Disclaimer: The characters and incidents depicted in the following post are fictitious. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintended.
Everything that had a beginning has an end. The map that had come in the possession of Dynamite had indicated some kind of underground location at this point of the DGMS campus. I need to look beneath the earth. His careful analysis of the map had allowed him to point out the subtle differences between the architecture of the DGMS and that of the School and all his intuition had lead him to this point. He removed the whip-blade from its case and began inspecting the ground for possible trap-doors. I need to see beyond vision. The blades slid along the imperceptible groove along the trapdoor and soon Dynamite heard a faint click. Ah! Success. The lid gave a roundabout flip to reveal the security access lock. Non lethal infiltration techniques are my specialty. Dynamite returned back to the courtyard entry where he had parked his bike. He unpacked his assortment of military equipments and held out one of the EMP grenades. An EMP attack would leave buildings standing and spare lives, but it could neutralize a sizable electronic security system through its short-duration burst of electromagnetic energy. He secured the grenade to the access lock and within moments a bright blue flash had done its trick. The blue torch of enlightenment.
Dynamite stepped through the trapdoor. I need to get to the bottom of this. This was the right place. He could feel it down to his bones. Fate, luck, karma whatever he wished to name it had lead him to this point and he wasn’t going to rest until he had solved the case. He descended down the stairs. As he faced the meeting room, he gave out a slight cry of exclamation for he had witnessed someone he had not expected at all. A man in the blue blazer. He faced Dynamite with a friendly smile. “Welcome to my inner sanctum. How may I help you? What a strange apparel you have!” Dynamite was perplexed. He wanted step outside. He couldn’t believe that this could be happening but wasn’t he facing the DG himself. He gasped: “Sir, I believe you are the DG. I have been exploring a case and I have been lead to this point. I think you can help me out.” The DG smiled: “I would prefer to be addressed as the General. Sit down. I will get back at you in a moment. As you can see this is a private space and the way you destroyed my privacy wasn’t really appreciable.” Dynamite was speechless. It just didn’t make sense. I liked the way the show started but this is not how it was supposed to end. He heard muffled voices through the door facing his right. “What’s behind the door?” The General exclaimed: “Oh! It is just my private study.” Dynamite got up from his chair and faced the metal door. Before the general could make a move, he heaved himself onto it. Inside, the vision was grotesque. Twelve elderly men in tatters. One of them shouted: “The General is evil. You need to stop him!”
The General pounced from behind. Then all hell broke loose. “You have seen enough! What are you? Some nosy superhero? Show me what you have got. Heat Vision? X-ray vision? Some magic ring of doom? Hah!” He had his firm clasp locked around Dynamite’s throat from behind and with the other hand he was twisting his arm. “I am no superhero and I have got this!” Dynamite loosened his body and let go to give a perfect back body drop on to the wooden table. The General quivered in pain. He lashed out the whip-blade and put it around the General’s throat. “Speak or I will rip it off.” The General gave out a mad grin and kicked at the dark crusader. “You have got me already? Have you?” The General got away and picked up a chair and targeted it to the hand of Dynamite holding the whip-blade. An accurate blind shot. The chair cracked and Dynamite yelled out with pain and the whip blade fell from his grasp. The General wasted no time in lunging himself and grabbing the blade. The room was too narrow and it was making Dynamite’s moves difficult. I must surprise my opponent. With a quick swing, the General lashed out the blade at Dynamite that gave him a gash in his cheek and ripped apart the red cape that had hid his face. The boyish face of Shaant stared wildly at the General. He laughed: “I am about to murder a child! You are just a boy and you came here thinking you are going to defeat me. You don’t know what you are dealing with here.”
There was no time for jokes now. Only my sorcery can win over this madman. He stared at the eyes of the General. I cannot dare to blink. He murmured the Ol Chiki spell of procrastination, the most deadly among all the spells that he had mastered, which could stop the activity of the muscles at the very least. The effect would be instantaneous and the General will be grovelling alongside the chairs within no time. It didn’t happen. The General stood there with a broad grin spread out on his face. He tried it again. I mustn’t be concentrating hard enough. Nothing happened. It was as if something had drained the art out of him. Why isn’t it working? The General exclaimed: “You are trying these indigenous incantations on me! You forget that I have lived here for more than twenty five years. I know this place far better than you can ever imagine. You might have memorized a few incantations but I have learned the art from the masters themselves. I explored the art to the level that I can defend myself from it. You on the other hand relied on memory like a typical student. “
Dynamite found himself frozen on the spot. This couldn’t be happening. He tried the spell again, twice, thrice and every time without effect. Should I escape? The General gloated at his misery. He continued: “These incantations feed on imbecility. They maximise weaknesses of mind. I don’t drink anymore, so the Alcoholic charm won’t work on me. I don’t keep my work undone so I am immune to the spell of procrastination. I have taken care to eradicate each and every mental weakness of mine and so I cannot be defeated! You memorized two or three spells and you thought you had the whole world under you. In fact, there are infinite spells possible and an Ol Chiki translation can maximise any of your weaknesses!”
Dynamite’s head was swimming. How can I fight this monster? And then the blow struck. Dynamite found his feet uprooted from the ground and his body crashed to the wall behind him. Then the pain started. He felt as if his lungs would burst for want of oxygen. What was happening? He was suffocating to death. It was as if his blood flow was failing to reach his body parts. His heart pounded in his chest. The General towered over him. The whip-blade glinted in his hands and his evil laughter reaching the ears of Dynamite seemed otherworldly. “I shall crown myself with the blood of fallen heroes!” The confounded group of spectators were slowly vanishing from his eyes. I am about to die. Then, the words of the General reached his ears: “You yourself are not immune to mental weaknesses. Your have been a smoker all your life. You smoked to erase frustration. Your lip’s curl gave away. This is the smoker’s spell! You are simply suffering from the long term effects of smoking magnified by a tenfold! You will die and not even you can save yourself now for it is not I but your weakness that is killing you!”
Dynamite wasn’t listening. He was too much overwhelmed with his pain. I can fight this. Infinite spells. Infinite possibilities. I need to stay alive to stop this madman. Can it be that the General is immune to every weakness? Dynamite thought hard. The pain was slowly fading the colour from his face. Innovation is the only solution. And then he had got it. Solutions are always simple. He chanted the spell without a second thought. It had to work. The General fell. His concentration broke and the spell casted over Dynamite lifted. A surge of fresh oxygen entered Dynamite’s arteries and the blood flow was restored. He struggled to get up. One of the elderly onlookers picked him up. He managed to throw a quick glance at the General. He was shivering as if his body was under some kind of fit. The General was covered from head to foot with sweat. He gasped and panted and his face was twitched with horror. He has seen a ghost. Dynamite called for the twelve spectators: “Quickly, reach to the toolbox in my bike and find the strongest nylon rope. We need to tie him up. I cannot hold the spell for long.”
Soon they managed to tie the General to a nearby pillar. He had his chance. He won’t get another. One of the aged gentlemen asked: “What did you do to him? He was immune to everything.” Dynamite managed a faint smile through the pain his body had suffered. “The General had mastered immunity to all kinds of imbecility except for one and I maximised it and the result is before you.” The gentleman shrugged and asked: “What was that?” Dynamite’s smile broadened: “Fear. Fear of failing. Fear that he won’t succeed in his mission. It is the greatest weakness in all humans. It is only when you lose this fear that you can truly call yourself enlightened. My spell just maximised this fear in him. Now, if you can just help me out of this place and onto my bike.”
Outside, the sky showed the first shimmer of breaking dawn. The twelve elderly men had gathered around Dynamite’s bike. They had the Sanctum locked from the outside by placing a large boulder over the entry. Thereafter they narrated the entire plan of the General to Dynamite. He said: “The work isn’t over. You are men of power. Reach out to the police and have this place and the General taken into custody immediately and do not mention me. Tell them that the twelve of you overpowered him. The other twelve sanctums need to be found.” The men nodded. One of them inquired: “Won’t you help us with it. You are the superhero who saved the day.”
Dynamite started his bike. “I am no superhero. I realise it now. Sir, in fact I am a junior to all of you. I am just another ISMite trying to bring about good.” The men weren’t satisfied: “But when evil looms large again, won’t you be back to stop it.” Dynamite grinned: “Lions will always rise when demons dream of taking over the world.” He slowly drove his bike away from the group of men and out of the courtyard. Light had finally emerged from the darkness.
My sincerest thanks to the regular readers of Wit Within who appreciated the work which was a small experiment on my part to write a short story. My heartfelt thanks to two special ISM alumni (presently staying in Australia and the United States respectively) for reading and appreciating the posts.