ArkMan's elusive book

Submitted into Contest #176 in response to: Start your story with someone witnessing magic from a hiding place.... view prompt


Adventure Fiction

Magic or Real

She could not tell

For she was,

 A Creature of magic

They said.

What she saw

Was this magic or real

That she could tell

For that was live and real!!

Nyaya was looking for this book from the skies to the earth. The only place left was somewhere out there in space he reflected. This elusive book was somewhere but there were no links nor traces of its location. It was all too simple. His grandfather ArkMan had told him a story from this very book. When Nyaya asked where he could get this book from, his grandfather said he remembered being told the story from that book by a very old lady back in the small town near the shores of Awena.

He often wondered if ever there was such a place. It sounded unearthly but ArkMan had always insisted that there was. And no one could challenge him The only person who questioned,  argued and debated was Nyaya. ArkMan never said a word but would answer his every question initiated with booming laughter followed by a kind response.

Nyaya lived with his mother and grandfather at the bottom of a small hill. His mother worked in town a little further to where they lived. So she would start very early and return rather late. Nyaya saw his mother twice in the week. But when he did, his mother would hold him close to her. There was so much of unsaid love that could not be put in words. ArkMan kept watch over the two people like a hawk. He was their guardian and protector at all times. It was as though his only purpose was to be a constant in their lives particularly his.

His grandfather was this person who Nyaya saw as someone who had landed from another super-intelligent planet. He was old age-wise but numbers of course did not matter. They were only as much as one made of it.

Arkman was deft at everything he did. He was that craftsman and Nyaya heard people say of his grandfather that he even had built a ship in his younger days. That made Nyaya preen with pride all the time people spoke of the “Master Arkman”, his very own grandfather. His grandfather would say bemusedly that his mother had named him Arkman because of his personality and spirit of mischief. On the face of it, Arkman was born plain and straightforward. Yet Arkman withheld one key detail when narrating tales of his birth. He had manifested his birth through the “Mother”.

Arkman belonged to another dimension in the “Real Universe”.  What had happened was then was he was known as “Dainis” then and had been impatient to see another self of his. So somehow he exchanged himself for another person who wanted to wait for some more time. He came to be born as Arkman. His mother had been disappointed as she had asked him to wait for some more time and then he would really be the one that was magnificent in being. However, his haste had taken precedence and here he was. That only Arkman knew. He had never ever said this to anyone not that it would shock the living senses and they would call otherwise. But just that he never cared to tell, for these were but trivial matters in his Universe.

To Arkman things appearing out of nowhere were just ordinary happenings in life, a matter of fact so much to speak.

But when he narrated the story from the book that was not in existence, Nyaya could not comprehend this fact neither was he able to make any sense of it. This was beyond the young boys’ wildest excitement and nervous thrill. He had innumerable questions to which he did not get the answers from his grandfather. Arkman had an strange far look in his eyes that was unfathomable. It had a wistful and nostalgic air to it.

Nyaya pondered, how then was he able to narrate this story with such a crystal clear vision. He was increasingly curious and the more curious he got, he somehow needed to find this elusive book.

Arkman had described the book well enough (sarcasm !!) that Nyaya felt as though he was holding it in his tiny hands. If this description was not sufficient, his grandfather had gone onto say that the book was part of a huge collection. It had different shades to it at different times. Almost as if they were the colors of the rainbow interplaying with each other and then casting mixed shadow of reflection in the surrounding. And his grandfather said there was another important aspect to the location of the book. Nyaya was now on tenterhooks, but his grandfather was not one to give in to the excitement of the child. He felt Nyaya might not yet be ready for the segment of the books’ location.

It was almost as though each and every day he was inching closer to his objective. But Nyaya thought aeons…

One fine dawn, Nyaya was woken up by his grandfather. And mentioned there was a surprise adventure for him as it was Nyaya’s ninth birthday. He was exhilarated and he had been told that it was a quite a journey and that they were travelling by ship. He could barely contain the excitement for he knew he was going to Awena, the place of his grandfather’s book. He also instinctively knew that this was a special journey his grandfather had planned for him. And he was doubly overjoyed when he knew his mother was coming along.

The old man, the young mother and child embarked on their trip to the cheers of the people in the town. They wished their ArkMan and team well before waving them off to yonder shores.

They reached Awena after around 108 days of travel. On the last day his mother woke him and pointed to the shoreline. Nyaya squinted his eyes and saw this very vague outline of he figured a tree. But if he could see it from this distance, then he thought that this was one colossal tree. Indeed he was right. When he got there and disembarked he could see the immensity of the mighty “Banyan Tree”. Each of its arms were independent trees, as though a multitude of them had just sprung up. People had lost track of which was the main root and trunk.

Arkman was amused at the child’s bewilderment mixed with innocent wonder. Nyaya feet hardly touched land when he started to pester his grandfather for the elusive book.

He knew that he could not hold Nyaya back anymore. The sooner he passed on the location of the book it would be better for the young child to know of his lineage and responsibility.

The next dawn, Arkman took Nyaya to the Banyan tree. Nyaya was stunned to see that his grandfather had brought him to the main trunk of that tree. Arkman told him that this tree had grown out of a seed planted by Dyami and his mother Catori who later became known as “Cheveyo”. Cheveyo was the wise woman who had told Arkman the story from that elusive book. Nyaya became increasingly intrigued.

Arkman then prepared camp at the base of the trunk. Nyaya asked him why they were waiting here. He urged his grandfather to come with him to locate the book. His grandfather encouraged him to stay calm and patient. He said that the book would come to them. Towards dusk, Nyaya felt the Banyan tree whispering as though invoking a chant. Initially Nyaya was petrified. He did not know where the sound emanated from but eventually, when he put a keen ear to the sound, he could hear that it was mesmerising and soothing. The tree and its different limbs were singing in an orchestrated manner inviting someone or something.

This continued for more than hour when suddenly Nyaya felt he could sense the entire tree reshaping itself into a structure. It looked like a holographic building of some sort. It felt oddly surreal for Nyaya to watch this phenomenon.

There first appeared nine triangles out of the branches four pointing upwards and five downwards. They then seemingly interlocked with one another as though creating their own frame. The nine triangles varied in shape and size. They intersected together to form smaller triangles. As they started intersecting they began to shape into five concentric levels.

Nyaya watched with his grandfather and mother. They were observing the fleeting reactions on his face and were not surprised to see those. This was no ordinary witnessing.

To his ultimate speechlessness, the second last thing was the room that appeared in the middle of this nameless structure. This room seemed like a library. And he wanted to have a look at all of them. Then he realised that there were no doors to enter this room. But as he was in the process of thought, there appeared four doors one on each side. There were placed in different directions. The three of them entered the eastern facing door. Nyaya ran towards the centre of the room. His grandfathers eyes followed Nyaya for the object that had propelled Nyaya onward was the elusive book – “The nectar of Courage”.

Nyaya opened his eyes as his grandfather was waking him up. He had just finished reading the book. But where was it now? He wanted to tell his grandfather but his smile told him that he already knew.

That was real, yes – the banyan tree that was a library and that elusive book !!! He wanted it now more than ever. He was thirsty for seeking!! Nyaya’s journey had just begun. 

December 16, 2022 22:32

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