With his eyes closed, Ali was able to focus and take in the world around him. It was mesmerising to have all of the world’s beautiful coursing through his veins. He felt everyone’s laughter and joy. But at the same time, he sensed everyone’s pain. That in itself devastated Ali.
Behind him, Saleem snuck up with the flat rock in hand. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Nothing about any of the day made sense to him. But especially, he couldn’t believe that his own boss had turned into what he could only assume was a superhero. There was something Saleem needed to confirm.
Saleem lunged at Ali with the sharpened rock, expecting him to dodge out of the way at lightning speed. He wanted to see what he witnessed before with the drone and the bullet. He wanted to confirm that Ali did indeed have strength and speed beyond any man.
But as Saleem thrust forward, the rock halted. It smashed into Ali’s stomach sending particles of stone cascading through the air. Saleem gasped. Ali opened his eyes. He tilted his head as he watched Saleem who skipped backward and tripped over his own feet.
“S-s- sorry! I’m sorry! I wanted to check if I was dreaming,” Saleem scrambled to his feet, “But you were blown up so… I figured a rock or a knife or something wouldn’t be… you know.”
Ali smiled and looked to Hassan who cackled. He was happy to see his friends in good spirits. He knew the pain and turmoil they went through to bring him atop the mountain. For that, he was grateful. Being able to make them smile was the very least he could do. But still, he wished to do more.
Checking the sky, the drones had surrounded the Indian army. Their side of the line of control was overwhelmed by drones. And a battle had begun. Lasers, missiles, guns, and flames— war was continuing on. Ali pointed to the chaos, alerting his friends.
“Good!” Saleem screamed, “I hope they all die! India has been killing our soldiers for far too long. It’s time that-”
Ali held up his hand to halt him, “No. These are not just Indians. These are humans.”
Before either Saleem or Hassan had a chance to say another word, Ali had taken a step towards the cliff’s edge. His feet hovered. As his friends watched in shock, Ali rose into the air and flew towards the onslaught. Alongside him, a tiny army of thousands of bearded men surrounded him— the Green Darwaish.
Ali watched as his small army danced and whirled around him. He smiled. Whatever power it was that the crystal and the glowing light gave him, Ali knew he needed to put it to the test. This was now the responsibility and burden he bore. And with one last kick of his legs, Ali took off with a sonic blast towards the drones.
Panic broke out from the line of soldiers as lasers and missiles overwhelmed them. And despite their attempts to fight back, the drones locked onto their guns and shot down all and anyone who attempted to fight back. It was no battle— it was a bloodbath.
On one side, the Indian army struggled to keep their footing while the drones threatened to wipe them out. And that wasn’t their only enemy. Soldiers from Pakistan, in a panic, rushed through the mountains. The sniper from India’s side put them on full alert. And as they attempted to defend themselves, the drones left them scattered.
The aliens didn’t discriminate, they shot all and any who held a weapon. And by the time both sides of the battle understood that, it was already too late. They became more frantic in their assault, emptying entire magazines in hopes of driving off the drones. But in the end, it only caused more of the capsule-like machines to flock to them.
In the chaos, the line of control had been crossed. The border was no longer of concern to either side when lasers and missiles threatened to gun them down. It may have been the Indian sniper that first alerted the Pakistani side, but now that the aliens had surrounded them, they had no choice but to leave their stations.
As the battle continued on, scientists from the UN office watched as the line of defense was overwhelmed by drones. They wished to send aid. But even if they were able to mobilize a unit to protect the troops, there was nothing they had that could hold back the aliens.
“What is happening?” the general said, “They’re drawing more drones to themselves. What are they doing!?”
He closed his eyes as a lone Pakistani soldier fired his gun only to be shot down by a laser. His flesh melted and his blood boiled. In minutes, he was reduced to nothing more than a pile of gore. And the same could be said for the forest itself. Trees caught fire— pine needles became floating embers.
The environment itself became a death trap. Soldiers ducked and dodged as tree trunks shattered around them. Charred branches fell to the ground. And watching the devastation around him, a lone soldier wailed as he found himself cornered. Between flames, enemy soldiers, drones, and falling timber, he had nowhere to turn.
Tears streamed down his cheeks as he watched a drone fly towards him. He believed it was the end. He believed he was going to die. In his panic, the man didn’t even notice the large fallen branch beside him float into the air.
The drone went flying. The man gasped. He didn’t know what was happening. And as he looked beside himself, he was only more confused. A tall, muscular man holding the remains of a charred tree batted the drone away like a baseball. And if witnessing the act once was unbelievable in itself, the soldier watched Ali perform the feat over and over.
Flying into the air like a baseball superstar, Ali whacked the drone into each other, causing them to burst. It was the explosion of bits of metal gears and parts that alerted the soldiers to the spectacle above them. Their eyes went wide as they pointed into the sky. In their entire lives, they have never seen anything like it.
While the soldiers saw Ali alone, only he knew that he was accompanied by the Green Darwaish. The moment he picked up the branch, each of the whirling spirits manifested one as well. And when he swung his makeshift bat, each of them joined him in smashing the drones into bits.
“Who… who are you!?” a soldier screamed.
“…I don’t know yet,” Ali said as he held his finger to his mouth, “Shh.”
The answer to that question was one even he didn’t know himself. Continuing on his onslaught, bashing the capsule-like drones through the sky, Ali had to wonder what he truly was any longer. The power he possessed was more than any man. But he still retained his own thoughts and mind.
Fighting back, the drones shot lasers at the branches, setting them ablaze. Though, just as easily as the Darwaish spawned the manifestations, they were able to create new ones. At last, the drones were the ones left defenseless. As long as he controlled the Green Darwaish, Ali believed he could stop anything.
Back at Geneva’s UN office, everyone was in an uproar. Their satellites had gone down, preventing them from having a proper image. But for the first time, they knew that the drones were being pushed back. Their data showed that the Pakistani and Indian armies had run together and ended up holed up around the same location.
By all accounts, the UN officials believed the soldiers would wipe each other out while the aliens finished off the rest. But from what their readings were showing, it was the drones who were getting pushed back. And as each of the scientists sat anxiously around the boardroom screen, they wished to finally see what was happening at the border of Kashmir.
“We’re getting the satellites back up now,” Anna said as she pointed to the screen, “Wait for it in five… four… three… two… one…”
When the images were in front of them, the entire room was shocked. But despite that images being far beyond what they ever imagined to be possible, they were awe-inspiring. Finally, humanity had a hero— someone who could stand up against the aliens when no one else could.
It appeared to be magic. That was the only way everyone in the room could describe what they were seeing. A muscular man was flying through the air with a giant tree branch batting away the drones. And if that didn’t surprise them enough, there was what seemed to be a hundred more logs swinging in the air by themselves.
Only Ali knew the true nature of what was occurring. Though, even he couldn’t fully explain what it was that he was doing. It was a sense and a feeling. Just like he was able to sense all of the natural world around him, he was able to use his powers to protect all of humanity.
As he fought, though, Ali felt goosebumps on the back of his neck. His ears were ringing. He had incredible power, but it was not unlimited. He watched as more drones flew down from the sky above. Just as he was able to replenish his Green Darwaishs, the aliens were replenishing their numbers as well.
The ringing in his ears persisted. Something was coming. Hearing the sound of snarls and howls, it finally dawned on Ali what else was still lurking through the forest. And as he looked through the burning trees, he spotted what appeared to be a thousand rabid dogs barreling through the mountains.
Along with barking, he heard human screams. The soldiers were running scared and they were cornered. In front of them was a sky full of drones. And behind them was a pack of vicious dogs. With their defenses weakened, they believed they finally met their end. But Ali refused to let that happen.
Soaring away with another sonic blast, Ali crashed between the soldiers and the dogs. Pushing his palms forward, he moved a quick whipping gust of air that knocked rows of dogs off of their feet. While his new power truly felt all-encompassing, Ali was finally starting to see his limits.
As he struggled with the dogs, the Darwaish fought the drones. But without his energy pulsing through them, they were unable to regenerate. The aliens were pushing back. The more they fired, the more of the Darwaish numbers were dwindling. Ali needed to think fast. Everything was coming undone.
Drones broke past the whirling army and set their sights on the soldiers. Fleeing for their lives, the soldiers had limited space to run. They shoved and climbed their way through the mountain passes but found no escape from their enemies that wished to destroy them. And just before they believed that nothing could make matters worse…
An Indian soldier gasped as he felt the ground beneath his feet opening. It was a landslide, or at least, that was the only explanation the armies had for the rocks and soil breaking apart. The skies above were a danger but now the Earth itself wished to take them.
Falling into the crack, the Indian soldier wailed. He thrashed and grabbed stones and roots, desperately trying to save himself. But he was slipping. Tired and sore, he hadn’t the strength left to hold himself above ground. And he feared he’d succumb to whatever depths lurked below.
Before he could slip any further, the Indian soldier saw a hand reach down to him. Instinctively, he grabbed it. He believed one of his fellow troops had come to his rescue. But he felt shocked as he spotted the insignia— two swords below a star and crescent. It was a Pakistani soldier rescuing him.
At that moment, all of the resentment he held for his enemy had turned to thankfulness. They were no longer enemies but two humans fighting for survival. Humanity relied on brotherhood. In times of chaos and struggle, having many hands coming together was what the world needed most. Peace was the most they could strive to uphold.
And sensing that pure heart and spirit inspired Ali. He closed his eyes and sensed the world around him. Instead of fighting the dogs, he tried to understand them. He breathed in deeply, feeling their fear. He sent a flow of green light through each of them.
When he opened his eyes, the dogs’ bloodshot eyes had cleared. They no longer barred their teeth or hunched their backs. The dogs were calm— confused, yet in a place of peace. They dispersed through the forest, running past the flames and drones and leaving the soldiers alone.
Peering up at the skies again, Ali knew he still had the drones to contend with. He picked up another burning tree stump and blasted into the air. He had united warring factions, pacified vicious beasts, and now he knew his final step would be driving back the aliens. But he knew that last step wouldn’t be easy. There were still aliens all over the world.
Not only were there millions of capsule-like drones in every city in the world, but just outside the Earth’s atmosphere, there was a ship floating through space. Much like the drones themselves, the mothership was sleek and cylindrical in shape. But inside weren’t just mindless machines, the brains of the operation sat at a command station watching battles on Earth take place.
He was a fearsome creature— a large bulbous face with white veiny skin and beady slits for eyes. He clenched his jaw, shattering bits of green-tinted teeth and sending them flying across the station. He saw everything that took place at the line of defense. And he refused to let anything stand in the way of his plans.
Taking a long metallic staff with a glowing pink crystal in hand, the alien commander wailed aloud, frightening the smaller beings who worked around him. Each of the tiny aliens ran between the control panels and the sliding doors. They geared and suited themselves for battle.
The docking bay of the ship opened and more drones burst down to Earth at rapid speeds. But it wasn’t only the tiny aliens who led the assault. The commander shouted to his workers to lower the ship. It was time for them to finally break into Earth’s atmosphere.
Hovering his massive clawed hands over a red button, the alien commander smiled. A small alien called out to him. The cannons are ready. And from the moment he pressed the button, it was as if the Earth’s rotation had halted. Everything was moving in slow motion as the beam came down.
In the skies above Shanghai, the very last sight anyone saw was a warm red ray of light. Heat overwhelmed the city, melting towers and building into pools of molten metal. All life was annihilated before it had a chance to react. In seconds, one of the world’s major cities was gone.
And while all of that happened, Ali felt sharp pains all over his body. Without knowing anything about the tragedy that occurred, he was able to sense the devastation. Somewhere in the world, millions of people were wiped away in an instant. Their beating hearts were only a faint memory.
Ali gasped, “Oh my God… I… I can’t do this alone. I need help.”
His powers were still a mystery even to him, but Ali believed that there was something he could do. He located gathering of humans— the ones that were watching from a satellite. He could sense them. Their hearts were beating from their chests. He needed to go to them.
Closing his eyes once more, Ali imagined the location. It was a small room with a video screen. There were people from all walks of life and many different countries. They had to be planning something, he thought. And if he could work together with them, Ali was certain he could save humanity.
As he opened his eyes, the thought of the room flashed through his mind once more. And with just one more breath, Ali vanished.
The old woman furrowed her brow once more. These were trying times. Ali had only just begun to understand the power he possessed. And he was forced to use it to hold back a threat that meant to destroy all of humanity. She hoped that he was prepared.
Teleportation was not an ability Ali knew that he had. But just like with his other powers, it came naturally to him as he focused his mind and his energy. But while he was learning how to control himself, he was unsure how to explain his gifts to anyone else.
Standing in front of the table of scientists, he understood their fears. They screamed and called for the guards who promptly opened fire on him. The bullets were of no consequence to Ali, but he knew he was going to have to help everyone to understand why he had appeared before them.
“Calm down,” he said, “I’m here to help.”
Those words got the guards to lower their weapons, but there was still skepticism. Ali wanted to break the ice. He pointed to the screen, “You’ve been watching me all this time. I know you’re at least somewhat impressed. Let me explain everything. At least, let me explain that I’m here to help you.”
Pacified, the lead scientist, Anna, asked Ali to go on, “You’ve seen me fight the aliens. But you know as well as I do that there are too many. I need your help too. We need to form an army. We need to gather whatever weapons humanity has left to make a final stand.”
Ali’s eyes darted to a sign that read ‘Development and Peace’, “All of you have been working towards peace. We can work towards it together. The drones target weapons. When they sense a machine or weapon, they lock on. But I have a plan.”
“We don’t have much time,” Ali said before Anna could interject, “We need to move quickly. I will keep the drones engaged. Meanwhile, I need you all to mobilize every army and defense system you have. We need to get all civilians out of the city. No major city is safe. You will bring your weapons and I will bring the rain. We must fight together. Together as one— humanity must stand up.”
But despite his worlds, there were still doubts. The scientists wished to know who or what he was. They feared he was one of the aliens as well. And general grumbled that a stranger would barge into the UN and demand that they mobilize their weapons. It seemed as if no one was on his side.
Though, there was one who wished to give him the benefit of the doubt. Anna, she rose to her feet and stood before Ali. She saw what he was capable of. She watched all that he had accomplished through the screen and she wanted to believe that he was the hero the world needed.
Ali placed his hand on the woman’s heart. Just as he had done with Saleem, he let green light pulse through her veins. All of the sorrow and hurt she felt dissipated. She felt calm and hopeful. Most importantly, she truly believed that Ali would be the one to stop the alien invasion.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I am the protector of all.”
Without saying another word, Ali teleported back to the line of control. He couldn’t leave the soldiers stranded. And he was certain that the UN knew what to do. Anna had felt his light and he trusted that she would carry on his message.
The UN members were unsure, but they knew that Ali had been the only one to even stand a fighting chance against the drones. If he had a plan, that was more than anything else they could hope. They had assumed the world was doomed, but humanity finally had a shot to prosper.
Calling other headquarters, the UN rallied armies and advanced weapons together. But they weren’t the only ones preparing for another assault. The mothership had risen back into space, but their cannons were preparing to strike the next major city. Even they knew they needed to move quickly. They saw Ali’s plan in action.
Sensing the changes in the air, that’s when it finally hit Ali. He felt the ship leaving the atmosphere and he blasted off into the sky to track it down. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he chased it, but if destroying the ship would prevent more deaths, he needed to try.
As Ali flew through the atmosphere and into space, however, he felt his body weakening. The strength of his body faltered. He could no longer sense and feel the world around him— everything went dark. And as Ali pushed forward, he began to fall. His mind was racing.
“Did I lose my power?”
Falling faster, Ali was in a panic. But the closer he came to the ground, he felt the green energy surging back inside of him. His strength returned. He could sense and feel everything again. Just before he crashed into the Earth, it finally dawned on him— his powers were connected to the planet itself.
On Earth, he had more power than he could ever imagine. But the enemy he faced was in space. “What do I do? How do I destroy the mothership?” While he was first filled with confidence, Ali began to doubt if what he sought was even possible. He had to hope that the UN would be able to pull through too.
Landing back at the line of control, Ali noticed that the number of drones had doubled. Just when he thought he had driven them back, they returned with even greater numbers. He watched as a drone flashed its red light and locked onto the row of soldiers. They were all in danger.
Ali leapt in front of the missile, sending his body rolling and crashing into the trees. As he stood, his body was burnt from head to toe. But the damage did not last. Walking back to the capsule-like drone, Ali’s body healed until he had no marks or scars. The aliens may not have been able to damage him, but he couldn’t say the same for the soldiers.
“There’s too many,” he thought, “If I keep fighting here, the soldiers will be killed.”
Eyeing the blast-proof door of a destroyed bunker, Ali lifted it. Just as they had done with the tree branches, the Green Darwaishs manifested similar doors. As Ali flew, the whirling old men joined him. He made a shield in the sky before shouting to the soldiers.
“Run away! Get out of here! Drop all of your weapons and run. The aliens can detect your guns!”
Talking amongst each other, the soldiers couldn’t believe what was happening. But they wanted to trust Ali. From everything they had witnessed, he was a hero.
If anyone was going to save them, they believed it was going to be Ali.
“Do what he says! Listen to Qalandar!”
“Qalandar will save us!”
“Put your faith in Qalandar!”
Drones continued to blast and break away the shields, but Ali held the defense. He and the Darwaish protected the skies as the soldiers fled down the mountain. But as he held the line, Ali began to feel tired. He was using the limits of his strength and stretching his power as far as it could go.
Seeing the last of the soldiers either reach the mountain base or cram into the tunnels, Ali took a moment to breathe. As he loosened his grip on the makeshift shield, the Darwaish began to vanish. He was falling. No longer could he keep his body afloat and he felt his limbs crash into the bushes and branches around him. He was without any energy, but he was calm.
Hidden among the bushes, he had a reprieve from the drones’ attacks. They zipped through the forest in search of weapons but found them idle. Ali had a moment to regain his composure and health. Nestled amongst nature, he was able to close his eyes and take in the energy of the world.
But time was not a luxury Ali had. The mothership was breaking through Earth’s atmosphere yet again. It was dropping towards the line of defense and its cannons were fueling up to launch another devastating blow. Ali took a deep breath and stood. His rest was short, but it was enough to refill him with the power he needed.
The next bomb was going to be in Kashmir. Ali refused to let that happen. He knew the ship was targeting him. He needed to avert their attention. Ali picked up a fallen rifle and shot it in the air. That was the calling card he needed to have every drone on the mountain on his trail.
Ali flew into the air, shooting the rifle at the drones to keep them taunted. He had to find an abandoned area. His mind searched for a strip of barren land. That would be the battlefield while the armies in Geneva prepared their weapons. Ali just had to hope that the plan would work.
Qalandar, Earth Needed A Superhero. © Copyright 2019 by Fraz Ahmed. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Disclaimer : –
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.