1985 (IV)


An hour later, Luke rolls to his side and places his hands on the ground. He manages to get his upper body up, arms flexed till he locks his elbows, he exhales heavily. He sits up and puts one hand over his forehead and begins to recall the incident. He hasn’t lost any of his memory, or so he thinks. He was knocked out of his apartment window. He remembers the rifles and shotgun barrels spraying his body. He also remembers falling, looking up at a paratrooper still shooting at him with unbearable rage. He must have lost someone dear to him back at Jake’s cafe, Luke thinks to himself. His thoughts are interrupted with footsteps from behind him. Luke tries to speak some words with his dry mouth but no sound comes out. Then he clears his throat and tries to speak again, “why did you save me?” 
Behind Luke stands a tall man with a scarf around his neck. He has very sharp, green eyes, and dark skin. He wears a black sweater with a hood. The man takes his hood off and loosens up his scarf, and walks past Luke. Luke raises his head and sees the man’s back. The man then turns around and sits down on the ground, leaning his back against the wall of rock. “What do you mean why I saved you? You’re my friend,” says the man. 
Luke slowly straightens his back up and says with a fading expression of discomfort on his face: 
– “Yes, of course. That must have been a stupid question. But I think we both know what I meant with my question. Why do you give me such a patronizing answer?” 
– “That wasn’t patronizing at all. That was the truth, and it’s the only reason I can think of right now, especially after our last discussion.” 
– “Do you really think that I’m going to abort my mission?” 
– “I already know you won’t.” 
– “You mean you already know because you’ve seen the future.” 
– “Do you really need to be an oracle to foresee that the sun will rise in the morning? I know who you are and what you think, and so do you. You know as much as I do that you won’t stop. I saved you because you’re my friend. You’re a believer like I am. It’s just that we have different solutions to the same problem that we both see very clearly.” 
– “I already told you this. Your method will not work. It’s been tried a thousand times, and nothing has changed.” 
– “And your method has?” 
– “My method comes from despair. I already realize the fact that I can’t change anything. But I just can’t sleep at night with the knowledge that these fools are plundering and killing, genocide after genocide, with no accountability and no God to stop them. They believe they are invincible, and all I have is the power to shatter that belief. Those arrogant maniacs must be made example of. Every tyrant must fall, but they keep rising up again, believing that they are different from their predecessors, thinking that they will succeed where others have failed. It’s beyond arrogance, I just can’t think of a word that can describe them.” 
– “The Bible called them ‘brood of vipers’.” 
– “What’s your point? That I should let them crucify me?”
– “No, I was simply saying that the course of history repeats itself, and that the Pharisees you face today are no different from the ones we faced in the past, or the ones we will face in the future. But just like the tyrants believe that they will succeed where their predecessors have failed, so do I. I believe that this revolution will be a turning point in history, and will end tyranny once and for all. But you, Luke. You have too much anger in you. It weakens your insight.” 
– “And you seem to have no anger whatsoever. You’ve lost your senses. You see all the killing and rape and destruction, yet you always manage to stay calm on the outside and even more on the inside! You’ve become indifferent to the crimes against humanity.” 
– “Your victory will be tantamount to their defeat: only momentarily. You can’t have a real revolution that way. You seek swift justice, and that’s exactly what you will get. When your group gets into power, how do you plan to quell the rebellion of the right wing nuts, who are the very people you are trying to free from mind slavery?” 
– “There will always be right wing nuts. This world is built on opposites. There will always be the idiots and the blind and the maniacs. All we have to do is prevent those unfortunate mishaps of nature from ruling over the rest of us, the ones who still have a shred of sanity. Why are you grinning?” 
– “That’s funny Luke. You are using the same words they use to justify what they do. They, too, have realized that our type of people cannot be eradicated, but at least can be subdued. But after the assassinations and bombings, you have awakened in them the same logic that you are using to justify your actions. They are beginning to believe that our type of people cannot be subdued, and thus must be vaporized with guns, even cluster bombs.” 
– “Cluster bombs won’t stop us.” 
– “I know, but it’s a sign of their desperation. They’ll even use nukes if they have to, if they believe it could destroy rebels like us.” 
– “Why don’t you help us make the transition quicker? With your powers, we can end this war and take over within days, even hours! This world needs a fresh start.” 
– “Luke, I am already on your side. But I believe that what you are doing will not change anything. We should be freeing people’s minds; deprogramming them back into free humans instead of the corporate batteries they have become. People have so many comforts that you are going to take away from them once the coup is accomplished, and they will not like it. You’ll take away the steak and the glass of wine that they have been accustomed to for years. They are not mentally ready for this. They will reject your revolution; they will not allow you to unplug them from their comfortable, luxurious lives.” 
– “They will never want to be unplugged. They’re like spoiled children who want to have every toy they lay their eyes upon. They want to eat candy, ruining their appetite for the healthy meal. But we, the caring parents, the vigilant ones. We have to stop them even if they cry and moan. We must take that candy out of their hands and have them sit at the table and eat their healthy food. And just like children, when they grow up in the future, they will understand why we did what we did. They will understand how it was for their benefit and out of our love for them and their health.” 
The man in the scarf gets up. He tightens the scarf around his neck. He slaps the dust off his blue jeans and says “They are not children, Luke. If you do something against their will, they will not cry about it. They’ll take a club and smash your head with it. And the only way to prevent them from doing that is to smash them with a bat first. And once you start doing that, new rebels will be born with the goodwill of the majority. And you wonder why revolutions never succeed. It’s a recurring event, Luke. It’s the loop of history, and you have chosen to be part of that loop.” 
– “And how is your method any different?” 
– “I intend to break the loop.” 
– “And you think you’re the first to attempt this?” 
– “Of course not. Attempts were made before, but people weren’t ready.” 
– “And now they are ready?” 
– “There is no certainty. Only opportunity.” 
– “If you have no certainty, then no one does.” 
– “Certainty can only be achieved in the eye of the beholder. Be certain of what you want to do, mind and heart, and do it. And I will do what I want. If I can’t even free your mind, then I can free no one’s mind.” 
– “I must leave. It’s time for my next assignment.” 
– “Yes, of course. I must leave too. Be careful Luke. They are getting more desperate. I’ve learned they are no longer arresting anyone, not after what you did yesterday at Jake’s.” 
– “You don’t mind if I use this temple as my hiding place for a short while?” 
– “You never have to ask, Luke. This place is yours as much as it is mine.” 
– “Thank you… Master Jahan” says Luke reverently. 
Luke stands up as he says his thanks. Jahan puts his hand over Luke’s shoulder and looks at him for a moment with hopeful eyes. Jahan then turns away, walking toward the red-rocked temple’s gate at the cave’s mouth, which is hidden behind a powerful waterfall. Jahan stands about twenty meters away from the falling waters, and bends his knees slightly while tightening the scarf around his face. He tightens his calf muscles and turns his hands into fists before jumping into the water and disappearing from Luke’s sight. 
Luke walks to that same spot where Jahan was, twenty meters away from the cave’s mouth, making the same stance. He fixes his coat, tightens his muscles and bends his knees, then jumps through the waterfall. 

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