It took them a long time to find the ability to clear out Hotte's desk. They came eventually with boxes, glancing furtively at Dieter who sat at his own desk, silent and unreachable. Dieter saw their purpose and looked away, studying the surface of his desk, unable to block out the sounds of stationary and spare paper being swallowed by the boxes. Personal affects disappeared into their gaping mouths, erasing the man who had sat there for so long. Dieter curled his hands into fists, nails biting into the skin.
He looked up when he heard the first box being taped shut. The desk was shockingly bare. Dieter wondered what they would do with the boxes. They were all sealed now; the bearers moved in solemn procession to the door. Dieter rose unthinkingly, half wanting to run after them, take back the boxes, put everything back in its place…
A door closed between him and the last of the boxes. Curling in on himself, head bowed, he forced a steady pace to the bathroom, locked the door behind himself, and cried until his chest ached.