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The Chronicles of Globozuria — Chapter One — Avadhaan

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The first chapter of a space fantasy series, introducing the lead character Avadhaan. Reading time: 15 minutes. The Chronicles of Globozuria Chapter One - Avadhaan 1. He was walking on land that once was a paradise. Now, it was just smoke and dust. He was dragging his half-alive caricature amongst the echoes of death and destruction. This was once his hometown; he had grown up here. Now, there was nothing left but the ashes of his childhood. It had been long since the war ended, but nothing had changed. The soldier's army had surrendered, but the chieftain of the enemy army assumed command of the entire planet and ordered the survivors to be executed. He had been on the run ever since. The soldiers of the supreme leader had been looking everywhere for survivors. They had deployed killer droids. He and his comrades were hunted like wild animals to be killed on sight. While they were forced to run and hide, the innocent citizens were crushed under the supreme leader’s tyra

We Went to a Restricted Area in Brazil's Forest



A group of friends decides to visit Brazil's forest and gets stuck in the restricted area.
Reading time: 9 minutes.

We Went to a Restricted Area in Brazil's Forest


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We had been in this company for quite a long time, so we decided to take a vacation. We are a group of five friends—actually just four, but Katie always tagged along. Our group decided to go to Brazil. They say the summer is the best time to visit there. We all are college friends, and we all happen to work in the same company in different positions. Robert or Bob was the first one to join the company. He helped all of us, one way or another, to get a job with him. Daisy, his girlfriend, works with him as a team. I'm Nick; I work in a different department with Katie and Jensen. Our company manufactures bolts for machinery. We get orders in bulk from Multinational Companies and some other small ones. We hadn't taken a leave ever since we joined, so we thought it was high time. Hence, we all took leaves for a few days. It was surprising that all our leaves got approved. Anyway, we decided to visit Rio De Janeiro.

It was back in the summer of 2014. We all booked a flight, arrived there, and spent the first evening drunk and partying, well, except for Katie. She went to sleep early. The following morning, we rented a safari jeep and went out strolling in the forest. We spent the entire afternoon looking for all kinds of wild animals. It was about four 'o'clock when we arrived at this strange spot in the middle of the forest.

"Where are we?" Bob asked. He was driving.

"I don't know," said Daisy. "You're the one driving."

"This spot isn't supposed to be here. It's showing nothing on the GPS."

I checked maps on my smartphone. "Yeah, Bob's right," I said. "There is no road here."

"Are we lost?" asked Jensen. "My head hurts from last night. I just wanna go back to the hotel, so I could take a nap."

"We are not lost," said Katie. It was the first time she had spoken all day. She was busy reading some book with strange symbols on it. We didn't want anything to do with her, so we never asked. "The road must lead to the restricted area. We are not allowed to go there. That's why it's not on the maps."

"Hmm, that makes sense," Daisy added. "Let's go check it out."

"You crazy, babe? Does 'restricted' mean nothing to you? It's probably dangerous."

"Yeah, probably," I declared. "But wait, Katie, how are you so sure?"

"Are you kidding? A concrete road in the middle of the forest that doesn't show on maps—doesn't need much genius to figure it out."

"Oh, come on, guys," Jensen blurted out angrily. "Do whatever you want. Just move!"

"Come on, babe, let's check it out," Daisy suggested again. "If we run into someone—an official or something, we'll say we were lost and head straight back. It'll be an adventure and one hell of a story to tell. Come on, please."

"Alright, alright," Bob said as he drove forward.

As we touched the road, we all felt something. I couldn't place my finger on what exactly it was, but I could sense it. There was something strange about that place. As we kept moving forward, we felt as if time had stopped. We drove for at least an hour, but the sun didn't move an inch in the sky. The temperature seemed to have dropped, though. Only after a couple of hours did we realise what was wrong. It was when Daisy screamed.

Bob immediately hit the brakes. "WHAT?" he asked.

"We're stuck!" she said. "I watched the time when we entered the area. It was four seventeen, I swear. And it's still the same."

"Is that why you screamed like that?" Jensen asked. He was angry. "God, you are an idiot! Your watch must have stopped."

"No, no, she's right," I said, looking at my watch. It's still four seventeen."

Jensen wasn't wearing a watch, so he checked his for; it wasn't working. "Agh! My stupid phone must've run out of juice!" he exclaimed.

"Mine's not working either," said Bob.

"Oh my god!" Daisy panicked. "What is happening?"

"Relax, guys," said Katie. "Maybe, they have something here to stop all the digital equipment."

"Okay," I thought and said. "But why aren't my and Daisy's watches working? Those are not digital."

"I don't know, alright. What I am saying is there's a reason this area is restricted."

"Yeah, we should head back," said Bob.

"Yeah, let's go," Daisy agreed. "That was enough."

Bob turned the jeep, and we drove for two more hours. When we reached the spot, our watches still showed four seventeen. Bob stopped the jeep at the end of the road. Dense bushes and leaves were covering the entrance. That was strange because we didn't encounter them earlier.

"Who put those?" asked Bob. "Those weren't here when we first came."

"Those officials must've put them to hide the road. Let's just drive through them."

"Slowly."

Bob slowly entered the bushes, and it got dark for a while. We couldn't see, but Bob kept driving. When we came out from the other end, our hearts dropped a beat. It had already been dark, and we were back on the concrete road, facing the other way.

We all panicked together. Bob stopped the jeep, and nobody spoke for a few minutes. We just kept staring at each other with horror on our faces, well, except for Katie.

"Oh my god!"

"Oh, no!"

"Oh, god! What is happening?"

"Shit, what do we do now!"

"We keep driving."

We all looked at Katie; she was calm as ever.

"What?" Bob barked. "We have been driving for hours!"

"Listen, do you have any other brighter ideas?" she replied calmly. "We can try to drive through the bushes again, but I think you already know what's going to happen. The only way is to keep driving."

"But how is that gonna help?" Jensen asked.

"I don't know, okay. It was your idea to visit the place. I already told you it was restricted. Maybe there's a way on the other side. I don't know. Do whatever you'd like. I don't care."

Nobody said anything. What could anybody say? After a minute of silence, Bob started the jeep and drove forward. He kept going for hours. The time had literally stopped. It was seven thirty-two, and it stayed the same. We didn't even feel anything because our metabolism seemed to have stopped with everything else. It felt like we drove for days. None of us got tired or hungry. We couldn't feel anything; it was weird. We offered to switch, but Bob declined. He said he didn't even feel like he was driving. It was a straight road, but we still couldn't see what was ahead of us, and then we did.

At first, we couldn't tell what it was. Then we realised that it was water. We were approaching a humongous body of water, an ocean, maybe. And yes, it was indeed an ocean, but there was something different about it, something strange. The water was calm like sand spread out on the floor, with no waves. We finally reached the end of the road and stopped at this cliff looking above the ocean. We were both relieved and anxious at the same time.

"So, what now?" I asked.

"Don't know," replied Bob. "Can't go further, can't go back—guess we are stuck here forever."

"Come on," said Daisy. "There must be something we could do."

Before anyone else could speak, Katie did.

"There is," she said, pointing at something on the ocean.

It was a ship. We had never been this happy in our entire lives. It approached us, and we started jumping with excitement. We didn't know that the excitement wouldn't last.

The ship came to a halt, and we all ran towards it. When we finally arrived at the dock, two men appeared. They had some peculiar clothing on. We were all happy to see them, well, except for Katie.

"Uh-oh," she said. Nobody responded to her.

"Ah, it's been decades since I've seen new faces," one of the men said.

"Oh, thank god, you are here," Bob said.

"Yeah, we are stuck," added Daisy. "Can you please help us get back?"

The men looked confused for a second. Then, one of them whispered something to the other one in his ear. The second one went, "Oh!"

They both looked at us for a moment. One of the men spoke.

"Uh, I don't know how best to tell you because there is no easy way."

"Tell us what?" I asked.

"Um, actually, you are dead," he said. "You all are."

We all, once again, panicked. Daisy grabbed Bob's hand. Jensen put his hand on my shoulder, and I put mine on his. Only Katie seemed unnerved by the news.

"What—what are you saying?"

"There's a place in the forest. Something mythical took place there thousands of years ago, and it almost caused the wall between life and death to break down. You must've crossed the wall by mistake. You all are dead now."

"Yes," the other one said. "And we are here to take you to the other side, your next destination."

Daisy started crying, and Bob couldn't do anything to help her. He was in shock himself. I couldn't think properly, and Jensen dropped to his knees, crying silently.

"Come on, there must be a way!" Bob prayed. "We can't die like this!"

"Yeah, please, do something!" I said. "Please, this is—this is not—" I couldn't finish; my voice seemed to have been lost. My eyes teared up, and a few drops did slide down my cheeks.

"I understand, but I am sorry. This is beyond us. Our job is to just guide you to the other side."

Nobody said anything, nobody could. After a minute, the other man whispered something again to the first one.

"There might be a way," the first one said.

We all looked up at him with hope.

"We might be able to drop you back to the world of the living."

"Yeah, for an hour every day, the two worlds sort of merge together. We call it the 'hour of the dead'. That's when you might be able to cross over."

We were about to jump with hope and excitement, but the man interrupted.

"—But there's a cost."

"What?"

"Uh—one of you would have to stay with us, become one of us. That's the only way."

Nothing but silence followed; no one knew what to say or do. None of us wanted to stay dead, or worse, become a guide. That's when it happened.

"I'll stay."

We all turned back; it was Katie. She had taken her shoes off, and she sat with her feet buried in the sand. It seemed as if she was enjoying it all.

"I like it here, away from the sufferings of the world. This is, exactly, how I imagined death would be, painless and beautiful."

"But—but Katie—"

"Oh, it's okay," she interrupted me. "It's not like you guys would miss me."

Everyone looked guilty, including me.

"Yes," she went on. "I know. I've seen you making eyes at others when I say something. I've heard you whispering to each other about me. I've known this for a while now. I am not your friend; I'm the weird one."

"Katie, it's not true," Daisy said after a long time. "You are my childhood friend."

"Because you had no one else, no other female friends."

"Katie, we still can't let you do this," I said.

"It's okay," she replied. "I want to. It's my choice."

We tried to think of something to say to her, but we couldn't. Then, one of the two men spoke up.

"We should hurry. There's not much time. I think you should let your friend decide for herself. It's her life; it's her choice."

We all, one by one, hugged Katie and thanked her for what she was about to do for us. I kissed her and promised her that we would never forget her. Then, we climbed on the ship while Katie stayed back. The men asked her to stay, saying they'd come back for her. Then we sailed, and we sailed for days, but it didn't feel like days. It was as if we arrived the very next moment. The ship dropped us off at the pier. The moment we hit the world of the living, we felt alive again. Our phones and watches started working again. We were tired and starving. The first thing we did was hug each other tight, and we cried for longer than I remember. We thanked Katie and headed back home.



Now, what I'm about to tell you next shocked us all to the core. When our leave ended, we all went back to work. The very first thing we saw when we entered our office was Katie. We had never been so happy and scared at the same time. We ran to hug her and ask her how she managed to come back. She didn't remember anything, though.

"What are you freaks going on about?" she asked. "Did you guys do drugs on vacation?"

"Katie, don't you remember anything?"

"Remember what? None of you clowns even asked me to go with you. And why would you? I'm not your friend; I'm the weird one."

"What are you saying?" I demanded. "You did go with us. You sacrificed yourself to save us. Don't you remember?"

Katie gave us all a look. "I don't have time for your stupid pranks. You guys need to sober up; we have a lot of work to do."

She walked away while we all kept staring at each other.

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