Origin: Cairo, Egypt
Current Location: Moscow, Russia
Weight: 130 lbs.
Occupation: Inquisitor for the Atharim.
Reborn God: Kali
Ability: Adept, bordering on Expert.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Loyalty: Self-serving, masquerades Atharim intent
Current Relationships: None
Past Lives: NOT Semirhage
Played By: Meera Alam
Meera is a psychopath. She feels sexual ecstasy when torturing and killing those that do not see the ‘truth,’ as she puts it. No one sees the ‘truth’ in her eyes. Every human being is living a lie and they are constantly telling lies. Meera believes that she is the only person on this planet that can see through the thin veneer that the experience of human existence has thrown over everyone’s eyes. She is the Eye of God and it is her sole mission in life to burn away humanity’s Ego.
Meera is a master at deception, indeed, most would be surprised to see what lurks within her mind. She typically portrays the image of a loving, motherly woman, especially around her patients… at first. It is all great fun to Meera, using the lies to deceive the ignorant. She is the mirror, reflecting a lie back at everyone that meets her. They never know, never suspect just what exactly is in store for them once Meera has decided to sink her claws into their pulpy flesh. It is always a cat and mouse game to her, although she is the cat, and the cat always gets the mouse.
5’7”, 130 lbs, dark brown skin, near-black eyes. Wavy black hair cascades down her back, layered and often worn in a neat, professional fashion. Legs are permanently crippled. Typically speaks in dulcet tones, but all emotion drains from her voice when she is performing her ‘craft.’ Typically dresses in simple, ¾ length dresses in shades of black, grey, and red. She desires to maintain a low profile, thus ensures that there is nothing extraordinary about her appearance. Simple makeup, minimal accessories, and tasteful handbags.
A talent for light Compulsion, although she is working tirelessly to further that skill. Meera has found it easy to use that talent to erase memories, although she can only erase about 10 – 20 minutes of memory on any individual at one time.
Due to her extensive knowledge of human anatomy and the brain, from her work in the medical field, Meera is able to stimulate pain and pleasure centers of the brain.
Meera’s life truly started when she turned 14. It was as if she had been living in a fog and only then did it begin to clear. She had been born into a small family, having only one sibling, an older brother named Yuseph. Under Father’s guidance, he had learned his craft, hunting, earning much honor for the family. He was 5 years older than Meera and was their parent’s pride and joy… Then there was Meera who was always- always- measured against her older brother. For Father, Meera always fell short… Had always fallen short, from the beginning.
Father told the story of Yuseph’s birth whenever he had the chance. At any time and to anyone: family parties, their ‘religious’ meetings, even strangers on the street heard about the ‘miraculous day’ that he had been gifted a son. Meera didn’t care. Not really. There was no love. ‘Family’ was just a word. Even as a child, she knew that to be the truth, the bonds fake. He never spoke of her birth. Most were surprised when they met Meera because Father never talked about her at all. There was no pride in her.
None of that meant she wasn’t curious, however, she had asked about her birth once when she was 7 or 8 years old. Father gave her the brush off, groaning that he had no time for her silly questions. Even Mother, the woman that gave birth to her, was quiet about it all. Early on in life, Meera recognized she was nothing more than a consequence of their mistakes; an unwanted burden, another mouth to feed, another ass to wipe. Unwanted. Ignored.
Her smiles, when she chose to give them, were laced with knowledge, black eyes deep and probing. Most of all, filled with acceptance. The truth did not scare her. Yes. Family was fake. Love was a lie. Affection was artificial. For everyone. All people were liars. They just hid this truth from themselves. But she knew.
Home life had left her calloused, all thanks to Father. It wasn’t as if she saw him that often, thankfully; he was always attending those religious gatherings, hunting with Yuseph, or doing odd jobs around Cairo. When he was home, he spent all his time with Mother and her brother. Meera was usually left to her own devices.
On occasion, she acted out to get their attention. To see how far their disinterest went. First, she ran away- eventually, for days at a time. Not one person ever looked for her. They didn’t even seem to notice when she did turn up at home. Mother had left Meera’s dinner on the table for her… a meal now covered in mold and maggots. She was given the option of starving or eating it. Meera chose the former, her grumbling belly proof of the truth.
Stealing one of Father’s guns, Meera ran off again. This time, for a different reason. To prove to herself she was every bit a blessing as Yuseph. It had taken a day and a half, but Meera brought down a sacred Ibis. The bird was a large thing, with a long, arced beak. Ancient Egyptian mythology held the bird sacred to the god Thoth, the arbitrator of disputes between the gods. It made Meera laugh cynically at such stupidity.
Another curious thing happened, though. The bird’s flapping around, squawks pouring from its throat….well, she had enjoyed that. Quite a bit. Unexpected, that was. Oh, she had pulled legs off of beetles or grasshoppers, had dropped them squirming into red ant nests to be eaten alive. Had even tried it with a lizard. But this, well, this was different. It had taken an hour to die. And Meera felt something wash over her in those final moments: Power; peace; pleasure.
She dragged the bird back to her parent’s house, ignored her parents and her brother as she walked in with the carcass in hand, as she had seen them do with prey many times before. For the first time in her life, Father looked at her. Really looked at her. She didn’t return the favor. Instead, Meera grabbed a knife and started to cut the dead thing apart at the kitchen table. Mother and Father made no motion to stop her, they only stared. Inside, she laughed.
It was Yuseph who came up to her, pulled the knife from her hands, and showed her the error of her ways. She was supposed to de-feather the corpse before cutting into it. He had expert hands and deft skill, dismembering the bloody thing in a quick efficient flurry. Meera was captivated. She memorized everything she saw and everything she heard, Yuseph naming the muscles and the bones as he sawed into the sinewy flesh. Father wore a dark expression. He grabbed his coat and left the house without a word. Mother returned to reading her trashy romance novels.
And so Yuseph started taking Meera out at night to hunt the creatures that only moved about once the Sun passed from the Earth, plunging the land into darkness. It had to be a secret, he had said; Father was never to know. Meera only nodded. Lies. Again. No surprise there. Lies were the foundation of the universe.
She didn’t want Father to know. He would put a stop to it all, she was sure of it. And she didn’t want that. It called to her. No, it had to be secret. They carried on for a year, Meera learning so many things from Yuseph. And then, one night, he took her out for a ‘special’ hunt, though he would say nothing as to what their prey was.
Out into the quiet night they went, panthers on the prowl. They did not go into the wilderness as was custom, no; instead, the pair worked their way into the outer city, creeping through the warren of ghettos and slums. The streets were mostly empty, this time of night, and those that saw them purposely did not give them a second glance.
After an hour of slinking through the shadows, Yuseph brought them into an alley, signaling Meera to be silent. It was empty, no sound, no light, no life; only darkness.
Out of that abyss came a glorious howl. It was a man. A girl’s voice followed suit, yelling and screaming profanities. One of the fragile wooden doors set into the back of a building just a few yards from the pair burst into splinters as a man’s body flew through the air, smashing into the opposite wall.
Meera’s eyes grew wide and the smallest gasp escaped her lips. Yuseph motioned for her silence and then back towards the door. He mounted the rifle onto his shoulder and took aim; Meera copied his actions despite her fascination at the scene unfolding. A young girl about Meera’s age, presumably the same one that had yelled the curse words, came stomping out of the ruined doorway. She was caked in dirt and clothed in tatters, lip split, eye bruised and swollen.
The man lay crumpled on the ground, head bleeding from the impact he had just suffered. The strange girl whipped her hands about in a fury and out of nowhere fire, lots and lots of fire, burst into existence around her still moving hands.
Meera stared in rapture, never having seen anything like that in her life. She had not even known such a thing was possible. The rifle on her shoulder lowered slowly as the girl made countless fireballs shoot forth from the space around her, hitting the broken man and consuming him within a matter of seconds, a blood-curdling howl loud before it died away, his body now nothing more than ash among the sizzling fat. They were swept away swiftly with a light gust of wind. The girl turned her head, finally taking notice of Meera and her brother. With another sweep of her hands, more fire erupted around her.
Yuseph shot his rifle.
The bullet passed through the very center of her forehead, a spray of brain and blood painting the wall behind her, eyes glazing and rolling up into what remained of her skull, the fragile body crumpling to the ground with a loud thud. The quiet was deafening. Yuseph looked at Meera and explained that the other girl had been unclean; an abomination. She touched magic.
She shuddered at the words, eyes unbelieving. They had to leave quickly. One more thing. Before the pair had departed, Yuseph took a pistol from his clothing and laid it into the hands of the girl, the victim, explaining that they had to cover their tracks. The rest of the world did not know about them and it was vital that they never learn the truth. The hunters of the Atharim always operated from the shadows, always had to cover their tracks.
That, she had understood perfectly.
Yuseph took her to a cafe. Her hands didn’t shake as they held the tiny porcelain cup, hot against her fingers. She absorbed the pain, relished the heat. Sensation. So….gorgeous, even in pain. Especially in pain.
And Yuseph explained. He and Father were part of a group called the Atharim. ‘The remnant’. Father had taught him. Now, he wanted to teach Meera. She listened raptly to everything he said, black eyes drinking it all in, but had no words with which to respond. The only thing she could do was nod. He smiled at her, as if trying to reassure her, telling that he had reacted much the same way that she did when he first saw Father kill one of the ‘witches.’ She did not bother to roll her eyes at his simplicity.
Instead, things she had noticed, remembered, replayed themselves in her mind. It was like watching her life in reverse. Suddenly, things made sense. Their religious meetings. The hunts. Father always droning on about tradition. Most of it was now clear. But not the core. Not the key. There was still something missing.
Still, the thought of hunting- not just animals. Monsters. Even people. – thrilled her. It flickered and mesmerized her, heart pounding, those flames, reminding her of the fires she’d light, their hypnotic dance, as she went outside herself. One flame. That’s all it took. One single flame would become a roaring inferno. So small; so insignificant; so weak. To everyone else. And yet…
She remembered the heat as she had watched the man die, smelt the burning and smoking of his clothes. Part of her wanted to enter that red and orange and amber vortex. It called her. It sang to her. She could close her eyes and feel the power before her. The tiny spark that could consume the world.
That was the same. Exactly. And she couldn’t help the smile that crept on her face. The feeling of strength and power that was before her. Back home, in bed, she replayed it in her head. Meera had loved watching the kill, craved the kill. Animals were good and well, but this…this was different. The girl’s blood had sprayed the wall, brain, and vitae making the most amazingly beautiful of patterns. And she could remember the pleasure she felt at that exact moment. A pleasure she went on to rediscover again on her own, in her memory, in her bed, toes curled, eyes fluttering, breaths shallow. It excited her.
And she was intoxicated. But she wanted more. Magic. Now that she had seen it, she craved it herself. She wondered what it would take to become one of these witches. To access it. That girl had real power. She had no need of blades or bullets. If that girl were smarter, she could have taken care of herself earlier, before the bruised and swollen eye. It almost looked like she was doing just that, were it not for Yuseph.
Maybe. Probably not, though. Were Meera one of those girls, she would be cunning and hide in plain sight; she wouldn’t kill so sloppily, simply in a fit of rage. No. Meera would make sure every kill was clean and untraceable. The memory of that bloody spray pattern came to her. She would make it art. Her eyes lidded; she felt a hunger that sang to her soul.
Over the course of the next few months, Yuseph took Meera along with him to hunt once or twice a week. It all started very slowly; she was only allowed to watch. After the first two weeks, however, Yuseph gifted Meera with a hunting rifle of her very own. They switched their targets to game birds so that she could acquaint herself with the gun. It only took two sessions of practice before he proclaimed her a natural, and someone Father should be proud of. Meera didn’t care about Father. Nor did she waste thoughts on Mother. As for Yuseph, well….she knew the truth. He could feign his care. Or maybe he even believed it. Except she knew. If it ever came down to it, he would sacrifice her to save himself. Any familial affection he felt was weak. Everyone had a line.
She just saw the truth. That was all. She wasn’t afraid of it. But he was useful for now. And helpful. And she needed to learn. They went out hunting witches the following week and finally, Meera would have her first human kill.
Yuseph had prepared her. Still, the night before that fateful event, Meera wet the bed. It was an old habit that she had finally broken at the age of 11. Shame hung heavily over her head as she awoke before dawn, feeling the now cold wet spot. She disposed of the sheets, praying to any god that would listen to hide the deed. The last time Father had discovered the soiled sheets he had beaten her within an inch of her life. She did not wish to repeat the incident. Not now. Especially not today. Luckily for her, no one ever did find them. She burnt them behind the house while the rest of her family slumbered.
That day seemed to drag on, though, while anticipation kept building in her. Finally, though- finally- Mother and Father laid down to rest. Yuseph wasted no time in spiriting Meera out of the house. The pair were both armed with hunting rifles, pistols, and dangerously sharp knives. He had dressed Meera all in black, to match him and to camouflage them under the protective blanket of night. Neither said a word as they made their way back into the slums. It seemed witches prospered among the filth.
When they were finally among the alleyways, Yuseph gave her the assignment. A young father, a merchant, had begun to show signs of witchcraft. He was quick to assure her the death was deserved, aside from the magic; the young father was known to beat his wife and their two little ones. She barely kept from rolling her eyes at his justification. Or that he thought she needed it. The man’s other ‘sins’- his word, not hers- mattered little.
Meera was positioned atop a two-story flat across from the man’s abode; Yuseph took the roof opposite her. He had assured Meera that if anything had gone wrong, or if she just couldn’t do it, he would be there to set things right. He didn’t need to worry, though.
Her heart pounded with anticipation and she realized she felt ready and open. A girl touched by her lover for the first time, soft fingertips trailing her skin, the smell and taste and tongue of promise. She flushed, taking her position atop the roof, breathing deeply, inhaling the cool night air, skin hot, now, setting up her rifle at the edge of the roof. She checked the scope and polished both ends to ensure precision. If things got messy, she vowed to finish the deed no matter what. Yuseph was irrelevant. This was hers and hers alone.
Meera felt at the knife strapped to her leg. If the young father did not fall from her bullet, then she would silently drop from the roof onto a canopy, leap at the man, ending his life with the shiny point of her hunting knife, penetrating him, feeling the hot blood spurt onto her hands.
The thought sent waves of pleasure through her. Almost she dropped her rifle to do that very thing. But Yuseph was watching. Soon, though. She promised herself.
The man, as if on cue, stumbled from his dwelling and out into the alleyway. Cries could be heard coming from the doorway. Meera’s brow furrowed. It was now or nothing. She cocked the rifle and steadied her aim. Her heart pounded thunder in her head. He was clearly drunk, stumbling to and fro. She would not miss. The crosshairs aligned perfectly and upon instinct, Meera pulled the trigger, letting the bullet fly free. She held her breath and prayed that it would strike true…
…And in that moment pleasure flooded every nerve in her body, her eyes rolling back as the world become awash with the darkest of ecstasy. The bullet passed through his chest, causing him to stumble backward. The moment lasted a lifetime.
Finally, vision returned to her and she could see. The lifeless body crumbled in the dust-covered street showed her that she struck her mark. Her legs were shaking and she couldn’t stand, thighs quivering. It took a few minutes before she was able, though dizziness did hit her. She climbed down, her words with Yuseph- indeed, the rest of the night left her no memory. Only that single infinite moment. It had been the greatest of her life.
That night in her bed, she writhed in ecstasy, reliving the exact time when death came. Over and over again, she replayed it. Moans barely stifled, the spurt of blood the most beautiful of paint, the canvas of the body and wall….she was in heaven.
That morning as she ate breakfast ravenously. The memory stayed with her. But curiously it felt stale, washed out. Her stomach still carried butterflies and pleasure still flushed her. But it was not enough.
The next few months progressed much as the last few weeks had. During the day, Yuseph took Meera out when he could to hunt game to help her improve her skill on the rifle. She excelled quickly, though the exercises now felt boring; Still, Yuseph insisted, so she continued.
During their nights, they hunted the witches or monsters. More often than not, Yuseph took the kill, instructing Meera to watch, keep silent, and to learn. But the memory burned now, hollow and empty. She craved to feel the reality again.
The few she took were good. She could not deny the sensual charge she felt as she fired into their bodies. But she wanted more. Everyone fell within one trigger pull of Meera’s finger. It was all too easy for her. Boredom welled up into her throat further and further, threatening to choke the life from her.
It was not enough. The hot blood sprayed but she felt none of it.
More, though. She wanted more. She hungered to show them, all of them, what was real. A mirror, exposing the truth inside the lies, their loves and affections and loyalties. The undeniable, inescapable, stupidly blindingly obvious truth she had known from the start. It was a lie. All of it. And she craved to see them realize, to see the truth come upon them a little at a time, to see their realization come over them, shaving away their rejection and defiance in small slices, the slow flickering of light and hope. In her dreams, she would laugh then, relishing it, the screams, to feel the warm blood herself, then, to see the loss as reality finally awoke within them.
The eye of God. The mirror.
Not enough. Never enough. But it would happen. She would make it.
After nine more months of tutelage, Meera and Yuseph set out; she was tasked with searching for and killing another witch of the night. It was her first time to take the lead. Her nostrils flared with anticipation, butterflies fluttering, night air cool on her hot skin. Once again, her lover had come to her. She led the two of them through Cairo’s night market, listening and waiting for any small sign that someone in town was not who they appeared to be.
Like the kills, it was all too easy for Meera to ask the right questions and pry the correct information until she finally got answers from a dealer in poor Egyptian wines. The daughter of a rather well-known merchant had recently taken ill after a series of accidents. The girl’s entire family, save for her father, had died mysteriously. The authorities had said that the mother and the two sisters had drowned, although all three were perfectly dry when found. Nor had there had been signs that they had taken a swim. Yet, the autopsy had shown water in their lungs. There was no question.
With a few well-placed bribes, Meera extracted the address and led Yuseph to the abode. They waited outside for the better part of an hour before she grew restless. He cautioned patience on her part. Her heart was thundering now, the anticipation growing. Why wait?
She wanted this. She wanted to be alone with them so badly. A father and a daughter? Ah, the things she would teach them, then, about love and family. About how fathers really felt about their daughters. And daughters their fathers.
It burned in her, the hunger, the single flame now an inferno. But Yuseph’s gaze hung over her, a handcuff keeping her from true freedom. It would end, though. Soon. She would have to prepare. And take care of Yuseph. And create a hidden place. Then people would see.
She shook her head at Yuseph and burst into the two-room hovel. The father had been brewing something over the stove and started screaming at Meera. She wasted no time in planting a bullet between his eyes. The body fell back into the stove, shirt catching fire on the open flame, collapsing to the ground. The witch saw all of this from the second room, screaming at Meera, rushing at her, arms outstretched and fire dancing dangerously in little balls around her form. Meera’s knife flew through the air and slammed into her shoulder with a solid thunk.
But she had no time to react as she was propelled forward by an unseen wind, falling upon the girl in an instant. Yuseph stood in the doorway, shocked at the scene. He held his own pistol up, trying to get a clear shot at her, but Meera and the other girl rolled around, scratching and punching at each other in a messy heap upon the bare ground. Fireballs flew around the witch and came down upon Meera, trying to strike her upon her limbs, her face, her torso. This only served to enrage her; her hands coming up to the other girl, stabbing into her eyes, felt a pop, the warm thick liquid spurting around her thumbs.
With an effort, Meera pulled her knife free and sunk it deep within the witch’s chest, felt the hot blood flowing down her hand. She convulsed, flames flying every which way and a strange wind swirled into a gale, knocking everything about the shanty in a haphazard fashion.
And Meera exploded in ecstasy beyond anything ever experienced. The world faded to black as every fiber of her convulsed, as if she had never truly lived until now. An eternity of pleasure flowed over her, out of her, and suddenly it was if she was hot. On fire, the flooding river now pouring into her, through her, widening her out, penetrating her deeper and deeper, piercing her to the core. And all she could do was surrender to her lover.
The room came to life as the colors exploded, her ears flooded with every sound imaginable, her skin tingling as her entire body orgasmed. If her first kill had been a drop, this was an ocean, burning through her, until she almost couldn’t hold it in. Eternal bliss threatened her and she desperately tried to claw her way free. Too much. It was too much. She let go.
Meera thrust the body from her with an incredible force and it sailed through the unseen wind, smacking against the wall with a thud, skull cracking like pottery.
And the fire inside consumed Meera until she unleashed it, the body wreathed with flame and once again Meera was standing in the fire, feeling its heat wash over her, buffeting winds striking her this way and that. And through it all, Meera laughed and laughed, tears coursing down her cheeks burned away, feeling the glory of power never imagined.
Yuseph looked on aghast as the body was reduced to cinders. Meera never took her eyes from the charred remains, smiling brightly as it was reduced to nothing more than dust now, the wind carrying the bits of ash away. And with it went the fire, draining out of her. She collapsing to the floor, breathing heavily, exhausted and weak. Before she passed out, she whispered, “Did I do good?”
Yuseph had no words.
Yuseph refused to take Meera out again. For anything. Deep down, he knew what had transpired that night. She knew it. He knew it. Meera was the thing that they had hunted, but she was also his sister. His only sister. So stupid. A snake lived in their house and he refused to see the truth. Or to act on it. Pathetic. Weak. Craven.
Chained to the lie. Except he wasn’t, she discovered.
The next day she had come down with a fever. As she lay in bed, the worm of hatred that had burned in her heart grew, fed by her dark musings and hunger. Hypocrites. All of them. Yuseph’s smiles at her, his attempts at casual conversation a falsehood that burned with each word. He was a liar. She knew it. She saw the conspiring with Father, the man that had hated her from the day of her birth, from her mother who looked at her with shame and disgust.
The reason she would eventually pry from her mother, amid tears and screams. Finally.
Their story, the story of their wonderful happy family.
Yuseph was young when Mother had met a man. Father had been out on the hunt. Her loving and romantic mother, so enamored of her stories and tv shows, love songs, and movies, discovered a man as insipidly boring as her. They hit it off immediately. Father was married to his work. Though Meera knew the truth. She bored him too. Mother’s mewling cries had tried to explain, had tried to make her understand, to get her sympathy. He was a man her father would never be. As if Meera cared about the infidelity. From that terribly sappy union, came Meera. But father knew the truth.
Mother sobbed at the memory- well it was one of the reasons she sobbed- remembering how she had admitted the entire thing to Father. And her strong and manly father beat Mother for her tears, for her unfaithfulness.
It was enough to drive him into one of his rages. That was the first day he had struck Meera, though she was only an infant. She had wailed over the beating, Mother said, unable to understand what was happening; still, he hit her.
But a grown man hurting a child is not a man and he knew it. Rage and shame consumed him, the scar on her back a reminder of his pathetic weakness. He would keep her. Because he was oh so very honorable. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Meera was his true daughter. A rift in Father and Mother’s marriage had opened that day, Meera was at the center of it, a tree growing and widening it.
But father hated her. Hated what she represented- failures that stared at him with deep black eyes. She was a blight upon their house, his pathetic need the only thing keeping her around. Too many emotions for his tiny mind to process.
It was no surprise that she was a witch. She smiled at the truth. Fate had made it so. Had blessed her to see and to reflect.
And her brother, dear Yuseph, now had his own dilemma. She was still his sister. But she was also a witch… abomination. Meera saw the churning in his mind. Family was supposed to be everything. But what was he to do when one of them was unclean? Her very existence exposed it all so neatly, stripped off the façade of their happy little life.
Nightmares consumed Yuseph’s dreams every night thereafter. She saw the haunted looks, the bags under his eyes. The way she caught him studying her, only to avert his gaze. She couldn’t help the sweet smiles she gave him.
About a month after Meera’s 15th birthday, Yuseph decided he had to save her no matter what lay in her future; Father could never know. He spent two weeks planning it all out, she found out later. She did feel wrath at the discovery. That he dared to make this choice for her? He would hire a few ‘goons’ to kidnap her and spirit her away to a safe house where she would be handed off for a foster family to raise. Father would be told that she had been killed on the hunt. Everything would work out.
All tied up nice and neat and in a bow.
And so it happened. The first part anyway. Focused on the hunt, holed up at the edge of the market, she didn’t notice until it was too late the hood going over her head, bundled into the back of a van. She fought as hard as she could, though, trying to get away from them, but her efforts were in vain. The van’s door snapped shut and they sped away.
They didn’t get far.
She kept struggling, the simmering rage and hatred that normally lurked in her very depths, now a vortex of fury, a forest fire. These men thought to take her? Flashes of light peaked through tears in the cheap hood as her head moved this way and that.
And then she saw a different light, the one that had made her live. She opened herself wide, then, felt it flow into her.
Flames consumed each of the men in the vehicle; the nearest one filling her nostrils with the smell of burned meat. Air flowed and Meera ripped the door open, tumbled out the slowing van’s door. It coasted a few more feet before exploding in a frightening display of flames and death. The entire market watched in horror as it burned itself down.
She wanted to linger, to smell the burning plastic and fabric. And above all the charred flesh. But too many people were around. Still, once out of view, Meera skipped happily, a tune on her tongue. She felt safe, confident in her abilities and what she was capable of.
Little did she know, there was one more set of eyes that had watched.
One day, a few weeks later, Father took her on a hunting exercise. With Yuseph gone- disappeared, it seemed- he finally decided to pass on what he knew to her.
Of course, she knew. She knew exactly what had become of Yuseph- playing one of the men. She certainly didn’t feel guilty. Or empty. Or alone. Or rather, none of that bothered her. In truth, she felt free. Nearly free, anyway.
But she pretended to miss him. For a while anyway. Father said that Yuseph had told him what a great hunter she was. She was his sole heir now. She didn’t trust it, but what could he do to her? The light always beckoned her now. And he was weak. Pathetic.
They had been out hunting for birds on the river, the pair laden with a variety of rifles. It had been a test of sorts; her knowledge of guns, on prey. Her stealth. Father had responded favorably to her answers, making notes in a small, leather-bound notebook. A doting happy father. An act they both knew was false. With each word, each compliment, her anger grew colder and blacker.
They prowled among the reeds and the lotus, silent as lions. Meera took out every bird she aimed for. Underneath her triumphant smile, as they returned to the car, the fire grew.
After stowing everything away in the back of their beat-down van. Meera closed the back door, but before she could turn around, she felt a numbing pain. Rage contorted her father’s face as he beat her with a lead pipe. Over and over, and over and over, he beat Meera, slamming into her back and knees and legs, screaming. He knew the truth.
And it all happened so suddenly that she had never had a chance to call the power, to protect herself. She was an infant again.
Meera would never walk after that. Father didn’t even seem to care all that much about what he had just done. He just scooped her up off the ground, ignorant of her whimpers and cries, turning his lip up at the sight of blood and broken bone, dumped her in the back seat and then pulled away without a word.
Meera lay back in that van, stewing in her own misery, femur broken through the skin of her leg. Everything was hot and fuzzy. But rage built. Now, finally that she was still, it grew, a tiny flame burning hotter and hotter, as if vibrating in time with the pain, point-counterpoint.
Meera felt it behind her shoulder and a wicked smile crossed her lips as her body flooded. New pain nearly made her pass out. Ecstasy made her smile until her cheeks hurt. She saw his head, in the driver’s seat. Saw him driving as if nothing was wrong. Her smile twisted. Ribbons of color danced before her eyes, weaving themselves into some intricate, delicate pattern. One of the ribbons, a silver one, made the final weft into the design and then the ribbons exploded into more light.
His head exploded, chunks of skull and pulpy brain and blood covering the seat and dash and window and windshield.
The van flew off the side of the road, colliding with a great mass of trees. Meera lay in that same spot in the van, completely unscathed save for her injuries at his hand. The shattered shell that had been her father lay slumped against the steering wheel, head missing from the ruined neck. What used to be his head lay everywhere, a splattered spoiled melon under the hot summer sun.
So wonderful. So sweet.
Meera was rescued about half a day later. She lay in the hospital for a month thereafter, recovering from her wounds and that strange fever that had suddenly gripped her once more. It was far worse than the first time. Crippling migraines, a fever coming and going at moment’s notice, dizziness that lead to inevitable nausea; the entire experience was utter hell. To accompany this strange, inexplicable plague, strange things happened around Meera’s room.
The tv came on at random times throughout the day, the lights flickered, the medical equipment Meera had been plugged into gave wild results. Other electrical problems. At one point, the entire wing in which Meera had been staying suffered a power outage for several hours. Not even the backup came on. Many patients died. Eventually, even the nurses that tended to Meera became sick, suffering strange spasms and seizures. Some of the nurses died in agony. The entire staff was baffled.
And then, about a month and a half after Meera had been admitted, her sickness cleared and the strange occurrences stopped completely. She was discharged the very next day, returning to their now broken home.
Despite being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, Meera felt invigorated; rejuvenated even! All of those strange things happening at the hospital were not due to some ghost or djinn, as some of the nurses had whispered; no, it had been Meera. And she had power. Real power. Oh, she knew she had it in her, but now she felt a mastery over the torrents of energy flowing through her.
The loss of her legs had been the price to pay, but it had been worth it. Meera hadn’t known at then; how could she? Those endless days and nights in that hospital bed had given her ample time to analyze and decipher what had happened. One night, in that sterile room, she tried to replicate the strange colored ribbons, and it worked; albeit sloppily. Every night she practiced. By the time she had been discharged, she had complete control over these strange new gifts… In so far as she was concerned. Coming home to that nest had only presented a new set of challenges to the young Meera, but nothing she could not dominate.
Mother died before Meera’s 16th birthday. It had not been peaceful. She made sure of it. For allowing all of this. Mother eventually told her the truth. And she did see the truth in the end.
Meera went through Father and Yuseph’s belongings, learning more about the Atharim. She had decided to join their ranks. She wasn’t sure why. She just knew she wanted it. It was so delicious to consider. Her heart fluttered with anticipation. A witch in their ranks. Who knew how high she’d rise. An organization of hypocrites. All of them, needing to see. And she would be there, the snake in the bird’s nest.
And she wanted to play…
At the age of 18, Meera was well entrenched within the Atharim. She had almost been turned away due to her paraplegia, but for the first time in her life, her late Father had helped her. He had been a well-respected man in the organization, at least for his humble rank, and it was on that name that Meera shoved her way in. It took less than a week before she had taken down 3 witches and a small handful of ‘monsters.’ Meera took great pleasure in showing her ‘betters’ that their views of her were nothing but false. Indeed, after a year within the shadow organization, Meera found herself being groomed for the role of Inquisitor. Apparently, Father had been efficient and so everyone said of her. They constantly told her that she was her ‘Father’s Daughter’… Oh, if they only knew.
Although it was no requirement for the position, Meera had decided it would be useful to pursue a higher education to aid her great work in the Atharim and in the wider world. At 20, Meera enrolled at Cairo University School of Medicine, one of Africa’s oldest establishments, to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing; she eventually went on to earn her Master’s degree in the same discipline. Between her time there and her prior interests, Meera focused her studies on the brain and mental health.
True, all humans lied to themselves and to the rest of the species, Meera did not need a piece of paper to let the World know that she was an expert on that, but perhaps there were other merits to truly understanding such a complex organism. Being able to get to the core of a person, knowing just exactly what trauma caused them to tick, knowing what buttons to push for the desired result, flaying a human’s soul with nothing more than a few well-placed words…
The idea had become exquisite.
That was not to mention that the position paired well with her future role, it curried favor with her betters, and helped to establish a reputation for herself… Not every Inquisitor was as learned as she would ultimately become. People would come to her, Atharim and Civilian alike. With that piece of paper from an accredited institution… Well, that would also give her credibility and a reputation amongst the rest of the world. It would’ve been idiotic not to pursue such a path.
Meera was thriving at University. She developed a well-spoken, empathetic persona while attending classes and navigating the social currents of the student body; a personality she would continue to utilize in her professional life, after schooling. People opened up readily to such a kindly spoken voice, they wanted to bare their very heart and souls to someone that they could compare to their mothers. The only kink she hit in that time, outside of grief within the Atharim, was the day she learned that her crippling could’ve been avoided. It had been plain as day right in her textbook.
At 14 or 15, one doesn’t really understand finances, their parent’s place in society, or just how fucked up the real world actually is. Meera was surprised; when she knew she really shouldn’t have been. In the end, her legs could have been saved but it was her parent’s poverty that had prevented that option. This revelation fell completely in line with her understanding of reality, yet it still burned. So many factors had worked against her, Fate had always been trying to tear her down… No… It was making her stronger… But how was taking one’s legs ever going to make them stronger?
Neither of her parents had had a real job, Father was paid an incredibly modest wage by the Atharim and Mother didn’t really do much but dote around the home or clean Father and Yuseph’s animal kills. It was barely a trickle of funds. They didn’t even have insurance. Oh, Meera knew their small hovel said a lot about the family’s finances, but she had never actually considered…
What remained of Father’s tiny estate footed the bill for Meera’s hospital stay after the attack, but that was it. Mother had refused to pay for anything that wasn’t necessary and the procedure that could have repaired select portions of Meera’s spinal cord, the one thing that would have restored the use of her legs… Mother had denied it all.
Instead, she opted to buy Meera a cheap, wobbly wheelchair.
Meera had the last laugh, but years later it didn’t do anything to quell the cold rage that now stormed within.
She used all of that as fuel to push herself, as much as it ate at her day in and day out.
Graduating as Valedictorian, in both her Bachelor’s and Master’s courses, Meera found it easy to establish herself in the civilian world. For a few years after University, she had worked for some of the finest practices in Egypt, although that was nothing to brag about. Her work within the Atharim flourished during that time as well. She saw herself elevated to the role of Inquisitor 13 months after graduating with her Master’s degree and the cult had an assignment for her.
With the institution of the CCD, the Atharim were queerly gifted with success. Channelers had begun to congregate within the newly found dominion, and the Atharim wanted their best and brightest relocated to the heart of the beast. Meera, although fresh in the role, was immediately tapped to be dispatched within Moscow. The combination between Meera’s intellect and efficiency spelled doom for the Ascended and all of his little toys.
It would be like patricide for Meera.
Quick and wreathed in flames.
Has to be experiencing intense levels of emotion. She most easily tunes into passion, anger, sexual urges, and conviction.