The Soul keeper and the Guardian, Chapter – 1

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A soothing breeze marked the end of this treacherous journey I’ve been on for the last three days. I’ve ridden Sheena for years through worse conditions but it hurts me to have her go on such expeditions in this age. For all she’s been through, she needs to laze around in a nice ranch in her final weeks. I could feel the delight in her bounce as we grew closer to our destination. Yet, this was not about finally making it to the place. There was something delightful about this town. Unlike the rest of the settlements in the west, this was the only place that felt alive. The scorching heat was now behind us and a unique warmth welcomed us inside.

The town was perfectly holed up in the valley of these dusty mountains while a spread of wild shrubbery masked the face of the town, making for a convenient camoflauge. It was unnerving to see such luscious greenery in the west, especially in the wild. There was a mile of road through the forest to go through. Judging by the parallel cavity tracks, caravans were the only ones to use the road. The fresh wind of the jungle revived Sheena’s gloomy old face. It had been years since we’ve ever been inside a jungle. Halfway through, I stopped in my tracks as soon as I heard a tiny squeak. I waited for a few seconds and heard two more. My eyes darted in the direction of the sound where I spotted two big brown squirrels.

‘Impossible’, I muttered and slowly got down from Sheena. With muffled footsteps, I walked in their direction to get a closer look. I questioned my conscience if it was worth to hunt the probably last pair of squirrels in the world even if it were to fetch me a full bag of gold. While I got closer, thier tails suddenly shot up and they darted inside the forest. They didn’t even notice me. They probably heard something inside. I decided to spend my good time on following these squirrels. Watchfully, I creeped through the place like a sharp reptile hoping to catch a glimpse of another extinct being.

The ground beneath me looked like a field of little lights from the rays being scattered across by the meshy trees overhead. Through the tiny crunches of dry leaves at every footstep, I could hear a faint orchestra of birds chirping. I was startled to see birds flock a young boy on his knees on the ground, tending to something. The two bluebirds on his shoulder flew away as I approached him slowly. He was holding an injured sparrow in his hands that was bleeding profusely from it’s leg. I stood there for a few seconds observing and he still didn’t seem to notice me even though I stood just behind him.

‘You need to tie it up before it’s too late’ I exclaimed clearly. He turned behind to face me. My sudden appearence didn’t seem to startle him one bit. The boy was young. Probably younger than 15. His jet black hair grew down to his shoulders  and he had a slender build. His sad eyes oozed empathy which made me feel emptier inside. ‘My house is an hour away sire. I don’t think she has so much time’ I could smell his sadness in the air, a sadness so pure and true which would only result from a loss too personal.

‘Don’t worry lad. Let me fix her up for ya’ I drew a fresh rag out of my jacket. It was too large for a bandage so I cut a third of it. He handed me the bird and I wrapped the rag tightly around it’s leg. It quivered with pain but never made a single sound. ‘Well, that should keep her alive for now. She’s fully grown so she’ll recover soon as long as she gets enough to eat. I’m sure you can take care of that.’ I handed him back his bird and a bright smile tore up on his face. Again, joy. As pure as that of an infant’s that gets the attention of its mother when it seeks. In the dark world which I come from, seeing something like that is as rare as spotting a squirrel. Even from kids his age.

‘Thank you kind sir’, he exclaimed with a new found energy. ‘I don’t know how to repay you. You saved my friend’s life!’ His happiness was infectious as I felt a smile take shape on my face. ‘There’s no need for that Sonny. You’re the kind of person that a rotten world like this needs. No wonder you people still have the greens around you. Feels like a trace of soul still looms in this place.’ He was puzzled with everything I said. His confusion made sense. These people have been living in total seclusion. They have no idea about the world outside. ‘Just stay the way you are. You seem to understand what’s most important’ I said heartily while I patted him on his shoulder.

A sudden chill ran up my spine. My hand reached the handle of my holstered dagger while I shook my head around looking for anything abnormal. I could feel like I was being watched, with malice. A hundred watchful eyes all around me, yet I couldn’t see a single person. The boy was taken aback with my perplexedness. A few seconds later, I could hear them moving. The leaves on the ground crunched, the branches around me creaked and wings flapped. I was being watched, not by people but by beasts. All kinds of beasts. From lizards to birds. From cats to hounds. Every beast around me felt like a cornered animal. One ready to fight with all its might to survive. A beast pushed so deep into desperation that it is ready to defy every law of nature to survive.

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I stood around with total awareness while the gaze of the animals around me grew weaker. My hearbeat became more stable with every passing second. What did I do to trigger a response like that? I looked at the boy standing beside me, completely confused about what was going on. ‘Mister, are you all right?’ he asked me gently. I hadn’t gathered myself fully yet. I kept staring at him without anything to answer. I had grown so accustomed to conflict that it didn’t faze me anymore. Ten people trying to choke me to death in a bar was a weekly thing. It never gave me the shakes. Violence was just another small part of my life. Yet this was something else, something I’ve never had to face. It was as if I was facing the gruesome wrath of nature. There was nothing I could do.

Suddenly, my mind cleared. For some reason, I wanted to pat the boy again. It was very clear to me that this was what I had to. ‘It’s nothing lad, just got spooked for no reason’. I took a step towards him and gave him another pat on his shoulder. I felt the rush again. The rush of fear. Every strand of hair on my body shot up while I tried my best not to look spooked again. I felt the same malice flowing from every direction. This time my heart started beating even faster. I could feel myself breath faster. I felt stupid for even considering it. There’s no way that’s true. I looked at the boy again.

‘Boy, do you remember the last time you fell sick?’ I asked him. He looked at me with astonishment. He looked at me as if he had always expected someone to ask him about this and was baffled by the odds. ‘No. I don’t remember the last time I was sick. It’s strange, I asked my mother about this and she told me that I was stronger than the rest of the kids in town which is why I never got sick. But, why did you ask me this? Did something give it away?’

I tried my best to handle my shock. After standing frozen still for three seconds, I responded with a ‘heh, no reason’ with a quirky half smile. This could just be a co-incidence. Maybe it’s the town. These people live a cultured life. Maybe the boy just got lucky.

‘Don’t mind me. I don’t know why I say the things I do. But tell me, how old are you’, I asked him hoping that I was wrong. ‘I just turned fourteen two moons ago’ he said heartily, exclaiming how proud he was to be a year older than he was. I didn’t share his enthusiasm. I was getting all the answers I didn’t want to hear. There was no way this was happening. All logic told me that it was impossible but my gut wasn’t ready to give up yet.

‘Hey, have you ever seen a squirrel around these parts?’ I asked him. A question like that on the mainland would make people assume that I was insane.

‘Yes! There are so many squirrels here. As a matter of fact, two of them are here right now’. I got more and more nervous by the second. ‘Do you see them?’ I asked him.

‘No, but I know they’re here’ he said as a matter of factly.

‘You just know!?’ I asked him while wearing a very confused look on my face and he nodded in response as if it was something very normal. For some reason, I uttered a question without thinking. ‘Can you…. call them here?’ I asked him with a shameful pause halfway.

‘Yeah, sure’. He stared behind  me and stood there without doing anything. He didn’t call out or even move a muscle. His empty stare was asnwered with some ruffling behind me. Two squirrels came sprinting from behind me from both sides and they ran up on his shoulder and started circling around while trying to maintain their grip on his shirt. The boy giggled as they crawled on him lovingly. They finally found a seat. One on his left shoulder and the other on the top of his head. The three of them looked at me.  ‘This is Shawna and this is Randall’ he pointed at both the squirrels on him. I tried my best to get this over with my sanity intact.

‘Charming friends you have there. What’s your name again?’ I asked him.

‘Edward. Edward Forrest. But my friends call me Ed. You can too.’ He answered. I forced a smile upon my face. ‘Well Ed, I have some urgent business to tend to. I’ll be seeing you again.’ I waved him goodbye and walked back to my horse at an abnormally fast pace. Sweat rolled down my face while my heart still pounded heavily.

‘No’

‘There’s no way’

‘Fourteen years! Someone should have noticed’

I kept muttering to myself on my way back. I untied Sheena’s hitch from the tree and hopped on. I looked back at the direction I came from.

“There’s no way he’s a soul keeper! They killed them all”

(Unnamed Story)-Chapter 11: The Letter

Dear Bennet & Ingram,

When you read this I would’ve left. Don’t worry I’m strong I will be alright. I know what I am doing is not right. I know how cruel this world is, I’ve seen it. You both have gone through a lot already, I have to do this on my own. Please do not come looking for me. I promise I’ll be back.

Bennet and Ingram, A lot has happened to me when we first came to Axinite. I lied a lot to you Ben, every day you were at work I used to go out in search of any small information on Ingram, Daisy And Elia. I have been to the worst parts of Hauyne and Vesuvanite. I was scared, I did not know why I was even going there but I had to. I had to for all of us to be together. I knew these were the places that would have all the inside and darkest secrets of this kingdom. It was this one day where I was in one of these places I knew something was wrong, people had already seen me here a few times but I wouldn’t give up going back because I needed the information. I knew I had to walk away from here but I was already too deep into the streets, I could see 3 men in cloaks from the corner of my eye. I slowly broke into a fast paced walk but it was no use, I stopped and decided to confront them. I don’t think they had any guts in them, they were young adults trying to be tough. They said horrid things to me, they came ever so close to me but I stood my ground. None of them even touched me, but they asked me to sleep with each one of them for if she wanted any information about her family. My conscience is as straight as possible Ben. I will do anything for my family, but I will also do nothing that will hurt them. It’s this thought that gave me more strength, made me stronger. I stood my ground against all the harassment, I kept our integrity intact. I was once asked whether I would like to go to Dybbukh and work in the palace there. I knew what I had to do to live there because I had heard enough about that place. I considered going there but I couldn’t leave you alone, I couldn’t lose everyone around me even though I knew that Dybbukh was the best gamble. Now I have Ingram to stay with you, I trust you with my life Ingram that’s why I am leaving for Dybbukh this time. Trust me with this.

Love,Clarice.

         “NO!” Bennet shouted. The ever so calm Bennet had lost it. He threw everything in sight to the ground. Broken shards of pots and vase covered the floor.

         Ingram stared at the letter, “How could you do this, how could you! You said we’d find them together. You said whatever we do we do it together.” He whispered into the letter.

        They picked up a torch, their coats and the letter and left the house without even knowing what they were going to do.

         Night had fallen fast upon the land. No more than an hour ago the sky was painted with hues of red, orange and pink, but all colour had faded away leaving only a matt black canvas with no stars to be looked upon. The darkness was thick and the torch they carried hardly lit his path allowing him to see at most an arm’s reach in front of himself and the thoughts about where Clarice was made the walk worse for them.
Other than the darkness all that seemed to exist was the chilly wind’s harsh bite could be felt through their cloaks. He could feel the hair on his arm raised and the bite of the wind had left its marks in the form of small bumps that were tingling on their arms, but these bites were just on the flesh. There was something more hurtful going on inside them. The flames of their torch may have looked as though they burned warm, but their heat did never reach their hearts.

              They reached the main street of Hauyne.

             “Ben you go check the docks here and I’ll go to Vesuvanite. We meet here in    2 hours. There are no more exits right?”

           “There is one more, in Krifmont but it’s for the king’s personal use. So it cannot be used by us. She has to be here. Let’s get her back.” They hugged each other and left. Ingram passed on the torch to Bennet because he knew Vesuvanite had  lights on their street

           Ingram reached the docks. Far into his sight was a woman lying on the floor. Her golden curls shone bright, but Ingram’s face had lost all its light. He begged and prayed for her not be Clarice but he knew it was from the very first sight. With every step of his run his heart pounded harder, he reached her. He was shivering uncontrollably, but it was not the cold that was doing it.

            A streak of red rolled out of Clarice’s head and onto the floor. Ingram fell to his knees beside her. She was as cold as the night and her cloak was torn and had fallen a few feet away from her.

           “Clar! What have you done.”

For chapter 1: Chapter 1 : Emancipation

Two Codes Ahead

 i__robot_by_mg_iii-d8zc7qu.jpg        There was a steel table in the center of that room without windows. A bright light hung right above the table. He sat there, waiting. Two men stood near the door, outside the room.

         “There is no smoking inside.” Abner held the door obstructing Brock’s way.

          “Oh!ok!” Brock took three quick puffs, put down his cigarette and extinguished it. They entered the room, closing the door behind.

           “You think we can make him do it?” asked Brock.

          “Sure. She is a robot, made to obey the Three Law” said Abner.

         “Yeah, yeah I know. Don’t injure a human or cause harm to a human through inaction, obey orders given by humans except when in conflict with the first law.Protect self unless that is in conflict with first two laws. But, I don’t get how she will listen to us. Isn’t that breaking the second law?”

         “Well, that’s what the first law is for, isn’t it?”

         “I’m listening.”

         “You see. The robot would do anything to save its owner, Dr.Clyde. We have her hostage. By the first law, the robot has to obey our commands because she would die in our hands otherwise. She cannot cause her harm through his inaction.”

         “I see.”

         “It is a simple job. He breaks into the bank. Gets the money and gets out. Wham bam! Thank you ma’am!”

          “Do you think she would kill us, like right now? Wouldn’t that help her save his owner and get out of this sticky situation?”

           “Well, she can’t. The first law prohibits him from killing any human, including us. It is such a strong law, I can’t stop falling in love with it! I wish we had these robots twenty years ago when I started out in my career. I could have retired by now!”

          “Can she hear us? She looks so eerie sitting on that chair with his gaze transfixed on the wall. Would she be pissed off at us?”

          The robot batted its eyelids and turned to look at both of them.

           “Robots don’t have emotion. She is probably calculating how he will accomplish his goal. You have 24 hours to complete the job! Come on, let’s go.”

           The robot stood up.

         “You have 20 seconds to surrender. This place is surrounded by the police. They have Dr. Clyde in safe custody. I called them hours ago and gave them this location.”

         Brock and Abner listened in disbelief.

         She walked up to the door and opened it. “This way, gentlemen!”

Drowning In The Rain

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This rain that has been brooding over me,

Has decided to fall out of the dark clouds around my empty eyes.

This rain that has been threatening me has decided to spill my heart out,

And the thunder it brings will tear me apart,

But it’s only a matter of time,

I suppose, until the ground of my swollen eyelids close.

And I block everything out,

But the sound of the rain, splashing against my skin.

The feel of the water as it rushes through my veins.

I’ll cry out in vain,

Searching for anyone to make me feel sane.
I’ll blind myself to pain,

Thinking that everything is better with nothing.
I’ll breathe in the water,

Hoping for salvation as I suffer.
I’ll burn as I drown,

In furious rivulets of doubt.

Thinking of no one as the water rushes me away,

Plays with my hair as it brushes my face.

I feel the sting of the ice in the drops,

Tear through my skin as they slice through the air in my lungs,

That whooshes out as I realize that I’ve been stung.

My blood flows colder as the wind whips my hair into my eyes.

And the rain has blinded me again,

But it’s for my own good because it gets rid of the sight of you leaving.

I’ll cry out in vain,

Searching for anyone to make me feel sane.
I’ll blind myself to pain,

Thinking that everything is better with nothing.
I’ll breathe in the water,

Hoping for salvation as I suffer.
I’ll burn as I drown,

In furious rivulets of doubt.

And when realization hits,

I’ll fall into bits and pieces of nothingness.

I’ll wonder how it got so far, and went so long without a problem, 

Until I fell headlong into love,

Dark ocean of rain and weightlessness,

My salvation and my biggest regret,

Invisible up in the clouds of my mind,

But obvious to the heartbeat of timeless romance.

When The Sun Decides To Leave

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When the sun melts into night,
and when the light falls from the sky,
when the cold seeps into sleep,
and the angels dearly weep silver tears
onto the velvet black midnight.

When the wolves come out to scream,
and when the shadows start dancing,
When the world is black and white,
and the moon is dimly bright.
When the clouds have cleared away,
and the horrors come to stay.

When the night outside is freezing,
and the branches are gently swaying,
creating black spider-webbing shadows
on the grass sheathed in frost.
I swear to watch out when I’m alone,
in this pitch black of sorrow.

When you’ve left me stone, yet hollow
in the depths of this nightmarish place.
When what my mind used to be
was swaying green trees in distant spring,
when the golden light of heaven sings
a birdsong-encrusted melody.

And the fire in my heart would weep
burning tears of empathy
for a fellow lover bound and chained
by the sun’s amazing grace,
and when I would call my love to you,
and you would run screaming from me,
like I was part of this dark place,
instead of a gentle flame burning,
shedding light instead of ebony,
waiting to quench your soul with golden rays
and burn away all the tears on your face.
Was that too much to give away?
Am I too passionate for darkness?

You shine, girl, like the moon,
cold, hard, and dim,
nothing left within you.
Covered with dust
from the darkness
and never creating light.
Only allowed to reflect it,
never allowed to make it,
successful in freezing the earth
for half a day,
when the sun decides to sleep.

 

The Last Letter.

Dear Mom,

         I was ready to take it. I was willing to put up with all of it. Dad left us and you blamed me for it. I hated him for leaving us. But I never agreed with you. Never did I think that I was the reason Dad left. But I never told you otherwise. When you blamed me, I never argued. I never resisted and neither did I ever fight back. I was just as hurt as you were but I didn’t want you to leave me either so I put up with it. You were the only one I had mom. The only one.

      I never understood why things went so far when Todd came into your life. It never seemed to me like you loved him like you loved Dad. He would just come home and drink with you and you would lock yourselves in your room all day. I don’t understand why you started hitting me when he came into our lives. The blows got worse with time. You only used to slap me in the first few weeks. I could see that you were holding back. It excited you, but you held back. That restraint got weaker with the weeks to come. You only hit me when he was home. He laughed when you used to unleash your rage on me. Bearable slaps on my face turned to kicking me while I lay on the ground, wincing in pain.

       I never planned on revolting. I never asked you to stop. I never begged for mercy. I would just cry. I would hold back as much as I could and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I would cry. I remember you smiling whenever I started crying. You smiled for different reasons when Dad was around.

        Even though you were good at disguising my bruises, you couldn’t cover them all up. My teacher was one of the first ones to notice. Willis, the boy who sits beside me was the second. We never spoke because I was just scared of making friends. But he noticed. He noticed that I was hurting. They asked me. They asked me if you were hurting me but I lied. I covered it up. “I tripped and fell”. That was my most common excuse. The both of them saw through the lie but they needed evidence before doing something about it. They needed me to give in, but I never gave in Ma, I would never give you up.

    I was willing to put up with it. But Todd got involved. Lately, he assisted you in assaulting me. Like when you started out, he was hesitant in the beginning but with time and experience, he got more and more brutal. He knew that I was willing to take anything he would dish out. I guess he wasn’t quite convinced with a few blows. He wanted to take it to the next level.

         Maybe he wasn’t satisfied with just you. Maybe he wanted more. He came to my room on the night of Friday. You had already slept. I was on my study when he came in. I did what I always did, I avoided eye contact. I didn’t want to come off as disrespectful or rebellious. He slowly walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder. I braced myself but there was no blow. He caressed his hand on my neck. I could feel his breathing get heavier by the second.

        I am going to spare you the details Mom. I was really willing to live with anything you did. But not him, he doesn’t get that privilege. I couldn’t take it mom. What he did that night broke me mom. I hate myself for never even trying to resist. I guess I had gotten so used to surrendering myself. I think it’s time for me to surrender myself for good. I know that I won’t be able to fight back if this were to happen again. This would definitely happen again. This was the first time and I’d like to think that he held back. In time, he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t hold back. I can’t take that. I can’t live like that.

         I still love you Ma. This is not easy. I am scared of doing it but there’s no other way Ma. I’m really scared. I’m sorry for leaving you. I’m sorry for leaving you like Dad did. But you have Todd, you won’t be alone. I’ll miss you Ma.

I love you

Sarah

(Unnamed Story)- Chapter 10: A Swing Of Emotions.

Bennet was there at the docks waiting for them to arrive. Clarice ran up to him and gave him a hug.

       “What happened Clar?” he asked out of concern, he knew something had gone drastically wrong. He could see it in both their eyes but he also figured they did not want to talk about it yet. He knew them well.

       “Let’s go home and talk about it” He said and started to walk.

        Ingram kept imagining that conversation over and over again, a dream being taken apart at its will. An entire family being ripped apart piece by piece. What is this place he asked himslf? this place, it’s his mind. It was his entire conscience being torn out-of-place, and being tortured until it bleeds out and gives up. Only here, he can’t give up. He wasn’t sure if he’s alive or dead, and it felt like this feeling had been here for years. There is nothing here except himself, the victim and his brain-the murderer. The torturer. The sinner. That’s all this is. He felt like there was a new hole in his chest holding him back from achieving his goal but this wasn’t going to hold him back because unlike all the other times, this time he has family to find his family. He had Clarice and Bennet.

         Clarice couldn’t breath, it felt as if someone was choking her. Her heart was racing and all she wanted to do was to curl up into a ball and wait for someone to save her. But no one would, no one was there. Drazahn’s message repeated itself in her head, a choked cry for help forced itself up her throat and she felt a drop run down her cheek.

         The walk was filled with emotions. Nobody spoke but they understood each other’s feelings. They reached home.

         Ingram wanted to be left alone so he asked Clarice to explain everything to Bennet. Ingram went and sat in the backyard.

         An oversized tree for a small backyard, a swing attached to one of its branches and a young girl trying to get onto it. She had fallen down thrice already but she wasn’t going to give up. Ingram got up to help her but Elia held his arm.

        “Just Look at her go” she said.

         Ingram smiled and watched his daughter fight her way onto the swing. He saw the sense of accomplishment on Daisy’s face when she finally climbed onto it but that face suddenly turned into an angry rant, she kicked and punched the air because the swing wasn’t moving her tiny legs couldn’t reach the ground. Ingram and Elia couldn’t hold their laughter, looking at her parents laughing Daisy grew even angrier. The non-vocal rant now became a full-blown crying tantrum. Ingram quickly ran to the swing and pushed it back and forth. The faster and higher the swing went, the more dazzling Daisy’s smile became and everytime Ingram would rest his arms and slowed the swing down Daisy would get angry. Finally after a lot of fluctuating emotions Daisy jumped down the swing and disappeared into the house.

          “Ingram please take Daisy to the bed, I’ll be there in a minute” she said. Daisy was running all over the house now and Ingram had to catch her, he played for a while and eventually picked her up and took her to bed. Elia came in a minute later and started a really weird story, halfway through the story Ingram drifted to sleep.

         “INGRAM!! INGRAM!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WAKE UP!!”  Elia was shouting on top of her voice. He opened his eyes, but then the shouting doesn’t stop.

          He snapped out of it, it wasn’t Elia it was Bennet who was shouting. He had dozed off in the backyard, he got up and turned around. It was Bennet and he looked petrified.  “What happened brother?” he whispered.

         “HAVE YOU SEEN CLARICE?! I CANNOT FIND HER ANYWHERE!”

For the next chapter: Chapter 11: The Letter

For Chapter 1:  Chapter 1 : Emancipation