MidReal Story

Charles travels to mid-19th ce

Scenario: Charles travels to mid-19th century France
Create my version of this story
Charles travels to mid-19th century France
I’m not entirely sure how I got here.
The last thing I remember is falling asleep on my couch watching a show about how the universe was created.
The next thing I know, I’m waking up to the sound of people talking in a language I don’t understand and in a world that looks like it’s from 1789.
Something’s not right.
My heart thumps in my chest, and my hands are clammy as I try to process what is happening.
This has to be some kind of elaborate dream or a practical joke gone terribly wrong.
I grab the sides of my head, hoping that when I open my eyes again, I’ll be back in my own bed and all of this will be behind me.
But when I open them, nothing has changed.
The walls of the room are still made of stone, and the bed is just as old-fashioned, and the people speaking outside the door are still speaking a language that sounds like gibberish to me.
I suck in a breath and close my eyes once more.
Maybe if I concentrate hard enough, I can will myself out of this nightmare.
I open them again.
This can’t be happening.
Something is seriously wrong with me.
I stand up and walk over to the window, hoping for some clue as to how I got here.
A chill runs through me when I see that there isn’t as much as a single car on the road outside.
It’s just a dirt road flanked by trees and mountains in the distance.
Anyone could live here, from Europe to Asia, but what are they speaking?
And where am I?
When I turn around, I see something move in my peripheral vision and gasp when a young man is suddenly standing there, looking at me curiously.
For a moment, neither of us speaks.
He just stares at me, his eyes wide and unblinking.
“Who are you?”
he finally manages to ask in English.
“I don’t know,” I say, shaking my head, hoping this isn’t some kind of practical joke gone wrong.
“I think something happened.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know,” I say, feeling helpless.
It’s not easy to explain something you don’t understand.
“I was watching a TV show about space and how it was created.I fell asleep on my couch and woke up here.”
He stares at me for a moment before blinking.
I realize then that he probably doesn’t understand English.
“Where am I?”
I ask slowly.
He nods once.
“Yes,” he says in a heavy accent.
“You are in France.”
I ask, feeling my eyes grow wide.
It doesn’t look like any part of France I’ve ever seen before.
Henri nods again.
“Oui,” he says.
“It is called France.”
“This can’t be happening,” I mutter to myself.
“This has to be a dream.”
Henri narrows his eyes at me.
“This is not a dream.”
I pinch myself to make sure, and it hurts.
“No,” I say.
“This is real.”
Henri frowns at me for a moment before he nods once more.
“I am Henri,” he says in English.
I look him up and down.
He’s not dressed like a servant, but his clothes are worn, and they look like they were made by hand rather than in a factory somewhere.
“What do you do here?”
I ask, trying to figure out his social class.
The look he gives me tells me that social classes are still a thing here.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if they weren’t; this looks like a different world entirely.
“I am a servant,” he explains with a shrug.
“It is not easy work, but it keeps food in my belly.”
I nod, but I can tell that he’s holding something back.
“What do people with more money do?”
“They dress better,” he says with a shrug.
I frown at him, trying to ignore the way his eyes dart over my body like he’s studying me.
He probably is, and I can’t help but wonder if I look as out of place as he looks to me in his solid brown, peasant clothes.
“I don’t have any money.”
“Then you must be very far from home,” he says with a frown.
“Where are you from?”
“I’m from the United States.You know, America.” I say, hoping that rings some kind of bell in his head.
He only stares at me for a moment before shaking his head.
“What year is it?”
I ask, trying again.
He shakes his head again, and I realize then that he doesn’t understand English, no matter how hard I try to speak it clearly and use simple words.
“What is the name of the country we’re in?”
I ask, trying one more time.
He only frowns at me again, and I realize then that I won’t get any answers out of him even if I ask him all day long.
“Where is the closest town?”
I ask instead, hoping that will help me figure out where I am at least, even if I don’t know what year it is or what the country is called.
Henri raises an eyebrow at me but finally nods again.
“There is an inn near here, not far from here.A town called Saint-Martin-le-Mault.”
I suck in a breath and nod, even though I have no idea where that is or if it even exists in the world I come from.
“Thank you,” I say, feeling grateful that he’s at least telling me something useful.
“When will your father be back?”
“Later tonight,” he says with a shrug.
“When he comes back, we can take you to see the physician.He might know what to do about you.”
Someone bangs on the door, and Henri sends a glance over his shoulder before nodding.
“Don’t tell them I’m here, okay?”
I ask in a hushed voice, not sure who’s knocking at the door but not wanting to deal with anyone right now when I’m still so confused about what’s happening to me, where I am, or how I got here.
Henri gives me a strange look but nods anyway, turning back to answer the door himself while I sit back on my bed, studying the rough-looking men who enter after him.
One is tall and lean with dark hair, his eyes sharp as they take in the room, while the other is short and stocky with a red face and small eyes like a pig.
“Who are you?”
The tall one asks in a rough voice, his accent thick and his words slurred as if he’s drunk.
“His name is Charles,” Henri says, gesturing to me as if he’s introducing us, even though we’ve already met and talked for quite a while now.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m staying here,” I say, giving him a suspicious look in return as I wonder why he looks so angry and what he’s going to do next.
He stares at me for a moment longer before reaching out to grab my arm, his grip hard as iron as he yanks me up on my feet to study me closer, his dark eyes almost black as they glare into my own.
“Are you English?”
he finally says with a sneer, his lip curling up in disgust as if he’s just eaten a cockroach or something else equally disgusting.
My eyes widen in confusion for a moment before I remember to say no.
I am not English.
I am not English.
I am not English.
Henri says, tugging at the man’s arm as he glares at me.
“Let him go!”
he finally says, releasing me with a shove that almost makes me lose my balance even though I manage to stay on my feet.
“Are you hungry?”
Henri asks, turning to the man even as he ushers him back towards the door.
“And thirsty?You must be tired after your long journey.”
The man’s eyes narrow in suspicion, but he nods and lets himself be led away, the short one following him like a loyal dog as I stand there, staring after them until Henri comes back for me a moment later.
“They are travelers, too,” he says as he leads me back to my bed.
“They are looking for food and water before they go to bed.”
“I see,” I say, nodding even though I don’t see or understand anything right now.
The two men are still in the common room when I wake up the next morning, both of them staring at me in hostility even as Henri comes in with a bowl of stew for breakfast.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a stranger or if there’s another reason for their anger, but I eat quickly before following Henri outside after breakfast, where he hands me a scythe and points towards a field of tall grass in the distance.
“Are you sure you don’t want to help?”
I ask for the hundredth time even as I take the scythe from him, feeling like an idiot for standing there like a useless lump while he does all the work himself.
He shakes his head with a small smile that makes his eyes crinkle at the corners.
“I have done this before.You have not.”
“I can learn,” I say stubbornly.
Henri gives a soft laugh but doesn’t argue further, just watching silently as I make my way towards the field of grass, wondering if I’m going to make a complete fool of myself in front of the two men who are watching us from the doorway.
It’s almost noon by the time I make it back with a small pile of grass in my arms, the scythe dragging behind me as I stop by the water bucket to drink.
Henri is already back and working inside when I enter the inn a few minutes later, and he looks up when I come in.
“You’re late,” he says, frowning in concern as he watches me cough and choke on the water in my mouth, his eyes troubled.
I nod, gasping for air as I finally manage to stop coughing, my face red and my eyes watering like a stupid little girl.
I’ve been here for almost two months now, and while Henri’s family has been kind enough to let me stay, I feel like a useless fool who just sits around all day doing nothing while everyone else does all the work.
Henri lets me stay because I have nowhere else to go, because he feels sorry for me, and because he’s my only friend in this strange new place, but he’s also too busy with his own work and his own life to spend much time with me.
He’s taken over my life like a parent or an older brother these days, making sure that I get up and eat and go to work every day, that I study and learn French with him at night, that I don’t do anything stupid or embarrassing to give myself away.
If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be dead or locked up in jail or running around like a headless chicken by now, so lost and confused that I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself.
I owe him a great deal, more than I can ever repay, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still an outsider here who doesn’t belong, who stands out like a sore thumb no matter how hard I try to fit in.
Even after all this time, my French is still terrible, the language too difficult for me to get right even though Henri tries to teach me every night.
The days are long and hard, filled with chores and work and lessons that never seem to end, but it’s also beautiful here in the countryside where the air is fresh and clean and the scenery is breathtaking.
My life in the future was never anything like this, so quiet and peaceful and simple, but the nights are the worst, when everything is silent and still and I’m all alone.
Henri talks to me every night, taking the time to sit down with me for an hour or two after dinner to practice my French, but even then, he’s always so busy and so tired that he never has much time to spend with me.
Isabelle and her parents are good to me, as well, letting me stay in their home even though they barely know me, treating me with kindness and respect even though they must think that I’m strange and stupid.
But Isabelle is quiet and shy, avoiding me as much as possible whenever she can, while her parents are also busy with their own work, taking care of their guests or their home or their farm.
They don’t have time to spend on me, either, or the energy to waste talking to me when there are so many other things that they have to do, leaving me feeling small and unimportant, like a silent shadow that no one ever notices.
I try to talk to Monsieur Dubois whenever I can, to ask him questions about this time that I’ve found myself in, but he doesn’t seem to have much time for me, either, beyond the few minutes that he spends talking to me during the day.
I’m not even sure he has much patience for my broken French these days, because his eyes always look tired and bored whenever he talks to me, his voice too quiet and too slow to understand when he corrects my pronunciation of his words.
But the housekeeper is always kind to me, helping to correct me when Monsieur Dubois is too tired to pay attention to me, being patient with me when I don’t understand what she’s trying to say.
She’s not very pretty or very young, with a face that’s too big and too round for her short neck, but she’s also not very old or very fat, either, with a nice smile and a kind heart that make her easy to be around.
I like her well enough, even though she’s not very exciting or very interesting to talk to, because she’s always been nice to me even when no one else was.
And she also makes sure that I don’t get myself into any trouble around here, taking the time to talk to me whenever she can during the day while we’re working together in the kitchen or in the fields.
But it doesn’t change the fact that my life is hard right now, with no friends or family or home to call my own.
It’s been almost two months since my life went completely off the rails when I woke up in this strange new place, but my memories of my old life are already starting to slip away from me like shadows in the dark.
I’m not even sure who I am anymore beyond being Charles Smith, who was born in 1992 in Atlanta, Georgia and who loved old cars, good music, and fast food.
I used to have a life that was full of family and friends and fun times, even if it wasn’t perfect or anything special beyond being mine.
But now it feels like it all happened so long ago that it was only just a dream that never really happened at all.
I don’t want to forget who I am or where I come from, but my memories of my old life are already starting to get hazy around the edges as more time passes.