Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Garden of Unreality – 8. Last Hope

From then on aunt became more and more restless. The house was suffocating her and she started to travel abroad. She’s been everywhere since, and I know she’s still cherishing hope that some day she’ll find us, li’l sister and me. She’s often dreaming of us as we were then. If I were still like I was then, I might have let her know I’m still alive and well, but I’m no longer the boy I was and whenever I mingle with her dream characters she doesn’t recognize me.

I’ve become an adventurer. As a young knight errant I’ve crossed a thousand forests and scores of damsels, formerly in distress, owe me their gratitude. Many of them had the looks of Louise, once queen of Prussia, whom, as a little boy, I adored for her beauty.

I’ve been a warrior in many a battle. I was a hoplite among the Ten Thousand, among the Six Hundred I rode into the Valley of Death, Arthur has been my commander, Charlemagne, Alexander, I was among the last to flee Jerusalem.
Once I took sail on the Beagle, had a short stay on the Bounty, too, just out of curiosity, but my most treasured experience was on board Nautilus, captain Nemo’s famous vessel. I even sojourned on the moon! Not with the ill-fated trio that manned the Columbiad, but in the company of the distinguished Baron Munchausen. What a remarkable fellow! Hard to keep up with, and sooo witty!

Sometimes, however, I find myself landed in scenes that frighten me. Hansel and Gretel is anything but funny and Tom Thumb is a horrible experience outright. Suchlike events keep occurring all the time. It’s beyond one’s powers and each time you’re glad if, afterwards, you’re able to tell the tale.
I was too young to understand much about it, but these stories seem to sprout from a subconscious layer of the mind, a reservoir of basic ideas and instincts that we share with all humanity, where monsters dwell of the most horrific kind. They rove the woods you’re bound to travel across and, on a whim, jump you from behind and tear you apart.
It is my last hope that if I’d die here I may wake up in the real world and see my father and mother again, if, by then, they be still alive, for how much time has elapsed since our disappearance, I’ve no idea.

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