Halley was exhausted when she returned home from the funeral that evening. The air held a gloomy vibe. However, Halley decided to go through Kekat’s journal once again. Upon close observation, she found out some leads. The journal held a couple of stories of mysterious disappearances just like her mom’s. Apparently, Kekat had a gift. From her journal entries, it was clear that she had known these people would disappear even before they actually did.
After browsing through all the entries, Halley spotted a chain of similarities among all of them. Kekat’s detailed write-ups helped her understand it even better. The disappearance of any person was followed by a tremor every time. This explained the tremor Sam’s family experienced after she went missing. It was true that Tempus was also geographically prone to tremors, but this was the first time this new information had come to light. Besides, all the people who went missing had warmth in their hearts and a helping nature in their hands. They were deeply altruistic. This solved some of the questions, but raised even more. “If these people including my mom were being so selfless and took up responsibility to make this world a better place in their own way, then why them? They don’t deserve this. Fate is being really unfair.”, she thought to herself. There must be a reason.
She started digging up all the information Kekat’s journal could offer. She even searched some references, which she couldn’t understand in the old books from their well-equipped library. There was one peculiar thing though, Kekat had frequently mentioned a ‘box in the old forest’. She was very secretive about it. But her writings clearly revealed that she knew about the contents in the box. One of the entries was interesting. It read, “A promise to myself: Never tell anyone about ‘the box in the old forest’.” Halley knew what her next step was going to be. She called up Harry and told him about all this. They drew up a plan to investigate.
The sun gave rise to a pleasant morning next day. After brunch, the siblings started their venture to the old forest to investigate the matter and find out the mysterious box. The woods had a vast expanse over an evergreen land. Halley’s fondness for reading gave her a direction. She knew what to look for. From all the detective novels she read, she knew whenever something was buried the mud patch over that pit always looked disturbed. A few exhaustive hours later, apparently, the search finally ended. They spotted a patch of loose soil. Harry pulled out a shovel and started digging. There was a small clank sound, when the shovel hit the metallic lid of the box. The siblings were happy, their faces showed a ray of hope. They pulled out the box and opened it. There was a lot of dirt and wet soil on the contents, they weren’t exactly sure about what they were looking at. There was a muddy plastic object, its vibrant colors were visible beneath the patches of hardened soil. Halley washed it with water from the bottle in her backpack. It was a sand clock. The siblings looked perplexed. “What does this mean?”, asked Harry. “ No idea. I see a stack of papers in the box but they are covered in dirt. Let’s clean them and read them. I guess the mystery will reveal itself.”, Halley replied. Soon after, they packed up their stuff and started their return journey. The air in the woods was starting to get cooler and quieter as it was evening. They could hear the insects chirping. It was quite creepy.
However, they reached home safely within time. The siblings decided to freshen up because they could see a long night ahead of them. After dinner, they poured themselves cups of hot black coffee. The needed caffeine to boost their energy. The library desks were comfortable and suitable for people who wanted to get engrossed in long hours of reading. Without any further ado, Halley took a piece of clean cloth and started cleaning the texts, which looked pretty ancient. When a few patches were made dirt-free, she noticed the yellow tinge on the pages. There was a certain smell too. The box had been in there for a long time. It meant nobody knew this secret. People weren’t aware about it’s contents either, otherwise they would have searched it first. Given the fact that the box was pretty easy to be found, no one knew about Kekat’s journals. Probably not even that old gentleman who handed over the journal to the siblings. “I wonder what’s so secretive about it.”, she said to herself. Meanwhile, Harry took the job of cleaning the sand clock and examining it. It was working perfectly fine. He started wondering about why this sand clock was in the box in the first place. ‘Does this mean these events have something to do with time?’, was a question which frequently cropped up in this mind. The gamer inside him came out. “Halley, do you believe in time travel? Do you think mom is time traveling perhaps or is this thought too far fetched?”, he finally put forth his thoughts. “No, no and yes. Your gaming has impaired your thinking. These things happen only in the fictional world and not in a real one. However, even if we do consider that possibility for a second, wouldn’t mom send us a message or at least some sign about her whereabouts. And if she’s really well-versed in this time travel thing, wouldn’t she come back to the present? Come on Harry, we don’t have time for this. Put your thinking cap on.”, she replied. The ancient texts were clear now, the script was very visible. Halley embarked upon this journey towards some ‘enlightenment’ filled with enormous amounts of reading and thinking.
Author ~ Pranoti Abhyankar