Agartha_Anthony Najm, Byblos

Winner Energheia Lebanon 2017

“So, where do we go from here?” asked Rony impatiently.

Ecstatic for our expedition to Agartha (a claimed-upon parallel earth which entrance is said to exist in our earth in the forest that we’ve been exploring), I took a look at the map and pointed right towards a sculpture of an ancient Hungarian Goddess that lied between two humongous pine trees. He gazed at a sculpture hiding the entrance to Agartha with bedazzlement and wonder.

“What would Agartha be like, in your opinion?” He asked, still staring with amazement, hypnotized by the scene that will teleport us to the other earth. “I think that good or bad, astonishing or foreseeable, it’s worth it; everyone dreams of teleporting to other earths. And soon, the unfathomable will come to discovery.” I smiled with confidence that it’s going to be a life-changing trip, as I exhaled a long and profound stream of carbon dioxide, letting go of all the possible doubts of this journey. “Well then, let’s go!” He exclaimed with incredulous joy. We approached the entrance, and then we stopped as we stood right in front of the terracotta stone-made sculpture, and respired the excitement that rushed the blood circulation within us, making our hearts beat faster. The sun shone, sending beams of light to this dark forest. The faded salmon sky overcame its timidity and delivered a cold breeze, which made the leaves quiver. We took one step closer towards the sculpture, as a portal opened and sucked us in.

The immense energy and the cellular oxygenating speed guided us through the unknown darkness of the portal that was filled with absolute nothingness. Terrified, yet not able to utter a single word due to the atonement that the speed was making my body face, I sensed my death knocking. Almost losing my queen to the king, shrieks of horror suddenly arose out of nowhere, piercing through my eardrum. The sounds screeched “Let me out! Have mercy on my rotten soul!” I looked around, hoping to see Rony alive, but to my dread, he had vanished! I became hysterical, I was losing my mind. Wishing this is all a dream, definite that it isn’t, the voice returned with a warning: “They’re coming for you, don’t trust anyone!” I kept that in mind, and just when my cells were about to burst from the tremendous speed, an oozing light appeared, and before I could even blink, I finally arrived to Agartha.

Feeling dizzy and exhausted from this bad acid trip, I breathed in a heavy load of oxygen gas, and opened my eyes. To my end, due to what I was looking at and what I am to explore, the sensation of death knocking earlier wasn’t a problem anymore. Since death became silent. For death was already here.

And it was staring down at me. That being acknowledged, there was nothing for me to do but journey through its void. Petrified for what was about to come to revelation, I walked in the empty streets; no cars, no street lights, nothing. The sky was dark, and everything else was grey. Besides that, I was in the same region of my departure. Hopeless, yet feeling a surge of zest sprint throughout my body; I walked towards a convenience store about a mile away. A couple of minutes later, I arrived there. I was shocked to realize that I was familiar with this convenience store, which name was after the owner Derik Thatcher. But to my horror, the letters that once formed the convenience store’s name had fallen off in a manner that the ones left were De—–ath.

And even though I was frightened to my grave, I entered the convenience store, for the journey required a sufficient amount of food and refreshments.

Confidently, I stormed inside. The door cracked as I entered, and beneath the small windows and even on the floor, there was black goo. How eerie and bleak, I thought. Carelessly, I headed to the beverages aisle and snatched 2 big bottles of water, a Budweiser beer and a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle.

Then, I went ahead and brought some random chips. As I was heading for a plastic bag, I sensed a presence following me.

Affrightedly yet curiously, I couldn’t help but turn around slowly and wisely, observing everything ahead with great detail.

Suddenly, bam! The window on the far left ached shut. A suspenseful atmosphere filled the premises, as I approached the

window. Tap! I took the first step towards the window. TAP! I took the second step towards the window, my heart sensing the danger that might be lurking out ahead… Bam! I took the sixth and final step towards the window, my heart now begging to break free. Once close, scratches similar to that of a wolf appeared on the window. Mind-willingly, I leaned an inch forward and peaked outside; there was no one. Heart relieved, I leaned back standing still, ready to leave to a cabin located in nearby woods. Unexpectedly, the hand of a dark man shadow started whacking on the window monstrously, violently, about to break it! Not believing my eyes, my whole body shuddered and rendered my balance null. I fell on the ground hysterically, as the uninvited shadow opened its mouth, terrorizing my soul by its oddly, yet petrifying mute screams. Fearing my inevitable death, I yelled, freeing all my worries to life. I closed my eyes, once again hoping that this was all a really bad dream. I took a deep breath in, comforting my exasperated lungs and easing my mind, and then opened my eyes. Predictably, it wasn’t a nightmare; it was a living one. Luckily though, the shadow had disappeared.

… I sat down on the brown leather couch, drinking Jack as I reminisced all the horrendous things that have been occurring ever since Rony disappeared (which was probably for his best). I thought of what could’ve happened to him, and what will to me.

I was vexed about my present situation, eager to leave this place alive and with Rony by my side. With my mind not being straight and focused, I settled on taking another sip of whiskey to help ease my nerves. Drinking might not be the best option for maneuvering through one’s problems, but it sure is the best way to not think about the problems you’re damned facing in life. Although that might be true in my perspective, people who have an idea about the reason for their dilemmas say wily things when they’re drunk; this sometimes helps them overcome certain difficulties. As for I currently, I don’t even comprehend how and why everything from Rony’s disappearance while teleporting, to the wrathful shadow/ghost that uttered silent screams in the convenient store scaring the living out of me occurred. Therefore, I finished the whiskey bottle by taking two final sips, the soothing heat flowing through my body, as I claimed to the dark figures that I knew were watching me from a distance: “I am going to find a way out of here. And before I do,” I raised my voice; “I AM GOING to receive all the answers and explanations for the disappearance of my friend, as I will BRING HIM WITH ME!” I clarified, feeling no short from petrified. Finally releasing my rage, I gazed at the window with keenness to details to see if any creature was lurking in the woods where I was staying at a cabin in the middle of it.

I looked around carefully, hoping not to see any alarming figure. As I focused my gaze on the unusually bent tree, I saw something that radiated fear to my soul. I saw red, bloodshot eyes staring directly into my choking heart. The eyes didn’t blink, and I assumed that they were those of a demon. The thought of a DEMON staring at me sent my body, mind, and soul to damnation. I was immobilized. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t think, the eyes of a horror still staring at me. But then, a significant scream saved me from my paralysis. “Someone help! Please, I don’t want to die!” I clearly heard.

Feeling the urge to rescue a living soul, hoping it was Rony; I left the cabin almost instantly and ran desperately, following the screams. Running mad with my feet stomping on the ground of route 666(the forest), I stopped to a halt when I saw “her”. She was facing a river stream; all nude. Shocked to my devilish heaven, she turned around revealing her absolutely beautiful pure face, and her moon underrating, glorious hypnotizing figure. She looked at me. I looked her. Frightened she is. In love I am. Taken away by her magnificence, I asked: “Who are you?”

“My name is Alice”, she responded; her voice so gentle and relaxing.

“How did you get here, was it a portal? Were you being chased by a dark shadow when you yelled for help?” I asked, needing to be thorough with my questions.

She licked her crimson lips as she responded, somewhat seeming confused “this my home, and no one hurts me in my home”.

My heart almost fainted, and cold chills hurried through my body. Speechless, Alice cracked from evil laughter and jumped in the streaming river to her death. Horrendously, the water turned black.

Feeling weak to my knees and high to my soul, I allowed my body to find a place to lie down and sleep, and never wakeup.

Closing my eyes to a coma, I felt extreme burning pressure on my chest. “Huuuh”, I gasped panting for breath. “Miicheaal”, a trembling inhuman voice whispered in my ear. “Leave me alone!” I cried, my soul burning to the ruthlessness of death that was nigh. “Oh, Noo Mikey, you wouldn’t want to die with all these questions left unanswered”, it howled with an ear splitting tone. And so it appeared. Not trusting my sanity, my finger trembled as I fixed it towards the figure that was standing right in front of my living body, the figure that was Rony! My eyes were turning blind to the sight of Rony, only with red eyes. I cleared my throat and delayed the burning of my heart into ash for the sole purpose of the explanation for everything sinister that has been occurring. Looking at Rony, my physical body being tortured by his sight, he/it began.

“Rony”, a huge appalling smirk on the demon’s meat-suit rising, “never left earth. He never left it with you!”

“That’s insane!” I objected, my heart beat crying for its forever sleep.

Elated by my anguish, it continued. “Rony came to Agartha a long time ago, and in it he died; he was lost in the woods, as I came from behind him and snatched his soul, scratching his heart until the blood circulation became still and his body became cold.

“No, you’re lying!” I said, too weak to scream.

“And when he died, I figured that I’d wear his meat-suit and teleport to your earth. Since I’m a demon, I instantly teleported myself, your dear Rony, to Agartha. And when I got there, I undressed and terrorized you ever since. I was the black shadow!”

The truth made my heart frantic as it slowly continued to burn, as I slowly began to die.

“As for Alice and her odd behavior, well that’s just normal. She was even more terrified than you were, than you are. She died five nights ago. But she didn’t know it. Lucky for her, she died from hysteria, believing that she was insane. It takes a couple of days for a person to realize that he/she is dead, it differs per soul. Some never find out. Today, you made her realize that she’s dead! After a soul realizes that, it becomes unable to recognize sanity, and that’s when it takes a leap to the grave.

When that happens, black goo spreads, and it represents the resentment and agony that were never released, and that will never go away! However, despite her immense tragedy, Rony released twice the amount of black goo!”

Unbarring the pain, I uttered silent uninvited screams. I looked at the sky, not seeing any star shine. I remembered how when I was a kid I used to spend a silent hour staring at the sky, mesmerized by the stars with Rony. I looked down, studying my surroundings as frozen tears of mercy dropped eagerly to my chin and continued downwards like a waterfall. For grey was never so dark, and darkness was never so visible, as it was never so red.