Admission Open for BBS
*set in the mid-1300s and has some Egyptian influences
On a wintry morning, the snow stretched as far as the eyes could see. At the corner of a street stood a small orphanage normally accommodating girls. On the bottom of the stairs leading up to the doors a baby in swaddling clothes had been left for the dead. The white cloth blending in perfectly with the cold snow that covered the ground. The baby let out a cry. No one was there to hear it. The matron of the orphanage opened the doors. As her eyes fell on the baby she tsked. Another one left for the dead. How could the parents be so heartless? The woman gathered the baby in her arms and left.
An orphan, they had called her. What did that even mean? Azlin, who was no more than five, stared at them with a frown and eyes as dark as the night. An undesirable color they had said. But, why were they being so mean? All she did was ask to play with them. “Have you looked at yourself?” one of the girls sneered. She looked down at the Kirtle that she was wearing which was dirtied with mud, compared to their shiny new ones. Her hair was also a mess whereas theirs were in perfectly made plaits. “Parentless!” they screamed at her and proceeded to push her down. But, what even was that?
Azlin sat by the window of the orphanage that she now called home. She knew what an orphan was. She stared out the landscape that stretched before her eyes. But she was busy day dreaming, her gaze unfocused as she thought about everything and nothing at the same time.
“Happy Birthday Azlin~” a sing songy voice said from behind her. Birthday? As far as she remembered she did not have one. She turned around to face her friend, Anissa. Seeing the confused look on her face Anissa said, “Oh come on! You always forget! 18 years ago today, you came to this orphanage. Almost at the same time as me! We were destined to be best friend!” Azlin smiled softly at her friend.
“Oh, right!” Anissa slapped her forehead, “Your arrival calls for a celebration, let’s go!” Then she proceeded to drag her away to another room where all the others were waiting with cakes and warm food.
Despite being an orphan, Azlin never felt lonely.
She always had these weird dreams. The same place however, it was always desolate and devoid of any presence other than herself. This time however it was different. She stared out the window of the overly decorative room. The sun was high up in the sky and as far as the eyes could see there was sand. Desert. The warm air fanned her face. It was an intense heat wave but oddly she was not bothered by it. This dream again? She thought. “Yes, najmay.” She turned around at the voice. There stood a man, maybe in his early twenties. “Happy Birthday’ he said softly, his voice a little over a whisper. His eyes holding an inexplicable emotion. “Do I know you?” she asked.
His expression changed as he said “Time will be over soon, najmay. My name is Ahmose.” With that the room and the bright sunlight started to fade, along with himself. “Wait!” she cried. The last thing he said, “Wait for me.”
Before she could reach out and grasp his hand, she woke up. Instead, grabbing onto the cold sheets. The sunny desert and the man nothing but an illusion.
The dreams came and went frivolously. After she woke up, Azlin would usually forget what she had dreamed about. The second one that she remembered vividly.
Same person. Only this time the scenery changed which startled her a bit since the setting never usually changed. This sky was cloudless and the sun was dazzling as it reflected on the clear and blue water of a river, The Nile River. As she looked around, she saw Ahmose walking out from behind a boulder smiling gently. He seemed to do that a lot, and his smile made her feel warm and protected, but from what exactly?
“Why are you always in my dreams? Are you someone real or just an over acted fantasy of mine?” she asked. “I am real. But you will have to wait for me to wake up.”
He nodded as he proceeded to explain, “We’ve been cursed, najmay.”
“Yes, by the gods. The ancient and powerful Egyptian ones. Every hundred years the cycle will restart if we fail to break the curse, where you reincarnate and I’m put into sleep, waiting for you.”
The absurdity of the words set in as she gave him an incredulous look. He sighed “You do not believe me.” “Any sane person wouldn’t” she whispered. He then proceeded to caress her face as he said, “I will find you and we’ll break the curse this time, I promise, with Hapi and Horus as my witnesses.”
Before she could get a word out, she woke up back in the cold and desolate room, desperately trying to remember the warmth she had felt.
The dreams did not come for a while but she couldn’t get the last sentence out of her head, “With Hapi and Horus as my witnesses”.
It was a normal day really. Anissa was going on and on about what she usually did. Only today her loud voice gave Azlin a slight headache and she felt a bit more tired than usual. She forced herself to focus on what her friend was saying thinking that the tiredness would go away after sleeping. Oh, she couldn’t be more wrong.
A week later and she was down with fever. She couldn’t even move as she laid in her bed. Her skin had turned startlingly pale, her face devoid of the healthy glow she once had. She couldn’t speak as she had a swollen neck. Inflammation of the buboes, the doctor had said. She looked down at her hand, her fingernails and the skin around it had died and turned black. She looked like a corpse. If not for the soft breaths that left her mouth, she might as well have been one. The infamous bubonic plague had got to her.
Anissa had refused to leave her side even though Azlin had said many times to leave her be or she might infect her but that stubborn girl did not listen. Her orphanage couldn’t afford the treatment, so Azlin was really only counting down her days.
As she laid in her bed she couldn’t help but think about the strange man that had appeared in her dream. He had asked for her to wait but, she was not sure how long she could hold on for. Thinking about the person, she wanted to see him. She suddenly felt really tired as she struggled to keep her eyes open. She saw Anissa looking at her with tears streaming down the face. Azlin mustered up a weak smile but now she was so so tired. Maybe if I sleep I can see him again, she thought as she finally let her eyes close.
The last thing she remembered was his gentle smile and the last thing she heard was “Remember, you’re never alone.”
The girl finally gave up and her soft breaths turned into nothingness.
The gods were silent.
Isis sighed as she said, “what now? This has never happened before.” Osiris said quietly, “Let’s just not wake up the boy” “No, he deserves to know. They have been bounded by this curse for so long. Yet, this time they couldn’t even try to break it.” “We’re gods, my dear. We can’t afford to take pity.” Isis frowned at her husband’s words. “This is not taking pity. This is simply informing him that they failed again regardless of whether they tried or not. This is simply a part of the process.”
Isis found a way through her husband’s words. Osiris thought for a while and finally said, “You’re right. Let me contact Anubis.” Isis smiled although she couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness at the fate of her children.
Ahmose woke up with a start. The first person or should he say god he saw was Anubis. “Is it time already?” he asked. But the god was silent. A highly unusual trait for someone who loved to taunt him. “What is it with you today?” he asked.
“She’s dead.” He said. And just like that Ahmose’s world came to a stop. “What?” He asked, his voice containing barely restrained anger. “Bubonic plague. I’m sorry we couldn’t do anything, the external factors are out of our control.” the deity said.
In an attempt to control the bubbling rage, Ahmose took a deep breath. “But you were supposed to watch over her, made sure nothing happened”
“I told you, the external factors are out of our control.”
“So, what? Are you gods having fun watching us drowning in our misery? Is it really that entertaining?”
Anubis sighed as he flicked his hand sending him again into darkness. As guilt seeped through his body, the last thought that went through his mind was, I’m sorry.
“I dream the same dream, without even knowing the reason. It’s blinding, I have to follow it, I have to walk. Even if I’m out of breath.
One day, past this long road, so that my heart flutters rebound. In front of my eyes.” ~NCT 127 “Not Alone” ~end