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Conscious Night


Moments were what Jacob had to save himself.


Moments would decide his survival instinct.


Moments were what the killer had to execute his prey...



The Legend of Albert


The year was 1823 AD.

There used to be a sleepy village named Redland of around 1400 people.


The village was surrounded by a stretch of empty field in the East, mountains in the North, a meadow in the West and a river in the South. No one had ever crossed the mountains or the river. The only life that the villagers knew was the one they were living. They had neither met another tribesmen nor another village dwellers. However, they had sufficient resources to feed themselves. The daytime would be buzzing around with daily activities of wood picking, farming, trading, cooking, and gossiping.


The evenings would be more silent.


After dusk, dim candle lights would illuminate the homes. Outside would be dark. Leisurely walk on the streets in evening was rare. People used to sleep early. Insides were warm and cozy.


Outside was not.


It would be chilling, grim, empty, and desolate. Only ones found outside at night were evil spirits, well supposedly. They would be desperate for their prey. Any movement anywhere would draw their attention.


A blacksmith named Albert had gone out to work. His carriage broke down after hitting a tree. Although not suffering much, he got late in returning home. At around midnight, just when he knocked at his door, he was sucked away by an invisible force. It was a moment of transition for Albert. It seemed that he got transformed from a body to a shadow. Or perhaps into a ray of light that would guide others for millennia.


Soon after, a terrible scream echoed across the night sky followed by heavy banging on every door of the village. Whoever opened the door was sucked out by that ferocious power. Not a single body was found ever. It seemed as if the doors had opened floodgates to hell. Who was that invisible power? What had happened to Albert and others? Was Albert just a bait? Why were there no such occurences in daytimes? To get the answers someone had to get out at night. No one ever did.


No one dared to come outside after dusk ever since.


But that night a silhouette appeared on a window - emerging slowly on the canvas of the curtains. It was a night of the new moon. It was a very dark night. The winter night of 1842.


Jacob


In 1823, Jacob was 12 when his father Albert had met his dreadful fate. At 6 feet 4 inches, he had a commanding height and a muscular built. He had learnt his family craft well and had become a distinguished blacksmith like his father. Time had flown away like an eternal river but he did not forget the day that had snatched away his childhood.


He woke up in the morning only to be told that his father had gone away to town and would not return soon. Soon? Not atleast for next billion years perhaps.


Tears rolled down his eyes as he gazed at the falcons flying in the mountains towards the western skies. He vowed to decipher the mystery once he became a master blacksmith. He would do justice to the craft before committing himself to his father's cause.


So he worked rigorously  for the next few years to perfect his skill. He passionately devoted himself to achieving the wondrous finesse in the art of blacksmithy. 19 years later, he created his most prolific piece of art - a precariously beautiful carriage for the king.


The king was exuberant on seeing the shining carriage. He pronounce Jacob as the best craftsman, the most skilled blacksmith ever!


Having thus received the highest honour, he had now reached the epitome of blacksmithing. It was Jacob's moment of emancipation. He had reached the crossroads - the defining moment of his next life phase.


Seven days hence would be the night of the new moon.


New Moon Night - The Winter of 1842



He was finally there - right across the door where his father stood, 19 years ago in that night of the new moon. Tonight would be his night of redemption.


From the window he could hardly see outside. But his silhouette appeared on the curtains, the faint lights of which penetrated deep into the darkness outside.


Deep enough to draw attention!


Jacob uttered a prayer in silence. This was to be his last night. Time, a few moments later, would mark the end of his physicality, his art, his knowledge, his ignorance, his will, his destiny, and his consciousness. His mind was wandering swiftly between the real and the surreal, fullness and emptiness, and temporal and universal. Life had never been so close to death but to him, life was manifesting now in its full fervour.


He opened the window. A gush of cold air struck his face, sending a cold chill down the spine. Although painful, the wind awakened his soul and aroused his spirit. He peeped out.


Nothing in sight. Black and bleak. No human, no anti-human, no quasi-human.


He closed the window.


Paranoid yet curious, he opened the door. The doors of quest. The doors to an unknown world. He walked out unperturbed by the frightening silence. There was a small dagger on his waist and an unwavering grit in his heart. He wanted himself to be seen by the unknown forces. He wanted to remain exposed as long as he was not attacked. He wanted to confront the mysterious power. So he didn't want to hide either willingly or unwillingly. He needed open spaces around him to his eyes' full view.


There would be only two options for him - go towards either meadows in the West or fields in the East and wait for the attacker.


The meadows were more dreaded. His father was also returning through the meadows that day back in time. Meadows had a reputation of criminal activities. 


He chose to go West.


The path was quite narrow. There were shrubs and tress all around the path. Anyone hiding would be impossible to apprehend. Any attack would be difficult to prevent. But he had to be alert and avoid paranoia.


He lit up a candle to kill darkness.


Now the darkness became even more menacing. The world beyond the narrow illuminated zone of his candle light was a parallel universe of unsensed events. A universe of unknown heroes, villains, kings, queens, lovers, haters, faiths, charms, and aspirations! The fear of the known attacks your consciousness. That of the unknown,  your existentialism!


He kept walking slowly for almost an hour. No undue events occured except one. The wind had grown more intense and much colder. He started to feel the shrillness of the moment both on his skin and in his heart.


He could now smell the fragrance of flowers from the meadows. It was intoxicating. The fragrance became his compass - his usher to the doomed destination that would earmark a new journey either back to this mortal world or ahead to an unknown one.


Having reached almost the middle of the meadows, he stopped and observed keenly all around for any hint of danger, any sign of movement or any wisp of an imminent attack.


None.


But then, suddenly, a light beam flashed in his eyes followed by a thunderous noise. He was staring right into the body of the black devil, the little fatal blackhole.


Aware, Conscious and Alive



5 lightyears away in the universe, a peanut sized blackhole as heavy as our sun had been forming since last 51 years, after the collapse of a dying star.


It had become so dense and powerful that astronomical bodies flying in its vicinity were sucked in a flash. Even small stars slowed down due to its deadly gravity on approaching. This blackhole had been travelling at lightspeed towards the Milky Way - our galaxy.


18 years later the blackhole had developed such humongous rotating magnetic fields that electric current got generated and started flowing in a turbulence. Slowly, with time, the current started becoming more controlled, till one day it gave rise to 'consciousness'!


Small particles called neurons formed inside the blackhole. They exchanged current when stimulated by an external event thereby causing the blackhole to become 'aware' of its surroundings. It became 'conscious'!


So, a new 'alive' power was taking shape not far away from the Earth in the universe. This power was evolving. Developing a mind of its own. A thought of its own. A life of its own. It decided to split in portions and send each one in different direction to explore the unexplored. A quest for more power begun in the darkest depths of the universal dark matter. A power hungry blackhole had sent its army in the cosmic battlefield - an army of conscious little black holes ready to devour matter and mass to become heavier, mightier and deadlier.


One such mass sucking, matter thirsty,  alien carnivore entered our beautiful planet 19 years ago, on a new moon night.


Albert had almost entered his home when the blackhole fell near him. The wind suddenly became cyclonic, the trees started to uproot and Albert .... Albert was no longer Albert. Devoured by the blackhole, he had metamorphosised into a plasma of sub-atomic particles floating inside its deep underbelly.


The same fate had struck several of the villagers since that night. The blackhole's delicate nervous system didn't respond during the day due to heavy interference by sun-rays. At night it became 'alive', searching for its prey and 'consuming' at will. The trend continued till the new moon night of 1842, when Jacob left his home to seek the 'true' reality.


Born to Kill



Moments were what Jacob had to save himself.


Moments would decide his survival instinct.


Moments were what the killer had to execute his prey...


He was shocked on seeing that strange creature. A rim of light enclosing a hauntingly dark interior.  He was overwhelmed by all the anticipations.


What should he do now?

Perhaps converse with the black devil.

May be attempt to kill it with his dagger.

The devil may try to gobble him right away.


This was the creature that had murdered his father. What would prevent it from killing the son? How much powerful it was? How would it respond?


He felt an unease within. As if his body was willing to implode. He was losing control over himself. The devil was just lying still in that spacetime but the entire surrounding seemed to have been stirred up. The space around was pushing Jacob to unify with the black devil. The time was slowing down for he felt his breath going slow. His pulse going slow. His eye movements going slow. The spacetime was conspiring to pronounce his end. The end of his body. The end of his mind. The end of his conscious life.


The boat was losing momentum with the receding current of the eternal river.


Just when he was about to lose himself he fell in a trench. The trench was approx. 10 feet deep, 1 feet wide and few meters stretched across the meadows. He was numb. The darkness within the trench was horrific. The feelings were evaporating. The smell of the raw Earth was captivating. Suddenly the subtle realization occured that he was alive again.


He could breathe and feel again even when a few terrifying seconds ago he was transcending into the next life, the death had him into its clutches and the black devil had almost ripped him apart.


It was a sort of resurrection for Jacob. The deep fissure had saved him. But, he didn't have much time. The black devil could reach him any moment and that would be his last. His mind was racing against time to decide his next move.


And that he did!


He howled loudly. Again. And again.


Repeating till he could no longer scream!


Then, silence. Haunting silence.


He was breathing heavily. A few eventless moments passed.


Few minutes later, he felt a loud thud in the air. Looking up he saw a light ray emanating from the upper edge of the trench. The blackhole was here!


He clutched the trench walls tightly and set up his legs firmly. On the other hand, the devil started entering the trench slowly, oblivious of Jacob's plan. In a flash, it reached the bottom of the trench. Almost at the same instant, climbing fiercely, Jacob reached the top of the trench. He quickly pulled over and dropped an uprooted tree into the trench. With his dagger, he started digging and kept pouring the moist soil into the trench. Engulfed by the call of duty and driven by the fire within, he filled up the trench completely within an hour. He kneeled down in pain. Threw away his dagger. Bowed to the infinite powers across the expanse of the skies.


The crimson horizon was waking up after a long night.


The fissure was closed. The Earth's slit healed.


The black devil was sealed within.


For how long though? Minutes? Hours? Days? Months? Millennia? Eternally?


The first rays of the rising sun caressed the dewdrops, forming a portrait of colors in the canvas of that early winter morning.


 

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