A STONY QUEST
By Neel Anil Panicker
Professor Deep Narayan Mishra turned around and glared at his wife.
“I tell you, “No listening any further to this mad man. Let’s get out and continue the search”.
Antrima lifted her fingers to her lips and half whispered, “Have patience. We’ve done all. What’s the harm in doing what he says? After all it’s our child’s life”.
Her voice, a soft caress seemed to have melted, albeit temporarily, the rage in her husband’s eyes for he shrugged his shoulders and murmured, “Ok, if that’s what you want.”
The two turned around and peered into the semi darkness. All they could make out was the silhouette of an old silvery haired man, his bare torso immersed in ash.
From behind a flickering flame, he spoke, his voice, a slur, ‘Exactly fifty meters north west from where you are standing, you will find a steep incline. Climb to its top and you’ll find two amorphous monolithic stones. Walk up and climb on top of them__you, the man, on the right and, you, the woman, on the left. Stay there, unmoving, for the next twenty four hours. When you wake up, your child will be playing beside you.’
“This is insane”. Preposterous is the…”.
Professor Mishra’s words lashed out in the dark, his booming voice, a boomerang that amplified several times over as it smashed against the stony walls of the cave.
‘Also remember, non-believers will turn to stone’.
The two watched disbelievingly as the voice stilled and the flames died out.
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