Long Drive – Part 2

Vicky started without even waiting for a response. Gogo and Saleem got immersed in listening.

“Many things in this world are strange. And for some, the word strange is just not enough.

Centuries ago, this place was a rich and prosperous town. Its citizens lived happily under the dominion of their king, IndraVeer. He was powerful, intelligent, just and generous. The thing that made him invincible and a synonym to the almighty was the ‘Star Stone’. The stone, that was a gift from lord Bramha to Indraveer’s great grandfather, had powers beyond imagination. Apart from its medicinal properties that could cure any kind of illness, it predicted future on the auspicious day of Diwali. Going by its predictions, the king planned the year ahead and protected his kingdom against invasions, braced for droughts and floods. It helped him build, destroy and recreate. The people did their day-to-day work and relied on the king about their future. They had an undying faith on their king.”

With a deep sigh, Vicky continued, “But there was a Minister in the king’s court who had evil plans in his mind. He had built hatred against the king after the death of his only daughter. The Minister’s daughter had an incurable disease by birth. She died every minute she lived. While the minister believed that the king would have saved her from death, the king knew that the Star stone cannot be used to alter the destiny. Her death enraged the Minister. He determined to avenge the king for this. The right chance came to him when the Star Stone predicted that a massive earthquake would strike the town on the following new moon. The news did worry the king, but he was sure that he will do anything and everything to save his people from the calamity and later on, the star stone would help him build his empire again. But, even before the prediction could complete, the wicked minister snatched the stone from the hands of the king and ran away. All attempts to find the minister and the Star Stone failed and ill fate kissed the town that night. Powerful tremors shook the town like a cardboard miniature and brought the whole town to rubble. The atmosphere filled with shouts and cries for help. Then death ruled.

BUT! The trust and faith the people had in their king was something that even death could not kill. It made them stand between life and death. They believed that their king would come to save them. He would rescue them against all the odds. It is he who would liberate them…

Since then, on every new moon night, the town comes alive and waits for their king to return.”

Vicky paused for a while and uttered,

“THEY ARE STILL WAITING FOR THEIR KING TO RETURN AND LIBERATE THEM….”

Viju and Gogo froze with terror…after a few frightful gulps, Saleem stammered…”Ha…How dd..did u know this…?”

Vicky Unconditionally reveled “I was king IndraVeer in my past life!”.

Nothing less than a nuclear bomb exploded in the hearts of Saleem and Gogo. They both swiftly got off the car…

“If this is a JOKE then, it is indeed a very bad one.” Saleem screamed in a trembling voice.

“Past life! Incarnation! King! Star stone! …ha!!! gime a break, are you going crazy or something, Vicky?” shouted Gogo…

Out of the car they stood, shouting at Vicky and then they were overtaken by a tone of being smothered. On looking around, they saw that they were indeed surrounded by a population of cold faces. Faces bruised, some badly crushed, some bodies with broken limbs, some just dragging themselves with their hands… about a thousand ghosts surrounded the car. Saleem and Gogo were left to do nothing but to get terribly scared.

A Strong voice thundered from the top of the car, it was Vicky’s.

“Fear NOT my people…” He announced with his arms spread out “I am here now. Today, you will be set free, forever…”

Vicky looked down to his frightened friends and said

”Friends, you have to leave now.”

“But how can we?” yelled Gogo. Agreeing to his friend, Saleem continued

“Vicky, you may be king, savior or whatever for these people, but you are a friend to us. I will not leave you alone here. And what’s caught you suddenly??”

“No dear, this is not a sudden revelation. I have been dreaming about it since I was a child. But today, I’ve come to understand what my dreams meant.” Explained Vicky.

“Look at them…they have been in this pathetic state for centuries. all this time, they have been waiting for me. And now, it is my responsibility to free them from this forged state. It is only me who can liberate them.

Friends, please drive away and let me fulfill the dues of past life.

God willing, we will meet again in our next life…now now…don’t tell me you do not believe in rebirth!”

Saying so, he got down from the top of the car and walked fearlessly into the gate followed by the population of ghosts. Gogo and Saleem looked at each other. Unable to express any feeling, they quietly got in to the car and started driving back.

Vicky took the charge inside the town. “My faithful soldiers, here I am, in need of your co-operation yet again” he ordered. The soldiers emerged out of the crowd and assemble in front of the king, ready to carry out any order.

“GO! Search for the wicked minister. He had the star stone and only the star stone could show the path to your liberation. GO…May the victory be ours”.

Heard this, all the soldiers embarked on a search mission to find the minister, or at least his dead remains. Hours of search ended in vain. The minister’s body was nowhere to be found. Vicky, suddenly recalled the reason why the minister turned wicked; it was because of his daughter’s death… he took a curious hunch and asked his soldiers to search the site which used to be the burial ground of the town. He wanted them to locate the tomb of the minister’s daughter. Vicky guessed that the minister would have tried to use to star stone and bring his dead daughter back to life. He was so right.

With the sacred star stone in his hand, the minister’s dead body was resting on his daughter’s grave. Vicky went forward and attempted to recover the stone from the minister’s hand, but on the spur of the moment…

“Yeaaaaaaaa!” the minister woke up just as Vicky touched the stone with his hand. He still refused to give the stone back. Using the star stone, he created an explosion around himself, making everybody fall away from him. Just like the undying faith of the citizens, it was his anger and hatred on Indraveer that kept the minister hanging between life and death…

As he managed to remain firm on his feet, he spoke out of absolute disgust.

“you are back?….Ye! welcome, I was waiting for you…”

Vicky tried to console the unhappy soul…”Please calm down Sir…it’s been ages since your daughter’s death. Please spit the anger and hate. Pass me the star stone and become liberated.”

But the minister had a different say…

“SHUT UP! YOU!…You killed my Daughter. You let her DIE…No..NO…YOU KILLED HER …I will never forgive you for this, I will KILL you in this life and in all your future lives if you are born again!”

He lifted Vicky by his throat. As the powerful clutches of the minister strangulated Vicky, his eyes began to shut, all his hope to fight back were lost. Just as his eyes were about to be shut forever, a sharp radiance came speeding towards him. It was from an object that he never thought he would see again. It was his car with Saleem and Gogo in it. They crashed it into the minister and released Vicky. The minister’s body flew off with the impact and the Star stone fell away on the dry land. Gogo jumped to secure the stone and ran towards Vicky. But earlier he could pass it over to Vicky, the minister drove a blade into his abdomen. Gogo yelled out of pain but did not fail to accomplish his task. He threw the star stone towards Vicky before he fell on the ground, dead.

With no time to lose, Vicky held the star stone with both his hands. He raised it towards the sky and brilliant light crept out of the miraculous stone. Saleem was the only alive witness for the events that followed…

The dark clouds succumbed to a blinding light. A whirlwind formed around Vicky and it increased to the extent that it sucked all the dead inhabitants into its whirling abode. The minister was the only one who resisted, cursed, yelled and cried, but he was sucked in too. Intense beams of light filled the town. The sharp, blinding light swallowed everything. And then it went dead calm…

Saleem sprang out of the driver’s seat and ran towards Vicky, who was losing his balance. He held him in his arms as Vicky spoke his last words…

“Thanks for risking your life to make me win my battle”

Before he could tell anything more, Vicky shut his eyes as if he was fast asleep. He was dead now too.

Saleem broke into tears

“No! Vick!! Don’t do this yaa…don’t leave me alone…”

But something was still not over. The star stone slipped from Vicky’s hands. It shuddered, crackled, popped like a corn and miraculously melted into thin layers, which further dissolved into dust. The environment started to shift quickly. The dark clouds begun to vanish and bright sunlight kissed the earth. The spine-chilling wind, now blew normally. Saleem felt some movement in his arms. It was Vicky reviving back to life. As if this was not enough for a surprise, he heard somebody coughing. when he looked back, he found Gogo moving too. Soon both stood completely intact and very much alive.

Trying to find a suitable explanation, Saleem exclaimed, ”Yes! Nothing could have happened to you guys, since you had the miraculous stone in your hands when you needed it the most!! Am I right?”

“Star Stone!” Vicky exclaimed, cleaning the dust off his shirt.

“What Star stone?” he repeated again.

“Yes! What star Stone?” Gogo shrugged and wondered. Saleem was clearly going out of his mind “You people…Ahhhhhhh!”

“Vicky, don’t you recall! There was a town here… you were the King, IndraVeer in your past life, …huh…Gogo you were stabbed to death by the wicked minister…hey come on you guys…”

“King, past life, wicked minister?? Saleem are you going mad? Hahah! Looks like you’ve got a nasty head injury!” Vicky said and Gogo nodded in acceptance.

“Now, guys don’t joke, as if you know nothing! Aye, Gogo please help me out here please… don’t make a fool of me!” Saleem spoke with marks of confusion on his face.

“Ohhhhh! Look what you’ve done to my car…! Come help me in getting this thing started!!!” Vicky shouted angrily.

 

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