. We are headed straight for them. I hope that Mr Green knows what he is doing. He leads us so close to them I am afraid we are about to be discovered. When we are so close is it obvious we have been seen, it is also clear the soldiers are Americans and are going to allow us to pass through the woods. We walk by moonlight along a narrow, dirt path into a small town and finally reach Mr Green’s house. He leaves me standing in a stairwell of a building across the street from his house until he returns with a handful of money. He whispers to me while he peels a bill off an untidy pile of notes I know is all the money he has. But he has taken too long and we are interrupted by someone who takes us immediately to a town meeting that is already in progress. For a short while accusations are flying back and forth between Mr Green and other people at the meeting—but it all comes to nothing. Or, so I believed… One of the ‘Northerners’, a bearded, pale man, very old, gets to his feet and begins to talk about past injustices. The language he speaks has a strangely musical and physical quality. I don’t understand a word of it, and yet I’m sure I know, like everyone else in the meeting, what is going to happen. And I know it cannot be stopped. Someone shouts—“No! He is going to kill all of us!” Yes—that is what the old man’s incantation is doing. The sky opens up and a red light pours down on us. Mr Green and I begin to unravel in an orgy of signification, our characters peeling off us like rubber suits. Mr Blue was just a shell that has fallen to my feet. And I also am a skin, which is now peeling off my body and dropping to my feet. Underneath me is another person.