It’s story time! This month’s story sat on my computer for quite a while. I wasn’t happy with the story and worked it over trying to get it to behave. I think I’ve succeeded. Take a few moments and read this cautionary tale. Sometimes it’s better to leave things alone. Enjoy!
The Scientist’s Destiny
Charles held the shopping basket close to his body as he maneuvered around a rather large woman wearing a yellow dress with a wooden cross hanging around her neck oogling the latest shipment of eggplants. He hated the things, but hated people even more. He spent most of his time working in a lab away from people. It was just him and his plants. He’d been working on a new strain of corn resistant to earworms though lately it proved lethal to humans.
As he worked around the woman, Charles stepped on a piece of lettuce. Instantly he lost his footing. His basket flew upwards, sending crackers and shredded cheese in the air. He fell down slamming his head on the hard concrete floor.
Opening his eyes, white wispy clouds floated in a sky of azure above.
He felt a pounding in his head.
A voice called to him, but he didn’t understand the language. It sounded like French. All he understood was a name: Geoffrey.
Charles turned his head and lay in a grassy field with several men surrounding him. They wore dark brown wool robes tied at the waist with a dingy cord. Their hair cut in a strange fashion though somewhat recognizable.
“Where am I?” he asked out loud. The nearest man, a monk Charles thought, jumped back with his hand over his mouth. He spoke again, pointing at Charles. The other monks took a step back.
Charles pushed himself up. He felt a rough scratchy sensation on his body and when he looked down he had on the same robes as the monks around him.
“What the hell?” he said out loud. A monk made the sign of the cross and stepped closer to one of his brothers, whispering. It didn’t matter, Charles couldn’t understand them anyway.
“My name is Charles Springer. Doctor Charles Springer. I’m a bio-engineer working with corn. Now do you mind telling me where I’m at and where my clothes are?” The monks were silent. Charles ran his fingers through his hair, only to find he was missing some of it.
“Great, you’ve cut my hair too!” he accused. He shook his head. “Damn I miss my lab.”
One of the monks spoke, but the words were fast and unrecognizable. He heard “Geoffrey” several times and thought they said “corn” but that’s all he could make out.
Much to his displeasure, the monks took him to the monastery. Back home with the plants he worked on, the “agri-monsters” his detractors called them because of all the genetic modifications he experimented with, he was alone with only the plants for company and preferred life that way. Now forced to work with other humans away from his beloved plants, anxiety grew inside him.
Charles concluded that he hit his head and must be in a dream or coma as his mind reacted to the trauma. Maybe he’d had an accident in the lab. Being stuck with these monks and away from his plants felt like punishment inflicted by his enemies.
He saw no relief for his situation and tried his best to endure it while stuck there.
For well over a month, Charles acted the part and became a monk. He faked what he didn’t know and smiled when they spoke to him. Their language was unfamiliar and he didn’t understand what they were trying to tell him, so he offered a smile when it seemed appropriate. The only solace he had came from working the field of corn outside the monastery. Out there he felt comfort in this terrible new world.
After the second full moon since he’d been there, Charles began to worry that maybe this was worse than a coma. He hated being so close to these men. They stunk, they were rude, and they continued to engage him. Sanity and patience were wearing thin.
“I want out of here!” he yelled one day at dinner. He’d been sitting at a table with three other monks, all of whom were trying to talk to him. “The game is over. Get me home now!” He slammed his fist on the table, shaking the wooden bowls.
The monks stood up, grabbed his arms, and carried him to the door of the monastery where they tossed him outside falling face down on the dirt.
They yelled at him, kicked dirt on him, and closed the door.
Charles sat on the ground amazed at his current predicament. He held his fists up to his eyes trying hard to wish himself back to his world. When he opened his eyes he half expected to see the sterile gray walls of his lab, but he hadn’t moved. Instead, he faced a heavy wooden door with large iron fittings now closed to him.
He spent the night huddled in the field of corn. It felt like home there.
The next morning, he made his way to the nearest village where he wandered through the market. A large lady was handling the latest crop of squash, squeezing one after another in search of the perfect specimen. The stalls were close together and Charles got caught between the enormous woman and baskets of apples. He squeezed through and a small boy bumped into him, knocking him off his feet. He crashed to the packed earth and blacked out.
When he woke, Charles looked carefully around him. He no longer smelled the familiar scent of dirt and humanity he grew accustomed to in the monastery. He couldn’t place the scent. It was an odd mixture of body odor and something floral with a touch of fish. It didn’t smell like any place he remembered.
Then a green-gilled face with large yellow eyes looked down at him. The eyes reminded him of large kernels of corn. It grinned, exposing razor sharp teeth.
Charles attempted moving his arms but they were tied down. His heart beat faster, his face contorting as he tried to free himself. The yellow-eyed face above continued to grin at him, bits of saliva dropping on his chest. When they did, they burned his clothes and began singing his chest.
He screamed but it was too late.
The creature cut his arms and legs. His piercing screams did nothing to stop the creature. Just before he closed his eyes for the final time, he thought he heard a voice speaking. “Geoffrey will stop the blight on our crops. He’s the antidote to the disease. Finally, we can grow what we need without those pesky humans being involved.”
At those words, his world went black.