Then he went back through the gate and across the courtyard. The old coachman sat on the stone bench in front of the stables. He saw him raise his arm and wave to him and he hurried across the flagstones.
“What is it old man?” he whispered.
Froitsheim didn’t answer, just raised his hand, pointing upward with his short pipe.
“What?” he asked. “Where?”
But then he saw. On the high roof of the mansion a slender, naked boy was walking, quietly and confidently. It was Alraune. Her eyes were wide open, looking upward, high above at the full moon. He saw her lips move, saw how she reached her arms up into the starry night. It was like a request, like a burning desire.
She kept moving, first on the ridge of the roof, then walking along the eaves, step by step. She would fall, was going to fall! A sudden fear seized him, his lips opened to warn her, to call out to her.
But he stifled the cry. To warn her, to call her name–that would mean her death! She was asleep, was safe–as long as she slept and wandered in her sleep. But if he cried out to her, if she woke up–then, then she would fall down!
Something inside him demanded, “Call out! Then you will be saved. Just one little word, just her name–Alraune! You carry her life on the tip of your tongue and your own as well! Call out! Call out!”
His teeth clenched together, his eyes closed; he clasped his hands tightly together. But he sensed that it had to happen now, right now. There was no going back; he had to do it! All his thoughts fused together forming themselves into one long, sharp, murderous dagger, “Alraune–”
Then a clear, shrill, wild and despairing cry sounded out through the night–“Alraune–Alraune!”
He tore his eyes open, stared upward. He saw how she let her raised arms drop, how a sudden shudder went through her limbs, how
she turned and looked back terrified at the large black figure that crept out of the dormer window. He saw how Frieda Gontram opened her arms wide and stumbled forward–heard once more her frightened cry, “Alraune”.
Then he saw nothing more. A whirling fog covered his eyes; he only heard a hollow thud and then a second one right after it. Then he heard a weak, clear cry, only one. The old coachman grabbed his arm and pulled him up. He swayed, almost fell–then sprang up and ran with quick steps across the courtyard, toward the house.
He knelt at her side, cradled her sweet body in his arms. Blood, so much blood covered the short curls. He laid his ear to her heart and heard a faint beating.
“She still lives,” he whispered. “Oh, she still lives.”
He kissed her pale forehead. He looked over to the side where the old coachman was examining Frieda Gontram. He saw him shake his head and stand up with difficulty.
“Her neck is broken,” he said.
What was that to him? Alraune still lived–she lived.
“Come old man,” he cried. “We will carry her inside.”
He raised her shoulders a little–then she opened her eyes, but she didn’t recognize him.
“I’m coming,” she whispered. “I’m coming–”
Then her head fell back–
He sprang up. His sudden, raging and wild scream echoed from the houses and flowed with many voices across the garden.
“Alraune, Alraune! It was me–I did it!”
The old coachman laid a gnarled hand on his shoulder and shook his head.
“No, young Master,” he said. “Fräulein Gontram called out to her.”
He laughed shrilly, “But I wanted to.”
The old face became dark, his voice rang harshly, “I wanted to.”
The servants came out of their houses, came with lights and with noise, screaming and talking until they filled the entire courtyard. Staggering like a drunk he swayed toward the house, supporting himself on the old man’s arm.
“I want to go home,” he whispered. “Mother is waiting.”