Read the previous part here.
I asked Micky if he was thinking the same thing as I was. He answered positive…
That night passed and in the morning, I and Micky were near the old mango tree discussing about the mansion at the Northern Aisle. He was reluctant about going there since it is said to be heavily guarded especially by the goddess herself, what are the chances that we would find those Manuscripts. I had to motivate him quoting about all those story book characters we read, where children discover something amazing or do something which was nearly impossible. I urged Micky on asking granny further details about the mansion so that in a couple of days we could visit the place.
In the afternoon, we all gathered for lunch and by the end of lunch time some more clarity on the mansion was made available. Thanks to his smartness. As per granny there was still a caretaker and no one else in that big old mansion which was biding away it’s time in the ruins. The underground passage way was towards the northern side of the mansion which was pretty far from the main structures. The discussions made us aware that the passage way would be in a very bad condition as there was no one who has gone near it in years.
Later that afternoon, we four and Jacky were sitting under the same tree. Vichu and Neena were shocked to hear my plans. They said that we would never make it back if something of that sort was to be attempted. By something of that sort I mean, I proposed that we sneak into the mansion and try to find the underground passage. Micky was lost in deep thought while Jacky was running in circles around us. It was sure was a big challenge and especially if mom came to know of it, I will never see a sunlight at Ammama’s place without her being near. But still I was trying to get the things rolling.
Micky finally agreed that we can go and check out the house, but nothing more than that. It was too dangerous as per him. So on the 7th day we planned to get ourselves two bicycles for rent and march to this place. To granny we said that we were going to see the village. Since Vichu knew the village well, she didn’t hesitate to send us four by ourselves but told us to be safe at all times and if anything went wrong then without hesitation ask help from the passerby. Everyone knew Ammama and her mansion in the village.
We set out to see the mansion of Northern Aisle. I was nervous but nonetheless I wanted to go into those passage and see if there is any truth that goes along with these myth. I and Vichu shared a bicycle while Micky had Neenu as his pillion. We peddled hard and still it took ages to reach those ruins. The place was not very far, at a reach of 5 kms. Finally we were greeted by a huge black gate with a lot of creepers and vegetation growing on it. The funny thing was that the gate stood open at a one man width. This means that there were still people going in and out of there, or maybe it was the caretaker. Everyone got down from their bicycle and looked with careful eyes. The walls were made of stone and was as high as fully grown tree. It looked completely shabby with creepers and some kind of green algae growth. Neenu held on to Micky’s shirt and I look back to confirm and as I thought Vichu was completely stumped by fear.
Micky looked at me and asked about the plans next. I hinted on taking our bicycles inside and just exploring the place a bit. It was a tough call but then he moved with me to push the bicycle in through the open gate and walk inside. There was a paved path and forest on either sides. I told them that better than walking would be cycling. So we started cycling slowly and the place didn’t fail to instill fear in us. Every nook and corner looked creepy. The pool on the other side was filled with hyacinth and nothing to state for a fact that there was water under it.
We moved slowly ahead and started seeing ruins of the mansion. Large blocks of displaced stones from those huge rooms towards the side of the pathway. That was not even the home but the guest room. We march further and by then Neenu had started urging that it’s dangerous and we turn back. Surprisingly Vichu was my quiet pillion. Micky assured that everything would be fine and we moved ahead to find the massive structure of mansion which had it’s roof damaged with a huge log of wood on it. This was probably from a tree that had fallen on it.
We reached the center of the place. It was quiet and chirping of the birds and calmness were our only companion. There were ways splitting in different direction. Ways paved in sand but visible enough. I started cycling on one such way and that made Micky compelled to follow me. Underground passage and reaching that passage was my only aim. I peddled a bit faster and we started exploring the vicinity. The place looked nothing but a deep jungle. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we had encountered some wildlife. My eyes suddenly fell on to another set of ruins and I rushed towards there. It looked different with a small building completely shattered and one can see bricks lying around.
I parked the bicycle there and Vichu was reluctant to get down. But I managed to push him down and by then Micky parked his bicycle next to me. He said that we need to return and spending anymore time here was dangerous. Paying less heed to those words, I walked ahead and found that among those bricks were a stone stairs. Yes…this is it. This is the underground passage. The darkness as I looked down into the distance proved it.
Convincing them to visit the passage would be a great task. I knew that they would object my idea with all their might, blood and nails. But I had to put it to them anyways. I carefully removed two small sized torch and handed one to Micky. Micky understood and nodded negative. I tried telling him that we were this far and how about a quick sneak into the passage. At this point, both Vichu and Neenu were against the idea and so was Micky. After persuading for a while, Micky had quit talking and was silent meaning he was preparing himself for the big leap. In a bit, I walked into the passage carefully and the trio followed me.
We walked towards the inside and finally came across a two way partition. I was expecting an 8 different direction partition but this was only two. I told Micky that we need to split and try to explore a bit more. He didn’t speak again. I said that we would walk for 15 mins and if we couldn’t find nothing, just walk back and meet near the bicycle parking. So in all, we should be hopefully out of here by 20 minutes. Looked like a plan to me. We walked towards the split and soon Vichu ran to Micky. Neenu was already with Micky. Micky was reluctant to leave me alone but then Vichu was scared and Micky happened to be the only source of inspiration to walk forward. So I declared that I can manage alone while the trio explored the other part of the passage.
I moved in towards the passage and was greeted by a lot of stones and darkness. As I pointed my torch in another direction I could see water dripping from the ceiling. It’s breathtakingly dark. I could hear my heartbeats so loud today. I was scared for life but something stopped me from turning and running back to the parking lot. I kept walking forward through the broken patches of stone. There were bats flying out as I walked even further. They would see the torch light and fly around flapping their wings. I kept walking and it’s been 15 mins now.
Finally I stopped walking at this particular place. It was no longer dark but I couldn’t say where the light came from. It looked like the passage had opened up to another world. There was a small waterfall from the rocks at one side and open area on the another. The place was a bit huge and was completely lit. It looked different and it was a shock to see such a place in there. There were slight breeze blowing and I decided that this is it. I was not in any mood to walk any further. Explore a bit here and walk back. I walk towards the edge of the place and sit down there.
I feel different with each passing second. Something was going to be terribly wrong. I hoped that the trio were alright and not in any kind of danger. I would curse myself if something were to happen to them. I loved them more than me and this was my stupid idea. In my defense, I had heard from my mom that the gods were kind to children more than adults. Believing those words, I was sure that I am safe here as well like any other place. Slowly as I was about to start back, I heard slight noise… like a noise of a distant temple bell. The noise started becoming stronger with every passing second and I was in double mind as to if I should stay and see what it is or should I run with all my might. What are the chances of escaping even if I were to run? I was confused.
The sound was coming closer and the noise was no longer temple bell but a sharp sound of anklet. I still remembered granny quoting about the noise of anklets. I had wished a lot to see those anklets and the person wearing those anklets close enough but now it felt like the wish which shouldn’t have been made. As the sound drew even closer, I picked a rock and sat on it and supported my body on another rock. Eye sight was fading a bit and vision seemed to blur. Finally a glitter from afar. A black shiny thing. I trembled in fear but even then my eyes trying to gaze at that shiny thing in front. The glitter was too much to handle for my eyes and eventually I passed out of my senses.
I woke up on a bench and as I got my composure back, I stood up. I could see an old man and I was still at the ruins. He looked grave but I was trying hard to relate the series of things that happened.
Go back home from a grave looking man with his deepest of voice was enough for me to walk out and run towards the gate. I ran till I got tired, walked a bit and ran again. After crossing the gate, I ran again. Reaching home was the only aim and I ran fast till my legs started aching and heart started pounding really hard. I then decided to walk. On the walk back, I was trying to recollect the order of things that happened.
As I walked past the bus-stop, a hand clamped me firmly. I looked up and it was dad. We walked towards Ammama’s place. In no time, I could see Ammama’s place from far away. A little closer and I could see 3 kids running around in the pathway connecting the courtyard. I was tightly held by dad and was let loose only once we crossed the gate. I ran to Micky, Neena and Vichu. They were so happy to see me as I was to see them. So many years but ….