Monday, 19 November 2012

..The trio..

          The jeep screeched to a halt with a billowing cloud of dust exploding at its rear end. The three passengers jerked ahead at this sudden stop. The three passengers made a strange trio. The first was a lean and well built guy, Prateek, A medium heighted girl with short cropped hair in trekking gear called Sybill and lastly Ric a nervous looking guy who constantly kept clutching at a pendant studded in diamond around his neck. The trio, all in their late teens jumped out off the rickety automobile, "where in the world are we?", asked a frustrated Prateek. "Prateek, relax man we are yet to begin exploring and you are already raising your mercury", gestured Sybill.
         They propped up their bag packs complete with all trekking gear and provisions to last a week. In the distance Ric glance a couple of shambling huts and started towards them still clutching at his pendant. Prateek signalled Sybill to follow as they abandoned the jeep and strutted towards the huts. Ric readied himself to knock at the decaying door of one of the huts  when he sensed someone approaching him. He moved a couple of steps back just in time to see an old woman stooped over a rusty walking stick. Prateek called out for the woman, but instead got a shove from the gutsy old woman. A blatant streak of malevolence marked that wrinkled face as the woman kept shoving the trio away, with considerable vigour for her age. Constantly she was muttering in an unknown tongue and pointed towards the way from which they had arrived. Sybill the more daring of the three walked up to the woman to restrain her, but the woman was quicker as she backed up and screamed a single phrase, " Go away!!" and ran away further into the woods which surrounded the huts. "One heck of a woman she was", said Prateek as he  modulated his GPS to local co ordinates. The trio had arranged for a week of exploration in an hitherto unknown village in the Sahyadris.
          "Isn't is strange that no accomplished explorers thought of this place", remarked Ric. "May be its our destiny to explore this one". "Ah! DESTINY I fear this word", gushed Ric. "Vokkay! so let us begin our journey to the unknown shall we?" humoured Prateek mimicking Ric's nervous tone. Led by Sybill the trio started on their track with nothing but their senses and a GPS to aid them. For about two hours they kept on marching evading the foliage towards a general direction. They had selected a unknown hill for exploration. It was Ric who was fiddling with Google Earth(TM) when he chanced upon a blank patch in the vast Sahyadris. Even Wiki couldn't provide much info about that particular place. A great novelty for Ric who had grown up worshipping wikipedia(TM). In the distance Sybill could see a giant Oak tree.
          "Stop Sybill. we'd rather follow the trodden path" called Ric. He had been rather apprehensive coming to this trek. He had cursed himself many times for showing Prateek and Sybill the blank patch, both of whom were ardent trekkers. After about a few yards or so they arrived at the oak tree. The tree was quite huge but that was all. It lay embedded in solid rock, which made it stranger still. Prateek caught up with Ric and Sybill panting all the way and threw down his bag pack near the oaken roots. " I am famished Sybill, I have been carrying 2 kg extra than both of you. For Gods' sake I am just 13 days older than you Sybill", and pointing at Ric, " 76 days for you". "Okay Prateek, chill lets take a break.", smirked Sybill. "Ouch!!", Ric exclaimed as he caught his foot wobbling around. "For the last time I say, Ric you are no Ronaldo. What on earth were you thinking trying to kick that rock." Ric had missed the rock by quite distance and had instead hit at the junction of the the oak and the wall of solid rock." I wasn't.. "
          Prateek stood up and went over to the junction and exclaimed, "Hey, wait both of you. I can see a crevice here" Prateek hit at the junction sideways as the solid seeming rock gave way and exposed a dark tunnel. A gasp escaped Sybill's lips as she peered into the darkness. All fatigue vanished as Prateek and Sybill strapped on their bag packs. " Come on Ric" called Sybill. " I feel something is not right guys", said Ric, "Oh don't be a spoil sport come on.", came Prateek's voice echoing slightly from the tunnel. Ric clutched dearly at his diamond pendant and said a short prayer before following them. Sybill still led them to a particular point in the tunnel where she stopped for all to catch up. It was pitch darkness all around. Ahead of them lay a narrow tunnel which could fit at the max one person at a time. Ric's sense of anxiety was heightened by this discovery. He was a bit claustrophobic.He had agreed for this exploration as it wouldn't involve closed space. But now here he was, "Come on guys we are on the verge of discovery i can feel it in my bones", said a visibly excited Sybill. To which Ric replied' " Somethings are rather left undiscovered." These words rang out spookily throughout the tunnel which made even the daring Sybill hesitate a bit. But she soon gathered her wits and entered the tunnel. Prateek followed her and finally Ric. He wouldn't like being left alone. As they progressed the path underneath became steeper and the walls came closer. The path soon turned into an incline and now they had to use their hands to pull themselves up the steep tunnel. Darkness hung around them like a viscous fluid as if one could cut a solid slice through it.
                  Ric apprehension faded only to be replaced bv stranger emotion, fear. He could feel that even Sybill and Prateek were now beginning to regret their decision. The path was now steep enough to be a slope of a hill. Minutes dragged to hours and the darkness gnawed at their creepiest nightmares. And when Sybill was about to call out for her friends a blazing beam of light hit her retina. The blaze almost blinded her after the solid darkness, "Yippee", shouted Sybill," Speak up now cry baby Ric!", exclaimed Prateek as the trio stepped out to a clearing wide enough for a camp. Sybill threw off her bag pack and skipped around. Going to the very edge of the clearing she looked around. They were atop the peak of the hill they had seen from the Oak. The peak was strangely flat. Prateek  set about looking at the tunnel walls of the tunnel they had just come through. He moved his palm around the walls of the tunnel. The walls were curved in a concave manner giving the place a feel of a very high cave a very high cave indeed. from the clearing Ric could see for quite a distance. He spread out his arms completely enticed by the raw beauty. He felt a sudden urge to jump off the cliff. Mother nature beckoning him towards her in an open embrace. "HEY RIC! wat ya doing? step back!", Sybill's urgent voice pulled him back to his senses. Ric felt he was standing at the very edge of the cliff with his arms spread out. Just a single step would take him deep down infinitum into the valley. Spooky that was, someone or something had made him do that wielding his will. "Guys come on over here", Prateek called out. "See!". Sybill and Ric squinted to see at a patch on the walls Prateek was pointing at. There was a motif you couldn't call it a painting of the most beautiful pair of eyes they had ever seen. Painted in crude red, The eyes wafted a sense of primal fear and respect in the nooks of one's heart."See I had told you we'd discover something. These seem to be some sort of ancient cave paintings." smugly said Sybill. "Oh! but I thought that the Neanderthals painted hunting scenes and not gorgeous eyes", joked Prateek. Ric was still mesmerised glaring deep at those eyes. And then he felt a tug at his diamond pendant. It was twice in a span of few minutes that Ric had been enticed. It didn't seem right. "Guys let's leave. I don't fell right, this place gives me the creeps."

                    "Now, Now Ric I am not going to listen to you. Had I listened to you we wouldn't have discovered this beauty", reprimanded Sybill. "let's spend a night. I'll set up a camp fire. You Ric gather your wits and scavenge those packs for a evening meal". Reluctantly Ric did according to Sybill's instructions. All the time clutching at the pendant. The sun set at a tardy pace immersing the surroundings in a silent shroud of darkness. Only the campfire simmered splashing their faces with a dull scarlet glow. The trio had their meal in complete silence listening to the unnatural quietness. "Isn't it strange you can't even hear a single insect quite strange",said Ric."Shut it Ric!", enjoy the night it might be your last", joked Prateek nudging him in the ribs. As the trio gently drifted to drowsy state and slept peacefully. Swissh.. 
                  Ric woke up, It was still damn dark.. He heard it.. quite sure of it. Quickly Ric looked around and woke up Sybill who was snoring beside him. and then he saw.. A shrouded figure bent over the limp body of Prateek. As the figure turned he saw those starkly beautiful eyes. That sight drew upon strange primal fear. So ancient which didn't have any logical reason. Just stark fear. Forcibly Ric averted his gaze and pushed Sybill aside away from the figure. But it was late Sybill had surrendered all her senses to those eyes. Ric clutched at his pendant took one last look and went to the very edge of the cliff. The very place where mother nature had beckoned him.. And then he simply jumped off. The last thing his mortal ears heard was the shrill scream shout finding its way through Sybill's throat and then Ric's heart gave away....
                    A giant Oak tee loomed ahead of the excited gang of teens. The seven teens stood staring at the unnaturally half embedded tree. As one of them stooped to pick up a glittering object in the foliage. It was a diamond pendant a bit tarnished. As his fingers closed around the crystal a strange lost conscious thought rubbed against his heart. "Somethings are rather left undisturbed.. " And then that guy ran, ran for his life leaving the six of them smirking and laughing explorers ridiculing him. As the 6 stepped into the dark tunnel treading happily towards death.....!

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