Square Zero


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Something in the hills


As incessant rains lashed out on the village, the game reached the final round. Tensions soared, concentration peaked and minds were doing a zillion calculations every second. All the roads were over a feet deep in water, and one could find the reflections of the midnight moon in the waters. Neither the loud rains nor the abrupt thunders could tamper with their game. They were in the zone. Playing the game. Phase locked. And after what seemed to be a very short time,the game ended. Jay finally won. 'Woo Hoo !' 'Not again.' said Su. 'Don't do your neigh. Please.' said Prady. 'Yee Haa !' 'There we go.' said Goutham. 'So you get your money back.' said Su. 'Yes, I do! ' exclaimed Jay. 'Alright, let's take a break.' 'Yeah, let's take some pictures of the view.' 'Great. But don't make a bokeh again. It sucks.' 'I like 'em. So buzz off.' 'Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz'. 'Peace. Won't argue with you.' They made their way out of the room on the top floor of the mansion to the patio, Su started clicking pictures, and Jay and Prad started smoking. Hills encompassed the village on all sides, and lightning struck them repeatedly. The sky was eerily dark, and the moon was now nowhere to be seen. 'This is odd' remarked Goutham. The lightning wasn't ordinary. There was too much of it, and the guys knew something wasn't right. Through the rain, on the other side of the village, they spotted something. There was one little area on a hill where lightning struck almost periodically, and after four or five cycles, about ten adjacent places up there would get hit by a wide line of almost blinding light. Though they initially dismissed the idea, curiosity got the better of them, and they soon started making plans to get there. 'Okay, how?' 'The panther' Prady said. 'Really, bruh?' 'We'll get drenched to death.' 'Oh come on. The panther will always be our official adventure vehicle we all agreed.' The panther was an old topless 4x4 Jeep they had bought together. Rain couldn't stop their insane quest for adventure. 'Panther it is, then. Let's roll!' 'WE'RE GONNA DIE!' Jay hollered. 'HAHAHAHA' They got in the panther, with their usual outfits: overcoats, hats, torchlights, backpacks and unrivalled bravado. The panther easily made its way through the water into the jungle. They had already gotten drenched, but that wasn't the priority on their minds. It was the mysterious appearance of this supposed lightning. As the panther waded through the huge rocks and the dense trees and the puddles of water, they realised that they were so alone in the darkness. Only the sounds of the vicious rain hitting the rocks could be heard, apart from the scary thuds from the thunders, and the continuous splashes of water off the panther's tires. Slowly ascending the hill, they looked back at the village which lied at the chief depression of the hills. Apart from that, there wasn't any light, and darkness dominated the world. The strikes on the peak ahead got stronger and louder. The panther couldn't take them any farther as the forest grew denser. But the relentless crew got down and made their way to the destination, staying close to each other. The wind grew stronger, and the rain drifted along its direction. 'This would make a perfect setup for a movie.' Su was excited. 'Would it be tragic at the end too?' Prad joked. 'Stop it guys, you're scaring me!' said Goutham.


Just as they reached the peak, the biggest group of strikes hit close to them, and the shock carried by the impact grounded them. As they gathered themselves up, what they saw baffled them. The lights in the village were gone. Hell, they couldn't even make out if the village was still there. The sky was now more like outerspace, completely dark,only seen when lightning appeared. The rain had stopped, only god knew when. The ground beneath was already drying up, too freaking fast for them to believe. As they still recovered from the shock, the most unexpected thing happened. Out of the blue, something lit up in the sky, and whooshed past the hills, making a shrill, unbearable sound. The light wasn't white. It was blue. They thought it was a comet, but this thing flew so freaking close to the hills. And what was that sound? Like an old lady's whine. What in the world just happened? Whatever it was, and whatever just happened, they knew life wouldn't be the same again. Their hearts began to race, and as shock receded, adrenaline took over. They looked at each other in unison.

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