Oakee Doakee


and the

Timeless Machine:



THE RAMAYANA


written and illustrated

by

Sir Ed Word







~A 200 page novel for readers of all ages, with 36 color illustrations~



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*********************


Thousands of years ago, when cavemen still roamed the rest of the world, kingdoms and advanced technology thrived in the mysterious East. The oldest surviving story on Earth tells of a king who was forced to banish his beloved son to the wilderness. This noble heir to the throne is believed by some to have been a benevolent deity incarnated in human form, who came to teach mankind the highest qualities of selfless love. But our science could find no evidence of the fantastic events of that lost culture, when men and beasts spoke with each other and demons stole flying machines from the gods. There was no proof until a little boy from modern times stumbled back through the thick curtain of time, into the most thrilling period of prehistory, to participate in events that would shape the entire human race.


At last, we know the truth....



*********************



~CHAPTER 28~


BEHIND ENEMY LINES




The exhilaration of finding Hanuman’s trail to the secret entrance into the City propelled Oakee and Rocky onwards, until they ran suddenly out from the cover of the trees onto the bare strip of land adjacent to the menacing wall. Oakee stopped and gasped. The descriptions of this rampart had done nothing to prepare him for the real thing. It rose black and haunting, dwarfing their little moonlit forms, and curved away northeast and southwest as far as the eye could see. Reminds me of the humongous wall on Skull Island in King Kong, thought Oakee. They turned right and ran along the edge of the trees, hoping to see the small inset door somewhere along the base of the stonework. The sounds of battle gradually increased as they moved further towards the plain and the main gate.

Then Oakee spotted the doorway. He was just out in the open, praying that there was no one up there on the parapet to look down and discover them, when something made him freeze in his tracks. At first he thought it was an earthquake.

What the —? he mouthed, trying to keep from falling over. Rocky started barking, and a worried voice said, “Oh dear”, over Oakee’s shoulder.

Oakee turned to his left to see a huge, grey something stomping towards them out of the distant darkness.

The bloody giant!” he shouted. If Oakee had ever doubted the existence of Kumbhakarna, the legendary demon giant, his doubts were now quickly dispelled. Somewhere behind the city, in his hidden mountain chamber, he had been awakened from his long sleep with the promise of a delicious feast out on the battlefield. With great effort he had been aroused, and was now sleepily making his way around the outer wall to the main gate, hungry and grumpy, with wisps of smoke issuing from his nose and ears and the corners of his red eyes.

Oakee just stood there, unable to move, still holding his carved sword firmly in his right hand. Rocky continued to bark, and something about the dog’s brave defiance of the approaching danger reminded Oakee of his own previous adventures in which he was able to help save the world. That wonderful, cool lightness that had filled his chest on those occasions, making him fearless and joyful, returned now. He stood his ground until Kumbhakarna was directly above him, then he plunged the point of his sword into the giant’s passing bare foot. That got his attention. A monstrous howl rang out, echoing in the valley. Kumbhakarna staggered into the wall. When he had regained his balance he started furiously scanning the ground for the cause of the sudden pain. Oakee dashed over to the doorway and pressed himself into the shadows, pulling Rocky in beside him.

Just as a giant hand groped near the recess and a clawed finger was about to poke into Oakee’s hiding place, a spear flew out from the darkness of the trees, striking Kumbhakarna on the arm. He stood up straight and reeled around. Another spear hit him, and another. He stormed, roaring, into the thicket, crushing trees with his feet and fists, searching frantically for his attackers. Luckily, the wounded soldiers who had accompanied Oakee from the hospital were still searching that stretch of forest when they heard the giant’s cry of pain. That noise, along with the din he was now making, would alert the armies over on the plain to this new danger, giving them ample opportunity to prepare for his attack.

Oakee’s legs were shaking when he turned to the door and pushed down on the handle. It creaked open without effort. Apparently no one had bothered to repair it properly after a certain monkey had been through there a month before. He crossed the threshold with a shudder, closing the heavy door behind them. Lum let out a nervous sneeze from somewhere deep in the backpack. Rocky sniffed and growled.

Oakee hung his sword over his shoulder and cupped his hands over his nose. The most disgusting stink met them in there at the bottom of the city. It took all his effort just to keep himself from throwing up. They slowly ascended the stone steps. At the top, Oakee heaved the trapdoor up a bit and peered around for signs of danger. When he was sure no one was around, he managed to raise the trapdoor enough to allow Rocky and him to squeeze out. It fell back down with a thud, raising dust into the stale air. In the dull, flickering light that came down through a small window, there on the floor of the storage hut, Oakee wondered for the first time how on Earth he was supposed to find Wink in this huge city.

As if in answer to his thoughts, Lum croaked from the backpack, “What about the communer?”

Oakee slapped himself on the forehead, slowly unzipped his jacket and pulled the string out. The small shell flopped out onto the dusty floor.

Wink!” he whispered into it. “Wink!” he called again.

“Touch it with your finger,” said Lum, who had now poked her head out to watch from his back.

“Oh, yeah ... Wink, are you there?”

Silence.

Come in, Wink — do you read me? Over,” tried Oakee again, this time in two-way radio dialect.

Just as Oakee, Lum and Rocky, straining to hear the slightest indication of Wink’s well-being, started to despair, a faint voice came through the shell: “Shhh, Oakee too loud. Where you? Why you and Rocky not save me yet?”

Oakee and Lum sighed with relief. Rocky whined softly.

“We’re in the City. Where are you?” whispered Oakee, excitedly.

“Filthy rakshasas take us through back gate, behind City. North part of Wall. We down deep. Stinky, yucky —” she was interrupted by a distant shriek and the sound of chains and hammering.

Wink?” hissed Oakee, covered now in goose bumps.

They waited a few seconds, then they heard Wink whisper, “Must go. Come quick please.”

Oakee lay there for a minute with his forefinger on the communer, in case Wink added any further hints as to her whereabouts.

“That’s it then,” he said finally, “let’s get moving.”

He and Rocky got to their feet. Oakee climbed up onto a box and looked out of the same window through which Hanuman had first viewed the inside of the City. The light of a torch on the wall of a low building showed Oakee a narrow cobblestone alley, lined with grey, windowless houses. The full moon cast a silver lining on the top edges of the roof tiles, contrasting the orange glow underneath. It seemed that Hanuman’s fire had not reached the lower slum areas — Everything looked still intact here. But this fateful night would bring its own devastation to proud Lanka.

There was no movement outside. The only vague sounds came from far away where war raged on the battlefield. Oakee hoped that all the demon forces were busy over there, and that he wouldn’t run into any unforgiving monster warriors while sneaking around the byways of this evil city. They would have to go out and head left along the inside of the wall until they got close to the northern gate and found a way down into the dungeons.

He hopped down and crept over to the open doorway. With a deep breath, and clutching the handle of his sword in his right hand, he dashed out across the alley and into a shadowed niche between two buildings, Rocky close beside him. From here Oakee got his first glimpse up at the parapet on top of the Wall. There was no one up there. Lucky for him, because, despite the fact that Oakee was otherwise well hidden, if a rakshasa had looked down into the alley at that moment, the white letters spelling Ninja Warrior on Oakee’s black baseball cap would have been clearly visible, glowing bright in the darkness. Even the most dull-witted of demons would have realized that that was somehow out of place; and no amount of clever explanation on Oakee’s part would have saved him and his friends from a gruesome fate as slaves of Ravana.

It proved to be easy going for the first few minutes. They simply sped from shadow to shadow between the Wall and the buildings, encountering no one. Then the alley turned sharply right, uphill into the City. Passage along the Wall was blocked by dark structures built onto its base. 

Oakee stood undecided for a few seconds, then headed up the forbidding, twisting alley. Rocky let out a low growl.

“This is not good,” he heard Lum mumble over his shoulder.

“We’ve got no choice,” whispered Oakee, “this is the only way through.”

They were now passing rows of low stone house fronts, some with yellow light streaming out of small windows. Sometimes they heard coarse voices inside speaking a language they didn’t understand. They continued on for a while, always uphill and winding back and forth, until Oakee had completely lost his orientation. He had to stop often to choose a direction when the road forked, always looking around warily before crossing over. They kept to the left, but for some reason they didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the Wall and the northern gate.

I wish I’d brought a compass, thought Oakee, desperately. He was just about to lead Rocky down into the first narrow lane that headed downhill and north, when the sound of voices and heavy footfalls echoed up towards them from that direction. They ran back the way they had come and ducked behind a barrel that stood beside a doorway. The sounds of the approaching creatures got louder until Oakee saw two squat, black figures emerge from the lane into the moonlight. Their conversation ended suddenly when the taller of the two swung his arm out to stop his companion and began sniffing the air.

Oakee was holding his breath, but he could feel Rocky growling, though no sound came out.

That was definitely the wrong moment for Lum to sneeze. Her tiny hacheee! drew the attention of the squinty-eyed guards towards them. Oakee decided that the best bet would be for them to make a run for it. He jumped up, accidentally knocking over the big barrel which, rolled down into the alerted demons. It bowled them off their feet. Oakee heard their curses and scuffling as they got up and charged after him. He didn’t turn to look, but one time he had to stop and call Rocky on, as he wanted to run back and fight the pursuers. He heard doors opening behind them. There were shouts and the noise of more running feet. He kept going as fast as he could, flying left and right through the narrow alleys, until he finally dropped down in a deep, dark space between two buildings. He knelt there panting, listening for the sounds of the pursuit, but all was silent.

Then a blood-curdling roar rang out in the valley. Oakee knew that sound. It was Kumbhakarna in pain. Silence pervaded for a few seconds, and then the faint echoes of triumphant cheers rose up from the plain into the enemy city. Oakee knew that the giant had been defeated. He wondered which of the remaining two secret weapons would now be launched against the freedom fighters.

And then he remembered Wink and the other captured monkeys. He was wasting time. There had to be a way of figuring out his position. He glanced around and saw what looked like rungs of a ladder fixed to the wall he was leaning against.

“You wait here,” he whispered to Rocky, “I’ll be right back.”

He had decided to try surveying the City from the rooftops, as Hanuman had done.

Near the top, he looked back down into the shadows where Rocky was gazing up at him with shining eyes. “Stay!” whispered Oakee. He had noticed that his canine friend was itching to get on with the search, and Oakee was worried he would run off to search for Wink and fight all the rakshasas himself.

Once up on the roof, Oakee caught his breath then stood up straight to look around. He was astonished at how high up on Trikuta Hill he was. It was a fascinating sight. The roofs of the lower suburbs and the surrounding hilltops were light grey-blue, with the moon now directly above. He had no view of the open plain and the western gate where all the action was. It was clear to him now that he had in fact made his way around to the northern side of Lanka City, and he could see the dark, steep sides of the adjacent hills stretching away to his left, where the houses stopped and Trikuta Hill joined the rest of the range. Oakee imagined that somewhere back there Kumbhakarna had slept in some massive chamber most of his life and that possibly the cave retreat of Ravana’s son, Indrajit, was also hidden somewhere in that wild darkness.

The next thing that Oakee noticed was that the lower third of the City was divided from the higher, more elegant neighborhoods by a curving, inner-city wall that seemed, as far as he could see, to run from one side of Lanka to the other. It wasn’t a grand construction like the one described separating Ravana’s palace and gardens from those below, but it did apparently serve the same purpose of privacy for the upper-caste aristocrats above it.

Then Oakee noticed some of the damage done to the finer estates by Hanuman’s fire play. Although it seemed that much repair work had already been done, many roofs were still missing, and here and there walls were stained with black soot.

This brought the little boy’s attention at last to the top of the hill. High above his position the moonlight shone on the treetops of the Ashoka Garden where Sita was held captive. Although he couldn’t see anything clearly up there so far away over all the rooftops, Oakee could clearly feel the lovely power of divine sweetness that radiated down to him from the Mother. He couldn’t really understand with his mind in that moment of sudden peacefulness what it meant to feel so delightfully bathed in love in the presence of such a divine person, but he knew in his heart the pain that Lord Rama must have endured in the months of separation from his precious wife. He could briefly feel the whole universe focussed on the events unfolding there on Earth, holding its breath in anticipation of the epic outcome.

Oakee could have sat down right there on that roof to blissfully enjoy the silence he was feeling at that moment, but he dragged himself back to the task at hand. Rocky would be frantic by now, waiting for them to rescue Wink. The mazes of alleys they had been trying to negotiate were too complex. Oakee now realized that the long dividing wall was joined to the row of buildings he was standing on top of. Was there a simpler way to move around over on the other side? He pulled himself up onto the wall and peeked over the edge. A wide avenue ran along the length of it, with doors leading through to the alleys down below on his side. There was a large portal not far away that possibly led through to an easy way towards the North Gate, if he could just get down the other side, let Rocky through the door at the end of their alley, and make it over to the big gateway without getting caught. It seemed ridiculously risky, but there was no other option.

Oakee scrambled down some leafy vines that clung to the wall. In a few moments he had reached the stone pavement. He ran over to the nearest door and prayed that it wasn’t locked. It opened easily! He poked his head through and whistled a quick, high note as softly as possible. Rocky’s head appeared around the corner of the grey house. He bolted towards Oakee and passed through the doorway with his tongue hanging out and tail wagging.

Oakee pushed the door closed and they had just taken a few steps away up the wide avenue when Lum whispered over his shoulder, “Stop! I think someone’s coming.”

Around the corner of a high building, across from the large doorway they were making for, a shimmering shape emerged into the moonlight. It was moving quickly towards them. Although it was hard to see, it had to be very large and heavy judging by its outline and the pounding of its footsteps. It was too late to run for cover. Oakee remained involuntarily rooted to the spot. He was so frightened that he didn’t notice Rocky’s growling or the fact that he had dropped his sword.

The powerful entity stopped abruptly when it noticed the trespassers in the middle of the street. There was a flash of light and the semi-transparent shape turned into a muscular warrior with long, matted hair, grey leathery skin, and sinister eyes that bored into Oakee like lasers. It was Indrajit, the ingenious sorcerer son of King Ravana.





































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