Aiden and the Scroll of No Man's Land

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Chapter 24

As we just entered the forest area I looked up to the sun in the East as it set behind a mountain far beyond us, and the picturesque view it left behind on the surface of the river.

As I took in the moment, I noticed a star next to the Sun and it seemed bright and unusual. Once again, getting the attention of my sister by tapping her on the shoulder and she looked up with me.

Focusing on the star only seemed to make it weirder. Squinting against the sun the star seemed to be reflecting the Sun’s rays rather than emitting its own light, much like the moon.

But this was no moon. This was way too small to be a moon. But a second later it seemed to grow in size and another second later it seemed to be as big as the moon, which confused my mind and thought was hallucinating and before I could process what was happening, seeing the object becoming bigger and bigger and that was when I noticed it was not a star or the moon, but something that had been thrown right at us from the other side of the river.

This object was huge and was only becoming bigger by the second and that was not the worst part, as it seemed like it was heading right for us!

Again, instinct kicked in for me to jump out of the way and my sister followed.

By my peripheral vision, I could see the object passing right above me and crash behind me into the thick forest beyond.

The object which seemed as big as a small plane seemed to be very heavy too as it destroyed the smaller trees. It also managed to break some big branches of big trees and with all that momentum finally being passed onto the trees, it finally came to a halt at the base of one large tree.

Surprisingly the noise of the object crashing into the trees was not as loud as expected, but the damage was severe to the surrounding trees.

Getting back on my feet, dusting my pants off as I helped my sister back on her feet. A quick examination confirmed we had survived unscathed from the situation and so now curiosity once again engulfed us as the fight or flight response took the back seat for now.

This event was so unexpected that me and my sister could only look into each other’s eyes with disbelief.

*“What in the world is happening?“* my sister said her voice distraught and it seemed like the fear she had felt a little while before while visiting that old house was nothing compared to what she was feeling now.

It was very rare to see my sister so spooked. But being her elder brother, I knew how her bravery could be easily faltered.

And although couldn’t see my own face, I was guessing I too had that horrid look on my face.

Approaching the object, very much aware of our surroundings, and our senses tuned up with adrenaline at the bay ready to give us instant energy when we needed it.

The object had made itself a clear path through the forest and was now currently sitting in the clearing it had made.

It was covered from branches and leaves falling on top of it but still, a major portion of the object was visible from where I stood. It was silver in color and seemed to be made of metal of some kind. It was shiny and polished, like our amours and right now reflected light off the sun like I had done when it was airborne a few seconds earlier.

At first, it resembled a plane of some kind and that thought stuck with me until I reached the object and cleared the sides of it trying to see any signs of wings.

But there were none. Although had never been so close to one before, had only seen them in the sky flying high, I knew this was something essential for flying.

The absence of wings only puzzled me even more and I just had to see what this weird object was.

As I approached closer I saw the edges had seemed to be melted off like as if the metal had come in contact with some heavy acid, I was about to touch the bare metal when my sister shouted out. “Aiden! Don’t touch it!“ she said fiercely, and I stopped instantly my hands only a few inches above the metal surface. She then pointed to a spot on the metal surface where there were sparks flying out of the metal surface like fireworks.

“This is the river Inimical doing…” I said under my breath. “I cannot even wonder how something could even pass the river.” my sister expressed her voice now questionable. “Nothing has passed the river since ages...” she said. She told stating the obvious. “No,” said my head bent in thought. “What if...the object that crashed into Muite’s field was also from the other side of the river.“ I said as my gaze fell again on the object. “Maybe...” my sister replied still eyeing the object curious as to what it held.

Curiosity was burning through me too and I thought our talk could wait for now and so we now agreed that using the big dry palm-sized leaves of the trees around was our best bet of not getting electrocuted.

So carefully we cleared the covering leaves, branches, and vines from the object and then gasped at what we had just discovered.

Had only one thought about the object and that was literally what the object looked like. A coffin. A metal coffin. It was the right size for an average person to fit in and had a transparent glass window through which one could see into the coffin. I had no clue what to think of it, but my mind’s imagination went wild as it pictured gory scenes of a person’s remains decaying inside of the coffin, which I knew were going to be today’s nightmare.

Heart pounding risked a glance at the direction of the glass window but did not have the stomach to do so. My sister volunteered to do the dirty work which I was grateful for. Waited for her response, but it shocked me in an unexpected way.

“Aiden it is all fogged up!” she said, and this startled me.

“Fogged up?” I asked in disbelief, for a second thinking that Xaya was joking. I now looked back at the direction my sister, and then gathering myself I walked over to her.

She was on her knees bent over the coffin and was examining the frosted glass keenly, careful to touch the glass with only the big leaf she had in her hands.

I too grabbed another leaf and started wiping the glass thinking the fog on the glass was only on the outside.

The glass portion only took up the length of a face and was also twice as wide as an average face. The glass was also covered with a thick metal rim that was riveted with bolts, presumably to keep the glass in place.

I now wiped the glass my heart still pounding. Frustration soon ran through me noticing that most of the mist was on the other side of the glass, by whatever was inside the coffin. And although my creep alarm went off in my head I was determined to find out what was inside this coffin.

“Sis, we have to get this coffin open.” I said and although my sister had an unsure look on her face she agreed. I now looked for any way to open this coffin looking at the sides when my mind sidetracked and worked on something else. My mind thought of my sister and how she had looked at me and might have noticed the frustration on my face and must have realized how much not only my mom but the whole village was hiding from me and now in this case, since there was nobody to hid evidence from me I could finally find out something without anybody interrupting me.

I felt guilt fill me as I looked at the sides of the coffin finally finding the heavy latches.

Now that I found it I was somewhat relieved but was feeling very guilty and so opened my mouth to speak to my sister who was standing uneasily next to me, visibly scared when a voice caught my ear. It seemed to become from further along the path, the path which we needed to head down to reach our home. Getting my sister’s attention and signaled her to be quiet, keenly listened to the voice.

As we listened the voices seemed to increase in intensity indicating someone was heading our way.

A jolt of electricity, not from the coffin, shot through me as neurons fired a warning signal as I spoke in hurried, hush tone to Xaya. “It’s those two dumbheads of the Gurzal gang we saw earlier, they too must have seen this coffin falling from the sky.” My sister seemed to be stuck in place with fear as she spoke. “What do we do Aiden?” she said and by the way she was speaking, I knew she was not thinking clearly. So, I formulated a plan while speaking still not thinking clearly.

“They cannot find us with this coffin, if they do, they’ll get the leader involved which will mean problems for us. We cannot also leave this coffin here...Muite or most probably Soulder might get into trouble if these two idiots falsely accuse him...and it is going to be almost sure the leader will want to find someone to fight for another event and so he’ll mostly believe whatever the Gurzal gang says...” I was running words in my mind and ran another script trying to think of a solution all the while the sounds were getting louder, accompanied by heavy footsteps. *“Aiden!“* my sister spoke in a desperate whisper as she saw me looking at the coffin intently.

“The old house, we carry this coffin there and put this it in that cellar we saw earlier.” My sister seemed reluctant to this idea, but I spoke now, desperate than ever. “Xaya it’s now or never these two boneheads can land not only us but innocent Muite and Soulder into big trouble...We need to do this NOW! We don’t have a second to spare.” the voice escaped my mouth harsh but there was no time to apologize seeing my sister nod in agreement.

I had no idea how heavy this thing weighed and whether we would even be able to carry it much less drag it along the ground. This though gave me an idea while explaining it to my sister.

We both started looking desperately for the thing we needed hoping that the two idiots were farther off than what we hoped they were. Finally, by sheer luck, I found what I needed. A long rough bark of a tree that had been scraped off when the coffin flew and crashed into the trees. We used this long piece of bark to make a makeshift sled.

Next without wasting a second, we both collected at one side of the coffin and pulled the coffin now not bothering to use the leaves as the sparks seemed to fade from the surface.

To my surprise, I found a handle on the top part of the coffin which I used to pull the coffin onto the sled.

The coffin was as heavy as expected and we could barely move it but me and my sister at that moment seem to possess god-like strength and within a matter of seconds we hand put the coffin haphazardly on the makeshift sled.

And that too in time, as we once again heard footsteps. With pure energy racing through us, we pulled and pushed the sled until we were behind Muite’s house. We strained to be quiet and were eternally grateful that Muite’s door was closed for now.

We, fortunately, at this point, had the cover of night to our advantage too, as the sun had now buried itself behind the mountains giving us an early dark cover. This short hike had nearly killed us, but we were determined to finish this job.

And we did and pulled it further dragging it into the night, into the forest. Thankfully the forest here was not so thickly covered with trees like before and therefore we had a rather easy time pulling it through.

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