I Am Newman by kjer_99 ()
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I Am Newman
The “new man” slept for three days, tossing and turning with fever. Occasionally, he would hoarsely cry out in his delirium. Those who attended him would sometimes have to hold him down to stop him from thrashing about....After the third day, the stranger occasionally opened his eyes. Still delirious, he did not seem to see the H'lomeh but reacted to things that...his attendants could not see.
K'nishi was attending the stranger...when the man opened his eyes on the fifth morning. He was no longer delirious.
He was awake but he kept his eyes shut, afraid to open them. Who was he? Where did he come from? Beyond the mad, terrifying dreams of his delirium, there was shadow, save for some jumbled, hazy memories of an existence that no longer existed—if it ever did.
There were other memories; less dim, but more frightening: He'd struggled in the grip of a large scaly creature that had attacked him, when he was falling through the air....The clearest images in his memory were those of his delirium; but if they were vivid, they were also the most chaotic. They made little sense to him.
Steeling himself, he forced his eyes open. He felt born the moment they blinked open. The first thing he saw was the opening of a tent and part of the sky. Next, he focused upon a wrinkled, scaly face peering down at him. He shrank back, astonished to find that the alien race of his madness did exist. He shuddered, wondering how much more of his delirium had been real....
In spite of his strangeness, the face reflected an air of pleasant kindliness, which reassured him. He waited, too weak and tired to do anything else.
[Over a period of time, while the alien man continues to heal, the Elder attempts to find out the stranger's name, using signing, rather than speech as the latter tends to attract the attention of their pursuers, the Bhar-kar-d'esh. The stranger does not understand and K'nishi ultimately breaks silence and speaks aloud as he signs.]
“Elder,” [K'nishi] quietly said, shaping his hand into the sign for his title. “Elder,” he carefully repeated several more times, pointing to himself. He shaped his fingers into two new shapes. Pointing to the stranger, K'nishi said, “New man.”
[The stranger] had only emotions and images with which to think. Whatever vocabulary he had known was hidden behind the dark wall of his memory. In hearing the alien speech, he instinctively sensed what he had once had, and now lacked. That loss devastated him, leaving an emptiness that quickly filled with helpless terror...Eyes wide open with fright, he sat up, grabbing the old man's upper arm in a tight grip. [K'nishi gently removes his fingers from his arm and crooned, “New man,” over and over.]
The old man pulled him against his chest. [K'nishi] stroked his head until he allowed [his] hypnotic murmurings and the soothing strokes to relax him....
“New man,” repeated the old man, pointing a gnarled finger at him. The Elder repeated the phrase until he nodded weakly. After a while, he fell asleep, exhausted by the effort to communicate.
When he awoke, the old one was still sitting beside him. He had no idea whether he had slept for days or only a few moments. Vaguely, he sensed there had been dreams.
CONTINUED IN THE FIRST COMMENT BELOW. PLEASE CONTINUE READING.
From my book manuscript, "The B'ha'an: The Gift from the Sea," copyright 1972, 1994.
Image Comments (9)
This time, another sound came ringing through the man's mind, forming and growing stronger. New man. He could see [in his mind] the fingers of the Elder forming the signs for each word. Desperately, almost gladly, he seized upon the identity which the [Elder] had offered him. With effort, he stammered, “N-new ma—maaan.” The old man stared at him thoughtfully, then smiled , nodding in agreement. Worn out by the struggle to remember, the stranger's consciousness slowly winked away into a deep slumber. By the time a fort-trine had passed, the H'lomeh had slurred the two parts of Newman's name into one word. It was a gradual process. Neither he nor his companions could have said when he became Newman. The name fit him well and, when some of the H'lomeh suggested he formally change it to a more appropriate [H'lomeh] name, he firmly resisted the idea. “It suits me.” ______________________ From my book manuscript, "The B'ha'an: The Gift from the Sea," copyright 1972, 1994.