“How was I to know this was a wrong turn?” asked Ria once they found themselves stuck in the middle of a large meadow with a creepy looking bungalow at a corner.
Exactly as Ria asked this question, somewhere from within the bungalow, a clock struck twelve indicating it was midnight.
The girls were scared to death. The clock chime was least expected.
Lavina whimpered as sweat beads gathered around her forehead despite the cold weather outside, “I just hope we are safe! Where have landed ourselves into?”
Aadya assured her, “Don’t worry, we were meant to come here. It’s already too late and I wouldn’t recommend moving out of this place until morning. Let’s seek refuge in the dilapidated bungalow until morning.”
Three best friends– Ria, Lavina and Aadya were traveling to a camp site at Auli on an adventure.
The location was some remote crater lake on top the hills and the girls were driving there all the way from Delhi.
The girls had booked a self-driven car from Delhi. The dare devil nature of these girls was truly commendable until this moment at midnight when they found themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The drive from Delhi had been full of fun and adventure. These girls had embarked upon this solo trip and were here all the way from Delhi and Jaipur.
Each one was different from the other; yet fate had got them together.
Ria belonged to an aristocratic family in Jaipur. Her parents often globe-trotted owing to their work and business.
Ria was the only child and they couldn’t devote much time for her. The parents wanted the best for her and so they had decided to enrol her at the finest institution.
Ria was bold, rebellious, smart, outspoken, extrovert and full of life. She never feared people or situations and dared to live an adventurous life.
Lavina’s father was posted in the army and the family had to relocate many times during their tenure of service. This was causing a hindrance in Lavina’s education.
Her parents together with other elders of the family decided to call for a talk with Lavina and get to understand her mindset.
Lavina was an intellectual, avid reader and extremely studious. All she wanted was a steady environment where she could focus on her studies and ace examinations.
With mutual consent, Lavina was sent to a boarding school and she happily agreed.
Aadya was the only daughter of a famous politician in Delhi. Aadya’s mother had passed away when she was still very young. Aadya’s father did not have any time to either care for her or give the desired quality time.
It was decided to send Aadya to the most popular boarding school.
Aadya was exceedingly level headed, believed in karma, was balanced, calm and had a spiritual angle to her persona.
She believed that whatever happens, happens for a reason. There are challenges thrown at life because those on whom the challenges are thrown at, have the ability to handle them fruitfully.
It was thus fated that all the three girls came together to join the popular Sr. Joseph’s Convent and boarding school at Dehradun in the year 2012 when the girls were in class five.
All three joined the same year and had found company, solace and comfort in each other.
The three girls were also allotted the same hostel room and that had brought them even closer to each other.
So much so that by the time they graduated from high school, they were the best of friends and totally inseparable.
Even after the girls graduated from school, they attended the same college just because they wanted to be together.
There was always an air of warmth and comfort they had in each other’s presence. Despite their diverse personalities, they blended well like icing on cake with cherries or like cheese and crackers with nuts and preserves; contradicting personalities yet a perfect fit for the scene.
Life had kept them together and today the girls had stepped into their twenties. They had completed their final year of graduation and wanted to celebrate this freedom moment.
It was vacation time and the girls decided to something adventurous. Ria was the obvious event planner and she researched a lot upon the varied possibilities before zeroing down on this scenic spot at Auli.
It was an attractive location with a picturesque view. The climate was just ideal for the perfect getaway from the sultry Delhi and Jaipur heat.
The distance from Delhi to Auli was 525 kilometres and the girls wanted to have thorough fun.
They finalised picking up a self-driven car from Delhi through known sources and venture on this audacious camping trek.
The girls had attempted a few smaller and less intrepid journeys in the past; but none as daring and challenging as this one.
The girls were in the mood for total fun and nothing could stop them from getting crazy.
Ria squealed in complete excitement as they gathered themselves at the car station where they had decided to meet.
The friends hugged each other when Lavina enquired, “This is going to be the longest trip we have ever undertaken. Are we sure we can do this?”
Ria responded, “We have always been company to each other and overcome hurdles and challenges with utmost grace. Our unique perspectives and personalities help us resolve the challenges we encounter with a balanced advantage. Let’s enjoy the journey as it unfurls.
Aadya added, “The Divine Cosmos conspires our course. We are mere players. Let’s learn to have faith and completely surrender to The Divine Mercy.”
The car drive started in the morning from Delhi. With music, chatter, random talks and the likes, the girls were having thorough fun throughout.
They took ample breaks for meals and snacks on the way. They also took turns to drive car through the long route.
As they reached Rishikesh it was already five in the evening. While they were contemplating whether to continue towards Auli or halt at Rishikesh overnight, Ria immediately responded, “We are out on an adventure. Driving the mountain routes as dusk sets in will be rather interesting and venture some. We must surely do it.”
Lavina doubtingly said, “I feel we must not risk it. Won’t it be safe to halt the night at Rishikesh?”
Aadya added, “I too feel that we must not cross our limits of exploration. Let’s play it safe and halt at Rishikesh tonight.”
Ria brushed off the comments and said, “Oh! Come on, you girls. Let the adrenaline rush. Let’s make the most of life. I will drive if you two don’t want to dare.”
She took to the wheels and revved the car engine waiting for the girls. Both Lavina and Aadya had no other choice but to hop on.
The drive was terrifying with the steep climb, the setting darkness and the innumerable twists and turns.
Ria was an ace driver and she could manoeuvre through the slithering routes with much grace and confidence.
It was rather late when the mobile light flashed eleven on the screen. The place was getting foggy and colder.
That is when a diversion on the route was seen. Aadya asked Ria to halt and check the maps but the signals were poor and network connectivity could not show the route to be taken.
Ria worked her intuition and drove down the path she felt drawn to. What they missed was the broken sign board that was marked ‘Danger! Do not proceed.’
The route seemed to be pretty harmless at first. But as they drove deeper, they found themselves enveloped by utter darkness.
There were no signs of life and the route seemed completely deserted. The only light was the one coming from the headlights of the car.
Heavy fog surrounded the air and visibility became worse with every inch they drove down.
The clawed crescent moon seemed to be hidden behind dark clouds that did not allow it’s light to penetrate to the Earth.
The place seemed to be getting spookier and scary when suddenly they observed a pair of emerald green eyes sparkling through the foggy night.
Ria almost screeched their car to a complete halt while Lavina let out a muffled scream.
Lavina was almost on the verge of tears with fear gripping her and chills running down her spine. Ria slowly and steadily drove her way through the twirling narrow pathways.
That is when the scene suddenly changed. The fog cleared and a large opening was finally visible at a distance.
Ria drove down further towards the opening and pulled the car to a halt.
Lavina started sobbing and lamenting, “I told you that we should have halted at Rishikesh. Look where you have got us to.” She was terribly scared.
Ria felt a bit irritated and responded, “How was I to know this was a wrong turn?”
However, deep in her heart she knew that she was the one responsible for this situation.
A dilapidated manor stood in front of them. An eerie silence surrounded them and the air seemed heavily laden with a sense of unearthly sensation.
The girls always banked on Aadya’s instincts in such situations to guide them through.
Aadya took a few minutes to simply close her eyes and connect with the energies around her. After what seemed like a long break, Aadya finally opened her eyes and said, “I think we must surely go in. We have taken the wrong route and driving back the same lane at this uncanny hour is not possible. Let’s wait for the first rays to dawn upon Earth. I’m sure we are sent here for a purpose after all.”
The girls managed to stumble out of the car. The scary ride had stiffened their bodies and they tried to stretch the cramps and ease themselves out.
It was freezing cold and the eeriness added to the chills. The sound of dry leaves crackled under their feet and the girls clustered together in terror.
A gust of wind blew across the field and what was actually just a hundred metres seemed like a good hundred miles. Time seemed to be trickling away when the girls finally mustered the courage to stand right outside the door.
There were majestic cobwebs and giant spiders crawling upon them indicating that the place was deserted and uninhabited.
Ria whispered to her friends out of curiosity, “If there are cobwebs around, the lanes are unkept, the bungalow totally ram shackled and we had to cross over dried leaves, how did the clock chime at midnight? Is this place haunted?”
Lavina pleaded, “Please don’t say that.”
As soon as she uttered these words, the main door flung open as if understanding the cue.
Heartbeats pounded heavily against their chests when the oil lamps in the passageway were lit automatically.
What otherwise appeared as a dark, uninhabited and deserted estate, seemed to be exhibiting the presence of unknown spirits.
Lavina wanted to run away and turned her back to hear towards the car when she heard the main door shut straight down on her face.
She quivered in utter panic and broke down. Aadya gathered her and wrapped her as around Lavina in comfort.
Soon, they walked towards what seemed like a huge central ball room. The musty smell of the carpet was draining and heady.
A lone oil lamp suddenly lit itself and shone upon the girls. The girls experienced goosebumps as a chilled wind broke in through the shattered window panes.
As the girls looked around in complete uneasiness, a little girl wearing a tattered blue frock appeared in front of them.
The little girl appeared no more than five or six years old. She held a ragged doll in her hand. She appeared dull and full of sorrow.
Her eyes were puffed, swollen and surrounded by heavy dark circles. One could sense a deep pain in those mystic eyes. There was a dried lump of blood around her forehead.
She was clearly a ghost inhabiting the lone mansion. Her spirit seemed to be wandering aimlessly around the place without any purpose. She didn’t however, seem to pose any threat.
Lavina immediately fell unconscious on seeing the little girl. Ria was totally at a loss of words but Aadya maintained her calm.
She began to converse with the little girl “Hello little one. Looks like you are stuck here. My name is Aadya and these are my friends Ria and Lavina. You can consider us your well-wishers. Do you think we can help you in any way?”
When the little girl spoke, it seemed like a deep whisper barely reaching the ears. “I hate humans. How are you any different? I will kill you,” she declared.
Aadya calmly comforted her, “Not all humans are the same. We are here because we were meant to be here tonight. You could have been stuck here forever but we were sent to possibly rescue and liberate you from your pain. You just need to trust us. We literally mean no harm.”
The little girl’s eyes softened a bit as she experienced the warmth and solace exuding through Aadya. Aadya indeed had a comforting aura that could settle the most restless mind.
The girl responded, “But how can I trust? I trusted my parents and loved them dearly. But they set me into comatose and literally threw me from the top floor of this very place. All because they didn’t want a daughter. They only wanted their son, my brother as heir to this vast richness they possessed.
“I was dead in an instant but my soul witnessed my father’s hysteric laughter over my dead shattered body. My mother too, had turned cold blooded and was unshaken. There wasn’t any tear or remorse etched upon her face.
“I had considered my mother to be my angel, my guardian and my protector. She betrayed me. When I couldn’t trust my own parents, how could I possibly trust you?
“I used to regularly get humans coming here for fun and adventure, sometimes deliberately or sometimes coincidentally.
“I revenged my anger by perishing them all. They are all no more and I derive a deep sense of liberation within as I perish and murder these meek miscreants.
“But when the cases of death rose, the locals and authorities out up a road block and board and this path became vacant and no one trespassed this route anymore.
“Feels like my prayers to seek revenge are answered yet again for you three have been sent here,” she concluded with a sadistic laughter.
Aadya gathered her faith and closed her eyes in a short, silent prayer. She believed that they were here to liberate the little girl from her pain.
Ria tried to signal Aadya when she quietly held her hand to silence her. She then said to the little girl, “If you seek liberation from this emptiness, you need to shed your baggage that includes your hatred and anger. The emotions will only bring you a downfall.
“I firmly believe that each one of us has a specific purpose and we all have to fulfil them in order to lead a fulfilling life.
“If you allow me, I could possibly invoke the blessings of the angels and guide you through to where you truly belong.”
The little girl pondered for a while and finally seemed satisfied. She simply nodded her head in agreement.
Lavina was still unconscious and there was very little time left for say break. Aadya knew that the power needed to liberate the little girl was tremendous and that she couldn’t do it alone.
She requested Ria and she immediately agreed. Together, they silently prayed to Archangel Raphael – The Healing Angel to guide them through.
After twenty minutes of deep meditation and silence, a green light radiated from the heavens enveloping the room.
A prayer was offered request Archangel Raphael to rescue and liberate the little girl from her spirit form to be carried back to the heavens.
As forgiveness had naturally descended upon her, she was now free of burdens and free to be uplifted ti the Heavens.
The green glow formed a encasement and wrapped the little girl therein. She was then take upwards to the heavens.
The little girl was full of gratitude and thanked Aadya and Ria for the unconditional love bestowed upon her.
Aadya too, felt deeply moved and relieved to act as a channel towards liberating this bound soul.
As soon as the green light disappeared into the endless spaces of the Cosmos, Lavina returned back to her senses.
The sun also was seen radiating across the cerulean skies painting them with myriad enchanting patterns.
Ria and Aadya smiled and helped Lavina wake up from her dreams.
Ria quipped, “Someone’s been sleeping too long into a state of infinite dreams. Looks like they have settled here.”
Lavina retorted, “But , last night —”
Aadya interrupted, “Let’s start driving towards our actual destination. We don’t want to settle down for this shoddy bungalow, do we?”
And the three girls walked hand in hand towards the car. The Sun sparkled bright and this morning had a unique charm to its presence.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!
- Healed - 20 Mar 2023
- That Quantum Leap - 17 Mar 2023
- The ‘Trans’formation - 1 Mar 2023