Chapter-4: The Mesmerizer

 "The Machinist, Monk, & Mesmerizer Chronicles"

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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 have led them to evolve in mind and physique. Two of them end World War III with just a four-minute speech. Some say they did 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. But her idol of voice and everyone's beloved war heroes, YUAN and RUEM, are also after it for power.

TITLE: The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution #1)


No of Pages (Paperback): 180

Inside Illustrations & Cover Art: Misba

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4. The Mesmerizer


EVER PUNCTUAL!” Ruem mutters, not checking the time. He never checks the time. He never will. A mesmerizer’s mind is like a clock. It devours others’ perception of pause but not his own. Still, how could that Monk lose his sense of time? How can someone waste a moment?

Ruem calms his breath, all his muscles vigilant. For a long time, he doesn’t blink. It’s not an absolute requisite.

The vapor from the river passes through the rusted, uprooted, century-old cellphone tower. Cellphones stopped existing way before the war when everyone needed cautious communication. Ether-coms ruled then, for the secrecy they offered. They still would rule if the New World Government hadn’t imposed the CRAB on its citizens. Ruem touches the CRAB in his wrist: a hybrid of platinum beads and biological cells—a bio-computer. A silent, secret seer.

Standing at the edge of the river and closing his eyes, Ruem inhales the night’s air—the scents of rust, grass, dry leaves, wet stones, and time. Mostly time. Even time can be smelled and seen if you are observant, if you know how to smell the abstract. And if you do, you risk exposure to a certain addiction. The addiction to smell.

Ruem brushes the air, his hands at his sides, his fingers open. You would think he’s touching flowers as he walks, but there’s no flower. His fingers touch only the abstract.

Is there a word that defines smelling through the skin? No? Then make one. Even if you do make one, you can never do the action; you can never feel it. Let’s say it’s his special smelling.

Right now, Ruem Drohung smells with his nose, with his skin, with his fingertips and tongue, with the entirety of his being. The snakes smell of mating vigor. The sand-bed deep beneath the river smells of the path it traveled from the Himalayas. The mushrooms, the moss, and the shattered bricks smell of rain. Tropical rain—he never got used to it even after living here for ninety years. From a distant time, he recalls snow, iced lakes, and skiing. He doesn’t remember with whom, but he’s sure he needed to bend his neck upward—at least sixty degrees—to look at that person.

The wind blows his blood-red hair away from his muscled neck and sharp cheekbones. A grey waistcoat and a white shirt hide his constructed skin and flesh. There’s also a hat. He wears a hat as if it’d fly off in a little wind, but it doesn’t, of course, for the usual Grade-A-human reason. A ninety-nine-year-old man in an ageless body, playing the Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement in his mind, while he waits for his childhood friend.

* * *

SIX MINUTES RUNNING, and the Monk isn’t here yet.

Ruem puts his hands in his pockets. Measured paces take him to a narrow street. Those broken buildings once might’ve been shopping malls, street bars, cafes, or gyms; now they’re nothing. His evolved vision darts sharp as ever beneath his hat. But a beast depends more on hearing and smell. In the moonlit night, he senses the mantis his shoe is about to crush. His foot doesn’t finish the step though, letting it pass.

A life flourishing to fulfill its drive deserves to live.

Ruem squints, skeptical of what he hears. Voices, at first subtle, grow louder when he focuses. The classical music playing in his mind gets spoiled by laughter and cursing. Bandits—Ungraded, or at best, Grade E, if they’re citizens who cannot afford living inside a citya typical Junk Land.

The Mesmerizer’s eyes flash in the moonlight beneath his hat’s sharp edge. An unexpected chance to enjoy the time! All his ecstasy seeks release from restraint. Oh! The nonsensically necessary restraint … The war hero, the Mesmerizer, one of the voices in the admin board, cannot let his madness loose, can he? His footsteps grind the rubble. Drunken voices growing louder, more vulgar. The place is surrounded by broken buildings. Chunks of concrete missing, shattered windows, rubble on the road, ferns and weeds breaking through the slits, and a torn iron-gate at the end. The sparkling river, visible through it, is the only unharmed song of nature.

The rest, however, is chaos.

Here only remains the scent of humanity: cheap stimulant liquids, some syringes, drugs, rotten meat and maggot-infested dead animals men feasted on days ago. Human fluids smell like the unclean cages of beasts in the small-town zoo Ruem remembers visiting once. “Always leave a mark, don’t you?” he mutters. Untouchables—their aura diminishing like smoke. How do these vile things live with such poor prana? No focus. No control of their senses—could even be offspring from their evolved parents. Some people get good genes only to waste them, lacking willpower, missing a purpose.

Those men sit scattered, not in comfortable places. Perhaps they think sitting in dangerous, distressing spots looks cool. Two of them singing in drunken voices:

The Apocalypse is gone.

War has left.

So let’s be cheery.

We need not worry.

The end never comes twice …

At first, only a few notice Ruem. Soon, everyone falls silent.

One of them shouts, “’Oo’s it? Oo’s dere?”

The Mesmerizer walks, his hat hiding his red eyes.

His silence fuels rage in the man. Humiliation. How dare a citizen come here showing off his fancy shoes?—perhaps, that’s what the man thinks. “Hoi, ya hear me? Or what?”

Another drunkard chuckles a madman’s cackle. “Eo, boss, he ain’t listening. He ain’t takin’ none of your shit, eh?” He howls, and it spreads among the rest.

Mob psychology: if the majority laughs, you must laugh too.

The boss is now mad. He ought to be mad; that’s what makes him a boss. Should his honor mortify before his minions? No way! Apes display these traits. Especially the males. They show off their strength, begin a fight: sometimes to recover their wounded pride when their food is taken, other times, to attract the females. Ruem notices the female here: a young girl, lying wounded on the ground, a torn tank-top hardly hiding her breasts; rest of her body bare, bleeding. Two other bodies lay nearby: teen boys—torn, naked, and dead.

Ruem stops beside the girl, careful not to touch her. His hands in his pockets; his eyes glitter, emitting prana. Months passed since he last sniffed blood from so close. And eras have passed since he last saw willpower in an unevolved, untouchable. The girl remains alive after everything she has been through. Only willpower makes it possible. Why is she still alive?

What drives her to keep her eyes open?

What desire burns in her heart that it still beats?

If you ever want to know what voice really is, you will pay attention now. If you do, you’ll notice the Mesmerizer’s voice of silence. You’ll see the wind, blowing his blistering red hair, suddenly stops into stillness. His lips curve into a smirk of pity, if not of amusement. Yes, pity. Neither for the nearly-dead girl nor for the already-dead boys. But for the ones who will die soon.

He takes a deep breath, and a thin mist forms, but not naturally. You might wonder how someone voices the vapor without speaking a word. However, the mist surprises even Ruem. Only the water is supposed to shadow him, not mist! In a second, he remembers the old times. The time when he stood beside the Monk and fought a war with him. The time when they were together, and the water would follow him while the wind would trail the Monk. So would form the mist, simply for their presence, for what else was mist but a dance of wind and water? What else was mist but a deception for the enemies? What else was mist but a sign of terror?

It still is a terror. As much terror an old legend can be.

So, when the mist forms again, Ruem smiles. The Monk must be close.

In the meantime, the leader of those bandits approaches Ruem, holding a knife, cursing, thinking he could win with loudness alone. He reaches and strikes. Strikes again. And a third time. Ruem keeps moving away, his hands still in his pockets. If you notice, you’ll see the Mesmerizer is moving within a three-foot-wide circle. If you observe more, you’ll realize he is waiting for someone or something. Something he summoned from his vehicle left near the river. Something with which he may finally touch them—the unevolved untouchables.

“A High Grade mustn’t touch an unevolved, not to harm, not to defend, not even to love, for it’s disgraceful.”

—Grade-A Code of Honor: Verse-3

The Mesmerizer remembers his oath in his heart. However, the oath doesn’t say the strong can’t kill the weak without touching, does it? ‘Mustn’t harm’ and ‘mustn’t touch to harm’ are different. So, he waits. The Mesmerizer waits for his nails to arrive, which are flying at him from his wine-red Aerial Transport. The nails will touch, not him.

The moment ten metal fingernails arrive flying, receiving mind-command from his CRAB, they hover like bees for a moment. When the Mesmerizer finally takes his hands out of his trouser-pockets, the nails settle around all of his fingers in a united swish and click. Each nail is three-inches long—sharp and pointed at its end. While it all happens, Ruem still moves around with his lazy footwork on the same three-foot-wide circle, his attacker already tired.

The Mesmerizer swiftly extends his hands—all his fingers now clawed. He touches the man’s face. Oh! Right! He doesn’t touch. His nails do. Only the nails hold the man like you hold diced fruit with a fork. You’d think he might be smirking, baring his teeth, and enjoying the hunt. But, no. The Mesmerizer, while his nails hold the man in one hand, stares at the girl. His eyes beneath that dark hat look for something in the girl’s eyes, searching through her mind. Not telepathically. Rather, reading her expression, perceiving her emotions. Just how you’d read someone if you observe more than you talk.

Two dozen men surround Ruem. Alertness, anger, confusion—all reflected in their faces. None can resolve what to do. The one who makes decisions for them has his mouth nailed under a Grade A’s strong … grip? Nail-grip? Forceps-grip? The man’s prana, however, grows weaker. Ruem absorbs all his life-energy—prana. Someone with evolved vision would see the transfer of a dull light from one body to another. The man falls dry and silent. The last drop of prana leaves his flesh.

“Bullshit! Did you see that?”

“That’s magic. I’m tellin’ ya.”

“That’s dark magic! He deals with demons! He must be the war hero! See that red hat?”

“The Mesmerizer ...”

Murmurs spread.

What’s more addictive than smelling the world?

Sniffing the soul and drinking human energy.

Ruem inhales and drinks what you can never drink, not until you see it. He drinks it, and strength follows. And he does it all with his metal claws. When he does, his senses sharpen; his body feels lighter, open. His prana denser, darker. He didn’t use this power for so long he almost forgot what it felt like. Being on the admin board of the first city has limitations, after all. He shouldn’t be seen doing such things anywhere, not in an era when people pray in his name.

Ruem smiles. His will freezes the vapor around him. Entertainment first! Background matters later.

He doesn’t leave the soulless, frozen man, not until he cuts him into pieces within seconds and lets the pieces fall on the ground, just as an expert chef lets his sliced radish fall on the chopping board. He steps over the girl’s body and ignores the torn, dead boys. Everyone sobers up. Terror activates their sense of survival. That doesn’t help, though. They can never run, not from him, not from the undead, a living god. Not when divine punishment knocks on their door.

Ruem locks his gaze on one of them, an overweight man with a drooping chin. He runs, but his attempt to flee fails; fate doesn’t help the sinner.

Whoosh and blur. With almost no movement, Ruem catches him at the neck. A light push—the man falls on his knees; Ruem absorbs the man’s prana. He doesn’t stop until enough mass in the man’s body turns into energy; his skin droops more. And the process happening too fast makes the body stone hard. Ruem mutters in a hushed tone, “So tasteless!”

He releases the body in the air only so it can pass through the swings of his nails and fall on the ground. Not as a human body, but as pieces of meat and bones. His skills with blades clear in those pieces. Not a mark of hesitation, not a chunk of flesh or bone displaced from each slice, no drops of blood messing the ground. The will of the Mesmerizer has stolen their prana, solidifying them.

The mist thickens, as the prana and vapor from blood fill the air. The men witness two of their own turning into sliced and stone-hard meat. Chaos spreads. They shouldn’t have messed with the Mesmerizer, the undead, one of the bringers of evolution. It’s their fault for being around someone so evolved. Someone godly.

Ruem closes his eyes, breathing deeply, facing the sky. Purveyor of Death Sonata, 3rd Movement—his favorite piano piece—playing in his mind. Then begins the dance: a storm of dust, the sound of flapping shirt sleeves, concrete breaking, and frequent shrieks. Oh! Don’t forget the mist. The mist will always be there when the wind and the water unites.

The Mesmerizer flows along the mist. None of the men follows his motions or perceives the ecstasy in his eyes. He comes at each like a ghost, riding the night that carries the smell of death. His hat doesn’t move an inch as if it’s one with him—like the stone hat of his sculpture that stands in the Judiciary Square of Alpha, depicting him with the rest of the war heroes.

Few of the men scream. Only remains the sound of meat and bones falling on the moss-covered street. The Mesmerizer focuses on how the pieces of meat fall to the ground, rather than how he’s killing the source of the meat. His motion blurs the place with dust. The last man stands bewildered, for running is futile. Ruem closes the gap between them. He grabs him and throws him to the ground. He didn’t need to, but how could he not play with the last of his toys?

The man pleads to the living god of death. His flesh torn where the sharp nails grabbed him earlier, his clothes drenching in vomit. Cheap liquor and fear of death—a mixture that was tough for his stomach to handle. “P-p-please,” he stutters when his bladder gives out. He sits on his knees, not knowing what to feel. Fear? Disgrace? Or self-pity?

The Mesmerizer feels a burn, seeing the mess of urine—unplanned and unwanted. This creature ruined his art, didn’t he?

“Inedible!” Ruem mutters, throwing an open-fisted chop sharp as a knife. Only an inch of each metal nail pierces through the man’s neck. Yet, the head detaches itself from the torso, for it’s the will which cuts and not matter. Rolling in the air, the head lands right at the spot designated for it. The body—soon cut into pieces—takes its proper place in his art. The art isn’t complete yet. It still needs the highlight. Ruem approaches his highlight. 

The damp breeze flows from the river. The mist moves but doesn’t go away; the rusty fence slices the silence. Ruem gazes vacantly. Few drops of blood dripping from his claws, which shine in the moonlight. Everything ends in four minutes. He senses that man’s prana. Within seconds Yuan will be here. The Monk won’t like this art; he never did.

Ruem stops beside the girl. He can give her some of his prana. It’ll save her life, healing her wounds. To do that, most High Grades would have to put their palms on her skin; they’d need to touch.

“A High Grade may touch an unevolved in a life-threatening situation for either of them. If the need arises to heal their pain, to mend their wounds, or to save their life. For healing is the greatest virtue.”

—Grade-A Code of Honor: Verse-4

Well, most High Grades would need a touch to heal. But the Mesmerizer isn’t the most High Grade. Few humans have been Grade A for fifty years, and he is among those few. The nails are enough for him to heal. He kneels at the center of his art, looking into the girl’s eyes. Now those eyes don’t burn to live as they did earlier. Her chest moves faintly.

Did she want to live only for justice? Only to see them punished? Ruem smirks from under his hat. His metal nails, after his silent command, leave his fingers, hovering away as bees hover over flowers. They fly fast back to his AT. He doesn’t need them anymore. He flexes his fingers and puts his palm flat right below the girl’s collar bones, touching her skin, feeling her dim breath in his veins. He hears a familiar pit-pat as a pair of wooden geta-sandals hit on rubble. Then he absorbs the last drops of the girl’s life-force, cleaning her of her prana.

A life with no drive of purpose isn’t allowed to live.

However, even such life deserves a death through contact, through touch. Otherwise, it’s disrespectful. No, it’s not a rule. It’s not a verse. It’s not written in any codes of conduct in the world. Yet, the Mesmerizer follows it as his own rule. A self-rule. “The greatest rule is the one that binds the self,” their Master used to say. Their, and not his. The old times of his was never without him, the Monk.

The girl closes her eyes. He decided to kill her long ago for the stage, for the act, for his play. She is the highlight of his painting, the dessert of the dinner. And the desserts should be served at the end. Ruem hears the pit-pat, pit-pat speeding with the noise of coarse fabric. He must’ve worn that old shawl—Ruem senses Yuan’s familiar prana, the Monk’s signature of aura.

The noise of the footsteps nears. Finally, the pit-pat stops.

“Did you kill my pets?” Yuan asks in a calm tone.

“I thought they’re not pets.”

“Did. You. Kill them?”

“You know, the Devil’s Book will be in the High Auction. I’ve found its Twin recently.” Ruem ignores Yuan’s question, speaking in the most lulling voice the universe has shaped so far.

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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