Long ago,

Somewhere in the previously unexplored lands of Africa,

In the day of solar eclipse,

The majestically setting sun called upon the apocalyptic yon-orange sky. Fear gradually filled every inch of the lands in the name of dark. A man walked down its sands, refusing to join as one among the dead, blood swept its way down his forehead. His vision slowly blurred. “Time has come for him”, a man cried above ground. He kneeled before the dead realizing he could not escape the pit; tears dilated the clotted blood strains over his chin.   

“This is madness”, the man cried and continued, “You are blinded by your fears and became the very thing humanity is against. Don’t let your fear cloud your judgement”. A dark figure approached the verge of the pit, his dark cold eyes stroke the man with fear. “You have disgraced Ra, now let your soul join him in the battle against the dark”, the dark figure uttered and signed his men to set the pit on fire.

“Signal the family, they have every right to know what happened to him”, the leader of Yun ordered his men and continued, “Signal them that we have lost him to Haboob”. One of his men, lit their arrow and shot it towards the boundless sky. The arrow answered all the questions in the boy’s young and confused mind. The boy witnessed the arrow in the pitch-dark sky from his village, not so far from the pit. The fire reflected in his cornea; the mission was a failure. “Nooo…”, the boy cried at the instant he realized his dad was gone, forever.

A few months before, 

It’s not what I am underneath

The world has not reached me beneath

Lies are written all over

Pretending to be the man’s cover

Once a day will come by

Revealing the world’s beautiful lie

Maha vocalized his breathe in chorus with the inevitable sand storms. His fingers danced among the strings of bolon. “This has always been your favorite instrument, doesn’t it?”, a familiar voice questioned him. Maha turned around to find his dad waiting by his camel. “You are back. I was worried. Grandpa was worried”, said the boy hugging the man. “I’m home, there is nothing to worry about young man.”, he patted his son’s head.

“Eve, you are back. Thank Ra, you are back”, said the old man who just emerged from the doors and rushed towards his son. “Yes father, your son is back.”, tears expressed his joy.

The next day,

The storm was mild yet inexorable. Maha hurried to the nearby oasis to check on his camel, to make sure if he survived the night. People of early modern age blindly believed that the night fall called upon the dead for war against the god Ra (Sun). Fear filled their hearts every day, they couldn’t help but hope for his return from war against the demonic serpent Apophis. 

“Father, to the oasis, now.”, Maha urged his father from his cot. “What on earth hates me for having a little more rest?”, he babbled as he followed his son to the oasis. He couldn’t notice a thing until he reached the oasis as the sand storm was constant. “He doesn’t seem well”, Maha uttered pointing towards his camel. The camel was old, at the verge of its life. It was quite unbelievable that he made through the sand storm alive the previous night. “Will he be alright?”, asked confused Maha. “I am sorry, boy. He will not make it”, his father responded with his voice down.

The man took out his dagger and walked towards the camel. He made each of his steps slow and steady so that the camel wouldn’t get his instincts urged. He made it to the back of its neck and raised his hands pointing the dagger to the cervical region. “Are you going to hurt him father?”, asked the young boy, his eyes widened. “This is how things work, my boy. The weak must be eliminated. Not just for the sake of us, but for their own. He can’t protect himself anymore and this oasis isn’t a safe place. He may lure rattles, coyotes, cougars and even hyenas. The best way to avert danger is by eliminating the weak”, he explained.

The man knew, his boy was too young to understand his acts but that is how nature selects, the weak gets eliminated to let the other lives thrive. And so are superstitions, they blindfold you, corner you and frighten you. People fear what they don’t understand. The man stood as a demon in the eyes of the boy, but he had to do what he did for the sake of the poor animal and his own.

A few days later,

Iteru (ancient name of river Nile) failed its lands. The vast river dried out and there was no guarantee he would splash through the lands again. Drought had never concerned the people of Yun, but fear did. They feared Ra might fail them some day as well. But they had to move on, no matter what, they had to believe Ra would make it against the demon every night. And belief is something they could now rely on. 

The leader of the tribe called upon a mass prayer to worship Ra. He was called as Agraga by his people. People of all ages gathered respecting the words of their leader. He put both his hands in air envisioning himself under the protection of God Ra. He chanted the pride of Ra and thanked him for his greatness. As he went on people followed him in chorus and some played their bolon, mbira, drums and so on. Maha played his bolon to bring life into the prayer. 

The prayer concluded and the gatherings dispersed. Among the crowd Eve stood still, waiting for the others to leave. As everyone left, he moved towards the leader of Yuns and greeted him. “If I may ask, why shouldn’t we move to the south?”, Eve questioned his leader and continued, “We lost most of our vegetations, Iteru will be nothing but a memory soon. Our people need protection and wealth and I am sure we will get plenty in the south. The time I was gone, I did manage to learn that the world is vast enough to accommodate our tribe, no matter how far we go. And Ra will never fail to follow us.”

The leader gave him a deadly glare. “Are you suggesting to abandon our god and surrender ourselves to Apophis? Have you lost your mind while you were gone? We live under the grace of Lord Ra and you are insisting to follow into the dark lands of Apophis. Have you forgotten how you lost your wife? Do you want the same for your son and father?”, anger busted out in every words.

Eve turned his head down and uttered, “I will never forget the day I lost her but that is not the case here. I didn’t loose her to Apophis, I lost her to fear and I don’t want the same for my son or my tribe. Believe me, Ra has set his journey to the other side of the world, the world we are keeping our people hidden from. He has never been to the underworld and there has never been a war between Ra and Apophis. Your fear is feeding on the lives of every Yuns.”

“You dare question the Agraga”, a man charged on Eve, he punched him hard and pinned him to the ground making Eve vulnerable to all his attacks. Agraga tackled the man and said, “Let go warrior, control your anger”. He turned towards Eve; his nose was bleeding. “Here”, Agraga offered him a piece of cloth to wipe out the blood. “We will follow you to the far lands but every life we lose and every blood we drop is on your hands”, Agraga’s words were strong.

A week later,

Agraga arranged a group of warriors, the best men of his tribe to explore the outer world, to make sure that Eve’s words are true. They set off towards the south on their camels. The quest began long before they would realize their need for survival. The lands were under the grace of Lord Ra, yet merciless. Many men suffered and some barely survived.

A little later, the animals began get rampaging against one another. The sun appeared to take cover under the moon. “A solar eclipse”, Eve mused. The camels dared to move forward. The wind started rustling a bit louder. At a distance, Eve could notice a Haboob ravening towards them. “Into the shelter.”, Eve pointed at a rock crevice large enough to accompany seven people. 

The group rushed towards the crevice, but not all could make it in time. The last seeker was trapped in the 3000-meter-high dust devil that rampaged at a speed of 60mph. “Agraga…”, shouted the seeker as he was carried into nowhere. Three hours later, as the dust settled, the Yuns left their shelter.

“We have to move further south to get inhabited”, Eve explained. “We are done here. We will get back to the Lands of Ra”, Agraga grunted. “But…”, Eve tried to speak but was cut out by Agraga, “You promised to take us to safer lands but ended up losing my best men and family. You directed us into the lands of Apophis, where the lives are merely impossible. You made us abandon our Lord Ra. You have failed our tribe.”

“Retreat”, Agraga ordered. The men retreated with the bodies of their lost men. A hundred feet from the village of Yun, Agraga signed his men to halt. “Throw him into the pit”, Agraga ordered his men. 

The people Yun believed, the souls of those purified in the golden blaze of the pit would join Lord Ra. Now, it was time for Eve to meet his judgement. He was thrown into the pit with the other bodies. “Be glad to take a place among the brave warriors of Yun”, one of the men stated. 

Eve tried his best to explain Agraga but in vain. He kneeled before the dead and recited. 

My race was run

I had my turn

It’s all done

It was fun

“Signal his family”, Agraga stated in his very own cold voice.

In the village of Yun,

Maha played his bolon sitting beside the flames waiting for the return of his father. How could he know he was playing his bolon in chorus with his father’s last chant? Out of the dark, a man appeared to beating his tones up accompanied with his drums. “The men are back, the men are back”, he cried. Maha ran towards the man to ask about their arrival.

“Where are the men?”, he questioned. “A hundred feet ahead, near the pit, to honor those whose sacrificed their lives for us”, he replied. “Was the quest a success? Did my dad make it?”, he kept questioning. “I am sorry kid, you have to wait for the signal”, he responded and walked away.

Maha kept staring into the dark sky praying for the return of his father. In a minute or two, a red torch blazed in the sky out of nowhere indicating the failure of the quest. Now the boy knew for sure, his father failed it, he didn’t make it. The bolon slipped out of his hand and hit the ground. 

Fear is not just an instinct but a demonic beast that feeds on the hope of survival. From this story it is very clear that the Yuns surrendered themselves to fear and refused to follow our protagonist to outer world but brought hell on earth for themselves.

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