Tranquility amidst Mayhem
A cold hand touched the knob of an equally cold door. And it stayed there. Why was the owner of this hand not turning the knob? What really could be so terrifying inside an old door in the basement of an abandoned building? Oh, let’s not go there. Suddenly, the man felt a hand on his shoulder, but to his relief, it was someone he knew.
“It’s okay, just listen once to what they have to say.”, said the stranger, in quite a friendly voice. The man turned the knob and entered in, only to see quite a few young gentlemen standing along as if they were waiting on the door to open and for him to save them, much like they were the Jews and he was their Jesus.
“He’s here, Azrael’s here. ”, whispered one man to the other, as if he was blind and couldn’t see for himself as the tall, taut man entered with a face full of questionable doubts and eyes that had lived years.
“Okay everyone, let’s sit down and continue with the meeting”, answered a man with an authoritative voice. The voice and his heavy beard and moustache were signs enough that he was the leader of the pack. I guess stereotypes never get old, do they? Even in the future, even in the year 2060. Don’t get all that excited though, the world didn’t change all that much. Climate change became too real, winters were too cold and summers were unbearable. Humanity reached as far as Saturn, with bases being built on the Moon.
A third world war happened. New superpowers of the world got defined, well, superpower, singular. Money, but I think that’s always been the Achilles heel of humanity, hasn’t it? Private conglomerates ruled the world now, especially after they weaponized the war in a way no one could’ve imagined. With the war ending in 2055, the wounds were still fresh. Economies had just started stabilizing, inter foreign relations had started their long and painful path back to restoring themselves.
I realize that I’ve taken quite a bit of your time, the old bearded man has been speaking all this while, and that was the faint noise you were hearing. That, or your mom and dad are probably fighting again. But you picked this story up to escape the reality, and escape the reality you shall. I guess I wandered away from the story again, I might do that a few times.
“The planning process has been going on for quite a while now. We’re not storming up to the Bastille to start the French revolution for god’s sake. We need only one key, and ladies and gentlemen, he’s here now.”, he said, pointing towards Azrael. Yes, there are ladies here as well. Cant girls be in places that are shady, dark and smell like death? Kudos to you for not being sexist.
“Yes, the injustice has gone about long enough!” said another man, slapping his fist to the table. The other sheep murmured in agreement. But of course, our protagonist didn’t agree. He leaned forward, and spoke with a low but firm voice, “I don’t think what is being done to us is injustice, it’s just the way of life. We got something taken away from us, and here, in this country, they breed men who take their dignities back!”. And the ladies too, if I might add (You’ve no idea how fragile the entire feminazi situation is here in 2060.)
“So, you’re in?”, asked a member on the extreme right, coming into the viewpoint by stepping forward from the darkness and letting the only lamp throw some light on her, revealing a part of her face. “No, not exactly. Walk me through your plan, -” Azrael replied, walking over, gazing over at the numerous plan road-maps and scribbled pages, hoping for the stranger to give her name.
“Leah. Well, it’s quite simple, as far as your part is concerned. We break into the warehouse that has all the medications, collect them up and throw them in the stream flowing in the eastern part of the town. The herculean task was entering the warehouse with the alarms and the cameras and what have you, but with you being the watchman of the warehouse whose shift is in the middle of the night, we might just get as lucky as the guy who loses his virginity on prom night”.
“Hmm, and what if I say no?” Azrael asked. “Then we’re that guy who’s gonna take his mom to prom and see his crush making out with the football jock.”, said the girl, throwing her arms into the air. “That’s, a weird metaphor.”, she thought to herself.
“Look Son!”, said one of the stern-looking men, named Sam, “You gotta help us, because that warehouse is the girlfriend’s sweet cunt on prom night and you are the protection we need, without which we, the boyfriend’s dick, cannot enter! Is that metaphorical enough for you?”
A bunch of people snickered. “Yeah, that pretty much puts things in perspective”, Azrael said, putting a half-hearted smile. It had been long since he had smiled like that. Moments of laughter were less for the people present in that dimly lit cellar. “Alright, if that is it to it then, I’ll think it over,” Azrael said, rising from his seat.
He heaved a sigh of relief as he walked out the front door. He started walking back to his apartment, when suddenly he heard the voice of a familiar face. It was the face of the man who was his friend, who introduced the members to him in the first place. He stopped briskly for him and started pacing his steps again as his friend joined him.
“So, what do you think?”, asked his friend. “It’s a cult then, isn’t it?” Azrael replied sarcastically. “Sorta, yeah”, his friend replied, rubbing his hands together in the cold winter. ” I like the idea though, the world could do better with those medications. Look at these people”, Azrael grunted, referring to the general folk of the town out and about on their business, “These fake masks, who are they fooling, it’s years of emotions repressed and drowned with the same water they take the pills with. No, something needs to be done”.
His friend agreed, “Yeah, I mean sure life’s not all that happy all the time, but at least without these damned pills, life’s life. Look at the sky today, it’s a cloudy day. Now the Sun keeps popping in and out. According to you being an optimist or a pessimist, the Sun coming out could be a boon or a bane. But one thing’s for sure, it sure as hell doesn’t stay that way forever. If it’s coming out, it’s gotta hide back in. Ups and downs are what makes life livable, when it becomes a straight line, that’s when the heart rate monitor declares you dead.”
“Yeah, I don’t much give a shit.” Azrael sighed. “I need the dignity and the money I had back, and if I have to fight to take it back, I would.” To explain what’s happening here, I’ve to take you a couple of years back from the present day. The war was just freshly over, many soldiers were back, some scarred physically and most of them scarred mentally for the rest of their lives. Economies had crumbled and chemical warfare had ensured that any food supplies were just as good as eating bread when you have a dry throat. A lot of people died, some from the lack of food, some from the lack of morale. All the technological advancements in the world couldn’t help stop the tears of Mrs. Johnson, Azrael’s neighbor, when her 2-year-old daughter died in her arms. Sisters saw their brothers, kids saw their parents leave for war, only to sit every day, staring at the doorway, hoping for a letter, and fearing for a body. While the soldiers battled in physical warfare, it became hard for the civilians to fight with the psychological horrors that had settled into their minds. What I call humanity’s most pitiless act, lasted a total of 7 years, the longest war ever in history. The soldiers came home, and the question they avoided all this time finally hit up to them, “I just killed and I am happy about it. Does that mean I like killing?”
Azrael had reached up to his doorstep and he saw Mrs. Johnson leaving for her office. “Good morning Mrs. J”, he said politely, in a monotonous tone. “Oh good morning dear, it’s such a lovely day today, isn’t it? Have a nice one!” replied Mrs. Johnson as she pranced along her way.
Now, what wonder could this be? How could a mother, who had lost her only child right in her arms be hopping around so merrily? In fact, No one on the street was depressed. Some people had lost their riches, Old Joe over the corner had lost an arm and a leg when he got blown by an air missile, little Mary had just lost her father to the war and her mother in the stampede that occurred when food supplies had come to town. But no sir, none of them were the least bit sad. Everyone was as happy as a little child at the sight of their favourite candy. As you would’ve guessed by now, this is where the pills came into the story.
Just after the war, depression was at an all-time high. But, one man’s suffering is another man’s opportunity, isn’t it? War’s depression was capitalized sooner than you can finish reading this sentence. ‘Healthy minds’, yes, you’ll realize the irony soon enough, came out with a bunch of medicinal samples and handed them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Rich or poor, everyone got a taste for those medicines. They packaged those as nutritional supplements, and sure enough, people gobbled them down like tic tacs. Once they realized that their dopamine levels were getting extremely high, they became addicts. Old parents, young spouses, little children – everyone got addicted. Think again, wouldn’t you? isn’t that what love is in its own way? An addiction towards someone who makes you feel like you have some purpose in the grand scheme of things. Someone who tells you that you matter, even when you feel you don’t. Or if nothing else, someone who momentarily distracts you from the generic monotony of the regular days that is presented to you as the good life.
While it might not be good to be addicted to these pills, morally speaking, didn’t these people deserve to forget the horrors they’ve witnessed? Why should Mrs. Johnson go on living her life with a hole in her heart that can’t be filled? Why should any of them? But the world doesn’t really run on morals now, does it? This is exactly the reason why Azrael was thinking of joining the cult. Not because he wanted to make things right for the world, but because he wanted to earn what was rightfully his.
Azrael, the old bearded man, the girl, and all the other members of the cult were learned psychologists before the war struck out. They benefited immensely from the war as well, because even though the people were having shortages of money, they just couldn’t give up on their therapies. Talking to a shrink, while as useless as it sounds at the time of war, was something that gave these people reassurances, and gave the psychologists the much-needed money they wanted. Azrael even opened a separate clinic after the war ended with all the money he had earned. However, with the coming of those god-forsaken pills, mental illness and depression were no longer an issue. The pills had very direct instructions and were so technologically advanced that human therapy couldn’t match up to it at all. And therapists lost their jobs quicker than a starving man diving into a rotisserie chicken.
They were out of money, but more importantly, they were out of the respect that they had earned. No one needed them anymore. The biggest blow to the gut came when they had to switch over to low-paying menial jobs to keep their livelihood going as employment was already at an all-time low after the war. Many of them went unemployed for months on end. For Azrael to go from being a doctor to be a watchman of the warehouse of the very pills that destroyed his career and even let his new clinic shut down, there couldn’t have been a higher disgrace to a man who took pride in his work.
Azrael entered his house and dropped the keys on the tray kept on the stand. What was once his happy place, had turned into his worst nightmare. He went in, poured himself a glass of cheap whiskey. His days of drinking blended scotch had been over a long time ago. He sat down on his sofa, dejected. That was his life, he used to go to work every night, come back home and sit on the sofa with his whiskey and if luck was kind on him, go to sleep right there. But he didn’t stare into nothingness, in front of the sofa, was a big framed picture. It was a picture of the love of his life, Vanessa, holding their daughter, Holly in her arms.
Azrael looked at the picture for a while, smiling like a high school girl in love. But his eyes, his eyes were sad. His face hung down, he was a defeated man and what he was smiling at was the only thing that was the reason for his defeat. As usual, a tear escaped his eye, which turned into sobbing and Azrael cried himself to sleep. This is what he did every day, this was his wretched life. Other people suffering was a boon to him. Apart from making money, he had a sense in his life. He helped others heal, and in that, he found himself to be healing. He lost the purpose, he lost the money, but above all, he had lost the only thing that gave him a motivation to get out of the bed every single day of this life he had to push through until death would be kind enough to him to grant him a release.
The photo was of one of the happiest moments of Azrael’s life. It was taken somewhere around 10 years ago, on that very day. The war had just started, so the only way you’d know about it was through the newspapers. Cities went on, as usual, their works uninterrupted. It was Holly’s birthday, and she had been longing to see the beach. The bags got packed and our lovely trio headed out for a trip to the beach at the edge of their city. The day was as beautiful as the ray of the morning sun after the hardest of nights. Holly radiated her birthday girl energy, and her parents had that glow from inside that one gets when they’re truly happy.
A lot of people were on the beach that day. Summer was going to say goodbye, not to return until the Earth completed another round around the Sun. Everyone wanted to soak in that last bit of the Summertime high, before the winters set in. Climate hadn’t sided with mankind, so Autumn was something only mentioned in dictionaries now.
But our trio didn’t care about that today. Splashing water on each other, walking on the boardwalk playing games, basking under the sun, they did it all. And pictures, oh, they clicked a lot of pictures. Just after clicking the picture, you glanced in front of the sofa from before, Azrael got a call. One of his patients in the other city was going overboard and was on the verge of killing herself. This happened with psychologists way more than you’d think; Azrael was just angry about it happening today. Since Holly had no intentions of going home, he took the bus, leaving the car for his wife and daughter to drive back home.
In World War 2, the Germans created an encrypted way of sending messages. The machine was called Enigma, and it was almost impossible to decode, which cost the allies millions of soldiers. But with the technological advances of the world, a machine was made this time with 600 million million combinations. To tell you how hard it would be to decrypt, Enigma had 150 million combinations and it took the allies 2.5 years to decode the first message.
But why is this of any relevance in the story of our lovely trio’s fun day at the beach? A death warrant was signed for 500,000 people that day, the blackest day in the history of the world. Through the new machine, which was called ‘Volkermod’, a plan was made by the enemy to hit up the entire coastline of the country, in successive air raids, destroying all their naval ports with no care for the civilian population caught in between.
When the dust settled, it took Azrael five days before he could even get close to the beach, lest find the bodies of his wife and his beloved daughter. He never could though, the beach was riddled with body parts, not one body was recovered fully. It was only human to bury the body parts together and not find different bodies. You couldn’t, how would you find your daughter’s torso, burnt to crisp, without hands or even a face?
Azrael dozed off for a couple of hours. Today was Holly’s birthday. She would’ve been 16 today, a fine young woman. He went on over to the phone, fiddled for a second, and pulled out something from his pocket. It was a couple of the same pills that everyone took. Why he had never taken those pills despite keeping them in his coat pocket was something that only his complex mind could understand. But one thing was certain, while he didn’t accept the drug as his new addiction, he got addicted to the sadness, to the loneliness, and to the fact that it wasn’t gonna be good, ever again. He had accepted that, but today, for a split second, he wanted to take that pill.
He looked at the pill for a while, brought it closer to his mouth, and stopped there. Azrael looked over at the photo and tears escaped his eye. The tears were inevitable, for whenever he closed his eyes, all he could see was Vanessa clicking Holly’s picture with her all smiling, donned in the beach attire that she loved so much. And that first shell that hit the place, only to be followed by more. His hands started to tremble. Azrael closed his eyes as hard as he could as if he was trying to destroy the memories that ran through his mind whenever he closed them. In a split second, he popped the pill in his mouth.
But, he couldn’t swallow. His body wouldn’t let him, not with that cheap whiskey, not with clean water. He puked out his whiskey and realized that after all these years, he still couldn’t do it. Disgusted, he threw the pill out of his mouth and picked up the phone. He fumbled into his coat pocket to find the piece of paper, dialed a number and said, “I’m in.”
After some long endless nights of drawing the plan out, planning the perfect escape route and terrible metaphors by Uncle Sam, the day had arrived. The group had split into two, and if everything would go right, they would meet back again in no less than an hour. Azrael was on his night shift as always, and everything went according to plan. The medicines were filled in their utility vehicle, ready to be thrown off into the river flowing in the eastern part of the city.
Right next to the warehouse, a few hundred meters away was the factory where they were manufactured. The entire land was owned by the corporation; one big hallucinogenic manufacturer. This was where the second part of the group was.
After getting a signal from the second group over at the factory, the alarms were triggered, so that no blame would fall on Azrael on being a part of this heist. Everyone got into the car, to leave for the river. The few extremely silent moments that followed were suddenly disrupted by the loudest explosion the city had heard in a few years, blowing the factory to pieces, destroying all the manufacturing machines in between.
Benzene and Ethanol were two important compounds used in the manufacture of these pills. And luckily enough, these are also two of the most flammable substances found in Nature. Combine that up with some Thermite, and you have yourself one of the most explosive compounds you could fathom. And just before leaving, all they had to do was light up a wire. The place was rigged. This was nothing new for the group. Since they were already Psychologists, they had a sound knowledge of chemistry. But why blow up the factory? Well, destroying the pills wasn’t enough. They needed to cut off the source, otherwise, the new pills would have been ready for distribution in a week.
By the time the police would arrive, they’d be far off gone into the wind. The most that would happen is Azrael losing his job, but at this time, he didn’t really care. His brilliant mind was at work again, for after a long while, he felt like he was doing something that would give him purpose.
And when you put your heart into something, not failing becomes the least of your worries. The main road divided into two different roads, each leading in to the eastern and the western parts of the city. The river wasn’t that far away. If they went at this pace, they would disperse everything away before the first rays of the Sun would grace the land. They were nearing the end of the road, every turn getting them closer and closer to their destination. And there was only one turn to take now, the aptly named Eastern road.
In a split-second decision, to everyone’s utter surprise, Azrael turned the car right instead of left. His mind had already hatched a plan, which had taken him miles away from the bickering and the confused noises of the rest of the people present in the car. The car came to a screeching halt after a while, in a place which was very much in the city. It was a huge building, but we knew what was on the top floor. An office that belonged to Azrael once. It still did, with no buyer, the place burned a hole in his pocket and his savings. But he had finally found a way to utilize the office.
“Pick ’em up and start loading these in the office on the top floor. Follow me”, he ordered to the rest of his band. Seeing their half-mad, half confused looks, he put the box he was carrying down and said, “Trust me. I’ll explain everything later. We have got to hide these pills up there, that is the only way we gain something out of this.”
No one trusted him. But that huge burning factory had attracted more cops than they had hoped. No one had a choice but to listen to him, for going to the river now would be a really risky plan, as they had lost the essence of time. One after one, all the pills were stacked up and they hid in the office and a few of the rooms on other floors, as fire trucks approached the factory, to doze the blazing flames that had engulfed the factory, damaged beyond repair.
Once safe in the office, Sam and a few others got up into Azrael’s face. “Just what the hell have you done? With the pills gone and the factory destroyed, the cops are going to search the city-wide. And since you are supposed to be there, you can goddamn bet that this place will be on their radar as it belongs to your stupid ass.”, one of them said.
“What the hell was I supposed to do? What was plan B? We destroy the pills and then what? What happens then? The factory goes back to business in a few months and we’re done. All the work, reversed. What do you geniuses plan to do then, huh?” Azrael shouted, trying to hide his nervousness, because whatever that guy said was logical and definitely a reason to be concerned about.
“What do you have in mind?”, Leah asked.
“Have you ever been to Baltimore?”, he said, and to find no one nodding his head, continued. “It was once home to drug kingpins and their lackeys, who smuggled product all day long from their projects. Do you know what they did when a rival gang took up their territory? Well, some would fuck the other gang up and start a war, but not the kingpin of the biggest gang. You see, he was smart. He ordered his minions to package the same drugs into new bottles, and sell them as the hot new limited product that had just hit the streets. Because drugs were replaced by the rival gang violence on the streets, people would scoop up the same drugs at twice the price.”
“And why are we in for the history lesson?”
“Because this is exactly what we are going to do. New packaging, a new form of delivery, different coloured pills, we’ll sell the new drug on the street. With the side effects of these pills, they will need psychologists back for the time in which the factory will be repaired. We will offer these pills, which will work even better under the placebo effects and the utter thirst of people for these little suckers. The streets of this city are filled with gold, and it’s time we earn what we’ve lost in all these years after the War. This is how we benefit.”
Oddly enough, his plan made sense. Over the next week, the pills were dyed in food colouring and their packages were changed. The city’s condition had gotten worse, but to their surprise, psychologists weren’t being called back. While most of the people wanted to start pushing the pills in the streets and start making money, Azrael refused.
He wanted to wait more. He wanted to be called back as a psychologist. The respect, the good life, whatever he had after his family’s death was something that he wanted to be handed back to him by the ones that took it away. Every few days some people would decide to start selling the pills. He would destroy the idea in their minds by his words of promise that the respect they were stripped off of would be given back to them.
Have you ever seen a person in withdrawal? I pray you don’t have to. It is a nightmare that would haunt you for the rest of your lives. Insomnia, Seizures, agitation and nerve crippling anxiety become the least of your worries. Now let us imagine a person in withdrawal not just from the medicines, but from what made them forget all the terrors of the war. All those memories that were repressed by taking the medicines daily, years and years of ignoring those wretched memories, all came back in a day or two. And that is a split second, compared to the years of medication being taken by that person.
Sounds devastating, right? Now imagine an entire city, crippling under the weight of the horrors of their own mind, under the thoughts they had locked away so well that they didn’t even remember them, all coming back to them. In the first week itself, people grew restless.
The starting period of withdrawal is the toughest, and that could be clearly seen here. Just two weeks later, the number of robberies, cases of domestic violence, hospital admissions just shot up, to a level that it couldn’t be controlled. It was as if these people were looking for something, something that was there the night before, but disappeared into thin air the next morning. But Azrael still didn’t roll out the medicines. He wouldn’t until he was asked to come in to save the day and have his dignity restored. Giving a rat’s ass about the condition of the city was the last thing on his mind.
A whole month had passed. The city looked like it had just been through a nuclear war. Cars were being stolen here and there, people were fighting other people for no reason at all. Old people died due to increased heart rates and blood pressures, if they were not killed by younger men and women trying to rob them first. The gang used to live up in the abandoned building now, worried for their lives. Azrael sat through all of this, unaffected and unbothered.
Until one day, he came home to get some supplies. And he saw Mrs. Johnson roaming about the streets, crying and wandering simultaneously. He offered her a lift home. Mrs. Johnson recognized him right away and fell into his arms crying. Once she stopped crying, she looked at him with dry eyes that felt like they had not been closed in months, and asked him if he had seen her son.
Azrael was surprised. If the effect of the medicine had worn off, then she surely would’ve known that her son died right in her arms. Was the event this traumatic for her that she blocked it away in her memory completely? But that wasn’t the case. He soon realized that Mrs. Johnson was acting like in her world, she was genuinely concerned that her child had gone missing. On further questions, Mrs. Johnson said that she woke up and her son had just gone missing. It had been a whole month and she couldn’t find him anywhere. She had been wandering endlessly through the entire city, looking for her boy.
Azrael realized what the medicine actually did. In a second, he looked around, he saw and he realized what these troubled souls were going through. Stopping the medications did something way worse than just withdrawals. He couldn’t see Mrs. Johnson like that. She had suffered from the same fate as him, losing a child. And for all the while that she had been there for Azrael during his period of grief, cooking him food, coming over every other day, he just couldn’t leave her like that. Azrael pulled out a packet from his pocket. It had a handful of pills. Mrs. Johnson realized it at once. She leaped out and reached for them.
Azrael knew that if she took more than two pills after such long periods of withdrawal, she would certainly overdose to death. But Mrs. Johnson was in no mood to listen. She had gained superhuman strength somehow, and the quiet commotion turned into a huge fight. This wasn’t uncommon, fights were happening at every nook and cranny. But then, in a fit of anger, Mrs. Johnson screamed, “Give me the pills!”. Every other person passing by, stopped. For a second, there was no sound. The only thing Azrael could hear was the sound of his own heartbeat and all he could see was the hungry, predatory look in these people’s eyes. Azrael knew that if he didn’t leave, these people would eat him alive.
With a heavy heart, he threw the pills away. Half the people leaped at the pills, while the other half started chasing him hoping that he would have more pills with a deranged look in their eyes. As he ran up to his building and locked the doors, people started gathering outside. As he ran inside, everyone else was confused to see him all out of breath. Haphazardly, he explained that people had seen him with a fistful of pills. They couldn’t even call the cops. The cops were standing in the crowd themselves, screaming for pills. One of the younger men from the band got extremely terrified when he saw the huge crowd outside the building. He threw a box of pills off the window, in hope that they would rummage through the box and then leave them alone.
This was the final nail in the coffin. A couple of hundred people, all leaped at the box at the same time. A stampede started. Children and the elderly alike started getting trampled in the crowd. People were starting to get angrier than they already were. Leaders were being formed and the entire crowd looked like a mob, ready to do anything, moral or immoral didn’t matter at this point, to get their medicines back. And could you really blame them? If you were told that you could get your happiest memory back at literally what is the lowest point of your life, would you not do anything to make that happen? While the future is just a concept we use to avoid being alive today, the past, if it is happy, is something that can lead you through the hardest times of your life.
Back in the building, all the people were getting tense. Leah chuckled silently, looked at the old bearded man, and said, “Looks like your metaphor for storming up to the Bastille to start the French revolution is coming true.” “Let’s see whose head ends up on the spike though”, she added, glancing at Azrael. Hearing this, Azrael got up and opened his mouth, but couldn’t speak anything. He just turned over and went to the top of the building, to his old office, where a plethora of pills was kept.
The news started spreading like wildfire. In an hour, half the city’s population was there. A few thousand people, all in front of an abandoned building, just waiting for pills to rain from above, as a gift from the gods for their pain and suffering. But when things don’t go your way for too long, even the strongest disciples can turn against their God. One voice from the crowd screeched, “Storm the building”. That was all that was needed for these hungry people. A voice, to guide them to get what they wanted. And all that was holding them from the pills was a few feeble doors and windows.
The people ran inside the building as quickly as a pack of Hyenas coming to feast on a dead Zebra. While Leah, Sam and the other people tried to tell them that they could just take the pills, it hardly went their way. Everyone saw them as selfish people who had kept their beloved pills from them. To hit them and possibly kill them, was not something they had to discuss. It was fairly obvious to them; these were the people responsible for taking away their happy memories. But that was not all. Much like Mrs. Johnson, all these people thought that the people in the building were also responsible for kidnapping or maybe even murdering their loved ones. Why was this the case and what the medicines did, no one knew for the psychologists had never taken one.
The entire band was killed with rocks, bats and whatever the people had in their hand before I finished writing this sentence. And if any of them were alive, they couldn’t have possibly survived the stampede caused by the hundreds of people storming in the building. They started picking the building floor by floor, much like the castle of Bastille. As Azrael faced the huge window on the top floor, he looked down onto the streets. He was their God, who took away their happiness. But he wasn’t half as powerful, for the people were not just going to disown their religion this time, they were going to make it extinct; and the God along with it.
The street was filled with the bodies of kids and elder people, along with the few who couldn’t survive the immense stampede that had been caused. He had killed them. He took something that wasn’t his, and he wanted to sell it for a profit. He was a criminal, that was for sure. But then again, in the world, there have always been good criminals and bad cops. But was he a good criminal? He didn’t have to ponder on it, for the answer was staring right into his eyes in the form of the lifeless bodies lying on the ground. They had a good thing going, but for him, his pride and his ego became his Achilles’ heel; he had a lot of blood on his hands. The blood of his band of thieves, the blood of innocents.
While people started storming to the top floor, he reached into a box kept on the side and held a pill in his hand. They had dyed it yellow. He held that pill up against the window, and at that moment, it appeared like the Sun in the skies that had just been covered in clouds. He could hear the footsteps growing louder and louder. As the Sun started coming out of the clouds, he sighed, closed his eyes and popped the pill in. This time, the acts he had committed were far too gruesome and terrifying to him than the loss of his child and wife. Maybe that was why he had no problem in gulping the pill down in one quick go.
The clamping of the footsteps started fading away. The pills were the next to go, the room after that. He felt a cool breeze hitting his face. Azrael suddenly realized that he wasn’t standing on the hard floor he was standing on just a while ago. His feet felt cold, for they were dipped in the cool water of the sea. He stared into the tranquility of the beautiful Sea while hearing the sound of the waves crashing onto the rocks. He could’ve sworn, that in that moment, the Sea was staring back at him. He didn’t want to blink his eyes, nor take a breath, for he didn’t know what could change this. This was exactly where he wanted to be.
But something made him turn. Would you not, if you would hear the voice of your long lost child call you? He saw Holly running towards him, with Vanessa following behind her, tired of their super energetic child. He was back there, the day at the beach. And they were just going to take their picture together. This time, he got into the frame himself, instead of just clicking a picture of his family. He was so happy, he could’ve had the bomb wipe him out and he wouldn’t have cared. The bomb, the fucking air raid. That had not happened yet and he knew about it. This was his chance, he could get his family out.
He took the hands of his daughter and his wife and started running away from the beach, only to hit a transparent wall. This was weird. He tried going in another direction, only to be hit by another wall. He was enclosed in some sort of a transparent room, which seemed as if it was just as big as his office. And he realized it just as soon as you did. The medicine was an advanced hallucinogenic, this is what it did. It pulled out the happiest memory from his brain, and played it through and through on an endless loop, while still keeping him where he was. This is why no one acted out while they were on the pills, this is why Mrs. Johnson acted like her daughter never died, because for her, her daughter never really did die.
The face of her child and her wife that he was staring at, was not really there. But not for him, he felt happy in that moment, even if the entire moment was fake. The reality was too harsh for him to return to. He held Holly and Vanessa in his hands, staring into the Sea, with the Sun putting a glow on his face that assured him that he was redeemed. He closed his eyes, a tear passed down his right cheek and the wildest of smiles spread over his face. The last thing he ever heard was the door of his office breaking down.
One thought on “Tranquillity amidst Mayhem”
The best masterpiece. I come here time and again to read this.