Chapter-1: The Machinist

 "The Machinist, Monk, & Mesmerizer Chronicles"

In the near future, a machinist, a monk, and a mesmerizer are looking for the Source of the universe, but among the ancient scriptures, they only find the devil …

Few humans in the future find the secrets of what words and sounds can do, for the Apocalypse and war led them to evolve in mind and physique. Two of them end World War III with just a speech. Some say they did a mass hypnosis. Others say it was their voice and will. Fifty years later in South Asia, KUSHA, a twenty-three-year-old machine geek with social awkwardness and amnesia, tries to get the Devil’s Book with secrets of voice in a society that now worships the evolved High-Grades like its ancient people used to worship the Brahmins. But her idol war heroes, YUAN and RUEM, are also after it for power.  

TITLE: The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution #1)


No of Pages (Paperback): 185

Inside Illustrations & Cover Art: Misba

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1. The Machinist



Mostly because she didn’t k­now what death or life or any other word in the world meant. Sometimes, death only means the end of all old memories. The first time Kusha saw the sun after her old memories died, it made her more curious than seeing her own breasts. At least you can touch your breasts, but you cannot touch the sun.

Meera found her watching the morning sky standing stripped on the roof. “I’m your mother. Mo-ther,” Meera said, approaching her adopted teen daughter, repeating ‘Mother’ several times. “And you cannot be naked, sweetie,” she added, covering Kusha with her wide, red shawl—spiral depictions of snails in golden stitches all over it. It was warm; at least, as warm as Meera’s voice that sounded as if it were water pouring through rocks in a desert. In response, Kusha extended her fingers to trace her new mother’s lips. She assumed lips created words.

“People talk,” Meera said, fetching those fingers and placing them on her throat. “From here,” she added.

Kusha gasped, sensing how Meera’s vocal cords trembled, how her voice rang. In an instant, her brain, empty of information and full of curiosity, craved to create sounds like that with her voice, her lips, her tongue, with her entirety of being, if needed.

She just wanted to speak.

Kusha removed her fingers from Meera’s throat and touched her own full lips. She gawked at her new mother, expecting she’d speak more.

Meera did. “But you must speak from here.” Meera showed her belly. “Words are magic, sweetie. With words, you can re-code fate.”

Kusha didn’t understand what she heard that day. However, her brain remembered every set of sounds Meera had styled in her speech: “I’m your mother; mo-ther; mo-ther; you can’t be naked; people talk; words are magic, with words, you can re-code fate …” Kusha parroted them the next day in front of her new father and sister, not completely naked this time. Meera made sure Kusha, as a sixteen-year-old, wore at least a midi dress before she left her attic.

That was seven years ago—a day after she lost all her memories. Also, the day that started it all. The day that kicked off her desire to speak that kept growing, and it will keep growing until she craves to become a goddess one day. Either to save the world as a hero or to destroy it, crafting a villain’s ballad.

Remembering that day, Kusha gets distracted from the laser that’s cutting a car’s body. She closes her blue eyes as if shutting them will erase her memories—the embarrassing ones, mostly. Thanks to her condition, she’s become an endless source of embarrassment. If you start afresh with a fully blank brain, like a newborn, you’ll have a lot to catch up on. Sometimes, it won’t be cute. Sitting weirdly, spreading your legs—unaware of your briefs showing, or asking your new parents why their lips are glued together, isn’t cute.

Mistakes aren’t adorable when adults make them.

In seven years, she has achieved her first desire—she learned to speak (in a month), sure. But speaking means nothing if you don’t have voice. The real voice. The voice that never fears.

The voice that never doubts.

The voice that wins without being loud.

Back then, she didn’t know why words and voice mattered so much; until one day, Meera gave her books, films, and famous speeches to teach her language. That was when she discovered about them: the war heroes—the ones who ended the war with a four-minute-speech.

People put flowers and food on their statues, paying respect with a silence you won’t find even in churches or temples. You cannot see God in the temples. But you can see the war heroes: alive, undead, the owners of voice and will. If they hadn’t banned calling them Gods, there would’ve been temples in their names now, Kusha believes. And the unevolved people who couldn’t be Gods yet would’ve visited those temples, chanting:

Oh! The Undead! Touch us with your light.

So we may evolve in body, soul, and mind.

Not that the war heroes will touch them. Neither to shake hands, nor to touch lightly, and never ever intimately. Touching unevolved people for pleasure isn’t principled.

Kusha heard people whisper about it in the Old City—the lawless city where sunlight never reaches the ground.

She sets aside the timeworn parts of her car now. Engine grease from her hand has smeared on her temple. She handles the bared thirty-year-old car but not expertly enough to do so silently as an evolved High Grade would. Rashad and Meera Gaumont do everything without noise. All. The. Time. They’re High Grades—Grade A: 107-year-olds with ageless bodies. And they follow the Untouchable Code by heart.

Not that they need to think about the don’t-get-laid-with-a-Low-Grade code anyway. They’re loyal to each other. High Grade couples who stay together for sixty years are rare. If you win time, you don’t want to live with one partner for the rest of your life. Until-death-do-us-part happens when time eats your energy to explore.

Yes, time. Win time, live in youth forever, and you’ll pass Grade A. But it’s not the end. Some evolve more, for the evolution of the mind is exponentially infinite. Some High Grades have been Grade A for fifty years. Fifty. Solid. Years! Rumors exist of what those High Grades can do: They kill with gaze; they voice the wind; they eat nothing; they have seen the source of the universe …

Some say whatever they utter with voice becomes an enchantment. Like that in Shattya Yug—the age of truth—the thousands of years old era when people spoke only the truth. And whatever they used to utter would always happen—whether it was a blessing or a curse.

Kusha doesn’t have high grades or voice or killing gazes. But she has a gift, her prophetic alarms. Most people name it the sixth sense. Those occasional sensations that come without warning. Then, she finds herself knowing things she isn’t supposed to know.

Like now—

It happens again. A prophetic alarm comes, and it comes with a silent scream in her head. As if hundreds of frozen needles have pierced her eyes and reached her brain, injecting information she never knew before. Kusha calls it alarms, not sixth sense. Not even intuition. Intuition sounds High Grade, something those evolved people may have. The book God Particle Or Thought Particle says: ‘Intuition is the passing thoughts downloaded from the universe.’ Kusha isn’t confident enough to believe it could happen to her. No way could she download anything as an unevolved, untouchable, Low Grade.

But faith betrays sometimes.

Faith has fluidity.

Faith evolves like her machine-learning models, self-correcting from previous experiences. So, when the prophetic alarm comes, and she catches it as if it’s the smell from Meera’s unsweetened, saffron Kheer, Kusha stumbles on her faith. It’s a feeling, she still tells herself. Just an alarm, about death?

Kusha stops the laser, straightening herself and looking away from the vehicle. Why death? A death alarm has never come before. What was she thinking? How did the alarm happen?

Trace back … Trace back …

Kusha digs through her chain of thoughts, looking blankly at the air. Soon, her mind reaches the source thought like a train reaching its destination.

The mail square! The alarm came when she looked at the mail square earlier! Kusha looks at it again. A blue square designated for the mail drones located near the Gaumont Manor’s airbase.

That’s when the next alarm comes.

Once again: the silent scream, another thought entering her brain, revealing a fact she didn’t know a second ago, and a coldness that only her mind makes her feel beneath her flesh.

Two alarms within five minutes, and one of them is about death. It has never happened before. At least, not in the memories she can access. Why does it feel normal? An alarm about death is supposed to make her muscles tighten, or her intestines grow cold. Were death alarms normal before? Before everything?

“Mail will be late,” Kusha mutters, speaking her second alarm aloud, gazing at nothing in particular. As if she’s worried more about mail being late than perceiving a death alarm. Her garage is open; the scent of grass, just kissed by the morning sun, drifts from Gaumont Manor’s lawn.

“Says intuition?” Taha, her sister for the last seven years, jumps from the second-floor balcony to the groomed lawn below. This girl is doing it again: practicing jumping from four-meter-height for her next grade test.

Sometimes, it annoys Kusha. According to the book How To Observe Your Self, it’s envy for being two grades lower than your younger sister. Kusha groans silently; envy is rude.

“Um, no,” she lies. “It’s the 50th Independence Day. Thought, um—”

“That the mail bots would be celebrating?” Taha rolls her eyes. With her short skirt and pink tank top, no one would imagine how invincible she is during combat. Her door sign reads: Don’t ditch pink to act strong—in pink font. “You don’t have to lie!” she says. “If I had a hundred percent correct intuition, I’d be showing it off on stage!”

Kusha puts the laser down and takes a mechanical drill. The second alarmthat the mail will be late—bothers her more than the death alarm. Her entry ticket into the High Auction is supposed to arrive today.

The auction sells things you won’t find anywhere else, the things that are the only ones of their kind. And soon, they’ll sell it. The Devil’s Book: a three-foot-tall ancient book some believe the devil himself wrote. Yes, the real devil. Others think the book contains all the secrets of mesmerism.

Not that she needs to mesmerize anyone in particular. She only needs to stop stuttering while her new family stares at her.

Right. Seven years have passed with the Gaumonts, so ‘new’ is an invalid excuse.

“Dad won’t approve of you going to that auction,” Taha says in the middle of all those jumping up and down—second-floor balcony to the lawn and again back to the balcony. “He hates the Old City,” Taha adds.

“He never approves of anything I do,” Kusha says from the garage, hiding her frown. She gets all her old cars and tools from places you don’t want your daughters to visit. And Rashad Gaumont certainly doesn’t want her to visit Magic Mama, the not-evolved-enough, middle-aged man who lives in the Junk Land and works in the Old City. “He’s not a citizen! He lives in a bus! So what if he made it himself? So what if he teaches you about machines? Just don’t meet him.”

“Why?” Kusha used to ask Rashad, and she’d always get the same answer: “The unevolved kind brings chaos and wars.”

Kusha didn’t listen. She went again and bought this car too, from an antique dealer. He almost gave it away, saying it would never run again. It has the old days’ engine, the kind you don’t find in this era—the New World. A change of engine and batteries, a new set of all-terrain tires, some safety trackers, sensors, and, well, a whole list of other things with 300% luck to make it run again through the Junk Land, the land outside the cities where it’s only ruins and rubble.

Needs hard work, yes. But Kusha instantly liked the color of its body, the moment she saw it: a sort of green with a greyish tint and a good load of rust.

Those industry-designed latest models, which hover in the air, are nothing compared to the story these cars have—Rashad, her adoptive father, encourages her. “So what if it’ll be slower? So what if it’ll soon rust? So what if machines age faster? Clocks with hands and sophisticated wheels have more art than a digital clock. Right?” Kusha beams when Rashad praises her cars, though he doesn’t approve of the way she gets them.

Her eyes sparkle even now as she works on its body. Its rusty, old screws aren’t loosening, even after using the lubricants she bought from the Old City, costing thousands of credits, no less. Looks like she needs to melt the body more, ruining its antique look. Big industries could keep this look with their molecular level repairing technology. Such a shame!

A sudden screeching noise sends shivers to her teeth.

She looks at the head of her mechanical drill; its bit broken. Fifty thousand credits ruined in a second. She needed four months’ savings to afford just this bit set. Four. Months.

Heat rushes to her face as she throws the drill in a random direction. It lands outside the garage, on the lawn, flattening the grass.

Taha notices it like she notices most things Kusha does. “Angry about being angry, aren’t you?” She smirks, still leaping.

Too late. Subconscious reaction is a Low Grade’s thing, Kusha reminds herself. The drill lands on the lawn, crushing something tiny. She can’t see it, but she knows she has ruined a seedling. Perhaps a bird or the wind carried the seed and Meera didn’t notice it yet. Otherwise, it would be groomed out for daring to grow its head high in such a neat lawn.

Kusha approaches it. Terrible spatial sense! As usual! She touches the nearly broken stem, pulling it upright lightly, hoping it’ll stand again.

Tsk! As if she can fix the living like she fixes machines.

Meera heals her colossal plants and flowers with her strong prana, her core energy. Healing isn’t a feat a Low Grade can do.

Kusha pushes the last of her long screw into the soil, another expensive thing she bought from the Old City. The almost-broken, two-inch seedling now stands supported. Guilt, partly for a tiny seedling, slightly more for being an unobservant, untouchable human who isn’t graded yet. Even if she rebuilds hundreds of old cars, will it ever equal healing a tiny life? Will it equal evolution?

Humans evolved after the Apocalypse and the war, just like her machine bugs evolve fighting toads in Meera’s wild garden. Some people progress more than others; they’re the High Grades. Seven years in the comfortable Gaumont Manor cannot help you grow. If you’re a bug, you need toads—dozens of toads—so you may evolve.

‘Comfort isn’t always a blessing.

Comfort brings zero evolution.

Comfort gives no grades.’

Kusha read these lines on the back cover of Book Of Prana. 

Taha watches her now—kneeling on the ground and busy with something. “Why are you obsessed with the High Auction?” she asks her, the same thing she’s been asking for days. “You even used … wait, abused your intuition to win that entry.” She says intuition, knowing Kusha prefers alarms. “What happened to it’s rude and unfair to others with no alarm?” Taha taunts.

Kusha flushes. Never exploit the alarmit’s her self-initiated rule. Breaking your own rule is a burden, especially if your fifteen-year-old younger sister catches you red-handed. All for winning this year’s lucky entry to the High Auction, correctly guessing the fourteen-digit ticket number in a single attempt. To think she forfeited her ethics for the Devil’s Book! The only book in the world she sees in her dreams, daydreams, and nightmares. The only book that may have the secrets of voice, the real ones, and not the boring jargon page after page that only tickles your curiosity and tells you the things you already know.

“How do you know these things?” Taha shouts, “Brain? Mind? Guts? Soul? You said you’ll teach me!”

Kusha doesn’t reply at first. Her alarms are unique. It’s a gift, while people earn grades through training and tests. “I just … know,” Kusha repeats as usual. “If there are—”

“Some options?” Taha interrupts. “Yeah … you’ve said it … hundreds of times. How do you … find the options?” She pauses frequently to catch her breath from all the jumping up and down.

Kusha ignores Taha’s question. She dislikes questions about her alarms. Besides, the seedling still holds her attention. It’s a tiny plant, but that’s not the point. The point is, she can’t heal it. She can only heal … well, not heal, but fix ruined cars.

“Want to go somewhere?” Kusha asks, looking at Taha. Even if it takes manually fixing millions of old cars to equal healing one tiny plant, she’ll do it. Silly. But she has enough time to be silly. Just not enough of it to evolve. She’s a twenty-three-year-old. By this time, people become at least Grade C while she started the grade race only seven years ago. It’s unfair. Even a unique gift or a brain that memorizes books after one reading doesn’t make it fair if you stutter before the High Grades, if you can’t speak in a world that runs with voice, if you can’t master words when they say: the universe began with words.

Taha stops her leaping from the lawn to the second floor. Her pink pigtails stop bouncing, too. Both her father and eight-months-pregnant mother are visiting the doctor. “Of course!” she screams like a teenager does, knowing where this ‘going somewhere’ means.

“Sure? You’re not supposed to.” Kusha looks at the semi-organic, semi-metallic bracelet implanted on her right wrist. It’s projecting the time. Meera ordered Taha to train for two hours. It still isn’t two hours. Kusha wonders if she’s being a bad sister.

“Who cares?” Taha says. “The war ended fifty years ago. It’ll never come again.”

So, the ‘you should be prepared for anything’ part of Meera’s speech is ignorable? Kusha thinks. She never speaks her thoughts, or maybe she speaks only 1% of her thoughts, but it’s not the reason she halts now. Kusha widens her eyes. That ‘it’ll never come again’ felt so ominous, so striking! If words were measured like temperature, they’d feel as cold as a planet with no sun and as dark as the ground of the Old City.

Kusha forces the thought away. Some things shouldn’t be downloaded even as subconscious alarms, she thinks. Two prophetic alarms are enough for one morning, she believes.

But if she wanted, if she pondered a bit more on the thought, if she focused on her alarms, she could’ve caught another important prophecy. Perhaps, it’d have avoided many things. Perhaps, she could be cautious about what she gets attached to in the future. Perhaps, it would’ve never created this story.

* * *

WHEN BOTH THE girls approach the backyard that holds Kusha’s self-awarded prizes—her vehicles with monster tires—Taha applies her jumping training. She gets into the pickup truck in one leap.

“Did you ask the question?” Taha asks. It’s been a month since they’ve sneaked into Junk Land.

Kusha, settling into the driver’s seat of the truck, gazes vacantly into the air. Is it safe to go now? (a) Yes (b) No, she wonders and soon finds the answer with her intuition-like alarm. It’s easy to pick the right one when the options are only two. “Yes. It’s safe.”

“I love your intuition!” Taha says. “It’s unfair you don’t tell me the war hero action figure winning numbers.” She makes a sad face. She saw how Kusha correctly guessed the High Auction’s ticket number one digit at a time. If you have a lottery-guessing sister, it’s hard not to feel excited.

Taha’s favorite company arranges giveaways for their latest action figures—‘dolls’ according to Meera. Kusha never reveals the winning numbers. It’s cheating, she believes. And cheating is rude.

Kusha asks herself another question, making sure Taha doesn’t notice. Will death happen today? (a) Yes (b) No. Her intuition picks No.

She ignites the engine.

When will it happen and where?—she thinks, but no answer comes. It’s not a yes-no question, and she has no options to choose from. So, just as her machine bugs calculate their next moves, her mind storms, creating and canceling options: the death alarm came after looking at the mail box ... so, mail has a connection … the auction entry ticket … maybe it has something to do with the High Auction? Kusha frowns.

Will anyone die in the High Auction? (a) Yes (b) No. Yes.

Yes? Someone will die at the auction! Tsk! First, the mail will be late, and next, the death alarm is related to the High Auction.

Is it a bad sign? (a) Yes (b) No. Yes.

Of course, it’s a bad sign! Unnecessary question!

Is it an omen? (a) Yes (b) No. Yes.

Is it only one death? …

Kusha keeps asking questions one after another, biting her lower lip. Rashad will never let her attend the auction if he hears about the death alarm. He believes in her alarms.

Everyone does.


Thanks for reading it! 
It's the first chapter of "THE HIGH AUCTION" of the series "WISDOM REVOLUTION"... I'll soon Add the book on Goodreads with a publishing date and test-covers. Right now, if you find any mistakes or confusion about the prose or any comments about it, say it here in the comment section or anywhere in the social media. If you like it, please share, I need more reader-opinions. 

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