Werner is still lying on the floor in the Hotel of Bees. Slowly, a light emerges, though he’s not sure how, or from where. Werner is shocked to see Bernd, the engineer, screaming. Bernd’s face is covered with dust, and he seems terrified. Volkheimer, lying close by, gently closes Bernd’s mouth. Werner realizes that Volkheimer is using his military-issued electric light to illuminate the room. Werner looks up and realizes that the door has been blocked by falling debris. Werner whispers to Volkheimer that they need to get out, but Volkheimer shakes his head—there is no other way out.
Volkheimer and Werner’s fate is both incredibly lucky and incredibly unfortunate: they’ve been saved from the agony of being crushed under the weight of the hotel, but they face the very real possibility of starving to death because they can’t get out from under the rubble. Volkheimer’s fatalistic despair sets the tone for this part of the book: there’s simply no way out—no way of escaping one’s ultimate destiny.