Authors: Ibraheem Abbas,Yasser Bahjatt
Eng. Yasser Bahjatt
Ibraheem Abbas is a creative director and a screenplay writer, he co-founded
Yatakhayloon —The League of Arabic SciFiers
with Yasser Bahjatt. Yatakhayloon’s main objective is to establish the Arabian science fiction genre, making it stand out as a unique and new view of sci-fi that is globally competitive and would also expose the world to our rich Arabian culture.
We dedicate this novel to everyone who honored us by reading our first novel HWJN and supported us during our hard times.
We owe you big time.
It is for you that we write
I would like to thank Ali Sheneamer, who listened to my story way before I wrote it and kept bugging me until I did. I would also like to thank Yasser Bahjatt, my comrade on this amazing journey.
I would like to thank Dr. Arlan Andrews Sr., who put me on the spot during his session in the 2012 Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF2012), forcing me to think seriously about the Arabian sci-fi industry and how to help its existence. I also thank Arthur Zards, who pushed me to pitch my sci-fi impact concept at the TED Conference, giving me a much-needed boost to move forward with Yatakhayaloon. Last but not least, I would like to thank TED’s Open Translation Project. The translation experience I had built through the program was the first platform for me to publicly publish my translation work. Such experience was essential for me to be able to co-author this novel.
Before you ask…
My last novel’s hero was of a young Jinni in his early nineties who was an expert in using the Ouija tablet and loved driving Lamborghinis. After publishing, I was bombarded with the question wether the story was true or not. This question was the question that I loved the most!
Before you ask the same question about
Hunaak, allow me to answer it upfront:
Yes, I confess the story is true to a huge extent. We had been inspired to write all of its details from its hero directly
…and this is my attempt to put the words onto paper.
In a hurry…
I confess that I write in utter spontaneity, my most important objective is to give you joy, with the hope that these lines might hold some value. I write in a photographic style that mixes the classic novel with the movie script, this means that events to me are more important than the language it is written in. I do not glut this with excessive descriptions, nor do I starve it to its bones, this imagination is split between your sentiments and the events that I try hard to lure you into, as they are. I present to you what had been said as is without interfering with dubbing. The hero is the speaker; I would not dare to confiscate his style, slang or emotions to rewrite them in my way, simply because I do not want you to settle for reading the words without seeing the events and living the experience.
in advance, to everyone who might be surprised with statements in the local slangs amongst this presentation that I tried to keep in the original Qurashi Tongue. To all who might find my novel different than what is used in literary work that focuses on elaborate linguistic structures, this is -if anything- an imagery attempt that focuses on simplifying the words to make them clear to the audience.
Without further ado, allow me to let you experience
… Hunaak (Somewhere)!
I?! Am Here?!
inally, a pen!
A strange pen, as strange as everything I
’ve seen here, a solid sculptured block with intertwined patterns that are so amazing and detailed, they go all the way up to its metal tip, producing a thousand artworks on its pointy end with patterns of gold and bronze.
A pen that tempts my fingers to write, it
’s ink flirting with the page, it flows with sentences as if it knew them, it is almost as if it would say the words just before it writes them.
I asked her for the pen and she brought it to me at once.
Don’t rush me, I will tell you about her.
But now, I need to write; I need to remember. And to remember, I need to write down everything!
I have no idea if my words will find someone to read them, nor do I know if I will still remember them after writing them, but I need to document everything that had happened to me since the moment I found myself here, the moment that I cannot remember a thing before!
I opened my eye and saw the room
’s ceiling, it was at least ten meters high, it was concave and made with a crystal clear dome with strange drawings. If it was not for those drawings, I would not have even noticed it was there. It actually was not just one dome but several blended domes, I can make out the main dome in the middle, and another three or four domes of different sizes. Hair thin strings came down from these domes that had glowing balls of light that lit the room with a comforting cloudy light. They were swinging fondly as a result of the wind streams that caressed them. I can see the sky beyond the huge crystal spheres, a clear blue color, only interrupted by some cotton clouds floating clumsily along with birds that were dancing briefly in the air before they rested on the domes.
I have no idea how long I lasted in that state, was it
minutes? was it hours? All of my muscles where in a delightful relaxed mode; while my eyes were wide open trying to comprehend the beauty of that ceiling, I was also trying to process in my mind the entire situation, with no luck! I was squeezing every cell of my brain trying to remember anything, it was a vain effort! Who am I? What is my name? Where did I come from? What brought me here? What was this place anyway??
All of my efforts to remember anything had failed. Thus, I decided to force my muscles to rise. I was surrounded by a white smooth velvet bed, it conformed to my body
’s shape, I couldn’t even feel it. Nothing else was in the center of that room, I looked around, this was not really a room, it was more like a yard; a vast circular yard, with a diameter no less than forty meters.
Now I remember! Where are my glasses?! My weak sight could not see further than a meter far! I
moved my hands around feeling for my glasses, felt my face as I might find it hiding over my nose as usual.
But wait a moment! How can I see everything so clearly? Without my glasses I knew I was as good as a blind man!
I stood up slowly and felt a slight cool flow of air moving through my feet to my upper body and I noticed a strange feeling, the floor seemed further away from where I usually see it! That is impossible! I think I was now taller. Yes! I do not remember being this tall at all! I am barely a hundred and sixty seven centimeters tall. That is including my thick shoes and curly hair! And my weight is more than … I raised the white shirt that I did not know it where came from either to take a look at my belly that used to block me from seeing my feet except for the tips of my toes… and … Oh my God!! My shaky belly turned into six elegant stretched blocks with a belly button that I can actually see rather than that dark pit that I had never been able to see its end. I felt my body, my shoulders, my chest, my muscles, how did I get all of this?!
I strangely felt light, I think I had miss judged gravity my entire life, I just found out that my belly is what was pulling me down!
As I walked on the white, smooth and slightly cold floor, I couldn’t resist to explore where were these wind currents coming from. Where they cooling vents? I couldn’t hear an A/C sound, in fact, I heard no sounds other than my own breath and … yes, I could barely recognize any of the city sounds. No, not like the sounds I knew of cars, traffic jams and city noise.
Only the sounds of people, men, women and children coming from afar, they were only interrupted by music. It all threw me from the pinnacle of astonishment to the epitome of harmony; the gentle music was coming from one of the rooms nearby. Along with the pleasant sounds, an aroma took over my attention and forced me to close my eyes and inhale it all in a deep breath that refreshed my lungs. I moved towards the curved wall that was half covered by curtains and I noticed some of the curtains were
moving. I assumed this was where the gentle breezes of air where coming from! I figured that there must have been a door behind them. I didn’t know how to open these curtains. Neither could I see any switches or physical buttons. Why is it that I couldn’t find a user manual of how to interact with all the things here? I had to use the most primitive solution, so I hunched and gently raised the curtain with both of my hands and passed under them and then … What was all this revealing in front of me?
As I walked past the curtains, I found out that the room where I
awoke, was connected to a balcony if not as spacious as the room itself. It was shaded by a few climbing trees that were covered with amazing blossoms that competed in beauty, color and aroma, it all nearly erased the scent that had enticed me just moments before. The balcony was hanging on a transparent crystal base, had it not been for the two chairs and a table at its edge, I would not have noticed that I could actually step onto it. I set my right foot forward cautiously onto the balcony with the instinctive fear that I would fall. After my right foot had safely landed, it encouraged my left foot and then, as I was firmly standing in the balcony, I looked around and realized that I was at a very high altitude. I could barely see the land beneath as people looked like tiny ants. I gently turned my neck and body to take a look behind me to gain perspective of the building I had found myself in. I was hoping I would find a mark or a sign; it was a tower covered entirely with smooth glass that had no windows; a huge crystal masterpiece that ended in an enormous clear dome. I was able to clearly see everything within it: the trees, the flowers and the buildings as if it was a small city hanging from the sky. Around the main tower, there were other shorter towers scattered. At the base of these towers was a well groomed garden with amazing strikes of green set with an assortment of colored flowers. Walkways for pedestrians divided the garden and small buildings were scattered like glamorous diamonds; three water canals with some boats passed through it as well. All canals were ending at a gulf that spread across the horizon where the buildings of a enormous city appeared, more like one of these futuristic cities in science fiction novels.
Now I was certain that I was dreaming! I knew that my readings into astral projection and lucid dreaming would affect my mind some day, and here I am now trapped in one of them!
I knew that I would awake at any moment and all of this would be all gone. I told myself to wake up. I tried very hard to open my eyes, I goggled hard to wake up… I pinched myself… I bit my hand and suddenly there was a gentle knock on the door and an even softer female voice said: “May you allow me to enter?”
I was very puzzled by it all
… I do not remember any relation I had with the opposite sex other than some shallow passing words on the internet… but I remember that I used to be ashamed of my overweight and my absolutely unattractive features. I preferred to stay alone, but there was no need to be shy here, everything had changed! I am now living in a dream… just a dream! And I will seize the moment before the guy with the wobbling belly awakes!
My thoughts took longer than they should have, as the knocks on the door repeated. I ran back into the room looking for a door opposite to the curtains. Damn this solid annoying wall! There are no clues of any door or handle or even a key hole!
the girl repeated her request to enter. Increasing my frustration, I decided to allow her to enter making her figure out where the door was, I stated in a serious tone as I held myself tall and sucked in my belly instinctively as I was standing facing the wall:
Part of the wall on the other side of the room moved upwards quietly, making me look like an idiot as I stood firmly in front of the wrong wall. I turned towards the opening as she rushed towards me calling out with clear longing:
“Husam… Husam!! You can’t imagine how I missed you!!”
?! I remember now!! My name is Husam! I was surprised having her wrap her arms around my neck and hugging me tightly as her tears flowed between our two cheeks. I could not take the surprise… of course I couldn’t!
I confess that I was a frenzy of emotional disturbance marred with an upset stomach and a temporarily
paralysis having an ordinary girl smile at me and say
“How are you?”
What would you expect when a girl hugs me and tells me that she missed me?!
A girl? This being cannot be Human! I removed myself from her arms whilst torn with heartbreak and shame. I can now see her clearly… she did not move her face too far from me, just a few centimeters separated my astonishment and her smile, such close distance is usually not enough for my eyes to focus and recognize features, but her beauty defied all laws of vision, I saw her clearly, her eyes filled my horizon, they would mock the ocean’s color and depth, mirroring the sky, I could see my reflection in them, from her eager gaze I felt that it was not a mere reflection, I felt that she carried me in her eyes where ever she went, whenever she opened or closed them. If I continue to describe her to you I would never finish my story! In short her beauty exceeds the most beautiful girl I had ever seen or even imagined in my entire life! If you are looking for the secrets of beauty you need not look beyond her smile, and if you ask about the meaning of femininity her body would be the perfect answer!
She did not hide her annoyance me moving away
… yet she kept her cheerful smile and wiped her tear with her palm in a childish manner as she threw herself on the bed followed by her white silk dress that slowly descended upon her, she looked up at the ceiling as she said happily:
I have dreamt of this moment my entire life! To see you in front of me… to talk to you… to hug you!”
What a vulgar girl! With all due respect to her amazing beauty that no one would disagree about
but how does she enter a guy’s room all by herself? Clearly, a guy that she does not know, nor does he know her, and hugs him and throws herself on his bed! Let alone how she is dressed!!
Wait a moment
… Who said she did not know me? She called me by my name. In fact, I only remembered my name when she called it out loudly! I gathered my fake courage and assertiveness as I said:
I think I lost my memory, but apparently you know much about me and this place… can you please help me figure this out?”
Seriously?! Your playing the tough guy card!”
She got out of the bed and as she said this, she pulled my hand towards the other wall:
“Don’t rush things, in time, you will know everything. I am so hungry now! Let’s go have a bite… my treat! I’ll take you to this new restaurant that I am sure you will enjoy! But first
you need to change!”
slid her fingers over the wall as if it was a touch screen. A large portion of the wall suddenly opened up and it revealed a cabinet that contained more clothes than I had ever seen in my lifetime and of much higher quality!
She tapped the edge of the wall, making the lights turn on. This was no ordinary cabinet, it was more like a fully fledged retail store with all of the top brands
… she pulled me inside as she moved cheerfully between the rows of clothes:
Would you like to chose for yourself? You know what, let me chose for you!!”
She dragged me towards a row of Polo shirts of all colors and pulled out a white one and handed it to me:
“White Polo!… this is your favorite shirt right?”
I held it in my hands, examined it and I
looked for the size on the tag. This was about to be history: I’d be able to stuff myself in a shirt that did not have the letter L without ripping it apart! Since I could not find the tag, my stupidity lauded me “Is this my size?
and she giggle
— “No, it is my size!
Of course it is
size! Everything here has been tailored to your
size!” as she said this, she pulled out a pair of gray Armani jeans along with a pair of Paul Smith socks and a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes. With every piece of clothing and accessory that she pulled out, my memory burned even more. I knew these were my favorite clothes, I would only buy them by saving up for a few months just so that I could get them cheaper at a discount in the change of seasons!
She pulled open one of the drawers and out came the glimmer of gold, platinum and diamonds. This was an amazing collection of watches of astronomical prices.
“This is the Rolex
that you yearn for, is it not?
She stated as she picked it up and brought it up close to me.