Intuition (Teil 9, Ende) … Intuition (Part 9, the end)

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(Foto: Pixabay)

It took a very long time, before the Walkers forgave Astra her refusal to marry Holger. But in this one matter she did not budge. Otherwise she did her best to contribute to the project’s success.  Nevertheless, she always felt observed. When would they finally trust her?

Well, she could not do anything else, but to commit herself fully to the case of the settlers. Those were grateful and approached her more and more for advice. Naturally, the Walkers noticed that as well.

One evening, when Astra was supposed to participate in a meeting with the Walkers, she sat alone in the conference room. The door to the adjacent computer room was left ajar. Was that a test for her? Did they plan to tempt her into looking at the computers? She would never pass this test; she was far too curious! Her only problem was that she did not know, if the Walkers had put up surveillance cameras …

She tried to remain steadfast, but her eyes wandered again and again to the unclosed door. ‚I will tiptoe over and have a look inside. If anybody is there, I will silently sneak back‘, she thought. As she thought, so she did, the sneaking was done. Nobody was inside the computer room. But she was sure that there were cameras. They would spot her immediately, and then she could start anew with the trust winning. If nothing worse happened to her. Things like that could always be camouflaged as an accident. Why, oh, why was she always so inquisitive? She preferred ‚inquisitive‘ to ’nosy‘ and thought that it described the actual situation much better.

She entered. All walls of the room were covered with screens of different sizes. Scenes from all over the world were shown. Europe, Asia, Africa … how could that be? There were people everywhere, cars moving around, what was this, a museum? Astra looked at the date on one of the screens; it was today’s date. She felt dizzy. Had she been right and the entire story was a dirty lie from front to back? But why? Why?

She felt a movement behind her and then a sting in her neck. ‚The Walkers and their stupid injections‘, she managed to think, before she fell.

When Astra woke up, she was back in the room, where she had spent so many days when first she came to Stewart Island. She sighed in foreboding of the events to come.

Holger and her grandfather did not come to see her before the next day. They had a serious look about them.  „Astra, your situation is precarious, in spite of your popularity with the new nation’s citizens.“   ‚Even now they have to uphold the lie‘, Astra thought. „We can only protect you in future, if you marry Holger now. You have seen too much.“

„Why don’t you explain to me what it was that I saw? Were the screens showing millions of zombies?“

„You will soon lose your sense of humour!“ Holger spat out.  „And you expect me to marry you?“ asked Astra, „do you plan to beat me up?“ A deep red spread over Holger’s face.

Her grandfather interfered: „Mammon put Stewart Island to our disposal as refuge for all those, who wanted to follow us. They let us live. The settlers don’t know anything about this, for them the project is real. And one should leave them in their blessed illusion. Mammon was too strong for us, he has too many supporters. We did not have the slightest chance. That is why we agreed to this solution.

„And what will happen, when the „new nation“ grows? Where are they supposed to move to? Astra’s tone was scornful. „The new nation will not grow. After a few years, no children will be born anymore. That is part of the deal. We will die out, but at least we won’t have to live under the permanent fear to be prosecuted and killed.“

„How can you trust somebody like Mammon?“ „Dear child, there is no talk about trust. We have distributed the sleeping poison all over the world. If anything should happen to us, it would automatically be released.  Mammons servants are, of course, trying to find the depots, but they will never find them!“ If he had not been her grandfather, she would have said, he was chuckling. It really sounded like it.

Astra was of two minds. On the one hand she was relieved that no worldwide genocide had been committed. On the other hand she was furious to have been played for a fool.  But, in the end relief prevailed. „You know, grandfather, I will play along until the end, even if I am very disappointed about all your lies. But I won’t marry Holger, no matter what will happen to me.  Did you tempt me on purpose with the door ajar, so that I would marry Holger anyway out of fear? You are, actually, rather pathetic!“ She started to laugh out loud and after a bit her grandfather with his bass joined her, while Holger was deeply offended and left the room.

*************************************************

The Walkers, who were the oldest of the settlers, died first. But a new group had formed under Astra. They surveyed life on the island. Holger had in the meantime accepted that one should not force somebody into a marriage and gave his full support.

When finally Astra’s grandfather was dying, she went to him on his deathbed, and he whispered into her ear: „The sleeping poison does not exist at all, but don’t tell anybody, not even Holger!“ All the people standing in the corridor outside were surprised when uncontrolled laughter could be heard from the death room.

„Grandfather, there is one thing you need to tell me: who is this ancient man with the wrinkled face and the funny cap?“ – „No idea“, he replied, „ one or the other busybody, who has to poke his nose into everything!“

A „Puff“ was heard and the ancient man stood at the end of the bed, his face dark red with fury. „We will talk about that when you arrive, you arrogant old blockhead!“

Astra snorted with laughter, the expression on her grandfather’s face was priceless. Before she could ask anything, the old man had – as usual – disappeared again. „That might get cheerful“, her grandfather muttered, „I think I should rather stay here for a while longer!“ And so it happened.

THE END

Intuition (Teil 8 von 9) … Intuition (Part 8 of 9)

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(Foto: Pixabay)

After her speech, Gwiazda, now Astra, the ”Mother of the nation”, got full access to the island. She was also let in on secrets. She had asked herself, and finally also her grandfather, where all the people had disappeared to, who had lived in Oban (Stewart Island) before the new settlers arrived. Apparently no dead bodies had been found. He explained to her that out of concern for the children, the dead bodies had been removed. But, if the distribution of the sleeping spray and Exitus had happened at the same time, how and when had the bodies been removed? She kept this thought to herself though.

The Walkers and their followers had over many years collected material and food, to make the project possible. There wasn’t anything they had forgotten: mobile homes,  durable comestibles, machinery, tools, seeds, plants, animals, almost like Noah’s arc. How had they collected all this unnoticed? Mammon was strong and had many supporters. She found that odd. But also this thought she did not mention aloud.

There were even computers, but only for the Walkers, and the rest of Stewart Island’s new population was unaware of their existence.  Naturally Astra asked, why that was the case, but the answer to that was so vague and at the same time so complicated that she was not able to figure it out.

She was strictly forbidden to talk about it, and she did not get access to the computers either. When she asked, where the electricity for the computers came from, and apparently there also was Internet connection, she received a technical reply, which was completely incomprehensible to her. Of course there was electricity on the island; naturally one had not forgotten to bring generators, but it was only sufficient for the daily demand.  Later they wanted to erect windmills in the sea and on the uninhibited neighbouring Codfish Island, as even those they had thought of. Astra could not imagine why the Internet should still exist, if everybody was dead. Maybe some of them were online when they fell asleep? But at a point the electricity production must stop and everything would be disconnected?  She had also seen lights on the coast of New Zealand, which her grandfather waved off with a remark about automated street lighting, which finally would stop working.

Astra made contact with the other citizens and found out that they were serious, dedicated people, who, on the other hand, did not see a crime in the devastating genocide they had committed, but a necessity, if the planet was to be saved. She was, of course, very careful when talking to other people. As „Mother of the nation“ she could not utter anything traitorous. It was also dangerous in respect of the Walkers. She understood that these people were not to be underestimated, and their patience with her would not be limitless. They had proven their unscrupulousness, had they not?  Being related to a Walker would not make her completely untouchable.

One day she had asked her grandfather how they had avoided to be infiltrated by Mammon’s spies. „That was easy“, he had answered, „everybody wishing to join us had to read a chapter from ‚Starlet and the Walker‘. Mammon’s servants cannot bear that.“ Her, again silent, thoughts to this were that a dedicated spy could certainly try to get immune to the „poison“ of the book.

Contact with the mainland was also strictly forbidden. For that very reason they had destroyed the boats. But were they all destroyed?  Astra sometimes thought to have heard the sound of engines out on the sea at night. But she did not want to mention that either. She had already appeared too nosy and did not wish to be locked up again.

During the following years, during which the community became stronger, the number of colonists increased slightly, the melting pot idea seemed to work, and everybody or, better, most people were happy about the project’s success, it happened from time to time that individual settlers – strangely enough all of them men –  built rafts and sailed for the mainland. The majority was never seen again. One or the other did come back, but would not be allowed to come ashore, as they could be bearer of the virus, which the Walkers and their followers had let loose on mankind. Those, who insisted to get ashore, were shot. Yes, of course they had not forgotten to bring weapons …

Astra did not understand, why they did not just set up a quarantine centre, instead of shooting these people, as the number of returners was negligible. How terrible was this virus? And why a virus all of a sudden? Had they not told her that they had used a poison, people fell asleep and that was it? If it really was a virus, where they not in danger too, now that they did not wear masks?

Had these people discovered something on the mainland that the Walkers did not wish to be known? Had the Walkers told Astra and everybody else a fantastic fairytale?  But why? What was behind all this? What really was the situation on the mainland? Maybe people were not all dead at all?

Gwiazda would never talk to her grandfather about these musings. He had already shown suspicion because she was so interested in the computers. But she had landed one success: the Walkers had indeed planned for Astra and Holger to marry and act as the hero of the people pair, and then produce small hero of the people children.  Astra had categorically refused to do that. She wanted to choose her partner herself, if at all. She had threatened to try and swim for the mainland, if they did not drop the plan. The Walkers had been furious, but in this case they had not insisted. She had to be careful now, until the troubled water had calmed down again. Holger was, of course, deeply offended and at present ignored her completely, which she only welcomed.

She felt very unsettled. On the one hand, the populating of the island and the supply logistics apparently worked impeccably; on the other hand she had doubts about the background of this project. Had they really saved mankind? Or had they saved the world from mankind? Had they incapsulated the pathogen so to speak?

Had she done the right thing, when she agreed to play the „Mother of the nation“? Had the Walkers maybe lied to all of them? The future would show. She had to remain alert and ready for whatever would show itself.

*************************************

Here, again, the story was supposed to end, but some of my readers were not satisfied. They wanted a real end with more explanations. And that they got; it follows as part 9.

 

Intuition (Teil 7 von 9) … Intuition (Part 7 of 9)

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(Foto: Department of Conservation of New Zealand)

Writing a motivating speech turned out to be harder than anticipated. Astra, alias Gwiazda, had already problems with the beginning. How was she supposed to salute these people? Comrade seemed a bit clumsy and sounded like either scouts or communists. Fellow heroes? Maybe she could flatter them that way, but it sounded rather daft.

Combatants? But they didn’t fight, did they? The adversaries were all dead, weren’t they? She could ask the Walkers, but she didn’t really feel like it.

Friends, yes, plain and simple.

Friends,
I am not a great speaker, but rather a woman of action [Really? What great deeds had she done?], just like all of you, who you are gathered here with me on Stewart Island [”stranded” sounded so helpless, even though it was correct]. For years on end we have prepared project Exitus, always in danger to be detected and killed by Mammon’s servants, just like my parents. [I don’t really know, whether this is true or not, but it seems strategically smart to mention it here, thinking of being a martyr and heroine, ha, what a hogwash]. Their death has not been in vain. With open eyes and alert minds we have started out to this island, our new home [only the Walkers would understand the irony of this remark, but I cannot refrain from saying this. I am sure the others do not know that I have been drugged and kidnapped].  We will make a new start here together, will see a new mankind grow up and create a better world than the old one. In the meantime the planet can recover and will welcome our offspring with open arms.
Therefore, let us not make so many words, but let us go to action. Per aspera ad astra, only through hardship we will reach the stars, the goals we have before our eyes.  There is a lot to do. The future of world and mankind are in our hands. May we be conscious of our great responsibility and act accordingly.
Our hearts are connected; be brave!
[Then I will bow to demonstrate my inbred humility and wave to the crowd or something like that. The Walkers could be content with this speech, could they not?]
(*At the end I will repeat the speech without the brackets with Astra’s thoughts.)

The Walkers were more than content. After they had read the speech, they looked at Astra with surprise, then their eyes lit up.

”We did not expect so much empathy from your side“, Astra’s grandfather admitted, „after all, you were not part of the preparations. But you always had an alert mind.“ This remark was accompanied by a wink.  Aha, so he had noticed the irony, good for him. They should not think that they could take her for a fool. If they wanted her to play the game, they had to talk in plain language in future. However, she doubted that she was a match for the Walkers as far as manipulation and strategy were concerned. She was not yet master of her emotions.

On the day of Astra’s speech, the weather was benign, with sunshine, blue sky and only a gentle breeze. The assembled people were serious, but not hostile. The speech aroused great emotional reaction, some people even started to cry. When Astra waved to them at the end, they started shouting in unison ”Astra, Astra, Astra” and ”Per aspera ad astra”.

The Walkers exchanged covert, pleased looks. The only matter Gwiazda, sorry, Astra, was concerned about was that during the entire speech Holger had been standing directly behind her. She had not noticed it right away, but she could see that some people in the audience were whispering to each other and looked at something behind her. When she had turned around, there had been Holger with a beaming smile on his face. She had to talk to her grandfather. If this meant, what she thought it meant, she had to talk him out of this. She would not let them pair her off, damn it.  But maybe she was wrong …

 

* Friends,
I am not a great speaker, but rather a woman of action, just like all of you, wo you are gathered here with me on Stewart Island. For years on end we have prepared project Exitus, always in danger to be detected and killed by Mammon*s servants, just like my parents. Their death has not been in vain. With open eyes and alert minds we have started out to this island, our new home.
We will make a new start here together, will see a new mankind grow up and create a better world than the old one. In the meantime the planet can recover and will welcome our offspring with open arms. 
Therefore, let us not make so many words, but let us go to action. Per aspera ad astra, only through hardship we will reach the stars, the goals we have before our eyes.  There is a lot to do. The future of world and mankind are in our hands. May we be conscious of our great responsibility and act accordingly. 
Our hearts are connected; be brave!

(To be continued)

Intuition (Teil 6 von 9) … Intuition (Part 6 of 9)

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(Foto: Sémhur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Gwiazda spent hours with thinking things over from all angles. But it was certain: she would not use the gas mask. She did not wish to be part of a horrible crime like that. At some point, she was overcome by fatigue and fell asleep on the sofa.

She did not notice that Holger came back, injected something into her arm, and let two young men with a stretcher into her flat. They carried her down to an ambulance, which held in front of the house, blue light flashing. Her kidnapping was camouflaged as an emergency. Holger locked the door to her apartment, why actually?

————————–  ***  ————————–

When Gwiazda woke up, she did not know where she was. She had never before seen this room. She felt weak, dizzy, unable to form a clear thought.

Somebody knocked at the door and entered. It was Holger. „You are awake, that’s wonderful“, he exclaimed, „how are you feeling?“

”I don’t know. Where am I? What happened?”

”We all are on Stewart Island, a large island off the coast of New Zealand. Exitus proceeded smoothly. People, animals, food etc. etc., everything has been brought here without a problem. And then we destroyed the boats.“

Gwiazda was speechless and stared silently at Holger.

”I had to drug you, otherwise you would not have used the gas mask, that much was clear to me!“ said Holger, „but we need you as a leading figure for the new mankind. You are the mother of the new people. Persecuted by Mammon’s servants, your parents murdered by them, you are our heroine, who is supposed to keep this group together.“

Gwiazda did not feel very heroic. Never before in her life had she felt as outraged as now. She had been taken prisoner, just like that. Now she was connected to this project, whether she wanted it or not. She pretended to be asleep again. She was simply not strong enough yet to face this new reality.

The next day her grandfather came visiting. He was the ‚lonely Walker‘ and was still dressed in hat and floating coat.  He told Gwiazda, how they had prepared this operation for many years, always in the danger of being detected by Mammon’s servants. But they succeeded in bringing 900 people to this island. Families of all nationalities, colours and religions. The aim was to let them mix, so that in the end they were so very individual that they could not be grouped anymore. ’They do not know much about people’, Gwiazda thought, ’categorizing is a vital need in people, it gives them a feeling of security.’ But then, maybe these Walker followers were special.

”We have only two laws, which should suffice for a peaceful life with each other: ‚One for all, all for one‘ and ‚Do unto others as you would have others do unto you‘. Nothing else is needed. Everybody works three hours per day in the fields and three hours in their other profession, if they have one, otherwise six hours in the fields or they help with fishing. Until everything is organized, food will mainly consist of fish and other sea animals. The people are in good spirits and confident. I hope that you will soon be able to talk to them”, her grandfather said.

’Talk to them? Ah, yes, she was the Mother of the Nation‘, Gwiazda thought sneeringly.

From that day onward she was not left in peace. Holger, her grandfather, and an elderly lady came visiting her. She was a Walker as well or would one say Walkeress? She pointed out to her, how important her role was. She should give it a thorough thought, how she would address and motivate the settlers, and, the most important, she should take a new name, one that was worthy of a ‚Mother of a Nation‘. Gwiazda used this expression only in her thoughts though. The Walkers called her ‚our heroine‘.

She was under the impression that she would not be able to leave this room, unless she complied with the Walkers‘ ideas for her. She would not find out anything, as long as she was locked up. So she had to put on a good face on things, and then see what was happening. Well, a motivating address and a heroic name. She could do that, could she not? First the name.

Her name, Gwiazda, was the Polish word for „star“, and friends usually called her „starlet“. The children of the community believed that she was the starlet from the book „Starlet and the Walker“, Holger had told her.  But starlet was not a suitable name anymore, with all the responsibility that Gwiazda apparently was supposed to bear.

How about ‚Child of the stars‘ or ‚Starchild‘, but she wasn’t a child anymore. Then she could have kept ‚Starlet‘. ’Madame Etoile’? That sounded like a brothel madam. ’Star Girl’? ’Star Woman’? That could be the names of super heroines, not ideal, but better than the other names.  ’Star Queen’? Rather presumptuous, right? ’Orion’? That should get respect, but it sounded too male. ’Pleiada’? Oh no, she could just as well call herself ’Asteroida’.

Why not ”Astra”? Per aspera ad astra, through hardship to the stars. Then Stewart Island definitely still was a part of the Aspera …

One thing was clear, she would have to get out of this room to be able to get a picture of the situation. She had to talk to other people, hear how they thought, why they participated in this crime. Of course she could not express it like that, but she could still think what and how she wanted.

’Astra’ it was, it had a ring to it. She could insert the Latin motto into her motivating speech. It would be best to start with „I am not a great speaker“, as it would lower the expectations and the speech would not have to be that long. She asked for paper and pen and started to draft her inaugural address as heroine of the new nation.

(To be continued)

Intuition (Teil 5 von 9) … Intuition (Part 5 of 9)

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Again several weeks went past, Gwiazda did not count them, and nothing happened. ‚Typical‘, she thought ‚all this secrecy for nothing at all.‘

One night when she came home, Holger was sitting in her living room, smiling gladly at her. Instead of a greeting she started to scold him: „What do you think you are doing, always intruding into my flat? How the hell do you all get in here?“

Holger looked at her befuddled and managed to say: „I thought you knew!“

”No, I don’t know anything, nothing whatsoever. I am all the time being fobbed off with gibberish, and now it’s enough! I don’t even know whom you are working for, and what you had to do with the attack on the young man!“

Holger was deeply hurt, she could clearly see that. „How can you think something like that about me! I saved the young man! And now I am here to save you and to initiate phase Exitus!“

”Phase Exitus? What on earth is that supposed to be?“ asked Gwiazda, ”are we planning to emigrate to a new, prettier world?” The latter question had a rather sarcastic undertone.

”You could say it like that”, answered Holger, ”by the way, here is your gas mask. Latest by midnight tomorrow you will to have it put on, otherwise you will fall asleep and never wake up again.”

Gwiazda stared at him with her mouth open. ”What are you saying? Are you planning to murder all of mankind? Are you completely crazy?”

”Starlet, there is no other way left anymore. The Mammon-disease has progressed too much; the majority of people are either his followers or completely indifferent. Only the Walkers, their supporters and families will be saved and start a new mankind at a safe place.”

Gwiazda did not trust her ears. ”You megalomaniac, self-righteous … ” words failed her. ”I will not put the mask on! And I will inform all secret services of the world. They will put a stop to your games!” She was shouting by now.

”Us?” asked Holger with a smirk on his face, ”you and your family are deeply involved in everything. Don’t play the saint her! When we go down,  you will go with us!“

Gwiazda was speechless. She had expected much, but nothing this radical. „What about all the children. You can’t just kill them all! Their parents‘ deeds or indifference is not their fault“, she reasoned.

”Gwiazda, I also find it terrible, but there is no other way out anymore, believe me! Mankind has to start anew. And better with us than with the servants of Mammon, because they are about to destroy the entire planet.”

”I don’t know”, said Gwiazda, ”to me it doesn’t seem right to play God. If the entire planet dies, then a new beginning can be made as well, but then nobody of us has passed judgement on others.”

”That’s not true, Gwiazda, Mammon’s servants have already started to ‚cull‘ – as they are calling it – mankind according to their own criteria. Our action can, therefore, even be considered as self defense.“

”But so many innocent will die”, cried Gwiazda desperately.

”Nobody is innocent“, replied Holger, „and now you have to decide what you want to do. If you really want to raise alarm, I will have to drug you until tomorrow night. Please don’t make that necessary! Of course you can decide for yourself, whether you wish to put on the mask or not, but I hope that you will do it! We need you!”

Gwiazda was scared stiff. She did not even get the idea to ask him why they needed her. Holger looked at her inquiringly. She nodded, and Holger left the apartment. Gwiazda dumped down on her sofa. She felt dizzy. The gas mask lay on the floor like an accusation. What was she supposed to do? Should she inform on the Walkers and be punished together with them? Should she simply refrain from putting on the mask? In both cases she would never know, how the Walkers imagined a new mankind, and how they planned to achieve that. That was cynical thinking. The end justifies the means? That had never been her motto. She wondered if it was true what Holger had said about the ‚culling‘. She would not be able to verify all the statements he had made until tomorrow midnight. How could she have been so naïve?

(To be continued)

 

Intuition (Teil 4 von 8, nein, von 9) … Intuition (Part 4 of 8, no, of 9)

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Eine mehr oder weniger kurze Bemerkung zu diesem Teil: es sind 9 Teile, nicht 8 … 😉
Die ersten drei Teile sind aus Projekten von Bloggerin Offenschreiben entstanden, in denen sie bestimmte Dinge oder Personen vorgibt, zu denen man dann eine Geschichte schreibt. Es war immer spannend zu sehen, wie unterschiedlich die verschiedenen Geschichten ausfielen. Ich hatte mir einen Spass daraus gemacht, drei dieser Projekte zu einer Geschichte zusammenzufügen. Das war zu einem Zeitpunkt, wo es noch überhaupt nicht feststand, dass ich „Intuition“ weiter- bzw. zu Ende schreiben würde. Ab Teil 4 lief das Ganze dann völlig frei ab und die Geschichte verselbständigte sich völlig. Wer hätte gedacht, dass ich das durchziehen würde.

… A more or less short remark to this part: there are 9 parts, not 8 … 😉
The first three parts originate from projects of blogger Offenschreiben , in which she gives certain specifications of items or persons, with which one writes one’s story. It was always interesting to see, how different our stories turned out. I had fun with making three of the projects into one story. That was at a time, when I had not yet decided whether I would continue „Intuition“ or not. From part 4 onwards it all went completely free, and then the story broke away even from me. Who would have thought that I would see it through.

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(Foto: Pixabay)

Several weeks went past, and nothing happened, absolute nothing. Gwiazda did not have any sudden „coincidental“ meetings; neither the lone Walker nor the leather coat men appeared again, and she did not received the slightest hint of what she was expected to do. And she still did not know, what had happened to Holger and the wounded young man.

Therefore, she got the idea to „lure“ the old man out of the shadows, and that with the book „Starlet and the Walker“.

On the oncoming Saturday, Gwiazda found a coffee shop near the restaurant, where she had seen the leather coats and sat down at a table at the window. She put the book clearly visible from the outside on the table.

However, she had not expected that at nearly all tables was at least one person, who turned around and stared at her. What she could read in their eyes was disgust, fear, and even anger. Finally a young man came to her table, face distorted with rage and asked her, if this was her book. Intuitively Gwiazda denied. „It was on the chair when I came.“ ”Put it away, burn it, destroy it!“ the young man shouted with despair in his voice.
”But it is not my property. Maybe the owner will come back to collect it!“ Gwiazda replied.
”Then at least put it back on the chair with the cover down!“ he besieged her.
”O.k., alright, calm down” said Gwiazda and did as requested. But what was that? On the back of the book, where one usually finds the abstract of the story, was all of a sudden the face of the old man with the funny cap. Gwiazda tried not to look surprised, as she had just claimed not to know the book.

The effect of the image on the young man was astonishing: he became as white as chalk and put his hand on his heart. Apparently he had problems breathing.

Gwiazda jumped up and patted him on the back. „What is wrong with you?“ she asked the  young man, „that is just some old man!“
The young man looked at her, frightened. „Yes, of course, you are right“, he managed to say, and then he rushed out of the coffee shop.

To calm the waves, she covered the book with a napkin and left it behind, when she decided to go home. She did not wish to draw more attention to herself. Apparently there was a countless number of Mammon’s servants. How was she supposed to save mankind when there were so many adversaries? They seemed to be everywhere.

When she came home, the old man with the funny cap was sitting in her living room. „Are you completely out of your mind?“ he scolded her, „do you wish to ruin everything in the last minute?“

Instead of answering, Gwiazda asked him, how he had gotten into her apartment, and told him how tired she was of the whole situation. Allegedly she was supposed to save mankind, but nobody answered her questions. She received nothing but mystical, vague hints.

The old man’s tone changed. „You are right. It is not easy for you. Have just a little bit more patience. In a few weeks, everything will be over and a new era under your leadership will begin. Please trust me, for your grandfather’s sake! You will hear from us, when the time has come. It won’t take long anymore, one month at the most.“

Before Gwiazda could ask another question, for example what „under your leadership“ was supposed to mean, the old man had disappeared again. What an annoying habit!

She was definitely fed up now, finally, ultimately! She would forget everything, and the Walkers could get lost for all she cared. Stop, out, over, finished!

(To be continued)

Intuition (Teil 3 von 8) … Intuition (part 3 of 8)

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(Bild/image: Pixabay)

It took several weeks until Gwiazda slowly started to come to terms with the strange circumstances. First the weird performance of the leather clad guys in the restaurant; then the young man, who literally fled from the scene, and whom she later had found half dead on the pavement; then the conspiracy, which denied his entire existence. All that needed to be processed. In the end she came to the decision that she did not want to have anything to do with this matter anymore, really and completely nothing.

She had even taken some time off work from her job as nurse. But now she wanted her life to get normal again.

The first day at work went smoothly. The colleagues were all very considerate. Somehow her story had spread. Gwiazda did not want to know, what exactly was said about her. It would not be correct anyway.

When she went home that evening, she felt content. She would take up the threads of her life, and everything would be put in order again.

When she turned around the corner into her street, she almost bumped into an elderly man. He looked old, not elderly, extremely old with countless wrinkles on his face. On his head we was wearing an old-fashioned jelly bag cap, which did not really match with his stern face and the fierce, almost piercing eyes. His coat was more like a cape. What he was wearing underneath, was not discernable. Gwiazda thought that he resembled the description of the ancient bus driver from her friend Sofia’s hallucination after her accident. This was exactly how she would have imagined him.

”You are wasting your time, girl”, the old man scolded her. ”Go home and find the book, your favourite book, which you even took to bed with you. Don’t you remember? Open it so that its magic can show itself to you. Do it, as long as you still can!“ After these words the old man rushed around the corner and disappeared in the dark.

Of course Gwiazda remembered the book. It was a fairytale: Starlet and the Walker. The Walker? How could she not have noticed that! Curiosity got the better of her, forgotten were frustration and fear. She rushed into her apartment and searched for the book. It was in her wardrobe hidden in the back under a blanket. Why was that? She did not remember. Maybe it had something to do with her parents‘ death; they used to read to her from the book when she was a child.

Under the blanket lay also her old alarm clock with the image of the stellar formation Orion on the disc. Both items were tightly connected with her happy childhood that came to a sudden end, when first her mother and later her father died in accidents. Her mother was hit by a car on her way home, and her father was killed by a pallet with blocks of gas concrete at work. The pallet mystically came loose from the transport chains when the crane lifted it up to the third floor of the future administration building. Her father had been the supervisor on the site.

Gwiazda opened the book. – Nothing happened. She waited a bit. All of a sudden a kind of fog rose from the book and formed a hologram, the picture of a man in a floating coat and with a black hat.

The hologram began to speak. „You, who you have opened this book, are the last descendant of the Walkers. The Walkers are the conscience of the world. Once we were thousands, now we are five. Your grandfather is one of us. Your father refused to take on the task. He preferred to lead a normal life. It was of no use to him.  The Walkers are hunted by the servants of Mammon, who aims to  subjugate mankind. They are everywhere! They don’t show any mercy! You have to continue the task, you are the last link, the last hope!“

”But I am a woman”, protested Gwiazda, ”how can I be a walker?”

The hologram did not answer, as it was a recording. Gwiazda wondered, when it might have been made, as it had not been in the book before, she was absolutely sure of that. Maybe her grandfather had recorded it after her parents‘ death? Why did she not have any recollection at all of her grandfather?

The hologram had neither told her what she could do, nor how she was supposed to do it. Nothing of this was really helpful. Now her life that she wanted so much to get back to normal, was disturbed again.  And she had not even received any instructions or advice for the rescue of mankind, which apparently was expected of her.  Was it obligatory for a Walker to run around in this strange garb?  And what role was Holger playing, her former neighbour and alleged friend?  Was he serving Mammon? The young man, whom she had found on the pavement, was sympathizing with the Walker; he had wanted to warn him. Had Holger been behind the attack on the young man? That would be terrible, unthinkable! But it had been very unusual for Holger to have been exactly there and at so late an hour.  And then he had simply vanished. Or had something happened to him as well, and her suspicion was unjustified?

She would not get an answer to all these question here and now, that much was certain! First, she would read the book one more time. Maybe it contained hints. Apart from that, she could only hope to meet the old man again. Next time she would ask him specific questions.

(To be continued)

 

 

Intuition (Teil 2 von 8) … Intuition (Part 2 of 8)

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(Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER)

… One evening, a week after the strange incident at the restaurant, Gwiazda was on her way home from work in pouring rain, when she saw a young man lying on the pavement in the deserted street. He looked completely drenched, as if he had been lying there for some time. Gwiazda rushed over to him and kneeled down. First now she noticed that he was not wearing any shoes. His arms were stretched out to the sides making him appear as if crucified. Gwiazda tried to feel the young man’s pulse, first at the wrist, then at the carotid. There it was, but very, very weak.

He cannot stay here, thought Gwiazda, I have to call an ambulance. While she was searching for her phone, the young man opened his eyes and looked at Gwiazda. His look was clear, not confused. That was the young man, who had run out on his girlfriend or fiancée or whatever she was, when he saw the note on the floor, the note that said „Run as long as you still can“. With a clear voice he said: „You have to warn the Walker, they are after him!“ Gwiazda was paralyzed with fright. Again a mention of the Walker, or the Lone Walker, as the strange men at the restaurant had called him.  „Who is the Walker? Who is after him?“ asked Gwiazda in desperation. She did not understand a thing.

But the young man’s clear moment was over, and his head fell to one side. „Hello, starlet“, somebody called, „what are you doing here?“ It was her friend and neighbour Holger. Gwiazda was glad to see him. „Holger give me your umbrella and then call an ambulance. This young man is injured, but I don’t know what is wrong with him. He urgently has to be taken to a hospital!“ she shouted. Holger did not ask any questions, but gave her his umbrella and called for an ambulance.

”They will be here in five minutes”, said Holger. ”Here, take my pullover and cover him, he must be freezing.“ The ambulance arrived as promised and picked up the young man. Gwiazda and Holger went with him, as they did not want to desert him. None of them had noticed the man, who stood hidden in the shadow of a house entrance, watching them. A tall man, with a black hat and a long black coat.

In the emergency room, the injured was immediately rushed into a surgery, while his two escorts had to tell a police officer what had happened.  Their patience was put to the test. After about three hours a physician came to them and reported that the young man was severely battered, but was stabile now. He did not want to tell them anything about the injuries they had detected, as that was a police matter. He asked them though, if they had noticed that the young man’s trousers were soaked in gasoline?   ”Now that you mention it”, answered Gwiazda, ”there was quite an impertinent smell of gasoline, but I was so focused on the injured that I did not give it much thought. Do you think that somebody planned to kill him? To set him on fire?“ The doctor shrugged „that is for the police to find out.“

Gwiazda would have liked to see the young man and ask him some questions, but that was not possible at that moment. She would have to be patient for a few days. Therefore she and Holger decided to finally go home and go for a strengthening drink on the way, as they felt in dire need of one. The one drink became three drinks and Gwiazda thanked Holger for his support. ”It was such good luck that you walked by at that moment! Normally you are already at home at that time!“  ”Yes, a lucky coincidence”, said Holger, who had become rather quiet. That was not at all like him, thought Gwiazda, but maybe he was just tired.

When three days later Gwiazda went to the hospital to see the young injured man, he was not there anymore, and the entire personnel, including the treating doctor, denied that he had ever been admitted to the hospital. That was rather strange! They were all lying, of course, as in the corridor, on a chair was Holger’s pullover …

A visit to the police did not bring any clarification either. The officer who had talked to her and Holger denied to have ever seen her before. What happened here? She was not crazy, was she? This must be a conspiracy or something, a state secret.

When she came home that evening, she noticed that Holger had moved out of his flat without leaving a message for her. When she tried to call him, his number was disconnected.

Gwiazda sat down on her sofa without taking her wet raincoat off (yes, it was still raining), and without switching any light on, and remained there, silent and lost in the dark.

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To be continued …

 

Intuition (eine nicht ganz so kurze Geschichte von mir) … Intuition (a not so short story by me)

Intuition“ war als Kurzgeschichte angelegt gewesen, aber meine Leser fanden damals, dass da zu viele Fragen offen waren und wollten mehr wissen. Und dann ergab es sich, dass da mehr kam. Eine Kurzgeschichte in 8 Teilen. Ich weiss gar nicht, warum ich sie „Intuition“ genannt habe. Vielleicht finden wir das gemeinsam beim Lesen bzw. Übersetzen heraus.

… „Intuition“ was originally meant to be a short story,  but my readers at that time found that there were too many open questions, and they wanted to know more. And then it happened that more appeared. A short story in 8 parts. I don’t even know, why I called it „Intuition“. Maybe we will find out together while reading/translating.

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INTUITION (Part 1 of 8)

Gwiazda was determined to enjoy her evening, even if all the others had cancelled. She deserved to spoil herself with a first class Italien fish platter. She also treated herself to a nice wine. She put knife and fork down, dabbed her mouth with a serviette and lifted her glass to drink some more. At that same moment, a man passed by her table, his wide, floating coat touched on her chair and her table. From the corner of her eye, Gwiazda saw a piece of paper falling down next to her. She read „Run, as long as you still can.“ Instinctively she covered the note with her foot and gave it a push, so that it slid over to the table on the other side. This note could not have been meant for her.

At the table in question sat a young couple. The man saw the note, read it and his hand went to his throat in total shock. He jumped up, nearly knocking the table over and ran to the exit in the back.  The door slammed shut behind him. His girlfriend (presumably) looked after him, completely stunned.

Gwiazda looked up to see, whether the strange man with the floating coat still was in the room or not, but he must have left the restaurant in the meantime. She could not see him anymore at least. She waved to the waiter signalling that she wished to pay.  The situation had become too bizarre for her taste.

However, before she could grab her handbag, three tall figures entered the restaurant and blocked the main entrance. They were dressed in long, black leather coats and hats with wide brims, and they held antiquated rifles in their hands. One of them shot into the air to attract attention.  „Listen, listen to me!“ he shouted, „we are looking for the lone walker. Has anyone of you seen this man?“

Nobody answered, nobody moved; everybody was petrified.  Gwiazda understood that the note had been meant for the lone walker, he had just lost it. Should she say anything? No, it was better, not to get involved in this extremely weird matter. She wondered, why the young man had run out? He must have been guilty of something. The young woman that he had left behind, was sitting at her table, drowned in tears.

The man who had shot, went over to Gwiazda. ”You have seen him, I can see it in your eyes“, he claimed. She did not know what to say, and uttered a long „aaahhh …“ to gain some time. Then she cleared her throat and said: „There was a man with a floating coat; one moment he was here and then he was gone. I haven’t even seen his face.“

At that moment, the man discovered the note, which was still on the floor „Run, as long as you still can“.

„He has been warned,“ the man said to his companions. He turned around and all three of them left the restaurant without another word.  

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This was supposed to be the end of it, but there is more to come … 😉

 

 

Sofia (a more serious short story by me)

Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER.

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Sofia was finally off work. It was dark outside, and it rained again. Since three days it had been drizzling nearly continuously. Everything was permeated by this impertinent humidity. An umbrella was completely useless against this soft, but insistent onslaught. Therefore she had finally bought herself a practical rain coat with a hood and even a pair of rubber boots.

Now Sofia was standing at the bus stop looking like a personified waterfall and waited for number 22 to take her home. She wore her handbag under the raincoat for protection.

She saw the headlights of a bus approaching. When it came closer, Sofia could make out that the display did neither mention the end stop nor the route number. She stepped back, so that the bus would not stop. But it stopped anyway, and the door opened. The bus driver, a very old man with a kind of jelly bag cap (really??That is the English name for it?) on his head sternly looked at Sofia. “Good gracious”, thought Sofia, “he must have been retired long ago, why does he still drive a bus? Should I really enter?” These staring eyes were almost hypnotizing, but Sofia still hesitated.

Then she noticed that one of the passengers cleaned the steamed-up window with his sleeve and looked out and at her. It was a child, maybe six years old. She could not make out, whether it was a boy or a girl, but she could see a round face with likewise round eyes and many fair curls. Was this child traveling all by itself? It seemed to be too young for that. Sofia could not hesitate anymore, she had to find out about the child. She showed her monthly ticket to the bus driver, but he demanded change. “I don’t have any change”, said Sofia, “and I did pay already, the monthly ticket is still valid!” Hereupon the driver just waved her through, closed the door and started the bus.

Meanwhile, Sofia went into the back and tried to find the child. There were only very few people on the bus, but only adults, no child, as much as she searched. Had it been imagination? Now she sat in a bus, of which she did not know where it went. How was she supposed to get home? She pressed the stop button, but the bus did not stop. She tried five times, but without success. Was that a kidnapping? Was the bus driver crazy or even had suffered a heart attack? The bus was lurching so strangely. She ran to the front to find out, but there wasn’t any bus driver anymore. Any moment now they would hit something or someone.

Determined she sat down behind the steering wheel and tried to keep the bus on the right side of the road, while at the same time searching for the breaks. After a wild chase down a steep hill, she managed by and by to slow it down and bring it to a standstill.

How does one open the doors? Sofia tried the manual lever, as she did not dare to try all the buttons and switches. It was a bit difficult, but she managed and left the bus. The other passengers followed her. But where were they? This was not their town! That was not even their time! They had ended up in one or the other little, ancient village without any streetlamps. The only light was that from the windows of some houses.

The other passengers all went into one direction, as if they knew, where to go. Sofia decided to follow them, what other choice was there? They arrived at a larger house, from which gleeful music was to be heard, and entered. A big party seemed to be going on. They were welcomed warmly and asked to sit down at the table, food and drink would arrive shortly.

That was very strange indeed; Sofia could not comprehend it. All of a sudden she could hear a voice calling her name as if from far away “Sofia, Sofia”, soft and kind. She looked around the room, but could not find out who was calling. There it was again “Sofiaaa”, this time more insisting. And then there was only light; the people, the party, everything disappeared and was engulfed by a blinding light.

And then Sofia opened her eyes and looked at the anxious face of her colleague Maria. It seemed like she herself was lying on the ground and Maria was bending over her. “A bus hit you, Sofia. I saw it from my window and came down immediately”, Maria said. It seemed as if she really had stormed out of the office, as she did not wear any coat and was already completely drenched. “There comes the ambulance, Sofia, I will stay with you”, said Maria, and Sofia knew there and then that everything would be fine.

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This story was part of the project „write with me“ (German only) by blogger Offenschreiben

 

Ich wünsche euch allen einen schönen Tag!

… Have a pleasant day, everybody!