DOOR OF SPLIT
“This place never stops surprising me.” Samana said .
True as it was , Aarav couldn’t believe his eyes .
“Welcome to the door of split!”
It was as if he was standing in another dimension . As far as his eyes went , he saw bridges .Millions and millions of Long and never ending bridges, he couldn't see where they went .They were just hanging in a free space , with a bluish, pink and red shaded sky.People were walking on almost each one of them. He and the others were standing on a stone path, which , also like the bridges was infinitely unending. In front of them , men wearing a grey coloured uniform were sitting on chairs , writing something in what looked like registers.
Samana said, “Follow me kids.”
She took them to the man sitting closest . She tapped in the table , the man saw her and said, “Oh..if its not the bad-ass whore. Didn’t get enough last night?”
Samana slapped him , straight in the face . The hit was so hard , the man spat blood.
She said, “Language , asshole! Don’t forget your wife works under me...” Another slap. “And respect every profession . I just need the pass , give it and we’ll go .”
The man , swearing under his breath, took out a small slip book , and tore a paper and handed it over to Samana. She started walking and stopped in front of a bridge , she said, “Big boy, keep walking till I say , all the girls behind him. And try not to fall off.”
They began the walk, Aarav ended up in the last , walking along side Samana. He said , looking through the railing, “So...where exactly do we go if we fall?”
She laughed and said, “If u are lucky enough , you’ll end up on another bridge . But no one’s been unlucky to end up going on and on falling into nothingness . Wanna try?”
Aarav shook his head and walked for some time in silence , when Samana spoke again. “Do you people think the same about us? About people like me ?”
“Well, it’s hard to answer . It depends on the person , to say. I think no profession is small or big. I mean , to live , you should do something right ? Like my mom, when we had no money after my father was gone , my mother started the lunch box service , many criticized , but now , it’s the best service of the town . And those who criticized are now the customers !" Aarav replied
“Well, looks like someone’s mature enough. Any way boy, are u a virgin?“She asked.
“What? No , I haven’t ...I mean , yeah..i am ...“He said embarrassingly .“Why do ask?”
“Well, to say the truth , I like guys who think and answer reasonably. And what u just said about all professions being a way of life...I’m impressed. Alright everyone , STOP!”
Everybody came to a halt , Samana went ahead and said , “Now it is somewhere around here ...” She said moving her hands around. “Aha!” She said and lifted a curtain , that showed the path went on and on. But actually behind the curtain there was a door .She pushed it open and went inside and asked everyone to follow.
Aarav followed too , and he went in It was another bridge , but just some distance ahead , light could be seen .
Samana said ,“Alright everybody , this is as far as I can take you . Now one more thing , who the hell brought a mobile phone here ?”
Aarav slowly raised his hand ,“Right, thought it’d be you. What do u think , there are mobile towers there ? If the people there see something , they’ll end up killing you for that phone . Now hand it over to me , I’ll deliver it to you when you return back. ” Aarav apologized and handed it over to her , she continued ,“Alright , so as I said , I can't help you people further . You go straight in , and at the end on the tunnel , you’ll be In the Mauryan empire . Now , everybody , go in, real quick! “she handed over the piece of paper the man had given her to Mayank.
Everybody walked in , and at last as Aarav was going in , Samana pulled him close and kissed him on the cheek , she said, “Hope in meeting you soon." And she simply walked away , closing the door behind her.
Aarav heard foot steps , sign from him to start walking , so he kept a hand on his cheek where Samana had pecked him and simply followed the footsteps in the dim light tunnel.
When they finally reached the other end , someone held Aarav’s hand . Aarav took a look and saw Shiba looking at him. She said, “Why did she kiss you?” Aarav had no answer , so he said .“I don’t know , when we meet her next time we’ll ask...”
At that moment Mayank said loudly , “Guys, we're here...”
Aarav saw two men sitting on either end of the tunnel. Mayank handed over the slip of paper to one man , while the other man was checking the purse which had all of their luggage.
Finally both of them nodded and said, “You may proceed.”
Aarav finally exited the tunnel and , bright light hit his face . He closed his eyes , and took a minute to adjust to the light . Finally he opened them clearly, and he saw ...a different world, his world.
It was brightly lit . There were several other tunnels , that opened up beside the one through which they came. It was some sort of a station . He felt as if he had come a century backward. Bullock carts, tangas (Carts pulled by horses or donkeys) , horse riders , cycles were moving all around . People were busy , vendors selling things , by shouting out loud , people who were coming or going back to the mortal world , groups of people busy discussing , men flurting , some getting beaten up , some playing gamble in the middle of the road and the most surprising were men wearing black armors.
Aarav was standing open mouthed staring at the scene . Reva saw him and hit him on the head , she laughed and said,
“Welcome ...to the BLACK world. And close your mouth , you look stupid doing that...”
“This...place...it looks like a century backward. Its just ....amazing!“Aarav said.
Aarav was looking around , when a group armored men looked at them . The moment they saw him , they started running towards them . Aarav got scared , so he was about to pull out his bracelet , when all of them bowed down near Reva.
“What the...“Aarav said . “Don’t forget , she’s the princess of this whole place ...” Megha whispered in his ear, “Put that bracelet back ...you won't match them!”
Aarav simply did as she said . He saw that when the people saw the guards bowing down , all of them left whatever they were doing and also came and bowed in front of Reva . She smiled , and her cheeks turned a shade of pink . She said ,“There’s...no need. I’m one of you. Please , continue your work...”
All of them followed her request and slowly scattered back. Then the guard who had a hint of gold in his armor came close to them and said , “Princess Reva, we are glad to see you and your friends. Now according to the queen’s request we are to take all of you to the palace . So , if you could , please follow me ...”
Reva said ,“Alright , come on guys.”
Aarav followed the others . Pranay came beside him and said , “So , what do u think about your real home ?”
“I don’t know what to say , its just ....so different from that world.“Aarav said him.
They followed the guard , till they reached a clearing. There were royal looking carts waiting for them , ten of them pulled by black horses. Three women came out of thin air and Aarav was startled . One of them said,
“Princess Reva and all her clan mates , we welcome you to our beloved Mauryan empire . Now as per the queen’s orders , Princess Reva and Aarav , please ascend the third cart . The rest of your clan will be following you. ”
Aarav simply followed Reva and the three women towards the most royal looking cart . Reva went in and Aarav followed her in . They sat face to face , and Aarav asked ,“Why should I sit with you again?”
“Listen...Aarav , I wanted a favor from you. Can you help me ?“She asked him.
“Well, my mom’s safe because of you , so , yes , I can atleast do that. What is it?”
“You see , my mom , likes you a lot and I don’t have a clue why . But till we stay here , act a bit more gentle towards me ...”
“When have I acted rude ? You’re the one who took up a hating to me and started calling me ‘freak’ , I’m always good to you!”
“Alright...I’m sorry okay? I wont call you freak . Now will you help?”
“Alright , whatever .”
“One more thing...” Her tone again changed to fighter cock girl , “...dont you dare think I have feelings towards you or anything...”
“Even If u did have , I wouldn’t care less. Disha hasn’t spoken to me ever since the house party and I haven’t forgotten that. Why do u hate her so much anyway?”
“Why do u always take everything back to that bitch ? I’m sorry Aarav , i've told you many times now , if I said who she is , you would hate me even more for telling you.”
“I’m fed up of hearing this shit. Anyway , why did you think that I would think you would have feelings towards me ? Arent you in a relationship with Mayank?”
“Stupid ass! Who told you that? He’s my cousin you idiot !”
“What?” Suddenly the cart came to a halt.
The carriage door opened and the woman came back , “We are here . Please come "
Aarav got down first and the monument that stood in front of him was the largest thing he had ever seen in his life.
THE MAURYAN PALACE.
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