The Haunting

The cold wind was howling, and the winter dusk had started shrouding the blue mountains in a grey mist.

The man thought he heard something. A strange voice came from somewhere far below, a low, mournful sound, and then it faded. It sounded like a woman. The wind grew stronger, the forest grew darker. The man quickened his pace.

Then it rose from down below, slowly rising upwards, and finally stopped in front of him. There was still a veil of fog between them, so the man couldn’t see the face clearly, but it was clearly hovering above the ground – like an apparition.

“I see you…I see you…”, a chilling voice came piercing through the fog. The man shuddered and found himself unable to move. And then, as the moonlight crept in, the grey figure raised its arm and pointed to the man’s left, to a small black figure, with its back turned to him.

“I see you…”, the ghost slowly moved towards the man, coming out of the fog. As the fog cleared away and the man saw that face, a cold chill ran down his back. His legs suddenly felt weak, ready to give way and his body started trembling. The stories of that mother and her child were not just stories after all. He gulped.

“I see you…I see you…”, the cold, icy voice kept repeating.

“I see you were there.”

Dance Dance

The aliens are in the middle of invading Earth but one of them is opposed to the whole idea. Not on the principal or something, it’s just that she was a special alien who was missing a very important alien gene. She gets sick and nervous in the presence of any negativity, discomfort or form of aggression. And when she gets sick and nervous, she starts doing motions, similar to what we people on Earth call dancing.

Anyway, the human resistance has already captured an alien. Guess which one is it. It’s the one who didn’t want to invade. And when she was caught, guess what she was doing. She was dancing.

All kinds of experts – the scientists, the doctors, the linguists are trying to figure out how our invaders can be defeated. The alien, on the other hand, seems all intent to ignore everything around her and just keeps breaking out those sweet moves. Her dance is so beautiful, almost hypnotic.

So it’s to the utter frustration of the politicians, the diplomats, the war chiefs and the President that on one hand the Earth is being pummelled left, right and centre and on the other, they are stuck with a dance show whose audience keeps increasing.

Naturally, they think it’s part of the alien strategy.

Storm Brewer

The sea was calm, but the sky was overcast with an ominous gloom. The pirate captain of the ship called The Pirate’s Pride, watched the approaching ship.

Being a pirate for most of his life had hardened Captain Storm, made him afraid of practically nothing. He was one of the bravest and most fearsome of the pirates the world had ever seen. Stuff of legends. But today, he looked anxious and afraid.

At the front of the approaching ship stood its captain, who had a strange smile on his face, as if under a spell. His long, blond hair and the hat he was wearing made him look like a nobleman.

The pirate looked at the woman who was standing beside the captain and who was wearing a black hooded cloak. The woman too had a strange looking smile on her face, but not from a spell. She had a scar on her forehead that cut through her right eyebrow. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

“The Witch!”, grunted a deckhand.

Just when the ships docked and the two guests stepped onto his ship, the deckhand and one of the crewmen suddenly flung and jumped off into the sea. The pirate captain stared at the woman who stood before him now. An eerie chill ran through the ship. She looked at him and slowly passed her gaze across his crewmen. Then she spoke in her cold, but the most magical and hypnotic voice, “I asked for 19 men only because this quest requires exactly 21 of us.”

Then she held out her hand to the captain. The captain handed over The Book.

Superowl

There was a super owl which could fly faster than a plane and higher than a rocket. He also had the ability to understand every language, he just couldn’t speak them.

But since he was just a lonely bird, these superpowers meant nothing to him. He just enjoyed listening to the insects, the other birds, the animals and occasionally, the humans talking; and he enjoyed his flights, to wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted. His life was simple.

One day, he found himself in a small room, surrounded by lab equipment and books. The room had no windows and the walls were mirrored. There was a woman sitting in front of him, writing down something in her notebook.

“So, I hear you have some superpowers,” she said, looking up at the owl. “Guess what, I’m rich! How about we use your powers for more than just flying here and there…for something more like ‘save the world’?”

The owl thought, “What on Earth is she talking about? What is a superpower? And what am I doing in this room? And why the hell am I wearing these shoes and goggles? And what the heck is this cloth hanging on my back?”

The Machine

People used to say that the Earth’s core is a giant magnet, but what they didn’t know was that the magnet was only one part of The Machine.

The Earth, as it is known now, is literally a machine. What is not known yet is who made this machine and for what. The scientists have figured this much long ago that the electromagnetic signals are not just “there”, they are the signals which someone is continuously monitoring and controlling. But again, exactly who, is yet unknown.

However, some discoveries along the way has given them a few clues. And now, an article in the Journal of Cosmology titled The Magnetic Earth, which was written by an astronomer called Thomas Schofield, suggests that there is only one piece of information that’s missing. If they can find it out, the puzzle can be solved and a lot of questions will be answered.

The stranger smiles and puts down the journal, taps his forehead, and waits for a minute of silence to pass. A faint blue light begins to illuminate his room. Then it becomes brighter and stronger until a detailed hologram of Earth appears in front of him.

The Spell

It was late September and it had been a rainy day. But now that the rain had stopped, he decided to go for a walk.

As he stepped out on the street, he saw the road was covered in small puddles and a faint breeze was making small ripples in them. He smiled. He loved this weather.

He walked down the road for a few minutes and that’s when his eyes locked with hers for the first time.

She had green eyes and brown hair that extended past her shoulders. Her skin was clear and he thought he saw a certain glow in her face too. She was wearing an off-white dress and a sky blue scarf, and had an elegant poise about her. He was instantly smitten.

He didn’t know it then, but his life was about to change forever.

But as for this moment, he was so lost in her beauty, that he didn’t see where he was going. He stumbled in a puddle and landed in a hedge. While he was struggling to disentangle himself and get up, his mind was thinking, “Well, that’s embarrassing!”

Just then, a gentle voice said, “Jim, are you alright?” Jim looked up at the voice. It was her.

“Yes, yes…I’m fine. How do you know my name?”, he said extending his hand. She hesitated for a moment, but then with what looked like a sad smile to him, reached out her hand.

As he tried to grab her hand, his hand just passed through it, as if through air. Startled, he fell back. The girl though, just stood there, her eyes welled up and her hand still extended.

Guardians

Just when he was about to pull the trigger, someone tapped on his shoulder.

He turned to see Death staring in his eyes. “You’re sure about this?”, said Death.

Harry almost fell from his chair. Death looked at him with a funny expression as if he was some naughty kid caught in the act, then reached down, taking Harry’s gun in his hand.

“You look completely lost, Harry. What do you expect will happen to you if you do this?”

Harry shook his head frantically. Is this a dream? It had to be a freaking dream, he thought to himself…but as much as he wished it was, he knew it wasn’t.

He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could speak, someone else spoke, “Of course he doesn’t have a damn clue!”

The voice was his own but it sure didn’t come from his mouth. He turned to see behind him and if he was not already flabbergasted by Death itself staring down at him, he felt his heart jump out when he saw Himself sitting on a throne with wings and halo and stuff.

The Extermination

On Monday morning, a swarm of unidentified drones were seen hovering above a farm just outside London. The drones were said to be hovering at an altitude between 1000 and 2000 feet.

On Tuesday, the sightings were reported from across the Western and Northern Europe. These were also spotted by members of the public. The altitude was lower and they were identified as “not drones”.

On Wednesday, sightings of unidentified flying objects were reported from across the continent, this time the crafts hovering at 500 feet. They seemed to be hovering only because they have been descending at a very low speed.

On Thursday, whole Europe and Asia reported the sightings, with additional reports saying that the UFOs are being manned by people dressed in black suits, with face masks and strange sunglasses on.

On Friday, the drone-like UFOs had covered the whole world but no activity, except their descent to a hundred feet has been reported from anywhere.

Today is Saturday. It’s already 2PM but nothing has happened as yet. The crafts are not even descending and now are just hovering at the same height as yesterday.

I’m sitting in my apartment on the 12th floor. I can see the man inside the craft hovering outside my window. He is wearing a mask just like me. He also looks nervous, just like me.

It’s the 364th day since the virus outbreak forced the world into a state of lockdown. Tomorrow, Sunday, 22nd March 2120, would mark the one year of lockdown. The timing of these recent events cannot be a coincidence. Something is about to happen tomorrow.

The Quests of Entalsteer

A young woodcutter named Jack comes across a magical creature that has been living in the woods for centuries. The creature, which called itself Entalsteer offers to tell Jack a secret that could change his life forever, but for which Jack will have to complete twelve quests, called “The Quests of Entalsteer”. Jack accepts.

Entalsteer then proceeds to tell him that the forces of Nature can be controlled by objects called Elementals. These Elementals are scattered all over the world. He also tells him that in order to truly control the Elementals, one also needs to hold and master the Absentals, which form the other half of each Force.

Each half lies on the exact opposite side of the Earth and so in order to find one, he must find the other.

To help Jack on his quests, Entalsteer casts a spell on his axe to make it unbreakable and gives him twelve healing Blue Pearls.

And so begins the “The Quests of Entalsteer”, Jack’s epic journey that will transform him from an ordinary woodcutter to the most powerful being in the universe.

Each quest will take him to places which are either only spoken of in legends or are completely unheard of. These places are:

  • The Volcano of Birth, for the Elemental Cinders of Earth
  • The Red Quagmire, for the Earth Absental
  • The Fairy Sea Forest, to claim the Aqualis, the Water Elemental
  • The Silver Blood Fall, for the Necro Acidum, the Water Absental
  • The Sanctuary of Wind, for the Zephyr Elemental
  • The Frontier of Silence for the Neutral Rock, the Wind Absental
  • The Isle of Rosa, for the Elemental Rose of Fire
  • The Realm of the Undead, for the Flame Absental
  • The Kingdom of Lightning, the home of the Light Elemental, Electra
  • The Cavern of Lost Souls, the site of the Dark Aura – Light Absental
  • The Forbidden Pillars of Ascension, for Aether Nova, the Sky Elemental
  • The Void of Lost Gods, for the Nether Crystal, the Sky Absental

The Anomaly

It was six weeks ago, when we landed on that ridge, high in the Himalayas. Our helicopter was struck by lightning on our way to this expedition. We had to parachute out in the intensely inclement weather and somehow managed to hit the ground at 18,000 feet, way off our trajectory.

Out of the six members, five survived the accident and after forty two days, only three of us now remain.

We knew we were on our own as it was sort of a one way ticket anyway. Our mission was to find the source of a mysterious signal and recover any possible survivors from previous two missions. Both these teams had abruptly fallen into a complete radio silence; the first one after thirty three days from their drop and the second one after twenty eight.

It was as if they simply fell off the face of the Earth.

Coming back to us, we didn’t think any rescue was coming unless we radioed the base, our location. The problem was that we had lost our radio in the crash. Also, because this was supposed to be the last attempt and we were supposed to fly that helicopter back.

So we had to make a decision. Either we try and return to base on foot or continue forward with the mission and find the source of that radio signal. We chose the latter.

And now, after six gruelling weeks of enduring hardships and challenges that tested our physical and mental limits, here we are, facing the source of that mysterious signal and thinking to ourselves, “That is no radio!”