Tall wall "rising" from street unseen

The Red Window: a Short Story

The Red Window

It was one of those days where I feel on the brink of insanity. I am stuck on a remote island with no food source and nothing of the human life I have been stripped from. I wonder if anyone has noticed I'm missing... Maybe they have noticed that they have stripped me of my regular mortal life. I have been counting the days, hours, minutes, and seconds I have been losing my sanity. There is no other life source around, except for the birds that seem like they’re controlling my mind.

Every now and then I hear from a voice. I wonder if it’s the birds mocking me or another human being. It doesn’t seem like it wants me to know of its past life. They whisper sweet nothings into my ear: “Jasper, come with me into my sweet arms.” I am scared of the possibilities that may come from trusting the voice. It then says, “Jasper, it is me, Hera, Zeus’ s wife. I do not want you to think I am trying to be sensual with you, because honestly, I am not. I want you to come with me so I can get you off of this death trap and tell others the story of the unpleasant time you have had here.”  Oh, my! She is Hera, but why me? I trust her and she sends me back to Germany for medical assistance.

It is now the year 2050, I believe. I mean, that’s what the doctors have tried to explain to me. They have moved me into two different hospitals. One is very strange but it’s comfortable, I guess. They tell me that this is a psychiatrische Ansalt, they laugh because they believe I am just another foolish American. It’s not my fault that my parents forced me to take Spanish, not German. They don’t see my lovely Hera because she only cares for me. They call me crazy because I am talking to complete darkness at the red window. The spirits around the house tell me the window is bloodstained. Hera tells me that they are the cause of the blood-red window. The guards notify me that I have several interviews in the morning dealing with my times on that horrid island.

They ask me ridiculous questions like, “Why did you move into another hospital?” I mean, isn’t it obvious that I need special help to get back into my present life? And finally, I hear a voice that sounds like my sweet Hera. She utters, “How did this terrible occurrence begin?” So, I take her question and I begin with the story of my little hometown: Walhalla, South Carolina.

One day, I was at my church and I overheard the upcoming events that the rising college students would be participating in. I suddenly hear my name come up in the discussion. They said I was the perfect choice. “The perfect choice for what?” I quietly asked myself. They finally told me why: I was an outgoing, smart, and forward person. I had never thought of myself as smart because I felt as though I was a two-faced person most of the time. I had shown a “smart” persona externally so I could be the one that everyone would go to for wise decisions. However, I was not wise on the inside. I was a very ignorant young man who never considered real world situations as a threat to my life. I never really paid attention in school, but I showed a different person to my peers and teachers. I never really had any support from anyone for anything I did throughout those years – probably because I was a little nerdy kid who played the harp in my spare time.

The members of the little society finally realized that I was there listening to their conversation the whole time. They brought me in and told me I was going to Gambia on a mission to bring more people to the beliefs that the church worshiped. Also, I was supposed to send those who took the message back to the United States to get medical treatments for the deadly virus that was currently killing hundreds each day. I accepted their offer and I went over there as soon as I could.

I met my “friend” Emily and made acquaintances with a man named Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen. He appeared very confused about the world’s mysteries like I was. He sounded German, but I wasn’t completely sure if he had a medical disability that made him talk in that manner. I said soft farewells to the place I felt secure and set off to take in the marvelous wonders that lied in store.

I stayed in Gambia for about 20 years helping guide the people there to the beliefs of the church. The year was 2039. I fell ill with a Middle Eastern disease that had not appeared for decades, polio. At the time only Germany held the medicine that was used to cure it. The Gambian ministry leaders quickly sent me to Germany to be cured. I recovered, but the translator I had in Germany informed me that I needed to stay in Germany so I could be treated if something happened again. I obeyed their words and stayed in Germany, but one night I was drunk with very rich beer and wondered out to a place that seemed like the room I was at when I took my first sip of alcohol. I soon fell asleep to the sound of a peaceful piano in the distance.

That night I had dreams as I had never experienced before. They were in a different universe where I could not comprehend the situations playing out all around me. Then everything went black and red figures as light as air flew about in my imagination. There were no pleasant sounds coming from the silhouettes. The figures whispered the window shows the redness of your life. I could not fully grasp what they meant. Suddenly, a bright red window was brought to my attention. It showed a young girl that looked as though she was stripped of her family. Then the vision came to an end. I wanted to know why the girl was in the “redness of my life.” I had so many questions that I knew couldn’t be answered by an ordinary person. But when I awakened, I found myself deserted somewhere that truly had nothing to it. This is where I feel the story of my life actually begins.

The island was a dreadful place to me. I had never thought there was a place that captured all of my feelings of desertion. It was what I thought of my life, nothing at all. All I could see was a platform-like figure in the distance. Sometimes I thought to myself, I am looking in on the world to see what it truly is. I lied down every night, looking patiently at the stars; I felt a sincere presence come toward me, but when I turned around no one was there to question. I had a different dream every night, but before I rose each morning I experienced the pain of the young girl I envisioned at each break of dawn. Her pain made me feel dead inside, like there was not any hope in the world. I told myself the silhouettes were lying to me, but I considered their soft, expressive words.

“Mr. Thrift, may we interrupt your marvelous story?”

“Oh, yes,” I replied. “What for?” I glance out of the window and notice the village below is lit up because of the sudden nightfall.

“Mr. Thrift, it is getting quite late. May we accompany you on your morning stroll tomorrow morning?”

“Why, of course. You lovely listeners can accompany me at any time you wish.”

“Thank you for doing this, Mr. Thrift,” my horrifying nurse says to me.

“No problem,” I say to the media, who rushes out of my quaint little room.

No one had ever listened to me in my entire life. They always looked at me with the same expression of disgust. These incredible people showed amazed expressions on their faces. I wish they would show the same expression the next day. The nurse told me to get some rest so I could be ready to answer questions in the morning. I laid my head down to go into the world I ever so loved to experience – the dream world. As usual, it was a different dream followed by the same vision of sorrow on the small child’s face.

I woke up next to the red window of my suite. I softly uttered, “Did I sleepwalk?” I finally got a reply from the woman that was dear to me, Hera. Hera was watching me while I slept, keeping protection over my body.

She told me, “Yes, there is something that made you come to this window. Do you know what this reason is?”

I did not want to tell her about the repetitive occurrence in my visions. A side of me believed she already knew, because she was a goddess who watches over the many people of earth.

She said, “The red window is a significant occurrence throughout your time since the island, isn’t it?”

I replied with a steady yes, which made her seem more intrigued with my life. Hera gently kissed my forehead and whispered, “I am always watching over you. You are a special person, my dear Jasper. You must get ready for your morning stroll. Goodbye, my love.”

I did not realize that it was this late already. I quickly got dressed in the appropriate attire and hurried outside.

I had not seen the world in the daylight since my days at the island. The world I see is horrifying. Germany is not the same as I remember. I see the roads piled with ash and cinders. The air is a dark gray filled with smog. It scares me to think of what America is experiencing. For me, it is even worse to consider what Gambia is like. I see signs saying Kitlarics haben Krieg auf mehreren europäischen Nationen erklärt. My translator, Eliza, tells me it means Kitlarics have declared war on many European nations. Eliza says that the Kitlarics come from the Middle Eastern countries and that they want to have total rule over the most populated European countries. My thoughts drift off to think of how my home country is going to somehow get involved with this situation and of how they already have gotten themselves involved.

The nice people I met the day before caught up with me during my walk. “Please, go ahead with the story, Mr. Thrift.” I then proceeded to continue with my story on the island.

Every year, storms got stronger and more powerful on the island. I experienced hurricanes that seemed as though they were beyond any normal scale. It felt as though they were tormenting me. The dreams kept getting stranger as the days passed. One day at the turn of the year, many birds came down onto the island and they stayed there. It was peaceful with the birds there always chirping the sweetest melodies. That night, the vision appeared, but it was longer than usual. It told more of the story. Each night after that, the vision grew longer and longer until the turn of the twentieth year I was on the island. That day a miraculous figure appeared at my side. It said it was the great goddess Hera, and that it would bring me back to the normal world I once had lived in. This mysterious force did bring me back to normal society and brought me back here, to Germany. However, when I returned to the country, everything went black until a few days ago. Even here I have those visions every night and they stop right where they stopped that last night on the island. I cannot fathom why I am here and how that force brought me back to reality.

 “Mr. Thrift, are you okay?” said one of the interviewers. Her question made me want to cry.

“Of course I am okay. It is just hard for me to fathom everything that has happened to me in the last forty years.” I replied. “Does anyone have any questions?”

The crowd roared with questions but I only had time for two. “Yes, the man in the green sweater?”

“You mentioned Hera being a mysterious force through your final days on the island. Do you believe this goddess is real?”

“Yes, yes I do. She protected me the whole time I was on the island. Didn’t you hear me talk about the storms that I experienced? I survived them somehow under a little hut that I made from a pile of tree bark.”

“Thank you, Mr. Thrift.” The questioning fool asked. I never liked him; he had the appearance of a snobby rich man.

“Next question, please, from the woman in the blue cardigan.” I proclaimed.

“It is about the red window. Don’t you have a red window in your suite? Have you noticed anything about it?” She said boastfully.

“Yes, I do have a red window in my suite. I can say that it does resemble the red window in my vision, but. . .”

“Have you seen a young girl through it?” The lady demanded.

“Please madam, calm down. The poor man has been through enough already. He doesn’t need any more tormenting questions from you," A guard said.

Soon the woman got very angry and was forced to leave the area. She fought with the guards as she was carried away. She cursed in both English and in German so I would understand some of her hatred for me. I was carried to my suite because the nurses felt I was in a traumatic shock.

I was later told that the island I was on for that long period of time was a setup by my home country, intended to test the limit of one's sanity with hardly any resources. The island was not remotely far from the coast of Germany, but no one could have spotted it from Germany’s coastline. The Germans knew of it but didn’t feel that it was safe for anyone to venture out there. They called it Bird Island because of the many birds that stayed there. I felt sick to my stomach to know that I was all part of an elaborate scheme that so many people knew of.

I have written this to capture each detail of my journey to show how secretive people can be. The people who sent me to Gambia were a huge part of this society. The thoughts I had on the island -- I am looking in on the world to see what it truly is -- were all false. It was the other way around; the world was looking in to see what I truly am. I am ending my journal here because I feel that it touches the highlights of the life of Jasper Thrift.

 

Jasper looks out of the red window in the sanitarium and notices a small young girl kneeling while looking at the sky. Red silhouettes surround the girl and incapacitate her. She falls limp and is carried away by an angry old lady in blue. Jasper feels helpless and turns his back from the kidnapping. He goes to his bed and picks up the medicine that I gave him for calming down. I hear a loud thump and a scattering sound. There are pills all over the floor, along with the tray they were sitting on. In front of me, I see the deceased body of Mr. Thrift. He must have been in too much fear for the girl.

Jasper must have realized what the silhouettes meant about the window showing the redness of your life. Jasper never did anything to make others feel pain and suffering. That moment was what the silhouettes were talking about. He didn’t feel the urge to jump up and help the suffering girl outside the window. The lady in blue was involved the whole time. It was she who started it by asking about the red window. She knew about the elaborate plan the whole time. The plan is still probably going on, I thought to myself. That ignorant society sent a small helpless child to be hurt by that scary woman. I cannot do anything to help that child. I know! I can tell the doctor. I rushed out of the room, running down hallways to tell what happened.

“Nurse, what’s the matter?” Doctor McGillian replied to my out-of-breath appearance.

“The red window . . . in Mr. Thrift’s room . . . everything from his vision happened.” I declared.

“Tell me, what do you mean?”

“The girl,” I said catching my breath. “She was incapacitated by the red silhouettes and taken away by a strange woman. Jasper didn’t go do anything about it. That’s what the silhouettes meant.”

“So, his whole story was true. He didn’t make anything up,” the doctor said.

I nodded. “I saw it through the window in his door. It was awful.”

“We must destroy that red window and replace it with a new one immediately.”

“Oh, there is no need for that doctor. The window returned to its normal black color after it all stopped.”

 “Alright, Nurse Palmer, thank you for informing me of this occurrence. Hopefully, nothing like this will ever happen again.”

 “I’m sure it will not happen again under my watch.”

Jasper always knew there was something more with that window. I wish I could know more about him. There was always something mysterious about him.

“Maybe it was all based around that red window.” I softly uttered to myself.