Chapter 1:


Caged Windows

Jim was tired. Very, very tired. He had been roaming this endless desert for as long as he could remember. The sand was as red as it could get, complementing the scorching sun of the Sahara, with large and curved sand dunes spanning as far as the eye could see. The warm and dry winds, blowing sand into his eyes and obscuring his already weak field of vision. Jim was a very average guy and was never really interested in touring the world but, his friends had managed to finally convince him for this ordeal. Now, right as the trip was about to start, Jim was lost.

“So much for a fun get together, eh?” Jim whispered to himself while blocking the sand from entering his eyes with one hand and blocking the sun out from the other. It was really hard to keep up in this scorching temperature and Jim was never really much of an athlete. He was never interested in attending this trip and, the only reason he did it was because he wanted to see Rachel again. Rachel was his childhood love, which he had never mustered the courage to propose to. This caused Jim to be as single as a moose for almost all his life. He still loved her very much so, and hence wanted to take this chance to finally propose to her. The only problem, he couldn’t even reach the specified the address for the trip.

“I swear to god when I find Harry, I’m going to beat the ever-living crap out of him”

Jim continued walking the long landscape, looking for any sign of life or resource that he could consume for his survival in this god forsaken place. The first day was hell to survive, but he had somehow managed to do so with the help of the snacks he had bought along with him for the trip.

Why did you have to eat everything all at once you fool, Jim thought frustratedly.

Nevertheless, he continued walking. The sun had now set and with that the temperatures had fallen to an all-time low. It was freezing, and Jim didn’t have any insulation to protect him. Rubbing his hands for warmth, he now removed his phone out for the 22nd time to check for any sign of hope, but to his dismay, there was still no network available, and, to add insult to injury, his battery was now at a mere 2%.

“FUCK YOU!” Jim shouted while throwing his phone away in the distance.

“I don’t need your bloody network to save me you trash! I know celestial navigation thank you very much.” Jim pointed his hand out and attempted to read the stars. He and Rachel had taken the same elective back in university, where unsurprisingly she was the master at the craft and he, not so much. Regardless, Jim was an optimist and tried to find his way with the help of the guiding stars.

He searched for three days straight-nothing.

“Aaah-ah-ah” Jim, now almost as dead as a dry mosquito and lying on his withered back, muttered to himself, tired from the all the walking he underwent the last few days.

“Wa-wa...water-” it took all he had to just stay awake. He knew if he closed his eyes now, he might never wake up again. Regardless, Jim no longer had the strength to walk or speak anymore. He stared at the night sky with his wrinkly eyes and wondered to himself.

Was my life truly worth it? I earn so much money and yet no one really knows who I am. Why is that? Why am I not known by all, not praised by all, not loved by all? I thought life was meant to be an exciting roller coaster, with its occasional ups and downs but, if that is the case, why does my heart only sink when I go to work. Why do I not find joy in making my art as I once did as a kid? Why can I not muster up the courage to ask her out? Why?

As Jim continued to ponder about his life, he noticed a serene view in the night sky. The stars had aligned in a way so-as-to represent his long-deceased mother, all shining unanimously and, at the centre of that shining face, there was a sinister smile with eyes that looked down at him with scorn and resentment.

Why do you hate me mother?

The face continued to stare at him, ominously.

Was I not a good son Mother? Answer me please.

Still no response.

“PLEASE!” Jim shouted with all his might.

The face opened its mouth wide.


And with that a thundercrack was heard in the distance. It was so loud and deafening that Jim thought it might rupture his eardrums but, he did not have the strength or the willpower to move his body, much less cover his ears.

I am sorry for everything mother.

Jim now closed his eyes, with tears falling down his eyes. He did not care about waking up anymore, neither did he care about what was going to happen to him now. The only thing he wanted now was forgiveness for leaving his mother when she needed him the most, and, forgiveness from the Almighty himself for all his past sins.

But, just as Jim was about to fall into a deep slumber from which he would never wake up, he was roused by a small drop of water trickling down his cheek, which was followed by another that fell right on his dry lips.


Jim now opened his eyes, but what he saw horrified him. It was not water, he was surrounded by three scrawny men having dirty green skin and wearing nothing but a golden crown atop their heads, waving their exposed genitals right in front of his face. They were smiling sinister smiles and had large amounts of saliva drooling down their chins.

“H-he-hel-” Jim tried to shout out, but was smacked right in the head and *BAAM*, darkness followed soon after.


Jim now woke up to find himself tied down to a wooden frame, with both his legs and hands tied with some sort of jute-like fibre. He tried to break free, but was unsuccessful due to his lack of energy and stamina. His body was on the brink of collapse and needed nourishment immediately. Dejected, he was about to close his eyes once again but, just was he was about to, the men that were carrying him on their shoulders, suddenly stopped.

What now? Jim wondered hopelessly. One of the scrawny men tapped on his shoulder and pointed ahead as if wanting to show him something. Jim looked away from that man and stared at the direction being pointed at by him.

He wished he hadn’t.

Up ahead was a large and very tall sand dune, having a heinous green colour with hints of blood red- resembling splashes of blood-scattered all about it and, right at the centre of this satanic dune, was a building. A building so narrow, dark, and endless, it felt as if it would suck the very soul out of him. It had no upper limit, and, each floor seemed to have around four haunting square cages, each having nothing but four thick bars-aligned perfectly-at their sides and stacked on top of each other, resulting in a never-ending architectural tower-of-cages. This tower was surrounded by several indistinguishable crowned and scrawny green men, who were each carrying other victims on their backs. Jim squinted his eyes further but could not see what was happening inside of these cages. He could only hear faint yet agonizing screams coming from each of them and knew that, whatever awaited him in there, would be worse than death itself.

NO PLEASE GOD!” Jim screamed while struggling to escape from the bondage.

The men now started laughing and howling like hyenas that had just killed its prey.

NO, NO, NO, NO AHH-AHHHHH” Jim continued to scream and struggle with every fibre of his being but could only see the caged windows appearing closer and closer, with the screams amplifying, ever so slowly. Knowing he had no way to escape, Jim gave up and stopped his futile attempt.

Funny, I thought I had run out of strength a while ago, Jim wondered a final time, laughing hysterically.

I am pathetic


“I wonder why it’s taking Jim so long?” Rachel asked her friends while lying down on a bean bag, in the black and cosy tent, sipping a hot cup of coffee.

“I mean the prank was not that bad now, was it?” James answered with a smirk on his face.

“Well, everyone should know how to navigate the stars when they are lost now, shouldn’t they?” Harry added to the conversion, while licking the grease from his fingers.

“Yeah right!” Rachel replied, taking a sip from her coffee.

Syed Al Wasee
Caged Windows

Caged Windows