I had a will to survive
My hands rising in rebellion
I knew that I was alive
For my heart beat in unison
The will in me was so weak
No one can bear witness to this
My tongue cuts me as I speak
The blood of my blood wore such bliss
In vain the pursuit of sense
The pupil my pupil dilates
View of my rivers so dense
Leading mind that flood celebrates
I have a will to survive
The teacher brands me a lesson
Into the essence I dive
Like angels falling from Heaven
Reading of the poem:
She knew she had to alert the Terrorist unit that had been hers for so many years. She picked up her other mobile and called the head of the unit. After an exchange of salutations and a few pleasantries, he asked her what the purpose of her call was as she had been excluded from the unit by her boss who had asked the head of the unit to refrain from speaking with her anymore and to ensure other members of the unit also did not exchange with her. She answered that an attack might be imminent in Westminster but she did not know for sure there would be trouble. She explained that it was expected that individual cells from Boko Haram and ISWAP would meet at the station and perhaps things could go awry from there. He asked her for a few other details and finally told her not to worry and that the unit would be ready for them the whole day and the couple of days after that if they did not arrest them the same day.
After hanging up, she wondered whether it was really the best choice. She had no idea whether Manas would also join the Boko Haram cell. After all he was the head of Boko Haram in Cameroon and he might need to prove his value to the headquarters in Nigeria. She wondered whether she should call him and tell him not to join the meeting but she had already broken her burner sim and she was not sure she would have enough time to get a new sim so she just typed ATU coming on her phone and hoped that Manas would see it in time to avoid the Westminster meeting. After that she ran to the shop to purchase another sim which she used to call the other number for Manas. The phone rang several times but nobody picked up. She kept calling, all the time worried that something happened to him. Suddenly she saw a message flashing on her normal mobile. It said “OK, out”. She felt so relieved that he was no longer in any danger.
She wondered what was happening with the other members of the two cells. She tuned into the frequency that the members of her old unit used to use. The satellite phone she had was able to link into the frequency and she heard everything her old team was saying. Funny that they had not changed the frequency after her departure, she thought. The head of the unit probably thought she would not remember it but he visibly did not realise how good with numbers she was and underestimated her incredible capacity to learn strings of numbers without any problem. She was not just a tactical part of the team, her ability to leverage a person’s psychological issues in order to turn them away from what she wanted them to stop doing was considerable and had made her boss interested in deploying her in the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU).
When she was in the ATU for Africa, she had been able to decipher several transfers of money using her pattern-matching capacities. It was thanks to this that she had been able to establish that several transfers coming from high-ranking officials in Qatar were funneled into an Islamic organization that professed to be a non-profit for building mosques and then routed through the disguise of Sadaqah, or charity towards the poor, to reach a similar organization in Nigeria and be distributed to what looked like ISWAP’s accounts in Nigeria. It was difficult in practice to establish that these accounts were indeed ISWAP’s accounts because the front was a non-profit that looked like a charitable organization but when you linked all the entities with the payments made and you realized that the individuals who received the payments were indeed suspected ISWAP members, you knew that these had to be ISWAP accounts. The only problem was that they could not establish for certain that these individuals were ISWAP members because they were perceived as God-fearing individuals who were devout Muslims and there was no actual proof of wrongdoing. In the time she worked with the ATU, she had never established a clear link and her unit was never able to bring the ISWAP down through the money trail as they had to proceed with caution, owing to local cultural and religious sensitivities
Enigma - The Rivers Of Belief
After a period of interrogation, the anti-terrorist team released her as they didn’t have anything against her and they could no longer retrieve her to the US as an asset given she was no longer part of the team. They let her go with a sneer and a jeer though and inferred that if they found her with him, they would not hesitate to shoot her down to serve as an example. She merely scoffed and took her belongings before leaving the US embassy in London. She could see that the two who had caught her at the London eye were following her discreetly. They were not so discreet though as to evade her trained eyes. She stuck up her middle finger backwards towards them, showing them she was aware of their presence. She went straight to her flat and decided to sleep for a few hours.
Her phone buzzed for a while before she got up and grabbed it. She had hoped to see Manas but it was someone else who was clad with the same clothing that she had seen Manas wear. He pointed towards a picture next to his face. It was very small and she had a hard time identifying what it was. He then sent her a picture and deleted it after he saw that she had identified it. It was a burner phone and he spoke in Arabic telling her to get something similar. He told her to get the yellow one and she put on her computer and activated the private network application so that nobody could follow her search on the internet if they were hacking her computer. She almost felt like a terrorist herself now that she was trying to avoid the US anti-terrorist unit dedicated to African terrorism that had been hers. He also sent another picture and she quickly took a photograph of it before he could delete it. It was a number in what was now considered as Arabic numerals and she realised it was a UK number to call.
She kept the application on throughout her research and purchased the yellow burner phone. Instead of having it delivered to her, thereby leaving her address, she marked it for collection at the store. She was glad she had got this small payment card that she had used as it could not lead back to her at all and had sufficient money in it to purchase anything else she would need to make her encounters with Manas as safe as possible. Later that afternoon she went and picked up the phone and bought two prepaid sims which she paid with cash rather than the debit card even though it was deemed to keep her untraceable. She walked towards Southwark park and sat on a bench before bringing her phone out. She put in one of the prepaid sims and called the number that Manas’s man had sent her. The phone did not have whatsapp on it and she realized that it would not be possible to put that application on this phone. She heard Manas on the line and her heart skipped a beat.
- How are you, she said
- I am fine Angel. How are you?
- I was so scared for you but I feel better now knowing that you got away.
- Angel, I need you to do something for me
- Anything my love
- Don’t take any tube today that passes by Westminster
- Why, what is going to happen in Westminster?
She felt a cold sweat running down her back. Was there going to be a terrorist attack in Westminster? She could not possibly suspect it and do nothing. So many people could die if she did not report it to the authorities. Manas was not answering her question. He appeared hesitant but then said
- I don’t want you to get hurt. Two opposing factions of Boko Haram are meeting at the station. I really don’t want you to get hurt
- What about the other innocent bystanders?
- They risk less. You risk a lot because your face is now known to the two factions. You could be used to bring me down or as a tool to make me lose control at the leadership level of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
- Understood. I will not go there today
- Today and the following two days might be better actually.
- Yes, okay. I will do as you say
She hung up feeling a pit in her stomach. At the same time, her mind was racing. Should she report this to the authorities or not? If she did report it then the two factions might suspect Manas and she did not want to get him killed. Was he telling her the truth? She knew that Boko Haram wanted to reignite its fame and be counted as a force to reckon with outside of its territory and this might mean that they could have wired up the station to take down westerners together with the other faction that called itself the Islamic State West Africa Province (to be known as ISWAP). Boko Haram could easily send only suicide bombers to the meeting with the ISWAP group and then bomb the whole of the Westminster station. This would cause huge disruptions in the life of thousands of westerners and block all logistics around that area for days if not weeks as well as send a stark message to Islamic State abroad. She felt stuck, incapable of making a decision for several minutes. Then all of a sudden she stood up and went back home after throwing the sim card in a dustbin. She knew what to do.
"Desolation" - Adam Hurst
A heavy jute bag
lifted mountains of sorrow
etched within his ribs
Slices of lifetime
hiccupped their way through his lips
Back bent itself curved
under years of misery
it rewrote its shape
He breathed in the skies
his breath the salt of horizons
burning through his lungs
Wrinkles carved within
his face a mausoleum
written by dark fate
Reading of the poem:
Awake, awake, awake
Awake in Peace
Flower in Beauty
Lady of offering
Rise in Beauty
Goddess of Life
Beautiful in Heaven
Heaven is in Peace
Earth is in Peace
Goddess daughter of Nut
Daughter of Geb
Beloved of Osiris
Goddess rich in names
All praise to you
I adore you
Nehes Nehes Nehes
Nehes em hotep
Nehem em neferu
Weben em neferu
Nutjert en ankh
Nefer em pet
Pet em hotep
Tu em hotep
Nutjert sat Nut
Nutjert asha renu
Anet hrak Anet hrak
Tu a atu Tu a atu
Reading of the Transliteration:
Elixir part 4 – Hope for a new way of life27 July 2022
Amelia took leave of the young Melancholists after making them swear that none of them would give up their life before she had returned. The young ones swore and though she was not certain whether they would indeed keep that promise, she had to go as there was so much to do. She also realized that the minute she left Melancholy she would not be under the protection of the Melancholists anymore and would have to find how to evade General Stein. She wondered if he was out there, waiting for her to come out of Melancholy. He probably knew that there were two exits to Melancholy and must have posted one of his acolytes on one side while he watched another. She would need to be creative in order to escape them.
Amelia stood near one of the exits and watched closely to see whether General Stein was there. It looked like he was not there and so she decided to take this exit instead of the other. She would not take it normally and be subjected to Stein’s men but she would play with her ability to go through the Earth. She stomped with one foot trying to make the least noise possible and immediately sank into Earth where she rode a large slab of rock, just beneath the dirt path outside Melancholy. She did not stop her sailing on the rock until she was sure that there were several hundred meters between her and Stein’s men. She bent her knees channeling the rock upwards and soon emerged from the Earth and started running. She wanted to put the maximum distance between her and General Stein and his men. She needed to be able to work in the greatest secrecy.
Amelia reached her second home shortly after midnight and went about her house preparing everything she needed for large quantities of Elixir of a special nature. Normally she used a basic version of the Elixir from which each vial was only fit to serve one person and grant them quasi eternal life. This time, she would be creating a type of Elixir so strong in its content that it would serve a large number of people, all at once. It only had to be sprayed in the vicinity of a large group and would be successful in extending their lives to a degree of quasi eternity. The secret of this type of Elixir was that she used the higher soul’s gift of eternal life, locking it into the bloodstream of the person sacrificing a certain number of years. In the other, more basic type of Elixir she only had the sacrifice of the person giving up the remaining years of their existence.
While one may wonder how this transformed into a quasi-eternity for the person receiving the Elixir this produced, it would just show that one was not aware of the deeper meaning of sacrifice and how it rooted itself into cosmic giving. It was this cosmic giving that Amanda tapped into and acted as a conduit of to develop the Elixir as a mixture of the life force of blood together with the expanse of cosmic giving. This made Elixir a sort of eternity in a bottle as it encompassed the vast nature of the cosmic giving Universe and the quality of mercy that ran through the blood of the ones sacrificing their remaining life.
She worked throughout a large part of the remaining hours of the night and dawn had her finally stretching out like a cat, happy with the result of her work, although quite tired from all the events of the night before and the great number of hours spent making the special type of Elixir. She called a member of the Supreme Guard of the Melancholists telling them that she had concocted a solution for the problem of Despair that affected the youngsters of Melancholy and that made them commit suicide. The Supreme Guard held a secret meeting with the Council of the Elders of Melancholy and they decided together that this must be kept secret until it was tried on a group of youngsters from Melancholy. All of them were quite thrilled with the prospect of being able to have their youngsters experience hope again. They looked at each other and smiled. Their hearts beat quicker and louder than they had ever beaten before. This was indeed a Hope for a new way of life.
Khamsa - Dhafer Youssef
Seek me in the rivers that flow stark
I have given in to the tides that all embrace
yielding into the deltas that claim more
that demand from all the very core
I will gaze upon the sun unflinching
the memories of you lying intact
unravelling in a world we never touch
as I watch your dark wings glowing
Laying on a bed of flowers exhaling
scent of jasmine, rose and moonflowers
I am one with my other face hidden
deep into the water it slowly grows
What is you has now become me, us
and what I am I know exists no more
yet I explore the emptiness of your face
translucent, aglow, it escapes physicality
I look beyond the life we never had
beyond stolen instances of nighttime
into the compressed breaths taken
to construe a world beyond the world
We will sing sweet and soft lullabies
to the unborn children we raised
in our mind’s eye they roam playgrounds
sitting in the recesses of my bosom
We keep and weep within my bosom
withered like an old nun’s gait
it speaks of unraveled moments
In Time we will see them flourish
Reading of the poem:
Elixir part 3 – The paradoxes of Melancholy3 July 2022
Amelia found a seat not far from the dead teenager and threw herself on it as she could hardly bear the crescendo of the wailing that emanated from the Melancholists. The wails subsided after a while and the Melancholists slowly exited the burial ground passing by the parents and other family of the young teenager and offering condolences to them. Amelia knew they would soon be gone to their dwellings all around Melancholy. She wished to see how they entered their dwellings that seemed hermetically shut and asked if she could follow them. The Melancholists accepted in hope of making of her an ally who could create the Elixir their breed needed so much. Even they, as a matter of fact, would do better with some drops of Elixir to make their lifeline longer and the beauty of their life greater.
Amelia followed a crowd of Melancholists back to their dwellings and she saw one family after the other slide into the slit that revealed itself to them and be gone into their mushroom-like dwellings. She realized that the slits would appear only to the owners of the mushroom and not anyone else – not even the other residents of Melancholy. One of the Melancholists by her side told her that it was only if the owners gave specific orders to the membrane that covered their dwelling that it would open to someone else. The orders had to be accompanied by a ritual if the dwelling was to open to a non-resident of Melancholy. This was to ensure a double protection from a potential non-resident of Melancholy trying to harm the Melancholists by forcing them to say the orders. Indeed, even if the orders could be given under constraint the ritual could only be made by someone who was free of all constraint.
Amelia watched them disappear one after another in their dwellings and realized that on the other side of Melancholy far from the burial grounds, there was a group gathered and whose collective sorrow seemed to draw her in like a magnet. After the last family had gone into their dwelling, she headed towards the group of sorrowful Melancholists. When she reached them, she realized that they were all youngsters, so beautiful that she could not identify who was the most beautiful of all. It was as if their features kept morphing and the one she looked at seemed always more beautiful than the one she had looked at just before. Despite so much beauty, they were full of an agonizing sorrow that seemed to be tearing them apart. They talked about their fallen friend in hushed voices and seemed to be betting on who would go next.
Amelia asked them why it was that they needed to shorten their lives and they answered as if surprised by the question that this had always been the case. Amelia assured them that they did not need to follow what had been done and that they did not need to shorten their lives. Somehow, they seemed to believe it was the only way that their parents could live longer and were happy to gift them with their lives. Besides, they said that while they were alive, all they could feel is sorrow and woe and they simply could not live with such a heavy burden. They were therefore doubly happy to gift their life away. Amelia asked them how they could possibly feel sorrow and woe in such a beautiful place and one of the taller ones answered that behind the beauty lay the thought of the death of their parents so they could only see the death and the beauty of the surroundings evaded them. It would seem like they had uncovered these feelings after they reached the age of twelve.
Amelia thought that it was such a strange paradox that the young ones should live in a place of beauty but shun it and concentrate on the sorrow and giving their life away for the elders while the elders of Melancholy not only found the place beautiful but were also able to get within it the gift of life from their youngsters. It was not a gift of extending the life eternally like the Elixir though but a gift of just a few more years. The Elders appreciated Melancholy and the gift of the youngsters but at the same time wept the passing of their youngsters and their gift that they so wanted to return and have their youngsters healed by the Elixir. It seemed like Melancholy was indeed a place of paradoxes.
Agnes Obel - The Curse
Fed with constant realities
their idle waves of intent
breaking through my fears
I bear fruit to a sullen morrow
I fixate beyond the edge of myself
on the anticipated remembrance
of the snow-white place in me
where I fail to see you no more
Your face grows stark and steady
In a solitary place I keep hidden
between collar bone and chest
bubbling with the residue of unrest
My brain will build tall citadels
where your name will reiterate
like a broken disk hitting my skull
one dull thud after another drops
There are fleeting looks encircled
by the morosity of frozen cheeks
They bask in the sunlit shadows
born to the eye that blinks never
Tomorrow I will bear no weight
Like a maiden before her sunset
I will tear away my shaking limbs
in offering to the beasts that pray
Reading of the poem:
Amelia looked at the invitation card that a friend of her mother had given her earlier in the afternoon. It was an invitation to a private burial at Melancholy. In the world where she lived, not many people had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the residents of Melancholy, the Melancholists, and even fewer had ever got an invitation to a private burial. It was the only place where the Melancholists let anyone see their true feelings of sorrow and in fact it was the only place where they showed any feelings at all. She remembered her mother telling her how the Melancholists had accepted her given all the work she was doing with their young children, trying to save them from their suicidal thoughts and their utter feeling of hopelessness.
She turned over the card. It was a beautifully engraved card which had the invitation on the front and a portrait of the deceased on the back side. She looked into somber eyes that seemed to follow her gaze as it trailed off to the edges. What a sad thing she thought to herself that such a beautiful child would want to die instead of enjoying a life of privilege. She wanted to go if not for anything else than paying homage to the child of her mother’s friend but at the same time she was aware that General Stein might be there. She knew that Melancholy was considered off grounds for any fights and that only the Melancholists Supreme Guard had the right to question or take away the liberty of any of the residents or their guests. General Stein was not a member of the Supreme Guard so he would not be able to harm her within Melancholy, but he would surely be waiting for her to come out of it to capture her.
Amelia decided to go to the funeral despite the risk she was taking. She had been given assurance of safe haven within Melancholy but also told she would be able to leave it without hassle. She donned her purple hooded coat and touched both the vial in the hem as well as the Infinity dagger she had hid near the vial. The Infinity dagger helped carve a quasi-infinite hole into a person it was dug into, making the cavity impossible to heal as it continued to remain open despite any number of stitches or other powdery substances burnt into it to make it heal. She knew that despite the assurances given to her, the General might well breach them as the stakes were really very high. Then again, if he breached the pact, the Melancholists or at least their Supreme Guard might not take to it very kindly.
She emerged from her car at the gates of Melancholy. It was indeed a beautiful place with the bright gardens, the mushroom-like dwellings that shone lily white in the night and the beautiful birds of all colours that flew from one side to the other of Melancholy. The jasmine in every corner of Melancholy exhaled a wonderful perfume that titillated the senses. Amelia made her way to the funeral hall which pillars were decorated with more jasmine and roses. At the back, between two pillars she saw a marble slab where lay a young teenager, face and limbs decorated as if he were going to a party. At the end of the slab, next to his feet, his mother was seated, sobbing. Amelia went right to her and attempted to hold her hand. The woman pulled away and concentrated her efforts on rubbing the feet of the dead teenager.
A man who appeared to be her husband rose and offered his hand to Amelia. He apologized for his wife’s behaviour and said that it was on account of Amelia not having shared the Elixir. Apparently, his wife had wished to get some from Amelia before the death of her son, but the General tasked with that mission had not gone through with it in the best way possible. Amelia made this known to the father. She said things could have been different if they had asked her themselves. She might have spoken a tad loud as she sensed the whole Assembly of Melancholists turn towards her with hope glimmering in their eyes. Somehow, this made a chill go through her spine. She realized that some might do anything to get the Elixir for their offspring. Would they go to extreme lengths just for one vial or would they maybe imprison her and force her to keep making the Elixir for them? It was hard to say. She kept her eyes fixated on the teenager. He was so beautiful, it seemed unfair that he should not live anymore. His lifeless corpse still radiated an incredibly sad beauty, like a deer doomed to be slaughtered by a huntsman. All around, the Melancholists had started their mourning with wails that grew stronger, slowly but surely, reaching a pinnacle of sorrow expressed in that unified cry. It was as if the graveyard itself had started to cry, heaving and seething with an uncontrollable sorrow.
Rebirth - Solace