Chapter Eight: Resurrection
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India-2020
The ruined city of Mandu, once the center of India’s northern state and key fortress, now rested upon its plateau preserved in time. Its Palaces, Tombs and Mosques all oozed with history and secrecy. The stories encompassing these ruins were written on its walls and shown off by its distinct natural beauty. Jahaz Mahal stood out among all others as its unique ship-like structure and placement made its name famous throughout the ages. Little did anyone know that something sinister lay beneath the dirt this very place stood. An ancient battle fought long ago during the Great War between gods and demons resided in this soil. Magnificent as it was in its architectural design, it would never be able to scrub the carnage that was ensued upon its grounds.
A malefic man with slicked black hair, wearing a black suit and a faded tattoo serpent along the left side of his neck, walked up the steps of Jahaz Mahal. His crescent moon necklace shined in the moonlight while his tiger print handkerchief rested in his front jacket pocket. His aura was fiercely intense in nature as he had a sophisticated and well-established presence about him that one couldn’t doubt. Climbing to the top of the palace entrance, he adjusted his tie before entering this pristine structure.
Arriving at a courtyard, a pragmatic individual surrounded by luscious greenery stared up toward the night sky. His long braided hair wrapped around both shoulders like that of a snake. His brown eyes were filled with passion and understanding, along with his delicate facial features, which suited his unique appearance. His clean white Sherwani glimmered with light while accompanying a seemingly pressed Sirwal to cover his body. He felt no warmth or chill as his bare feet rested upon the ground below him.
Walking up to a familiar face, the suited man looked up at the sky before speaking. “What do you see when you gaze upon the stars?” he asked him.
Scanning the night sky, the gentleman replied, “Life, and how quickly it has progressed. Humanity’s history is told through its remains. For us, ours is in the stars. It’s quite marvelous when staring long enough.”
The suited man chuckled while shaking his head. “At times during the blackest nights and troubled days, I do miss your sense of naivety. It is a luxury I have not yet obtained.”
“Perhaps another few millennia could help change that perspective.” They both looked at each other and smiled. Despite their disagreements and neglect of one another, they were first and foremost family. Nothing could change that aspect no matter the problems that were faced between the two.
“It’s been many moons since our last encounter Shiva. I almost did not recognize you in such elegant clothing. Blending among mortals now?” he wondered.
“Indeed, it has Brahma. As for what I wear? Humans call this appearance…confidence. It is something worthy of trying. They say what you wear is what you protrude.” Shiva added.
“Such statuses are below us, Shiva. You of all know,” Brahma informed him.
Buttoning his suit, Shiva countered. “Indeed, it is but does not mean one shouldn’t blend with such fashions. It is what happens when you keep up with current times Brahma. You learn to adapt to your newfound environments. Despite your departure from the humanity you created, it makes me understand your creations nonetheless.”
Gently brushing the flowers among his fingertips, Brahma sighed and looked at his brother. “I assume exchanging long-forgotten pleasantries is not the sole reason you have called me here tonight?”
Shiva put his head down, trying to contain the grief he felt within. “No, it is not.” Kneeling to the ground, Shiva pressed his hand against the marbled flooring recollecting the history through its surface. “Do you ever wonder if humanity will ever realize what truly happened on these grounds?”
“In a way, I believe they do,” Brahma responded. “The city has been abandoned for centuries. It was once great, and prosperous were all wanted to inhabit. Humanity’s history makes excuses for the abandonment of such a place, but deep down, they felt something amiss. It is why it has not been touched or remade for the current population to live among its walls.”
“Perhaps your right, brother. Hmm, I even remember our first squabble here. Between you and…” Shiva stopped talking and clenched his fist.
“Do not withhold emotion. It is good to say his name.” Brahma walked up and placed his hand on Shiva’s shoulder. He could feel his brother’s pain even if he couldn’t convey it into words.
With hostility in his voice, he said, “She must pay, Brahma. She must pay for everything.” Getting up from the ground, he turned to his brother.
Sympathetic to his hurt, Brahma tried to reconsider Shiva’s ill thoughts. “The path to which you seek will only lead to further pain and destruction. Give up this vendetta that you have so mindlessly consumed. We agreed no such action would be taken.”
“YOU AGREED!” he strained. “You didn’t hold him in your hands!” Shiva took a moment to pause, then continued on while keeping his composure. “You didn’t witness his body wither to ash while the winds took him to the sky. You didn’t feel the betrayal she caused me, the pain. She was my responsibility. I trusted her, and she broke us, she broke me.”
Brahma remained silent on the matter. He did not know what could be said to ease his brother’s, broken heart. All he could do was listen to him vent. “He was our mediator Brahma. He was the string that held us together. Our brother kept us from killing each other and this world from our wrath, don’t you see that?!”
Processing everything he just told him, as reasonable as Brahma is, he could only say what he believed is right. “Such is the way of life, Shiva. I hear your cries. I know of the pain you harbor. Unjust and cruel as it may be, there is a cycle all must abide by. We all have our end, even us.”
Unsatisfied with his answer, he grabbed Brahma, and his frustrations quickly turned to sadness. “Do you even care, brother?! Do you care if he is dead? That he isn’t coming back to us? That he never will?”
“I will always care for him,” he replied calmly. “If I could save him from the clutches of death that was wrongly placed upon him, do you not think I would? Do you not think I miss him? Since his death, one of us had to convert to his logic to remain in balance. If not, then we are truly lost in our repetitive ways, and his memory would be tainted. Is that what you want in honor of his memory? For us to continue a hazardous cycle?”
Looking into his brother’s eyes, Shiva slowly let go of him and backed away. “I apologize. It was foolish of me to think of such a careless thought.”
Slightly nodding his head, accepting the apology, his curiosity did not cease as to why his brother called upon him to this place. “Why are we here, Shiva? What is the real cause of this meeting?”
Reaching into his pocket, he unveiled the purpose of their reunion. A small, ancient Hindu box was shown to Brahma. Slowly opening it up, he dropped something into the palm of his hand and tossed the box to the ground. An eyeball still intact and moving around frantically, was scared of what was about to come to fruition.
Staring at his brother, he knew what Shiva was planning, and it made Brahma uneasy. “This isn’t the answer. This won’t bring him back, and sacrificing your eye is blasphemous. It goes against the natural order of the world and our own.”
“I appreciate your input, brother, but I didn’t come to ask for permission.” Squeezing the eye in his hand, his pupils glowed purple. “I’ve asked you to come and witness the resurrection of an old foe.”
Slamming his hand onto the ground, the whole palace glowed a purple hue. A vortex formed at the floor’s base, and a six-foot cavernous hole opened up in front of them as a malevolent roar erupted from the pit. Free from the clutches of death, a demon slowly crawled out onto the marbled surface. Its body was made from the rotted pieces of the dead residing within the ground. All of it molded together to give flesh to a being that was an abomination against very nature itself.
Shiva slowly stood up and backed away from the creature as it let out a blaring scream. Once the hole closed, Brahma and Shiva stood idly by as the demon examined its surroundings in confusion. The newfound scenery was unknown to it. The last time it walked the earth, the war was raging, and bodies were scattered across the lands, blood fertilizing the soils below.
Turning its attention to the gods, the demon recognized their power emitting from their very being. Antagonized by their presence, it rushed them with furious rage. Trying to strike Shiva first, the god caught the demon’s attempted blow and grabbed him by the throat. Choking, it still reached out, trying to pursue its vengeance to the gods who slaughtered his whole race.
“I admire your bloodlust, and as much as I enjoy this pitiful attempt at revenge Mahishasura, I’m afraid I must put it to an abrupt end for something far more significant.” Tossing the demon onto the ground, it began coughing violently. “Let’s get you caught up, shall we?” Pressing his hand against Mahishasura’s forehead, Shiva’s eyes turned into a white haze. He started downloading centuries of history into the demon’s mind.
Pulling his arm back, he held his throbbing hand in pain. Shiva breathed out heavily as the demon laid on the floor, still trying to process all that was given to him. So much has been missed he didn’t even have the strength to uphold his anger anymore. The once ferocious monster that was certain to end the gods was now calm and collected. Rising up onto his feet, Mahishasura looked at the brothers in a more relaxed state.
“Why have you brought me back, god?” he finally spoke.
“To kill one you wish to see dead more than I or my brother,” Shiva answered.
Mahishasura clenched his fists, recalling the events that led to his own death. “Kali,” he blurted in a loathly tone.
The gods nodded their heads, confirming his thoughts. Looking up at Shiva, he curiously asked, “Why resurrect an old foe if you have such chances to bring her a swift end?”
“Because,” Shiva emphasized, “All us gods created her from our own essence. If our own hand is to come down on her, we too shall experience the pain tenfold. A non-god must do the deed. Who better than an old foe she would never anticipate coming?”
The demon laughed at the gods, amused by the situation before him. “A god asking I, to kill their own kind and stand aside as I do so? The irony of this knows no bounds. Still, it will give me great pleasure to see her remains dangling from my blade. Where is the goddess?”
Shiva looked over at Brahma, who closed his eyes and used his mind to sense all living beings within the world. Feeling something amiss, he honed in on this sensation until an area was revealed to him. “Last known location of Kali seems to have been recent. Faint energy radiating from the west. The region is known as California.” Opening his eyes again, he confirmed with Shiva that California was indeed the place to start the search. It was the only state to have a foreign trace of a deity.
“Thank you, brother,” Shiva acknowledged. “The location is now given to you. With said knowledge, I expect results. Now go, she is yours to claim, demon.”
With a smile, it answered back happily. “With pleasure.” Walking past the gods he headed his way out of the palace, but not before Shiva stopped him for one last bit of advice.
“Mahishasura,” Shiva added. The demon turned around, waiting for the god to finish his sentence. “Make sure her suffering is intimately slow. I do also advise clothing to cover your…newfound body. You’ll soon see the old ways are no longer relevant amongst the mortals now. Welcome to the 21st century.” Taking his leave, he now led his own vendetta to eradicate the very god who killed him. For he was dreamt of such a momentous occasion in life and in death.
Disappearing into the night, Brahma leaned over to Shiva with a glimmer of worry. “Is it wise to let a demon lose upon this world? There is no telling the catastrophe that will ensue for this decision or the consequences that will follow.”
“I do not care for the aftermath that follows him, brother.” Shiva looked into his Brahma’s eyes and this time spoke with conviction in his voice. “She will pay … She will pay for killing Vishnu.”