The question from Mslexia Magazine: Are novels becoming too politically correct?

      An another form of censorship which “kills” freedom of creativity. In every (or almost every) fiction exist bad guys and good guys, and it’s up to the author and readers to take/not to take one side or another. Political incorrectness is just one of many tools for the writer to create the “depth” of his/her characters. And then again, in fiction like in a real life, what is the measure of “good” and “bad”?

What do you think?

All comments can find here: Mslexia Facebook

 

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[Short story] Sabotage (excerpt)

It was Sunday afternoon. Despite the weather, a beach was almost empty, and only a few tourists had their late lunch.

The national flag on the Town Hall was at half-mast, and only from time to time the police car’s sirens broke the heave hot afternoon air. The town was in mourning after yesterday’s event. In fact, the whole country felt horrified and distressed.

A smartly dressed gentleman of an uncertain age was sitting at one of the tables at a small café on the seafront. His very dark hair contrasted with his very pale, almost white eyes. His pale face without a hint of suntan looked apathetically.

He nodded to a waitress who brought him a cup of his latte and beamed his perfect white smile. At that moment, he looked very satisfied and even happy that didn’t fit in everybody’s mood of fear and grief.

He switched on his tablet and started to read the latest news. Web-pages were full of scenes of yesterday’s terror—endless views of the place, where two suicide bombers killed themselves taking with them a couple of hundreds citizens’ lives, the debris of glass from nearby shops and bars, witnesses’ interviews, police comments, gossips, etc., etc.

The gentleman made a big sip of the thick, mouth burning latte and nodded again, as if he would have agreed with something.

‘Good! Very good!’ he whispered to himself.

‘It looks like you had a very productive day yesterday, didn’t you?’ somebody’s mocking comment interrupted him from reading.

A tall young man with blond hair dressed in white shabby jeans and a black T-shirt took a seat at his table.

‘Oh, you?’ the gentleman raised his narrow eyebrows. ‘I haven’t seen you for ages, my friend. Your exile here hasn’t finished yet, I’m supposed.’

‘You’re so busy nowadays. I didn’t want to disturb you,’ the stranger smiled his crooked smile.

His big grey eyes stood serious though, the deep dark shadows surrounded them. He was young, but he looked very tired, even exhausted, his whole appearance—his clothes, his hair– looked untidy. He didn’t pay much attention to these things.

‘You’ve already done this,’ Death murmured irritably. ‘Why did you come? Don’t you see how busy I am? I got a great harvest yesterday here, a few days ago–in France, last week—in Germany, and it looks like I will be harvesting for a long time here, in Europe. Don’t even try to get in my way.’

‘Bastard!’ Sorcerer thought to himself, but answered: ‘I came to make a deal with you.’

‘What can you offer me?’ Death shrugged. ‘Look at this beauty,’ he showed him the news on the tablet’s screen. ‘It’s even better than every war.’

‘I need to go home,’ Sorcerer moved closer to his companion. ‘I can’t return to my world without your help, you know that. I’ve been living here, in this dull, cruel, backward world for hundreds of years. It’s driving me crazy, and I need to come back home.’

‘As far as I remember, your exile to this world was one of the most important conditions of peace which your clan had made,’ Death frowned, making another big sip of the already cold latte. ‘Don’t involve me in your shady business.’

‘I’ve been betrayed by my own relatives. We may win our war, and would’ve needed to make this ignominious peace. If you help me to get to the other side, you’ll receive the lives of these traitors. Think about it, the lives of sorcerers…It’s not so easy to take them, they cost a lot. A few dead humans? Not a big deal compare to a few dead sorcerers, eh?’

‘Hmm,’ Death bit his narrow lips and looked straight into Sorcerer’s eyes. These grey eyes caught him and dragged into the freezing cold waters of anger and sorrow. He couldn’t bear this look and looked away. He was naïve, thinking that Sorcerer had lost all his magical power, living in the human’s world for so long. He was wrong.

‘Even if I help you and guide you through a bridge to the other side, even if you take your revenge, and I take lives of sorcerers, what will be next?’ he answered finally. ‘Peace will prevail in your world, but what about me? How will I benefit from it? Besides, malachs[1] will be very moody when they know that I help you. Why do I need all these problems? I’m very satisfied with my presence here.’

‘Oh, I can’t believe you’re scared of malachs,’ Sorcerer chuckled. ‘You became very lazy, my friend. Your life in this world provides you with a prey which is easy to get. Humans adore killing each other for nothing, so very soon you’ll loose your grip and become fat, clumsy, and stupid.’

‘Fuck off!’ Death was fed up of him.

He always irritated him and now it seemed like this annoying loser, who was banned from his own clan, turned from begging to the offence.

‘I’m not going to help you. Get off!’

Sorcerer gritted his teeth and clinched his fists in despair and helpless anger. Death was the only one who could help him to get back home and take back his status and good name, all other methods he had already tried. He wasn’t going to beg for help though.

‘Ok, I’ll go,’ he rose from the table. ‘But you’ll regret about it. You know, sorcerers never break their promises.’

‘Ah, very scary. Get off, get off!’ Death only waved, starting to read the news again.

Sorcerer left the café and turned to a tiny, very narrow street which went to the old town centre. The street was empty, and he was walking down it, thinking over his plan. The strange mist, white and thick, came from nowhere and filled the street, as if somebody had spilt milk in the air. Sorcerer slowly faded in this thick milky mist.

___________________________

[1] Angel (Hebrew)

 

***

  The town centre was full of people, and the evening was young. A concert had only finished half an hour ago, and the crowd started to move on and gather at the big stage in the Central Park. The town celebrated its birthday. A yacht’s regatta in the morning proceeded to a music festival in the afternoon, and in the evening, citizens and tourists were gathering together to listen to the mayor speech and then to watch the firework display.

The music played loudly from speakers on every corner, from every bar and café. People moved slowly down the main street which had been turned into a pedestrianised zone during the celebration. They smiled, laughed, waved little flags and flowers, some of them sung the country’s anthem. Some were already tipsy, but happy and relaxed.

He came out from under a big bench and had a look around. Nobody had noticed him. He sniffed the ground around him suspiciously. The smell, the sound, the movement–everything became one hundred times stronger for him. The smell…especially the smell! The world seemed like it lost its bright colours for him, but it wasn’t very important. The smell…He relied on it completely.

It smelled of human’s food, the smell he couldn’t bear, when he came to this world, but he got used of it. It smelled of flowers, cars’ exhausts, coffee, the sea air, seafood from a nearby posh restaurant.

He went closer to the crowd, manoeuvring quickly between the legs. It was unusual to run on four legs so close to the ground. Humans looked very tall and even threatening from this angle. All kinds of smell showered his nose—an overcooked hot-dog, cheap beer, humans’ sweat, ladies’ strong and sweet perfumes, cigarettes…yes, that was what he’d been looking for. These two—a man in a jacket with long sleeves and a woman in a long burqa. This smell came from them. He made a loop around them, continuing to sniff.

‘Get off!’ the man shouted in his own language, and he left them alone.

He couldn’t be wrong.

The Central Park became busier and busier every moment. People wanted to take the best places closer to the stage. Despite recent terrifying news, there were only two police cars around, and a police mini-van parked next to the Park.

He noticed two policemen, a blond tall young man and a woman, strolling down one of the big Park’s alley. They both were armed, but looked joyful and relaxed. They discussed something, probably, very funny and laughed loudly.

He came to them, showing his tongue and wagging his curled tail.

‘Hey, buddy!’ the policeman stopped. ‘Where did you come from?’

He stood on one knee and patted behind his ear, trying to read the numbers on the collar.

‘It looks like it ran away and lost its unit,’ the woman said, looking the dog.

‘I’m sure it is from 8th ,’ the man continued to stroke his neck. ‘They took a few dogs recently. It’s probably from a new recruit.’

‘These guys make me laugh, you know. They can’t even train their dogs properly. Why did they bring the untrained dog here? Waiting until it will bite somebody or scare kids, or do something else.’

She hadn’t finished, because the dog started to pull the lead.

‘Hold the lead,’ the woman shouted. ‘It wants to escape again. Let’s go to the van and lock it there till the end of the celebration.’

The policeman tried to pull the dog back, but struggled. It was powerful, and the man felt he couldn’t hold it anymore. The dog started to bark loudly and pulled the lead even stronger, trying to break free. Finally, it jerked and the man lost the grip. It ran and the policemen had nothing else to do, but follow the unruly creature.

‘Damn! Bloody thing!’ the policeman swore on the run.

‘Told you, this dog would get us into trouble,’ his colleague agreed with him, catching up.

The dog stopped in front of the couple—the man in a jacket and the woman in a long burqa. It looked like it didn’t want them to go further. It growled intimidating, showing its white long fangs.

‘Again this dog,’ the man in a jacket frowned, but stopped.

‘Excuse me, sir,’ the police woman rushed to them out of breath. ‘Don’t worry, it won’t bite you. We will take it back.’

Meanwhile, her peer reported the accident by radio.

‘Is it your dog?’ the man continued. ‘It scared us. The police are useless. Look at them,’ he turned to the woman. ‘They can’t manage even their dog.’

The dog barked loudly, and the woman screamed.

‘Shut up your fackin’ dog!’ the man in a jacket tried to kick the animal, but the next second it jumped on him.

Nobody understood what had happened, when the man fell down, and the dog sank its teeth into woman’s burqa. She screamed even louder, but it was too late as the heavy fabric was torn apart, revealing the suicide belt full of explosive.

‘Shit!’ the policeman shouted, trying to stop the man, who in the same moment took out a gun ready to shoot.

‘Don’t move!’ his colleague rudely grabbed the woman with the belt, when a dog hang on the man’s hand, so he needed to drop the gun.

Several heavily armed policemen made their way through the crowd. Noticing the guns and hearing the screams, people started to run to the opposite side of the park, creating panic and chaos.

It was the right time to go.

He left his victim to the police and disappeared into the bushes.

                ***

   Sorcerer walked slowly along the deserted beach. The warm, southern night was dark. Waves rustled over the pebbles. He felt very satisfied with himself. Walking on two legs was much easier. The town couldn’t sleep the whole night after today’s event. The celebration and the firework had been cancelled, however, there were still some people left at the seafront bars which broadcasted the breaking news.

Passing one of the bars, he noticed a familiar figure sitting on a bench in front of the entrance. He recognized her straight away—the same long, brown like old gold hair, very slim body, narrow shoulders. She hadn’t changed much during these years…years, when he tried to come back, to explain everything, but didn’t have enough courage. All these years, when she had been waiting for him, still loving, still hoping, but asking herself every time, what did she do wrong? He decided it would’ve been better to leave her, just disappear without an explanation. She was a human, she couldn’t understand, and she was mortal, after all.

He hated this world, hated with all his passion; he despised its citizens, but fell in love in one of them. He thought it would be easier for her just to forget him, and start new a relationship with a human. Maybe she suffered a bit after he left, but these humans have got such short memory.

‘Elena!’ he called her quietly. He didn’t really want to do that, but his feelings prevailed. When he saw her, he couldn’t control himself.

‘You? Here?’ she turned around.

Her eyes, her voice, her lips…He was ready to stay in this horrible world only to be able to see her again.

‘Yes, it’s me,’ he made a step closer. ‘I thought you wouldn’t recognize me.’

‘I’m happy not to, I’m happy to forget you, but I can’t,’ she whispered, cursing herself for these words.

She didn’t want to say that, she didn’t want to talk to him at all. She would rather have slapped his face, but something stopped her. She couldn’t be angry.

‘Why did you leave me?’ she asked finally. ‘This is the only question I have. I know I was terrible. Our break was my fault as well. I behaved like a spoiled child, but…’

The next moment, a group of people came out of the bar.

‘Elena, we’re going home,’ one of the guys said to her. ‘Are you going with us?’

‘Five minutes,’ she replied hastily.

‘Is it…is it your…? Are you…?’

He tried to use his power to know more about these people, but he couldn’t focus.

‘It’s my cousin,’ she interrupted him. ‘I came to the town for a few days to visit my relatives. Good job, we didn’t go to the Central Park. God knows what could happen.’

He nodded.

‘I see, you need to go now. Could we meet again?’ he looked at her with hope, and she felt like his eyes, normally grey and cold, filled her heart with hope and tender.

She couldn’t say no to these eyes.

***

  When she left, he was alone on the beach. He didn’t want to go home, and the thoughts about Elena continued to screw his mind. He decided to make a long stroll.

He wasn’t very surprised, when a few minutes later Death made an appearance, walking out from the sea. Despite coming out of the water, his expensive suite and white shoes were completely dry.

‘You…’ Death jumped in front of him, clinching his fists. ‘What have you done? You know the rules, damn bastard! No games with time! Do I look like a fool?’

‘To be fair, you do,’ Sorcerer smiled satisfied. ‘I offered you a good deal, but you refused. What did you expect? I took your prey from you.’

‘It’s not fair,’ Death couldn’t calm down.

‘Who’s talking?’ and he continued on his way.

‘Don’t turn your back to me,’ Death’s voice sounded like thunder behind Sorcerer’s back.

He hadn’t finished as a huge wave hit the shore, and when the waters went back, a strange figure appeared. It was very skinny and tall, with very short white hair and huge eyes like two black round holes. It was impossible to say, was it a man or a woman. No doubts, it was a malach.

‘Don’t touch him,’ the malach turned to Death.

‘He played unfair! He broke the rules,’ Death persisted.

A light, brighter than the sun, pierced the malach’s body, and six enormous wings appeared behind its back. It turned into a pillar of pure light. It was the malach of the highest rank. Sorcerer had never seen them before. He and Death fell down on their knees, not knowing what to expect.

‘Raise up!’ the malach ordered to Sorcerer. ‘What you’ve done today is unusual for the sorcerer from the other side.’

Sorcerer slowly rose from his knees, and Death followed his example.

‘He broke the rules,’ Death tried his last argument. ‘He messed up with time and left me without my harvest. I need compensation. Who will compensate me for my loss?’

‘You risk everything to save these humans’ lives,’ the malach didn’t listen and continued, turning to Sorcerer. ‘I free you from your exile here. You can return to your world.’

Sorcerer couldn’t believe his ears. He had been waiting for these words for hundreds of years.  His wretched existence here, in this miserable, dull world was over.

He looked in the malach’s eyes. Two round black holes stared at him. He could see slight reflections of the stars, the other worlds and galaxies in them; the whole Universe was in these eyes. At that moment, he didn’t feel relieved as he thought he would. The strange melancholy filled his soul, and he felt lonely. And then, the memory of Elena came. If he could be with her, this loneliness, this heavy burden wouldn’t press his soul so much. In fact, he had never been so close to anybody.

She was different, strange, not like other women in this world. Today, he expected from her a scandal, maybe even tears, cursing, whatever…but she was quiet and even melancholic. Maybe she still loved him.

This idea gave him hope. If only he could talk to her.

‘I don’t want to go back,’ he said finally.