Inner Warrior

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

The music was compelling. It was strangely exciting. It was somehow right at the heart of things, but also at their borders. And what about the spaces between hearts and borders – did the music also fill that gap?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

It was an unexpected mixture of cymbals and drums, with electric whine backing. None of the sounds seemed to go together – especially the Zamb! This was percussion; background music; without lead guitars, just a relentless beat, charging forwards, towards where? Ba-Bamb! was like a snare drum, echoing softly onward. But Ba-Zamb! was the smash of a cymbal, stilled at its crescendo, so it suddenly died.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Stuart was still but also mobile. He was caught in the music, following its lead like a bit part player. He knew he had come to this place for something. This music hall. No, it was more like a smoky nightclub. But smoking was no longer allowed in nightclubs – except outside. Would he hear the music there?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

His heartbeat had always been strange. Arrhythmia they called it. He never understood what the problem was. He was right-handed; he was right-footed; his right eye was dominant; his right arm stronger; so it seemed reasonable that his right ventricle pumped a little harder, and occasionally decided not to. This shouldn’t cause any issues.

There was the strange situation in fights where he was facing off someone, and would feel a sudden weakness. He would have to back down. The other kid would just laugh at him, or take the opportunity to punch him in the head. But he knew that he wasn’t a coward, just unbalanced momentarily.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Why did it feel like a fight right now? He wasn’t even standing. He realized he was lying down. Had he been in a fight? Had he become unbalanced momentarily, and someone punched him in the head? It felt as if he were in his real body but in a dream also. It reminded him of Tae-Kwon-Do training, which remedied the fight situation. He was able to calm both his body and mind. Be fluid but still. His teacher described it as “moving unmoving”.

Had he been in a fight? Was he in a fight? Moving unmoving?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

The rhythm became physical. He felt his bones vibrating, blood pulsing, and heart pumping. It sounded like battle drums! His family drums! Stuart drums! The smoke about him cleared, and he saw a Highland vista. Black lakes slipped between lilac hills, and bands of brown forest in  mist swirling. There were also swathes of other colours. Red lines advanced, and white clouds danced around them.

Whose side was he on – reds or whites? He recalled from history class that red was often the colour of invaders; the uniform of colonists and enforcers. It was the colour of anger, and of danger. Hadn’t red forces started wars worldwide; conquered half the earth, and laid it under their yoke; promoted slavery and occasional genocide? It was unlikely that he would be on the red side.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

White was the sign of good guys, especially in stories – Luke Skywalker wore white, Saruman performed white magic, and Jesus wore white robes; public saviours were called “white knights”; angels wore white; and surely it was a nobler choice on the chessboard. There were exceptions – the Snow Queen in Narnia, asylum inmates, and ghosts – but these proved the rule. The norm was clear: that white was good. And they were fighting warlike reds. So he would support the whites in their holy battle.

But Stuart did not realize the differences of the inner and outer worlds. In his inner world – that of a patient undergoing a heart procedure – the reality was opposite. The reds were his blood cells, fighting for his life. The whites were his overactive immune cells, trying to kill them off. It was a pretty fierce battle. His life hung in the balance.

Their dispute had begun during the Lymphic Games. The reds and the whites were mighty rivals, and each had turned out in force. Their squads were tense, tuned, toned – ready to engage fully; to give their all. But somewhere within the competitive events, the mood had soured. They had become mock-battles, and spilled over into real ones. It was no longer a game of give and take, of second-guessing, of slight reversals, and temporary triumphs. It was a great war, once-and-for-all.

Stuart willed the whites to win. It was the extra boost they needed. They made a mighty push and routed the reds. At that moment he realized his mistake. Both the inner one, and the outer one. The reds were the bearers of life, both of his body and of this land.

There was no more Ba-Bamb!

Just one weak, final Ba-Zamb!


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