Jul 27, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 7

The old man on the screen coughed once and a hand appeared from the right side of the screen to dab the corner of his mouth with a tissue. He waved the hand away and continued to look at Otrahun. He was old as old people come, but there was a spark in his eyes that made it hard to look away from him.

"Do I believe in what?" Otrahun said.

"Sin. The morality and immorality of what we do and what we don't do. The concept of heaven, hell, and everything in between. The fact that there might be an afterlife and we're all doomed to suffer even more."

Otrahun shrugged. "I am sorry. I am not what you can call an ideal human being. I've done shit and some of it made me feel bad, but once it was done there was no taking it back. So, I live with it, just like everyone else."

"So, you have sinned," the old man said. "God bless your soul," he muttered under his breath.

"But what does that have to do with me being here and how can I help in saving the world?"

The old man ignored his questions.

"Did you know that there is a record of every sin of every man and woman on this planet? And there is going to be a time when everyone will be called to explain their sins?"

"That would take a lot of time, I believe."

"Time doesn't work in the sense that you believe when you are called to account for the things that you have done. You are there and you are not there. It's not a place in time or space. It just exists and you have an eternity to contemplate your fate with your judge."

"Still doesn't explain anything."

The old man sighed. The small gesture made him look his age, defeated and small. A creature away from his time, crushed by the weight of memories, waiting for everything to end.

"As my assistant must have explained it to you. You are what we like to call as an anomaly. We needed someone like you. Your social life is minimal and you are another cog in the big machine, but you have your place in a bigger machine where you can be of much more importance. If you choose."

Otrahun listened to the old man talk and it seemed to him like the same old spiel of bullshit that he'd been fed all these years. The only problem for him was that he liked the taste of that bullshit.

"I came here, so I guess my choice is pretty much evident. If you are willing to line my bank account with a number ending with enough zeros, I am all yours."

The old man smiled at this. "We are dealing with things that are much beyond money and power, Mr. Yaway. But if money is what you are after, then rest assured, you will get enough if you are able to do what we ask of you."

"That's great, it seems like you are about to come to a point."

"I am. And my point is that Mr. Otrahun Yaway, you will need to die for our sins."

Jul 26, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 6

There was a pressing sense of unease that descended on Otrahun as he stepped into the lift that would take them higher up the building. The helipad that they had landed on was built only halfway up the building on an extended platform that looked like a beggar's bowl asking for alms.

"I'd always looked at this building from my flat but I never thought I'd actually be in it."

The woman looked up from her screen for a second and stared at Otrahun. She looked completely at ease inside the building and her former disgust at the roadside stall was all but vanished. This was a woman who belonged here and she was in her natural habitat of concrete and glass.

And then, like a ten car pile up on the highway with a double-digit death count, she smiled at him. "You've seen nothing yet."

The lift rose higher up the side of the building and Otrahun fancied that he could see till the far edges of the city. Down there, where the human worms ate each other up for another chance to live one more day. Where the rich conspired and gossiped to get a sense of thrill in their vacant lives. And then there were those stuck in the middle, like replaceable cogs in the great machine of economics took their place till they were ground down to nothing in the gears and belts of what made everything work.

The lift slowed down to a halt and the door opened up with a cheerful chime that was exactly opposite to the dark mood that had come upon Otrahun. Was this world really worth saving, even if it made him rich enough to not work another day in his life?

The room they both stepped into was white. Everything from the walls to the floor the ceiling was pristine white. So much so that Otrahun was afraid of taking another step forward for the fear of spoiling the whiteness of the room with the dirt that he might have carried on his person. It felt like walking into a box of nothing where you could see for miles and everything seemed to be coming at you.

A screen lit up in the middle of the room and the face of a grizzled old man appeared on it. There was a pair of tubes snaking in his nostrils and his left eye drooped along with his face.  His other eye looked at Otrahun with judgment and open hostility. When he spoke, his voice had a clear authority that sent a needle of fear sliding down Otrahun's spine.

"Son," he said, "do you believe in sin?"

Jul 25, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 5

He had never sat in a helicopter.

There had been airplane flights that his office had sponsored and some vacations he had taken when he had a life. But a helicopter was still a new experience. The woman got climbed in before him and settled into a seat as she buckled her seatbelt. She put on a pair of headphones and handed him a pair, too. Otrahun plopped down next to her. He put on his seatbelt and adjusted the headphones to be the least uncomfortable.

The woman moved her finger in a circular motion and the pilot nodded at her. Even with the door closed, the sound of the rotors was a loud whumph-whumph that seemed to press down on you. The helicopter lurched once and then it was airborne.

Otrahun looked at the woman, waiting for her to start talking about what was going on. But she had her attention fixed on the small screen in her hand as her fingers danced on the glass sending commands and numbers, tapping, swiping and sliding windows around.

"Hey," he said. "Where are we going then?"

She raised one finger in the universal gesture of wait a fucking second.

Outside the window of the helicopter. The city's lights were shining like fireflies on a dark sky below. A slow mist enveloped the slums on the south-west corner of the city and the lights from the posh areas lit up the streets in a garish display of a rain-soaked orgy of wealth and fuck-you money. Somewhere beyond the abode of the rich, in the carbon copy apartments, one of the boxed dwellings belonged to Otrahun. He thought about the fish he had left behind in his aquarium. He was sure the fish could survive not being fed for two or three days. After all, how long can it take to save the world?

"We are here." The woman's voice crackled in his ear, stained by the fuzz of electronics and her natural disdain.

"And where is here?" he turned to ask her, but she was already stepping out of the chopper. The thing had landed and Otrahun was so lost in his thoughts that he did not even realize it. They were somewhere near the city, but the building that the helicopter had landed on top of towered above it all.

Realization about the identity of the building dawned on him like a falling shroud and despite himself, Otrahun felt like vomiting out his meal. What the fuck had he got himself into?

Jul 24, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 4

"My name is none of your concern, Mr. Yaway. If you need to call me for anything, Miss or Ma'am would do."

Otrahun sighed. The food had done him little good and he was still buzzing from the leftover alcohol in his system. Some part of him was hoping it was all a drunken mistake, but then again, he had done worse things when drunk, what difference did it make if it was saving the world this time.

The woman got up from the chair. "You need to come with me to our offices where our people will get you up to speed about what we need from you."

"Can you at least give me the assurance that this is not some organ harvesting scheme. I'd hate to wake up in an ice bath when the alcohol wears off."

"Mr. Yaway, I assure you that the threats that we are fighting are very much real and if you prove your usefulness, an organ harvesting scheme would be the least of your worries."

"You have neither confirmed nor denied what your whole scheme is about." He put some money on the table and the boy waiting at the stall scurried forward to take away his plates and the money. "But you know, as you said I am the anomaly, I guess I'll have to agree with you on that one."

The woman took out a device from her purse and pressed a single button on it. It was too small to be a phone and there wasn't any visible marking on the device. Just a small black box with a single button.

"So, what happens now? Do we get picked up by black helicopters or what?"

The woman looked at him and the ghost of a smile haunted her face for a single second before vanishing in a scowl that resided there permanently.

Otrahun felt a gust of wind so strong that he stumbled for a second before regaining his balance. The wind got stronger and a sleek shape appeared from the sky like a shark in dark waters.

He looked at the black helicopter as it landed on the empty road and a tiny rat of worry poked its nose out of the rathole in his head.

Nah, he told the rat to relax. What the worse that could happen?

Jul 22, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 3

The woman closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. This was going to be difficult. She picked up the chair and put it next to the table. The sense of unease about the condition of the chair just wasn't leaving her. How many had sat on this chair before her? And what kind of people?

Otrahun watched her squirm in discomfort and even though it was fun to watch, he needed her to start talking so he could get done with her and get to his house for some much-needed sleep. He took out his handkerchief from his back pocket and offered it to her.

She took the handkerchief and opened it up. There was a stain right in one corner of the cloth and one side was almost a dirty black. She held the piece of cloth like it was a dead animal and she was tasked with disposing off the carcass.

"Oh, crud." she said and gave the handkerchief back to Otrahun who folded it and put it back in his pocket. She took a deep breath and sat down on the chair, only at the edge though and the rest of her almost hovered in the air.

"I don't like this, I don't like you, and I don't want to be here right now. But because this is important, I am going to be quick."

Otrahun scooped a spoonful of noodles and soup and slurped it like the animal that he was. He motioned with the spoon for her to continue.

"You are a fucking anomaly in this world. There is literally no one that would miss you if you disappeared from the face of the planet tomorrow. And because the world is in danger, we are in need of people like you. We pay handsomely."

"How many zeroes are we talking about?"

"Enough to help you retire if you can help us in saving the world."

Otrahun sliced an egg with his spoon and chomped down on it. He thought for a moment. He hated his job, he hated his life, and he was not looking forward to going to office come Monday. And if the world was ending, he might as well spend the time doing something different for a change.

He nodded to himself as the woman kept looking at him with urgency in her eyes.

"Sounds good to me, but there is one thing that I want to know."

"Shoot," the woman said as she started to get up from the chair.

"What's your name?"

Jul 20, 2018

The Anomaly - Part 2

The voice that reached his ears carried with it a sense of authority that was not common to streetwalkers, which he had assumed the owner of the voice to be.

He had assumed wrong. The woman's voice gave him a sick flashback of the voice of his first boss. Filled with righteous authority that said the worst things in ways that didn't accept any argument. He sighed and suppressed the impulse to puke again. Gods knew he had nothing more left in the tank, but still, you can never be too careful.

Otrahun looked up at the woman and the face he saw matched his mental image. She was a sharp looking creature that had walked out of some fashion magazine pages on this squalid corner of the street. Her face was framed by a sharp hairstyle that could give papercuts to barbers and her nose was pointed upwards in a haughty expression. The look in her eyes said that she wanted to be here less than Otrahun wanted her to be here. She wore an expensive coat that probably cost more than Otrahun made in a month. Her skirt was cut diagonally at the knees, showing off shapely legs that had led to the wrong assumption.

A boy from the stall brought another rickety plastic chair and placed it near her table. The woman looked at the chair and her brows crinkled up in horror.

"What do you need from me? I am too drunk and too hungry to be of any use to anyone." Otrahun said to her through a slowly clearly fog that had enveloped his head.

"I need you to do a job for me, Mr. Yaway," she said while standing, getting more uncomfortable by the minute.


"Because the fate of the world is at stake." A slight sense of urgency leaked into her voice.

"I don't give a fuck about the world."

"Do you give a fuck about money, Mr. Yaway?"

The boy from the stall brought a bowl of noodle soup with two halves of a perfectly boiled egg by the side. The smell from the soup made his stomach grumble and his mouth watered up. He looked up at the woman through the steam rising from the soup.

"How much money are we talking about here?"

The Anomaly - Part 1

At 2 AM, the night was still young. A slight rain fell on the streets, giving everything a washed up, clean look. The smells of the city magnified in that atmosphere. Diesel, sweat, and cooking oil mixed up with the sizzle of frying meats and dying dreams of the people who were still out there at this hour.

Otrahun Yaway was one such man. Right now, he was sitting on a rickety plastic chair at a roadside food stall, waiting for something, anything to be brought to his table. He needed to get some food in him, the drinks he'd had earlier in the evening had made him ten kinds of drunk and he had puked his way to the food stall from the club where he had danced till the bouncer had thrown him out for grabbing a girl who did not want to be grabbed.

Not my fault, Otrahun reasoned to himself. If she fell on my hands, what was I supposed to do?

The smell of food cooking in a large wok made him realize he was too hungry. He had not had anything to eat the previous day. A long day in the office, battling documents that did not want to accept defeat had beaten him at the end of the day and he wanted to forget everything from the office for the next two days.

He had his head in his hand and he was staring at the nothing in front of him when a pair of shapely legs swam into his view. Sigh, not this, he thought.

"Go away," he mumbled, "I don't need company."

"But I do, Mr. Yaway."