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Into The Garbled

A short story.

I could smell the peculiar saltiness of the sea and the waves were audible to me. My eyes fluttered open to the bright blue sky and I had to shut them back quickly due to the scorching sunlight. After a few seconds, I managed to open them again and sat up. While I was feeling the sand beneath me, my eyes adjusted to the surroundings. I was on a seashore, which was unfamiliar to me. Clear water, waves splashing, big brown rocks on my left hand side and no trees at all in sight, I wondered where I was.

Getting up on my feet, I noticed I was wearing brown, old, leather shoes with decent grey pants. I examined the condition of my black, long, checked coat, which was also decent, and I didn’t bother to check the shirt underneath. I was glad to find my pocket watch in the front pocket of my coat, with its gold fob dangling out, but unfortunately it was not in working condition. I felt my beard and realized that it was filled with sand. My hat and handkerchief were not with me anymore, though I was lucky enough to spot my round-framed spectacles laying a few steps ahead of me along with my leather-bound diary.

After composing my appearance, I proceeded to the composure of my thoughts. I clearly remembered that my name was Hans Hellmesberg and I was no more than thirty years of age. I had an elder sister named Emma, who had a six-year-old son and her house was in Germany. I remember having courted a lady once and, I think, she was a mixture of beauty and brains, though I fail to confirm. My brain tried to recall my actions of the previous day but was unsuccessful. How was it possible that I remembered my identity, my primary details and other activities but nothing what I did in my immediate past? Confused, I opened the diary I had with me, hoping to find details that I wished to. Instead, I discovered that it wasn’t my journal but another diary in which I had been closely following Friedrich Nietzsche and his instances on the death of god from his recently published books. The latest entry was dated November 5, 1882 from his book The Gay Science, which was a week or two back, I suppose. This didn’t help me much, so I started walking away from the sea shore.

As I turned away from the water, I suddenly heard a low rumbling slowly getting louder. For a moment, I strained my ears to estimate the direction of the sound and as I did that, I heard squeals echoing. I whirled back towards the sea and saw people, who appeared like primitive humans to me, approaching the shore sailing on a Karvi. I looked with my eyes almost popping out at the two longboats carrying around seven to eight people each, wearing feather skirts and holding spears and axes. Within seconds I started heading for the hills and I did not stop until after thirty minutes, assuming my calculation to be right, when some kind of civilized street came into my view. It took me a few minutes to catch my breath and I walked through the street at my own pace, looking around. I saw a number of small shops lined-up at the side of the street. Some selling utensils, some selling fruits and vegetables, the street fit the description of the one in the stories of Aladdin that I had read. The people weren’t even bothered with my presence and after a while, it seemed like I was invisible to them.

Then in the next moment, before I could observe anything further, the sun went down and it appeared to be evening. This created a chain of events and I wondered that what part of the world was I in? Or was it even Earth? Three things happened in a blink of an eye. The birds started to chirrup horribly, the people ran crazily all over the place and a whole different class of creatures came into my vision, marching out to defend their settlement. This class resembled to soldiers and consisted of both male and female. All the males had a highly muscular, well-built body and wore a suit of armor, and held swords in one hand and a shield in the other. The women warriors were nothing like earthly females. All of them looked like Greek goddesses with a hue of danger. They had multicolored, body-fitting clothes that reminded me of butterfly skin with the scales of a crocodile, and they had translucent, colorful, big, beautiful wings. They carried simple, dark brown bows in one hand but no arrows. I was so mesmerized by the women warriors that I followed one of them into another lane until she stopped in front of a warehouse and went inside. When I came out of her spell, the first thing I heard was commotion.

I made a run towards the end of the lane that merged into the main street and discovered the cause of this chaos. A massive typhoon was approaching the settlement and on the waves were the Karvi longboats with the people I had seen earlier. It looked like they were the ones controlling the sea waves and this gave rise to terror in the hearts of the innocent dwellers, who were merely selling goods a while back. So I did what everyone was doing, I ran with the crowd trying to escape the wrath of gods, recalling with a sigh that how I was following Nietzsche and the death of god back home. I ran and ran and ran, tap-tap-tap, until I reached a rocky valley. I continued running because I could still hear the commotion far behind me, clack-clack-clack. After a while, I finally slowed down and stopped in my tracks. Closing my eyes, I breathed in trying to calm myself. I could hear the furious circulation of my blood, thud-thud-thud, tat-tat-tat, clap-clap-clap, and clap-clap-clap. I then opened my eyes to the sound of clapping and woke up from my hypnosis in the chambers of Sigmund Freud, with him saying, “Welcome back Hans.”

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Copyright © ©Srishtika Prakash

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