Snowdrops wilted face
Hidden thoughts of forgiveness
Frostbite a habit
Lifetimes of togetherness
corpses of morrows
My eyelids a moist valley
My mind sits so still
in flutter of a heartbeat
I hear thousand drums
Lilies in the night
sixty-six and six hundred
sacrificed in flight
Roots of nothingness prevail
Heart in black to sail
Pantomimes dance wild
I harbour within me child
of golden years dreamt
I scale back horrors
Endings rewind beginnings
Magic soars within
In scent’s memory
I can smell the spring coming
oozing out of trees
Tomorrow’s leaves fly
Crunch of green lift my feet slight
Windows heed doors’ cry
Reading of the poem:
Hush hush now Mama will build a boat
Just to keep you and me afloat
And if we were to never meet a land
Mama would build a castle made of sand
Yesterday was full of lights in the sky
From ground they reached a burning tidal high
And when the flames seared higher than my cry
I watched them run wilder than hopes would die
Hush hush now Mama will fill your throat
With cries to fly beyond the highest note
The flags will rise above the waving hands
The music will break through the dancing bands
Tomorrow’s crops are burnt for ever more
The gaping hedges drizzling in downpour
And when the wheat’s prices were to soar
She gave them fields of seeds that many bore
Hush hush now Mama will knead the bread
So gently when you’re a million dead
The fallen hark for every word she said
An emblem lost from mind of every head
We once saw the Earth burning like a pyre
From each dark cry their lips would expire
And when I lay beside you on the fire
We rekindled flames blazing higher and higher
Reading of the poem:
She sees through ugly
Her eye torn into darkness
Her gait leftover fancy
Of a lifetime of duress
She prays to the Gods
Her hands temple of fervours
Her mind beating the odds
Through failing faith that hovers
She adjusts composure
Her mouth a tomb of secrets
Her heart seeks closure
Her chest a book of regrets
She breathes sunlight
Her nose a cathedral
Her shoulders set into fight
Tomorrow a sight feral
Reading of the poem:
Am I a cheap bastard my Angel, he said smiling with that beautiful smile that made her heart beat faster.
Of course, not she answered while throwing herself into his arms. How are you, she whispered her head buried against his collarbones.
I am well and so happy to see you in a single piece, he said.
She found out that he had been informed about Abdelkader’s visit and his intention to see her and scare her off. She also found out that the Head of Boko Haram in Nigeria had asked both Abdelkader and Manas to step up the operations in the UK. It would seem that they wanted to have a significant event on the 5th of May at Westminster to mark their stronghold in the UK. The earlier bombing had not been significant enough and they had received confirmation that the bombing had not been strong enough to completely destroy the tracks and Transport for London would be repairing everything in a matter of weeks. They had hoped to cause more damage than that and that is why the Boko Haram cell in Nigeria was connecting with the followers in London to inflict more damage, especially at that date as the next day would see the crowning of the new King. They wanted to make sure those plans were thwarted.
- Why are you telling me this, she said
- I am telling you so that you do not take the tube that day and the day after as more attacks may follow above ground.
- What if I told the ATU or the local authorities
- If you tell them then we will both be dead. There are several Muslim policemen and a few of them are followers of Boko Haram although you would not know this by looking at them. The information is bound to come back to them and if they identify you then this would lead them straight to me and they would report me to the cell in Cameroon or Nigeria.
- I can imagine I would be dead but why you`? Aren’t you their leader in Cameroon?
- My credibility took a blow when you informed the authorities about the projected bombing of Westminster after I had informed you. This time I will not be able to escape suspicion as most of the cell members know that you are my girlfriend. They will be sure that it was me who informed you.
- Why do you not forego this life my love. I am sure that if you gave it up the ATU might actually be able to use your skills to catch other terrorists. You are an incredibly intelligent man and I know you have the physical capacity to keep up with ATU members
- I cannot do that my Angel. This is the life I have chosen for myself because our countries have suffered under the colons and Muslims have been repressed for so long. In Cameroon the situation flares up sometimes and we have to make ourselves heard. We have to be a force to reckon with so that the West may listen to our demands.
- I thought it was all about killing kafireen and increasing the number of Muslims
- That too, my Angel but also letting the countries that do not allow Muslims to practice their faith properly know that they may not continue what they do.
- But the UK is not one of those countries.
- The UK has another purpose. It is an important financial center. Our purpose is to cripple the most financial centers the West has and then put at the forefront those centers that Muslims are backing. This is also why I was in Dubai. It was possible to assess how far Dubai could go. I also went to Malaysia to assess whether they could take over parts of the operations.
She fell silent. She simply could not understand how a man as intelligent and loving as Manas was could be a terrorist and align with the dogma taught by them. She understood in part the anti-colonial aspect as she too came from two countries where colonialism had left deep scars in the countries and the looting by colons had impoverished them. Yet she could not see herself as capable of being a terrorist. Then again, if she kept quiet about the projected bombings, was that not terrorism by absence of communication to the authorities. If she did mention something, though, she would not even know if she was mentioning it to one of the followers of Boko Haram who had infiltrated the police. It could also be Al Shabab followers. Should she risk her own life in order to save people she had never met? Would it be possible for her to live life without any regrets if she did not mention it at all and attempt to stop it?
Manas could see she was torn between different decisions so he took her by the shoulders and told her that it would not change a thing as they would just change the date and both of them would be dead for nothing. He tried to make her see that it would all just be pointless and their families would also suffer from the fact that they would no longer be alive.
She pulled away from him. She felt all at once exasperated with his convictions and so drawn to him that she only wanted to be back against him again. She told him she was not sure she could just leave things as they were even though she risked being killed. She could not let him be killed though and she knew for having undergone it how horrible their methods were when punishing someone. They would no doubt punish him much more than they had punished her as he would have been the cause for their plans to fail. She threw her arms around him and cried against his chest. I know it is difficult for you he said and held her closer.
Wael Kfoury ... Kifik Ya Wajaai
A terrorist to love – part 10
12 February 2023
The driver grabbed her by the arm and took her to the cab. He lowered her head before pushing her into the cab. It was so symptomatic of how policemen put their prisoners into their police car that she wondered if he was a policeman on an errand for Boko Haram. She looked up at him after he had sat behind the wheel again. She could see in his eyes a flutter of recognition of what she was thinking. At the same time there passed in his eyes like a shadow of guilt and that persuaded her that he was indeed a policeman but perhaps also a hired gun for Boko Haram. He lowered his eyes so that she could not decipher anything in them.
- You are an English cop, right, she said
- I am in no mood for your mind games, he answered
- No mind games at all. I would just like to understand
- There is nothing to understand. I am a devout Muslim and am doing my part to cleanse the world of the kafireen (non believers). We will soon prevail. Our numbers are growing and we have struck into the heart of the financial system in the UK. The same will happen also in the US and other western countries who do not respect our religious beliefs.
- How can you kill people who are also God’s creatures. Is Allah not merciful and desirous of preserving the creatures he created?
- You know not what you say. Shut up you poor excuse for a Muslim. You have no right to speak of Allah and what Allah wishes for humanity. I know all about you and your involvement with the ATU. I also know how you bewitched Manas and weakened him first in Cameroon and then now in the UK. My superiors may not think much of your prowess, but I can see how you are bringing down a great man and an excellent strategist for our Jihad. If I were to have my way, you would not last long and Manas would then be fully occupied by our Sabil (way) to the higher realms.
She chose to keep quiet as she realized that the driver was a zealot and he might kill her if she went too far. He visibly had no respect for the Boko Haram hierarchy and was only drawn to the cause in order to be able to kill the most kafireen as he could. She had seen countless times men like him, so devout to the cause that they would take matters into their own hand regardless of whom they were supposed to answer to. Their leaders were of course unable to punish them overtly as they would then be questioned on their motives and might also lose a large part of their following if it were known that they had castigated a devout follower because he had killed a kafir. There were fine lines within Boko Haram just as there were in the ATU. In reality, the two organisations had quite a lot in common although they were working on opposing sides.
Her mind drifted back to her time at the ATU when she was charged with finding Manas and either bringing him to justice or making sure he died. It had been at a wedding of one of Manas’s cousins and she had yet gotten the order to take him down regardless of who else died with him. She had realised at that time that she would not be capable of doing that and hurting several people who were very likely innocent. There had not been any intel, indeed, on the cousin who was getting married and in all likelihood he had nothing to do with Boko Haram and most of the marriage party were but innocent bystanders. She remembered her boss’s anger at the fact that she had not planted a trigger and left but there was no way she could have done such a thing. She had killed many people but it had been during face-to-face confrontations with terrorists and other armed followers.
She lifted her eyes again and caught the driver looking at her. She looked away, not wishing to ignite again his fury against her and his anger at the thought that he was not allowed to kill her. She could see from the corner of her eye that he was still looking at her seemingly ruminating murderous thoughts about her but she chose to steadfastly look away waiting for them to pull up to her building. Soon enough she found herself next to the building and the driver came out, opened her door and tugged her out of the car unceremoniously. She let herself be hauled out and quickly started walking towards the building hoping that he was not following her. She heard the car start before pulling away and sighed a sigh of relief. When she reached her flat, she could see that someone had got in. The rocks that she put in front of the door to check whether someone had got in were moved about. She opened gingerly the door and looked into the room. She did not have any weapon with her. She decided that if anybody would have wanted to kill her it would have already been done by Abdelkader, Younes or one of their followers. She went right into the flat yelling come out now you cheap bastards. Her heart skipped a beat as Manas emerged slowly from between the plants on the balcony…
Sweet Blasphemy – Dhafer Youssef
She asked the driver to go to Edgware road as he seemed to be taking a different route. She told him curtly that she would prefer if he would take the normal route to Edgware road as she did not think changing the route would get them there faster. The driver simply looked at her in the rear view mirror and said nothing. She started feeling a cold shiver going down her back and her heart started beating faster in her chest. She tried to act like she was not affected at all by his mutism and asked him again pointedly to go through the other route. He just stared at her again without saying a word. She told him she would report him to the station and started typing the number. In one sweeping movement he turned around grabbed her phone and put it in the glove box.
Her heart was beating really fast now. She was not sure whether this was the terrorists taking her away to kill her or whether this was Manas trying to get her to him without the police noticing. After a few minutes settling her racing thoughts, she realized that it was probably Manas trying to get her to him rather than the terrorists kidnapping her as the man could have hit her but just took away the phone instead. She decided that if they wanted her dead she would probably already been dead so she dug her heels into the fabric of the back seat and sat back against the cushion. She was clearly not going to get any information from the driver so she thought it better to save her breath.
The cab drove onwards into small lanes in Westham and then further out into some dingy neighbourhood. It came to a standstill in front of a weather-beaten house with broken windows that seemed on the brink of collapsing. He came around the car, opened her door and then gruffly asked her to come out as he held her arm. As she shrank away from him, he seized her arm stronger and pulled her out unceremoniously. She fell to the ground and he picked her up with both arms under her armpits. He half carried half dragged her into the house which seemed pitch black at first. He then pushed her onto a chair that was at the middle of what seemed to be a living room. In front of her, far from the chair, there was a black man who was looking at her intently.
What do you want from me, she said, attempting to sound self-assured while she was shaking inwards. This was not Manas and she could not identify him as a member of the team who had tortured her when she was in Cameroon. The man just looked at her without answering her question.
- Where is Manas, she said.
- What do you want with Manas, he said
- I want to know where is, whether he is safe
- It is not for you to ensure his safety or query his location
- Please, I just want to know that he is alright. I want to speak to him
- You are a burden, a terrible burden and you are not a Muslim
- I am a Muslim
- No, you are not. You say words that Muslims say but you are not. Look at how you dress. No decency and your hair is for everyone to look at. You would be a disgrace to Muslims if you really professed to be one.
- Have it your way. In any case I just want to speak to Manas
- Forget about him. You must never answer his calls again. You will make no further contact with him. If you attempt to contact him or if I hear that you were with him, that will be the end for you. Do you understand?
- Do you understand I said, he was suddenly so close to her, seizing her by the hair
- Yes I understand
- Now the driver will take you back near your place and you will forget everything about Manas and about us and beware not to tell Manas anything about this encounter.
She nodded and slowly got up. She felt dejected. The perspective of not ever seeing Manas again was so painful that tears welled in her eyes. She heard someone talking softly to the man who had threatened her and it seemed that he was called Abdelkader. The person talking to him seemed to be called Younes and he was talking very respectfully to Abdelkader so he probably was high up in Boko Haram. Perhaps not the faction in Cameroon but possibly Nigeria. She tried to get a good look at him but it was too dark even though her eyes had gotten used to the bad light in the room.
Younes gave her a baleful look after he finished talking to Abdelkader. It seemed like none of them had noticed that she had gotten their names. She was indeed very skilled at finding out what was being whispered and this had helped her a lot when she was in the ATU. Younes came towards her, grabbed her arm and handed her over to the driver. She was totally compliant as she did not want to end up dead here in this god forsaken place. She eyed Younes again to be sure to recognize him. They thought they had had the better of her but she would make them pay when she would reunite with Manas…
Lil Wayne - Drop The World ft. Eminem (Official Music Video) ft. Eminem
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
Elixir part 1 – The Truth of the Elixir29 May 2022
She looked behind her fleetingly trying to assess how far her assailant was. Not more than 90 seconds before he would be able to seize her. She stomped with her right foot the earth under her feet while thinking at the same time of being inside the earth. No sooner had she done that than her body sank into the ground dropping at a very high speed. She thought of the steps of soil and they materialised under her feet. She ran quickly using one step after the other and leapt onto the one leading her out, on the other side of the river where her assailant, general Stein, had been stalking her.
The Elixir was within a vial knotted closely into the hem of her shirt. She clutched at it frantically, needing to assess whether it had opened and spilt over. It was safely knotted, lid intact, into her clothing. Her eyes grew misty when she remembered how her mother had sacrificed the remaining years she had to live just so that she could be able to make the Elixir and work on making more so that more people who were dying could be saved.
The Elixir had a restorative nature allowing it not only to provide more years of life to those dying but also to heal the organs within the body of the sick persons it was administered to.
She had seen time and time again how the elderly were happy to grant the remaining years of their life to their ailing children or grandchildren. All the Elixirs she had made had been used. Only the one she had made from her mother’s remaining years was kept close to her heart. Nobody had ever been able to understand how she made the Elixirs and she had kept the secret close to her. When the word had started coming out, she had received offers from pharmaceutical companies but she knew well enough that they would only buy her technique in order to bury it as those companies thrived on the sickness and death of people and had no intention of actually making Elixirs to heal people.
She thought again about what she had created. It would seem like the holy Grail when you thought of it but it did have some side effects: it held some of the memories of the deceased and it seemed that those were in majority memories of trauma or other levels of pain. These memories kicked in when anyone given the Elixir was experiencing any level of anger or stress. Upon studying this phenomenon, she realised that these memories were stored in some pockets of the Elixir which had a slight discoloration of the pearls of blood around it. She needed to be able to isolate this from the rest of the Elixir without foregoing any of the years contained in it.
She looked at where general Stein was looking at her, seething with anger that she had again escaped him. He had never pursued her with any offers, unlike the pharmaceutical companies. He simply wanted to get from her the secret of creating the Elixir so that he could use it on the children of his elite clientele. Ever since he had left the army, his only scope in life had been to earn as much riches as he could and Amelia’s invention represented a fantastic opportunity to do so. Back in Melancholy where he visited his rich clients, the parents were dealing with a very difficult situation as all their children were either neurasthenic or suicidal and he knew from observing Amelia’s work that the Elixir would not only extend the life of those who took it but would also make those who took it wish to live a beautiful life
Al-Nil - Armand Amar
She looked again at Manas’s beautiful black face filling the screen with his lips parting on pearly white teeth in such a beautiful smile that it made her heart ache with longing. His face seemed to pop out of the screen.
She smiled back, yet she wanted to know the truth, even if it were to hurt her.
- Did you order my torture, Manas?
- How could you think that my angel?
- I don’t know. It seemed impossible that your supporters would do it without your permission.
- Those who have tortured you have been castigated. I know I cannot make it up to you, I can never remove the effect the torture had on you, but I have punished those who took it into their hands to punish you for my imprisonment. As soon as I was let out of prison, I tended to that.
- It was awful
- I know. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I should have left instructions that you should not be touched but everything happened so fast, and we had to run away from your anti-terrorist team.
- I forgive you. I see now that it could not have been you and you did not have time to make sure nothing happened to me.
- Meet me alongside the Thames, near the London Eye at 4 pm
- Tea-time! I see you are getting acquainted with the locals
- Anything for you, my angel. I have followed the change of your career and know that it is now here that you have settled down. I want to be with you and give you the best of myself.
- What about your terrorist gang? Are you going to be attacking civilians here?
- I wish I could answer you, my angel. Let’s not think about things that separate us. We have so much to catch up about. I have missed you so much
- Me too
The words almost suffocated her. She had missed him so much that it actually hurt her. She felt as if her chest had been bashed in, so difficult it was to breathe. She quickly put on her clothes and ran towards the tube. It would not take her long to get to the London Eye from Canada Water. She kept wiping nervously her hands on her jeans as she was sweating profusely, and her hands were wet too. She wondered what it would be like to be in his arms again. Would his love for her be the same? Had he been with other women while they were not together? What had he been doing after his release from the Cameroonian prison?
She got down at Waterloo and walked towards the London Eye. From far she could see Manas. He was disguised and now had a beard on as well as a wig, but she could easily recognize him. Suddenly she felt someone gazing at her on the side and turned to see one of her team members from the Cameroon operation. She also felt someone staring at her from the back and turned around to see another of her team members. They were closing in on her and she realized that her phone must have been tapped.
The good thing was that they had not yet recognized Manas so she turned around and looked squarely at the team member behind her. She pushed him and he fell to the ground. The other team member at her side closed in on her and caught her wrists. Stop fighting, he said but she started throwing punches at him while kicking at the other man who was trying to hold her legs. She saw Manas slowly back out of where he was and then turn and walk away. At least he is safe, she thought as her two team members jointly held her by the wrists and legs.
Norah Jones - Come Away With Me (Official Music Video)