August 13, 2010

Sometimes it feels like the universe loves proving you wrong. If you say yes, it will side with the no. If you say right, it will take you left. If you say you have known all your life that a certain profession is bad and the people carrying it out are the worst, it will take you to the ends of the world- any world- to prove it otherwise. And trust me, whoever reads this, the universe only does it when you could not be more wrong. But when you are right, the universe loves showing it with quite a flair, like it was proud how your instincts were right from the very first time they kicked in.

The previous night we had been taken hostage by the pirates whom we had been quietly observing from the island somewhere above us. Turns out their quirky rituals with the animals and people on their deck were carried out so they could reach this place.

The Captain of the ship, who wore a rugged look upon his face- perhaps from sailing through different moods of the sea- did not show much interest in us. Even though it was a relief knowing that we were not on their hit list, I was a bit disappointed. Zenya, on the other hand, found him to be quiet handsome. Kids these days.

The pirate crew was all over the place. There were ten of them, including the captain, searching every nook and cranny for things only they knew. What was interesting to watch was the crew having fun searching the place. They were amused by the items they were discovering in this preserved mansion. But the moment their captain said they will not be taking anything from here, all of them left scavenging for precious materials and continued finding other things to amuse themselves with.

One of the crew members, a red-head with an amazing built, clad in a black suit and long jacket, came over and apologised for keeping us ‘contained for our own good’ and asked Zenya in the most gentle way if she was comfortable. We were under the sea in this somewhat mystical air bubble and all this guy could think of was flirting with my intern.

This guy, who goes by the name Hanz, took quite an interest in my journal as I wrote down about the day. He read my previous entries and was filled with laughter and admiration when he found out how we had been keeping an eye on them since we arrived on the island. He told us they were in this part of the ocean only because their Captain wanted to be here. According to him this part of the ocean is uninhabited because of it being some “shunya-ksetra” a couple of years ago. I didn’t realise it losely translated to ground zero in sanskrit till Zenya pointed it out. Hanz told us he and his crew had come from the West to look for this mansion. Their captain had been searching for this place for the past fifteen years and had been gathering tools and creatures from all the seas to help him get here.

It wasn’t until Hanz said these exact words that I started taking him seriously. “We are here to help him fulfill a promise he made fifteen years ago. He is a man of honour,  our captain. We will do anything for this man, as you can see. Because once Captain James Phillip D Murdokk gives his word, he never goes back on it.”

The name set off an alarm in my brain. The word ‘Murdokk’ sent a chill down my spine and everyone around me reduced to that piercing blank noise; the noise your hear when you are surrounded by silence.

The insides of my stomach were turning upside down and my whole body was going cold while I was being covered in sweat. I gathered enough courage to ask Hanz to take me to his captain and provide me with a bucket, as I was about to spill out a lot more than just some important information for their captain.

I told Murdokk everything I had seen in my dream and without even a single second of doubt, he believed every word I said and gave us captives a place on his table. Before Zenya and Fred could make out what had happened to me, Murdokk commanded his men to look for a passage through the rocks. He wanted to show us his gratitude by giving us anything we wanted. It was quite eminent what the three of us wanted. To go home. Back to our families. To my wife. But it was not as easy as it sounded.

“You can’t take them back to where they came from Captain. Not without some back-breaking effort that is.” Hanz had interrupted us when Murdokk was about to go ahead and strike a deal.

Murdokk had been angered by Hanz’s stance. “This man has finally shown me where my friend is Hanz. You better have a good reason for this.”

“I do. You cannot take them back that easily because they are not from this world, Captain.” And he placed my journal in front of the captain with the entry of the day of the storm while he placed a map of unfamiliar territory in front me.

The first words I- unlike anyone else in the room- uttered were “I KNEW IT!”. It felt so good. No regrets.

Apparently Murdokk knew what Hanz was talking about. It did not hit me how shocking the revelation was until I saw Zenya and Fred’s faces. But to our amazement, Murdokk went ahead promising us a passage home but on one condition. The condition was that I had to help Murdokk reach his friend- just like I had last night- so that he could find a way to free him. “Do this for me Mr. Colin, sir, and I will make sure you and your friends go back to your world. You have my word.”

The moment he said it, his crew started moving like a well oiled machine. They knew what all they had to do to help their Captain keep his word. This pirate crew were driven on such strong faith, making me question everything I had read about them. Maybe because the worlds were different.

We closed our deal with a handshake and the moment we did, Hanz took the responsibility of gathering everything needed to send us back to our world.

Zenya could not help herself from asking if they were going to build a portal and if she could join them as well. I could swear on the strongest rocks in this mansion that Hanz was on cloud nine at that moment. He asked me for permission to take Zenya with him before mentioning that they were going to build something better than a portal.

Well, it was about time we went back home.

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