Continuing from where “In Search of The Eye (part2) left off:
Not only was Jamba without any possessions, he was without friends, family or relatives. He had lost everything, even his memory. He felt like he had lost himself completely. No sense of direction, no past and no future purpose. “Is this what babies feel? No wonder they cry so much.”
That evening, Aila and Maelor came to terms with the fact that Jamba was telling the truth; he was without memory and wasn’t intentionally trespassing or trying to steal or trick them. They opened up as they realised the hell he was going through. Maelor told him about the farm and the surrounding areas, of the dangers lurking in the woods and about the village an hour to the west.
He didn’t recognise any of the local information, but the general knowledge seemed familiar. When the old man mentioned the cities, he had the idea of a busy place with horses, carts and motorised vehicles. Of a cauldron of people, low buildings, tall buildings, rules and regulations. Cold and cynical and where business decided the course of everybody’s lives. Maelor talked about wise men and magic and of how some things cannot be explained by the science taught in the universities. Even with all the computing power in the world, the magic of life could not be figured out he told.
There were creatures in the woods that Jamba could relate to. He had apparently known about Pingles, the Araxi, even ghosts and dragons. All real to him and all part and parcel of these lands, frequently mentioned in the news and regularly fought by the protectors of this great kingdom – knights and soldiers, scientists and wizards alike.
He could relate to all of this, but he could not extrapolate. Jamba couldn’t narrate any stories of his own, only nod affirmatively as Maelor poked holes in his memory – tiny holes far from useful to peek through.
“What day is it?”, he interrupted. “And year and month”, he added. Maelor was of course waiting for these questions. “It is the year 3258. Third week of Ilaiah month. It is the yellow day”. “Uh-hum?”, it went a bit to quick for Jamba: “Thirtytwo-fiftyeight after what?”. “After the gods let the humans enter this world. Or so they say.” Maelor was slowly chewing his tobacco as he was practising his wise-man role. For a moment Jamba looked puzzled: “How come I get a concept of a city as you speak of such a place but the name of the month or the colour of the day is unfamiliar?”. Maelor shook his head: “Only the gods would know”.
“Gods? How many? And are they for real?”. Jamba was obviously on a curiosity run here. “Several gods, boy. And whether they are real or not is open to debate in the academic circles. Most people in the outskirts believe they are real. It does not help not to believe”.
Maelor tried to induce his knowledge to Jamba somewhat structured, beginning with the close environment and every day importancies and moving outward to more general concepts and academic tid-bits of fact, fiction and legends. Jamba, however was constantly interjecting his questions.
Aila was quite amused the whole evening by Jamba’s whimsical personality and dispersed mind. Sometimes her father would be in the middle of a relating when Jamba would abruptly interrupt with questions like “What’s with the coloured days?’ and “What’s the colour of a pingle?”. The last question caught Maelor’s interest: “Good question, why do you ask?’ leaning backwards, curious: “What colour would you like it to have? They come in every colour, each and every one.” ” Hum?” “It depends on their mood. Blue pingles are sad, green is fear, red means anger. And a yellow furry teddy bear is a happy pingle. Sounds familiar?” “Vaguely… I can’t visualise, but it seems like I know this somehow. Do you have any idea what could have caused my memory loss?” Maelor lent forward. “Let me look at your head.” He examined Jamba for signs of blunt objects. Then for insertion points indicating neuro programming. “Nothing. But we should get you to a doctor, or maybe a psychologist for a thorough examination. In a couple of days or so. First you must regain your strength… Do not let the soup get cold”. Jamba hadn’t noticed the bowl of soup in front of him or it’s pleasant smell. From that to an empty bowl – blink of an eye. “Are they ever brown?” “Oh, the pingles? Yes, a sleeping pingle is brown. As I said, every colour.”
“Where do the pingles live?” “They are rare and shy creatures. They live up north, in the mountains, away from humans, araxi and others who would bother them. Pingles are peaceful and have great family feeling. Few humans have encountered them. Jamba, why the interest for the furry ones? Have you ever known any?” Jamba looked into his mind for clues: “I’ve no idea. Can’t seem to get any pictures, but it feels like I’ve known a pingle…” Jamba shook his head. The eyelids had put on some weight and he was getting drowsy. “Jamba, you should get some sleep. Let us see what tomorrow brings”.
He rummaged through the bottom of the chest, searching every piece of old clothing, every scrap of litter. Frantic, without depth-vision and with increasing pain his hands were grabbing and throwing the items on the floor. Papers and a quilt pen. A book, a notepad, a hat and some gloves. He turned the gloves inside out and he emptied a boot. He was bleeding heavily and he tried to stop it with his left hand as his right kept on searching. [Hammeraging] from the right eye socket. The pain was almost unbearable. But he couldn’t stop. He had to find his eye. The blood was pumping out so much that it was impairing his left eye vision. He cried out for help. He screamed for the gods to give him back his eye. He felt his life energy draining. The pool of old bloodstained clothes were sticking and made the search harder. He was almost fainting when he realized “wait a minute. This ain’t real, this isn’t happening. It’s a dream, gods damn it. I’m dreaming. Got to wake up”.
He was sitting upright before he realized he had broken out of the nightmare. Wet from sweat, he wiped his forehead with the soaking blanket and stood up. He looked out the window to clear his mind. It was pitch black outside. Only the small carbide lamp above the fireplace was lighting up parts of the living room. He looked down at the sofa. “No, I’m not going back to sleep just yet”, he thought and listened carefully to hear if anyone was coming down the stairs. “Only a silent scream in the dream, then. This is really not good for anything. Why the hell is this happening to me. Am I in a dream inside a dream? Is this some kind of sanity check. To see if I can take a real beating?”. “Well, you won’t grind me down, I’ll never yield”, he muttered.
No sounds except for occasional settlings of the house and the soft windy background.
He sat at the table for an hour or so before his head went heavy and he reentered dreamland. Pleasantly this time. No haunting nightmare, only an easily forgotten meadow with pingles in funny colours playing hopscotch.