Then all hell broke loose. The sirens on the destroyer started to wail, echoing loudly and eerily all across the bay, red lights flashing on and off throughout the ship. We could see her forward gun turrets move. She was huge and so frightening, a war machine, bristling with power and bearing down on us at a high speed.
‘Action stations,’ said Ruben. ‘That’s what those sirens are about. It’s action stations. They’re readying themselves and the ship for battle. Someone’s really going to catch it now, and I hope it’s not us.’
A loudspeaker’s blaring staccato sound bounced across the waves.
‘Unknown launches, this is the Destroyer Vengeful of her Majesty’s Royal Navy. You are attacking craft flying under the flags of the kingdoms of Spain and Great Britain. Desist immediately, or we will open fire and blast you out of the water.’
And with the warning repeating over and over again, they opened fire.
‘Warning shots,’ cried Ruben. ‘Over the bows of the launches. They’re not playing games. And look, look!’ he pointed with a hysterical shout.
Racing around the side of the destroyer, making a huge wake as they came, were two armoured Zodiac type landing craft filled with Royal marines ready for action as they tore at lightning speed towards the attacking launches, which turned tail and ran for the open sea. The water around us was churned up with the cross washes of the destroyer and the inflatables.
Then it happened—suddenly spread across the highway were green uniforms, vans, and cars. Blocking all three lanes were Guardia Civil vehicles, blue lights flashing. Guardsmen were dragging chains across the lanes, to lame runaway cars. Luckily, they had not yet covered lane three, which was where Horatio aimed with an amazing spurt of speed and screeching of tyres. I thought the car would tip over with such a radical direction change at such a high speed. Guardsmen were jumping out of the path of the runaway like clowns at the circus from a stampeding elephant. We were through and running like crazy.
I heard a rustling in the bushes behind me and spun around. They leapt out so unexpectedly and set upon me. I could feel brutal punches, kicks, and what must have been a stick or a cudgel striking my legs and arms. I was so dizzy, I couldn’t scream. I had fallen; they had beaten me to the ground. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t move anything, only my head, looking for help, which I knew would not come. My nose was hurting me. It was broken, and the blood from my nose and the rest of my wounds formed a puddle under my face.
I smelled urine; they had pissed on me. They wanted to grab my belt and take off my jeans, but I kicked out wildly, as this, I didn’t want them to do. I knew what they were after, they wanted to completely humiliate me and satisfy their own bestial appetites. Suddenly, it flashed into my head, an image of the Mother, and before her my father, dressed as before in a white tunic and wielding a mighty sword.
‘Come on you shit queer, get up” Up to that point I had been petrified, totally incapable of moving; my hands, and all of me, trembled. But I was not like them, the Mother and her Son were with me, along with my father, Afra, and I had a mission. A piece of rock was below my hand. I grabbed it, and with a superhuman effort, sprang to my feet screaming.
I went for the closest one fearlessly; fury had armed me with total abandon. I sliced at his head, and the other two took to their heels as his blood spurted angrily over them. Did I kill him? Did I rape him? No, I was not like them. He lay there in his own blood, and I pulled off his hood. It was Eduardo.
One night they came. I could hear them long before they arrived. They had dogs by the sound of it, as I could hear the barking and the baying. For a moment I froze, petrified, my habitual fear taking hold of me. Then I knew what I needed to do. I dressed hurriedly, walked into the water, and set off upstream. I heard the noise of the breaking underbrush and the dogs, as well as the shouting of the men to my left, so I climbed onto the bank on my right and continued upstream. After that, I kept walking, alternating time in the stream and time on the bank. I had seen it in a movie once; that way the dogs would keep losing my scent if indeed they had ever picked it up at all. It was quite obvious that the forces of law and order pursuing me had never seen the movie. They were probably too busy watching football.
As night fell, under the light of a full moon, I made my way back to my cave. It was the unlikeliest place for them to search, as they had already swept the area. I listened as I approached, for any sound, the slightest hint of anything wrong, and I would have been off like a shot. But it was all quiet at my sanctuary, with the moon shining on the rippling waters of the brook. I felt a little sentimental; after all, it had been my home for a few days.
Then, like a flash, I remembered the blanket. I had forgotten it. If they had stumbled on the cave, they would find it, know it was my lair, and if they were not entirely stupid, wait for me there. So I moved further away, to a position from which I could silently and rapidly retrace my steps and get away. I lay down against a tree and waited. I calculated that given that they were such a noisy bunch, it wouldn’t be too long before they gave up and broke the silence if they were there at all.
As I lay there, I realised the enormity of the situation. This was a manhunt, and I was the pursued, a murder suspect.
Not even half an hour had passed when a voice, a whispered shout, hailed out of the shadows opposite the cave,
“When will that guy come, corporal?”
A large man stomped out of the cave. “Bloody hell! Garcia, now neither he nor anyone will come. Come on out, everyone, let’s go now that Garcia has sent a message to the hare.”
Suddenly, men came out from behind trees all around, armed with shotguns. They looked like hunters, the type who pursue little rabbits down their holes. Well, needless to say, I fought down my desire to throw stones at them and run around in the dark so that they would shoot each other.
Mrs. Rafiq, his wife, who was steeped in Ayurvedic plant culture, was busy importing seeds from all over to cultivate plants and make them available at a small price to growers and enthusiasts everywhere. Mrs. Rafiq was very angry with all those large companies who were genetically sterilising plant strains all over the world. Genetic criminals, she called them.
‘I am busy always holding down the fort for the seeds of the planet,’ she said to me when I was introduced to her. ‘One day, new legislation will be introduced to curb this terrible activity conducted by major companies in the name of their own profit and monopoly. Can you imagine an earth, our home planet, where the only seeds you can find are by purchasing them off these people, and that these seeds will grow and blossom once only and never again? This, because they have been sterilised, castrated, genetically modified by these criminals. There are at least twenty-five thousand plants usable in Ayurvedic medicine to be saved, so please excuse me, I must get on.’
The Chosen One
That night, late, they came again, many of them. When I heard voices raised in argument, I pulled on my robe and ran to the front of the house. As I peered from the balcony, I saw them around my father, striking him, and he was punching and knocking them down. There were so many, it was like a pack of hungry wolves worrying a buffalo. Screaming, I leapt from the house and threw myself at one and then another, flailing wildly with my fists, striking flesh and bone, but there was a blinding flash. Later my mother woke me with wails and kisses, followed by exclamations of relief when she saw I was alive. They told me he had fought like a tiger, but they’d left him for dead. The house was filled with men, cousins, uncles, and brothers. When I awoke, I screamed at them, ‘Cowards, bastards, where were you when the killers came?’
They said he was dying. They had come, the Amazigh, our people, but they were too late. I ran crazily through the house, saying he was not dying; they wanted him dead, but he was not dying. I reached the bedroom where he lay, and they took me in to him. He spoke to me as I kissed him, asking him not to go.
‘Masuhun, find the place on the stone where the blessed mother comes.’
I fought against the tears. I didn’t want him to die; I wanted to walk with him, fish together, ride, sail; I just wanted to be with my father. I swiped angrily at my face—at the tears—but they were flowing fast and free now, blinding me.
‘No papa, don’t go; please, papa, papa, papa.’
‘Masuhun, ask her to protect us again as before. She will listen to you, you are named for her son.’
That night, I swore on the sacred grave of my sainted murdered father that I, Masuhun al-Rasheed ibn Afra ibn Youssuf al Imazighen, would not rest until I had found the sacred rock, and knelt at the feet of the holy mother. I was just fifteen years of age, but fate had ordained that I should become a man.
I lay down for a minute to try the bed and fell into a deep sleep. Later, refreshed, I explored the room and found some clothes and a bathroom. The floor was laid in a sort of Arabic style, with terracotta tiling set off with wood edging. The décor or feel of the room was, I imagined, sort of Andalusian, dating back, in ways, to the days of the caliphates. Two big French windows, draped with heavy curtains, likely opened onto some sort of terrace. I pulled one of the curtains back and opened the windows to let in some air. There were green blinds made of slatted wood which I also unfastened and pushed open. A creeper of some sort that hung quite densely over the windows exuded a fragrant and pleasing scent, probably jasmine. Outside, a balcony seemed to run all around the courtyard where we had left the car. Then I saw her from the corner of my eye, the movement close by, no more than some eight metres. She was grasping the wrought ironwork of the balcony of the room next to my own. It was Maria two, and she was completely naked. I knew she could not see me through the jasmine. I watched and found her body very pleasing. It did not occur to me that I was acting as a voyeur and had no permission to observe her. But I was entranced, unthinking. Ever since I had first seen her I had noticed, albeit innocently, the shape of her body in her high cut jeans shorts and tight little bodice. And now she was here. Her buttocks were soft yet firm and just right, sensual and beautiful. Her cheeks seemed to cling together briefly as she moved, stretching, arching her body first one way and then kicking out a leg and opening both, sinking till it seemed she would split in two. But seconds later, I was startled out of my reverie as a man, also naked, joined her, clutching her by the shoulders, and in rhythm with her movement, slowly taking command. Guiding her to the railing, he bent her body over, exposing her sweet white buttocks to what I suddenly noticed was his very erect penis. I watched mesmerised as he penetrated her time and again, driving in first the tip and slowly, an ever-increasing length, while her cries echoed louder and louder around the veranda. I realised that he was not taking her in a normal way, he was taking her anally. I suddenly also realised that I was swollen and engorged, excited by the spectacle, so I turned away to close the windows and curtains. I had just tasted what in the west is so freely available, pornography. I felt confused, attracted on the one hand and dismayed with myself on the other for watching and wanting to watch. What was right and what wrong?
action & adventure
metaphysical & visionary