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Cafe Doom  |  Competitions and Markets  |  Short Story Competitions and Markets  |  Ali's entery for comp #2

Author Topic: Ali's entery for comp #2  (Read 4099 times)

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Ali's entery for comp #2
« on: January 31, 2005, 03:28:45 PM »
Ezrael’s Leaf
by Ali Al Saeed

The meadow land was vast and beautiful. It stretched from void to horizon, gorgeously green and bright, with a magnificent chain of mountains circling it from afar, in the yonder. The weather was always pleasant. The sun, shining warm through the day, rose from the west and set to the east. This was a remote part of a dying planet in a fading galaxy of a shriveling universe.

He has always wondered why he was always alone, why he never had a mate, why he never came across another person.
He convinced himself that it was the war. Not many people survived the last war. Too many people died. He has seen them, but only in his dreams. Stacks and piles of dead human flesh and bone. He has known everything about his fellow human beings through those flashes of madness and incubuses he witnessed and lived in his sleep.

The devastation of great bombs, the sweeping destruction of magnificent tsunamis and shattering earthquake, the greed of politicians and clergymen, the diseases of technology and information. The old man has seen all in his mind and known all in his heart and that, more probable than not, he was the sole being that existed in that own piece of paradise he found himself in.

So he lived all his life alone, all by himself. As the years and the decades and the centuries passed, the world changed around him, disintegrating; fading into a blur of destruction, obliterated by the vile and evil of Man and God. Only this place he was in remained untouched, as if were by mystic power that surpassed that of what men claimed to be the creator of all things dead and alive.

All that he has left from what used to be called modern civilization is plastic figures of Superheroes. At one point in time,
these figures had names; a concept that the old man has long forgotten or perhaps never came to know. At one point in time, they might have even been demi-gods.

He can’t recall how he has come upon those mannequin, miniature figures with their perplexed expressions and lampoon mien. But in a way they were his only companions.

He toyed with them from time to time, knowing that they would lay still for eternity, like that lump of rock along the river bank, if he were to leave them unmoving. In a way, he thought, he gave them life, even if only for those short stints.

This, occasionally, made him think about the thing that made him move.

Up in the sixth heaven, the lonesome angel sat on a holy rock beside an enormous oak tree, dark and fearsome. Its trunk massively thick and wide and as ancient as Time, its branches stretching and weaving together, tentacles knitted and interlaced, smelling of musk and rosewater merged with the stench of rotten blood and burnt flesh.

The angel, sitting on his holy rock, has been staring for many a century at a forlorn leaf, a leaf that has grown wrinkled and darkly brown that it no longer remotely resembled the green, fresh leaf it once was.

The last hour of the dying man has long come and gone, but still he resumed being, living, breathing.

Ezrael was a powerful and huge angel, bald in head and strong in arms, as he required such arm to pull the souls of the mortals out, with huge bat’s wings. He also had a big, very sharp-headed spear.

In the realm of death, there was a tremendously huge tree; each leaf of this tree represents the soul of a mortal. When the leaf fell to the ground, before it touched the ground, Ezrael made his move.

For sinners he put on his most hideous and menacing of demeanor, throw his spear from up the highest skies straight down into the chest in the centre of a mortal’s heart of hearts. That’s when people feel a sudden, very deep and painful pinch just before they take their last tasteless breath.

For saints, however, Ezrael, put on his best of looks and finest of appearances. He came down from the Sixth Heaven himself to slowly and gently reach out his grim-but-subtle hands into the chest of the mortal to summon their soul, so very gently that they pass out of the earthly world without much pain to notice.

Ezrael, having nothing else to do for millennia, grew bored and weary gazing up at that lonesome, dying leaf, awaiting its fall. His patience ran out and was becoming extremely befuddled by this strange occurrence. By now, he should have collected the last mortal soul and taken it back to where it once came, to where it belonged.

Reluctantly, but driven by sheer, maddening curiosity, the Angel of Death decided to descend from his realm down onto the land of earthly mortals, even though no leaves have fallen.

The ancient man sat on that rock by the river, watching the yellow water running. He had a look of serenity and peace, as if he were awaiting death’s arrival. The sun, gloriously red, poled over his bald but thick scalp.

Ezrael, not exactly knowing what demeanor to adorn, for he was not entirely confident weather this man was a sinner or a saint. But he chose adopting a fearsome deportment nonetheless. A deep instinct warned him that something rather grey about this matter, this man and his leaf.

The angel stretched his dark wings and flapped them to announce his arrival. His face was full of menace. In a way, he was quite offended that this ordinary, feeble mortal creature did not even flinch at seeing his appearance. Ezrael came closer to the man, with each step he took he left a footprint of dead grass behind.

“Die!” The Angel of Death commanded. But the old man sat unmoving on that rock, his eyes gaping at the angel in front of him, clutching those small heroes made of plastic in one hand. “Die… why don’t you die?!”

The old man was dumbfounded. It just dawned at him then that he had never uttered a word. All his life he talked to himself in his mind, in a language that he was not even sure he ever knew. He parted his lips and attempted to speak, but it was such an unfamiliar concept that his mind refused to process his commands.

“I say speak, for I am Ezrael the Angel of Death, with my spear I take life out of the living, with my fearsome fingers I clutch their souls and take them back to their eternal master up in the Seventh Heaven…. albeit through his wishes only. I say speak, so you will speak.”

A sound escaped the old man’s quivering mouth, but it sounded nothing like what the angel has said, nor it were of that same tongue he spoke in.

“How is it that the last leaf of the dying has not fallen from its slim twig to this moment?” The old man looked at him as if he did not understand what the angel meant. Ezrael sighed. “Why are you not dead yet?”

“I have been living for too long that I have forgotten how to die,” he spoke in great difficulty, it hurt his throat and his tongue was heavy to move.

“You mortals need food and water and air to survive. You have had no food for ages, had whatever little uncontaminated water you could get your hands on and somehow, you adapted to this toxic air! You ought to be dead.”

“Perhaps I am!” The old man said to the still befuddled angel. He was speaking easier now, the words coming out of his mouth vaguely in coherence. “I do not know. How would you know?”

“I do when your leaf falls down from the tree up in the Sixth Heaven. I am almost tempted to blow it off!” He was astonished to have said that. “I have had enough of you. There were too many of you… that kept me busy. Now there is only you. It’s been galaxies’ lifetime and you are still alive. ”

Ezrael reached his arm up to the sky and suddenly a great spear appeared in his hand, clutched in those fearsome fingers of grim. He prepared to steer into the old man’s heart to take his soul and be done with it. One last soul and he is free for the rest of eternity. His master told him so. But the spear seemed heavier. He struggled to keep it steady for a moment.

As he was ready to strike, he noticed that the old man’s expression became rather apprehensive. It seemed that he, eyes shut, was thinking deeply, or as if he was experiencing a revelation. When he opened his eyes again, right before the strike of Ezrael, he spoke in clairvoyant voice and manner:

“Because it is your leaf…”

Offline Ed

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Re: Ali's entery for comp #2
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2005, 04:38:24 PM »
Hi, Alizod, and welcome to CafeDoom :afro:

A very unusual story - had the feel of an old legendary tale.  Impressive  :smiley:

Thanks for entering the comp.
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: Ali's entery for comp #2
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 08:34:23 AM »
What very strong imagery in this story.  A nice touch that Ezrael is a not very angelic angel...  Thanks for the read.  :smiley:


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Re: Ali's entery for comp #2
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 05:22:48 AM »
Thanks Blunt and Joyce,

This one's a little rough around the edges as I had to cut chunks of it to meet wordlimit :/ but I'm glald you liked it guys. :azn:

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