Mara

Mara

A Chapter by Feng Zi

 

Chapter 7 – Mara
 
Feng had a nightmare that night.
 
He couldn’t remember clearly what it was about anymore when he had awoken. But he did remember the heavy throbbing of his heart and the tremendous weight of the fear that which has struck into his soul ruthlessly.
 
Feng … Feng felt that he had died at least two hundred dozen times.
 
As he sat up on the flat mattress in his prison cell, Feng tried to recall what it was. Ignoring the musty wet stench of the cell, Feng leant back against the wall.
 
What was it?
 
Was he terrified of retribution? That those whom he had slain would return to seek revenge?
 
Or was he afraid of himself? Afraid of what he would become?
 
Jun Tian … somewhere within his heart where Feng had imprisoned him … he was struggling to break free … pleading … screaming … sobbing … crying …
 
No. Jun Tian must not be freed. Feng would not allow that. To have Jun Tian free … would mean the total breaking down of Feng’s psychological defenses.
 
Feng … was the alter-ego of Jun Tian – the cold, heartless front that Jun Tian had built about himself. Others may have think him insane …
 
But Feng was definitely sane. And he knew full well that the moment Jun Tian surfaced from his confinement … both Jun Tian and Feng would perish.
 
Neither Feng nor Jun Tian could survive the tormenting of their souls from the guilt of the massacre, or from the loss of their family and the old monk …
 
 
Feng did not sleep any longer that night.
 
He dared not sleep. And to keep himself busy with, he had began on his chi training again. This time round, however, Feng did not exercise his chi circulation in the midst of his meditation.
 
Feng decided to attempt something new.
 
He wanted to compile a series of movements to form a set of exercise that would train his chi. In short, instead of circulating chi whilst sitting down, Feng thought that he could do so more efficiently whilst exercising.
 
Feng had obtained this idea from the countless of wuxia/martial arts/wushu novels and movies he had read andwatched since young. All of them had one thing in common – that their martial arts were composed of various stances.
 
And during his daily work, Feng had noticed that when he had moved his body in a certain way, the circulation of chi was either faster or stronger … or even both.
 
Feng knew that such experimentations with his body could be risky or even fatal. But he highly doubted that his body would easily give way. After all, his body was at least twice the rigidity and strength of an average man.
 
If only I had access to the martial arts manuals of the various sects and clans. It would be so much more easier and safer – compared to constructing a set of martial arts with utterly no knowledge of it.
 
Feng told himself that one of the first things he would do after breaking out of this prison would be to collect manuals worthy of his practice.
 
 
It was six in the morning when Uncle Hong came to unlock his cell. It was time for the morning workout for the inmates.
 
It had been four hours since Feng started wrecking his brains over his very own branch of wushu. But of course, there were utterly no results from this session.
 
If creating wushu was such an easy matter to be completed overnight, then learning wushu would be an even easier task. Feng sighed in defeat, but told himself to persevere more.
 
Patience was golden.
 
Feng stepped out of his cell and did a light jog towards the field where the other inmates were gathering. Somehow, it reminded him of a camp he had in college – before he had met the assassin, before his life was thrown upside down.
 
Only that this was prison … jail … not a school.
 
Feng closed his eyes as he started right into the daily 5 kilometre run. The other inmates were still into their warm-up, but Feng definitely did not required it. After all, he had already ‘exercised’ for four hours throughout the night.
 
 
Somewhere else on the track, five dozen pairs of eyes were staring menacingly at Feng’s distant back. Though all five dozen of them donned on the uniform grey overalls that was the outfit of all inmates, the other inmates had long avoided them, leaving the men to themselves with a ten metre radius of ‘air’ to breath.
 
They were easily distinguished from the rest, with a red snake tattooed onto a distinctive part of their body. And accordingly to their rank in the faction, the size of the tattoo varied.
 
One of them bent forth and whispered respectfully into the ears of a man who had sat down onto the track. The man, had the largest red snake tattoo of the five dozen men, which was marked out in crimson red on his bald head.
 
The man nodded and waved his hand lazily at the five dozen members who flanked his sides.
 
“Go. Punish him.”
 
 
Feng rolled his eyes. He had long noticed the congregation of the Red Snake on the far end of the field. And with his enhanced hearing, there was no way he could not pick up the order from their leader.
 
Feng grinned – this morning workout turned out to be interesting after all.
 
Speed. It was the crux of killing. The faster one assaulted his opponent, the slower your opponent. And the slower your opponent, the more accurate your attack.
 
The more accurate one’s attack was – one’s opponent would be killed even swifter. It freed up time to start on other opponents. And it would definitely conserve energy and strength – one, only one blow was sufficient to cripple your opponent if you are fast enough.
 
As for killing … it did not bother Feng a single bit. His fear of death, retribution and guilt, Feng had poured them all into Jun Tian. Which means, of course, that Feng …
 
He was fearless.
 
And the killing of these men, even if it were to extend the duration of his sentence here, Feng was going to break out anyway.
 
 
Feng’s sprint down the track had long slowed down into a jog. Picking up the nearest opponent, a smirk crept coldly across Feng’s lips.
 
In his eyes, all five dozen of them were corpses – they were already dead to the world
 
All five dozen of them belonged six feet down the earth.
 
Feng abruptly ceased jogging forth. With a sudden burst of chi which he released from his soles, Feng propelled himself back and towards the closest Red Snake.
 
Initiate System Core … Access Hardware #341.
 
Feng’s middle finger of his left hand was instantaneously protruded, with the joints of the finger locked, rendering it straight and sharp. With his other fingers of the hand drawn back, Feng dug the entire length of his finger into the throat of the Red Snake.
 
Feng didn’t need a weapon. His hands were as sharp as he needed.
 
This was a feat that even the most skillful combatants could not easily perform. It required tremendous amounts of accuracy. A slight miscalculation in the angle of the assault would result not in the opponent’s death, but in the breaking of Feng’s finger instead.
 
But Feng was accurate. And that was sufficient.
 
 
Within a minute, Feng had put down half a dozen Red Snakes. Whilst he danced and pranced to and fro on the track and the field in his grey overalls crimson from the blood shed, the rest of the inmates watched on.
 
Feng could have had noticed the gathering of another faction – White Flag. But he was too focused onto the ‘battlefield’, to spare a single thought to the less significant details of his surroundings.
 
Speed.
 
Speed.
 
I need greater speed. I need to be faster. There’s only two more minutes till the guards are alerted and make their way here.
 
Feng stuck on his tongue and tasted the blood on his lips as he continued his massacre. It wasn’t his blood, of course.
 
Access System Core Command Prompt … Begin Hardware 281.
 
Within 10 seconds of the hardware’s execution, Feng had sent tremendous amounts of adrenalines through his veins and flooded his cells with strength and anticipation.
 
Good.
Feng thought, and was met with a shower of blood spray when he severed the neck of another Red Snake.
 
 
Two minutes past, three dozen Red Snakes down. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough a fact, how’s this – every single one of them were dead.
 
Is this the difference? Is this the difference man and immortal?
 
Feng could not help but wonder … The Red Snakes in his eyes, were merely animated corpses. That night … was this also how the assassin had thought of Feng and his family?
 
How far more till I can be on par with him?
 
The assassin had slaughtered without the shedding of a single drop of blood. But Feng …
 
I will be there … I must make it …
 
The seventeen year old sighed and shook his head free of the thoughts, but it was too late. On the battlefield, it was definitely unwise to have one’s heart elsewhere. And despite Feng’s prowess, even he could not escape the fate and consequences of the letting down of one’s guards.
 
The sudden acute pain shrieking in his neck warned Feng that he was in danger. Whilst Feng was finishing off another Red Snake, the leader had attacked Feng with a pocket knife.
 
Feng sighed, as he felt the gushing forth of his blood from the artery in his neck. He was subsequently overcome with an abrupt wave of lethargy and weakness which he helplessly succumbed to.
 
 
The leader watched nervously, pocket knife in hands, as Feng slumped noisily onto the crimson moist track. He knew he should have been dancing with triumph, but he could not.
 
How could he, when four dozen of his men were dead. If they were critically injured, he wouldn’t mind. But how could he still survive in the prison with only one dozen men remaining? How could he still withstand the pressures from the other two factions and not give way?
 
And so it was with such thoughts in mind, that the leader of Red Snake passed away.
 
 
Within seconds after the wound was inflicted, healing was already initiated. Feng had programmed the instantaneous healing of wounds into automation.
 
This was done so after his encounter with the police and their taser. When Feng had awoken in custody of the police, he was burning within. How could he not be infuriated when he was so easily put down before completing his massacre?
 
If … if only he had programmed the automation of the healing process, Feng would have had awoken a mere minute after being electrocuted with the voltage from the taser. In addition to this modification to his system, Feng had rendered the cells of his frame voltage resistant. Of course, it was only applied to his skin cells, in fear that the other processes of his system be disrupted.
 
No longer … no longer can a simple taser put Feng down any longer.
 
So what was a crude pocket knife compared to the taser? Nothing.
 
Feng thought as he rolled his eyes and took the pocket knife from the deceased leader’s hands.
 
He looked to the remaining one dozen men and allowed his gaze to linger onto their cowering silhouettes, before spitting onto their leader’s corpse.
 
“Follow me. Join me. Flank my sides, or opt to die.”
 
 
By lunch, Feng had recruited another two dozen men. They were mostly composed of inmates who had left the other smaller factions. Some, however, came from one of the two remaining larger factions.
 
They weren’t from the White Flag, of course. Their members were too loyal. These newly-recruited men … they were from the faction led by the politician’s son – the one that Uncle Hong had told Feng of.
 
Black Rain.
 
That was their name. Feng had learnt of it from the inmates.
 
“Big brother, what should we name ourselves?” One of the bolder ones asked Feng, as they made their way to the cafeteria for lunch.
 
It was almost instantly that the heavy man was sent flying a good distance away.
 
Feng rolled his eyes as he spat crudely.
 
“I name the triad. Not ‘we’. Forge that into your brainless heads.”
 
 
The triad was named Shiranhai.
 
Feng had initially named it Powerpuff Men, only to have to send another dozen men flying. Nevertheless, they had managed to convince Feng to change his mind in the end.
 
To speak the truth, the name of the faction did not matter. Like it or not, Feng had his mind set upon breaking out of prison.
 
Little did Feng know, that the name ‘Shiranhai’ would stick with him throughout the rest of his life, and that the entire of the underground world would cower in fear upon the speaking of the word ‘Shiranhai’.
 
It wasn’t a word.
 
It was a curse. A curse that brought death to thousands.
 
 
Feng was sitting in the cafeteria, with three dozen men standing behind him, when he was approached by White Flag’s chief.
 
Despite being in Feng’s presence, the three dozen men were nevertheless uneasy and they definitely showed it on their faces.
 
Feng did not blame them. They had been in prison for decades too long to not be in fear of the White Flag.
 
“Greetings, Feng.” The chief started as he pulled back the chair across the table from Feng. “May I sit?” He asked.
 
Feng nodded without a blink from his eye.
 
“Feng, my men … have witnessed your splendid deeds earlier today. And I must say, it was thrilling to watch you in action.” The chief leaned back onto the chair and placed his hands onto his protruding belly. He was clearly very different from the cleanly-shaven deceased leader of Red Snake.
 
The chief of White Flag … he wasn’t burly … muscular … or fierce. To be frank, many who had not heard of his name had initially thought him to be a wise, joyful man approaching his late years.
 
“I sincerely regret, if I may tell you, of my failure to notice your talents. I am even more regretful that I did not have you invited into White Flag upon your entry into this place. I have a question, Feng. I know full well of your answer, but nevertheless, if the answer is not spoken, there is hope. If I may ask, Feng, are you interested in being my right hand man?”
 
“No.”
 
“And may I ask why?”
 
“Meet me at the field tonight.” Feng stopped eating abruptly, stood up, and left the table. “I have something to show you.”
 
 
They were now standing in the same field, where the massacre in the morning had occurred. Only now, they were at the field’s end, where a fence was in place to barricade and contain the entire prison’s compound.
 
“I am curious, Feng.” The Chief began. “What did you bring me here for? What am I to witness?”
 
“Nothing like you’ve ever seen before.”
 
Feng’s back, was at current, to the chief. As such, there was no way he could have seen the smile which crept across Feng’s lips.
 
“You think you can murder me.” The Chief frowned, and his men stepped forth immediately, sensing the unpleasant tone in his voice.
 
“No.”
 
Feng looked to the fence, before asking. “Has anyone attempted to escape this prison before?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“And?”
 
“They died by these fences – electrocuted to their graves.”
 
“I see.”
 
Feng turned to his three dozen men and beckoned one of them to step forth. This inmate, he was frailly built, barely past twenty, but had an intelligent aura about him which Feng had picked up easily. After all, they had both been graduated high school with flying colours.
 
“You.”
 
“Yes, big brother.” The inmate bowed his head and looked to his feet.
 
“You are the new brother.”
 
“No – no … what are you speaking of, big brother?” Before the young inmate could even respond, some of Feng’s men instantly voiced their dissent.
 
Once again, Feng sent them flying.
 
“You,” Feng continued. “are to lead Shiranhai. The moment you are released from prison, look me up. Either that, or when I return, you must have conquered this place.”
 
Feng looked to the Chief of White Flag. “I trust that you will stop him.” Feng spoke softly and coldly. “And I wish that you try your best.”
 
Feng then took the young inmate’s hands into his.
 
“What is your name, leader of Shiranhai?” Feng asked of him.
 
“I – I – I am …”
 
“Enough. You are about my age. But as long as you follow me, I will be your senior, your father, your lord, your king. And I will name you Mara.”
 
“Ma – Mara?”
 
“Mara, the tempter of Buddha, the personification of temptation, the one entity of all sins. Bear this name, and I will have bought your soul.”
 
Whilst conversing, Feng had quietly amassed a tremendous amount of chi within his palm and upon finishing his sentence, Feng released the pool of chi into Mara.
 
“I trust that you will make use of it well.” Feng looked deeply into Mara’s dark eyes before turning to the fence once again.
 
And then before the entire of Shiranhai and White Flag, Feng flew up the fence which was ten metres of height.
 
Feng was electrocuted, but his cells were long resistant to electricity and he thought little of it. Releasing portions of his chi into the fence, he was able to ‘glue’ himself to its barbed wires and Feng quickly ascended the fence.
 
Within seconds, Feng stood onto the fence’s utmost edge and he looked down to the inmates ten metres beneath.
 
“Have you enjoyed yourself?” Feng asked of the chief, before slipping off the fence and into skillfully landing onto the earth on the other side of the fence.
 
“Goodbye, Mara. Do not disappoint me.”
 
And as Feng’s silhouette, illuminated by the remnants of purplish-blue electricity sizzling about the skin’s surface, vanished into the darkness of the night, each of the inmates that remained fell silent.


© 2008 Feng Zi


Author's Note

Feng Zi
Who is Mara, you ask. Mara is the embodiment or entity of all sins and temptations. He is also known as the tempter of Buddha. Of course, that is in Buddhism.

In this story, Mara becomes one of the most devoted and loyal right-hand man to Feng.

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I love the story. Keep up the great work

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on August 28, 2008


Author

Feng Zi
Feng Zi

Singapore



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