Chapter-1

"Far…far into the future, my son, when truth would be lost in prevailing veil of myth and darkness, and we- the royals of golden age would become no more than preposterous ideas and tales, your time will come…"

You might think people have better job to do than eat popcorns and listen to the crappiest lines possible in any comedy show ( strictly speaking, it's a fantasy based film with clumsy actors and equally horrible actresses- but damn if I would not laugh at those lines! its the same "once upon a time" shit pulled off at every prophetic film with costumes heavy as mountains and jewelry evenly impossible) But no, here I sat, with my excited brother Ahmos for company, as a result of my cursed luck with rock, paper and scissors. Hell, I should have known it by now. No matter what, i would never be able to break this losing streak…

So after what I consider was my own three hours of living Neter-khertet, I laid over sofa, half dead, with serious headache in its wake, stomach oddly rolling following the binge diet to survive this movie. My brother chattered happily, blissfully unaware about my condition. I moaned pathetically, as I reached for water, and the sudden flare of light made it worse by second. It was my face planting into the ground which finally drew Ahmos's attention.

He reached for me immediately, his hands supporting my weight, but I needed to get away. Not again. please no, not again….

"Rukh, talk to me… come on man, it wasn't that bad! Rukh!"

I knew he was half scared from the way he shouted at my already ringing ears, but I couldn't get the words out to soothe him. I need to get out. NOW.

Though every cell of my body screeched to blame him, it wasn't quite true. Now and then, I get bouts of these horrible headaches accompanied by constant ringing about my ears, and unfortunately, concurred with non- stop chants in my head. It's no way cool. It's scary. It shows how you are just a step away from mental asylum. And no way in Gehenna I would want that.

'Leave me alone!', I shrieked, tears flowing freely down my cheeks. Man , what a loser... you want to see why I hate fantasy? well, look at me!

He stood intact, his eyes scrunched up with concern. I could faintly hear him make a call, probably my mother and before I could register anything else,he forced my mouth open and popped in two pills. There again- lost in sweet oblivion. I would hate to wake up in hospital again, but then again, do I have any choice to begin with?

'Are you absolutely certain you want nothing more than this child?'

'Yes' came the prompt reply.

'So he shall be yours! However, when time comes, he will be claimed again, for the sake of future! Until then, senebti!'

'Senebti, Amun!', the woman bowed deeply, her eyes fixed on the child, tightly wrapped in thick bundles, snoring lightly.

I woke up lightheaded, my head no better than before. It still throbbed weakly.

That's why I hate fantasy. It contributes to weird dreams. This one for instance. I tried to quell away my nightmare by refocusing on something else but-

That's when i realized I was in hospital.

'You already awake?', a doctor stood beside me, his fingers smoothly checking away my vitals. 'Take your time! By the way, I am Dr Alexi, and you are admitted under my care. Your mother is nearby, she will be called immediately if you desire.'' he went on lightly, 'however, I am concerned about your headache'

'Is it serious?' I didn't know they were life threatening.

'I am afraid we need to run a few tests before any conclusion. But I need to ask you some questions. Personally, preferably. I asked Mrs Asmal before, but I need to repeat them'

So the questions are not to be repeated before my mother, either. God, am I about to die?

'Are you aware about somnambulism? As in sleepwalking?' he cocked his head a little, as if to judge my reaction.

'Never heard of it, why?' Where the hell is this conversation going?

'So I take it you do not know about your previous struggle in this room amidst our hospital staff last night? 'Last night? What is he talking about? Come to think of it, what day is today?

My silence spoke volumes. It was as good as any admission that I knew nothing. Yet I didn't deny the conversation on sight, as many people would have done. I knew something didn't sit right and I was morbidly curious to find it out. Besides, where did my mother go when I need her the most? Normally, she sticks up like Araldite glue- seems like today was not the day.

'I see. You may enter, Mrs Asmal' the last four words were clearly meant for my mother, who stood quite beaten, looking very ill. Well, dealing with a trouble child with migraine tendencies accelerates ageing, so I am not really going to point that out!

She is a tough woman, with no nonsense attitude. But that was not what I saw today. She was close to tears, and from the fresh red patch on Ahmos's cheeks, he was just handed out punishment. Well, not that I particularly care about that part.

'You gave me quite a fright!', she squeezed me tightly, ignoring my every verbal protest as I was suffocated alive, 'Ahmos told me everything. Come on, dear, I told you to never stress yourself out, but you seem to make it a habit to stress me out!' In the hindsight, Ahmos gagged, before mum caught him,' You too, Ahmos! Come over here!'

''Damn it, mom! Can't breathe! Can't breathe!'', he managed to croak out, but from corner of my eyes, I saw doctor instructing nurse before he cleared his throat. 'So…'

We straightened out immediately. All our bodies tensed, but my mother's condition was far worse. She bit her lips nervously, her hands clasped tight on my shoulder,' yes, doc?'

'As discussed earlier, it appears that he suffers from somnambulism. But it seems none of you are aware of this condition, so this might be the first time when it occurred. So it's best to go through your full schedule for the last three days, to understand possible triggers. I should rather add, everything- planned or unplanned.'

Planned or unplanned? Does he by any chance meant dreams? Or this damned movie?

After three hours of bone-breaking interrogation ( it was nothing less than that for me), I finally came out of Dr Alexi's office, completely exhausted, finally getting some answers with mum and Ahmos. What I didn't tell them was those reverberating echoes in my head, which undoubtedly, was a sure trip to ward. Lately, the voices have increased, and so did my headaches. Are they connected somehow? I am pretty sure there is no reason for me to develop schizophrenia, but what are they?

I was pretty quiet as I went over those questions repeatedly in my head. Amun? Isn't he supposed to be an Egyptian god? Why the hell am I hallucinating about him? God, I am getting nuts, for sure!

What I didn't realize was my brother's and mum's silence too…

'Rukh, we need to talk'