A Short Story

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slightly open, holding their cups of tea with both hands, like children mirroring one another.
“I asked who Joachim is,” Doro finally says, putting her cup on the coffee table.
Helena’s pulse jumps and she glances towards the door. What if this isn’t really Doro? Does she actually know this woman, or did she somehow find out about Helena’s amnesia, and decide to use it to her advantage? Con her way into an apartment where only a defenseless invalid is home. “I heard you,” she says slowly. She puts down her cup of tea, slips one hand into her pocket and dials 1-1-0 on her cell phone. Now the police are just one button away. Will they trace the call if she isn’t able to give them her address? How can she keep this woman from knowing? Stay
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She can’t move quickly, so she has to maintain the element of surprise. Her throat is painfully dry and the sweat under her arms burns like acid, but she tries to appear composed, in control of this situation. Maybe this woman is just some kind of charlatan, not a dangerous criminal.
To her surprise, the woman bends down to pick up her purse and takes out her wallet. She removes one card, and then another, and hands them to Helena. One is her govern- ment-issued ID, and the other is a white keycard with the logo of CuttingEdge Medien GmbH.
“Your name is Helena Bachmann. You’re thirty-three years old and you were born somewhere outside of Bonn; I can’t think of what the town’s called right now. I met your parents when they visited last year; you can ask them.” Doro pauses for a moment, maybe catching her breath, maybe waiting for a reaction. Helena considers calling her parents, right now, to ask them, but maybe that’s all part of the trick. The woman wouldn’t have mentioned her parents if it didn’t play into her hand. Besides, she still doesn’t have their number.
When Helena doesn’t respond, Doro continues. “You had a tabby cat named Bienchen and a dachshund named Franzi when you were growing up. You studied marketing at Hum- boldt University and graphic design at BTK. You don’t like whipped cream on your hot chocolate and you can’t stand when people cut in line. You’re a very private person and don’t like when people

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