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About the author:
Boris Sanders began writing at a very early age, so much so that, to his mother’s surprise, the doctor who delivered him insisted having seen some marks that resembled words inside her womb. His intellect is quite advanced, having learned 37 languages by the age of 14, of which 35 were created by him, don’t have a written form, and are only spoken and understood by him. In addition, he has a photographic memory, as long as an actual photo was taken at the time.
In his spare time Boris likes to swim in waterless pools and investigate the mysteries of the universe, while sitting on his comfortable couch, effectively doing nothing. He has a particular taste for olives of any kind.
What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to write a story that was different from the rest. I like psychological thrillers since watching Death Note, when it launched, so I decided to venture on this road too. First I created the world, I was trying to imagine a Sci-fi city that was different from all the others portrayed on similar books, after that, the rest came bit by bit. My corporate background certainly played a part on it.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Good night, Master.”
“Good night, X,” Max replied, even though he knew it made no sense to wish a robot good night.
As he opened his eyes, Max found himself in an ample room. The floor and ceiling seemed to be made of marble, and there were several Greek columns around him. He couldn’t see very far due to the area’s poor illumination, but he could hear water splashing somewhere. He came to realize that he wasn’t alone for he could hear voices, sometimes whispers, and even laugher at times, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. They were talking in a weird language he didn’t recognize, but he was certain that it was men’s voices.
He ventured through the dark with caution, following the voices. The closer he got, the brighter it became, until he got close enough to notice the source of the voices. There were five men, all of them naked, in a huge pool right in the middle of the room, talking to each other. As he got closer he was sure one of them would spot him, but none of them reacted, so he took the opportunity to study them further.
One of them talked more than the rest. He was the only one with a beardless face, and his neck seemed bent slightly forward, but what caught Max’s attention were the man’s eyes. They were two different colors: one was black as the night, and the other blue as the sky. Maybe it had something to do with his different eyes, but the man had a powerful stare. Max was still analyzing him when he was startled by a voice next to him.
“Do you like what you see? You’ve been staring at him for a while.”
Max then noticed a little girl next to him. “What an odd place for a child to be,” he thought. She was cute, but unconventional. She had silver hair, which was weird for a child to have, to say the least. Her skin was as pale as a sheet of paper, and Max wasn’t sure whether his eyes were deceiving him, but her eyes seemed purple. “It must be a trick of the lights,” he convinced himself.
“What is a little girl like you doing here? And how come you speak English and they don’t?” She couldn’t be more than 7 years old, and Max felt weird asking questions of someone so young, but he had so many that it was hard for him to even know where to begin.
“Oh, sorry, you can’t understand, can you? Let me give you a hand with that,” the girl said. She snapped her fingers, and suddenly the men switched from whatever language they were speaking to English.
“And then I charged into the center of the enemy formation. As soon as I met Darius, he thought he had me because he had prepared for it, but of course, I had expected him to be, and had a counter measure: a double phalanx! That broke his center, and he had to flee for his life!” said the man with the mismatched eyes, and all the others started laughing.
Max stepped out of the shadows. Now that he could understand what they were saying, they didn’t seem so threatening. “What’s a phalanx?” he asked as he got closer. He couldn’t explain it, but that man had something different about him.
But no one answered. Worse than that, nobody even looked at him; he was utterly ignored, and their conversation continued.
“How cute! Are you trying to make friends? They can’t hear you, dummy.”
“Why not? And you still didn’t explain why you’re here; and how did you change their language like that?” Max decided to ignore the brat’s insult.
“Well, I kind of work here. Yeah, I guess you could see it like that,” the girl said, balancing herself on the tips of her toes playfully. It was clear now that she was deliberately choosing which questions to answer and which to ignore.
“So you’re trying to convince me that a little girl like you works here? What are you in charge of, playing with dolls?” Max was trying to make fun of the obvious lie that the girl had just told him, until he realized something. “Oh my god, are you being kept here against your will? Are they hurting you here?”
“Hurting me? I think you’ve got it wrong.”
“You don’t have to hide it, I can help you! As soon as I find a way out, I will sneak you out with me.” Max was already scanning the room, looking for an exit.
“You don’t understand. Watch: Alexander!” the girl said, now looking at the man with the mismatched eyes, and he instantly looked at her, got up in a hurry, and ran in her direction despite being naked.
As soon as he was just two feet away, he bowed. “Nike! Do you have a message from the gods for me? Or maybe an omen?”
“Yes,” she answered with a devious smile. “The gods say that the only way for you to win your next battle is to prove yourself worthy. And to do that, you must carry a horse on your back.”
“A horse, you say? I shall do as the gods bid, but I’m not confident of how I could possibly accomplish it.”
“Use your intelligence instead of brute strength, Alexander. But you must do it now.” It was weird for Max to see such a young girl commanding such a big man. He’d had his doubts before, but was sure now that she definitely wasn’t normal.
“Hmm…” Alexander scratched his beardless chin. “Well, a baby horse still counts as a horse, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, a smart idea, just as I expected from you. Just make sure no one sees you. You don’t want to start a rumor that the king is going crazy.”
“I will do it at once, Nike! Thank you for helping me!” Alexander bowed again, and stormed out of the room, still naked and ignoring the cries of the men that had been talking with him before.
“As you can see, I’m fine here. No need to try to sneak me anywhere!” Nike was now looking at Max with a cheeky smile, as if she was purposely not telling him everything.
“Ok, that was weird. Where are we, anyway? And did you just ask a naked man to carry a horse just to make a point? And why can you talk with them, but I can’t?” Max had so many questions that he could barely keep his thoughts straight.
“Do you always ask so many questions? Geeze! We don’t have that kind of time; there’s more to be seen.” And with that, the world around Max shifted, and everything changed.
Chapter 3: Wildest Dreams
As the world around Max unfolded, he found himself in a completely different place than before. The first thing he saw was a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling, maybe bigger than himself. It was certainly unique, with beads and engravings all over, and it illuminated the entire room even though the room itself was enormous. Paying more attention to his surroundings, he noticed that the chandelier wasn’t the only reason for the room’s brightness; it was the furniture, which was covered in gold. It seemed that someone had painted all the wood or metal of the furniture with golden paint, and that made the room much brighter than it ought to be.
This time it seemed that he was alone; the girl, Nike, was nowhere to be seen. He decided to explore and went closer to a table to inspect it. It appeared it was made of the finest materials, and it had beautiful drawings and colors on it. The walls around were white, but with golden frames and symbols decorating them. In the center of the room there was a huge bed with green curtains; it had a beautiful design and golden details fixed to its top.
If Max had to guess where he was, he would’ve said a king’s room. It was so luxurious and all of it seemed to be ancient, no technology in sight. He was still exploring the room's details when the doors flew open and a man stormed in. He was clearly nervous, and was speaking with someone in an exasperated tone in a weird language that Max couldn’t make out. He thought it sounded like French, but he wasn’t quite sure. After all, languages weren’t that important when everybody in the world shared one.
Max noticed that there was an old lady behind the man, and as soon as she got inside the room, the man slammed the door shut in one swift movement. He was pacing the room, and one of his hands was on his head, meddling through his short black hair, while the other was scratching his beardless chin. He was talking quickly. and seemed quite stressed. The woman didn’t say anything but was giving him her full attention, until she suddenly looked at Max.
“Sorry, youngling, you can’t understand him, can you? I will fix it for you.” She snapped her fingers, and at this moment, three things happened. First, the man automatically switched to English; second, Max noticed that the woman had exactly the same impossible purple eyes that Nike had; and third, he recognized the man that was with her. He was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.
“I gave them one job, and that’s the result?! I should have known! If you want something done well, you have to do it yourself! I would have done better, if my name isn’t Napoleon!” shouted the, then emperor of France.
“Calm down Napoleon, you know your stomach gets worse when you get yourself stressed like that. There’s no such thing as an accident; it’s fate misnamed.” The old woman was talking to Napoleon as if he was her grandson.
“You are right. I don’t mean to complain, but sometimes the pressure of running an empire is just too much! Sometimes I think it will be impossible to win this war…” Napoleon sat down on the bed with his head in his hands.
“Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools! You are capable; remember what happened in Marengo? You won even though you were outnumbered.” Now she sounded more like a teacher than a grandmother.
“Why am I in Napoleon’s bedroom? What the hell is happening here?” Max was sure he was losing his mind.
“You are seeing a tiny fraction of my life, child. I want you to understand some of it,” she said, looking again at Max, her purple eyes fixed on his. He noticed that even though she was old, her eyes showed vast experience, as if she was much older than a person could possibly be. It also seemed that Napoleon couldn’t hear anything that she was telling him.
“Are you some kind of war councilor or something?” Max looked towards Napoleon, who was now talking again in French, and apparently didn’t require an answer to keep the conversation going. “Why are you showing me this? Why am I here?”
“Are you uncomfortable here, dear? Well, we still have one more stop, anyway.” And just as she said it, the rich room they were in turned instantly into a small village.
The village was simple, with several small houses mostly made of wood. There were lots of people, apparently of Indian descent, walking around, including several kids. Again, Max noticed that no one was paying him any attention. It was as if he was invisible, which he actually believed he was, as crazy as that sounded.
Some distance away from the rest of the people, there were a man and a woman looking at the horizon, talking. Just as a bug feels unexplainably attracted to light, he felt compelled to approach them, and as Max got closer, his suspicious were proved correct. Despite the woman being in her forties and the sun being relentless, her skin was as white as snow. And as soon as he approached, she looked at him, smiling just as before, and her purple eyes seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. Max heard her fingers snap, and just as it had happened before, the man started speaking English.
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator,” said the man, while appreciating the sunset.
He was bald, short, and was wearing round glasses. Based on his appearance, and their surroundings, Max came to the impossible conclusion: the man was none other than Mahatma Gandhi himself.
“The creator will be pleased that you like the work,” she answered, turning to look at the villagers. “It’s your mission to save these people, to free them and all the others, and I will aid you.”
“I am but a servant,” Gandhi said humbly.
“No, you are a leader! You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“I see. You always help me see the bigger picture; I am truly blessed to have you by my side.”
“You must live as if you were to die tomorrow, but learn as if you were to live forever. I will help you with the latter,” she said with a soothing smile.
“Wait a minute,” Max said. “Are you actually trying to tell me that you were the one that told Gandhi ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’?”
“Yes, and I believe you just saw the exact moment it happened,” she answered plainly, now looking at him.
“So you were friends with the naked Greek guy, Napoleon and Gandhi, is that it? Are you some kind of ghost with a god complex?” It was difficult for Max to make sense of everything that was going on. It seemed that the more information he got, the more confused he became.
“Well, just so you know, ‘the naked Greek guy’ was Alexander the Great. And answering your question, I’m not a ghost.” It took a while for Max to realize that she had finally answered a question about herself, mainly because he was still perplexed, thinking that he had seen one of the biggest conquerors of ancient times not only naked, but running to carry a horse because a little girl told him to.
“It looks like even you can run out of words.” She seemed to be entertained by the whole situation. “I showed all of that to you for a reason, Maximilian. I have a mission, and all those people that you saw tried to help me accomplish it, but they failed. I believe with you it could be different.”
“Let me see if I’ve got it straight. You want me to help you do something that neither Alexander the Great, Napoleon, nor Gandhi could do? Who do you think I am? That’s way above my pay grade.”
“It’s not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles. It wasn’t that those great men tried to help me; they became great man exactly because they tried to help me in the first place.”
“Are you promising me success in exchange for me helping you? Are you trying to involve me in a pyramid scheme?” Max had to admit that a ghost running a pyramid scheme would’ve been a first.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer your questions now, our time is almost up.” She looked uneasy. “We will talk again, and I’m sure you will change your mind. You’re still young. The more sand that escapes from the hourglass of our lives, the clearer we should see through it.” And just as she said it, everything around him started to fade.
The village was gone, the people vanished, and even the dirt under his feet disappeared; he was now standing on a white floor. Everything had become white. The only thing left was the woman, but even she was starting to fade. Her paper-white skin became transparent until it was completely gone. The last part to disappear was her big purple eyes, staring deeply into Max’s, as if she was looking into his soul.
And then Max woke up.