Caught in Time-4

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far (see Caught in Time!, Caught in Time-2 and Caught in Time-3):

Eleven year-old Ajay starts out for school in Kolkata and boards a bus that takes him to World War II France where he escapes bombing to find himself in a German Air Force base in charge of a crackpot Commandant who has him trained to fly a Luftwaffe Messerschmitt plane. Ajay’s plane is bombed by RAF Hurricanes a few minutes into his maiden flight and his plane, instead of crashing, is suspended a few meters above the ground for thirteen hours. When it finally reaches the ground, Ajay finds himself on a beach …

The Iliad or the Odyssey?

Ajay stood up, rubbing his forehead. He did not want to get stuck in another time when he had just got used to the first one. He looked at the place where he had crashed–actually, crashed was not such a good description, as his plane had been hovering above the ground for thirteen hours before the so-called ‘crash’. The wrecked plane had vanished!

This was not Ajay’s first strange experience in recent times (or what seemed like recent times). He had got onto a bus and been transported to World War II, he had become the youngest pilot of the war thanks to the insanity of a commanding officer, he had been shot down after minutes in the air above France, he had been in a plane that was suspended just above the ground for over twelve hours, and now that plane had disappeared!

And even though he was no longer in the middle of World War II, Ajay was far from reassured. This place looked like Ancient Greece. Well, if he was in Greece, at least he was moving closer to India!

When Ajay had fallen from the sky, it was mid-afternoon. Now twilight had fallen–a sure sign of a time warp.

Ajay walked a bit and reached some tents. There was one that was much bigger than the others. He approached it and heard voices speaking in a strange language, which he rather thought might be Greek.

Though he obviously did not know ancient Greek, he knew it had some common elements with English, and by concentrating hard he could understand a few words in the conversation that was going on inside that tent. He understood the word Troy, for instance.

That confirmed his suspicion that he was in ancient Greece! He managed to understand that some sort of attack was about to take place. He also heard the word ‘horse’. Looking beyond the tent, he saw a grand, large city. Looking behind him, he saw a large wooden horse.

He suddenly understood that he had been taken back to the famous siege of Troy, when the Greeks had sent a wooden horse into the city for the Trojans, with soldiers inside it.

Ajay’s bizzare experiences so far had taught him that when in a time-warped zone, getting  into a difficult situation generally got you out of it–and one never knew–he might find himself back in India the next time (at least he hoped so)!

Well, he would not get into difficult predicaments if he just stayed where he was. Ajay saw soldiers climbing into the wooden horse. He knew how to escape this time-warp zone now.


One hour later, Ajay was hiding in the wooden horse.

Some soldiers were outside, pushing the horse to the gates of Troy. This sounded impossible, but the horse had wheels and the soldiers were strong. The soldiers did not notice Ajay entering the wooden horse and hiding in a corner. They were either too excited or too apprehensive–Ajay couldn’t tell which.

The gates were opened and the wooden horse entered Troy. All of the soldiers were elated at the idea of invading the enemy’s territory–a job that was already half done. Now all they had to do was wait…

until midnight…

To be continued …

Aditya Sengupta is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. He enjoys reading, music and watching cricket.

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