The Magical Cave I: A Cave in the Hills


Ajay was furious. Why did Vinod want the girls along? That too that domineering Ramya of all people! What did Vinod see in her? Why not Niranjan or Gaurav instead? But then what was new? When did Vinod ever listen to Ajay? But then Vinod was his best friend and like always he would humor him, even if it meant putting up with the likes of Ramya and Navneeta. Well, come to think of it, Navneeta was not too bad for a girl, Ajay reflected. She had good taste – she always laughed at his jokes. Anyways what was done was done. This was supposed to be fun and he did not want to ruin the fun by brooding over his best friend’s choice of companions.

Ajay shivered a bit as the breeze brushed past his skin gently. It was still dawn. They had decided to start quite early as it would be difficult to climb once the sun came out. The fresh unpolluted air kind of lightened his mood as they trudged on silently. Vinod lead the way, followed by Ramya, then Navneeta and then Ajay. One good thing about trekking was that it took away all your breath – you hardly had any left to talk. One could enjoy the serene silence. The monsoon had just ended and the hillside was lush with greenery. One could hear the twitter of birds chirping away merrily. Ajay felt a kind of oneness with the nature.

His reverie was halted by a sudden grating sound: a human voice. “I think we should stop here and have our breakfast.” He looked at Ramya in irritation. But she did not seem to notice. Soon they were seated on the hard dry ground. Navneeta took out the bread packet from her knapsack and handed out slices to everyone. After the strenuous walk, bread with cheese and fresh vegetables tasted heavenly.

This is fun. It feels so much like an Enid Blyton adventure”, Ramya gushed. “Maybe we should call ourselves the adventurous four.

Who knows? Maybe some smuggling activities might be going on in the hills. Let us keep our eyes and ears open.

Ajay groaned. Once Ramya and Vinod started this Enid Blyton talk, there would be no end to it. Reading the school books was itself such a chore. How could these guys spend so much time on non-school books and talk about them with so much excitement as well? He tried to ignore them and focus on the bread.

Ajay gave out a sigh of relief as the breakfast came to an end and they were back on their path. The sun had fully come out by now and it was blazing brightly. It had been a good decision to start off early. The sound of birds had ceased. The heat had possibly caused the birds to beat the retreat. The breeze had also stopped. There was complete pin drop silence.

Suddenly Vinod yelled. “Look there.” They all looked in the direction Vinod was pointing. There was a small hole in the rocks.

That must be an entrance to a cave. Let us explore.” Ramya was glowing with excitement.

Navneeta looked a bit unsure. “I have heard there are usually bats in caves.

Come on, Navneeta. Don’t be a wet blanket. Why are you scared of bats? Bats are just mice with wings.

Well – I am scared of rats!

A typical girl.” Ramya’s nostrils had flared up. “We should have let you stay at home and play with your Barbie dolls.

Vinod looked towards her. “Come on, Navneeta. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. We are with you. We won’t let the bats harms you, will we, Ajay?

Somehow Ajay also did not like idea of bats hovering above him. But he did not want to show himself a weeny in front of Ramya and get ridiculed. So he said bravely, “Yeah – I and Vinod will just swat them away like mosquitoes.

Vinod eased himself into the hole, followed by Ramya. Navneeta looked back hesitantly at Ajay. He gave her a reassuring nod. He felt a kinship with this girl for being a victim of her best friend’s fancies.

She gingerly dropped in and Ajay followed. There was limited light inside and it became darker as they moved further away from the entrance.

This is so exciting,” Ramya squealed.

This is so exciting. This is so exciting. This is so exciting.” Eerie echoes engulfed them.

Please don’t Ramya,” Navneeta whispered.

I think we should go back. It is dark to see around us and the pathways are getting too complicated. We might get lost in here,” Vinod whispered.

Don’t worry. I have come prepared,” said Ramya. She put a hand into her bag and brought out a flash torch and a piece of chalk. “We will keep marking the walls of the cave as we move ahead. We can follow the chalk marks back."

She switched on the torch and the cave lit up. Vinod nodded his head in approval. Ajay shrugged his shoulder. Navneeta’s face looked pale. They walked on ahead for a while. Then Vinod suddenly stopped. All the others gathered around him. Right ahead of them was a thick blanket of smoke like a cloud. They could not see through it despite flashing the torch through it.

Ajay did not like the expression on Vinod and Ramya’s faces. Navneeta spoke what was in his mind. “I think we should turn back. That seems like a dead end.

She could have as well told a dog to stay away from the bone than tell this to Vinod and Ramya. Vinod spoke up. “I want to see what is beyond the smoke. You both girls stay here. I and Ajay will go ahead and investigate.

Ramya pouted and was about to speak up when Navneeta stepped closer to her and clung on to her hand. She looked for a while into Navneeta’s frightened eyes and held on to her tongue. Ajay wished he could also hold on to Vinod’s hand and stop him. But that did not work with boys. Vinod had made up his mind. He had to follow after him into danger or lose his friend’s respect. He chose the former.

One moment they stepped into the cloud and the next moment they found themselves in bright day light. In front of them was a busy street of a city filled with shops.


Picture Credit: http://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/78/44/784483_4036a735.jpg

32 comments:

iwrotethose.com said...

It's sort of like "the Secret series" meets "The Faraawaytree" meets " a bit of Harry Potter" :) Good start buddy !

Seeta said...

Lovely! yup was going to say that this seems like the secret series :) so what is this world that they have stepped into??? waiting for the next part!

The Fool said...

I am glad to see your comment on this Sid. I was tempted to tag you and Seeta on this but I tend to be reluctant about blatant self promotion and also feared I might not do full justice to this. Good to see both you and Seeta are the first ones to comment on this. I hope I manage to do justice to this story.

The Fool said...

As mentioned in my reply to Sid, I was tempted to tag you both on this. Probably that very fact itself will tell you what world it is. I have so far read only one book of the secret series and the rest are on my this year's to-read list. So no inspiration from tat for this one. Thanks for reading. Hope I can maintain interest till the end.

Anita said...

Even I love Enid Blyton & have read most of her books! Well-written :)

Jairam said...

Nice, quite nice, if this belongs to the genre that you are most comfortable writing with, then this is a novella that I am eagerly looking forward to. For sure, am looking forward to Part 2 quite eagerly.

The Fool said...

Thanks Anita - This is my attempt to write an Enid Blyton kind of story.

The Fool said...

Thanks at lot, Jairam. This is nNot necessarily the genre I am most comfortable with - I am writing this for the first time - but definitely a genre I love to read and one of the genres I might like to become an author in.

Kusum said...

Interesting! Waiting for more.

CRD said...

Nice twist in the end. I was bracing myself for a sudden drop or a monstrous creature.

Theres more to come? Looking forward.

Cheers
CRD

The Fool said...

Thanks Kusum. Will be coming up soon.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, CRD.

Ashwini C N said...

Wow. Such a gripping narrative. Please please post Part 2 :-)

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Great start TF! Waiting for the rest.

Red Handed said...

NOW NOW NOW....I dont normally read chain stories..but this seems interesting!! YES!

mahesh said...

The group has been magically transported through time? :) nice start Karthik sir !

The Eternal Overthinker said...

Nice !!waiting for the next installment...

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Ashwini. Hope you will stay till the end.

The Fool said...

Thanks Suresh. Hope I don't disappoint.

The Fool said...

Thanks, You can hang on. This is not going to be longer than my regular blog posts nor more frequent (Don't fear I am joining the A-Z prompt and all. I am not.) and it is not going to be a mega epic with lot of characters and events you need to remember. So hopefully you will hand on till the end,

The Fool said...

Thanks Mahesh. You will soon find out.

The Fool said...

Than TEO. Hope next installment leaves up to this one.

Pankaj said...

I always like caves. thanks for sharing

Purba said...

Welcome aboard to Fool's land of fantasies and prepare for a ride of a lifetime.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Purba.

Kokila Gupta said...

Cool from faraway tree to the faraway cave! after typing this am going to to the next part... Tada.. meet you there :)

The Fool said...

Nice to know.

The Fool said...

Thanks for reading Kokila. Glad you are liking it.

Ramesh Grandhi said...

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that all of us cut our reading teeth on Enid Blyton. She has been for uncounted and uncountable millions of children a source of joy and happiness.

Karthick, this post of yours does her ample homage. It is not all that easy to write about children and how they would react to various circumstances. You have done that with consummate ease, in fact you have made it so very visual that one can see the scene. Great excerpt.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks a lot, Ramesh.

Shilpa Garg said...

Aha! That's looks like the beginning of a great adventure! Hopping over to the next part!

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Shipla - this will be novel length series. Hope you will read the other episodes as well.

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