By Adnan Adrees
In the not so distant future…
“As mankind becomes more dependant on the science of what they can see and understand; when the knowledge of the blessed becomes lost to the antiquities of time and the warnings of the coming age are seen as superstition, the world shall become susceptible to the lure of the false redeemer. Catastrophe shall befall as the towers of gold crumble to rubble and evil shall rise once more. When the cursed arrived, few shall see and even fewer shall believe. But even in the darkest of times there is still hope.”
London: looking at it at night it seems like there’s so much life here. It shines like a beacon for the world to see. It is no surprise that people are drawn to it... even those things that cling to the shadows. But the indulgence of sin is not without its punishments and every story has its beginning.
It was a cold August night as a chill breeze stalked the streets of London. A crescent moon rose through the night sky as a pair of tired eyes kept watch over the deserted streets. They were the eyes of an old man who had seen one too many winters and shed one too many a tear. He sat alone in his flat staring at the street below and there, beside him, he kept a miniature crossbow ready should the unexpected happen.
The clouds momentarily parted as a slither of moonlight bathed the city. Just as sleep was beginning to takeover, the door was kicked in by a man in a suit. The old man instantly spun around and fired an arrow at the intruder. But the old man didn’t wait for it to hit, in a split second he drew a sword from beneath his coat and slashed at the intruder, who dodged it with ease. Wanting to end this quickly he turned and brought the sword down onto the intruders head. There was no way he could miss. But the blade froze two inches short from his temple and all the man in the suit had done was extend his hand as if throwing up an invisible wall. A sly grin spread across his face and with a simply gesture of his finger the old man was thrown across the room. The man in the suit spoke for the first time.
“How the mighty have fallen, Jabbar I’m a little disappointed. I have to admit, every time I imagined how this would play out… I didn’t expect this. I remember chasing you like Ahabs whale. Yet somehow, despite my best attempts, you always managed to escape. But not this time. You’re powers have grown weak old man.”
“I know what it is that you seek Malchior, but you are too late. I've already prepared him for you.”
Jabbar held a note of pride in his voice but no fear. It was this that seemed to unsettle the man in the suit.
“Uridu ana asdaqun maa’i”
smiled the man in the suit.
“You wasted your time old man. You're still going to die.”
“Death is a gift to the true believer. And he who indulges in falsehood will find the paths of paradise shut to him.”
Malichiors eyes flashed as he waved his left index finger and a cut appeared above Jabbers eye.
“Do not lecture me Jabber. I’m no longer one of your students,”
with another wave of his hand Jabber was pressed against the wall and slowly dragged up the wall by an invisible force.
“It is not too late for you Malchior, stop this right now or many innocents will die.”
A look of almost satisfaction spread across Malchiors face.
“I wondered if at the end you would still try and save me, and for that I thank you. But my destiny is far greater than anything you could have imagined, and with your death the student shall at last become the master.”
At these words the old man closed his eyes as a single tear ran down his cheek, perhaps bidding farewell to some lost hope of redemption. Opening them to reveal a shade of bright blue, he summoned his remaining strength, whispered the blessed durood sharif and with all his might shattered Malchior's hold on him. He thrust his arm out and this time it was Malchior who was thrown against the wall! But before he could continue the assault, a quick motion from Malchior’s wrist checked him. Invisible forces pulsed as, with a sharp hand gesture, Jabber was thrown through the window of his eight-storey flat. Malchior rose to his feet and straightened his suit before turning to leave.
In another part of the city the streets were hollow and empty, as curfew was in effect. Not a soul allowed outside after 10pm. An unnatural silence had fallen, like the deep breath before the plunge. The London Guard were out in force, lurking in the shadows. Nothing more than the hired thugs of a long corrupt regime, a sinister mockery of the constabulary. A lot had changed, but not the malice of malicious men; and tonight their prey was a young hijaabi girl unlucky enough to be stuck outside at the wrong time.
She walked briskly, praying she wasn't seen. She had heard the stories about the London Guard. Too many of them to ignore. But of course it was already too late. They were closing in around her.
A hand emerged and grabbed her hijaab and tried to pull it off. She spun round and lashed out in panic. Her hand collided sharply with a face before she turned and ran.
He yelled. She had fallen into their trap.
The street was empty and, with her home over 3 miles away, there was no where to go and no one to help. As they gave chase they laughed with excitement.
“Come-on sweetheart we won’t bite... much”
They laughed... laughed at her terror. They both knew what was coming. Tears ran down her cheeks as she tried to get away. Her heart was racing as panic began to set in. Her mind raced, ‘If only I could reach my brother's place’ she thought. She ran around a corner, barely stopping herself from falling. She could hear their footsteps chasing her and closing in fast. She was breathing hard as the cold crisp night air hurt her throat as she tried to breath. Terror seeped into her mind as her pursuers closed in.
The guard grabbed her shoulder, pulling her down as she tried uselessly to shake him off but he was too strong. His grip strengthened, dragging her to a sudden halt, before he shoved her face first against a brick wall.
“Oh God no!... Please! No!”
She pleaded, unable to stop her mind from racing to was about to happen.
“Shut it. Assaulting a guard is a serious offence. Do you know what that means? It means I get to do whatever I want”
He laughed manically. An evil grin spread across his face as once again he grabbed her hijaab and tried to pull it off; that’s when they noticed they were no longer alone.
The street lamp flickered off as a stranger’s voice spoke out through the darkness.
“It is better for a man to have a steel nail driven through his head than for him to touch the palm of a strange woman”.
They could just make out the silhouette of a tall figure standing in the shadows of the street.
“We’re London’s Guards, now get lost!”
“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none”
The stranger takes a step into the dim light, he is dressed completely in black, save for a blue insignia across his chest; a mask covers his face and a slim sword is strapped to his back.
“What the hell?”
The stranger smiles; in a single step he is upon them and with a single blow he sends the largest of the guards flying. More than his strength is his speed, moving faster than even the eyes can see, with his second swing he knocks down the second guard, in a blur of shadow and fury. The third who had remained stunned to silence now comes to his senses as he draw his gun, but before the hammer can fall the stranger has disarmed him and with a devastating kick the guard is thrown across the street before crumpling onto the floor unconscious.
She sat there against the wall quivering, in only a handful of seconds this man had laid waste to three guards who would have done what only Allah (swt) knows if he hadn’t appeared. She didn’t know whether to thank him or to be afraid.
The stranger turned towards her and with a slight nod said
“Asalamalaykum sister, do not be afraid, I will not harm you”
A little taken back by such a formal greeting
“w .. walaikumsalam,”
“No, I suspect they will be fine. There are CCTV cameras on every street of Britain, I have no doubt that they have been watching the whole thing and I suspect more of their friends are on their way here right now. However, should we not wish to have any more entanglements with the Guard I suggest that we leave now. Are you able to walk?”
“I think I can”
she slowly rose to her feet, ignoring the pain.
“The nights are not safe. Go home.”
His voice was hard and cleared some of the shock from her mind. She knew that he was right and bent down, scrabbling in the shadows for her bag, questions forming in her mind.
“Who are you?”
she asked, only he had vanished just as mysteriously as he had appeared. She stood there, unsure of what to do. She glanced up and down the street but realised she was once again alone. There was no sign of anyone, other than the three guards sprawled out in the street. Taking this as a sign she turned and hurried off home.
From the shadows of the rooftops he kept watch as she disappeared further into the night, this was his city and there were a lot of people who needed his help.
Although our trials in life are different and we can not choose what life throws at us, we can choose the paths we take and pray that we have chosen wisely.
To be continued…