Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Part Eight: Nature Begets Nature

    The next day I get up and put on a shirt and a good pair of pants. It’s Sunday and the family is going to church. Ever since yesterday I can’t stop thinking of my angel, the legend, the prophecy and Eiden. As we get into the car I’m thinking of how to deal with things. I’ve been focused on trying to remember my angel’s face, but it’s all a blur. I know what her face looks like, but I can’t seem to focus the image in my mind. I wonder, is this Eiden’s doing? We arrive at church and so now I have to put all these thoughts on hold.
     The pastor and his wife greet us at the door and we all go inside and take a seat. My family comes to church every Sunday. It’s very rare that we don’t attend service. It feels good to be here today and I’m actually looking forward to hearing the pastor’s sermon. Then, suddenly a strange feeling comes over me. It’s a sensation I’ve experienced before and I know immediately what it is. I only have this feeling when he’s nearby. So I start frantically but cautiously looking around. Then I spot him. It’s Eiden walking into church.
     I feel so enraged I want to rush up and beat the daylights out of him. But I’m in church and service is starting. His beating will just have to wait. Eiden walks up the aisle right past me and sits down three rows in front of us just a bit to the right. He turns his head toward me, smiles and nods knowingly. I want to rip that grin right off his face. I don’t know why I’m so angry. I should be afraid. After all, this guy is the entity that controls hell! But I’ve got only one emotion to spend on him right how and that’s anger.
I’m counting every second since the pastor started talking. I need to talk to Eiden. The sermon is about love and forgiveness, but I’m really not paying attention. I’m just waiting for it to be over.
    Finally, after what seemed like forever, the pastor concludes his sermon. The first thing I do is look three rows up and to the right. But he’s not there. As the congregation files slowly out of church I get lost in the crowd and break away to go find him. I go into the corridor leading to the Sunday classes. There I see him walking toward one of the classrooms. I seize the chance and pounce toward him. The second my hand almost grabs him from behind something that feels like a force field pushes me off of him and throws me to the ground. Eiden turns, walks over and looks down at me.
     “Well hello there. Nice to see you again Markus,” Eiden says full of pompous sarcasm. “What are you doing on the ground? The Earth is no place for someone of your stature,” he says with such calmness that it almost disarms me. For a brief second so many thoughts rush through my mind – torment, torture, hate, anger, death. Then I hear a voice whispering, “Sweet pain never enjoyed, beautiful suicide of angels fallen from heaven.” What was this? I snap myself out of it.
“I know who you are,” I say accusingly.
“You do Markus?”
“Yes I do, Eiden. You’re the silver-tongued devil!”
But Eiden seems to have no reaction to any off this. He just smiles and stretches his hand down to me to help me up.
“The silver-tongued devil,” he says, “Is that the name of some character from an RPG game Markus?”
“Don’t play with me, Eiden,” I say flinging his hand away from me. “I know who you are and there’s no use denying it!”
“Silver-tongued devil,” Eiden says glancing up stroking his chin. “I haven’t been called that for centuries. Well,” he continues, “I suppose it’s no use hiding from you then, now is it?”
    The corridor then suddenly becomes darker. The shadows in the hall begin to move and I hear faint voices. No, I hear screams. Distant screams of people suffering. Then pain started seeping through me. It’s like my very essence is being drenched with suffering and mayhem. This is Eiden’s doing. He starts to change as well. His eyes absorb the darkness of the moving shadows and change from stark blue to sinister black. I lose my focus, the pain is getting too great. My body is paralyzed. I can’t move.
“So, Markus,” Eiden says ominously, “Are you liking what you see?”
“What’s going on here?” I ask. “What are you doing to me?”
“Just giving you a taste of what’s to come.”
“What are you?” I manage to ask terrified.
“I am Eiden,” he replies knowingly. “Nothing more and nothing less.”
    I feel the need to sleep. I can’t focus on anything not even my thoughts. My body is still paralyzed. My angel’s face flashes in my head and I know I must not give in to Eiden and lose control.
Struggling, I manage to say, “I’m here to tell you… the deal is off!”
“Oh, is that so Markus? You’re here to tell me the deal is off. Well. I’m afraid it’s not that simple you see. The deal has been stuck Markus. It is done. You have no more say in the matter.”
“YES, I DO!” I scream seething in anger. “I’m telling you the deal is off!”
    “Markus, Markus, Markus! Why so angry? Why so rude?” Eiden said full of mockery. “Why I’ve done nothing but help you and this is how you thank me? I grant you the peace of mind of knowing your loved ones will be taken care of. Tsk tsk tsk, Markus. You Hiciousites are so ungrateful. But I am always willing to forgive, Markus. That is my nature. So what can I do?”
    Am I losing my mind? I can’t think. I want this to stop. The pain just keeps coming. It’s consuming me. What have I gotten myself into? I sitting immobile and powerless barely propping myself with my trembling arms behind me. I have no strength to do anything, not even lift my head. Eiden senses my pain. He leans over and looks at me.
“Oh Markus, what ever is the matter?” he says with scorn. “You don’t look so good my boy. You should enjoy yourself. After all, there’s much more to come.”
I then sensed someone else at the end of the hall and closing in fast on us. Eiden’s face and tone suddenly changed as well. Now he is angry.
     “We shall continue this another time,” he said in a controlled rage. Then he turned, walked away and disappeared into one of the classrooms. With that my body and mind turned normal again. I can move again. The pain vanished and the voices of the people in agony disappeared. The shadows on the wall are again still. Then the person who entered the hall walks right past me and into the classroom where Eiden went. I get up and rush to the door to open it, but it won’t budge. Through the glass at the top, however, I can see Eiden inside. He is talking to the woman who just walked past me. When she turns and I saw a familiar face. But I can’t exactly place it. I’ve seen her before. But where?
“Markus!” a voice from behind me suddenly breaks my focus. It was mom. “Markus, what are you doing in here? Come along. We’re going home,” she said.
    I turned to her. “Oh. Okay mom. I’m coming.” But before I leave I turn to look one more time through the window. But this time the door was open and I can look right into the classroom. It’s empty. In disbelief step inside. They are gone.

“Markus?” I heard mom calling from the doorway. “Are you okay?”

“Y . . .yes mom. I’m, I’m fine.”

   Mom stepped in and walked over to me. She leaned in and kissed my forehead. “Come along honey. Let’s go home,” she said putting her arm around me. I feel safe again.
    Back outside getting into the car I was silent. I was thinking that things were going to be more difficult than I had imagined. If what Eiden did to me in there is a taste of what he is capable of then I shiver to think what else he could do to me. And that woman in the classroom. I know I’ve seen here before. Who is she?

“Dad, can we get something to eat on the way?” Nathan bellowed.

“What would you like son?” Dad asked.

“Anything. I’m just hungry.”

“How about we stop at Java Lava? Would you all like some coffee and breakfast there?”

“Yes sir!’ “And how!” “Sounds great honey,” everyone answered at once dreaming of their lattes, pumpkin muffins and Denver omelettes.

Java Lava. That’s it! Now I remember. That woman is the waitress from Java Lava. But what was she doing with Eiden? And why did Eiden get so upset when she came in? Well, we’re just a few blocks now from Java Lava. I guess I’ll find out.


Part Seven: Tortured Mind, Brotherhood

     Valery understood that I wasn’t in a good state of mind so she walked me home before going on her way. Before today I thought that this was all just a bizarre series of coincidences that I found fascinating. But now I’m angry and upset. I was duped by Eiden!
     Lying on my bed back in my room I’m trying to make sense of it all. It seems the more I know about all of this the more I don’t understand. And I don’t like what’s happening to me. Not one bit. I’m jolted alert by a knock on my bedroom door and in come Jonathan and Nathan.

“Hey little bro. How are you feeling today?” “Yeah, dude, what you been up to?” they ask in unison.

What is up with my brothers? Sometimes they are actually nice to me, but not this often. I can’t take it anymore.

“Why are you two being nice to me? Are you plotting something?” I ask. “You’re going to get me in trouble, aren’t you?”

“No no,” they said again at the same time. “Actually, mom put us up to this. She thinks you’re going through something,” Jonathan confesses.

“Yeah, since you fainted at the Binyamin’s she’s been worried about you,” Nathan added.

“And you know,” Jonathan says sarcastically, “A happy slave is a productive slave.”

“Yeah, dweeb, we want you happy so you can do a good job doing what we say,” Nathan adds in.

“Well,” I shoot back, “You two can tell mom I’m fine. So get out!”

They looked suddenly at each other. Then Jonathan turned to me.

     “Markus,” he said, “What’s up? Why are you angry? Okay, sure, we hassle you a lot, but it’s because you’re our brother. We were just kidding about the slave thing. Well, actually, maybe we weren’t cause being the youngest automatically makes you our slave, right? Come oooon,” he pleaded. “Smile already!”

“Well Jonathan,” I replied, “Your sense of humor is as funny as a brick.”

“Ooh harsh. Very harsh.”

“Nathan,” I argued back, “It’s not as harsh as you throwing me around just for fun! How would you like it if I did the same to you dork head?!”
    I don’t know what’s gotten into me. For a brief second, I totally forgot who I was talking to. Oh boy, I’m going to get it now. But at this moment I’m so angry I don’t care. Let them bring it on.

    But nothing happens, I can’t believe it. Usually I’d get a beating right about now. I see Jonathan and Nathan have a look on their faces, a look of concern. Ok, now I’m starting to think I’m in an alternate dimension or something. Either that or there really is something wrong with me.

    “Markus,” Jonathan says, “We know we pick on you a lot, but that’s what brothers do. We’re really worried about you. You’ve been acting differently the last few days. You’re like totally distracted and it’s like you’re not even there. It kind of takes the fun out of joshing with you, ya know?”

“Yeah, Jonathan is right. You’ve been zoning out a lot,” Nathan added.

“Well,” I say, “I’ve got a lot of things on my mind.”

“Oooooohhhhh,” they cooed in perfect unison as they turned to look at each other.

“I think I know what’s been on your mind,” Nathan goaded.

“I don’t think you do Nathan,” I shot back, “but just out of curiosity what do you think it is?”

“You’ve got a girl!” he said tapping his finger to my chest.

     They must have seen me blush cause then they started getting all wound up like they do, like two high-charged atomic dorks bouncing their idiotic comments off each other. I tried to act cool, but I sense they smelled blood.

“Ooooh,” Jonathan chimed in, “I think you’re right Nathan. So, is that what’s been keeping you so preoccupied dweeb?”

“Oh,” Nathan added, “most definitely, Jonathan, what else could it be?” Then he turns to me and asks, “Why didn’t you share, dweeb? How come?”

    Nathan grabs me and starts tickling me rough, which is totally annoying. I guess their being nice can only last for so long.

“Stop it!” I said loudly, “Besides, it’s more than that.” Oh my god. What have I just said? Talk about leading the wolf to the sheep.

“Well bro,” Jonathan says seriously, “Let me tell you something. Regardless how hot this girl may or may not be, she has someone very special in you.”

“Yeah,” Nathan adds, “And by ‘special’ Jonathan doesn’t mean ‘special aid’ or anything.”
“Okaaaaay. Thanks . . . I think,” I manage to utter hesitatingly.

“And if you need anything, you can always count on us bro,” Nathan said getting up from my bed.
“Thanks Nathan. Thanks Jonathan,” I say as they head for the door.

     In a flash, an image came rushing into my mind. It was them, my brothers, in warrior armor, bizarre looking armor. But then a feeling of security comes over me too. What just happened? Jonathan and Nathan turned and smiled just before they closed the door behind them.

     I don’t really know what’s going on, but I’m starting to have faith that maybe things are going to be okay. But I still have a lot to deal with. I need to get to the bottom of this legend and find a way out of the deal I made with Eiden. I have a feeling this is the start of a long adventure. I just hope it doesn’t end in tears.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Part Six: The Prophecy of Shimbala

I woke up late today.  Last night working on that book report it took me a long time to decipher Val’s notes.  I don’t remember dreaming at all last night, probably cause I was so exhausted.  I’ll get dressed and meet Val outside soon.  Today we’re going to pay our new neighbors a visit.

Back on the Binyamin’s doorstep, Val rang the bell and Mrs. Binyamin answered.  She’s so happy to see us.  Mrs. Binyamin’s just great.  She’s always so cheery and glad to see you.  She sees us to the living room and goes to get Mr. Binyamin although it would have been nice if she’d actually gone get him instead of shouting from the bottom of the stairs.  The Binyamin’s, we’re learning, are a loud family.

“So dears, what would you like before Avi comes down?  Some cookies?  How about a sandwich?”

“It’s okay Mrs. Binyamin. We’re fine!” Val politely replied.  But Mrs. B. kept on trying to feed us.  I think she either had too much food in the house or she thinks we’re too skinny.  Before we knew it though there are chicken sandwiches and Cokes in our hands!

“Oh, the young scholars!” Mr. Binyamin bellows coming into the room.  “And what can I do for you two today?”  Then shouting to Mrs. B. in the kitchen he yells, “Erm! Bring them some potato salad.  And pickles.”

“Coming!” she yells back.  Ugh.  I don’t know how much more I can eat! Val turns to me with a look of panic that only I can recognize.  

Two sandwiches, potato salad, chips and a weird fish thing later we finally start our conversation with Mr. Binyamin.  Mrs. B. has left to go pick up their two boys.

“Mr. Binyamin,” I start, “First of all I’m really sorry for what happened at your party the other night.  I must have been over tired or something.”

“No no, Markus, it’s quite alright.  I’m just glad you’re okay.  But you should eat more protein!  This would give you energy for the day and help keep up your stamina.” 

Again with the food!  “Well thanks Mr. Binyamin, I’ll keep that in mind.”

  Val, cutting to the chase, chimes in, “Actually we’d like to ask you more about the painting there and the Shimbala Legend,” she says. 

“Ah, two inquisitive minds,” Mr. Binyamin says with an eager smile.  “That’s a nice attribute to see in young people such as yourselves.  So tell me, what is it that you want to know?”

“Everything!!” I said.  “Tell us whatever you can about Shimbala and Amir and Ariana and . . . ”

“Okay okay, Markus, slow down.  I can see you’re keen on learning.  That’s a good thing.  You remind me of myself when I was younger.  I always wanted to learn about everything.  But I loved listening to stories most of all.  That’s why I combined my two favorite things and came to study mythologies.”

Very nice Mr. B., I’m thinking, but tell us about Shimbala.

Val again goes right to the point.  “So Mr. Binyamin.  We’d love to hear that all you know about the legend, so please tell us everything.”

“Well, Valery, I told you the other evening most of what I know of the legend. What else exactly are you interested in?”

“Is there anything more to the legend?” I ask.  “I mean any more to the story other then what you told us?”

“Well, yes Markus, I think so.  It’s a complex legend really.  Other than the story I told you there is also a prophecy.”

“A prophecy?” Val asks restraining her impatient curiosity. 

“Yes, the prophecy of Shimbala says that the guardians of Gaia and Hilious will one day find Amir the traveler and also the Lima Ariana.  And when they find them the guardians will separate them forever.  This is to be their punishment for going against the teachings.  Other than the prophecy there’s nothing more that I know of the legend.”

“What do you mean nothing else?” I ask.  “Isn’t there anything more to the prophecy?”

“Well Markus, this is a very old legend that was passed on orally as stories before it was ever written down.  There could be more to it.  But I don’t know that anyone has ever found more.”

That’s it?  This is not what I needed to hear.  This is so frustrating.

“Okay Mr. Binyamin,” I said. “But can you tell me about the Limas? And can you tell me about Ariana?   Do you know why she was chosen to be a Lima?” I hoped some specific questions might coax more information out of him. 

“Well you see Limas are considered by the Somarans to be the purest of souls.  They are believed to be full of innocence and joy and they bring happiness to the kingdoms they are sent to.  And when a Lima falls in love they give the purest love in return.”

“But wait,” Val cut in.  “Didn’t you just say that the Somarans sacrificed the Limas?” 

 “Yes and they did.  You see the civilizations before Somarans, the even more ancient ones, in fact did not sacrifice the Lima.  But the Somarans believed that love corrupted the Limas by polluting the pureness of their souls.  If a Lima became corrupted by love then it turned into a Katia, which was a monster that did nothing but wreak havoc on the world bringing death and destruction to Hicious.  To prevent this from happening, the Somarans sacrificially killed the Lima at the age of light before it had a chance to be corrupted.  In doing so they also believed that Gaia or Hilious would then favor the Somarans and usher in an era of peace and prosperity.  The ancient scrolls of the story are old and many parts are missing.  It is possible, and I would say probable, that some aspects of the story might have been lost to us.”

“Wow,” Val said mesmerized.  “Mr. Binyamin could you tell us more about the Somaran beliefs like more about the three realms and the guardians?”

“Surely Valery.  Like I told you before, the ancient Somarans believed in the existence of three realms – Gaia, a sort of heaven; Hilious, which we might think of as hell; and Hicious, which is Earth where the Somarans lived.  They believed that when souls are born they were sent first to Gaia for a transitional period.  There the souls chose their parents as well as the place and time they want to be born in Hicious.  Once born, if the soul, or person, chose to live according to the teachings of Gaia then after death his soul would return to Gaia.  But if he chose to follow the wicked ways of Hilious then his soul was taken to Hilious to be enslaved for eternity by the silver-tongued devil of Hilious.  The whole Somaran belief system was based on a delicate balance of those forces – the light of Gaia and the darkness and Hilious.  The Somarans on Hicious lived between these realms.  Interestingly, the Somarans didn’t necessarily judge either realm as good or evil.  They viewed each as necessary to achieve balance in the universe.  And each opposing side of this delicate balance had a guardian.  For Gaia it was Magaia, the mother angel of Gaia.  For Hilious it was Eiden, the silver-tongued devil who torments humans and strikes deals with them.”

After hearing that name, Eiden, I am in shock.  A very bad feeling comes over me, like I’d drunk poison and just realized it.  I really don’t feel so good right now.

“Mr. Binyamin,” I said getting up.  “Thank you very much for seeing us and telling us the story of the prophecy.  But we have to go now.  And thanks again so much.”

All I know right now is that I have to get out of here.  I just have to leave.

“Oh, okay,” Mr. Binyamin said a little surprised.  “Leaving so soon?  It’s almost lunch time.  Wouldn’t you like to stay and have a bite?”

“It’s okay Mr. Binyamin.  We’ll definitely be coming back to hear some more about the ancient Somarans,” I said.

“Val let’s go,” I said giving her the look which means NOW!  I grab her arm and we head for the door. 

“Markus! Markus! Did you hear that?” she says as we get outside.

I think Val knows what I’m feeling.  If what Mr. Binyamin told us in there is true, then while waiting outside the principal’s office I sold my soul to the silver-tongued devil.