Chapter 1 || Where is Sam?


“Mumma, are you really here?”, said Halley as she jolted awake on her cozy bed. It was a pleasant day in the town of Tempus, the warm rays of the sun had brought life to Halley’s garden. Halley was never really into gardening but she had decided to look after her mom’s flower garden. She was as happy as Larry when she saw a few colorful butterflies sucking the nectar from freshly bloomed flowers. Jaunty Halley ran up to her brother Harry’s room to give him some good news on the garden front but he was too busy gaming with his buddies. It took seconds to turn her smile upside down. “Pour yourself a bowl of cereal before going to school and don’t forget to drink a glass full of citrus juice. Dad says it’s good for a teenager like you who fills up his gut with empty calories”, said Halley sternly. Getting up from his bean bag, Harry said, “ Oh come on, did Dad really say that part about empty calories? He is always travelling and he doesn’t even know how to cook. Also, he isn’t even here right now. Who made you the boss?” “ There’s no need to be so mean. You are a grown up, maybe you should start acting responsibly now.” She went upstairs to the library, their dad was fond of reading and owned a huge collection of books. Browsing through the racks of some ancient books, she wiped the dust off a big book. “I definitely need some answers”, she said to herself as she settled down on a wooden table with a cup of hot coffee.


Halley, a 20 year old, was an aspiring writer and had maintained a daily journal since she was 15 but she had stopped writing after her mother went missing during the last spring. Their mother Samantha was a travel journalist. She was a total extrovert, short lady with an athletic build. Sam, as everyone used to call her, loved to go on solo travels and make vlogs. That’s how she used to collect different species of plants and nurture them in her garden. Although she used to appreciate some alone time in the mountains to have some peace while making videos and typing articles, she was a social butterfly when it came to talking with strangers and mingling with them.


During her trip to the Seven sisters (North eastern states of the Indian subcontinent), she barely stayed in a hotel. Making new travel companions, having long conversations with the local people over meals and camping with them was kind of her thing. Sometimes even her husband Michael used to tell her that this attitude was risky. As you may have predicted, she never listened.


On the other hand, Michael or popularly known as Mike was a businessman who used to travel to different countries advertising his products. Even though their parents were travellers, Halley and Harry were really close to their parents and loved them a lot. Their mother going missing near the border of Tempus had hit them pretty hard. Lives of all three had taken an acute turn. The search for Sam was still going on but they all had started thinking about the worst. Mike started working harder to earn more rens(currency of Tempus). Harry became a disturbed and moody teenager. However, Halley had a tinge of optimism within her. Her intuition was telling her that her mom was somewhere nearby, she could feel her presence but she couldn’t see nor hear her mom.


Author ~ Pranoti Abhyankar


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