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Intermediate station (short story)

Harald Renner

Knut Petersen from Olsdrup, who everyone just called old Knut, became more and more peculiar over the years. One day he climbed onto his kitchen chair to ask the Lord God for a sign. Knut struggled to keep his balance, but somehow he managed it. When he closed his eyes and opened them again, God had heard him and sent him Gabriel.

He visited the old man every evening from then on, and there was a lot to talk about. Knut couldn't remember what exactly. But it seemed important. Gabriel had always appeared to him in a bright, shining white robe. He knew straight away that it was the archangel.

Gabriel was often surrounded by a crowd of white figures who stood silently around his bed. The archangel spoke to him in a calm, gentle voice. Sometimes he touched his wrist lightly and always smiled at him when he left. These were moments when Knut felt safe and secure and even happy. Then he knew that nothing bad could happen to him. And the smile remained in the room when the angel had left him with his entourage.

Knut was often very tired now, even during the day. Where he was, you could never be sure what would happen next. Then fear crept into his thoughts, like an eerie creature in the shadows. But when Gabriel came, there was no more room for the feeling that everything was shaking.

The present became increasingly lost in his confused thoughts. Those were the times when a feverish heat enveloped him, a thick fog that enclosed his body. He felt his strength waning and the darkness threatening to engulf him. All of this was miraculously mixed with a feeling of security, a touch of gentleness that could only come from Gabriel. With a rare and newly awakened clarity, he felt the angel's calm presence and his comforting words as a promise that he would not be alone on the uncertain path. Perhaps there was a way out of the darkness and confusion?

Today, Doctor Gabriel appeared at his bedside again. The senior surgeon in the surgical department said that Knut had fallen and broken his femoral neck. He had been operated on. At first everything had gone well, but then he had developed a high temperature and was now very weak. Later that day, he would be transferred to a place where he would receive good and gentle care. A place of peace and confidence.

"Am I going to die soon?"

"I don't know. God will decide that."

Knut smiled knowingly.

"Thank you, Gabriel."

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