The Aura in the Lake

10 May

“This is the first time I have ever been in Upper Bavaria,” abstractly murmured the beautiful young patient named Alicia. “I wish it wasn’t for…” She failed to finish the sentence.

Dr. Albert Zug, founder and head of the Aura Klinik, was not a North German like she was.

“I was born not far from here, in Bad Aibling,” he told the white-skinned Berliner with hair the color of straw. “It might be said that I have kept, most of my life, within sight of the Bavarian Alps. I like the cool air during summer here in Chiemsee. It is refreshing and invigorating.”

Alicia stared at the short, squat southerner whose eyes, hair, and complexion had a midnight darkness to them.

“Do you think I can be helped here, Doctor?” she asked him pleadingly.

“If I didn’t, you wouldn’t have been admitted, my dear,” suddenly smiled the psychiatrist.

Both of them peered over the steel railing of the second story porch as if spellbound by what the saw across the lake.

“King Ludwig’s palace is directly opposite us, on Herreninsul,” said Dr. Zug, pointing a long, double-jointed index finger at the majestic Schloss Herrenchiemsee, a copy of the chateau of Versailles. It had been built in the late 19th century by Ludwig ,the supposed madman and deranged Wagnerian. Two hundred years had passed, but the magnificent building still dominated Chiemsee.

“What are you thinking of, Alicia?” politely inquired the therapist.

“I was wondering how deep the lake is,” she whispered nearly voicelessly. “I do not swim at all and have never been submerged far down below the surface.”

Dr. Zug stared at her with a warm, reassuring expression on his face.

“There is nothing to fear, not a thing. Scores of patients have accompanied me to the bottom. The Kammer is perfectly safe. Everyone is secure on board.”

Alicia turned her blue eyes away and faced the calm surface of the great waters of the lake.

“When will my treatment start?” she softly asked him.

“Evening is best for a neophyte such as you.” The psychiatrist glanced at the Zeitring on the little finger of his left hand. “Tonight at seven-thirty. You shall experience your introductory session in the sphere this evening, my dear.”

Richard Tauer was a recognized master of Berlin’s Fernsehen programming production. His name was known throughout European Union popular mass culture. But his family life was in disarray, literally in shambles. He blamed himself for having allowed his only child to go off on her own, seeking a miracle cure to her neurotic thought and emotions.

The stocky blond-haired producer of filmed dramas made his way out of the Chiemsee Hotel. His first visit with Alicia was set for ten o’clock. He had flown from Berlin by Express Fluegel as soon as news of the accident had reached him in the capital. What awaited him this morning at this strange institution called the Aura Klinik? Tauer asked himself.

Following the instructions of the hotel clerk, he walked westward, to the edge of the town of Prien. He passed the Gothic onion-dome atop the central church built in early baroque style. The smell of smoked lake fish wafted from nearby restaurants. In the distance, snowy peaks stabbed the clear azure sky.

The father of Alicia Tauer ignored the Bavarian spectacle about him.

All his mental energy was concentrated on the salvation of the mind of his gravely disturbed daughter.

A medic in glaring white met him at the entrance to the Klinik.

“Dr. Zug wishes to talk with you first, sir,” grinned the tall, slim assistant. He took the distraught parent to the office of the Director, Albert Zug.

The spacious room looked out over Chiemsee’s twin islands, Herreninsul and Fraueninsul. The first contained a male monastery, the second a female nunnery from the Middle Ages. Once Tauer was seated, Zug began to speak in a low, restrained voice.

“Your daughter experienced a catastrophe, sir.”

“How is she now?” asked the anxious father.

“Her memory is slowly returning, but it will never be completely restored. How familiar are you with aura therapy, Mr. Tauer?”

The latter thought hard for a moment.

“I know very little,” confessed the Fernsehen producer. “Analysis and treatment of the aura that exists outside the body is supposed to heal a troubled mind. That is all that I have read or heard.”

“This procedure can have miraculous results, my friend,” asserted the psychiatrist defensively. “Do you know where a person derives his or her aura?”

“One’s parents, I would imagine.”

“That has long been the accepted theory,” nodded Dr. Zug. “But it is much more complicated than that. A person has both a mother and a father. I have focused my attention on the imbalance of influences from the two parents on a patient’s particular aura.”

“I do not understand,” admitted the other.

“The usual situation is to have the father be the main creative force of a son’s aura, and the mother serve as the basic influence of her daughter’s. But if the lines become confused and a parent of the opposite sex becomes the dominant factor on one’s aura, the result can be psychopathology and neurosis. Do you see what I mean, Mr. Tauer?”

The latter had a sudden flash of recognition. Was Zug laying the responsibility for Alicia’s troubled mind on him?”

The doctor’s dark eyes stared into the blue ones of the Berliner.

“You must first tell me this: which of your own parents was the shaper of your own aura?”

Richard Tauer bit his lower lip as he pondered the unexpected question. “I would have to say that it was my mother. There was extremely little influence from my father, who was a passive and distant man in terms of myself, I have to confess.”

Dr. Zug continued to gaze fixedly at the father of his patient, as if trying to hypnotize him.

“It is too bad that Alicia lost her mother at such an early age. She was only seven, wasn’t she?”

“Yes,” muttered Tauer in a low tone. “My wife died suddenly and tragically.”

“Neither you nor she ever made a total recovery from that event, I must conclude.”

The television producer looked away as he made the connection that Zug wanted him to. At last, though, he turned and faced the psychiatrist.

“What can be done to correct what has happened to Alicia?” he pleaded, his voice trembling.

Zug unexpectedly sprang from his chair in a fraction of a second. He moved toward Tauer.

“You yourself must be the one who descends under the lake in the Kammer, sir, along with Alicia. The two of you have to undergo aura therapy together.”

“Is that necessary?” asked the producer. “Can it be of help to my daughter?”

“Taking a heavy load off of your aura will aid in the liberating of hers,” solemnly said the doctor.

“You are certain of that?”

“Yes.”

“Then, let’s do it at once,” decided the father of Alicia Tauer. Her face told the story. A pallor with a slightly yellow tint reflected the trauma from her descent in the Kammer. She was no longer the person she had previously been.

Two medics helped the daughter rise out of her bed. They helped her into a soft plastic chair. Richard remained standing as the men in white left the small room.

“How are you, Alicia?” he began. “How do you feel now?”

“I am much better today, father,” she said in an emotionless tone. “It is so good to see you here. But I thought you were tied up in Berlin with your current production program.”

“It was necessary to see you for myself, dear,” he explained. “They will have to carry on without me for a time.”

The patient looked down at the rugless floor of varnished hardwood. “I’m sorry if what happened has caused any disruption.”

Tauer stepped forward till he stood only inches from her. All at once, he took her two hands in his and held them firmly and tightly.

“I now can see how much misunderstanding there is between us, Alicia,” he confessed with sorrow and regret. “Please, let me make up to you all that I have inadvertently…” His voice suddenly stopped, the sentence unfinished.

“It is too late,” she ominously announced. “The time to do anything is long past.”

He bent down and gently kissed her on the brow, then straightened up once more.

“It is never too late to try, Alicia,” he assured her. “Dr. Zug proposes that you and I go with him in the therapy Kammer.”

“Together?”

“Yes. He believes that our two auras are intertwined.”

The patient furrowed her brow. “I don’t know…”

“Please,” her father pleaded. “Give me this chance to redeem myself. I have to correct my own aura and the harm it has caused to you.”

“I don’t understand,” said Alicia with a slight sob.

“You will, my dear, you will,” smiled the Fernsehen producer.

Dusty nocturnal light streamed over the lake as the October sun set. White mountain peaks to the south in Austria reflected the dying yellow glow. The thick forests about Chiemsee became solid walls of leafy red and orange. The lake waters darkened into blackish blue. Herreninsul and Fraueninsul threw up shadowy silhouettes.

Three figures climbed into the polymetal sphere of the Kammer which was docked in a specially designed boat bed. With each passing second, the night grew thicker and darker.

Inside the craft, Dr. Zug fastened the lap belts of his two therapeutic subjects. He inspected the round walls of the Kammer to make sure that all openings and crevices were securely shut and tight. At last, he occupied the chair in front of the submersion controls.

Facing him indirectly, Alicia and her father stared at his profile with blank faces.

“We are now ready to descend,” announced the aura psychiatrist. Neither of the other two said anything as Zug bent forward over the large console and began to push buttons and pull levers.

The movement of the Kammer downward and outward into the lake became perceptible to the two passengers as they traveled away from the town shore, toward the middle of Chiemsee.

Outside, night was falling fast and the first bright stars suddenly came out with their distant light. That evening there was no moon on the calendar.

Unexpectedly, the sphere stopped its underwater movement. Both Tauers gave the doctor looks of surprise and inquiry.

“We are now somewhere between Herreninsul and Fraueninsul,” Dr. Zug informed them in a calm, quiet tone. “I shall now take the sphere down to the floor of the lake and rest it on the bottom.”

He set the controls for a slow fall into the lightless depths of the body of water. The Kammer descended lower and lower. Pressure, temperature, and air treatment devices adjusted to the outside conditions and their effects.

Richard Tauer glanced at his daughter out of the corner of his eye. She had closed her own, perhaps thinking that would make the situation easier for her.

Perhaps I should not have agreed to such a joint therapy session, he thought with increasing apprehension and regret.

The Kammer lost speed as it gained in depth, until it was barely falling.

All at once, the polymetal sphere came to an abrupt halt.

“We are now on the floor of the Chiemsee,” whispered Dr. Zug. “Shall we begin the treatment, then?”

Neither of the others said a word.

“I wish both of you to watch the colored lights I will soon make appear before your eyes. Do not stop looking into them. This should take less than a minute to bring forth your own individual auras. You will then be able to perceive them directly.”

Rays of multi-colored light flashed forth, then receded in the closed space between the two subjects and the psychiatric therapist. The fear that gripped Alicia slowly disappeared. Her father, though, still felt a sense of impending catastrophe.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, purple, etc. Color after color shot out before them in an endless spectrum of variable light rays.

“It is now time to let your auras shine,” suddenly decided Dr. Albert Zug.

The spectacle of light came to an instant end, turning the Kammer into nearly total darkness. Dials and gauges on the control console gave off a faint illumination insufficient to dispel the new darkness within the sphere. And now a ghostly, uncanny glow shone from the heads and the torsos of the two Tauers.

“Do not be frightened,” called out the doctor in an overpowering voice. “If you look down, you will see your own aura streaming from your body, both of you. Do not be shocked upon first viewing it, Richard. You will note that its color is a pale yellowish brown. And Alicia’s is identical to it in shade and hue. That is a very significant, meaningful fact to consider, I believe.”

The television producer gazed downward, seeing his inner aura for the first time in his life.

So this was what it looked like, he said to himself with a thrill of astonishment.

It was not at all as terrifying a sight as he had feared or imagined.

Dr. Zug continued to speak. “Alicia, your father’s aura has completely enveloped and eclipsed what you may have once inherited at birth from your mother. The usual creator of a woman’s aura is that of the female who gave her birth. Likewise, for a son it is his father. But you have been a sort of prisoner of this masculine yellow-brown light that derives from the influence of your father within your own life.

“Look at your own aura, then at his, and you will see this uncommon twist of identity within you.”

The young woman did as she was told, gazing first at the glow from her own body, then at the radiation stemming from the torso of her male parent.

“This confirms my analysis of your two auras,” proudly asserted the psychiatrist. “The treatment for this will not at all be easy. But Alicia, you must be freed from all your father’s aura influence. Even your memory has to be cleansed. Only then will the other side of your aura have a chance to express itself, my dear.”

The mind of Richard Tauer was now rapidly spinning as if he at long last realized the truth of something hidden from him until that moment.

All at once, Zug addressed him directly. “You must attempt to release the strong hold that your aura has on hers. That has to come to an immediate end.”

He then turned his head and spoke to the daughter.

“Try to free yourself, Alicia,” he pleaded with emotion in his voice. “Do not hold on, but let go. There has to be a total, radical change in your personal aura. A new, authentic you can only appear if the yellow-brown envelope around it disappears. Then, you will be able to see the color of your true natural light. You will have finally become the you that is your fate to be.”

Closing her eyes and clenching her teeth, she made a tremendous physical and mental effort. Her muscles tensed, her skin grew tight.

Pain resembling that of childbirth seized the young woman’s mind and body.

Her father stared at the visible effects of her effort, his eyes focused on her.

Alicia started to make a noise at the bottom of her throat, an unearthly, unhuman growl. She suddenly gasped for breath, almost violently. Once, then a second and a third time she fought to take adequate breath in.

A loud, terrible shriek rent the closed space of the Kammer, but it originated from the father, not his daughter.

Both Zug and Alicia turned their eyes upon Richard Tauer as he fell into a deep swoon. A sharp red line flowed from the side of his mouth as he fell from his chair, unconscious and expressionless.

An unforeseen, unpredictable event had occurred in the Kammer.

Instantly, the hands of the psychiatrist reached for the controls that would lift the sphere up to the surface of the darkened lake.

The aura session had ended in a disaster that was unexpected and unnatural.

Albert Zug bit his lower lip in the sunny Bavarian morning of fall.

As he walked up to the entrance of the Aura Klinik, he decided what he was going to do next: bluntly tell Alicia the truth about the death of her father.

He found his patient lying in bed, her face a sickly, pasty white.

She caught sight of him and tried to raise her head from the pillow. But it fell back down, as if it were too heavy.

“My father…” she weakly muttered.

Zug placed his hand upon his patient’s temple. It was strangely cold.

“I must sadly tell you terrible news, Alicia. Your father died in the emergency unit in Prien only a little while after we got him there. It was a cerebral stroke that he suffered down below in the Kammer. The damage to his brain was irreversible. There was nothing that medical knowledge or technology could do for the unfortunate man.”

Alicia opened her mouth. She discovered that she was capable of only a single word.

“Why?” she asked in desperation.

Zug took her right hand in his.

“It was an act of self-sacrifice, my dear,” he sorrowfully said. “I should have seen and anticipated it, but I couldn’t and didn’t. This was your father’s way of freeing your aura so it could become itself rather than a part of his own. But now, after that one moment, your aura is forever free of his. It no longer has any life to it.”

Confusion continued to dwell in the blue eyes of Alicia Tauer.

“Your father’s aura died in the lake, so that your own would no longer carry the yellow-brown burden. I could see the beginning of this change even as we ascended to the surface of the water, Alicia. The aura of tour old self vanished as we came up out of the lake.”

“What color will my inner aura be now?” she slowly, haltingly asked him.

“Blue, my dear,” his voice rang out. “As clear as the Bavarian sky, as clean as Chiemsee. As deep as your very own eyes, Alicia.”

She was unable to repress a sad smile as she began to comprehend what had happened.

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