By Adnan Adrees & Dawud Qadri
It was the night when hope was once again rekindled as the beast did stir; for all his villainies a masked avenger tore through him with bloody execution. The game had just begun and the pieces were moving into place.
The chamber was bathed in darkness as flames danced in the fireplace illuminating three figures sat at a table. No one spoke as Malchior walked in and took his place at the table. The ministerial boardroom was a windowless chamber which gave off an ageless aura. Malchior surveyed his fellow ministers before glancing to his left where an ornate mirror hung upon the wall but bore no reflection.
Loki sat opposite him, an irritating wretch. A powerful Jinn who always kept a sly smile upon his face as he watched from behind those beady eyes. Calculating, mischief and distrust were his ways. To Malchior’s left sat Danny, a demon general. Her beauty was beyond compare and rivalled only by her murderous intent. And finally, the oldest of them all sat near the back. A large beast of a man with serpentine eyes. He was one of the old ones, he was a hell dragon. His powers exceeded beyond all the others combined, which earned him much fear and respect.
Loki stared at Malchior and said,
"How are you brother? It can’t have been easy, killing the old man."
Malchior, unsure of what treachery Loki was plotting, answered cautiously:
“There was no hesitation, my faith is in the cause.”
Loki nodded, feigning admiration, before shooting back:
“That was not what I meant. It can’t have been easy for YOU to kill him… because it looks like HE damned near killed you!”
He collapsed into a fit of high-pitched giggles.
Determined to teach Loki a lesson, Malchior hurled him up into the ceiling and held him there with crushing pressure. Not hard enough to injure him of course, but hard enough to ‘grind’ the point home. Loki yelped with surprise and then squirmed with frustration, unable to free himself from the invisible force that was mercilessly pressing him into the stone. Malchior smiled with satisfaction and then suddenly gasped as a deep and terrifying agony exploded inside of him! He flopped onto the floor writhing and grunting in pain.
A deep and booming voice was heard around the hall:
“Cease your petty squabbling, immediately!”
The innate mirror sprung to life with deep red flames on the other side.
Just as quickly as the pain had appeared, it disappeared. Malchior forced himself up and returned to his seat. He allowed himself to feel some level of satisfaction though, as he noticed Loki had been similarly punished and had additionally fallen all the way from the ceiling.
All eyes were on the mirror now, from where the voice emanated. Its cold glass was alive with dancing images of fire. The deep voice, spoke again.
“What news do you bring?”
Only Drake answered from the rear of the room
“Everything is going as planned. Our forces have grown strong whilst the will of men has grown weak. The corruption you have sown has fermented. Soon all will be ready.”
“Excellent. You have all done well.”
“Milk and cookies all round, then!”
Loki quipped before bursting into fresh giggles.
“What news do you have of the girl?”
The flames in the mirror seemed to almost lick its cold surface.
Danny had expected this.
“She has been captured, my lord.”
the voice boomed.
“Yes, my lord. The London guard tried to bring her in, but were not able.”
“Jabber’s protégé intervened?”
The voice knew, somehow he always knew.
“Yes, my lord. However I personally tracked her.”
Her deep red lips twisted into a malevolent sneer,
“And where the London guard failed, I succeeded.”
“Is she secure?”
the voice continued.
“We’re having a security vehicle transport her to the Red Guard’s Detention Centre, my lord.”
The last few words caught Malchior’s attention. It had been a hard night covering up Danny’s transportation order. She may have ‘arranged it’ but it was Malchior as Lord Chancellor, who had to do most of the leg work.
“I don’t understand. Why do we need to use the London Guard’s Detention Centre? It’s a high security facility for a mere girl.”
The voice was harsh,
“Do not question me, Malchior. There are things I’ve foreseen that you do not know.”
The punishment came without warning as if a hot whip had just licked his face without leaving a mark. The burning agony grated through his soul as he tried to keep his composure. The pain disappeared as quickly as it came.
“Proceed to phase two,”
the voice echoed as the flames behind the glass flared momentarily and then faded before becoming ephemeral and vanishing completely. The presence was gone.
Loki, never one to be put off for long, remarked,
“Looks like you got a good licking!”
as he broke out into laughter.
“Well, you can’t ever say these board meeting are dull.”
As he left the room the halls echoed his chuckles.
Somewhere in the suburbs a newspaper lay on a kitchen table. The headline read:
MASKED MUSLIM ATTACKS THREE UNARMED OFFICERS
An 18 year old boy walks into the kitchen as the smell of breakfast fills the air. Yawning he sits himself down on a stool as his Grandmother drops some toast and a fried egg in front of him.
“I see last night went well,”
she said nodding towards the newspaper.
Looking at the newspaper article, Ayaan chuckled.
“Funny, according to my memory they were all armed.”
“You know as well as I, that the media are all under their control. I’m sure the truth will come out in the next issue of The Revival X, only Allah (swt) knows how an underground magazine can spread so quickly without being caught,”
“but if this is going to be the first of many late nights you might start falling behind on your college work.”
“I think my studies are the least of my worries, besides what kind of an angel attends college?”
he replied while munching down his breakfast.
“The kind that knows Allah (swt) grants knowledge and wisdom to whom He pleases and trusts you will use it wisely. Now go get dressed.”
“Yeah well according to Oscar Wilde ‘nothing that is worth knowing can be taught’”
“I think you and I both know Allah (swt) clearly out ranks Oscar Wilde.”
They both looked at each other before bursting into laughter. He smiled as he left the table to get dressed.
He strolled into his room scratching his head, and like every other morning he bid his parents a Salaam with a half-hearted smile. All he had left of them was this picture, which was taken just before they disappeared without a trace.
For as long as he could remember he had lived with his Grandmother who had taken him in. She was the only living relative he had left and although she did her best in raising him, Ayaan often wondered what it would have been like to have met his parents. But there was nothing he could do about it now, all he could do was put it aside and concentrate on the here and now. Or at least that’s what his old mentor used to say.
“Jabber, I could sure use your guidance right about now.”
And just as if his prayer had been answered the doorbell rang. He froze, straining his ears to hear the slightest sound of trouble. Then there was the sound of Grandma opening the door.
“Ayaan! There’s a parcel here for you.”
Letting out a sigh of relief he quickly got changed and went downstairs. He held onto the hope that it was something from Jabber… a message perhaps? He found the parcel on the kitchen table, seemingly ordinary with no return address. There seemed to be something bulky inside. Grandma eyed the parcel carefully.
“I didn’t know you were expecting a parcel,”
he gently opened it and peered inside to find a mobile phone. Ayaan carefully held the mobile phone in his palm almost expecting it to ring with some mysterious caller with a message for him. But nothing. Looking over the parcel again, it was definitely addressed to him and it had the right address so there was no mistake. Turning at last to his Grandma he said,
“This isn’t, by any chance an early birthday gift?”
“Oh… and what makes you think you deserve an early birthday gift? No it’s certainly not from me.”
She eyed it suspiciously.
“Well, there’s definitely been some mistake. I’m getting late, so I’ll deal with this when I get home later tonight.”
Ayaan turned and placed the mobile phone down on the table as Grandma returned to the dishes.
“Maybe you should take it to college with you”
“Why would I do that?”
“Allah (swt) has seen fit to buy you a mobile phone, an expensive one at that, the least you can do is take it with you and see who calls.”
It was at times like this that Ayaan had the distinct feeling there was something she wasn’t telling him. Although he couldn’t see her face, he was sure she was smiling. Letting out a sigh he decided to humour her.
he grabbed the phone and placed it in his pocket, grabbing his bag and jacket before shouting “khuda-hafiz” and leaving. Although the sun had risen it was still early with few people around. He walked slowly, caught up in his thoughts; he didn’t like being kept in the dark especially since Jabber disappeared. It seemed like he was losing everyone one at a time. Ayaan froze as mystery mobile began to ring. The caller-ID read ‘Number withheld.’ He quickly answered it.
there was an eerie silence before a voice spoke.
It was a girls voice.
“Who is this?”
“Who I am is not important, but what I have to say is.”
Ayaan could tell it was no coincidence he received this phone.
“What do you want?”
“I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a young boy, whose parents loved him dearly. But then the world went to hell, literally, and both his parents disappeared leaving our little boy all alone to be raised by his Grandmother.”
“How do you know...”
“Then many years later he meets an old friend of his Dad, who tells him that evil walks among us corrupting the world into the sorry state it’s in now. So what does he do? He dons a mask and goes off to fight evil. He stalks the streets helping the hapless and so on.”
“Okay. You’ve told me the story of my life, but since I was there, I already know. So why aren’t I hanging up?”
“Because now I’m going to tell you what happens next. You may think that by saving random people you're making a difference. But in fact it’s just that... random. You need to be pointed in the right direction. It’s not all about fighting and vanquishing evil. It’s about showing the world there’s still hope left. Fortunately, you actually saved someone important without knowing it and so here we are.”
A series of faces flashed through his mind,
“Can you be more specific?”
“It was a girl. You saved her from the Red Guard.”
A girl? He'd only rescued one female last night.
he whispered, more to himself than the caller.
“The police found out where she lives and arrested her a few hours ago, but that's not the bad news. They're transferring her to the London Guard's detention centre at midnight and I don’t suppose I have to tell you what happens to people who end up there?”
“How do you know all this?”
“There’s no time to explain. Save the hijaabi, save the world.”
With that she hung up.
There comes a point in our lives when we are faced with a choice. Only through these choices can a man be made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends, by the wrong he lingers.
To be continued...