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…Ighnees staggered, waiting to hear the song of the Whisperer, Azbekhun. It reminded him of his past, when he and Dawrod were the King’s beloved pupils; when Dawrod sought knowledge not questions. When Dawrod knew who he was.…

***

He sees spiders falling from the roof, the fan about to fall and cut him, the creaking noises. And rushing adrenaline, daytime sleeps, and weak body and mind makes him believe everything is shaking, like an earthquake. He tries to wave the spiders off and runs out the door.

***

Her head hurting, she wakes up to find herself in a corridor.

“No.” She thinks to herself. She’s not in the corridor. She’s looking at them from above. A world of corridors. Some wide and paved. Others short and crumbling. Some criss-crossing one another. Some ending abruptly, leading to nothing.

She sees people walking in them.

It’s not the people she’s seeing, she realizes. It’s their lives they’re walking, and at every crossing and intersection they come across others. Some stay for the briefest of moments. Others stay and wade a new corridor together. And the whole shape changes.

Is she dead? What is she seeing here? Why? It’s all too confusing for her. Why?

It’s a dream, she realizes. It’s imagination. Merciless as always.

She tries to get up. She can’t. Her eyes are wide open. But she can’t move. Is she in sleep paralysis, again? From the corner of her eyes, she can see somebody standing in the corner. It’s eyeing her. She starts screaming, but no words come out. Her chest is convulsing or paralyzed, she doesn’t know.

She remembers the water. The vast ocean. And she’s in it again. And at a distance she sees the whale. That whale from Mobi Dick.

It’s a dream. It’s a dream she tells herself. But her cruel, merciless imagination grants her no control. She has no control.

The wale is approaching, and it’s getting bigger. Fear takes over. She feels her heart pounding. She’s screaming. And in the background she hears that soft clink of a needle falling on the ground. The sound resonates. She wakes up crying, as always.

That sound. That soft sound of memories. The clink of a needle.

Now she can’t go back to sleep. The waves will be waiting. And she will feel her chest convulse as she helplessly imagines the waves crushing her. She knows the feeling too well. She has imagined it so often; and she’s gotten better. Her lungs would breathe water and convulse. And her cries would not leave her mouth. Her merciless imagination will continue suffocating her, crushing her. Then the paralysis would take over.

And she would pray for that pin to drop, and make her cry again.

And wake her up again; then she could walk to and fro not knowing what she said to herself, but only remember the tears flowing.

Of happiness, that she made it out, again.

***

He had never given up on sleep.

He enjoyed dreaming, even when they got horrifying. He could plan them out, and often knew he was dreaming. Today he began as a lackey, and slowly worked his way to become gang leader within prison. Passing along the corridors, of the prison cells. Connecting people, while taking the back seat. Going from one gang to the other. Slitting throats.

Drawing symbols and summoning the demons she had shown him in his dream. The dream of the apocalypse, where he saw through a tall form of Ighnees, the weilder of Dawrod and Azbekhun.

He heard himself speak, terror beckoning every syllable:

“Izbekh…zi flaariz… garkhaz… bynheme.”

He understood the pregnant, the unborn, murder when gain soul, and grotesque.

He then let Dawrod pierce his blood, tearing through his flesh, gnawing deeper in search of his soul: to rip another piece of it, or to find the shards left from earlier — all the while perused by Azbekhun, the time reaper. His savior.

Even before Azbekhun would whisper his presence to the Aal-e-kursh, the pain of Dawrod’s chaotic search, as always, would show its symptoms.

Ighnees keeled over, his spine writhing like a snake, every vertebrae jutting out and ripping through his back, his muscles visible — tearing and rejoining. At times a bone somewhere cracked and would protrude. This time his shoulders ripped out and then his left feet. Dawrod lay far away, no longer metal, no longer a sword; just an ugly heap of convulsing meat and other things. Its spirit ransacking Ighnees’ self.

Ighnees staggered, waiting to hear the song of the Whisperer, Azbekhun. It reminded him of his past, when he and Dawrod were the King’s beloved pupils; when Dawrod sought knowledge not questions. When Dawrod knew who he was.

He remembered the song even after so many eons had passed.

It began as a Nothingness. A feeling. A song in thought without voice or rhyme. And it rose to a welcome. Beseeching the saints, the Aal-e-kursh to leave the peace of their meditation and come with their blessings.

Ignees waited for the feeling he had remembered from eons ago: the slow becoming of a presence, the painful chorus of his shattered soul trying to sing in sync, collecting what dignity it could to welcome the Aal-e-kursh. And as they slowly emerged, he smiled at the pain: as his eyes swelled up, and would eventually burst, oozing blood, flesh, puss and mucus.

But this pain was necessary, he knew. No one else could keep Dawrod’s purposeless avarice in check.

And Dawrod would always sense their coming, and would curse the closest part of Ighnees’s soul asunder before humbling itself as the saints gazed towards it. Humbled and disciplined, their presence would emanate through Ighnees, re-stitching his body and spirit, his soul maimed.

Transforming him into a formidable presence of old.

And through the demon’s renewed eyes, he saw the first glimpse of the battle-field. A vast desolate land present only in the moonlit darkness.

And he could see the fear in the elderly Ameers of the foes. For they, like their King had sensed it; sensed the presence of the One their preserved stories had spoken of. And they spoke in fear and terror, but in unison:

“Deo Aanan. Deo Aanan.”

The great calamity, coming. The only calamity, coming.

Then he saw the waves again. And he remembered his herself. The suffocation was only temporary. The paralysis fleeting. The spiders still falling. The fan rattling.

And he waited for the pin to drop. To break the noise. Of his imagination.

And wake-up to the reality where imagination lacks control over him.

Read The Nameless King here.

Author: Hamza Ali

Genre Psychological, Story 1