The truth was, thought, that he couldn’t entirely account for his survival. He knew the actions and rituals he underwent - ripping a yellow star from a dead prisoner to replace the yellow and pink one, pinching what he could still pinch of his cheeks to keep himself looking healthy - could have only helped so much (or so little, rather). In the back of his mind, he knew it couldn’t hold up. No matter how he could control his thoughts and his actions, he could not control those of the guards. Eventually, either his luck or his body would give out.
“Kubin.” Someone was whispering to him, using his old name. How clever he thought he was. He had been living under two names in Berlin, how could they possibly find him? Not so clever, it turned out. He received call-up notices for both.
“What?” He is in and out of sleep at this point. Whatever this is, it better not take too long.
The body next to him shuddered. “I…can’t think of what to say. I should say something now but I can’t.”
“Shhh. Don’t bother. I’m not going to live long enough to tell anyone what your last words were.”
Another shudder. “Where are we?”
“Still in Dachau, Gesell. Not for much longer.”
“You are. Now, shh. Just close your eyes and go to sleep.”
Gabriel instantly found himself in a dream. They were always the same since coming to the camp. He dreamt of eating Linzertorte, but the whipped cream was always oversweet and he was always disappointed.
Suddenly, too soon, although it was likely hours later, he was awoken by Gesell’s thrashing again, weaker this time, but more urgent. Reaching his hand up, he pressed it to the other man’s chest.
“Give it up,” he said. And soon all was quiet.