This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
We will not move from here till tomorrow morning,’ said James Slater.
He and his wife Sarah stretched themselves comfortably on their lilos that they had spread on a grassy patch away from the snow. The snow-capped peak presented a great view from the ground. Sarah gazed, fascinated, at the peak of the mountain while James argued with the policeman. Lounging in the air mattress, and fully covered with warm clothing, she looked forward to basking in the sunlight the whole of the day, while the icy mountain air blew. Her attention was riveted on the top of the peak. How could the top layers be thousands of years older than the bottom layers?
Dominique Mayer, the tall French policeman stared down at them in disbelief. How could these Americans be so adamant, braving the cold like this for some darned belief! James and Sarah wanted to go to the top of the mountain. The entire village was now teeming with visitors from different parts of the world, all of whom thought that it was a great idea to be at the top of the mountain just then. But the Mayor of Bugarach had a different idea. Bugarach had had enough attention from the world. Jules Verne had thought that that place had access to the centre of the earth. Many had claimed that the mountain was the hub of UFO activity, what with many so-called UFO sightings. And now some nitwits were claiming that this place was some sort of a new age Ark: the only place that would survive when the great Apocalypse happened. The Mayor of Bugarach did not want some idiosyncratic doomsayers to commit mass suicide in his picturesque village, located in the Midi belt of France. Thus, policemen like Dominique were entrusted with the sacred duty of keeping them at bay, so that the pristine air of that esoteric mountain, Pic de Bugarach, did not get polluted by their decaying dead bodies.
Dominique wrinkled up his nose in loathing as that thought crossed his mind. He said, ‘Monsieur, …’
James cut in, ‘Call me Jim, please.’
’Uh, Monsieur Jim, even if you stay here for the whole day and nuit, er, I mean the night, we will not allow you to go beyond this point. Il est interdit … it is forbidden,’ Dominique spoke in thickly accented English, mixing in French frequently.
‘Oh, yes, I know. You folks will have to do your duty. But mark my words, when you will hear a great roar all around, you will run for your dear life and we will save ourselves at the top of the mountain. Listen to us. We know many secrets that ordinary people do not know. And they are not based on some cult-driven beliefs but on solid research and study. We are not some idiosyncratic fools. We have done extensive work, piecing together a lot of esoteric information. Tomorrow will see the end of the world. The Mayan calendar too had predicted this. It may sound funny but it is the truth. Only those that reach the top of this mountain will survive. Now listen to us, and join us if you care for your life. I suggest that you bring your family too,’ James spoke emphatically.
‘And what if, for some reason, your theory fails?’ said Dominique, his thin lips curling into a smirk.
James shrugged, his expression still serious. ‘We will all come back and lead lives as usual. We lose nothing.’
For a moment, Dominique’s mind swayed. James was logical and there seemed to be a ring of truth in what he said. It was better to appear foolish than be proved foolhardy at the end. The climactic extremes and the recent catastrophes all seemed to lend credence to the Apocalypse enthusiasts. Just then, the movement of other fellow policemen in the distance caught his eye. They were doing a similar job out there: asking the visitors to back away from the mountain. In a moment, the fecundity in his mind vanished, and his resolve became steely, again.
’Oui, monsieur. Let us wait and watch.’
Later on, when Dominique narrated this and other events of the day to me, I was reminded of my dear friend, Pradeep’s words. ‘There really is nothing right or wrong in this universe. Everything has to be understood in its context.’ For the incidents on that fateful day of 21st December, 2012, in another continent proved that both James and Dominique were right to an extent in their own ways. The real truth seemed to lie at the intersection of physics and metaphysics.
At that very instant, far away in the middle of India, a young man and his friend were wending their way on a pre-historic trail in a land that was fabled to exist, but where few men, in the history of humankind, had ever set foot in before: a trail that was to lead to the legend of the mystical aircraft that was claimed to have existed more than five thousand years ago, and that was prophesied to play a key role in the event of an Apocalypse. Their patience was running thin after weeks of scouring for the lost manuscript of the ancient oriental science of the Celestial Crafts. I, Michel d’Iribarne, was that friend and the extraordinary young man was Pradeep Kumar. Born of a mixed origin to French parents in the village of Bugarach in France, I was raised in that cradle of oriental mysticism India. As I grew up into an adult, I managed to keep in touch with a few of my relatives and friends in Bugarach. Dominique was one of those friends. When he recounted to me those incidents of the 20th and the 21st over an STD call, three months later, the full import of the Mayan calendar dawned on me. For, it then became clear, the Mayan calendar actually predicted not the end of the world but rather the era-defining changes that would happen after that period and that would alter the destiny of the planet. And my friend and I were a part of some of those extraordinary changes that were destined to impact the history of this world. But at that time, my mind was haunted by questions that pummelled it relentlessly: Will Pradeep survive the odyssey? If he doesn’t, why shouldn’t he? Why did my French biological parents abandon me when I was already four years old?
I came out of this reverie as I looked at the letters ahead that read: ‘Here lies in peace Pradeep Kumar, an ordinary man, who led an extraordinary life. A true friend, in all ways.’
The epitaph was written on a squarish headstone, atop which was a miniature alabaster bull. The headstone and the sarcophagus were lined with Onyx. I stood in silence reminiscing the good old days with him. The sadness in my heart was numbing my whole body, and I nearly collapsed under its burden.
‘Goodbye, my friend,’ I said. I lost count of the number of times I had said this, ever since he passed away six months ago. I finally turned and walked down the cemented pathway of the graveyard. The sun was shining brightly, and the gently blowing breeze was cool and pleasant. They lifted my spirit up a little as I allowed my mind to slow down and tune to hearing the rustling of the leaves. I felt relieved and better. A mongoose darted across the path and scampered into the undergrowth at the sides.
I smiled at the sentinel. Apparently in his sixties and having lived all his life at close quarters to Death in the cemetery, his persona exuded the nonchalance of a man who had seen it all. Had my friend been alive, he would have stopped by to have a word or two with him. He celebrated the beauty of life like few else could.
The taxi was waiting for me. I nodded to the driver as I stepped inside.
‘I hope I did not take too long.’
‘It is not often that I bring visitors here. So when you said that you wanted to come here, I more or less knew what to expect’, said the driver as he shifted into the first gear. The verdant beauty of the landscape lessened the burden in my heart. The smooth green undulations took my attention away, enabling me to pull myself together.
In this biography of my friend, I have tried my best to present the events as they happened, without hyperbole. Those of us who are living in the humdrum of city life, caught up in the concomitant hustle and bustle, are unaware of the esoteric and strange events that are happening continually in places that are away from our knowledge. Through this story of a noble man, I intend to not only capture in print an extraordinary life but also demystify some enigmas and occult events that are silently changing the face of Mother Earth in ways that few could ever imagine possible; so that posterity will know of those unknown heroes who worked to ensure that life goes on in this planet and, hopefully, also have answers to some of the unfathomable mysteries of this universe.
Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...
reikij: I really enjoyed this book. It was very hard to put it down. The change between the different times wasdone nicely. There was no difficulty in keeping aware of which century I was in. That's a very good talent and not easy for many writers. This was smooth. The characters were interesting...
_JosephJacobson_: I don't understand why this has such low ratings. I really enjoyed it!I think that the whole idea behind the plot had something very special and that was something that I really enjoyed. It was new, unique. I think that some of the writing was a little strange in places but overall it made sense ...
Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...
Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...
CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...
MegaRogueLegend666: I love this story so much. It's impossible to describe my excitement with each new chapter in words. The author has such a good writing style, very good descriptions of the fighting and character descriptions/emotions. the plot is also amazing! This fanfic could be a side anime show or novel ......
makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...
tyleroakleyfan: this was the perfect ending I loved it. thank you so much I enjoy the relationship that Draco and harry have and their children. im glad Vernon learned his lesson. and Dudley as a wizard did not see that coming but it gives him a way to be closer to harry. very good job with this. if you could ch...
Roger A. Fauble: Excellent read, the only thing not to like is that I could only read it at home on my computer. I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this story characters are introduced and developed allowing you to really get into them. Next the story is develop...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."