(Click here for the first part of this story.)
The next few days, I steered clear of drugs. No weed, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no form of opiate or amphetamine. I was clean as a whistle. From nearly being crushed under a bus to ending up in a forest with some strange hobo and then finally being teleported to my room had me scared shitless. I kept my head down and avoided eye contact with most people I met. I felt like I had seen something I was not supposed to see. I had always felt distant from the human race. But now, I felt I was no longer a part of it. I spoke to no one except Samin and Utsha. I hoped the entire thing was just a bad trip, like a hallucination or a lucid dream. But the pyramid and the pipe said otherwise. To make matters worse, the pipe had stopped changing colors and the etchings remained static. It was just a purple pipe with little black birds on it. Nothing moved. Did I imagine meeting the pyramid man? Were these merely trinklets I had stolen from somewhere in a haze of drunkenness and forgotten? Was I going schizo?
Four days after the incident, I started noticing something strange. The twitches had stopped. I didn’t know if it was because I was clean or because of having the pyramid close to myself. It was on my home computer table. The pipe I had hidden away, but the pyramid was too intriguing to keep out of sight. I liked how different it looked from everything else around it. Everything else in my room was either circular or square or variations of those two shapes. The pyramid’s shape made it stand out. Somehow it gave you the impression that you could only see half of it, the other half was hidden away from the physical world. Everytime I touched it, I felt very subtle, very comforting vibrations. It reminded me of a purring cat that would rub against to you to mark its territory.
I took a few days off from work. My boss wasn’t happy. He hinted that he was going to fire me soon. Somehow that bothered me little. I had been avoiding Samin. Hanging out with her would mean either getting smash drunk or trying out prescription drugs from her mother’s medicine cabinet. Samin’s mom had a long list of mental ailments and stocked everything from Xanax to Ritalin. I had learned my lesson with prescription drugs. I wasn’t keen on going down that road.
Utsha was much more reasonable. He’d just come and chill. Watch a movie with me and always brought his own weed. He’d offer me some and if I declined, he wouldn’t press the issue. This is why I loved Utsha. He never had the need to fill up silence with banal small-talk. We usually hungout on the roof of the building that housed my apartment. It was 20 stories high. So we had a pretty good view of the city from up there. The traffic looked like toys. People on the street were always scurrying like ants. It was just another day, like always. Except I wasn’t smoking.
That’s when I saw it. A ball of fire slowly rising towards the heavens. Then another one. And then two more. Soon the entire sky was lit up with little fiery stars. “Fanoosh…” said Utsha. There were hundreds of miniature hot air balloons, their fires lighting up the night sky. “There’s more,” Utsha pointed at few more balloons reaching towards the skies. They were rising from a nearby rooftop. The building was decorated with ropes of beady lights, a common ritual during weddings in Bangladesh. Just fucking great. These fuckers were going to play Hindi songs all night. I was pissed. I wasn’t looking forward to another sleepless night.
“Let’s see if we can put out a few balloons!”
Utsha walked near the edge of our roof, then took out his cock and pointed his stream of urine, towards the nearest hot air balloon trying to make its way towards the heavens. He actually hit one on his first go, and the fanoosh went splat on the ground. I was tempted to try myself. I went to the edge of the roof and pointed my stream of pee towards the nearest fanoosh. The fire went out with a satisfying fizz and I saw the piss soaked balloon land squarely on the face of a little boy. We heard him scream then bawling for his mommy. Me and Utsha quickly walked away from the edge, and hid behind the cover of a plastic water tank. We laughed until both of us went went into hysterics.
We went down to my room and Utsha found the accursed pipe while rummaging through my drawer cabinets for rolling papers.
“This is beautiful,” said Utsha; holding the pipe as if holding a precious emerald.
“That’s not for smoking… It’s all jammed up!” I said, trying to pry it away from his hands. “Fuck are you talking about man, this pipe is in pristine condition. Get me some weed, I want to smoke from this right now!” “Look it’s a gift for a friend, OK? I don’t want you to ruin it!” That sounded lame even to my own ears. Utsha saw right through it.
“Dude just one hit. It’s a pipe that’s what they’re made for. Especially this one. Exquisite craftsmanship. Look at the birds. So lifelike.”
It was a lost cause. Utsha would smoke from that pipe no matter. I sighed and resigned myself to fate.
I ground up some weed and stuffed the pipe. Filled the hyrdro chamber with just enough water. Despite my better judgement, I lit it up and took a heavy hit. Coughed and spluttered. Passed the pipe to Utsha. But Utsha didn’t reach for it. He was wide-eyed, slack-jawed and his arms were shaking. I thought he was having a seizure of some sort. Then I followed his gaze and felt a sharp pang of terror in my chest. The smoke from the waterpipe was concentrating in the corner of my room instead of dispersing like it should. Then the weirdest shit happened. The cloud of smoke started rearranging itself into a large triangular frame. Inside the frame was a smooth, reflective surface.
Then writing started appearing on the surface. Control Panel. Travel. Transdimensinonal Leap*. The last one had a red asterisk close to it. I turned around to look at Utsha. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” I asked him. Utsha blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes. He seemed too stunned to speak. I looked back at the screen and reached out for “Travel” button. The next screen said showed a whole bunch of videos playing in thumbnail. “Suggested Destinations” said the screen title. I reached out and picked one at random. There was a split second sensation of my brain shrinking and my body falling down a bottomless pit. Before I could scream, something incredible happened. Me and Utsha found ourselves on the shores of the longest beach I’d ever seen.
“Whoa, dude wtf… Where are we?” Utsha stood up and admired the giant moons gleaming in the turquoise sky above us. There were three large moons and two small ones, and uncountable stars glowing red, blue, orange and purple.
“This is incredible!” Utsha sounded like he was going to explode with joy. He whooped and did a cartwheel. I wish I could share his enthusiasm. This reeked of the old hobo from the bar.
We are in a place I have never seen before and I have no idea how to get home, was my first thought. The lights of many moons and multicolored stars reflected on the ocean and made it look surreal. Utsha ran straight towards the shores, took a quick dip and then reemerged looking incredibly satisfied. “I AM THE MASTER OF THIS PLANET!” He shouted at the heavens. His enthusiasm was infectious. A giant ripple in the sea made him stumble and turn around. “WHAT THE FUCK SHIT-LICKIN’ CUM-LAPPIN’ COCK-SUCKIN’ CUNT!” He pointed in the distance and yelled. I followed his gaze and stood frozen in awe.
A gigantic sea creature of some sort made an astonishing jump from under the waters. For a single moment, it overshadowed the moons. It was larger than anything I had ever seen. Its scales gleamed, and its many giant fins (or were they wings?) swayed gracefully in unison, before splashing into the sea once more. It screamed as it jumped, and the shrill sound had a physical force. I could feel my bones reverberate from the effect.
“What was that? That was no whale or squid or any sea animal I had ever seen!”
Utsha looked back at me and grinned. “I think it’s safe to assume we’re no longer on planet Earth!” He seemed absolutely unfazed by all this.
“I can’t believe what’s happening. Are we losing our minds?” I looked at Utsha for answers. Still reeling from the effect of the creature’s unearthly scream.
“Why do you always jump to the worst conclusions? Can’t you embrace the possibility that we might have stumbled upon something incredible?”
“How are we supposed to get home?”
“We’ll figure something out, don’t you worry. For now, let’s enjoy the view and go exploring.” Utsha grabbed my shoulders and shook me.
I wish I could stay as calm as him. I am not good with strange and unfamiliar. But it seemed that the universe went out of its way to put me in strange and unfamiliar situations. And what I was experiencing on that beach was beyond either.
I kept walking, cautiously. The silvery particles shone and glinted in the purple sands. If there were unknown giant life forms in the sea then there were bound to be unknown giant life forms on land. I did not fancy being eaten alive by something I could not name. “Careful, there could be flesh eating animals about.” I warned Utsha.
“Maqtoub, stop freaking out. Nothing bad is going to happen. And even if something bad does happen, we would have no regrets because we’re IN A NEW FUCKING PLANET!!!” His words were loud enough to send a group of strange blue birds flying. They seemed to have strange leathery wings, and tufts of blue fur. I got a feeling that I had seen the birds before. Were those the same birds outside Samin’s house? Why hadn’t I notice how unnatural they look before?
“Maqtoub! I think I see a hut of some sort. Way over there…”
Utsha pointed in the distance. I could barely make out the hut’s shape. It was far away, all the way at the other end of the beach. And the beach seemed to go on forever.
“Let’s check it out, but do not make any sudden moves. We need to make sure that the place is not hostile before we go knocking on their doors,” I said to Utsha.
We crept along the length of the beach, cautiously making our way towards the hut. I urged Utsha to take cover behind boulders and trees. When we were less than a hundred feet away, I saw a giant blob-like creature moving with a rolling gait. It didn’t seem to have any legs, just squirmed its way forward by wiggling its monumental bulk. It left a mini sandstorm in its wake with all the wiggling of its lower body part, which resembled that of a slug’s. The skin seemed to be oozing a thick jelly-like substance, and covered in boils. The boils were constantly popping and squirting more ooze. It had two thick tentacles for hands that seemed to possess enormous strength. It was carrying a giant tree trunk all by itself with no effort. The creature had large dull yellow eyes, with no discernible nose or mouth. For a moment, I think it turned around and looked straight at us. Me and Utsha both ducked behind the boulders.
The creature dumped the tree trunk near the hut and started squirming its way towards our direction. Me and Utsha ducked low and had our backs against the boulder. Before I could even think of running or warning Utsha, I felt a moist tentacle wrapping itself around my torso. Utsha was already lifted a few feet above ground, punching and clawing at the alien’s appendage. Terror gripped my soul. I felt a warm stream of liquid dribbling down my thighs. I had pissed myself. The creature mercilessly dragged me and Utsha across the sandy beach. I closed my mouth and eyes to keep the sand from getting in. I felt my skin being torn of by the friction from rough purple sands. Utsha was screaming. I was petrified. When we finally stopped moving I found myself inside the creature’s hut, being dangled upside down. I looked around and saw Utsha had fainted.
“Please let us go. We are horribly poisonous to eat. I am super bony anyway, there’s more bone than meat really. Not worth the trouble. We’re sorry for spying on you, we mean no harm. We’re new here!” The words fell to deaf ears. Except I couldn’t even see anything that remotely resembled ears. Just a giant blobby jello like body with erupting boils and tentacles shooting in and out from random directions. His body was semi transparent so I could see some of his alien internal organs, throbbing and squirming inside him. He gave off rancid smell that burned my nostrils. The creature’s eyes were disconcerting, several times larger than an average human head. And they were a sickly shade of yellow with no pupils. Angry red veins criss-crossed across the surface of those terrible yellow eyes. The only reason I even thought they were eyes because the creature seemed to blink every few seconds. Two leathery curtains unfolded like scrolls over his eyes and then rolled up at irregular intervals. I still had its tentacle wrapped around my tors. The creature dangled us all the way to the next room. I saw two giant vats of bubbling green substance. With a fresh burst of terror I realized what was going to happen. This monster was going to put me in some gooey foul-smelling alien soup.
“NO NO NO PLEASE DON’T!” I screamed. I felt myself being dipped headfirst into the green ooze. I felt the ooze worming its way inside my mouth, my eyes and my ears. I scrunched up my face and closed my mouth and eyes as tight as I could. But it was useless. I felt the ooze seeping into me. A delicious drowsiness was taking over.
Was I falling asleep? Was I dying? Did I care?
I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. If this was dying, it wasn’t half bad. I thought of Serafina’s smile, her soft velvet skin and her heady scent. She always smelled like peanut butter and burnt steaks.
I woke up to sounds of inhuman grunts and slurps. I shook my head to clear my vision. Utsha was sitting right next to me on what looked like a squishy rock. He was swallowing fistful of gooey white substance from a red clay bowl.
“Thank god you’re awake… I thought you would never come around. Gloobbie was pretty worried too,” he said between pauses he took while swallowing gooey white stuff. I felt a soft cushion under me and realized I was lying on a mattress made from the same material Utsha was sitting on. It was like a waterbed made out of jello. I tried to ask Utsha what happened but my throat felt parched. My limbs felt like they were made of lead. They would move several seconds after I willed them to move.
“Fuck man, you must be thirsty as hell.” Utsha offered me a large clay pitcher filled with water. I was too thirsty to care if the water was safe to drink. I gulped down half the pitcher like my life was depended on it.
“Ah. Maqtoub bro, I am pleased to you up and about.”
It was a heavy gurgling voice. Like heaps of mud being dragged across sandpaper. I turned around and froze in terror. It was the alien creature that kidnapped us earlier. It was wiggling hundreds of tiny tentacles instead of two thick powerful ones. I would have fainted in horror, except… the creature seemed…It seemed… compassionate? Despite boils erupting on its surface and squirting ooze everywhere. I couldn’t explain the feeling to myself, but there was no other word for it. The creature seemed to be giving off ‘good vibes’. My muscles relaxed. Somehow I knew it in my gut that this grotesque creature meant us no harm.
“Dude, Gloobtang is totally cool. Just relax!” Utsha said to me.
“I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot, Maqtoub bro.You humans are known to be violent and unpredictable. And you judge too much by appearances. I thought it best to give you the ability of mind-speech before offering my hospitality.” Said a disembodied gravelly voice, speaking directly in my head!
Did that thing just call me bro? This was too much to process. “Bro is a term of endearment for Earther humans; if I am not mistaken?” The blob creature known as Gloobtang looked at Utsha, then shifted his entire bulk to look at me. The gesture had a comical effect, and somehow it was oddly human. I found myself laughing. Gloobtang stretched one of his tentacles and grabbed a bowl of steaming white gooey substance.
“Would you like some nutrients?” He asked, offering me the bowl.
Somehow it was strange hearing the obvious kindness in his voice. No, it was beyond strange because Gloobtang wasn’t really speaking with his mouth. He didn’t even have a mouth, from what I’d seen of him so far. His gravelly voice spoke straight to my mind. Telepathy… or in his words ‘mind-speech’. I reached for the massive bowl of steaming white substance that looked like thick soup.
“Dude, just try it, it’s incredible. If you don’t want it then I’ll have it.” Said Utsha. His eyes were glued to the bowl. I instinctively moved it away from him.
“Your friend Utsha-bro calls it creamjizz.” Said Gloobtang.
“Of course he does.”
The delicious fumes wafting from the bowl made my stomach growl. I tilted it and swallowed a small mouthful. It tasted amazing. Then I gulped down half the bowl. It tasted like vanilla whipped cream, except somehow different. It was sweet, but not too sweet. Creamy, but not heavy.
“This stuff would be great after a joint,” said Utsha.
“What is this joint you speak of?” Gloobtang asked. I could almost feel the presence of his psychic tentacles trying to probe my mind.
“Stop doing that!” I yelled at Gloobtang.
Utsha held up his hands defensively, “Calm down, Maq. He means no harm.” He stood between me and the creature called Gloob . A few seconds passed in silence as the creature’s eyes dimmed then glowed bright.
“Excuse me bros!” Said the monster. There was unmistakable traces of hurt in his voice. He heaved his bulk a few centimetres off the ground, turned around and then wiggled to the next room.
“Great, you probably hurt the guy’s feelings.” Utsha frowned at me.
“He dangled us upside down, I don’t think he is in a position to complain about hurt feelings.” I chewed the words through gritted teeth. Utsha’s calm demeanor was pissing me off. Sure, the creature wasn’t showing any signs of wanting to eat us or do horrible experiments on us, and so far seemed good-natured. I couldn’t explain the last part, but I felt it in my guts. Did it have mind control abilities? Either way, I didn’t fancy staying on this fucked-up planet or whatever this place was until this creature devoured us in our sleep. I patted my pockets. I didn’t have the pyramid or the water-pipe with me. I remembered having left them on my desk. I cursed myself and the nutter who gave me those things. Maybe this was his plan all along. Maybe he sold us to this horrible slug-monster.
Gloobtang returned, dragging his enormous bulk with him. He shoved a bowl at Utsha with one of his tentacles. Utsha poked and sniffed at it then grinned. “Don’t ask me how but I think our friend Gloobtang just made us a fresh batch of ganja dab.” Gloobtang turned and looked at me. His giant eyes glowed bright and dimmed.
He had no mouth that I could see, but I felt him smiling on the inside.