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By Newbury


John’s Story

She came to me in the early morning, in an hour protected by the darkness. A silent figure that stared at me through the gloom, that moment seemed to last forever but then she moved and slid into my bed. I could feel but not see this siren. I tried to speak but a finger pressed against my lips. She lay there in her nakedness not moving or speaking, I lay there in fear, breathing heavily aroused by this body that had now turned and wrapped itself around me.

The magical spell was broken when she moved so quietly at first and then

with some finesse she was upon me and took me into her. I lay there as she bestrode me and moved with an increasing energy and purpose. The intimacy became more intense and I could feel her desire as she rode me up and down with ever more feeling.

When the moment had passed, we lay there in our silence, still trapped into the darkness of the night, sounds of life starting to float across the room and I

had this warm contented feeling that I wanted to continue, then she was gone

before the day became light. No farewells, no gestures, just a void and that sense of something, even if was just being alive was broken.

She appeared with no pattern but always at the same time of the night. Sometimes it was every night and then maybe a week and I wondered why

but no more. This time as usual she floated silently into the room and was beside me. She clung on to me and I could feel her tears as we lay there in

the gloom, just caught by the moments of pain. Night after night she came to me and cried and I held her and whispered words of comfort but mostly with no response. But as the visits became more regular the moments of sorrow and tranquillity became less and then she wanted to be loved and the nights were now transformed into reckless lovemaking confined by no barriers. But the rules were always the same and I felt at times I was just a vehicle for her passion and desire that she had found and released. She could not speak words of love and no sounds of pleasure only in the final act of deliverance could she surrender to the moment and cry out but it was always controlled and discreet.

These nights became rituals to her desires and I was drawn into the web, my life that was quiet and without excitement now had an intrigue and mystery as well a sexual enlightenment.

Each night I slept in anticipation of being awoken by my silent visitor, but I also realised that I was now entranced and wanted it to continue irrespective of the terms of engagement. The darkness was a symbol of her visits, it represented her uncertainity and I did not want to break this passage to safety.

The morning had come and I awoke to a silence and the early morning sunshine dancing through the shutters, then I realised that she was standing there; I turned nervously shocked by the timing of her presence. For the first time I could actually see my companion. She smiled, pushed her hair off her face, she wore no make up and she wore a long robe that looked like it had come from a foreign land. It hid her body. Her face was beautiful, I was looking at my dreams, she moved and slipped in beside me still wearing her clothes. I was nervous, we were face to face, and she held my hand and kissed me in a soft gentle motion then looked deep into my eyes as if trying to read my thoughts. Then she spoke ever so quietly

My name is Niki; the accent was lost in my head. I muttered a reply.

The silence continued but it was different we were still holding each other warmly, staring at each other, words were unnecessary something was happening to our souls, the messages were passing through the air being captured by our inner beings that had been waiting for this to happen. She was young but she could not hide her pain and although I did not seek to stare she had small scars around her face and down her neck that showed there had been a life of suffering.

We spoke gently to each other; I longed to seek the truth but held my thoughts knowing it was for her to tell me. As always she instigated the transition to sexual activity but this time not shrouded and hidden by the night.

Without warning she threw back the bed clothes and stared at my naked body then with a movement she was naked as well. I stared at this vision, her body looked like a work of art but through my eyes I could see further evidence of a brutal past. I was mesmerised, I could not believe her beauty, she was scared within and her olive skin was scared by somebody I did not know but it could not take away this portrait of loveliness.

We made love again and then slept; I awoke and looked at my young angel who was still in some afar land, dreaming of her escape. I had known this

woman for such a short amount of time, yet she was woven into my heart.

I reached out and touched her face; she awoke and smiled at me. The day was half gone and as we sat on my rumbled bed eating and drinking this seemed normality captured in a moment. Still words were strangers, I found myself trapped not wanting to break the spell and she still could not feel free to relay her story. The afternoon became evening and we still held each other and from my window she looked across the sky to the sea that nestled against the shoreline. I could sense her fear and the tears fell again and she looked at me in pain and said ‘One day you will know, but not now.’ She nestled her head into my chest and cried some more.

I found some words and in a soft tone ‘You need tell me nothing that your heart cannot surrender’

I lifted her head and wiped the tears, I wanted her to be alive and forget the past. I wanted to be her salvation.

We made love, for the first time I made love to her and she lay there in a submissive posture but did cry out with pleasure and seemed to be happy.

The evening fell into the darkness of the night and we drifted into the oblivion of sleep. I dreamt strange stories that filled me with fear. They were about her in a land I could not understand with people who took her as a slave. I could see a man. This man did not speak but created a spectre of evil and cruelty.

When I awoke I was alone, it was dark and she had gone. I lay silently and I cried because I knew my dreams were maybe telling me her story and an outcome that frightened me. I had seen a story of death. I could not move, why did I feel so alone.

I knew I loved this girl despite the briefest of times together. I waited for the light and perhaps her return but I had then had the strangest feeling that she was maybe gone forever. I was tormented by my fears and that day followed more empty days. It was now a week and my soul had gone and would not return.

A letter fell through the door and somehow I knew that this maybe was the answer I was seeking.

‘I have gone to a land of misery and torment.

But I could not stay in your world despite my feelings.

You saved me and my soul with your love.

You showed me tenderness when all I had was despair.

You gave me peace and silence to heal myself.

I found respect in your arms and more so in your body.

I was a broken young girl and now I am a restored young woman.

But I have left you; I know you will be sad and alone.

Do not die within yourself for me, my world is too difficult.

You would not survive and I cannot break free to be with you.

You need the love of a free soul not a broken shell.

Look forward and find another, I will always be yours.

I will not find another and one day I shall return.

But do not wait, live a life and I will find you in a better world’.

In my room there was only darkness despite the hour, the letter brought no comfort only more torture. I had a brief moment of perfect love and wanted more, no return to a meaningless existence and small moments of happiness. I sat for hours, perhaps even more lost days, looking at the distant sea, seeking a solution, holding nothing but a page of pain.

I could not work, I could not speak, and I read the letter so many times until every word had a separate meaning. Then I found a spark of light from the post mark on the envelope, it appeared to be an avenue I could follow and it supported the few private words she had allowed me to know. It was far away, but that did not matter. I had a chance, I would rescue her, and she would not perish in her world that she could not tell me about.

Why in this modern world could she not escape, was it an excuse, did she really only use me to repair her body and it was all just a lie to ease the passage away from me. I wrestled with these thoughts but I knew now what a real love was and I wanted it to be the truth.

I had known this girl for only a few months, no-one would believe the story,

even I found it difficult to rationalise the fact of a mysterious woman appearing into my room in the darkness and then staying within my heart and but was gone perhaps forever. Was it only dream?

I knew nothing about her and we had spoken so few words of any meaning.

so how could I be in love, what is love, some indefinable emotional state that defies the logic of the human entity. Do animals love, or do they become attached, was I infatuated with her mere presence. Was it lust, she pleasured me in a basic fashion .She was young but old in the primeval ways. Was it her vulnerability, the basic tenant of an existence? She looked at me on that final day like no other, her eyes overwhelmed me. I had seen a fragile exposed soul. She had opened her heart and showed the pain of her inner being. She had hidden her life and told me only a fraction of her story for she knew she needed to protect me.

The previous loves of my life had pretended to be open, expressing words of love but they had held their true feelings inside themselves and only after the opening phase of the love adventure had died did they show their real selves. That is what I hated about this game of romance.

I had retreated and lived a life of solitude in my little room, but I was sheltered from emotional distress. I took my pleasures from women but did not want any form of attachment. I had a few friends, work that paid but brought no satisfaction. I existed but was not living. It was I that needed to be rescued. Yet I could see her love in brief moments. She was a tortured soul but I could see the real person, a gentle beautiful woman that needed a life in a world of hope. Not a prisoner in some evil land.

I wanted to find her; I would travel the world if I was going to be that knight but what was the real reason for my sense of purpose. If I could take her from her

world that she refused to let me into and then we could share a life and see in a normal existence whether these feelings could be held. But I needed to try because if this was real love then I wanted to capture this dream and turn it into a reality.

I resigned from my safe job but was disturbed by my intentions and my future, what was I doing, I am man who was reacting to my feelings. I was the definition of a male who treasured security and who would be lost when confronted by the reckless abandonment of convention and who had conceded to the whims of a broken heart.

I was left to follow a trail with no name, no photo and only an envelope to give me any sense of direction.

‘May my journey be short

May my salvation be found in the stars

That shine across the endless sky

Reflecting a mood, seeking the truth

That will settle the soul

But having found love and then to lose it

That would be a sin

So I am going to the unknown’.

What can this be, other people are not bound by tradition

I am, nothing is done without thought and planning.

I walked to the railway station, money in my pocket.

My journey had began, it started to rain but the sun was still shining it mirrored my feelings.

I had arrived at the airport and waited for my flight to my destiny.

A month had passed by since she had gone home. The time had had elapsed and I had fought my conscience, then the embassy for the visa and now I was going to Iran.

I could not believe that I had flown so easily to this despotic land, now I was sitting on a train that would convey me to a city that had a reputation as one of the unsafest places in the world and I did not care. I sat quietly looking out of the window at the lands as bleak as my future but my heart raced with the excitement. The day drifted into night and I found a sleeping compartment. The people I had met so far challenged my image of this country. They smiled, offered assistance and seemed happy and unaffected by the troubles.

The train journey was endless and I was losing heart, then whilst I looked aimlessly at the passing lands oblivious to their history I was joined by a young man. He sat and spoke gently asking where I was going, his face looked shocked when I mentioned the name of the place. We spoke for most of the day, he told me of his life, and I hid behind my language and hid the truth. He touched my arm and said that I would die if I continued into this lawless land. I did not reply and avoided his stares. We sat quietly for hours, day became night and I slept, when I awoke it was early morning and my new companion had disappeared and I felt sadness, he was an immediate soul mate. We were a day away from my destiny.

I sat forlornly picking at the bread that I had left and then I saw my new friend return and his expression was of a worried man. He sat down next to me and he held some clothes in his arms. He reached across and held my wrist and looked at me intently. I felt disconcerted by this warm expression of feelings

‘I will join you and help you if you tell me the truth of why you want to venture into hell’

I had no choice, I knew my chances of finding my love were slim and only with his help did I have a possibility of finding a resolution. My words were spoken slowly and I tried to be honest and relay the whole journey. He looked at me

and still held my arm but a tear appeared and he turned away to find his composure. He spoke through the emotion.

‘You will die before you find her’

but before I could reply he had turned and raised a finger and touched my lips. He needed no words from me.

He handed me the traditional clothes and told me to throw away my western possessions. I went and changed and tried to become a local.

The train stopped and my friend led me like an attentive guide dog off the platform and to the bus that would take us the last miles.

Soon we arrived and were driving through the chaos I finally realised I was in another world.

When we walked he told me avoid eye contact and never to speak. He took me to a seedy looking hotel. There I was to stay whilst he would venture out and see if he could find a girl that had just returned home.

I was hidden away for my own safety but I felt weak and defeated, how could I

let this brave young man expose himself to this world of distrust and hate.

Why, I hardly new him and he might die for me.

Days passed, I could see him change every time he returned, and he was scared. He looked at me and said he had spoken to many people and he did not have any answers but he had been told that ‘they ‘knew I was here.

The night was hot and I slept fitfully and he had gone out and I was scared.

Then my world was changed, suddenly the door opened and through the darkness I could see a number of them and within a second they had hit me into oblivion.

When I awoke I was alone in a stone airless room, I was naked and cold,

It was my cell and I was tied to a wall, naked and bleeding. I knew that this was to be end of this journey. I could hear voices and the scent of death was in the air, it should surely be only a matter of time. That time appeared to be now as men dressed in black robes entered the room. This was not be a trial,

they stood before me and laughed loudly, cleared their throats and spat at me. They showed such disdain for my situation. The door was open and in the shadows I could see a large bearded man, who was observing but not taking part in the rituals. He was the man in my dreams.

I was scared but I wanted them to say what was I doing in their lands then I could be brave and display my love for this woman but the laughter had stopped and now there was a cold silence and the hostility made my planned revolt futile. I was cold and shivered and I waited for the pain to begin. The torture was easy and not sophisticated they hit me until I passed out.

When I awoke I was lying on the floor, unfettered, they hovered and kicked me continuously still I could see the man in the shadows. My body was surrendering there was no interlude, no questions, just revenge and the need to inflict pain. Death was near but not yet. I knew that the time span of this attack was short but it was unremitting. I thought of her and tried to focus and concentrate on her face. But it was only a momentary pleasure as a sharp object that even glistened in this dull light seemed to be passing through my failing body. I was now near the end and barely in this world but the assault had stopped and I could hear hushed voices and the shuffling of feet and then the man from the shadows appeared above me. I could see him staring down at me, he reached forward and said ‘my name is Asad, remember it’ and then I realised that his contribution was just to urinate over me and laugh. I knew I was being left to die in this cold and airless room.

I was somewhere out of this world and on the way to infinity, is this what really happens when you are dying. A sense of calm, no more pain but not like the stories there was no real out of body experience, there was just a nothing ness.

Then in the darkness there was a sensation of being of being gently caressed. I knew it was her, I could sense it, and I was absorbed by her perfume and her spirituality. She spoke in a language I could not understand

but she was taking me away from the blackness that I could see. There was a tunnel and I was falling and falling into the void but suddenly the pains returned, I was being pulled back to the real living world and was now in a semi conscious state. I could hear voices speaking words that I could now understand and I felt stronger because that it was her and the gallant young man from the train.

My moment of lucidity was brief and I could not speak but I realised that I was not in my cell. The stench of decay and death was overwhelming.

She whispered words of comfort,

‘My love we have found you, they had thrown you away with the rubbish to die alone with the rats and flies. But you will be saved, I cannot stay with you otherwise you will die but Tariq will take you to somewhere and you will be looked after and be safe. ‘Be strong my love I will come to you’

She may have spoken more words but I was gone to another world.

My senses tried to capture the enormity of the moment, I knew I was in a vehicle that was moving at great speed but that was all that I knew. My mother came and spoke to me, was I dead.

I did survive because I awoke and that must have been a miracle that I was able to open my eyes again, somehow he had brought me to a sanctuary. where, I was to discover and realised that I was alive and not rotting in a hole in a foreign land.

Tariq appeared and smiled, he was a handsome man with a black beard but who dressed in western clothes. He came and embraced me, quickly he wiped a tear away from his eye .He was such a young and emotional man.

He told me that he thought I would die and that we had gone a long way across the border to an isolated monastic community. There they had brought doctors who had operated on my damaged kidneys and kept me comatose to save me from the pain. Three weeks had passed and I had apparently died more than once but Tariq said that Allah wanted me to live and it must have been for a purpose. This powerful unknown spirit kept bringing me back each time they thought I had gone. Tariq came to me over the following days, not staying long but giving me a sense of warmth. I was being nursed and I could feel I was getting better but where was she.

They me moved out of my bed into the front of a window that looked out and down a long valley, a barren land but this was an oasis of calm. Tariq came and brought me a card with a Red Tulip on the cover. It was from her.

‘My love I know you are nearly well and soon it will be time for you to go home. I have been to see you but you were asleep and I sat and held your hand and prayed to Allah. I will come to you soon and then you must be strong and heal your mind and your body and wait for me’.

I waited for her in my refuge but she did not come but I was getting better and was now able to walk around the room. Was she safe, had they taken their revenge on her as well? Days passed and I saw no-one until eventually Tariq came and explained that they had arranged for me to be on a flight home the following day. The Doctors have said you can go and we all believe it would be a better for you to leave this land; it would be better and safer.

He knew what was in my mind; he just shrugged his shoulders and turned away. My wounds had healed; my only problem was that my vision had now deteriorated due to the beating, maybe gone forever. But my heart was still broken. I asked Tariq how I was going to be able to go home without a passport lost in the battle; he just smiled and left the room

I lay there in the dark unable to sleep trying to recapture what had happened in the passed months. The weather was hot and it was dark and humid, I sat by the window and tried to breathe, only a few more hours and I would be gone from this land. Then as before she appeared silently, dressed in black, I could hardly see her, but that scent….it just permeated the air.

She came to me and held me tight, not wanting to release me she clung to me for a long long time. The tears came easily and fell from both of our eyes. I lit a candle and looked at her intently through the shadows. I knew again what I loved and why I had ventured so far to rescue her. She had this aura that just enveloped me, it was like a spell. I was frightened; she appeared like a ghost whenever I saw her. She held my hand and for the first time tried to explain what had happened but not her past that she kept within her, fearing it would bring more retribution.

She undid her robe and showed me her naked body; I wanted her but not here. This was a place of worship and a sanctuary. I was a non-believer but I treasured their home as a place where I had died and yet was saved. Whether there was a divine intervention I would not know but I would not pollute and abuse their world. I pulled her robe back and said I would always love her. She cried tears of regret and recognition of the situation. She held my hand and placed it on her stomach, in some hidden code that I was not sure I wanted to understand. ‘Sleep with me for a few hrs’ and we lay down together. We lay there holding each other tight knowing that in short while we would be parted again. Then the night took us to sleep.

When I awoke Tariq stood before me in the daylight and she had gone. I was taken to a remote place in a strange land and to an awaiting plane. It was swift and within minutes I was gone from this land of hate.

Soon I was back in my grey room, alone apart from my memories.

My parting had been so sudden, Tariq had made it easy but I could see in his eyes that he was frightened that ‘they’ would come. He had put me on the plane and had made another route out for himself. I asked about her but he did know. She had disappeared again without a farewell, no note, just gone into the air again. Why could she not stay with me and say goodbye. I had nothing to help me just my memories. But I was even sadder now because I had tried and survived and knew that she really loved me but there now seemed to be no way for us to meet again. I could only wait and see if she would re-appear.

Time moved slowly I found myself another job but did not move. I took the occasional woman just to satisfy a need but they were always prostitutes so that I could justify by paying for my relief.

A year had passed since I had first seen her and the post produced another surprise, a card came again with a Red Tulip on the cover. It was written in a language I could not understand. I guessed it was Farsi.

I soon found somebody to translate the words.

‘I love you, I will come one day, do not leave me, I need you to be there’

I looked across the skyline to the shore and cried. I was consumed by guilt. My life passed on, nothing changed and every year a card came with the same words. I waited but I knew my life was passing me by, if she had died then perhaps I would move on but now I was trapped into this world of hope and as the years passed I became resentful but I did nothing to break this invisible spell, occasionally I tried to see if there was a way back but it was only a token gesture.

Whenever my spirits wavered she would come to me in my dreams and we would make love in a spiritual world but that seemed so real. I would wake in the morning exhausted and satisfied. Was it just a dream or did this woman really carry herself into this other world and gather me up and capture me yet again. I wished that she could take me to this spiritual world and let me live in a world of peace and harmony. I was restless about the Red Tulip card and what message she was sending me.

‘Where the blood of a martyr spills a Red Tulip will bloom’

‘Tulips do not die they are perennial between blooms they just prepare’

The symbolism helped but only as a reaffirmation of her love.

Eighteen years passed and I was now a sad middle aged man alone and frequently unhappy. My only moments of happiness seemed to be these ethereal visits and her annual card expressing her love. Tariq was a friend who came to see me and we shared a companionship but he had a new life and he wanted to forget and not talk about the past. Occasionally I persuaded him to help me trawl the new world of the internet. He would show me how to access and

search web-sites and send e mails to unknown people but never did we find any signs or have any replies. Was I old already, is this another world that I cannot see or touch but somebody is apparently there waiting. I wondered if this was going to be the future and our bodies would not be needed because we would never move from our screens.

Then the annual card did not arrive, I waited but it was not late and I knew something had happened and my world would be changed forever.

I could not sleep and I looked old, it was winter and I lay in my bed not wanting to move or to think anymore. Then I heard my door open and soft footsteps across my floor. I turned slowly and saw a young woman who looked like my love but it was not her. She stood at the foot of my bed and smiled and then she sat beside me. She wore the same perfume and I could see the Red Tulip card in her hand, she went to speak, I raised my finger and pressed it against her lips and I cried. I did not need to her to explain, I knew who she was and I would learn her story in the many many days that would follow this wonderful moment.

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2 Jun, 2020
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