The Bus ride
by Moshe Pavel Shelest
The class we were sitting in was almost full, full with my classmates from border school and of course, many of my best friends. There was no teacher in the room, and so we started to make all sorts of fun, most of the stuff we did was actually was some stupid stuff, but nevertheless I had my fun being in the centre of attention, for some reason. The teachers later told us that the class we were just in was actually supposed to tell us about the school trip we will be going on this very morning. But the teacher who was supposed to tell us about the trip was ill and at home. "Does not matter" they told us "you'll be going on the trip anyways."
It was to be just another school trip on which we were on, and my friends tried to convince me to sit with them at the back but I for some reason denied them my company and decided to sit at the front of the bus, alone. I wanted to sleep -I later thought while sitting in the front- and so I laid myself out on my row and tried to get some sleep. At first I couldn't get any sleep at all, but then I woke up in strange blue red haze, while feeling that my back and head were paining as if they were broken and bruised. So the first thing I did was cry out loud because of the pain. I didn’t hear my cry at all, I almost panicked but for some reason I stopped myself. And at the same time my body felt cushioned, feeling that, and having a very great desire to pass out again-so that the pain might stop- I passed out. I just laid my head back on the cushion ignored the white robed man at my side, and my wish granted, passed out.
In the next six days, six different people came and went so as to tent to Frank Shapiro. Every day a different person came to him, the first one was his beloved grandfather, a person which he loved sooo very much only realizing it too, too, too late, too late for him to say a proper goodbye to the old dentist. The next one was the strangely distorted version of his old elementary teacher, from the old German city of Koblenz. With this woman, hated by him, he spoke, but whenever she spoke back to him he didn’t hear her voice but the voice of some other being speaking from inside his heat. On whatever subject he spoke is not important, he forgot it anyways the moment he fell asleep again.
On the third day his Mother came to see him, he was in a better form so he was able to speak normally. They spoke and the whole thing seemed as if it was she speaking to him while not hearing him, but he, for some reason, was not realizing it. She was trying to calm him it seemed, while in in reality she was trying to calm herself more than anything. When she walked away he had a feeling that he didn’t speak to her at all, and that he is more helpless now, than he ever was. The next day his father came to see him, he was awake this time for more than 5 minutes, so their dialogue went on for a couple times more than the ones before, at the end of which his father just stood up and walked away. And again there was a horrible feeling of helplessness, loneliness and the feeling that all this couldn’t be real but still was somehow even too real for him.
Again I woke up in the same white room, with only a strange black wooden door and a few strongly –as well as strangely- familiar kid paintings -taped to the white wall-, as well as a few books. The light in the room was for one natural and at the same time not coming out of any windows, there weren’t any, there was nothing exempt the things listed above. Today my older brother came to see me, and because I felt my best today I could finally talk for a long time, and about something interesting. We talked for a long time about my childhood, about how he and my other brother-only a year younger than him, while me being 10 years younger than them-were raising me, with how much love they've done that while receiving nothing in return. Only then sitting in my bed, in that strange room I understood the troubles in our relationship and how to solve them. Still I felt as if he never heard my answers. In the end he fell asleep on me, after which I had no choice but to fall asleep as well.
When I woke up the next evening-the "natural" light was subdued and orange, clearly from street lights-my brother wasn’t there anymore and instead my other brother was talking to me, he didn’t seem to notice that I wasn’t taking any part in the talk. Even if I would have wanted to I wasn’t able to talk back to him. I lost my power to speak. My brother wasn’t the only person in the room; there was my whole family as well as some class mates and the doctor. All of them seemed to slowly evaporate and reform again in my eyes, while the room itself seemed to be bigger than before and at the same time changing its form during the whole time that I was awake. They were speaking all at once, loudly, and strangely, even monstrous. All of them were speaking to me, and even my mother who spoke in but a whisper I heard very loudly in my ears. What they spoke I couldn’t understand, but they spoke on and on till I just plunged down into deep, very deep sleep.
He slept us such for two days, and when he woke up he wasn’t sure where he was and what he was supposed to do. The only thing that we know and he doesn't is that he woke up in a different room, more normal, less surreal, but at the same time it seemed as if only his perception changed but the room remained the same. The room looked as if it was a cross connection of a dorm and a hospital room. For a couple of minutes he just stared straight forward, then he stood up and walked up to the door when he opened the light, brown door the first thing what he saw was a big restroom before him and allot of kids running in and out of the toilet as well as in the corridor between him and the toilet. Being used to go to the toilet right after waking up he walked right into it. In the toilet he saw many faces, most of them still young and thus not yet fully formed, and all of them were of course male. The toilet was dirty and seemed not to be fully built, and the faces inside it seemed again to be somewhat familiar to him. When he came to the urinal to do his needs, a kid came up to him saying happily: "Why do that? They do not check if you do that or not anyways, so you don’t have to! Hahahahahhahaha" Frank didn’t have the strength to answer the strange phrase but he was sure about one thing: he knew that kid. It wasn’t a feeling anymore, he knew it. The people around him were his friends or somebody he knew or at least met with once, not one of them was a complete stranger. The kid talking with him now was an old school companion of his from Ma'ale Adummim. He was frightened by his openness, by his strange appearance-though he was supposed to be about his age, he looked to be allot less than 18 years old-and by the situation as a whole, so he walked away quickly, washed his hands and got to the hall way.
In the hallway the situation was not much better, all the people he ever knew or thought about or saw on television were there, and all of them looked like their ten year old selves. He thought that he must surely be dreaming, so he thought: Why not? If I am dreaming anyways, I may also enjoy myself. So he got into the room further down the hall way to his right, a bright yellow room filled with books and journals on the sides while in the middle there were round wooden tables with four chairs around each of them. He looked around; he saw his brothers, his school friends and people that were familiar to him but which he couldn’t recognize as he only knew them as grown people. He looked around for a few minutes till he saw it: the girl of his dreams sitting at one of the tables. She was Jessica Mann, a girl which he felt in love with when he was ten years old. It was something special and his best experience with girls to this day. She was sitting right at one of the tables in the middle of the room, and she was reading a book.
Finally! After a few minutes I made myself go up to her, even in in a dream I was a coward when it came to girls. She was as beautiful as I remembered her, but she was yet small in my dream, nevertheless I loved her and she loved me at that age so it was worth a try. "Hello, Jessie it's me Frank, do you remember me?" "What? Who are you?" "What do you mean, who am I? I was your boyfriend when you were 10 years old; we met at the Jewish Summer camp. Don’t you remember me?!" "Go away, I don’t know you, and I don’t want to know you!" Being shocked and being pissed at my unrealistic dream I just got away from the girl of my dreams. I walked away and decided that I want to wake up from this stupid dream. The first thing I tried was to pinch myself in the leg; it didn’t work. Knowing that it usually doesn't work for me, I wasn’t surprised. But what did surprise me was the fact that I didn’t wake up after I hit the dank earth from the second floor. Instead I found myself in great pain, which did indeed feel not too real to me, but still that wasn’t enough to say that I was indeed just dreaming all this. Two hours later I again lay in the same white bed of my room. The medical personnel of this mystical institution tended to me very well and again I was ready to move. They didn’t seem to be surprised at my behaviour, their faces even told me the opposite; they were expecting that. When they finished dealing with my wounds-taking out the glass shards, tending to my broken bones-I was too tired to stand up, move or do anything at all. So I just fell asleep and as such ended the first day of my life inside this strange… "Hospital"?
When I woke up the next day, nothing remained of the injuries of the day before. This made me think of the place as very unreal and surrealistic, again. But could I have such a realistic-feeling- dream, which has been going on for two days now?! What de fuckin' Sorcery is this!! And also! I couldn't help but notice that I have no freakin' shadow tailing me! At first I thought that it must be the lights in the place, but later I saw that everybody else did have shadows. I mean seriously!?!
With such thoughts Frank stood up, and again walked into the bathroom which stood right before his door. Again strange 10-yearold versions of his male acquaintances met him there; this time he only did his necessities trying all the while not to notice the freaks around him. But this time he looked up to the mirror after washing his hands, but the picture that greeted him was bizarre indeed; he saw a perfect mirror image of those around him, exempt, he wasn’t in it. This would have freaked him out earlier, but seeing all the rest of the bullshit happening around him he was merely greatly surprised, shrugged and then walked on. When going out he noticed through the open door that there was a wardrobe in his room. He walked up to it, but there weren’t many clothes there; only a few clothes from his childhood. He put them on, slowly and without haste, not caring what to wear or how, there were only kids around anyhow. All of it suddenly came together; all the strange things that happened here came into his mind, this made him very confused, but indeed so confused that he walked out into the corridor in a kind of shock induced trance. He walked on and on till he was stopped by the younger version of his father. "Hey, you must be the new one! Hi, my name is German Shapiro, nice to meet you!" He was taken out of his trance very suddenly by that happy declaration, so suddenly that he didn’t answer till German tried to talk to him again. "Yes, yes, yes you are very new I see. You're still shocked of the strangeness of this place. What's your name anyways?''-''What? Yes, yes. Ahhhh, my name is… is… like yours. It's… ahhhh Frank Shapiro. Strange……. right?!"-"Yes right, strange… Well, anyways it won't do you any harm to receive some help from somebody who lived here for a long time."-''I guess, yes."-" Great! Now it's too early for you to know the real meaning of this place. But for the moment I will show you the grounds and the basic structure of the place and "meaning" of this place."
He showed him around, at first he took him around the indoors. He showed him the male and female dormitories, the kitchen, the infirmary, the bathrooms, the library and the other rooms which were built for entertainment. There were three stories all in all and many rooms were still in the building process. "What is being built in the rooms" Frank asked. "Allot of things… I won't tell you now the whole thing; it's too early for it now. But I will tell you one thing; you have everything to do with it." He said the last thing as if he was telling some nation-security connected secret; in an important hushed voice. "Well, that’s it then with the inner edifice, let's get out and I'll show you the grounds. Here, through this door, oh yes." What they saw was indeed strange, but immensely beautiful. They saw a gigantic countryside, which was made out of many parts; there were the green, clean German fields, the yellow/brown stony countryside of Uzbekistan, the hilly light brown country with greenish flecks which surrounded Ma'ale Adummim and in the background there was the towering unrealistic Mountain which Frank saw when he was in Uzbekistan, the bluish haze around which was hypnotizing. There were also parts which seemed as if they were still under construction; they were empty of anything, just a boring grey without anything at all on the ground. "That’s,"-"Lost for words right?! Well you should be, that’s your mind who created it; subconsciously of course."-"What do you mean? My, mind…created it?"-"Yes, quite the mind you have right? Ahhh, the beautiful things that it can create!"-"Well, I think that we need to get indoors!"-"You are freaked out, right? I would be as well… I think. But you shouldn’t be actually, you should be proud. But we shall do as you shall say, for now, newcomer, for I am mostly concerned for your safety." After a few minutes Frank said:"Mhhh, thanks I guess." By that time they were already walking into the library.
"Go away, I don’t want to talk with you. German seriously, go away and don’t talk to me anymore. You freak me out and talk allot of eccentric bullshit." I thought I explained myself clear enough but still german continued his ramble: "You are just doing that because of these idiots, your new friends, which think that I am a stupid freak But"-"And that you are!"-" No! I may have strange ideas, but… but… you'll see soon enough that I am right. And anyways before you met them you were interested in finding out the truth about the place, and I already told you part of the truth, but now that you met Hank and his little gang of simpletons you think that you already know the answers, or that you do not need them."-"Whatever german, I do not believe you, and I have made my choice, leave me alone now!" That made the freak leave me at last, I then walked away from him, leaving him standing in the middle of the corridor. Two days have gone by after I met german for the first time, and at first I just thought that he was strange, but chuck and the other set me straight, he stupid. Still the strange things that happen around me remained unexplainable, but I do not care. Hank showed me the way; just to have fun. We play soccer, run around and do other stuff as well-like stealing from the staff of the place and even sometimes beat the mother fuckers up, but they do not do anything about it-.
Six months have gone by, and I still hang out with Hank and the band; Steve, Mark and Tony. But one thing did change around here; the kids have become even more childlike, the staff more ineffective than ever. Even the landscape has become less beautiful, it became just dull, as if a great grey mantle has been pulled over it. I became to hate the place, and the stuff that made me laugh stopped to do that. I had to change the situation somehow, maybe even think of how to break out of here! "Listen Hank, we have to find out what's going on with this place!"-"Why's that?" Answered one of his cronies-"Just look around you! This place has become unbearable, and we need to break out of it! But the only chance of breaking out of here is to find out more about this place!"-"Bullshit! I bet that its very simple to break out of here! Only think you have to do is just to run, the place has no walls or anything!"-"And what if the next village/city is 500 kilometres away?!"-"No, way! If we walk long enough we will find something eventually"-"Yeah!"-"Of course we will" The cronies said. I had no choice but to agree with the thick heads. So the day we were making our little preparations: stole food, stole backpacks and put the food in the backpacks. We didn’t sleep; we wanted to break out under the cover of the night. At around 3 a.m. we walked out of our rooms and met at the entrance to place. "So, let's do it then, shall we?" Hank said, on which there was no answer exempt the unsteady rhythm of our steps. We walked on and on, though low grass, through high grass, through some muddy earth, though some kind of desert region and finally we came to a forest at the end of the day. "I told you it will take long"-"Nobody said that we will find anything today, but I am sure that soon enough we will find some kind of village." So we ate for the third time that day, talked a little and slept on the thin bedspreads which each one of us took from our own beds. When we woke up the next day we just walked on in the same direction, by late afternoon we walked out of the pine forest. We then walked through grain fields till we came to the beginning of a marshland. But knowing that we still had allot to walk I took with me a few kilograms of grain while we walked through the grain fields. We stopped before the swamp not wanting to go in. "So? What shall we do?" Said one of the cronies. "I suggest that we will sleep here and start walking into the slough only after we wake up." I answered-"Yeah, whatever, sleep idiots!" Was Hanks answer, which seemed for some reason angry at something. So we slept, the blue mountain always towering on the left of us. The next day we woke up and despite our misgivings started to walk right through the marsh. The march through the marsh was really hard and we felt as if we had boot out of iron instead of the light leather shoes that we had. Soon we were really exhausted; even though the marshland almost always had a dry path going through it, on which we walked, it still was unbearable. The moisture was suffocating, the smell unbelievable, the plants thick and the animals scary-though luckily not dangerous-. In a few hours each one of us was suffering of dehydration, and as a result started to think about drinking the wetlands water. In another few hours-after a few involuntary as well as voluntary stops- each one of us began to hallucinate wildly. A couple of times we thought that we already saw the end of it, but again and again it was just a hallucination. We stopped walking; instead we were wandering around, just moving one leg then moving the other one, aimlessly, thoughtlessly, mindlessly and all the thoughts on the "Hospital" and its gifts of civilization.
Death seemed imminent to them, but in the end it came to them as a complete shock. Tony, -one of the simpletons, in case you forgot- thought that he saw an ice cold "Crystal" bottle on a small wooden table in the middle of an particularly wet spot of marshland. So he run towards the little wooden table and even jumped towards it in the end. As a result he jumped right into the middle of the treacherous spot. The moment that he jumped into it they knew that he will die, in that first moment the marsh came up to his hips. And after that he continued to go down rapidly. So rapidly indeed that by the moment that they got to him with a long stick in their hands he was no longer able to move his hands to grab the stick that they were offering him as their/his last hope. They sat down, unable to believe what had just happened, Mark began to cry, while the others just sat there in disbelieve. "Stop crying, you are wasting water." After a few hours the sun left and the night covered the wetland with dry darkness. One after the other they fell asleep. They awoke in the early morning when the marshland was still filled with wet darkness while the sun began its crusade of light from the east. Still unable to believe what happened the day before, but still knowing that if they want to escape the fate of Tony they had to move on, they moved on. Again strolling, aimlessly, in grief, sorrow and disbelieve. By early afternoon the marshland began to become less damp, more walk able, by late afternoon they got to a rice field. The grain which Frank took with him, already eaten the rice fields were a welcome sight, they meant not only food but also water, they meant life! At first they thought that it was just another hallucination, so they didn’t run towards it. They were already careful towards such things, so they began asking each other if they all saw the same thing. When the answer was "yes" they began moving faster-even though it was clearly very painful to them-faster yet when the smell of the marshland began to dissolve in their nostrils, faster still when the earth under them changed from mud to fertile earth with water over it. At the end each one of them fell down at different times, each one just to drink the water as fast and soon as possible. They drank and drunk, the water was muddy and not too clean, but still they drank. They then began to get to the rice, to eat it, to put it into their rucksacks, to devour it and finally; to throw it up from sheer excess. Soon they decided that now was the time to wait and sleep, to throw away the blanket of exhaustion. They laid themselves out on the relatively dry area between the marsh and the field. They slept for a long time, even though they were wet to the bones, but at least in a kind of happy-shock trance. By noon they were woken up by the sun, and as a result with a headache. They walked on, and on through the rice fields. At first they were happy from the unexpected change then again bored by the static landscape; the blue mountain on the left, the unending horizon of rice all around them. After four days of rice fields they were filled with water and already began to get some fat into their bodies.
On the morning of the fifth day of rice fields hot air began to blow into their faces, they were astonished; for the last week the air was full with moisture, and now that air, that hot dry air, with little dust and sand particles in it. And by the end of that day they came to the end of the rice field, and to the beginning of a desert. They began to walking into the desert only after eating, drinking and sleeping as much as possible on the border of the two regions. Then again they walked on, on and on through the desert. Again the same story began as it was in the wetlands, only this time it was more like dry-land. They couldn’t be sure that they've been walking in the right direction at all, but they had no choice but to continue to try and walk forward. By the third day, when they were barely moving, they saw another hallucination, only this time they had all the same one. And when they came near enough to touch it, they knew that somehow it was true. Again they got the much needed water and food in the last moment, and again they got fat and water filled after about five days. They were already filled to the brim with the fruits that they took on their way through the jungle. But the moment that they saw that the jungle came to an end they took as much as possible fruits with them. The jungle came to an end and tundra began. The tundra was followed by a river on its left. All of them were already thick of walking, so they stopped on the border of the two regions, enjoying the clean water of the tundra river while also "relishing" the fruits of the jungle. A week they lay on the tundra ground, walking for spells of time to get water and food. At the end of it they felt ready to walk again, and so they did. Their legs were already well rested so the walking was easy, and for the first day they had enough food which they brought with them, while water was always near at hand of course. But the food was depleted after four days, but they walked on, near the river, with no choice left at hand. After another three days they were already driven crazy from the lack of food, but still no end was to be seen. "We have to do something about the food situation!" Hank said. "What do you propose; we have no way of getting to food." Was Frank's answer-"Well, we have us. And we have your stupid ass! It was your idea to get us walking into the wilderness like that, and now you will get us out of here. With your body!"-"Firstly, no that wasn’t my idea, my idea was to find out the truth but it was your idea to run away as stupidly as that. Secondly, do you mean that you three will eat me?!"-"Oh, yes I mean that. And it's your fault that we even wanted to find out the truth, and if not you then who?! If one of us dies its better than if all of us die! … I don’t hear you giving any better ideas! … Well let's vote on it! Who's for eating Frank?!" The simpletons of Hank and Hank threw up their hands. "Wait a second"-Frank began, already panicking-"Let's do something else; the first one who dies will be eaten. … That way we do not have to kill anybody, we won't lose any precious energy on fighting!"-"I think he's right" -said Mark-the more humane one-. That way Frank saved his skin and they continued to walk at the river side, stopping now and again from utter exhaustion. By day four they were already trying to eat everything that came into their way; plants, algae, insects and even bits of themselves. By the end of that day Mark seemed to be more than exhausted than any one of them. He barely walked, while they were not helping him, as each one of them was deep down hoping for him to die. Several times he fell down but continued to walk further, and further. When they fell down to sleep during the night they hoped that he might die during his sleep so as to spare them the moral problems of killing him. But when they woke up the next day he stood up like everyone else, exempt the fact that he was getting up a bit slower. But by the middle of the day it happened; when Mark came down on all fours to drink from the river-everyone else was of course doing the same at that time-, and Mark just collapsed at one point into the river.
We could see his hands trying moving weakly on the river side trying to push him up, but the river bank was very muddy and wet, he had no chance to push himself up, at least not in the weak condition that he was in. We knew that we could have saved him right then, but we didn't, we wanted him dead. Nobody wanted to say that, and everyone saw what was happening but everyone looked away, as if not noticing the vain struggle of Mark for his life. The struggle was going on as if for an eternity, and even after he stopped struggling we continued to look away. And only after about half an hour the masquerade began; Hank started to say: "Come on! We need to continue walking! We cannot wait and drink for an eternity!" - "Mark! Mark! Hey didn’t you hear me, stand up!" He began to try and "wake him up". At last he pulled him onto the dry tundra ground, turned him onto his back and said:-while obviously faking the shock-"He must have died, did anybody notice this!?!"-"No"-"Nay"-"Of course not!"- While I just stood over the dead body of Mark and thought about the fact that I need that, that if I want to survive I need to eat this person. While I tried to convince myself that I really didn’t hear anything, or notice anything. "Well,"-said Hank-"I think, that that was what Mark wanted?! No? He did agree with Frank about eating the one who dies earliest, no? So I think that is what we shall do. Eat him?" While saying-"No, no, we can't, that would be barbaric….etc."-we knelt down to the still warm corpse. We continued to say that it was barbaric and so on also while each one of us was picking a body part of his. We continued to say that while we cleaned the chosen body part of any clothing, mud or anything else that would come into the way of our teeth and his flesh. We never stopped saying how immoral it was, even through the process of devouring his hands and legs. I felt horrible with myself, but I knew I had no choice, and I also knew that if I wouldn't eat, I would die and they would eat me. I suddenly felt like a zombie eating a human.
When we were finished only the torso of poor Mark remained; his legs and arms were absolutely devoured, from flesh to bone, even his testicles were eaten-by one of us, nobody knows who ate anything, we were in an eating frenzy-. We stood around him, blood smeared, pieces of his flesh on our teeth. We just stood there and watched his dead body-or what remained of it-. In the end we decided silently that one of us will carry it to the evening. So we continued to walk, with Mark in the backpack of Steve. When we stopped latter in the evening, we just fell down to sleep, in the hope that it all was just a horrible, horrible sleep. In the morning we woke up, with a horrible feeling of guilt and shame, but the great feeling of finally having something in our stomachs. The first thing that each one of us did was to wash off the blood of Mark. Just to get it on us again by taking him out of the backpack and, after discussing what to eat, began to eat his head off. You might be surprised to know just how hard it is to eat normal human flesh right of the human, but it is almost impossible to eat off the scalp of a human-even if he has not too long hair-. That was our bloody breakfast, filled with eyes, brains and even teeth. By the end of our breakfast only, and only the torso remained of Mark. This time Mark was pushed into my rucksack, and with him as company we walked on. He was eaten in the next two days, nothing remained of him, and even the bones were broken to small pieces by stones and then eaten.
They walked on, and on, till the landscape changed again, into low cut grass. They again began to feel immensely hungry, and already thought that they would need to eat another one of them. And each of them watched the others for signs of weakness, for signs of early death. But by the fourth day after Marks death they saw a small three storied building of yellow brick. The moment they saw it they began to run towards it,-having first spoken between them to make sure that they were all seeing the same thing-and the moment they came inside the place seemed oddly familiar for them. The place was filled with 10 year old kids, all of whom were looking sickly underfed, just like they themselves looked like. They found the place where the kids were supposed to eat and just sat down and ate portion after portion. Not one could understand where they were or why the kids were so thin, but they didn’t care, for they survived. For a week they steadily ate, drunk, got to the bathroom and slept. It was the only thing that they did for that time, and only by the end of the week they understood to what place they came; they came back to the place from which they run away at so a great cost. They were more than shocked, they couldn’t understand what and how it happened, but the thing that made them the most petrified was the moment when they saw Mark and Tony walk up to them one day. They talked as if nothing happened, as if they didn’t just die, nothing of that. But one thing astonished Frank the most; on the day after, Hank and the others talked with one another as if they never walked away from the place, as if nobody died, just nothing! And Frank knew then what he had to do; he had to walk up to German and speak to him.
After a few days frank made himself go up to German, he took his time because he was afraid that he would lose the gang if he would talk to the boy. He was actually more afraid that he would be getting beaten up by the gang rather than fearing losing their support, although it seemed that he didn’t understand that at first. "German, hey German! Wait a second! I want to talk to you, I want to say sorry!"-"Oh, really! Why did you suddenly decide to change your mind?!"-"Because I finally understand just how right you were, please don’t be angry I want to be friends again. Or to be honest; I want you to be my tutor!"-"And what shall I teach you?"-"The reason for this place to be, the place itself, the secrets of this place! Please, I will do anything for you!"- Silence followed, then: "What can you possibly do for me?!"-"I do not know, but please tell me to do something, anything and I will do it!"-Again silence followed, then: "I know one thing that you could do for me: change the scenery."-"What? What do you mean? How and why will I do that?" But it seemed that German didn’t hear what he said anymore, he just continued to walk on and on and Frank remained as if rooted to the place and didn't know how to do the given task. He knew that he had to do that, he needed to find out why, how and for whom it all happened, and the only way to do that was German, he felt sure of that. So he walked outside and sat on the steps to the building, his legs on the ground. He looked and the scenery around him and just thought with all his mind how he could do the given task. He sat there for an hour till he heard a voice in his right ear; "close your eyes and think about the change that you want to make." He turned around to see who said that but when he turned around no body was to be seen. He turned back to the landscape, and thought about what he just heard, and after thinking about it he tried it. He closed his eyes and thought about the blue mountain, he imagined –with his eyes closed- that another mountain, again blue, near the original one stands. And when he opened his eyes, oh a wonder of the seven worlds, another mountain, just as he imagined was materialized near the other one. But something was wrong; the world began to shudder, as if an earthquake began. And the newly made mountain was beginning to shudder more violently than anything. Stone dust began to go down from it in great amounts, as well as great stone blocks. After a few moments of such destructive activity the whole mountain just fell down as if it was made not of stone but of heavy glass. A great cloud of dust began to fill the world, and the SOUND that it made!! It came only after about half a minute later, which made its scare effect even stronger. He run into the building at after the sound came in, and began to yell: "German, German! GERMAN!!!"-"Shut up, and go up onto the roof." Again he heard the sound in his ear but when he turned around he didn’t see anybody. He had no choice but to obey the mysterious voice, of… German? So he began walking up the steps till he came to a ladder at the top of the third story. The roof was covered with tar, and as a result made very hot by the unforgiving sun above, in its zenith.
He was standing there, his back to me. Looking into the direction where my mountain once stood. "Very good! I must confess, I didn’t expect you to do that well on your first try. Indeed so well that the creatures below us were impressed."-"Creatures? What do you mean?"-"The kids, the staff, they are all creatures, why, by whom created and for what? That will be the subject of another lesson."-"But, why do you say that you are impressed? I haven’t even succeeded in keeping the mountain in its place for even more than a few seconds!"-"And you, yourself aren’t impressed by this great feat? Why, are you used to creating kilometre high mountains with your thoughts?"-"Mhhh, no, I mean of course not! But, you told me to change the landscape, and I didn’t succeed in it. And I already figured that everyone could do something like that in here, in this strange world were kids die and then just reappear!"-"Well, not everyone, but you –for one- can. The world here is strange, stranger than you can imagine but you have the most power here, and you are also the one who loses the most if you do not succeed."-"What do you mean by not succeeding."-"You'll see, and I will not tell you everything right now. But I will tell you one thing: You need to get out of here, but as this is not a normal place, you cannot just walk out of here. You cannot fly out of here either, but there is one thing that you can do; you can use your head to get out of here. THAT’S IT! I have told you too much already! Now go, sleep it off and well see what we will do tomorrow. Soon you will see that what you did today is only a meagre splinter of your real possibilities in this world." With that he turned away again, and I, understanding that the session was over turned away as well, walked down the steps and came into my room. I didn’t know what to think about the information that he just gave me. But I knew one thing: that I was on the right path to get out of here. With such thought I just lied myself on my bed and fell asleep the moment I thought about falling asleep, strange right?
I woke up from the feeling that people were standing over me, and true; when I opened my eyes I saw the gang standing at my bedside-with the two dead kids revived, there were five- all of them dangerous looking. They also looked older than before; as if they got one year older in one day. "WAKE UP, PIG!"-"What? What is happening?"-"I believe that we want to find out the same! What the hell is happening? Why are you talking to that German! We know that he told you to make that mountain, there is only trouble from him!" It was Hank of course, and he didn’t stop there, but instead I heard Germans voice: "They are your creations, don’t let them intimidate you. Close your eyes, and image as if they weren’t there." I didn’t want to close my eyes, because I feared that they might start beating up again. Even if he was right, I feared the prospect of closing my eyes before these idiots-who had iron clubs in their hands, no less-too dangerous. So instead I just listened to the accusations and agreed with one after the other of them, I just hoped that they wouldn’t do me anything. But that didn’t work through, for ion the end they decided that only a beating would put me in place. And they began beating upon me, with their thin iron rods. Ohhhh! How painful! It was unbelievable, I couldn’t think of anything, but for the pain to stop-as I was not in any position to give anything back to them-. And oh wonder of the seven worlds! The pain stopped, they continued to beat me up, and I felt the contact between my skin and the sticks but no pain! And then I again remembered the lesson; I closed my eyes and thought that they would just go away. "I think that’s enough guys!"-Said Mark-"Yeah, he learned his lesson!"-Hank. And after those words one after the other of them got out of the door. "Meet me on the roof." So I got up to the roof. "Explain! Please, how can you speak to me like that?"-"You will find out soon enough, but for now I wish to show you how the world around here changed; all got one year older, that means that you got older as well. Also, I hope you noticed that now have a shadow."-"What?!"-I looked down, and surely there it was: a shadow!-"But, how? And why? Why did every get older?"-"Well, at first I wish to explain to you that you will be ready to leave this place when everyone around here is 18 years old, and when you can see your mirror image. Now, you got closer to that grand aim. How, and why? Because yesterday you learned to change one thing in this world; the landscape, and today you made people turn away and also made the pain in your body stop, they by themselves will also bring you closer to the finish. You will notice each change after you wake up. Now was that enough information?"-"In a kind too much, but in another: you still explain to me what this world!!!"-"You don’t need to know that yet. Now today we will reconstruct your room, the real room you remember from your childhood, before this place."-"Okay."-"Then let's get down to your room and we will start reconstructing!" With that we walked down the steps, and got into my room. "Now try and remember how it looked like."-"Mhhhh, well there was the"-"Don’t! Don’t tell me, just think about it and then make it happen." So I thought about my room in Ma'ale Adummim. I closed my eyes and imagined the room, the table which had books stacked on top of it…. Then the double storied bed and the closed in a corner of the room. After 'bout half an hour of imagining I opened my eyes. And before me, in all its beauty stood my room, the room was as I left it; messy. "So that’s your room? Well if it really looked like that then you did a very good job!"-"Oh yes, it really looked like it!"-"Well then, I think that you need to go to sleep right now, so as to work the things out."- Frank laid himself on the bed again, thought about falling asleep, and woke up eight hours later into the early morning. "Good morning sleepy head!"-"What, oh you again, well I guess I need to go up on the roof again."-"Not so fast, Frank, go up to the mirror in the bathroom and just look into in." Frank got out sleepily, then thought about waking up while closing his eyes. Then got up to the mirror, what he saw there was darkness, he then remembered to turn the lights on and then looked into the mirror again. He was indeed shocked, what he saw there was not just blank space as before, but also not his mirror image. Instead he saw a kind of shadowy outline of himself. He was shocked but knew that he'll only get answers from German. "What is happening?"- Frank said breathlessly the moment he came running onto the roof and saw German standing there. "Nothing, exempt progress."- German, Frank noticed looked a year older, he looked like a 12 year old already. "So, what must I do now to make progress?"-"Simple, change the time of this world."-"But, how? I mean should I just imagine it?"-"I will say you nothing more exempt the fact that you need to change the time to noon, in less than two hours. Get to work!"- That left Frank breathless, and he tried for an hour different techniques, nothing worked. He continued to try, and try and try after 45 minutes he succeeded in moving the time 15 minutes forward. "That’s it your time is over!"-"But I thought that I still have about 15 minutes left"-Said Frank still being very happy about the thing that he just did, not knowing exactly how but still being happy about it. "You had 15 minutes left till you moved the time forward!"-"So the mission was impossible from the beginning!"-"Yes, yes, but the mission was not to really move the time just forward, but to catapult yourself into the "future"."-"So that’s my next mission, to catapult myself to the "future"."-"Exactly, now get to work; I hope that I will see you there." Being absolutely in shock of the mission he just got he sat there and thought for a long time what he should do if he wanted to succeed in the task. We cannot know exactly what he did there, but one thing we can know dear readers: instead of thinking of moving the time forward he thought about moving just the time of himself forward. How he succeeded in doing especially that, is out of reach for us to know. "Now, I am happy to see you here Frank!"-"I did it?! It is about noon right now right?"-"Yes it is exactly noon, friend. You did excellently, now move yourself to the evening and go to sleep."-"Ok."
"You saw yourself in the mirror again did you?"-"Yes, and I already could see my torso in the mirror image of myself."-"Beautiful, now our next mission will be the reconstruction of your home city."-Said the 13 year old German, Frank really felt as if he was talking to his father and not some kid, because German really started to look like his father. They walked into the grounds and when they walked for about one kilometre –the landscape started to look really beautiful and animals started to appear randomly around the landscape- German said: "Summon up some bus and roads for the bus to drive on." Frank did that; a road and from far away they could see a bus driving. "Don’t forget to put a bus station, or he won't stop. A bus station appeared right behind them, and when the bus came he stopped before them. They got in and sat at some random seats in the middle of the bus. "Who are those people?"-"They are the creation of your mind, but unlike the kids in the "Hospital" they are just temporary creations. They are random, and complete strangers that your mind either saw at some point or is just creating them from random parts."-"But, how what decides what they do or how they do something."-"You, or more correctly; your mind. Your mind has a certain image of society's normal behaviour, and these are the recreations of these norms… Now I would tell you to create something before we drive into it. By that I mean; create the city into which we are currently driving in." So that’s exactly what Frank did, he created Koblenz in his mind. When we drove into the city, I saw that I forgot to create the outer reaches of the city. And I also noticed that because I never drove into the city by bus the bus rode on some unknown route. But I didn’t care, I was driving into my beautiful old city, the city of my childhood where I lived from when I was 6 years old to my 12th year after birth. Out first stop was at my old school, in which classes were held normally, but they thought of me as some kid just coming in for some reason, so I got to get out of there. Then I got to my house, which was looking as it looked like a year before we left for Israel. I was so happy to come back that I just jumped around it for a very long time, and German just stood there and watched me with a smile. I just moved through the city, through my house, through my room and through my backyard for hours and hours savouring the memories, the good old memories. "Good, yesterday you did wonderfully; you'll get out of here in no time."-"I know, I looked into the mirror again today, and saw, I mean almost, my face. And everyone looks 14 years old already!"-"Yeah, now the easy missions are at an end I fear. Or not, you know, you'll have to help your brain make your self-image. That means that you have to go now to the mirror and look into it, there you'll picture yourself, because your brain itself is not sure yet how you look like. And remember, make yourself looking exactly like you think you look like, do not make yourself look better or anything!" So I did as I was told, I walked down the steps, into the bathroom and looked into the mirror of myself. There I saw some strange 3d like shadow like wispy picture of my face. It was hard to image my face back, and I battle hard with myself not to try and make myself better looking than I really looked. I worked with my face as if it was made of clay, in the end I made myself look l think that I looked like before I came to this place; as an 18 year old. "Now go to sleep."
When waking up the next morning and going up to the mirror my face was already set, 18 years old I looked! And the kids around me became the 15 year old images of themselves. That meant that only three assignments remained! "What do I need to know now?"-I asked German the moment I saw him on the roof-"Now, as you may have already noticed, three task only remain undone. These will be by far the hardest of them all. Today you shall get your brain in working order again. As you may have noticed we have a library room down there, the library is made out of all the books or journals that you have ever read. And the task I am giving you now is to read all the books in there!"-"Have you seen the library down there? It will take me years to read it all!"-"Indeed it will, but that’s the task, there's no way around it!" And so began my, by far longest task. The first day took me just to make a plan on how to read everything, and to read a tiny little bit. From there on it took me one year to read it all, from beginning to end. And during that year the people around me aged day after day, I read more they aged more, I read less they aged less. And after I read the whole library I indeed felt better, liberated even. My mind thought faster and better than during my whole life in the "Hospital. In the end I again came to German
"Good enough, and you see it didn’t take you years. It took you one year to read the whole thing."-"Well, didn’t you say that I will be out of here in no time?"-"Well, I forgot how much it will take you. But anyways, now the kids are 16 years old, two tasks remain."-"And what are they."-"Well, the next task will be to get into a relationship with your childhood love; Jessica Mann."-"Oh, that’s a strange task!"-"Yes, but it is more important for you than you think." This was indeed the oddest task that Frank ever got, but indeed he saw no way around it exempt to do it. So he started to speak with Jessica, once twice, thrice. At first the results were not hope inspiring, but then changed for the better when at the 4th week-they already friends by that point- he started to write her poems, at first just poems, than love poems. While she we must say has become a real jewel of a girl; golden blond hair, ocean blue eyes which twinkled with enjoyment whenever she laughed, the body of an ancient love goddess, the face of an angel come to earth to teach the mortals what beauty and a smile like a double rainbow, special, and unforgettable. Add to this description that she had an intelligent mind and a grand sense of humour, and you got yourself a picture of Jessica Mann. Two months it took him to win her over, in the end it was a little trick which he did not on purpose; because he was sure that she started to like him very much he made it really happen-like he did all the other things-. And indeed the day after they slept in one bed he woke up to see that she aged for one whole year, and so he walked up to German to find out what's next.
"Wonderful work! Now only one thing remains to be done, and before I tell you the assignment and before I show you the way to do the thing I will explain a few things to you. 1st As you may have already understood, the world here is your brain. 2nd I am the picture that your brain made of your father, your brain made me to help you out, understand? So actually I am the result of you suffering temporary schizophrenia. 3rd When you will get out of this world you will forget everything that you ever did here, and you will have no positive effect from this place-as well as no negative effects of course- so there's no point of you wasting any more time than needed here. 4th I cannot tell you why you are here, because your brain doesn't know that, but I can tell you that even though you lived here for about 3 years now that doesn't mean that in the time measurements of the real world you wasted the same amount of time. Now, any more questions?"-"Actually, most of the things that you told me I figured out already, but there is one thing that I want to ask you: what's the last task?"-"The last task is to speak to your family, now you have actually done that when you just came here, but that’s only because your connection to the outwards world was far more sensitive than it is now. That means that you have to make it sensitive again. Now what you have to do right now is to fly to that blue Mountain over there and meditate. You'll know when you have spoken to them, when the deal is done come back. With that Frank set out to the mountain, even though he never flied in this world he now felt as if he could do anything and even flying wasn’t a problem for him anymore. When he finally arrived right at the top the mountain, it was very cold, and there was barely any place for him to sit normally. He sat there for an eternity it seemed to him, but in the end he heard one of his family say something. At first he thought that he must have misheard it. But indeed no, he didn’t, he knew that when he hear the voice of his mother say: "He is sleeping… how sweet he looks right now…"-"Yeah, almost all the injuries are healed…"- Silence followed, and Frank knew that he heard his Mother and his older Brother talking. He then heard his other brother say: "How long has he been in a coma now? 2 months more or less?"-"Yes, it has been something like that."-"No, 1 month, 3 weeks and 5 days." Said his mother weeping bitterly. "Don’t cry darling, he'll wake up, don’t worry. The doctors said that he didn’t get too much brain damage, he should wake up soon enough." Frank was already crying, and through his meditation, through their voices he tried to tell them: "Yes mother, father is right, I will wake up, I will wake up soon mother. Don’t cry mother don’t dry." It was hard to say who was crying harder, his mother in the Hospital or Frank on top of his blue mountain. Frank cried so hard that in the Hospital he heard his brother whisper: "Look, he is crying. He can hear us!" And indeed somehow Frank made his body cry in the real world. "You are ready!"-He heard Germans unsteady whisper in his ear-"Close your eyes and think: Wake up!" Frank did that and…………
I woke up into a Hospital, around me my whole family was sitting. They seemed to be very surprised to find me in my state, and I seemed more than surprised to find myself in a Hospital, the last thing that I remembered was me trying to fall asleep in a bus. "Son! You woke up!!!"
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