Korte verhalen check: Welcome to the twilight zone
Welcome to the twilight zone
Looking back at my life, there is one event that really turned my life upside down. An event of such a nature, that if someone would tell me the following story, I would classify it as fantasy or science fiction or even advice the person to seek help. Nevertheless, it is based on a true event. Very few people know my story. Not even my family and wife. And I wish to keep it that way. The question: “shall I bring it into the open or take it to my grave”, has kept me busy for a very long time. And by long I really mean very long. It all happened 25 years ago...
In the framework of development aid I travelled to Namibia in the beginning of June 1994. An African country, one and a half times the size of France, with in those days a population of about 1.5 million people. Due to its large area and its location in the Kalahari desert; quite a unique place.
The first months you are mainly occupied with sorting out your basic needs: finding accommodation, purchasing furniture, kitchen appliances, household goods, a car, etc. And you just don’t get around exploring the area. After awhile you get settled and life starts running smoothly. Till I was struck by something I would classify as an X-file at the end of July...
Abruptly I woke up as if something had frightened me. An older man was standing in the corner of my bedroom. His lips displayed a friendly smile. His hair was gray and short, his beard shaved. He was dressed in a long two-tone robe that immediately reminded me of a Jedi knight from Star Wars. But there was something strange about this man. He floated about 20 cm above the ground, was transparent and diamonds were dripping from his nose. I jumped out of bed with a fright and ran into the kitchen. After drinking a glass of water, I waited awhile and returned to my room. The ghostly figure was gone. I concluded: “must have been a nightmare” and crawled back in bed.
The next day everything went smooth. After returning from work, I ate a bit and nestled myself in the couch with some literature. After reading a few pages, I became very restless for no apparent reason. The feeling was so strong that I decided to go for a ride. When I took place in the driver seat, an intense feeling of cold overwhelmed me. It became so cold, my breath condensed and my teeth were chattering. When the sun disappears behind the horizon, temperatures can drop very quickly in the desert but this was weird. Especially because desert air is bone dry and the outside temperature was still enjoyable when I walked from the house to the car. I started the car and with the heater on maximum, everything would become fine.
After driving aimlessly for awhile, if felt as if someone grabbed my head and pushed it twice forward and once to the right. A little later, again, two nods followed by a twist to the left. The sequence of two nods followed by a twist of my head to the left or right kept on repeating. Till I realized that this always happened just before an intersection. Depending on the twist after the two nods I decided to turn to the left or the right at the next intersection. After having followed these directions for awhile, you start to realize: that you are driving in pitch darkness, on unknown roads, in uninhabited area, without a map, without drinking water and nobody who knows where you are. If something goes wrong you might end up as food for the vultures. And then you have to make a decision: stop and wait till sunrise, return and hope to find your way back in the darkness or, against all logic, continue following the instructions. I put my trust in my strange companion and after one and a half hour I was dropped off at home safe and sound.
On my way back from work Tom-Tom kicked in. The directions guided me to a small square surrounded by houses. Suddenly I heard a voice in my head. A friendly male voice asked me in polite English to ring the bell of a certain house. Which I did, but there was no answer. Still standing at the front door, my attention was drawn to the overhead electricity lines and how they ran from house to house; forming a circle in the centre of the square. The voice asked me to stand in the centre of this circle. After I took place, an external force made me spin. Like a skater performs a pirouette. The spinning stopped and the voice said: "You have to go up first".
I was about to start preparing my evening meal and a voice asked if she could cook for me. I agreed and prepared the ingredients as instructed. When dishing up, it was as if my hand was guided and someone else was arranging the ingredient on my plate. The end result was quite funny. The ingredients formed a smiling face. The half potatoes were the eyes, the green beans the mouth, a cut mushroom the nose, the sliced tomatoes the ears and the finely chopped mixture of salad, chives and herbs the hair. The voice identified herself as a woman of older age and of Chinese origin. While enjoying the meal, an interesting conversation took place. Of which a few fragments.
Question: “how many of you are there?” Answer: “we are with many.”
Question: “Why are you doing this?” Answer: “by helping you, we are helping ourselves”, followed after a moment of silence by: “you are going to need a lot of protection.”
Question: “what happens if I don’t obey?” Answer: “death.” “We prefer not, but if we have too, we can go much further.”
After this conversation, I replayed the events of the past days in my mind. Thinking: “this really defies any logic. I don't know how they do it but someone is playing tricks on me.” I still remember sitting in the kitchen waiting for the moment someone would jump out of the closet screaming: “surprise, you are on candid camera!”
Today there were no lessons in the afternoon and I decided to use my time off to go shopping. But Tom-Tom decided otherwise and guided me to a house at the outskirts of the city. A woman was working in the front yard. When I parked my car in front of her house she approached me. Because I could tell from her face that she was curious about my intentions. I opened the window and told her in a cryptic way: "I'm following clues and they led me here." She replied: "Wait a second" and walked inside. Moments later she came back with the following answer: "My husband is working for the local radio station and sometimes they are having games. I called him but he insured me that currently they have no games on-air."
The answer to my distrust and doubt but also the way they presented it was very clear: "This is not a game!" From that moment on I did put my trust in them.
It was weekend and I decided to visit a small nature park just outside the city. After having left the city and been driving on dirt road for awhile, the voice in my head suddenly shouted: “Stop! You are too far! Back, back, back!" I stopped abruptly in the middle of the road - fortunately there’s not much traffic in Namibia -, placed the car in reverse and drove backwards. "Stop, look at those trees." Along the street were two trees. Their trunks were twisted together. As if they were embracing each other. After I noticed it were two totally different trees. The voice said: "We are preparing a marriage between two worlds."
I used the gap in my time table to go to the bookstore in the centre of the city. They had an appealing science fiction book; which I bought. After paying the book, I putted it in my backpack and went back to school. Once home, I was so eager to start reading that I immediately took it from my backpack and looked at its cover with an expression: “before the night is over, I’m done with you!” I opened the book and after reading a few pages my index finger suddenly started to turn the pages very quickly. The turning stopped and my finger moved quickly over the open page to stop at the beginning of a sentence. The voice said: “read this.” The indicated sentence read: “age 27 and not converted.” My finger started to turn the pages at a rapid pace, stopped and pointed at the following sentence: “you have to find others like you.”
Tom-Tom woke up and guided me to a hill in one of the suburbs of the city. The presence of a botanical path was brought to my attention. The path started at the base and swirled around the hill. Several plants, shrubs, trees, etc. were identified with small nametags. While strolling along such a path, you gradually start paying less attention to the nametags. Most of the stuff you’ve already seen many times. At some point, the voice asked me to stop and my attention was drawn to a very specific nametag: “century plant.” But no matter how well I searched, near the nametag there was not plant to be found. There was just an empty spot. On my way down, I was wondering: “what is so important about this plant? Why going through the trouble of showing me something that isn’t there?” While I was pondering, the following message came - this time strangely enough not in English but in South-African - "julle sal sterf, almal sal sterf (you are going to die, you all are going to die)."
It was already pitch dark. Tom-Tom led me to the outskirts of the city. The street was a dead end with no street lights. I parked my car close to the last house. The voice said: "You have to go to Uranus." In the light of the recent events, I assumed they were coming to pick me up. I quickly wrote my details on a piece of paper with the message that I was off to Uranus. In case they ever started a search party. I was asked to walk in a certain direction. I was already walking for awhile, over rocky terrain and in total darkness, and began to rate my chance for a single ride to the hereafter much higher than a trip to Uranus. I was allowed to stop. The voice asked me to look at three very bright stars. They formed a perfect equilateral triangle; pointing down. In the distance, I noticed a small luminous flying object coming in my direction. It moved to the centre of gravity of the triangle, where it briefly retained its position, to fly away to the right, followed by the message: "The knowledge is yours." That was it. Disappointed I searched my way back to the car, torn the paper and went back home. “My trip to Uranus will be for another time ...”
After a few days of silence, I was led into the mountains. The sunset had already begun. The ride brought me high in the mountains. The dirt road ended on a round square, constructed to easily turn your car around. The red glowing setting sun was hanging just above the horizon and seemed to be particularly large that day. I was asked to look at the sun. "The following message is especially for you." And after a brief moment of silence: “your father has arrived.”