IF YOU LOVE SHORT STORIES, YOU MIGHT LIKE "CRAVING TRUTH-JENN’S NEW REALITY", BY ASTRID F. SCHNEIDER
Updated: Jun 10
Short stories are not for everyone, I know! You do not really have time to get cozy with the characters, because short stories are short, to the point and often leave you pondering about ideas or solutions to any given issue.
“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” (by Ernest Hemingway - probably) is the most famous and shortest short story written. Personally I love short stories, exactly for that. You cannot read this 6-word sentence without having a whole movie immediately in your head.
And did you know short stories are one of the oldest genres around and typically have been used for fairy tales and mythology.
“Craving truth, Jenn’s new reality”,
is about Love, as all of my Stories. The action takes place in the context of a conspiracy mystery. To give readers a chance to see, if they do like my writing style, I decided to publish some of short stories every now and then.
Contra indication: If you do not want to wake up to a new reality, do not read any further, all others, enjoy reading…
Craving truth, Jenn’s new reality
“See that?” somebody shouted. Jenn could not believe her eyes. A rain of hundred-Euro notes was falling down the sky and mixed with fall-colored leaves on the ground, but that was not the only thing she saw. A golden ring was rolling towards her. Following its track, she could see a whole bunch of people in the middle of the street. The stranger next to Jenn looked at her in disbelief, picked up a few notes and left with a devilish grin. She wanted to stop him, but he was gone before she could even speak.
“Who the hell carries so much cash and jewelry in a handbag?” Another passerby shouted. “Maybe a thief? I hope he spends a lifetime in jail!” He looked around, nodding and wanting to get approval for his statement, but nobody seemed to care.
Jenn started gathering money and jewelry in order to give it all back to the rightful owner.
She picked up an ID, too and mumbled: “Nina Ali, born March twelve, nineteen-ninety-three. Nina, what a beautiful name!” She was intrigued by the picture of this young woman, only three years older than herself. Jenn looked up and sent a little prayer into into the sky: "Nina with blonde hair and a cheerful smile, I hope you are ok."
Scattered business cards with an imprint also caught her eye:
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” (George Orwell) Jenn picked them up, too.
What a strange quote, she thought, as she was trying to find her way through the crowd.
The accident site was hectic and chaotic. People were upset or disturbed and watching someone trying to help. Just as she was wanting to hand over her gatherings, she saw the young lady from the ID laying on the street. A blonde, blood smeared wig on the asphalt, next to her face was exposing a beautiful mane of wavy, auburn hair, nearly the same color and cut as hers.
Jenn was shocked about Nina’s features because even under all the blood, Jenn sensed a twin like resemblance between the two of them.
Paramedics were starting first aid procedures on the victim and finally put her on the stretcher. Someone was handing Nina’s Purse to Jenn.
“You must be this young lady’s twin sister. Please come with us.” A young man with a tender voice and gentle, blue eyes pushed her towards wobbly steps and into the ambulance.
Before she could say anything, Jenn was sitting next to Nina, holding her hand.
“Can You please give us the name of the victim?” He asked.
“Her name is Nina Ali.” Jenn was still in shock. The situation was so surreal.
“Will she be ok?” As soon as Jenn had asked, she wished she had not, fearing an unpleasant answer.
“To be totally honest, we do not know yet. We are trying our best to stabilize her. The Doctors at the hospital have the right equipment to check all her injuries and treat them right.” The man looked to the floor.
Jenn felt his compassion and started to cry. Finding an almost identical twin, seeing so much blood and being in charge of a handbag full of money and jewelry was way too much for her to handle.
“Birth date?” he asked after a polite little while.
“March twelve nineteen-ninety-three” she answered and continued to weep…
“Ok young lady, let your tears run freely. That is the best way to work through trauma.” He gave her a knowing pet on the shoulder and nodded. “Considering your outfit, I would say you are in the army? You know, you shouldn’t walk around with so much money and jewelry. If I were you, I would bring this to a bank, right away.”
The ambulance stopped in front of the emergency department.
“Here we are! I am sorry, but you cannot come in. Please write down how we can best reach you, then go home and get some rest.” As if she was on autopilot, Jenn did as she was told. Her lifelong obedience in any situation started to become more and more of a problem for her.
“Our long history of family members serving in the army, has probably taken over our DNA. We, the Kline’s are serving our country.” Her father used to say.
She missed him. She had lost both her Parents to a military mission in Afghanistan. A dangerous task force that her parents dutifully attended. And then almost a year ago her young and only brother suddenly dyed of Myocarditis. Jenn was sure it was due to the vaccine and filed for a collective lawsuit with other people facing the same situation. Another legal action was her own case, not wanting to get the vaccine was nearly impossible as a member of the military, her file was pending.
Jenn was not sure, if she wanted to go home or directly to the police. For an unexplainable reason she went home, made herself a relaxing cup of peppermint tea and emptied the content of Nina’s purse onto her kitchen table. A red letter stuck out and since it had been opened already, Jenn gave in to her curiosity.
My dearest, cute, little sparrow, Berlin, August 13. 2022
You know I love you to the moon and back, but lately I feel we are not connecting anymore. Believing in conspiracy theories is one thing but investing all your time in hate and anger is another.
You have a packed suitcase sitting there waiting for you to flee the country, because you think we are in the middle of some civil war and under totalitarian control, that is ridiculous.
Let go of these ideas and please come with me. Take a look at the picture. Remember how happy we were?
I love you,
Jenn looked at the picture. John and Nina were holding a huge antique picture frame with one hand and a glass of champaign with the other, framing their knees instead of their faces. They were either a little tipsy or just having too much fun.
Ben and Gwendoline’s wedding, Sylt summer 2019 was written in golden letters attached to the frame.
Jenn felt uneasy. She would have liked to be the girl next to John. He was very handsome and the only flaw she could find was a big gap between his upper front teeth.
Sorting through Nina’s belongings and thinking about everything that has happened since this morning, Jenn realized that Nina was a conspiracy theorist!
Forty-six neat one thousand Euro stacks had formed on the table, some jewelry, the letter, a bullet journal, an ID, and those imprinted business cards.
Jenn opened the journal and was sucked into another world. Beautiful pictures and phrases on the first two pages displayed a captivating vision board for 2022.
Among the pictures was one of a couple at the beach getting married, another one showing Nina, meditating in front of the most beautiful waterfall and a magazine clipping, displaying a long Avenue full of very happy people demonstrating, with banners for Freedom, Peace & Humanity.
Her vision was followed by a yearly handwritten calendar, a daily journal, and an address section.
The last entry was from a few days ago:
Dear Journal, I am so excited! Only a few more days and off I go.
My suitcases are packed, and my new life is waiting for me. Our politicians are forcing a new world order and totalitarian control on us. They even involve the military and if the new law passes, they can shoot civilians for as little as a peaceful demonstration.
“Bullshit!” Jenn hit the table with her fist, so hard that the jewelry was airborne for a second. “We are never going against our own people.” Heat churned up inside her and reached her face as she continued to read:
I did love my Country, but after all the conspiracy theories that have come true already, I do not want to be here for what is yet to come.
Since John is not, who I thought he was, nobody and nothing is holding me here…
It took a while for Jenn’s anger to fade. John probably was the only person, who would know, what to do with Nina’s treasure bag. She had to find him. She scanned the address section, found John Smith, John Ford, and John Meyer, and decided to call them up.
“Hallo?” A male voice, that was good.
“Hallo, this is Jenn, Nina’s friend, am I talking to her fiancé?”
There was a pause.
“Well, I was her fiancé, but she decided to go a different route. Who are you and what can I do for you?”
“I am Jennifer Kline, I am a friend, or uhm, not really a friend, rather an acquaintance.”
“Ok, Jennifer, please come to the point! I am a very busy person.” His short-fused attitude and smoky voice did not match the gentleman picture Jenn had painted in her head. She tried to collect her thoughts and asked:
“Do you know If she has any relatives I could call? She had a really bad accident.”
Another pause and a milder tone on the other end:
“I am sorry to hear that. And no, sadly enough, she has no relatives anymore.”
"I know do how that feels," Jenn answered.
Like an afterthought, Johns unwanted explanation followed:
“I do not live in Germany anymore. I moved to Hong Kong last month.”
His answer felt like a slap in the face, harsh and unemphatic.
“Thanks, Goodbye.” Was Jenn’s equally cold reply.
As soon as she hung up, the phone rang.
“This is Tim, the Doctor from the ambulance.” His calm voice hugged her like a warm towel after a cold shower.
“Hello.” She was happy to hear his voice.
His sigh prepared her for the worst:
“I do not have any good news for you. Your Sister is still unstable. We are doing the best we can to save her life. Are there parents, a spouse, or any other relatives we should contact?”
“No, she is…!” Jenn corrected herself, “we are alone. Can I come in to see her?”
“No, she is still in intensive care. You would not want to see her like that, and there is really nothing you can do for her, right now.” Tim’s compassion seemed to spill through the phone, there was this comforting silence, she did not want to end. Tim’s beeper took care of that. “Jenn, I have to go, I am truly sorry that I do not have better news for you … and” he took a short break “you can call me any time, ok? Any time!”
It felt good to have someone to call any time. Sure, she had friends and colleagues, but this was different, somehow.
Jenn was thinking about her five am shift tomorrow, and what to do about Nina’s treasure bag. She decided to hide it in an empty pizza box in the freezer. She switched the TV on and wanted to put a pizza in the oven when the phone rang.
“Yes,” it was Tim.
“Do you want to grab a bite and have some company, La Bottega maybe, in half an hour?” he asked.
“What a great idea. I was just getting hungry.”
“Ok, we have a date! See you there at nineteen hundred or how do you say that in military language?”
Jenn had to chuckle.
“Something like that. See you there.”
“She hung up, just like that!” Tim looked at his cellphone in disbelief, “but I have a date!” He did a little tap dance on his way to the locker room.
Jenn was used to get ready in no time, so she hopped under the shower, put light make-up on and a little black dress. When she untangled the bun, she had to wear for work, beautiful soft waves framed her face, all in less than 10 minutes. When she grabbed her purse, a “breaking-news” ticker shocked her to the core.
New German law passes: the chancellor now has the power of command over the armed forces and names General Fink his Crisis Manager in Charge…
All of a sudden, Nina’s journal entry was a harsh reality. Jenn did not know if she wanted to stay or if she should leave to meet Tim. She decided to meet him.
"Hello, hello!" Tim gave her a short hug and took her hands up in the air, pushing her away from him just enough to admire her style and beauty, "look at You!"
“It is good to be here, and it feels good to meet somebody new. I really just want to wash away the pain with a good glass of wine, at least for a little while.”
The above story was published in Spring 2023 in #13 Novum Volume 5,
an anthology ISBN: 978399146010-7. It has been re-edited for this post.
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