Lost Hour for a Lost Soul

A while ago Parenthesis tagged me to write a short story of no less than 500, and no more than 5000 words. You can read all about the conditions HERE and if you want to, you can also participate. I am not going to tag anybody specific, but feel free to write your own story.

Here is my story:

It happened the first time when we were on holiday in Namibia. It was the first Sunday of April 2000 and the end of Daylight Savings Time (DST). The receptionist at the lodge told us that morning to put our watches backwards one hour at 12 noon.

I have never been to Namibia and after I almost died two years ago, I decided to grab the day. I always wanted to travel, but daily life comes and goes and one thinks you still have all the time in the world. Until one day, you sit opposite your doctor and he tells you that your lungs aren’t functioning properly anymore.

I have never been a smoker, but almost everybody else in my family smokes. I always joked that I would probably be the one to die of lung cancer one day, but it wasn’t cancer that got me, it was a disease called pulmonary fibrosis. Did I bring it upon myself with my flippant words? One would never know. The fact was that there was a monster in my lungs and I had to deal with it.

The good news was that I was a good candidate for a lung transplant and the miracle was that they found a suitable donor within six months of diagnosing my illness. I would not bore you with the whole surgical process and recuperation. Suffice it to say that, after eighteen months, I was basically as good as new. It was then, when the doctors gave me a clear bill of health that I decided to do some travelling before it was forever too late.

We were having a picnic next to the reservoir in the Daan Viljoen Game Park, near Windhoek, watching the bountiful birdlife, when Grant told me that it is twelve o’ clock and we should set our watches one hour back. I remember turning the hands of my watch to eleven and the next moment I was sucked into a tunnel.

I have no other way of describing the feeling. It felt as if the earth just suddenly gave way under me and I was falling, with everything flying past me in a blur. Suddenly I was in a school, in a passage in front of a class. The children were walking into the class and sitting down. The teacher, a young woman, followed them and I felt how I was dragged in after her. I had no control over my movements. I went to stand in front of the class, just like the teacher, but it was as if I was there, but not really there either. No-one took any notice of me; in fact it was as if I was invisible.

She took out her books and I realised that it was the history class, a subject I hated at school. The lesson started and I was actually fascinated by the way she presented the boring facts. I began to think that I would have loved to have a history teacher like her and the thought actually crossed my mind that I liked this woman; she is someone I could be friends with.

For a while I was so carried away by the lesson that I forgot the strange situation I was in. The next moment a bell shrieked and I realised the period had come to an end, but before I could figure out what to do next, I had the exact same falling feeling and suddenly I was sitting next to Grant again, looking at my watch and seeing that it was 11 o’ clock. It was as if not one second had passed.

I must have had a strange look on my face, because he asked me if something was wrong.

“Was I doing anything strange after we set our watches back?” I asked him.

“What do you mean? When? We have just adjusted the timing, nothing else happened in the last few seconds,” he replied, smiling. He was used to me acting strange sometimes, because I had a very strong sixth sense and sometimes would tell him something is going to happen. I was never sure if it was going to be a good or a bad thing, and I was too scared to pursue this gift that I apparantly had.

Then something would happen and I would know that that was the thing that bothered me for days. Someone I knew, would die. Or a good friend would get good news and I would be back to my normal self. Grant called it my ‘visions”, but I never actually saw anything.

“Did you have a vision?” he asked me. I told him about the whole experience and this time he did not smile. He looked at me incredulously.

“This is not funny, you know. I think when we get back; you must go and see the doctor again. You were right here next to me, barely a few seconds passed, so what you are telling me now, is impossible. Maybe it is an after shock of your long illness. I am taking you back to the doctor as soon as we get home.”

I refrained from arguing with him and nothing strange happened again for the rest of our trip. Three weeks later we flew home. When we landed in Johannesburg, the air hostess announced that we should put our watches forward one hour, as South Africa does not use DST. I still remember it was twenty minutes past four and I turned my watch to twenty minutes past five.

The moment I pushed the button back, after setting my watch right, I was gone, falling again. I came to in a driving car and immediately recognised the teacher from my previous experience. She was driving and singing along with the radio, a song I recognised as “Blue eyes crying in the rain.” But she was happily smiling. I looked at the road and saw the rain coming down in droves. The next moment I saw the other car coming at us, in the wrong lane. I looked at the teacher and tried to shout, to warn her, but she was looking at the radio, adjusting the volume. In a flash I saw the bracelet on her left hand with the Organ Donor sign. I recognised it, because I had one myself.

For the life of me I couldn’t get her attention, it was as if I am in a dream and no sound came over my lips. Then there was the crash, the spinning and the ugly sound of breaking glass and crunching metal. I felt like I was on a very fast merry-go-round and then suddenly all was quiet and still. I looked at her and saw she was still breathing, but the moment I reached out for her, I fell into that strange tunnel and when I opened my eyes, I was still sitting in the aeroplane, my fingers touching the button of my watch.

“Are you okay? You are suddenly very, very pale. Since the other day with the picnic, I was wondering if travelling was really such a good idea, my love.” Grant’s brow was furrowed and I could see the worry in his eyes, but this time I knew better than to say anything.

“I am perfectly fine; it was just a spell of low blood sugar, nothing to worry about.” My whole life I had suffered spells of low blood sugar and now this came in as a very handy excuse. I could see that he believed me and we got off the plane, went through the whole rigmarole of getting our luggage and boarding our connecting plane to Cape Town.

Back home he insisted that I make an appointment with my specialist, so that we can be a hundred percent sure all was still fine. I got an appointment in two weeks time and was glad that Grant would be back at work and not able to come with me. I had a vague idea niggling in the back of my mind and I needed to speak to the doctor alone.

Dr Fisher is a slow spoken, quiet man, but I knew from experience that he is a brilliant surgeon. After he examined me thoroughly and ran some tests, his verdict was that I am as healthy as any other healthy person. The lungs were properly adjusted to my body and there was absolutely no sign of rejection or infection. He stressed how lucky I should consider myself.

It was when I could see that he thought that the appointment was finished and I will get up and go now, that I asked him the question.

“Doctor, do you know whose lungs I received?”

He looked at me, obviously surprised that I am asking the question after so many months.

“Why do you want to know? You are aware of the fact that I am not at liberty to tell you, just the same as I can never tell that person’s family who it is that received their loved one’s lungs.”

I realised how he never gave the donor’s sex away and I decided to take the plunge.

“She was a history teacher, a bit younger than me, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and she died in a head-on collision, on a rainy day. She was wearing an organ-donor bracelet and that is how the medical people knew to hurry up when they found her and realised she was alive, but brain dead.”

Dr Fisher sat very still and quietly he asked me who told me these things. I suddenly realised that he was very angry. He thought one of the other medical personnel had blabbed the truth to me and he was going to take disciplinary steps against that person.

“Doctor, please, no-one told me anything. I am going to tell you something very strange, but please listen with an open mind.”

Then I told him everything, from the moment in the Game Park to what happened on the plane. I didn’t yet know how the changing of the clocks fit into the picture, but I knew that it had something to do with the visions.

Dr Fisher did not once interrupt me and when I was finished, he sat quite still for almost a minute. Then he picked up his phone and dialled a number. For a split second I thought he was going to have me committed and I considered jumping up and fleeing his office.

Then I heard him say into the receiver; “Michelle, I have someone in my office that I want to send over to you. I think you will be very interested in what she has to say.”

He paused, listening to the person on the other side, then he thanked her and said goodbye. He looked up at me with a strange look in his eyes. Then he scribbled on his prescription pad, tore the page off and pushed it over to me.

“This the address of Dr Steyn. She is a psychologist. No wait, let me finish,” he held up his hand when I opened my mouth to protest, “She has also dealt with something similar to what you just described to me, but it was while she was working in England for a few years. I think it would be a really good idea for you to go and talk to her. She can see you tomorrow morning at ten.”

I took the piece of paper, thanked the doctor and left his office. I was not at all sure that I would go and see this doctor Steyn.

When Grant got home, I just gave him a brief version of my visit to the doctor and that all was fine. Then, without having made a conscious decision to go and see Dr Steyn, I heard myself saying to him; “I am going to see a therapist tomorrow morning. Dr Fisher recommended her and he said it is common practise for people to see a therapist after they had an organ transplant. I actually should have done it sooner, rather than later.”

He agreed with me and asked me if I want him to come along, but I assured him that I am not an invalid and all will be fine. That was the last thing I wanted, but I could not tell him that or the real reason I was going to see her.

I did not sleep well that night. One moment I was thinking that I would not go and the next moment I was in two minds again. Grant left at eight for work and I still had not made up my mind about going or not. At quarter to nine I started getting ready for my appointment, as if I had made up my mind from the beginning that I was definitely going.

When I sat down opposite Dr Steyn, a beautiful redhead, but a bit older than me, I just started telling her the whole story. There was a strange feeling in her office, as if you could speak of anything and everything and she would understand. I think that it is something people called a good karma.

After I finished my story, she gave me a broad smile.

“I am so happy you told Dr Fisher and did not just keep quiet about it. I have done some research on similar experiences while I was working in England, but when I came back to South Africa, I could not continue, as we do not have Daylight Savings Time here. A colleague of mine called it the lost soul’s lost hour, as all of these occurences only happened in the lost hour when the clocks were adjusted. We have no logical explanation for this, but enough occurrences to proof that it actually does happen.

What I am going to tell you now, might sound farfetched to you, but you already had two experiences and I am sure that you are openminded enough to realise that there are strange things out in the universe that the human mind cannot always explain rationally.”

Then she told me the most fascinating stories. A woman, who had a heart transplant, first came to her, thinking she was going stark, raving mad. She told her that in the first two years after her transplant, it happened to her three times. Everytime she set her watch forward or backward at the beginning or end of DST, she would have this falling experience and suddenly she was in a room with a man. He was a violent, cruel man and he was beating his wife and children.

It was very upsetting for this woman when she realized that it was the same man whose heart was now in her body. She was scared that she might have inherited his viciousness, together with his heart and that one day she would suddenly start abusing her children.

Eventually Dr Steyn sent her to a psychic, as she could see that the therapy wasn’t helping the woman one bit and the next clock change was coming up soon. Dr Steyn told me that she did not really believe much in the supernatural, up to that point, but she was at her wit’s end with this patient.

What exactly happened at the psychic, Dr Steyn did not know, but the woman afterwards went to find the man’s wife and told her that she is bringing her a message from her husband. The wife first acted incredulous, but after the woman told her some things only the husband could have known, the wife calmed down and listened to the message. The husband wanted the wife to know that he regretted every bad thing that he ever did to her and the children and that he wanted her to know that she is a worthwhile person and to forget about him and the hurt he has caused her. She must carry on with her life and find happiness again.

The wife cried then and thanked the woman and after about a year the woman returned to Dr Steyn and told her that nothing has ever happened again when the clocks was set backwards or forwards, no visions, no falling, nothing.

She then told me about a similar occurrence with a boy that got a young girl’s corneas and could see again. The girl wanted her mother to stop grieving for her and to realize how much her father and her brother needed her mother still. His visions also stopped after delivering the message.

Another occurrence was one where a woman received an older woman’s kidney. The older woman wanted the recipient to warn her daughter that she must go for a mammogram, as she was at risk of getting breast cancer.

I was stunned by these stories and eventually she stopped talking and just looked at me.

“You do realize that it was a fluke in your case. Normally you wouldn’t have been in a place where there is a lost hour, but now that she did get through to you, you should find out what she wants you to do. Only then will you be able to carry on normally.”

I knew that she was right, that even if I never leave the country again, it would definitely always bother me and I will always wonder what and for who her message would have been.

I agreed and she told me that she would make enquiries and find out where a reputable psychic that I could visit was.

A week later she phoned me and gave me an address and told me that she made an appointment for me for the next afternoon at three.

I was very nervous when I knocked on the door of the house in a suburb close by from where I stay. The house was looking like any other house in the street and the woman that opened the door, did not look like a gypsey, like I expected. She was dressed in jeans and t-shirt, barefoot, with short, spiky black hair.

She gave me a big smile and invited me in. We sat down at a table and she took my hand and closed her eyes and asked me to close mine as well.

First nothing happened and I was on the verge of opening my eyes when the vision suddenly came and the psychic started talking. While she was talking, I clearly saw the blonde woman whose lungs I now had, in my minds eye.

“I want you to go to Gregory Louw, he is an attorney at Louw and Greys Attorneys in Cape Town. Tell him that I did not have the accident because he broke off our engagement that morning. Tell him that I knew from the start that we were not suited and that we were only trying to please our parents. Tell him I was actually relieved and happily singing when the accident happened. You saw how it happened. Please go and tell him. And please also tell him to marry Gina, because I know how much they love each other and how they are both suffering because of his unnecessary guilt. Will you please do that?”

I did not realize immediately that she was waiting for an answer and then I felt the slight pressure of my hand. I swallowed and softly answered; “I will do that, I promise.”

The next moment I jumped when the psychic suddenly got up and let go off my hand. I then realized that the session was over. I hastily thanked her and only seemed to breathe normally again when I was sitting in my car.

************************************************

It is now three in the morning. Grant is sleeping peacefully upstairs. We came home from the wedding just after eleven. It was one of those unforgettable weddings. I would never forget the look in Gregory’s eyes when he looked at me when the priest pronounced him and Gina man and wife. Then he looked up and I am sure we both saw her smiling and waving to us; the beautiful, blonde history teacher whose lungs I have now.

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17 Responses

  1. Son, baie goed! Ek hou veral van die “strange things”

  2. Ooooooooooh. Let the rivalry begin! Nice one Sonkind!

  3. Se asb vir my daar is nog!!!!!! Dis great! Ek like sulke stories baie en sal net aanhou lees en lees en lees en niks werk… 😉

  4. Jinne, nee ek sal weer later moet kom oorlees. Stem saam met Kaalvoetkind, is daar nog?

  5. Fantasties, nog, nog, nog! Dit was nou ‘n lekker lees. 🙂

  6. Wow!

  7. Dit lees lekker. Cool. Hou aan!

  8. Ek het dit toe klaar gelees. Woordeboek en so langs my. Jy wen!

  9. Gits. Boeiend. Baie goed. Hoop die volgende storie is sommer gou op pad.

  10. Goeie ***!!!

    Jy het my na die eerste drie paragrawe gehad, net omdat ek jou wou vra of jy ‘n hart saam met die longe ontvang het.

    Ek wonder wat gaan die arme mens oorkom wat my organe eendag kry.

  11. Uitstekend Sonkind!! Wanneer gaan ons nog van jou skryfwerk sien?

  12. 😆 Vir almal wat gevra het vir nog – ek dink net sulke stories uit as ek koorsig en siek is in die bed! 😆

  13. wow son… jy het n talent! woeker met hom!

  14. Ek sal Parent laat weet dat alhoewel tenMiles se storie briljant was, ek joune verkies. Dis wonderlik geskryf, baie geluk!! 😉

  15. […] Sonkind submitted hers a while back – you can read it here. […]

  16. 😆 DM! Baie dankie.

    Kan ek volgende keer vir jou KWV brandewyn saambring as ek Jhburg toe kom? 5 jaar, 10 jaar of 20 jaar? 😉

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