Short Story: Nelson

November 6, 2012
Author Article Fun

Short Story
Short Story
Nelson didn’t know what to think. He wasn’t confused about what to think. He didn’t know what to think. In fact, he didn’t know how to think.

Deep in his subconscious, he was aware that something was wrong, but this could not bubble up into the realm of conscious thought. All he had were impressions of what was and what had been.

He was aware that some time had passed by. The sun had risen and the sun had set. This had happened a number of times, but he was not really aware of number and certainly was not up to counting these occurrences. He had no recollection, therefore, of how long he had been there, in the fields, but he was sure that he had not always been there.

Is a dog aware that its surroundings have changed, when his owners move house? It would seem so. He needs to sniff the new smells, and explore the new corners. His environment has changed, but the people he is with have not. He recognizes the familiar smells of the family members; the father who feeds him, the mother who bathes him, the son who takes him for walks, and the younger son who plays with him. Nelson knew, somehow, that his surroundings had changed. He was no longer in the same place. The smells and sights were different. But the people were different too. In fact, the people were not there at all. He was on his own, apart from the other animals that he knew were there.

He needed to be aware of his surroundings, though how close that realization came to being an actual thought, he was not sure. He did not have the words to describe his environment, but he sensed it nevertheless. Under his feet was the green grass. This covered the ground as far as he could see in most directions. The goats wandering nearby ate this grass, and now lay on the ground, chewing a regurgitated form of the grass. He had tried to eat some himself, though it had been hard to chew. He was not convinced that it had filled his stomach. He felt the need to eat something else, but he did not know what. He eyed the goats hungrily.

Grey objects dominated the horizon in the direction of the goats. What were these objects, of which he had some residual remembrance? The sight of them in the failing light of the dusk was too great. With a huge sigh of sadness, his eyes began to feel heavy. So he laid down his head and sleep began to take over.

Sleep so often brought bizarre and inexplicable pictures to Nelson’s mind. This night, he was back among the grey objects. In fact, he was inside one. In this building, other animals appeared to be how he was, though unlike him, their hair was cut shorter and their nails ended just after their fingers. Their bodies were wrapped in cloth of different hues. Sound came from their mouths and they were clearly communicating with each other. Sound came from Nelson’s mouth, but there was no escaping the fact that Nelson could not make himself understood, even inside his own head. The people around him looked afraid.

Now, two of them had hold of his arms. He tried to get free, but they would have none of it. There was fear in the sounds that they made, and Nelson could smell the fear on their bodies. The people seemed to have been anxious about getting hold of him at first, but then they took him and carried him into a large room, with a comfortable bed. Nelson thrashed around when they had left him, but he could not open the door. Then he awoke in a sweat.

Another sunrise. Another day, as the sun climbed the sky. Nelson could not stomach the grass. It made him retch. However, he found some berries and they were better, but there were not enough to satisfy him. The hunger made him eye up the goats again. He nibbled at the grass, and moved slowly in the direction of the goats.

He was amongst them. He watched them, and a remembrance of an idea began to surface. He watched the hooves of the goats, as they ambled around. Then he saw one goat, whose paces were uneven. There appeared some damage to one of its rear hooves.

The goats seemed unconcerned, but bleated loudly and scattered, when he jumped on the lame goat. It struggled, but could not run, being clearly weakened. He knelt on its injured rear leg and heard it snap. His teeth sank into the flesh as the terrified animal thrashed. Eventually the thrashing ceased. Yet, as he drank of the animal’s life blood and attempted to tear its flesh, he realized that this, too, could not satisfy. The sun went down, and he put his head on the lifeless corpse, and shut his eyes.

In his dream, he was back in the locked room. The door opened. Three men came in. Two were holding a rope. One was holding a net and a stick. At that point everything happened fast. With a roar, Nelson darted for the door, but he was tripped and punched and kicked. The net was upon him. Then he felt the rope, binding his hands and his feet. Finally, the three picked him up and carried him. They carried him down long corridors, and through the great doors into the courtyard. Then they carried him out of the palace grounds and through the city. Finally, they carried him out through the city gate, and into the wild fields beyond. Two of them held him, while the third cut his bonds. When they released him, he roared again, and have chase, but then he felt the pain of the stick. Yelping in pain, he ran away from the city, further and further. The men gave chase, until they were sure that he had gone too far to find his way back easily. Then one gave him a blow to the skull and he fell to the ground. It was there that he had awaked, so long ago.

The sun rose and the sun set. The sun rose and the sun set. The sun rose and the sun set. The air became warm, and then the air became cool. He had no knowledge of counting. If he had, he would have counted six of these cycles. Now he was well into the seventh, and he had tasted raw meat. It did nothing for him, but he continued to attempt to eat it anyway, until the flies and the maggots rendered it impossible to continue with it.

Over many such cycles, he could not ignore the anguish that resided somewhere in the pit of his stomach, like a physical pain. He did not know its source, nor how to rid himself of it. Some nights, it caused him to wake, to look up at the lesser light, and to howl like a wolf.

“Remember why this happened to you” came a clear, audible voice. Nelson looked about him. How had he rediscovered language. Now the thoughts began to assemble again in his head.

He had been a ruler. Yes, that was it. He had been king in the city. He ruled the city and a vast empire.

And he had heard the voice of God Himself. He knew who God was, but had not wanted to accept Him. His Chief Minister had told him about God. He had promoted this man to Chief Minister, because of his wisdom, which was far above that of his official wise men.

Yet, he had looked out over his city, and had believed himself to be at least equal to God, and maybe greater. It was at that point that he had first heard the voice that had now commanded him to remember.

“The kingdom has departed from you. They shall drive you from men and you will live with the beasts in the field. You will eat grass like cattle do for seven years. Then you will know that I am God Most High, who rules everything, and that the power of human kings can only come from Me.”

Nelson lifted his eyes to heaven. His sanity was restored, and he cried out to God in a loud voice.

“I bless the Most High, and I praise Him and honor Him. He lives forever. His rule lasts eternally, and his kingdom exists down every generation. People on earth are of no reputation compared to Him. He does whatsoever He will in the army of heaven and among all the people of the Earth. No one can question Him. No one can stop whatever He wants to do.”

After he had said this prayer, he turned his eyes towards the city. A delegation of city elders was approaching, with expressions of anxiety, but also of hope. They had arrived to escort him back to his kingdom.

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