The Search

by Alex Haverfield

 

An old man goes in search of his brother. He travels with great difficulty through uncharted territories of the deep south and then again of the far north. He enters a village where no one speaks his language and although they make sounds, he, in fact, cannot be certain they have any language at all. On noticing his arrival, the villagers gather curiously around him. Some make noises and he is uncertain whether the noises are directed at him or from one villager to another. Iím looking for my brother, says the old man doubtfully, as he has said doubtfully or hopefully, sometimes more hopefully, then again sometimes -- as in this case -- more doubtfully, in every village he has entered. At first the villagers stare at the him and some of them again make noises and again the old man is uncertain whether these noises are directed at him or from one villager to another, or whether, in fact, these noises have no direction at all. During the unappreciable time the old man has spent in uncertainty, most of the villagers have lost interest in him and now they ignore him and turn away from him. They make noises at each other but he cannot be certain that they respond to each otherís noises. Finally one comes up to him and he is led by this one to a small house. The house is divided in two by a thin wall. The old man is directed into one half of the house. There is a bed and the one who has brought him may gesture towards it. Exhausted and overtaxed by his journey the old man takes to the bed. During the night his sleep is often disturbed by groaning like the wind passing through the other half of the house, seeping to him through the thin wall. In the morning the old man is more exhausted and overtaxed than ever, in fact totally spent, and moreover he finds himself ill. He battles his sickness for several days before lapsing into a coma, dying a month later never knowing that in the opposite half of the house, separated from him by but a thin wall, or one could say, two doors, his brother lies dying and expecting him.

 

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