Disclaimer

Never thought I’d see the day where I actually would need a disclaimer. Here goes nothing.

This story, Ramblings of the Disoriented Mind, and all events are complete figments of my imagination. The character is dreamed up. Any similarities to reality and to individuals you think you know are completely coincidental. I am NOT Sina Hbous. I do however know her. The character is NOT based on her. She has been gracious enough to consent to letting me use her name. I apologize for the confusion that has ensued and I hope this clarifies things a bit.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, this is in reference to comments about my first short story, page to your right, or link here.

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Destiny unfulfilled

Hallo,

I had initially started this blog to publish a short story. Having the ego that I do and enjoying having an outlet to unleash all other random thoughts to the world, I kept the blog. The downfall of that being that the story I sought to frame got buried in the rubble.

Asking you all if you could kindly click the link above in the black bar that reads “Ramblings of the Disoriented Mind”, or the one on the left under pages. Would highly appreciate all input you could give me.

Diaries of the Leaper

Dear all, this was written as a potential sequel to Ramblings of the Disoriented Mind. If you have not read that, I urge you to do so prior to reading this.

Diaries of the Leaper

Prologue

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I’ve left the institution, yet the memories of my leaps remain emblazoned fresh and in full colour in my mind. It is in an attempt at self therapy that I write them. In an attempt to make some cash that I am publishing them for you to read.

Chapter 1: 

The Werewolf Diaries

AWOOOOOOO! The gruff howl echoed for miles around. I stared up at the full moon, seeing it as if for the first time. Perhaps it was rather not the moon but my eyes that were different. It’s not like I had ever been a wolf before. I scratched my ears with my back left paw. Stretched my two front paws in front of me and gave a long yawn that stretched every single muscle along my spine. Amazing how accepting you become of weird things when they happen often enough. Not too long ago I was shocked to wake up a little boy and now I was perfectly ok with looking down at the reflection of a full-grown grey wolf. The landscape had changed too, no longer desert, instead I appeared to be in a densely forested area not too far from the city. I could hear the highway not too far away and the sound of speeding cars and screeching tires. I knew there must be a bend near by. Enthralled by my newfound sharpness of the senses I took one whiff of the air and was on the scent. Nose to the ground as I scurried between the trees avoiding the lower branches. I finally reached the highway, I moved parallel to it until I reached the city. It would be dawn soon and I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was somewhere I needed to be.

My feet moved on their own along the beaten path. I arrived at what seemed to be my destination. It was a building not too far from the edge of the forest. I climbed the fire escape to the second floor window, to my bewilderment it was open, moreover, I knew it would be. That really spooked me; then again it wasn’t like I was having an ordinary day all together. I bent my head just low enough to pass through the open window and landed with a soft thud on my padded paws on the carpet in the center of the room. Everything about that apartment screamed that it was mine, yet I couldn’t imagine how. Ah the sun is about to break. I stood on my hind legs, paws on the windowsill watching the beauty that the lord has given to us. The majestic sun breaking the horizon, inching upwards, painting the sky a glorious shade of blue, its light penetrating the darkness. I suddenly felt a sharp pain and fell to the ground, writhing and yelping and gasping for breath. Once the convulsions were over I was human once again. I carefully got to my feet as the Werewolf of Nowheresville headed for the shower.

I stood there dripping water in the Werewolf’s bathroom, wrapped in a towel and examining myself in the mirror. To my surprise the Werewolf of Nowheresville turned out to be a rather attractive European looking woman somewhere in her mid 30s. Not a single scratch or bruise, you’d expect some on someone who was a Wolf the previous night. Ahh, how tempting it was to just jump onto that king sized luxurious bed and do nothing all day. Yet based on events so far I doubted I’d be around for much longer, would hate to ruin someone’s life. If only I could figure out who she was and what she did. I opened the wardrobe hoping to get some hints there. Was blown out of my mind, this woman could shop; she had amazing taste, quite expensive at that. Judging from how formal the wardrobe was, she was probably a big executive somewhere. Where? That I was yet to figure out. I flipped through the assortment of suits in her wardrobe and stopped at a navy blue suit that looked like it would really bring out her eyes. It was tight fitting and the fabric and colour were amazing. I eyed the collection of bags and shoes with a tinge of envy; how come shopping in Egypt isn’t that easy!!! Ok, now I’m dressed for success, I located her wallet, her ID read “Marketing Manager” at a famous multinational. Wow, so our Werewolf was a manager. Impressive! Keys on the bedside table were of a Ferrari. I wouldn’t dare!! Or would I??

WOOHOOO!! This is living. I sped down 4th Avenue in the sleek red sports car practically flying off the road. It was amazing how it drove, the sensation of being so close to the ground with such a powerful engine. It purred like a tiger, I was having the time of my life. In record time I was at the building, alas, if only the trip could have been longer. I swiped her … my sign in card at the parking entrance and parked in the VIP slots, praying I had chosen the right one. I descended and took a minute to collect myself, remember, I’m an executive, I’m important, I’m confident, I’m in total control. Remember to breathe. OK. I slowly but confidently walked towards the elevator. There was a bunch of people standing there in their expensive Armani suits and designer brief cases waiting on the elevator as well. Who knew there is equality after all, no matter how big you are, you’ve still gotta wait on that elevator. Good morning Susan. Shucks, I’ve got to start remembering that. Susan it is.   

Epilogue

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Young doctor sits at his desk wondering about the odd case he’s been monitoring for a month now. Such a vibrant young girl, such a shame her life was this complicated and this sad. She really believed she had the ability to leap into other people, taking over their lives for short whiles. Such a vivid imagination!!

Newspaper thrown on his coffee table headlines read:

“Soldier found dead in surprise night raid on city in southern Gaza”
“Riots erupting all over the Arab street”
“Wolf spotted in downtown Nowheresville”
“Crazy woman claims she was abducted by aliens”
“Poachers caught in Central Africa, young tribesman made hero”

******
The End

Chapter Five

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I screamed at the top of my lungs, attempting to scare them off. Me tough guy, me scare away poachers. I wish! The gun fired again, an odd blue sparkling object was coming my way. It wasn’t till I was hit till I realized what it was. They had gotten me with some sort of miniature stun-gun. I was being electrocuted.

I felt the power surge through my body, volts of raw electricity frying every single cell of my being. I could smell the burning flesh as they roasted my brain. I bit hard on that ugly rubber mouth piece, hoping to block out the pain. If only I could bite down hard enough, perhaps I can make it stop. Tears ran down my face. I writhed in the thick leather straps that bound me down to that table. I could barely see through my own eyes, making outlines of doctors and nurses. I was gone.

Finally the session was over. I passed out on that hard slab, foaming at the mouth and worse for wear. The two orderlies must have carried me back to my room. I was thrown onto the bed and left to recuperate on my own. I woke up, quite a bit later, not sure how long. I slowly sat up, every muscle in my body aching. My nerves still a bit on edge, all my senses felt a bit out of whack. Things were too hard, too rough, too hot, or too cold. Like everything was hit by the Midas touch of extremeness. I was dressed in white from head to toe. I was a resident of this god forsaken place. A patient in a mental hospital? I couldn’t be! What kind of insane woman knows she is insane? I must be in some sort of prison facility. A master criminal? Or an ideologist; thrown into this concentration camp by the oppressive forces of the ruling government. Oh what romantic notions one has about being locked up. The room is simple enough. All white with a bunker bed at one end and a chest of drawers at the other.

There was a knock at the door. Since when do they knock on prison doors? Guess I must be getting the five-star treatment. Come in. I said in a voice that was as authoritative as I could muster. A young doctor followed by two nurses entered holding a clip file and taking notes. So I was in an asylum after all. How are we doing today? Well pretty damn, fine given you just sent 600 volts through my body you barbarian. Instead I just nodded Same old same old, nothing new under the sun. I stopped dead in my tracks, something felt eerily familiar about this context.

Well Sina, tell me about those hallucinations you’ve been having?

It all came back to me in a rush, Adam, the accident, the blood, the loss, the depression, the asylum, having to give up work, the suicide attempt, the desire to leave it all behind, to be anybody but myself. Yet I was unable to maintain this illusion in my sleep because I was bound to wake up. Then they started the shock therapy. Yes that’s it, the shock therapy, that’s what started it all. I discovered I could leap, my old self lying in the dust as I soared higher, becoming somebody else and living their life for a change. I discovered that the electric shock not only sent me away, but with every new shock I leaped. I was a goner for days on end in the asylum while in my head I was living the lives of other individuals, beaming from one life to the next. Everything came flooding back, images and memories all mashed together, I attempted to make logic of the chaos within.

I wanted to tell him all about it my newfound ability and my adventures. Yet something tells me I had already told him and that he didn’t believe me.

Time to try a different strategy. I took a deep breath, stared coolly into his eyes and started saying what I didn’t believe, yet what I knew he yearned to hear.

What hallucinations?? You mean my day dreams? Oh that was just a little exhaustion. I’m fine really, you can release me. I am Sina; I worked for the MTI, see; I know exactly who I am and why I’m here. I checked myself in and am demanding to be released or you shall be hearing from my lawyers.

Next…

Chapter Four

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The room was an odd shade of white, almost silver-ish and appeared to be of an almost fluid nature, like liquid flowing through jelly-like containers. I couldn’t tell where the door was and was getting a very strong feeling that the material forming the walls could mould to will forming any shape or object they would desire. My eyes finally rested on one of them, they truly were majestic creatures. They levitated in mid-air and had a serene feeling to them, kind of like Master Yoda in the Star Wars movies. They hovered around me examining me from all angles. I’m not sure if they were telekinetic but I don’t think they actually touched anything, it seemed everything around us was operated by voice, or thought. I was nervous as hell and sweating like a pig. Damn NASA, all those space exploration trips, those probes, seeking intelligent life out there, trying to communicate. Well what do you know, seems they are equally interested in us and out of all the people on the planet, I’ve chosen to leap into the poor soul they’ve abducted.

It seemed to me like they could see through my skin and into the internal workings of my body. All of a sudden I felt them almost transmit that ability to me; I got a heightened sense of my own body. I could feel the blood running through my veins, I could feel my lungs expand with every gasping breath, and I could feel the internal workings of my different systems. Most of all I could hear my heart beat, the loud deafening rhythm all consuming; pump pump, pump pump.

Pump pump, pump pump; I withdrew my hand. We have a pulse! Yelled the kid next to me. I looked up to a fresh scene. I was somewhere in Africa and I was a teen amongst peers in what appeared to be a crude basketball court. We were gathered around a young man sprawled on the floor after what must have been a failed slam dunk. Damn Shaquille! He makes it look so easy. Go Lakers! God it seems it was eons ago that I was sitting down on our living room sofa cheering on the Lakers. Starting to wonder if I’ll ever get back.

This time around I’m a tall strapping African tribesman living in a village on the outskirts of some major Central African city. I speak Swahili and am wearing hand me down Nike shorts, bare-chested and barefoot (an inconvenience when basket-balling). I know this through observation and the fact that the girls on the sidelines were checking me out as I attempted to revive my team mate. We ended up drenching him in freezing murky water that someone handed me in some sort of handmade pale. Sure enough that got him up on his feet and wobbling about.

All of a sudden everyone’s eyes turned towards one spot, reflexively I turned as well. There he stood, huge in his full wardrobe of necklaces, head dresses and animal hides. He must have been the Tribe Chief. His presence commanded respect. My Children. It is time. You must travel to the end of the valley unaided and retrieve blossoms of the rare flower that grows there. You must return before sundown tomorrow to qualify.

Right of passage into manhood! We were given a challenge and must all complete it. I looked around at my team mates, I guess now the mode was competitive I couldn’t really count on them for support. Kwame, lets go, we need to get dressed and prepared. I followed them into a hut where we each proceeded to dress into some sort of simplistic war gear and draw war paint designs on each other’s faces. We were given a spear each and sent on our way in a wave of cheers and chants. A lone drummer started beating his drum. Tum.. tum.. The lonely beat got weaker and weaker as we got further. Yet soon enough, that raw beat would be all I carry with me from my village as I venture in my path to become a man. We followed the worn path then parted at the first fork. I started picking up speed, I had to get there and back in time and I had no idea how long the journey was.

Night fell coating my surroundings in a misty haze. With the darkness there came the sounds of the night, a symphony that plaid as the different creatures expressed themselves. Crickets and bugs of kinds too numerous for me to know or remember whistled into the night. I could hear the rustle of leaves as the wind blew. I could hear what seemed to be a stampede. A large group of animals were running my way and I didn’t know why. Then I heard it, the gunshot, the sound of a single bullet rang out. Poachers! I ran faster in the direction of the bullet, trying hard to avoid running into what could be a potential stampede of wild creatures running my way.

Next…

Chapter Three

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AWOOOOOOO! The gruff howl echoed for miles around. I stared up at the full moon, as if seeing it for the first time. Perhaps it was not the moon but rather my eyes that were different. It’s not like I had ever been a wolf before. I scratched my ears with my rear left paw then stretched my two front paws in front of me and gave a long yawn that stretched every muscle along my spine. Amazing how accepting you become of weird things when they happen often enough. Not too long ago I was shocked to wake up a little boy and now I was perfectly resigned and comfortable with looking down at the reflection of a full-grown grey wolf. The landscape had changed too, no longer desert, instead I appeared to be in a densely forested area a couple of miles south of the city. I could hear the highway not too far away and the sound of speeding cars and screeching tires. I knew there must be a bend near by. Enthralled by my newfound sharpness of the senses I took one whiff of the air and was on the scent. Nose to the floor every now and then as I scurried between the trees avoiding the lower branches. I finally reached the highway, I moved parallel to it until I reached the city. It would be dawn soon and I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was somewhere I needed to be.

My feet moved on their own along the beaten path. I arrived at what seemed to be my destination. It was a building not too far from the edge of the forest. I climbed the fire escape to the second floor window, to my bewilderment it was open, moreover, I knew it would be. That really spooked me; then again it wasn’t like I was having an ordinary day all together. I bent my head just low enough to pass through the open window and landed with a soft thud on my padded paws on the carpet in the center of the room. Everything about that apartment screamed that it was mine, yet I couldn’t imagine how. Ah the sun is about to break. I stood on my hind legs, paws on the sill watching the beauty that the lord has given to us. The majestic sun breaking the horizon, inching upwards, painting the sky a glorious shade of blue, its light penetrating the darkness. I suddenly felt a sharp pain and fell to the ground, writhing and yelping and gasping for breath. Once the convulsions were over I was human once again. I carefully got to my feet as the Warewolf of Nowheresville headed for the shower.

I must have landed on my foot at an uncomfortable angle on what already was a damp floor, or perhaps it was the exhaustion of the day, irrespectively of the reason the next thing I knew I was slipping to fall on my back on the warewolf’s cold ceramic floor.

The neon light above looked blurry but bright, perhaps too bright. I squinted my eyes as I tried to focus, the blinding light forcing me to close them again. There was something harsh, almost unnatural about that light. I was finally able to open my eyes. I tried to prop my body up using my elbows only to discover I was tied down somehow. I tried twisting my neck to the right to see what it was holding my arms down only to find that my head as well was fixed into position. I couldn’t look right, left or anywhere other than into that glaring light above me. Horror movie flashbacks!! I couldn’t imagine where I was, or what I was doing there. Chances are I’m a warewolf no longer, but where in the world had I leaped to this time!!

I felt a cold metal object press to my side. My panic levels were soaring. To the best I could figure I was strapped down to a bed in an extremely well lit room, that could have been in a hospital somewhere, and someone… something, was about to operate. They hovered around me, talking amongst them in a tongue I had never heard before; it seemed like just background music, like they were humming as they worked. The bed started rotating and the next thing I knew I was tilted at a 45 degree angle with a full view of the room. I couldn’t tell if we were aboard a spacecraft, in Area 51, or on a whole different planet. One thing for sure, this was alien territory.

Next…

Chapter Two

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I woke up in a bed in a room that looked oddly familiar. A woman I didn’t know walked in, gave me a loving smile and said: Good you are up. Get ready or you’ll be late. I got up and looked in the mirror the image that stared back at me was of a dishevelled 14 year old with a shock of black hair and wide black eyes. I couldn’t tell if the amazed look on his face was his or my own. Apparently he.. I.. had to get ready to go to school. God, I have not done that in ages. I slowly dressed and drudged down the stairs carrying the heavy schoolbag. I was given breakfast sandwiches and told to be on my way. Go figure, I had to walk to a school that wasn’t my own. Halfway there a riot erupted as protestors filled the street screaming against injustice, mourning the dead, condemning the living, showing support for the resistance and lamenting their own fortunes, fates and destinies. A swarm of individuals setting the streets on fire, united by a common goal; perhaps there is hope for this nation yet. I joined them for a while; a passer-by was distributing water bottles to the demonstrators. He handed me one, I raised the open bottle to drink.

Water splashed on my face; suddenly I was very aware of the scorching sun above. I was in the middle of the desert somewhere surrounded by sand dunes in all directions for as far as the eye can see. I was standing beside the one other living creature for miles. A snow white Arabian stallion, I was dressed as a Bedouin….right out of a Michael Asher novel with a dagger strapped onto my arm in a very well hidden yet highly accessible position. You’d think I was expecting trouble. There was an unusual heaviness on my left ear; I ran my hand around the location to discover that my ear was pierced high up. I took off my jewellery to examine; it appeared I adorned a silver earring with engravings in an incomprehensible language. Having nothing else to do, I mounted my trusty steed and off we were. We galloped through the desert sending sprays of sand behind us. I felt like a prince from “Arabian Nights” on a crusade to reclaim his land and win back the heart of his princess. The stallion seemed to know where it was going, who was I to argue? I ended up in an oasis in the middle of this scorching uninviting desert.

I now truly understand why people see mirages. The desert is that foreboding that one hopes with every cell in his existence for an oasis, for a drop of water in all this sand. He stopped at a tent, I dismounted. Something deep within told me that this was home. I entered the tent attempting to get some sleep, the exhaustion of these odd activities was finally getting to me. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night, well rested yet totally dehydrated. I made my way to the water spring at the center of the Oasis. It was a full moon that night, the silver rays of the moon shimmering as they reflected off the still dark water surface. I got down on all fours to get a glimpse of my reflection in the water as Narcissus did in the Greek myths.

Next…

The Beginning

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The Beginning

Hi. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sina Hbous. I’m pretty much your average Jane. I’m an Arab who grew up living all over the globe; my father was a diplomat and had finally returned home. I had majored in Economics at University and am now working, thanks to my fathers connections, at the office of a prestigious Minister in our newest cabinet. I’m 5 foot 6, or is it 6 foot 5; I was never any good at the metrics, with light brown hair and quizzical eyes. At least that’s how Adam describes them. Ah yes, Adam is my significant other, an ambitious young man whom I met in university. First we shared classes and soon enough we were sharing a life. Adam made my monotonous life slightly more bearable.

This was one such hectic day, it seemed I did nothing all morning but run around from office to office delivering papers, confirming meetings, relaying messages, etc.. Donkey work if you ask me, had they had any common sense they would have used the USAID money more wisely and digitized this whole place. Gave it the good once over and we’d all be walking around with Blackberrys. Imagine that, the century old employees who are stead fast to their papers and pencils attempting to make sense of handhelds; the image brought a smile to my face.

I was finally at the door of the archive. I had knocked and announced myself yet the familiar deep-throated welcome had not come. I hung around for a bit then ventured another knock. Having given up on being invited in; I held the brass handle of the gigantic oak door and turned, I had to put a little shoulder into it because it’s a real heavy door. They don’t build buildings the way they used to. The inside of the room was unnaturally dark, no light could penetrate it and there was absolutely no visibility. I guess that’s what the insides of prophet Yunus’ whale was like. Ah well, no guts no glory, I’d be creamed if I returned without a copy of that presidential decree, so I took a step inside.

WOAH!!!! I was falling; it was as if I had stepped off the edge of the cliff and was now falling… falling. I flailed around with my arms and legs. Suddenly I felt it, a heavy weight on my back; I was carrying some sort of backpack. Above me I heard a scream GERONIMO. I looked up, a parachuted solider jumped out of a plane right above me. I looked around there were several such soldiers free diving all around me breaking the stillness of the night. The person next to me screamed into my ear hurry now it will be dawn soon. I checked my watch, instead of my sleek Guess there was this bulky ugly thing, yet it confirmed his statement. Then I caught my reflection in the watch surface. Dear Lord. I’m not me. I’m a soldier. I’m one of them. I’m free falling over Arab territory and I’m one of the bad guys.

I yanked my parachute string as if I had done it a million times before and then endeavoured to execute a perfect landing. I stood there packing up my chute in complete bewilderment. I had a gun. They all had military rifles, and we were approaching a city before dawn. Those bastards, a night attack on innocent civilians. Stealthily they crept, and then one of them tripped over what must have been a local alarm system. Screams, sirens, gun fire, I jumped in the middle of the fray. I’m not sure I got to fire a single shot but I had been hit. I was dying. I passed my gun to one of the local boys. Don’t let them win.

Next…

Prologue

Prologue

It seemed that corridor would never end. I had been sent by my boss to ask for some documents from the local archive. That has involved taking an elevator trip to the ground floor, to use a different staircase, to go up to the third floor, then criss cross between a maze of desks and offices to end up at the designated corridor. During that trip I had to dodge employees wanting favours from my boss, and walk briskly with a dignified air for them to believe my twenty three year old self actually worked for the Minister. Ah c’est la vie.

Finally the door I seek. I knocked. No answer. I knocked again. Being a really polite young lady raised to obey the rules of diplomatic decorum, my parents taught me never to barge in, but by the fifth knock I was desperate. I slowly creaked open the door; I could not see the inside of the room. I opened it all the way to find nothing but darkness. The room was pitch black, its darkness almost unnatural, as if a black hole dwelled within and was absorbing all the light. To this day I’m not sure what made me do this, but I took a step forward, a step into the unknown.
******

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