A very strange thing happened to me yesterday, which I cannot explain. And I still wonder what happened! That’s why I’m going to write it down here. Fortunately, in the folds of my dress, I always have my notebook, pen and a small knife to sharpen it or cut herbs.
This morning I woke up in a cave. It was cold, I felt the hard stone under my back, everything hurt somehow. After a while I got up, very slowly, more mechanically. It took me a while to really feel something. I wondered why I was in a cave, why I had slept here. I couldn’t remember.
I tried a few steps, it went quite well, slowly the stiffness left my body. And suddenly I remembered Quartus. Where was he? The memory came back gradually. I had followed him, wanted to find him. He went yesterday to find out what was strange in the cave. And he didn’t come back. I wanted to know what he found there. And it occurred to me again that he said that there was a sweet smell at the entrance and that the smell made you sleepy. Of course, I had forgotten or dismissed it as nothing, since when do you get tired of a sweet scent? I always get hungry when I smell sugar cookies. But I don’t get tired of it. I thought. And then I called for Quartus in the cave and suddenly felt very tired. And now I remember the sweet smell right at the entrance. I then hid in a niche and actually fell asleep. But how long?
Anyway, I then went to the cave entrance. I couldn’t remember the many boulders in the entrance area. And also not that everything was overgrown in front of the cave. I had to work my way through thick bushes. My dress tore at the hem, the ribbons of my bodice got tangled again and again, as did my waist-length hair. Why hadn’t I just braided it in the morning, as Mother had told me?
Then I discovered something strange outside. The forest looked different, apart from the dawn. I immediately thought of mother, who was certainly afraid that I would stay away for so long. But was also completely amazed by the strange dirt road, which no longer looked like dirt road. It looked like a black stone poured over it. Since I didn’t see anyone, I went and carefully touched the ground. It felt like a soft stone, somehow strange. I had never seen anything like it. It would be easier to drive here with a cart, I thought right away. But I saw no one and no cart either.
I walked alongside it for a while, it didn’t change, seemed to drag through the forest. When I saw the same path that led home, I was really relieved. At least something familiar. When I walked through the undergrowth I thought of mother, who must have been afraid that I would stay away for so long.
It was dark now, the moon was faint. Our house appeared in front of me. I already had the impression that it looked different and yet somehow familiar. Still there was something strange about it, undefinable.
I went to the back of the house, the darkness enwrapped everything because a large cloud had moved in front of the moon. But in the last light I noticed that the herb garden seemed much smaller. Mother’s herb garden, which gave us a modest wealth. Mother who is a healer, I learned from her, how can we heal and survive without enough herbs? If there were any problems, they looked for Adelina or her daughter Gerlinde, me, I am in no way inferior in knowledge. But at that moment, I pushed the thought away. I was hungry and thirsty and wanted to go inside to tell mother that everything was fine.
I found it strange that everything in the house was dark. I called for mother, but I didn’t get an answer. Only the cry of the old barn owl seemed normal. Which calmed me down a bit. I fumbled for the key on the upper ledge and found it, and unlocked the door. I opened it carefully, everything seemed scary right now.
The room was pitch dark, so I didn’t notice anything at first. I reached out on the left to the wall to go to the table. I knew there was the oil lamp and the lighter so I could turn on the light. The room seemed cold to me, dead silence in the house, I shivered, and not only because I was cold.
I had only taken one step and moved my hand a little further when I felt a bump under my fingers. Unusual, the wall was very smooth. We had plastered it just a year ago. I pressed a little to feel the bump, and then the room suddenly became bright as day. I froze, my heart stopped. When I think about it now, I still catch my breath. The fear blocked me, the moment I felt cold and hot in one. Even more: I had never seen the room before. It was not our home. Where was mother ??? And why did it suddenly get as bright as day in the middle of the night? I carefully turned my head to the left, looked at my hand, my fingers. They were still on the bump on the wall. I only moved two of my fingers very lightly and suddenly it was pitch dark again. I heard a slight ‘click’ this time. I panicked, didn’t know what to do, what was going on here. What saved me from a panic attack was my rational thinking. Because there are no miracles, mysteries maybe. I have never believed in magic. Everything has an explanation. So this, too, I just had to find out. When I moved my fingers once more, everything appeared bright again.
I tried this several times, again and again the soft ‘click’ caused a change between light and dark. I saw that the bump consisted of a disc and a kind of button. What was that? I still don’t understand it, but I am now convinced that it is harmless. A square button that brightens when pressed on the lower end and darkens when pressed on the upper part. It is not in my head. And at the same time, I’m totally fascinated by the idea that I can make it light when it’s dark.
After a while I relaxed a little, dropped to the floor, and leaned against the closed door. Where was I? What was going on here? Where was mother ?And where, to Saint Vitus, was Quartus? Wasn’t he back yet? Was it still October 25, 1797? A thousand questions. Not a single answer. I looked around the strange room and then I saw the sign on a drawer: „Forest Museum, the house of St. Gerlinde, opened October 18, 2017“