Chronicles from the Future: The Language: English and Scandinavian Blend
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When I woke up I saw two doctors standing next to me, with a strange look on their faces, waiting for me to regain my conscience. Everybody else had left the room. I was so nervous I could barely breathe.
“What happened?” I asked with a trembling voice, “Have I gone mad? Where am I?”
Then I remember crying out several times “Mother, Mother!” as though I was asking where she was.
And instead of answering my questions, these men of science just stood there, stunned and pale, as if my simple words had left them speechless. One of them was young, in his late twenties to early thirties. I reached out for his hand, I begged him in the name of God and his own mother, but he was shaking and obviously trying to avoid my touch.
Shortly after, the older doctor turned to him and said something. “They’re foreigners” I thought. For a couple of minutes I just looked at them talking, abashed, trying my best to reach a logical conclusion. A far away land, their outfits, their manners, and now the foreign language; everything kind of fell into place, but yet not quite.
I wasn’t familiar with that language. I remember that the accent of that man made a strong impression on me. Some words sounded somewhat similar to ours and had Anglo-Saxon roots and some others resembled Scandinavian words – quite familiar to me - and thus I got the gist of what they were saying. The older doctor, still pale and unsuccessfully trying to force a smile, from what I got, told the other doctor that he had lost his temper. The young doctor denied it by shaking his head. The former seemed deeply puzzled. He pronounced my last words: “Mother… Mother…” “Mutter… Mutter…” Nothing else.
He grasped my hand. He talked to me. I understood that he was asking me if my head ached.
“Now less,” I replied, “I’m better.”
Physically speaking I told the truth; but I didn’t say a word about what was going on in my mind.
“I want to see my mother”, I added.
I noticed that, once again, I was having some difficulties with articulating. But I blamed it on the illness.
On top of everything else that I was thinking about, I was also pretty convinced that, if I couldn’t help myself and started crying for help, they would treat me as a crazy person that talks to himself and then I wouldn’t stand a chance of finding out more about them. But if I could just see my mother, she would help me see things clearly.
And then I noticed something about them, something that made a difference and explained a lot: what made them look so stunned wasn’t what I was saying, but the way I was saying it and the language in which I was saying it. While they were talking to me, their wide eyes revealed the bewildering thrill they felt!
The older one leaned towards me once again and, with a quivering voice, he slowly uttered a sentence in my language:
“Andrew Northam, don’t you recognize me anymore?”
The last words he managed to pronounce - with an evident effort and some difficulty - still resonate in my ears: “nicht mehr?”
“I want to say my prayer,” I replied in a fading voice before I fainted again.
It’s been thirteen days. The younger doctor came to my room this evening and saw my pillow soaked in tears. He tried to console me but, unintentionally, he did me more harm than good. I talked to him about my mother, who would be mourning the death of her child and he replied to me with a completely misplaced smile about some kind of a story buried deep in the past, saying that there’s no need to fret about it in the present! Jesus Christ! I can’t believe them! I don’t want to see that man ever again! I won’t let them drive me mad! Tomorrow morning I’ll talk to the older doctor and demand that they tell me the whole truth!
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Copyright Achilleas Syrigos. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be republished.