The Gateway8 mins 583 8 mins 583
When she looked up at the sky tonight, after all those years, she felt as if lifetimes had passed. The world, the mountains, including herself, had been eroded by time. Yet the thing that had escaped unscathed was her steely resolve that had stood firm and strong against the tides of time. It was the one thing that had kept her alive. The sky looked the same as she had last seen it that fateful day. Except there weren't clouds anymore, only the sky, naked in its purest form. Something about its blatant nakedness gave her unspoken strength. There is clarity, purpose, and beauty in this rawness, she thought aloud. She had made up her mind. She felt stronger than she had ever felt before. The energy coursing through her veins was electric. Today, she would finally have what she had desired. She had agonizingly waited all these years with a feverish obsession. Yes, blood had been spilled, but it had been for the greater good. She wouldn't need to wear the golden mask again. The fire was lit in the cramped, partially underwater cave. The sacrificial table had been decorated just the way she wanted. The fragrance of the incense sticks elevated her senses. It was about time. The dark prince would be here any minute and uphold his promise of finally delivering deliverance after all those years.
The two men walked cautiously, trying their best to not make a single wrong move. Their Master had given them precise directions to the whereabouts of the secret location. He had warned that there would be no mercy in case they faltered a bit. They wondered whom they feared more, their Master or the mysterious lady that resided in the secret underwater cave. There was grave darkness that was common in both of them, like a perilously dark black hole ready to swallow anything that came in its path. Just the sight of them gave them the shivers. The stench of fear and danger increased exponentially as they reached closer. They heard a faint humming that gradually grew louder with each step. When they laid their eyes on her, they felt as if their hearts would stop beating.
There she was with her snow-white hair, wildly strewn across her face like slithering serpents and her dark gaping eyes under a mask made of pure gold. The mask was cracked open in small spurts revealing a monstrously disheveled face that seemed to have decayed over time. She muttered aloud, undecipherable dark chants with a voice so thunderous that they felt the mountains tremble under it. Stricken with fear, they instantly nestled the sword in her frail, unusual skeleton-like arms. Her dark eyes gleamed with manic excitement, Like a volcano springing back to life after being dormant for centuries. She held the blade with an emotion that mirrored the fiery rage that ravaged her heart. A soon as she lifted it, she could feel an icy cold rush in her that made her stronger by the minute. She felt resurrected, reborn, reanimated. The two men cowered in fear at the strange sight with a hypnotic form of acceptance. Her skeleton-like arms magically seemed to regain instant muscular tonality and her body which looked old and painstakingly weak, suddenly regained the vitality and vigor of youth. She threw the golden mask in the direction of the frightened-to-death men with the recklessness of a queen throwing her riches away to her errand boys. They leaped onto the thrown mask, like moths, towards an illuminated light source. Her contorted face that had been ravaged by age, time, and unknown misery just moments ago had mutated into one with an unnatural moon-like paleness and unspeakable beauty. The metamorphosis was now complete. Almost. Just a few more sacrifices, and she would finally be absolved and her powers unshackled to conquer the world that was willfully hers.
Where are the lambs? Where is the prince of darkness, the scion of Apopis? Her voice thundered from the foothills to the top of the mountain. "The dark prince, Master.." the two men fumbled to find words as they trembled with fear. WHERE IS HE?? She screamed with a tone so threatening that they felt that their insides would burst. "The master is on his way; he will be here as soon as the moon turns a crimson red," he shall deliver you the final sacrificial lamb himself," the two blurted out. "WHERE IS THE OTHER ONE THEN?" she thundered. The two men, almost immediately, threw the gagged body of a shriveled man at her feet. She took off his blindfolds and clasped his face closer to hers. The man had a look of utter exhaustion that stemmed from brutal torture during his captivity, but his eyes exuded a valiant form of courage. His body might have been broken, but not his spirit. He was still fighting the pain with every ounce of strength. The woman looked at him with an emotion that was a mixture of disgust and rage, "Oomen, welcome back. Bow down to your rightful queen- Sheryl, nothing can stop me from being reborn and entering your realm and conquer it, ever again". The old man gasped in disbelief.
Vincent was aghast. He threw the sword in disgust, breaking it into a million pieces. A venomous violent rage possessed him like a hooded cobra, ready to strike at its prey, any instant. The sword, his prized possession, which he had spent his entire life in acquiring, was actually counterfeit. This sword would have been his path towards redemption, his gateway to unlocking unfathomable riches and solving the greatest scientific mysteries that had plagued mankind for generations. He had done all the hard work, shed more than blood, sweat, and tears. Yes, there were sacrifices every step of his way, and yet he had held on, never questioning his fate or the consequences. He had even split atoms by a fission reaction in his private laboratory after all these years and obtained the necessary radiation required to ignite the high-intensity electromagnetic waves. These waves would open the portal between the two worlds- the conscious and the unconscious one that existed even after one died. He had held on to the "Einstein-Rosen bridges" or the "wormhole theory" of bridges existing between two points in the fabric of time that could allow beings to travel from one dimension to the other seamlessly. After years of painstaking research, he had realized that a tremendous amount of energy created from powerful electromagnetic waves and radiation would be required to open the wormhole. He knew the exact place that would enable it as well; after all, he had witnessed the miracle with his own eyes, years ago, when he had watched the queen of darkness entering it by using the other-worldly sword.
The lake bed beneath the mountain on which the hotel mount verghese was built, had lodestone rocks known for their remarkable magnetic properties. His research team had confirmed that the lake bed mirrored the exact characteristics as that of the sea bed in the Bermuda triangle. The Bermuda triangle was notoriously known for its alarming levels of electromagnetic waves and radiations in its sea bed that led to the disappearance of countless ships and flights. There were three pieces to opening the portal: The lake with its lodestone-laden lake bed, the radiation that triggered the electromagnetic waves to power up the wormhole, and the mystical sword to activate the doorway that enabled access to the other dimension. He had everything in his grasp except the sword. "You are so close, Do not fail us, Avenge us!! We did it for you" the voices were back again in his head. A sudden pang of anger grew inside of him as the memory of that fateful day came rushing back.
Charu woke up again, drenched in sweat in the small dingy hospital room. It was noon, and strangely, even her acchan -Oomen wasn't there beside her as every day. What are these mysterious dreams she was having that felt so life-like? The fact that she could recollect even the minutest of details was alarming. It was almost as if she entered an entirely different world while asleep, and her brain had somehow manifested a metaphysical form that replaced her physical form in the new world, in her dreams. Who were those attackers?. How could she remember everything, right from the color of the sky to the number of trees in the woods, but not the contents of the mysterious box which Yuvaan had asked her to find? It was as if someone had connected her brain to a computer and deleted that specific portion from its memory. And who was this EVIL, really? She had to find him, question him, and kill him, she thought resolutely. After all, Yuvaan had died because of him. She knew it in her bones. She had to find a way to get out of this predicament. Think Charu Think, she spoke aloud. Only you can connect the dots now. "Go to the root of the problem, lay down its bare architecture, and only then will you figure the pattern," Yuvaan's hauntingly wise words came swarming back to her. That's it, that's the clue I need; she had her eureka moment. "He kept trying to tell me, Go to the roots, I need to do just that. I need to find more details about the family tree!!!" she excitedly made a mental note.
In a jiffy, she sprung her phone and googled the keywords: Sheryl Verghese+descendants+Family tree. A spring of results sprang up along with an article citing a tragedy that had taken place in the Verghese family. Apparently, a fire had broken out in one of the antechambers where a child aged three had been burnt alive. His name was Ezekiel Verghese. Charu gasped in amazement. Alarm bells started ringing in her mind as she finally deciphered what EVIL meant. It stood for "EZEKIEL VERGHESE IS ALIVE!!!!"