Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday fiction - Chapter 16

Earlier chapters can be located on the Fiction Page

The image staring back at him had a long straggly beard and moustache. His face was much thinner than he had ever seen it and the eyes that stared back at him were sunk deeply within their sockets. He blinked several times trying to orient himself to this new image. He ran his fingers through his hair and admittedly knew that his hair as longer, but he had not expected to see exactly how long it was. He ran his fingers across his face and was stunned by the length of the beard and moustache. He had known they were there, he just hadn’t been aware of their immensity.

More than the facial hair, his face had changed dramatically. Although his eyes were sunk there were tanned wrinkles surrounding them. He was definitely looking at the face of an old man, not someone who was just twenty-nine.

Twenty-nine? How could that even be possible? When he left that summer he was to return to a great job in the fall as a twenty-two year old intern. He wondered what they thought when he hadn’t showed up for work. Or for that matter what anyone thought when the family never returned.  Would someone even have noticed? His grandparents surely would have missed them, but there was no other family to mention. His dad had no family and neither he nor Adriana had been involved in serious relationships at the time they left.

He left the bathroom, re-entering the room he had been living in. Then he wondered, how long have I been here? How long ago was I told it was November 11? His mind started racing with questions he could not possible answer.  He sat in the chair, stared out the window and waited for someone to come back in the room to talk to.

It was mid-afternoon when a tall man entered the room carrying a clip board. Clean shaven, dark brown eyes were set firmly into a nicely chiseled face. He had bright white teeth and Bruce found himself staring at the teeth as the man said, “Good afternoon, Nick. My name is Jack and I am your speech therapist.” He held out his hand for Bruce to shake, which he did. “Am I right to understand that you have been living alone for quite a while and although your cognitive skills are intact the words are not coming from your vocal chords.”

“Y,” Bruce replied.

“I see,” Jack said, smiling at him. I have seen this only one other time. It is quite rare for vocal chords to go into atrophy as yours have done. I believe there might have been mitigating circumstances to lead to this. It is not that you have forgotten how to speak; it is that the muscles that control you speech have forgotten how to work. We just need to retrain the muscles.”
“O,” Bruce said, trying to say okay.

“Let’s start with simple exercises using your tongue. Do you think you can make the sound of a snake?”

Bruce put his tongue to the room of his mouth and tried to say, “Sssssssss.” It was successful.

“That’s a great start!” Jack said, “Now I want you to do that as well as this; put your tongue between your teeth and try the ‘th’ sound.”

Bruce did that and he was able to do ‘th th th’.

“Good,” Jack encouraged. “I also want you to do a ‘k’ sound from your throat. Do you think you can do that?”

Bruce nodded and tried, “K k k.”

“Great start, so I want you to do all three of these throughout the day. When I come back tomorrow we can try to formulate words with those sounds.”

Bruce nodded and said, “Th k.”

Jack left the room and Bruce stared out the window and practiced his sounds. He had no idea how long he had been doing that when the green eyed woman entered the room. He raced over to the counter and picked up a piece of paper and wrote, “What’s your name?”

She smiled at him and responded, “Monica. I’m Monica Simms and I run this facility.”

Bruce wrote, “What is this facility?”

“Well, you see, Bruce, this is a research facility where we are trying to map all of the so far unmapped islands throughout the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Atlantic?” Bruce wrote, “We sailed out of the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Yes, Bruce I know that, however through the time you were drifting and then the storm came in you ended up somewhere in the Atlantic Sea on the eastward side of Cuba. Unfortunately the island you ended up on is not mapped and we are not really sure where it is. My pilots found you only by flying over several times and spotting your fire. As you did not light the fire every night it was difficult to find you.”

Bruce became agitated and tried to talk, “So you don’t know where the island is?” but what came out of him was, “S uh d n th i.”

“I’m sorry Bruce; you are going to have to write that down. I don’t understand you.”

He wrote the question and as she read it she replied, “We have a general idea, but the only time we saw you was at night so we have no landmarks to go by. Our initial thoughts in rescuing you were that you would be able to lead us back there, but it does not seem like that is possible.”

He wrote swiftly, “What about my Mom?”

Monica looked at him and gently said, “I don’t know if we can find her.”

Bruce stared and the woman and blinked several times trying to get his thoughts together.

Monica said, “I am truly sorry. We have been back over the general area where we picked you up, but cannot seem to locate that particular island. It was your fire that drew us there and without it, the island seems to have vanished.”

Bruce stared at her and wrote, "Can I please have a razor?"


  1. I can't begin to imagine all that Bruce has to come to terms with, the loss of his family, no real connections to anyone except maybe grandparents, relearning speech, and knowing that his mother maybe be on the island forever. I suspect the time will come when he determines that he must find a way to locate her!

  2. Atlantis!!!! LOL
    This is getting so interesting. Why have they not transferred him to a medical facility? I can't help but wonder if there is a mystery going on here. It may be because the kids are watching Scooby Doo right now.

  3. Oh man. It gets more interesting each time. Love it! :)


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