Monday, October 30, 2006

Becoming Salvish Theander, pt 3

When Harris Oldman awoke, the world had taken on an ethereal, dreamlike quality, shifting light filtered from everywhere at once. He could hear nothing except his own breathing—which roared loudly in his ears. Simultaneously, he realized both that he was coldly numb all over, and that he couldn’t breathe! Alarmed, he leapt to his feet, slipped, and fell forward to his hands and knees.Then he regained his balance, maintaining a kneeling position, gasping for air. He felt as weak as a newborn baby.
Minutes later, his breath and heart rate finally slowed to normal, Harris realized that he had been lying in some sort of transparent tank of water, slightly larger than a coffin, illuminated from within in a manner he could not ascertain. The water's surface, which had been an inch or two above his face when he woke up, now rose to only slightly over his waist. With the exception of the strangely-lit tub, which was now casting eerie wavering rings on the ceiling, floor, and walls around him, the room was in darkness.
A long sliver of light appeared in one of the chamber's walls and widened to reveal the silhouetted figure of Salvish Theander standing in the doorway. The room brightened gradually as he entered in an odd shuffling step. Harris wondered if he had always walked that way. He really hadn't had much time to notice details like that before. Salvish came right up to Harris, his large nose mere inches from his face. The strange man squinted his eyes and exhaled loudly through his nostrils. Then he straightened up and said, "Welcome back to life, my friend!”
“What’s going on? Where am I?”
“It’s alright. You’ve merely been dead.” He helped Harris step from the crystalline coffin and handed him a towel.
“I’ve what?”
“You’ve been dead. Here,” he handed him a newspaper, “See for yourself.”
“The body of Harris Oldman was pulled from Horseshoe Creek yesterday,” it began.
“That paper is several days old.”
“So . . . you pulled me out of the river and, what? Resuscitated me? I only appeared to be dead, right?”
Salvish shook his head. "Make no mistake. Harris Oldman is dead, and his debts are canceled."
"But I'm Harris Oldman!"
"No. Harris Oldman is no longer. You have been reborn! A new man with anew life! You think I'm crazy." He smiled. "Here. Look for yourself!" He pointed him to a small mirror. "In order for your new life to work, you needed a new identity." Harris looked into the mirror. Staring back at him was the face of Salvish Theander!

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