De koningin eist haar zwaard
De koningin eist haar zwaard7 mins 400 7 mins 400
‘Mum…Mum, are you okay? Please wake up’, cried out Ruth shaking Martha.
He then brought a glass of water and sprinkled some water on her face.
Martha opened her eyes slowly and with the terrified look was all over her face again, she asked, ‘Where is she? Has she gone?’
‘Please relax, Mum. She has left.’, said Ruth trying to calm her down.
‘Relax? Huh… We don’t have that luxury anymore, my son. Sheryl Varghese is back and there’s a lot to unfold now!’, said Martha clutching Ruth’s hands firmly.
‘When Vincent used to tell me these tales, I used to think of them as some ‘Urban legends’ that he had come across or made up. But seeing her in person shook me up completely’, exclaimed Martha.
‘Mum, why are you referring to her as Sheryl when she mentioned that her name is Charu? Why did you faint upon seeing her? What are these tales that Uncle Vincent used to tell you about? Please tell me everything, Mum. No more secrets, please’ pleaded Ruth.
Martha slowly regained her composure and said with a firm tone in her voice, ‘Let’s hear it from the Old man himself.’
‘But, Uncle Vincent has gone to Egypt, right?’, asked Ruth with a surprised look on his face.
‘Egypt… Huh… My foot! ‘The Egypt’ he is still right under our feet – The Basement’, said Martha leading him towards the secret basement.
‘Wow… A secret basement that I am unaware of! This is some beginning, I guess.’, exclaimed Ruth.
Vincent heard the repeated knocking and opened the door. Looking at their aghast faces he knew the ‘Pandora’s box’ he had kept hidden for several years was slowly opening up.
‘All these years of care-taking and this is your first visit to the basement, Martha. Why do you want to know? Why do you want to be a part of this which could only lead to agony, despair or god forbid, death?’, asked Vincent.
‘You always kept saying that Sheryl would come to meet you someday. Well, she seems to have finally arrived. I always thought that you were going crazy with your old age and making these tales up.’, muttered Martha with moist eyes.
‘Holy Christ…’, screamed Ruth and fell down on his knees still staring at the huge painting of Sheryl Varghese on the wall.
‘Well, now you’d definitely know why I fainted out there on seeing her’, said Martha mockingly.
‘I have listened to several enchanting tales of her from this old man even before you were born, Ruth. This beautiful painting used to adorn the living room during my initial years in this house. I don’t know why Vincent took it down and put it here, in the basement, some years ago.’, said Martha.
Still speechless, Ruth continued staring at the painting. He was as if in a trance.
‘Uncle Vincent, do you think Charu is the re-incarnation of Sheryl Varghese or is it some weird coincidence?’, asked Ruth.
‘There is only one way to find out or rather one definitive moment to find out. I am waiting for that moment.’, said Vincent.
‘Come, both of you. It’s time I showed you something that I’ve kept hidden over the years. Oh, yes! This is the right time!’, exclaimed Vincent and slowly led them to the corner bookshelf which had several dusty books.
He took out a book and pushed a secret lever that was cleverly hidden behind it. The bookshelf attached to a door slowly slid open with a creaking sound. It was an entrance to a secret chamber.
A secret chamber in a secret basement!
Martha and Ruth looked at each other with fear in their eyes. Where was this heading to? What was in store? Did the old man plan on killing them both and burying them in this odd hidden chamber? Would they come across skeletons of the persons he had killed in his lifetime?
‘Oh, Come one… You know me better to think I am a wretched old murderer’, said Vincent as if reading their frightened minds. He took a lantern and lit it.
Praying to God, Martha and Ruth cautiously entered the chamber behind Vincent. It wasn’t a big chamber, just enough to allow one person at a time.
‘I only ask you both of one thing, please keep this in confidence’, requested Vincent.
‘What you are about to behold is one of the most magnificent things, I’ve ever come across my entire life. And you know, it has been a lengthy one!’, said Vincent with a slight glee on his face.
He took the lantern and raised it on the object that was about to take Martha and Ruth’s breath away!
‘It can’t be…No way… It can’t be… How’s it possible?’, blabbered Martha.
There it was… In a huge glass frame, shining in its age-old splendor in the lantern’s light - The magnificent sword of the Royal Varghese family!
‘Is it the one that made headlines some years ago? That it somehow vanished from the museum. There were some rumours going around that it was the burglary of the century.’, questioned Ruth.
‘Well, there were all kinds of stories doing the rounds. But only I know the truth! I don’t know what sword, they kept in the museum. I am not sure about the vanishing or the burglary part. All, I know is how it’s lying here and that’s the truth that I am going to share it with you both now’, said Vincent.
‘I was wandering on the hillock on a fine, pleasant day. I loved playing, running along with a couple of my friends. But that day, I was alone. The weather suddenly was in the midst of changing from a pleasant one to a gloomy one. I saw a white horse far away coming in my direction. There was a lady who looked like a princess to me riding it. She was wearing a white dress but there was something that was red in the middle of her dress; I couldn’t make it out clearly as they were still far away. Slowly, my heart started pounding as the figure drew nearer. I was in a flabbergasted state at the vision of the approaching princess on the white horse! Eventually, she saw me and came towards me. As she came near me, she fell down from the horse. I was too shocked, stunned to say or do something. It wasn’t red colour on her white dress. It was her blood! And, sticking out of the huge red circle of blood on her dress, was the sharp edge of a sword!
‘What’s your name?’, she inquired.
‘V…V… Vincent’, I mumbled.
‘Listen carefully, Vincent. I am Sheryl Varghese and I am dying. But I will come back for my revenge and I will come back for my sword. I need you to safeguard this sword with your life, till I come back. I promise you in my death that you won’t die till I come back for my sword! But some other evil forces too might come in my form and cheat you. So, here’s the secret code between us. You shall believe, its Sheryl Varghese only if you hear this secret sentence from me.’, said Sheryl Varghese and drew out the stabbed sword from her body with a mighty scream.
‘She gave the sword to me, kissed my forehead, and whispered the secret sentence in my ears and died.’, concluded Vincent with deep anguish in his eyes.
‘Since that day, I’ve been safeguarding this sword for her. Didn’t you wonder how I am managing to survive till this old age in good health.’, said Vincent.
Martha and Ruth stood as if they were transformed into statues, motionless.
‘So, you see. I don’t know how it ends. But I know one thing. I cannot trust that Charu is Sheryl Varghese, unless she comes and utters the secret code – The secret sentence’, said Vincent.
‘Come, on. I’ll tell you the rest of the story in the comfort of the living room’, said Vincent leading them out of the chamber.
Vincent slowly mumbled in his mouth as if to remind himself of the secret sentence – ‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’!
Meanwhile, Charu thoroughly disappointed had left Uncle Vincent’s house thinking why he’d be leaving for Egypt suddenly.
Anyways, she was too tired to sort it out. So, she rushed back home, had a quick shower, and quickly gulped a glass of milk, hit the bed.
She fell asleep in a minute. The voice slowly started ringing in her dream.
It began as a slow chanting, then a bit louder, then a little bit louder.
Loud enough - ‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’
‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’… ‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’
With the constant ringing, Charu startled and woke up in the middle of the night.
She thought, she had to get accustomed to these night terrors for some time, till she figures out what’s going on.
‘What the hell was that about? Weird… What language is it anyway?’, thought Charu as she lit up a cigarette on her bed and picked up her mobile phone.
She straightaway googled, ‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’. The results seemed to be something related to Dutch.
So, using a translator, she typed in ‘De koningin eist haar zwaard’ and converted it into English to get - ‘The Queen demands her sword’!