Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writing Wednesdays: The American Dreamer 1.4

This is Part 5 of 6 of The American Dreamer, Part One. The previous parts are all linked by following the "The American Dreamer" label at the bottom of this post or by clicking the link you just read over. I hope you enjoy. The part of Rooster is probably one of my favorite parts that I've written so far. And, as always, comments are welcome.

I know exactly what he’s going through. I’ve been there, too. Kind of. Back when I was a little boy I would have these peculiar dreams, and everybody told me that I was crazy. Ha! But I kept on telling ‘em anyway. Telling ‘em that the world would come to a stand-still, that there’d be bloodshed like they ain’t never seen before. And I was right, too. In 1871, the Great Civil War started up. I was seventeen. An’ I told ‘em, too. But I went and joined in the war, fighting for my country and all. I took a bullet to the scalp. Yep. The hot lead went right into my head. I kept on a-fightin’, too, with blood just running down my face. Men were running away from me, like I was fightin’ for Satan’s Army. ‘Course, I was seeing more than just blood, it was the lust for battle, too. I killed twenty-nine rebels that day. Some with a musket, some with my saber, and some with my bare hands. Finally I lost enough blood that I collapsed on the battlefield, amongst the corpses. My vision went black and I passed into the Land of the Dead. There I had a dream like I’ve nary had before, but what it was about I swore I wouldn’t tell. No sir. Like John the Revelator, my lips are sealed. But I woke up. I guess several days had passed. I was in a hospital, with all those poor sods that were missing arms or legs or both. I had a bandage o’er this eye here and an awful headache, but at least I woke up. Just like that boy did, too.

I still don’t even know who this man is. He’s been talking to me for a while, but I have no clue what his name is or what he wants with me. Fix his mistakes? What mistakes? He talks so fast that I find it hard to keep up and grasp what he’s saying. I hate to interrupt him, but I have to. “Excuse me,” I hear myself say. My voice is deeper than I remember.
The man stops speaking and looks at me with surprised eyes. “What is it, Hank?”
“You seem to know all about me, but I have no idea who you are. And,” I add hastily, “would you mind talking a bit slower? It’s hard for me to focus.”
He smiles a broad grin, his mustache spreading thin over his lips. His teeth are slightly yellow. “I apologize. I must have assumed that you would remember me, but I don’t know why I thought that. Ahem. My name is Dr. Nikola Tesla, but you can call me Nik.”
My mind snaps to attention at the mention of his name. Tesla? That’s the name I keep seeing in my dreams. Suddenly I’m not sure whether or not I should trust this man. He seems amiable and friendly enough, but I’m uncertain.
“What’s the matter, Hank? You’ve paled.”
“Your name. It’s familiar. I’m not sure why.”
“Maybe you’re remembering me. Let me give you something to help you with your memory and your attention. I developed this as an alternative to caffeine.” He rummages through his desk and pulls out a small metal bead. It begins to glow, faint orange like the corridor’s lights. “You simply swallow it as you would any common tincture.” He slides the bead across the table.
“How does it work?” I ask, picking it up. It’s slightly warm, but not hot.
“It is like a magnet but for energy. It will attract electrodes all around you, drawing them to the bead. When the electrodes pass through your body they will charge your blood, which in turn will charge the brain. Eventually the bead will dissolve, but that one should last for a while.”
I swallow the ball. What can it hurt? I’m already lost as it is. Immediately I can tell the change. As soon as the bead is down my throat I can feel an addition of pressure all around me, like everything is pushing on me. Tesla can see my distress.
“Don’t worry, Hank. You’ll get used to it pretty fast. I have one inside me, too. It really helps you stay alert and fresh, so much so that sleep is all but impossible.” Is there a slight wink in his eye, or am I imagining that?
My skin tingles everywhere. Even my hair feels it. It’s almost as if I’m connected to everything in this room. Glimpses of my life flash through my mind. A small boy in a growing town. A scared boy on the run. A soldier in a strange future. An incredibly old man, telling stories to children. A man sitting in a stadium, watching innocent people die. A secret wedding with a beautiful woman.
It’s overwhelming what all I see and process. I did not expect this. It’s still disorienting and confusing, but things begin to make sense. But why? Why is it like this? I imagine I am like a baby bursting from the womb, alive and anew. “What have you done to me?” I roar, no longer content and complacent.
Tesla shirks back, startled by my outburst. “I did not expect that to work that quickly,” he mouths, pulling at his collar. His eyes look suddenly very tired. He sags into his chair. “I suppose I should have given you that earlier. Perhaps I should restart, eh?” It’s a rhetorical question, but I nod anyway.
“I was traveling through Budapest when I found you. You were young, hungry and dying. I had an idea that I had been working on, but I’d never tried it out on anyone. Then, seeing that you were doomed anyway, I decided to test my experiment on you. So, I took you. At first, it seemed that it was not going to work, but I did not give up on my ambitions.
“I finally succeeded shortly after we arrived in France. Honestly, I felt a bit like my childhood hero, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. I could see his errors and I knew that I could be above them. But, as you were not dead, I did not have the guilt he must have felt. Instead, I had the hope of sparing a life.
“You began to recover quickly, and within a week you were completely whole. You were very young, and would not remember any of this, so I decided to conduct my grand experiment. I hired a family to adopt you and keep watch over you, as if they were your own flesh and blood. Then, we went to America.”

Mrs. Imogene Epperson
Hank was always a great student. He participated in the classroom, and always finished his homework. He endured hardships when he first started his schooling here, mainly over his skin coloring, but also from his strange choice of words. It was almost like he had a touch of insanity, but he was too smart for that. I just attributed it to an overly imaginative brain. But after he woke up from his coma, things changed for him. He acted differently, towards me, towards his peers, even towards his studies. I’m sad to say it, but he never returned to school after his recovery. Shortly after that, he left Mt. Easter.


Crystal said...

What?!?! You can't leave us hanging until next week!!

This story is great, Logan!! I like the different perspectives and I'm looking forward to watching (reading) the rest of the story unfold.

Krista said...

This is fantastic, Logan, and now you have me anxiously waiting for next week! *Awesome*!

logankstewart said...

@Crystal: Thank you very much for liking it. I'm still writing on Part Two, but I've not had enough time to really get into it like I did for Part One. When I get to it, I'll post it up here.

@Krista: Thank you very much for the compliment, and I hope you enjoy the last installment of Part One next week.

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logankstewart said...

@Chang: Thank you for stopping by and visiting and I hope you return and see what else pops us here. I'm glad you liked the post.