"Letters to Nothingness" is a novel in both Arabic and English, and it will soon be in Deutsch as well. It is also written as a Screenplay. The novel consists of 13 chapters; it talks about “masters of thoughts”, who are seeking to dominate the world through taking control over our thoughts. ''Here they are, the same lineaments forming before me whenever I looked at my reflection in the mirror, or in the eyes of Helen, or on the surface of a pond left by what pours from the sky; and here it is, the same body, which holds me with my thoughts, with my tiredness and with that rancor, which fills my chest; but as for me, I, who hides behind that face, and dwells within this body, became different to the man I once used to be; that old woman has resurrected in me something of the spirit of the gods, turning me into an extraordinary man, who makes a hidden gate, or an ethereal bridge from his thoughts, through which he reaches any place in the existence, or the nonexistence''.
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Letters to Nothingness
All Rights Reserved
©2016 Majed Alezzo
Cover © Majed Alezzo
All Rights Reserved. No Part Of This Publication May be Reproduced Stored in a Retrieval System, or Transmitted in any Form or by any Means, Electronic, Mechanical Photocopying, Recording or otherwise, Without Prior Permission in Writing of Majed Alezzo.
To that dreaded war which compelled me to finish the chapters of this novel deprived from saturating with your coffee, with your eyes…
My mother, I dedicate this to you, to the flocks of clouds shaded by the palms of your hands.
How mistaken I have been to believe that the gods were the only ones to bestow life.
Supervised By Lujain Aljabr
All the paintings in the novel are drawn by the fine artist Roula Hasan Alsaleh
All of the sudden, the existence faded around me, its face dissipated and its features evaporated as I fell drowning in the heart of a dark cluster of intense gravity, which instantly consumed every part of my body, pulling me rapidly across the void towards its nucleus. What terrified me in that freezing dark ocean was that I found nothing there similar in its formation to the world I have experienced before; that was not the sky which had always grabbed my cries to rescue me, nor was that the land which had always caught me with its solidity, every time I fell.
I looked around me hoping to find a clue that could help me know where I was in this extinction, but I found nothing whatsoever; darkness was surrounding me from every direction, preventing my mind from acknowledging any information that might help it understand or figure out the despicable place I was drowning in. What worried me even more and greatened my obsession, was that I was falling without feeling the air resisting my body. Perhaps the air is like the shadows, only dwells in the light, or perhaps my soul has been deprived of its body for there was no clear clue that indicated a shred of my existence in the world of the living.
I almost believed that my fall was to never end when I glimpsed a white flash at a great distance, and the void was carrying me straight towards it. I imagined that it was preparing itself to swallow me, and the more I got closer to it, the more it got bigger and its features got clearer.
It was a spiral crypt, pulling me towards itself rapidly till I was inside of it where I felt the light once again. The place was warm, and through its meanders, I smelled a fragrance very similar to the one which the fields of true lavender were distinctively known of; it was the most beautiful path I was ever forced to go through, and the main thought, which conquered my mind and brought it to ease, was that I survived the dark void, so I didn’t exhaust myself in thinking of what was awaiting me outside.
I kept sliding down the white crypt until I reached its end, where I fell on a sandy ground of a warm beach; I felt the sand with my hands, then dug in my fingers between its grains and lifted my head up towards the sky, when the sun sent its rays to touch my face whilst I inhaled all the fresh air I could; it had been a long while since I last appreciated the value of warmth, for it wasn’t my body which was cold that time, but it was my soul. I stood up and started to look around me searching for anyone that could save me from the vortex of ambiguity, which I was stuck in, the second I fell into the nothingness.
I kept walking down the beach till I caught a glimpse of a woman standing on a high rock, with her hand above her eyebrows to block the flow of light from reaching her eyes whilst she looked at the sea, as if she was waiting for the return of a drowned soul, or bidding farewell to her departing beloveds on a ship heading towards the unknown.
I approached her slowly, and once I got near the rock, which held her small body, all the thoughts in my head, and the reasons that urged me to walk towards her dissipated; I stood still observing slowly those peaceful eyes, that skinny face, and that mole on her cheek; I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was my mother, whom I never got the chance to meet before, and whom I kept her picture with me for more than thirty years, which gave me serenity in the darkest and most gruesome nights of life.
My voice came out uncontrollably “Margot…! Margot…!” I shouted; I couldn’t call her “mother” for the fact that my tongue was never used to utter those letters put together in such an order; I even avoided using that word throughout my entire childhood, until it became an inherent trauma which haunted me till I grew old.
She turned at me and took several moments contemplating me. I thought then that I was the drowned soul, whom she was awaiting its arrival to the world of the dead, but her lips did not move, and she did not run towards me to give me my first hug as I thought she would, but she only looked away back at the sea again, not caring about me.
I walked towards her screaming “Margot! It’s me, Darius, your son!” but she was emotionless to my words, and she never looked back at me again; then she merely moved her fingers ordering me to leave and walk away. I ignored what she had nodded me to do, and started to run towards her as fast as I could, and with each step I took, her face’s lineaments were being erased, and the distance between us was getting greater as if I was running backwardly; I then fell exhausted on my knees as my eyes kept chasing her scarlet scarf, picking up its pendulous threads so I wouldn’t lose her again. I know not how much time went by before my mother disappeared again into the terrains of that illusion, which I was exiled to, for it is highly likely that the arrow of time passes not through here.
The darkness then once again consumed the place when its clouds crowded and blocked the sky; the sea then disappeared with the extent behind it, and the sands, which I was standing on, melted. I was back again in the void which I was exhausted from falling into, but at that time I was not drowning, my body was floating through it; that was when I realized that I did not need a compass in my eternal journey for that the nothingness was carrying me aimlessly and pointlessly. I was certain that I was doomed and dead, but the world of the dead had failed to meet my expectations, for the fact that my worst of thoughts about it was by far better than its tedious truth.
The pictures began coming back to my mind, and with each one I pitied myself harder. Poor miserable me, I spent my whole life imagining my mother whenever the loneliness pained me, or I was torn apart by feelings of weakness. I’ve hung up a photo of her next to my upper bed back when I was in the orphanage, so her face was the last thing my eyes saw before I closed them to dream, and the first thing the morning held for me. I destroyed countless numbers of my brain cells deluding myself, picturing her lost spirit hugging me and pulling me tightly between her arms as if I was a lost dream, and every time the holidays came, I waited for the moment of my death, and wished for it to be soon so that I could hug her, just for once… but there I was, dead with nothing I had ever planned for happened.
Throughout the years I spent in the orphanage, I shared a room with Lennon, my only friend; and every holiday, we used to pretend that we were tired or sick, so that we could avoid that dreary celebration, while the orphanage supervisor brought some candy, with all the orphans gathered in one of the rooms, to celebrate by eating food and dreaming excessively. Lennon and I would sneak out to the balcony, which overviewed the raucous city, and listen to its noises and watch its celebrations and its sintered sky with fireworks without saying a word to each other, until we would get drowsy and fall asleep.
Eleven years have passed since those days, and now Lennon has become an important journalist, whose articles are published in one of the greatest newspapers. He also has a wonderful family; the one he always wished for; he won the love of a calm smart woman and they had a baby boy, who just started his first school year. I was truly relieved that I couldn’t find him in this dark crypt, at least it assured me that he is still alive, for I would’ve never forgiven myself if one the bullets burst through his body and he was killed because of me.
I’ve always known that I had a lot of enemies shadowing me, waiting for a chance to kill and get rid of me while I roamed the streets of the city in broad daylight, and I’ve always sensed that this is how my end would be, for I was not righteous at all in selecting and choosing my options, which caused me losses that were bigger than I could ever handle. Until this very moment, Isabelle’s departure still pains me. I remember that day quite well, when she came to me in the morning with tears pouring from her eyes, blaming me and screaming at me because I lied to her about the true nature of my job. What should I have said? How could I have told her that I am an outlaw? Indeed, she would not have stayed with me for another second, but what she did not know was that I quit doing that job when I fell in love with her. I did not defend myself that morning, nor did I tell her that I found a decent job, and gave up all of my illegal businesses because it was obvious… she had decided to leave me and she did, indeed. I might’ve thought of losing her as something much less harder than her disdaining what I did for her if I had told the truth, for that we, the orphans, grow up with a weakness growing inside of us, and the only thing that gave me the strength I needed was that job, so that I could hide my weakness behind it.
It is pointless now to remember these things. Life had passed and ended, and what I need after my death is to kill time in this black mirage; perhaps I would find another flash of another crypt for me to slide through till I reach the eternal life, which I don’t believe I deserve, nor was I promised of.
I started to feel my body again, as if I was lying on a rough wooden board, but I was yet unable to move any of my limbs, and all I could do was to close my eyes and try to escape that dismal silence. How magnificent it would have been if I came across the spirit of Henry Lorcy, floating in one of these death paths; I would’ve asked him to play his No.43 symphony for me, or to tell me how he died; I am sure he wouldn’t mind; after all, both of us would want to break the silence.
Whilst my thoughts were carrying me from one dream to another, I heard a voice coming from outside of the void; they were people speaking an unknown tongue, or maybe the poor quality of the sound made me believe so. I stopped thinking and began focusing on the source of the sound so I could distinguish where it was coming from, but it seemed to me as if it was coming from every direction. What matters now is that I became close to someone else dead sent to this nothingness just as I was, and whatever their language might be, we will figure out a way for us to communicate. It went quiet again, and all the strange noises stopped for a second, then I heard a dimmed sound of a man speaking calmly; the sound started to get louder and to gradually get closer to my right ear. This hoarse voice, which holds an ancient wound, well known for me, between the vibration of its vocal cords, and these words, which have always went through my ears. I felt a great desire to cry; it was the Duke Herman’s voice; the man who took me under his wing since the day I stepped out of the orphanage; the man who put a roof over my head, offering me a, once in a lifetime, job opportunity; the man who kept me by his side for all those years. I was certain that he would not abandon me, and that he would not let death snatch me without a fight.
He was reading to me from the collection of poems of an inglorious poet, who died by suicide. I never understood the meaning of that poem, which he used to repeat all the time, but I was quite glad to hear the voice of the Duke, the voice of the man who had never let me down, and that was why I was greatly fond of him; and Herman, unlike his counterparts, who ran illegal businesses, wasn’t utterly evil; he appreciated the loyal men, and never betrayed his own; and despite of his moody temper, he would often take care of the problems of those who were close to him, and that is what made lots of businessmen and politicians rally around him, till the point where he had associates in some very powerful places.
Hearing Herman’s voice while he was reading felt like listening to the universe’s first music; those sounds that nature makes to charm us with the hidden link towards it. The Duke’s words became the proof that I was still alive, for I don’t believe that the dead listen to the living’s trifles, but perhaps I was only lost in my thoughts, which made my body unresponsive to my brain, which in turn lost sense of what was around it, as if it had collapsed on itself, leaving me stuck in one of its corners.
I felt heat in my left hand, which started to expand through my forearm, until it reached my shoulder then my chest when I took a strong deep breath back to life! At that moment, dense fog surrounded my eyes, preventing me from seeing clearly; my mouth was dry and my body was fusty; I then saw the Duke getting up quickly from his chair, which I heard the sound of its collision on the floor. The Duke approached me and grabbed my hand saying, “Darius! Can you hear me? Answer me!” he kept repeating the question without stopping, and indeed I was hearing him, but I was unable neither to speak nor to answer his insistence. He got very close to me until he almost touched my face, staring into my eyes. I tried to make any gesture to let him know that I could hear him, so I drew on my lips half a smile, which was more than enough for him to jump up and down all around the room, shouting with great joy “I knew you wouldn’t die with a bullet, you brat!”
At that time, the door opened when a doctor and one of the nurses entered; Herman then held the doctor by the arm and told him everything that happened when I woke up without leaving out any detail; the doctor then stood next to my bed and started examining me. I turned my face towards the window and saw a big garden centered by a water fountain, and that was when I realized that I was not in the hospital, but in the Duke’s rural house away from the city.
Many things must have happened since the day of the incident, and I will have to wait until I get better, and then I will provide for myself all the answers, which it insists on knowing.
My wound started to heal, and my body started to regain its health, for that in the past couple of weeks, the Duke kept me in his rural house close to a team of doctors, but I was sick of sitting there, and I really wanted to move on with my life, despite of my complete comprehension that there was no value or meaning for my life whatsoever. I was overwhelmed with a mysterious feeling whenever I realized that I came back to life after a coma that lasted eleven days. Every morning became like a miracle to me, and I started to stand on the spacious balcony, contemplating the world around me, thinking of details that have never caught my attention before. For instance, I do not recall ever exhausting myself in watching the ravens sliding down on the snowy redbrick roofs, and I have never spent hours pushing and provoking my thoughts to weave some daydreams, but since I woke up from my deep sleep, music had become the sole focus of those dreams. Sometimes I dream that I am a conductor, whose whole body recoils on the stage, for a whole army of musicians to interact with him, and sometimes my sense of weakness dominates my thoughts, so I dream that I am some confused nameless musician, hiding behind his colleges, so no-one could notice that his hand is only swinging in thin air without touching the strings, but as for the dream, which I like and always repeat whenever I have the chance, is when I see myself holding the violin, standing on a towering platform playing the last melody in Tecumseh’s funeral.
From the balcony, which held my insanity, I saw Herman’s car entering the garden through the big gate, so I quickly put my clothes on, and went down the wooden stairs to the lower floor to greet him.
My head is preoccupied with dozens of questions, and I should talk with him today; given the fact that, since my treatment began, I was cut off from the outside world, and I didn’t know exactly what went down the day of the incident except that I took one bullet to the chest, and another one went through my right shoulder, but he preferred to keep me away from any pressures in that period of time, and he insisted on postponing those conversations until I surpass my ordeal and heal.
The Duke entered with his usual elegance and calmness; that man had never changed, and no matter how many calamities befell us, he stayed strong and focused. He greeted me with a gentle smile then walked towards me and hugged me; he seemed to be very pleased with the improvement of my medical condition; he then asked me to come with him to his office, so I followed him until we entered the office, which was shadowed with walnut trees that were planted all around the garden. We sat on the table next to the fireplace without either of us saying a word. I contemplated him for a brief time so that I could read from his eyes if he was willing to talk about it this morning, or if it would upset him as usual. He took a grey folder out of his briefcase, and put it on the table, then he put a collection of photos next to the folder, as well as some small paperclips, which he had lined next to each other, as if he was arranging his thoughts so he could know where to start the conversation, and how to finish it.
He picked up the grey folder with his right hand, and lifted it up in front of my face, staring straight into my eyes and asked me “Darius, do you know what this is?”
I realized from his sharp tone that we were caught in something disastrous, for the fact that whenever he addressed me with my name, the matter at hand would always be quite serious. Before I answered him with denial, he threw it in front of me on the table saying, “Of course you don’t; if you did, they wouldn’t have been able to track you down and shoot you!”
I grabbed the folder and started flipping its pages so that I could know what it contained, and I found full information about me; then I read the name “Rast”, which was the name of the orphanage I grew up in; I started panicking and asked him with great anxiety, “Who gathered all of these information about me?!”
He responded sarcastically, “One of the girls who you “got together with” was an undercover secret service agent, and she managed to make this file about you, and to also get pictures of you and of your house”
His words made me feel exceedingly stupid; once again, I harmed others with my lust and recklessness, but I calmed down a bit when I saw that the file had no information about Herman or about anyone of those who work with us. It was obvious that the police considered me as a lead from which they tried to reach everyone else involved in our activities, but what I could not understand was that why the secret agents wanted to get rid of me before they formed a strong case, and proved the involvement of everyone.
Herman then grabbed the photos, which were lined in front of him, and started flipping them like a deck of cards whilst staring at them absentmindedly; he then handed me one of them, which was of a big black car, and told me that it was the car used in our shooting downtown, but he couldn’t find any hard evidence proofing that the cops were the ones who tired to get rid of me. For all we knew, it might have been one of the businessmen, who we blackmail every now and then, behind the incident.
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