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
Elixir part 5 – A new generation of Melancholists29 January 2023
The Supreme Guard of the Melancholists reached out to Amelia in the early hours of the next night saying they would escort her from her home to Melancholy, ensuring that she would not be bothered by General Stein or his men. Although this seemed like a great solution for her safety, she also realized it would mean her giving up the secret of her second home to the Supreme Guard and she would then be either under surveillance or easily taken out of her home with no possibility to react in time as they would have the knowledge of exactly where she lived.
She phoned them back saying she would meet them in front of the second exit of Melancholy to the back with all the vials she had made. In the end, they had to accept her conditions as she was the one who held the solution to the chronic problem of dying teenagers in Melancholy. Amelia took all the vials of Elixir and put them in a couple of plastic bags which she placed carefully in her sling bag. She headed out of her apartment from the window of the 1st floor which gave directly on a straight ledge and slowly lowered herself to the ground from the pipe that was tapered to the wall leading down from the ledge. She looked around but could see neither the General nor his men. It was true that she had only rented this home a fortnight ago so nobody would know about her whereabouts yet.
As soon as her feet had taken the first step outside of the security of her home, she quickened her pace almost breaking into a run. She walked hurriedly along the early risers in her town who were mostly farmers bringing in their crops from far away, bakers hurrying towards the making of the daily bread and beggars eager to catch a loaf of free bread or some groceries which were left over from the night or brought in by farmers. At the end of the street, she could see some people who looked like neither of these usual early risers; they looked like trained mercenaries. While it was mainly General Stein and his men who pursued her for the Elixir, she realized that there could be others who wanted to just steal some vials from her and sell them on the black market.
She rushed on, heading to Melancholy that stretched beyond, shining dazzling gold and green, sometimes rainbow colour as it shone on. She could now see the backs of General Stein’s men. She stomped on the Earth, trying to make as little noise as possible while she sunk into it. She counted several hundred meters before she emerged again, all the while alerting the Supreme Guard that she was penetrating the grounds of Melancholy. She always had to notify them that she would be stomping through as she would otherwise be electrocuted by the energy field they surrounded Melancholy with in the air and within the ground. They did not want anyone to sneak into Melancholy without them knowing it. As she emerged, she could see the Supreme Guard on one side and on the other side the Melancholists both young and old. She realized that these were only the Elders of Melancholy and their young teenagers.
Amelia rounded up the Melancholists present and told them to stay around her in a circle within the grounds of commemoration where a slab indicated yearly the sacrifices of the Melancholists. She asked them to open up their noses and mouths and to also press on their sides, concentrating on their hearts. She mentioned that it was necessary to do all of this at the same time to maximise the effect of the Elixir. She arranged the Elders to one side in a semi-circle and the teenagers to the other also in a semi-circle. They all silently did as they were told and waited around her with abated breath.
She took out of her bag three vials of the compounded Elixir and put them on a slab of stone in front of her. She prayed slowly the prayer of cosmic healing and broke the first vial. She could feel the Melancholists take in a sharp breath of the Elixir. She broke the second vial and could feel all the Melancholists chests dilate while their minds seemed to break into a humming of contentedness. She prayed again and broke the third vial of Elixir and could feel a pulse heave through the Melancholists before a wave of energy shot through the crowd of Melancholists and seemed to implode into their ranks then breaking through their ranks lending all their bodies a shiver. She looked around her at the Melancholists and all she could see was youth and beauty everywhere. She smiled and the Melancholists smiled back at her. This was now a new generation of Melancholists. Her potion was much more potent than she ever thought it could be…
Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci — 'Until We Meet Again' (Official Video)
Before she could finish thinking about a solution to her predicament, she felt the ground shake. She thought it was an earthquake and peeked out of her flat to see whether she should stay indoors or go out. She could see the tube station which seemed to have caved in with large pieces of metal and rock protruding from the hole that had once been the ceiling of the tube station. She looked all around and there seemed to be no sign of an earthquake. She retreated from the window, slowing realizing that this was a terrorist attack. She could not figure out why there was one in her neighbourhood of Canada Water while Manas had only spoken about Green Park and Bond Street.
She put on the TV and saw gory pictures of what remained from the stations of Green Park and West Minster. It seemed that they had changed their mind about Bond Street. The police were asking witnesses to give their recount of anything suspicious they had seen. Apparently the most deadly hit had been at Green Park. They had not only bombed both sides of the station but they had also bombed some of the neighbouring buildings at Green Park. They had come very close to Buckingham Palace as one of the ISWAP members was working on a building site nearby and had been able to plant a bomb there. The police found two guards who had been taken down at the site and it was obvious that the terrorists had put a trigger there. It was not clear whether the terrorist who activated the trigger had survived.
She felt sick and almost threw up. This was all her fault as she had not alerted the ATU in time. She watched other images of the Westminster massacre and realized that the small dark blots were bodies covered up and it seemed like BBC did not want to show the full extent of the horror that had hit both Green Park and Westminster stations. She knew it was Manas’s men who had triggered this horror in London. His men were probably elated at how much terror they had struck into the hearts of Londoners. That day was going to remain for years in the hearts and minds of not only Londoners but all the English people as well. Boko Haram claimed the terrorist attacks as their own and broadcasted the set-up of the operations, boasting about their ability to trump British intelligence. They had used two terrorists who had been working under cover as Electricians with a black card access to the Tube so they had been able to practically go anywhere.
She looked out of the window again. There was absolutely no reason for them to bomb Canada Water station. Could it have been a warning to her so that she stopped seeing Manas? Was Boko Haram sending a message to Manas so that he would stop seeing her? She could not bear just sitting at her flat so decided to dress up and leave in search of Manas. There was always a code blue that she could use if she needed to see him at all costs. She needed to get to Edgware road so that she could use one of the burner phones that was linked to Manas and type in the code. She decided it was better to get a cab than use the tube as it would be in shambles and with stations on high alert as it wasn’t clear if the terrorist attacks were over. She buckled her belt and looked at the driver. There was something odd about him…
Disturbed - The Sound Of Silence [Official Music Video]
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 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
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
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
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