Caught in Time-6

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far (see Caught in Time!, Caught in Time-2, Caught in Time-3, Caught in Time-4 and Caught in Time-5): Eleven year-old Ajay starts out for school in Kolkata and boards a bus that takes him to World War II France. Forced to train as a German pilot, he is hit by a RAF Hurricane on his maiden flight and crashes into Ancient Greece in the eve of the ‘Wooden Horse of Troy’ episode. Caught and imprisoned by Trojan soldiers in an ante-chamber inside the wooden horse, Ajay finds himself in yet another time warp … 

Chapter  6: Perils inside the Pyramid

After two time-warps in the strangest ways possible, Ajay was not exactly surprised to have gone through a third. He appeared to be in an area near the equator, as the sun was still rising, yet the weather was quite warm. It did not look like India, though it had a river flowing through it. It might be some other ancient civilization, like Egypt.

Ajay walked further away from the rising sun, heading west. The sight of a pyramid confirmed his suspicion that he was in Egypt. Ajay decided to enter the pyramid, hoping to find another time-warp that would (if he were lucky) end the bizzare cycle.

Ajay did not really expect a door to be wide open for him to walk through; however, there was a wall which had a hole near the bottom, just wide enough for a man to crawl through. Being an eleven-year old, Ajay managed to climb through quite easily.

He found himself in a long hallway. He felt strangely uneasy, but had no option but to go on. He took three cautious steps forward. Nothing happened. He took another step.

An arrow flew from an opening in one wall, glided over Ajay’s head and bounced off the other wall, landing on the floor. Ajay thought rapidly. This defense mechanism would have been designed to stop full-grown burglars, who would be taller than him. So, he had the advantage in terms of height, but even so, he would have to proceed with even greater caution.

The next arrow was very low, and Ajay avoid it in the nick of time by dropping flat and pressing his body to the ground very quickly. A larger person would have been shot in his right leg.

He had to avoid ten more arrows. Some were fired simultaneously, and Ajay had to step back to avoid them, but not too far back, or he might have triggered another arrow. Reaching the other end, miraculously unscathed, Ajay paused to rest for a minute.

He then looked at his next obstacle: four doors, all alike. There was some dust, and footprints around them. Someone seemed to have tried all four doors, and no footsteps had returned from the second door from the left. Either that was the right door, or it was the wrong one. Either way, what choice did he have but to continue?

He opened the door and found himself at a fork: one road went left, and one went right. Ajay chose the right fork and found himself on a long path, at the end of which was a wall made of stone, with no convenient holes in it to go through.

He went back to the fork and chose the left one. This lead to another long pathway, with two doors at the end. He chose the left door and went through it.

His third obstacle was a stone pathway that seemed to be suspended in mid-air. Some of the stones looked as if they were very precariously balanced and might give way at the lightest touch. Ajay stepped carefully, avoiding all unstable stones. After a while, he saw the exit, and was so relieved that he accidentally stepped backwards dislodged a stone. The whole floor fell, and Ajay with it.

Fortunately, he was still alive. He made his way down another hall, thankfully arrow-free, and reached a door. He walked through it and saw a very short man, dressed in black clothes.

Unlike the soldiers at Troy, this man clearly knew exactly what to do. He was brandishing a very sharp knife and led Ajay, at its point, into a large room. He was also very careful to lock the door as he left Ajay there.

As soon as the man left, some gas was released into the room. Ajay tried not to inhale it, but was unsuccessful. He had been poisoned…the whole room started spinning … he would not survive …

To be continued …

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

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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