A short story that I just wrote for a writers competition in a writer’s forum. The subject was “scar” with a maximum of 1500 words. Here is the crazy story i came up with:

The Birthmark

 

An extraordinary part of my life has recently reached its climax. It has changed my perception of life. I need to write down what happened, to never forget. I’m also posting it now into this anonymous self-help forum, as a testimony.

First some history. I have always had this strange birthmark running across the front of my right thigh. A dark red line from hip to knee. I got used to it. As a child I was often proud to show it off like a scar from a glorious battle.

It would have remained utterly trivial if not for what started to happen later when I was fifteen.  That year, the day before Easter, something happened to the birthmark, it started to burn and itch. The usual dark red color turned black. My parents thought that it was a poisoning and took me straight to the hospital. There they ran all sorts of tests, but could not find anything unusual. We went home with painkillers and a soothing skin cream which made it bearable.  The morning after the third day, the birthmark had returned to its normal color, and I had no more pain.

We would have forgotten and filed it away under “strange and unexplained events” if it had not reoccurred. The creepy thing, was that it came back, the day before Easter. Just as the year before, the birthmark turned black and was itching and burning like hell. Of course, my parents took me back to the hospital, where they told the whole story to a different doctor who at first took us for a bunch of loonies.

Finally, more tests and examinations were ordered.  A skin specialist had a theory about cyclic allergies happening at certain times of the year, but he clearly had no clue. Again, three days after it had begun, the birthmark was back to normal. The same disappearance of the symptoms after three days was in itself reassuring, and soon life went back to normal.

Needless to say that when Easter approached the following year, there was some anxiety in the family. We were particularly puzzled that the two previous years my birthmark had darkened the day before Easter. We noticed that the dates were quite different and a bit of research showed that Easter day has no fixed date. It is the Sunday after the full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.  April 11th was the date for the first occurrence and 27th of March for the second. Each time it happened the day before Easter as if there was an intelligent clockwork figuring out the year’s Easter date.

The coming Easter was way off the previous one. From March 27th to April 16th. My anxiety grew with the nearing date. I could barely sleep that night. In the morning of April 15th my birthmark was black, itching and hurting.  I was very upset, and as I had just turned eighteen I asked my parents to leave me alone with it, and no more clueless doctors!

I felt that my body was telling me something. I started to obsessively search the internet. I found a site where they demonstrated a connection between illnesses and inner psychological states. The idea is that if you have unresolved, suppressed issues, like traumatic events from childhood, chances are that you develop an illness specifically related to the traumatic issue. I was wondering what kind of stuff I could be suppressing, that made my psyche do these bizarre things to my body. It also occurred to me, that having this mark since birth might also have significance.

My mind was spinning with more and more questions.  Unfortunately, school had become intense and studies did not leave space for my personal quest. This was just before everything got worse, as this was the time when the dreams started.

The first one frightened me most. In that nightmare I was surrounded by people running and screaming everywhere, smoke, loud cracking noises.  It was inside a big building with a very high ceiling. I was riding a horse, swinging a huge sword in big loops.  Bang! Bang! All around blood was gushing high. My sword was crushing heads, cutting limbs. Bloody body parts were crashing all around, carried by a torrent of blood. I woke up screaming soaked in sweat.

That was the first of many such dreams of killings. They came irregularly, but each one left me terrified. Often I avoided going to bed and collapsed on the sofa in the middle of the night. I was exhausted.  The dreams became even more gruesome. I saw naked people lying on blood drenched benches. I saw their eyes, full of terror.  I was wheeling that sword again, cutting and smashing the defenseless bodies. Soon I could not take it any longer, I had stomach pain and was losing weight.

I was going crazy, and was desperate for any help.  During a whole year I saw at least a dozen differently specialized therapists and psychiatrists. They also had no clue. Nothing changed, apart from me being numbed by drugs. It just made the university studies I had started very challenging. I had been so immersed in my own psychic chaos that I had decided to study psychology. It was another attempt to save myself from madness.

One day an article in a psycho-spiritual magazine caught my eye. I was then more open to the unconventional stuff. The article was about past lives, and how traumatic events in past lifetimes could still affect our current existence. It went on to describe a therapeutic method where you are hypnotically guided to go back to previous lifetimes, thereby uncovering and reliving events that still impact the present. There also was a list of practitioners.

I found one nearby and promptly took an appointment. In the first session I told my whole story. The practitioner, a middle aged woman with greying hair was the first person to understand what was happening and propose a way to deal with it.

According to her, the dreams and the birthmark were expressions of something very dramatic that had happened in a former lifetime. What I described from my dreams could very well be in the Middle Ages and be one of the many massacres where scores of people had been slaughtered in the most gruesome ways.

Knowing that there was a way out of this nightmare was a great relief, but part of me was scared to uncover what terrible things had happened to me in a former life.  Or was it me having done horrible things to others? I had to know.  For six weeks of regular sessions, the practitioner put me in a light hypnotic trance and gradually took me to the moment of my birth, the time in the womb, and then beyond.

This was a mind-blowing discovery. Beyond was a whole new universe of countless lives I was reliving scenes from.  IT WAS I who was all these other persons, child, man, woman, old man, rich, poor. That soldier dying in the first world war, when a bomb shell ripped his right leg apart. That woman who died in child birth in a Victorian household in London. That sailor who was whipped to death for mutiny on a sailing ship bound for the American colonies.  It was so strange, yet incredibly intimate.  Finally, I was the man I saw in my dreams, the commander of a battalion of some kind of crusade against the Cathars in the south of France. They had been declared heretics by the pope. That particular day more than a thousand people had sought refuge in a church.

It was the day before the holy Easter celebration. My battalion crushed the doors and slaughtered all the people: men, women, children. In the end I relived scenes where the last survivors were tortured. I was doing something particularly horrendous to the leg of a howling woman stretched and tied on a bench. I felt my blade cutting a long deep wound running from hip to knee from which a red stream was pulsing. At that point I came out of my trance and threw up on the couch. I was crying, sobbing, repeating endlessly “I am sorry!”

After a while my body shuddered with waves that felt like relief. I knew what had happened. It had been me, another me in a different life. I could now separate from it. Maybe now I could continue my life without carrying that horrible burden.

There have been no more nightmares. That is my true and amazing story. I can hardly believe it myself, but as the saying goes, seeing is believing, I actually have seen it all with my own inner eyes.

My body also knows. The morning after that last session, I looked at my leg. The birthmark, scar of another lifetime, was gone!