4 comments

Fiction East Asian Urban Fantasy

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Warning: Contains a scene of extreme violence


There was an old-fashioned blackboard in the dining room. And just like the wooden times there were broken chalks and duster on the ledge.


Soh picked a half-broken one up as puffs of calcified dust fell on her tiny palm. Then she got up on a small stool and scrawled:


Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!


Then she took the duster and wiped it away.


Everyday before breakfast she does it. Long before the others wake up. Some wants a million dollars. Some wants a Beverly Hills mansion. Some wants to star in an Academy Award movie or become viral. But Little Soh wanted world peace. She wanted the whole world to fill with orb and glow of love and light.


And just before lunch she needed to have that board by herself. Again, she took the half-broken chalk and stepped on the stool. She wrote the incantation six times.


Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!


Little Soh was very intelligent. In fact, almost a prodigy. When she was outside she devoured Tiktok and YouTube videos on manifestation. Of course, all hand-held devices are now taken away from her.


Right before bedtime again she dusted off the any remainder of such handwriting on the wall. Five minutes before dinner, again she carefully yet hastily scrawled:


Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!

Let there be world peace!


It it said anyone who repeats this process or any variations of such for 30 days are bound to get results. Little Soh has been doing it for the past 365 days. It apparently alleges from Tesla.


Tesla who not only was germophobic and saw bacteria in his glass of water, but would also circumbulate a hotel or a building in which he stayed three times before entering.


He had special fixation with the number 3. He would fold 18 napkins as the number 18 was divisible by 3. Also 3+6+9-18.


Such affinition for numbers isn't strange nor surprising. For instance, there is triskaidekaphobia or irrational fear of the number 13 - whereupon an agent ignores the thirteenth floor of a hotel or an apartment or the number 13 altogether.


So as the initiates believed, and as Little Soh found out from poring hours and hours obsessively over the videos, Tesla apparently could tap in the secret hertz or frequency of the universe and unlock hidden mysteries of manifestation if only one followed a ritual of writing down an affirmations in a pattern of the form 3-6-9. For instance, it could be 3 times in the morning, 6 times in the afternoon, and 9 at night as she religiously followed.


Manifestation is the twin sister of divination. Whether be't tea-leaf reading, scapulimancy, or Chinese tortoise shells, humanity has been fascinated with strange forms of ritual either to manifest or predict the future.


"Oh Little Soh! Why don't you want toys or dolls, Little Soh?" The kids cried in choral.


"Hey Little Soh. Why don't you want something nice and fine and cool! Hey?" The new nurses tried to console her by making their eyes yay-big.


And then one lunch it happened.


Tatiana likes to play Scrabble with Jorge. Yet, on that particular Monday all the pieces suddenly fell on the floor and some slipped through the drainage plate. Not only Z, M and X were missing but so were the blanks. And it was all Marty's fault. Had he not got overexcited and slapped the table hitting the corner of the board, the pieces would not go flying!


So they decided to play tic-tac-toe on the blackboard. And when Little Soh first walked in the dining hall area, she did not like it at all. Not one bit.


She looked at those two with eyes of Medusa enough to set ablaze a Tibetan monk.


And when such psychic immolation and nurse's persuasion did not work, she shrieked. She screamed and shrieked and screamed and hissed and hysterically screamed till she went berserk.


The flashbacks came flooding at pentatrillion bytes per second. Enough to give a normal human being seizure. She started shaking vigorously in fits.


Little Soh was back at the village at Cambodia. Only two days ago they were about to flee before the government's military party raided their huts. One by one they rounded up all the prisoners.


First night, they took three of her brothers out of the bamboo fishing baskets which served as an imprisonment for her family. All 18 of them.


Chai was her eldest sister. She was 13. She loved violin and playing the toy piano.


Pah and Si were twins. They were younger than her. Five. Mah was seven and she never talked. Nioh and Tui and Bik were the newborns about months apart. Lao, Fa, Rao were her age. Kita and Pari were 9 and 10 respectively and loved to play with dolls and toy boats. Sari was 12 and so was Yuru. Both were blind.


And then there were her father and mother.


That night, the general gave commands to separate the three brothers. Yuru, Kita and Si.


The subordinate whipped out his pistol and pointed at the 9 year old looking at his superior for the nod.


"No." The master stopped him. "Use this." He handed him a roughly-serrated blade.


The first night three as three were decapitated, sprays of blood gushed out from the neck.


Next night, Little Soh witnessed the same except for six more brothers and sisters.


Third night same followed. It was nine more of her siblings and her parents- the last two bastion of safety and comfort she ever had.


Soh wanted to cause extreme blindness or dizziness to the offending victims. She wanted to hail the wrath of Storm from X-Men upon Tatiana and Jorge which she once saw in a waiting room having been rescued by a Red Cross worker.


For some reason the general spared her life. As his subordinate was to take the jagged edge to her throat, the general intervened again. His eyes locked with hers. He stared at her intensely for few seconds. Her tenacity and pure disgust reminded him of himself.


"No. We will let this one a tribute for the filthy gods."


The general spat. He left her alive writhing under a baked sun rot to die amongst worms in the mud. And on that night, Little Soh vowed not to ever end up as someone like him.


Be it her precocity or the hardships she faced, it was almost a third-eye awakening for her. Amidst cobras and fumes and the fog with iguanas briskly weighing from the branches it was as if she was literally treading through Dark Night of the Soul like St John of the Cross!


For the next several weeks she walked amidst the hell-fire miraculously untouched as she thought of drowning herself in a swamp.


And then weary and hungry, as her tiny twig-like legs gave away in fatigue, she surrendered. As she stepped down the swamp about to commit jalsamadhi, a fisherman on a sampan spotted her. She happened to be a guide for a rescue worker.


Yet how far Little Soh came! The American who rescued her even wept when she had to surrender her to the division of psychiatric care.


Little Soh shrieked. One of the nurses hit the alarm and the whole building was shaking and splashing red aura of fear.


All the kids came to perceive this vision. Little Soh was screaming from the top of her lungs as if Munch himself came back alive.


One of the nurses tried to cover her mouth as another immediately reached for Midazolam carefully adjusting the dosage of the sedative.

July 06, 2023 04:28

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

05:21 Jul 06, 2023

This has a lot of interesting story elements. Beginning with the ritual , sprinkling details between episodes of writing and working backwards is really effective. I have some constructive feedback too if you want suggestions.

Reply

Zeeshan Mahmud
14:39 Jul 06, 2023

Thank you for reading. Sure go ahead!

Reply

17:55 Jul 06, 2023

1. It allegedly comes from Tesla 2. Affinity not affinition 3. So were the blanks But beyond little word level things, why were these people murdered? In Cambodia and not specified suggests this happened in the 80’s, which is incompatible with Sou being little and having TikTok. Now it may be that little Soh is just called little and is actually in her 40s, but that bears explanation. Finally “for some reason the disgusting general” let her live. Why? Surely this weird quirk of psychology would be an addition to the story. I love thé sidet...

Reply

Zeeshan Mahmud
19:04 Jul 06, 2023

Thank you Anne for your valuable input and feedback. Yes, you are spot on! Right after I finished it I noticed the anachronisms. It is almost as if one foot is in Cambodian genocide and another in modern era. But I didn't want to allude to Cambodian genocide specifically but rather wanted to create my own universe. For instance, it could very well be she fled from a vicious warlord from an unknown village in Cambodia in modern times. Also, overall the whole story doesn't seem to follow a coherent theme. I just edited it and added 'jalsamadh...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.