Amidst the symphonic shimmers of the endless evening traffic, a dull set of footsteps, pierced asymmetrically as if on a scout for a particular destination. It was Amar. The dejected soul failed by life all over. Too afraid to think of a future because of a frightening deterring past, Amar had given up. After some thoughtful wandering around the place, he finally gained the so-called ‘courage’ to enter the tall premises of the huge skyscraper. He walked past the reception, hiding his face in nervousness, and stood against the elevator door. A translucent oscillation in his dizzy vision accompanied a strange echo in his ears. Suddenly, all the echoes were halted by the pinging sound of the elevator’s arrival. There was sheer silence now. He waited for the door to open. As soon as it did, everything went back to its normal pace for him. It was the moment of truth, to enter or Not to enter.

The clique around him rushed towards the lift, pushing him ahead. He tried to control his body but was being manhandled with a push here and a shoulder-thrust there. He then gave in to the force and took the voluntary step forward; but while entering, his shoulder banged with some strangely dressed old man exiting the elevator, gazing down his eyes all the while with apparent suspicion. Amar’s nerves had now become more tensed and he stood amongst the crowd perspiring endlessly as the door closed shut. Ignoring it all he tried regaining his breath and also wiped his forehead. The panel showed a cluster of numeric buttons ranging from minus five to sixty-one. Everyone started pressing their pick. Amar resented from making a move due to his anxiety. He restlessly waited for everyone to get down at their respective floors so that he could select his floor number, the last floor, Sixty-One.

Yes, he wanted to reach the end… he wanted to end his pain… he wanted to end his life. As the last person got down on the forty-third floor, he slowly leaned forward to push the button. The lift started climbing again as soon as he did so. This time, to him, it seemed much slower than before. Every time the screen above the panel incremented the floor number, the climb became seemingly slower and slower to him. Amar started becoming more anxious with each floor, with each increment signifying the countdown decrement of his life’s end. When he reached floor fifty, he panicked and de-selected the sixty-first floor followed by pressing the ground-floor-button; but the lift kept climbing. He pressed the zeroth floor again, but, strangely, the sixty-first-floor-button got auto-selected this time. The elevator started speeding up its climb. He started pressing random buttons on the panel in a hurry, yet the lift kept accelerating vertically. Soon, to his horror, the elevator reached floor number sixty-one but didn’t stop. The number on the display kept on increasing further. Amar became afraid. He pressed all the buttons on the panel but the acceleration continued. The speed increasing… seventy-five… ninety… one-twenty… one ninety… three hundred… six hundred… nine hundred… one thousand… fifteen hundred… The elevator lights were fluctuating and the floor was vibrating heavily. The quick climb, getting quicker by the second, was creating immense physical pressure on Amar’s senses. He soon started blacking out. The last thing he could see with his fading vision was the floor number seven two nine two, and the lift door slowly opening.

***

A blinding brightness unveiled a faint shadow. Against it lay Amar, with his evanescent recovering vision. The shadow started coming closer with near-soundless whispers tickling Amar’s ears. A smile broke through the Penumbra with a light giggle. Amar was still lying with an expression of shock. He gained his apparent consciousness and immediately started trying to drag himself towards the shadow, but to no resolve. He wasn’t able to move an inch.

“Madhu… is it you?” he inquired with an elated aura in his expression. The shadow completely uncovered itself to reveal a woman. He observed carefully to find that her little finger was being held by a small girl.

“Saisha… Oh My God… Come here and hug your daddy baby…” Amar said. The girl tried to step forward to reach for Amar, but the hand that she had extended started fading.

“What happened beta?” Amar said. Just after that, an infernal fire engulfed the girl and she started screaming. Amar struggled to go forward to help the girl and called for the woman to do the same. But neither of them could move regardless of their efforts. The ground started shaking as the girl kept screaming in pain. The ground below the girl broke apart as she was submerged inside it. The entire place rubbled and suddenly came to an untoward still. Amar lay with high nerves. He heard a faint whisper again “We are ought to be apart”. The ground turned over and the place fell apart. Amar could barely hear his own voice when his senses shut off. He immediately woke up gasping, this time in a stranger world.

(Trying to regain his breath) “What is th… That dream again…” Amar said in a restless tone. He looked around to find that he was lying on a muddy bed-like structure with his legs buried in the hard mud. He wasn’t able to move around at all. He tried getting up, using all of his strength, but he failed miserably. There was no more strength to put in his efforts. Once again, he was giving up. He tried comprehending as to where he could have been, and he could not see much in the dark. He heard a loud clank from outside and laid down in pursuit of pretending to be still unconscious. He heard a pair of two different footsteps enter and stand beside him, chatting away in some unheard tongue. Then, all of a sudden, another pair of footsteps came inside. Amar tried to take a glance through his semi-closed eyes. It was a huge muscular man with a large fire-torch in his hand. The visibility inside the room had increased. The huge man was followed closely by a small woman. She came in and instantly caught hold of one of the two who had entered the place before, who in turn was also a woman. She caught hold of her hair, said something in her language in an aggressive manner, took a knife out of her back and cut the other woman’s hair lock. She then placed the knife against her throat and seemingly threatened her. The other woman burst into tears and fell on her knees. She tried running out but was intercepted by the muscular man. The woman with the knife now walked closer to Amar, conversing with the huge man simultaneously. She then kept her knife over his exposed chest and raised it above her head. Amar was alarmed and he thus spoke up “Nahi No Nooooooo! Please No!”

The woman paused hearing Amar. She kept her hand down. As soon as Amar was heaving a sigh of relief, she screamed out loud and stabbed his thigh. Amar moaned in grave pain. The woman and the man walked out. Amar started bleeding heavily and was again rendered unconscious.

***

Amar regained his consciousness again and immediately became very cautious and sceptical. He sat up and found that his legs had been released. The woman who had lost her hair was sitting beside him with another man accompanying her. She started trying to calm Amar down. Amar struggled restlessly. She kept speaking in her native tongue and Amar kept becoming more afraid. She then exclaimed in a weird accent “Stop… Please”. Amar immediately halted his fidgeting. He looked down to see that his thigh injury had been properly bandaged.

“You healed me. You know English? What are you, where am I?” Amar asked.

“We… Shodian. You… Dorian?” the woman asked.

“Dorian… what is a Dorian? My name is Amar.”

“Amar… me Shalia. Him… Mantra” she said as the man beside her smiled at Amar.

“Where am I? Why am I being treated like a prisoner?” Amar asked.

“You speak Dorian. You must not. You alive because you said some Ancient Shodian. She spared. I not spared. She cut me.” Shalia said.

“Your hair. She cut your hair. That’s not a big deal.”

“Hair proud for Shodia. We grow and we display experience. She our leader. Man her guard. Him one of many.” Shalia said.

“Baap Re… just where exactly is this place? I remember entering an elevator…” Amar said.

“You said again. How do you know it?” Shalia asked.

“Know what?” Amar asked.

The woman grabbed the torch beside her and placed it against the wall to reveal many old-looking inscriptions on them. They were all seeming as if written in Hindi.

“Yes… that is Hindi…” Amar said.

“You can read?” Shalia said with an expression of awe.

“Yes… that is my language.”

Shalia and Mantra immediately got up and spoke to each other.

“Wait here. We come.” She said as they left.

Amar started trying to get up. He fell off the bed and groaned out loud. He dragged himself against the wall and got up pushing himself against it. In the persisting darkness, he could get a glimpse of the scribbled scriptures on the walls. Amar could read the words very well. He then slowly limped against to wall to leap outside the curtain cover. As soon as he came out, he saw a huge cauldron set on fire. Around it stood an innumerable band of people, observing, chanting and dancing. There were many others who stood beside the hilltop shelters observing the supposed ritual. He tried to be inconspicuous while trying to get as far away from the place as possible. But he found himself at the centre of a huge crater-like structure, inside which the whole procession was going on. He couldn’t have escaped on his own no matter what. He was soon seen by a few who then alerted the others.

Not long after, he was surrounded by a huge number of people. Some of then started chanting what seemed like slogans at him. Then, the crowd started making way for someone to enter. It was the woman who had stabbed him. She walked through with two women behind her, holding torches to lead her way. The crowd had now turned silent. Amar was frightened. He was still in disbelief of whatever was happening around him. The woman apparently ordered a few people to grab hold of Amar. They came and held him down and placed knives against the back of his throat. Suddenly, Shalia came running and screaming “He knows the Ancient Text. Don’t Kill Him!”

The woman commanded her loyals to grab hold of Shalia as well. Then, Mantra appeared at the scene to their rescue. He started talking to the people, addressing the woman leader, in their native tongue. He held what seemed like a book in his hand. The woman, after hearing him, asked the people to let Amar and Shalia go. Mantra walked up to Amar and opened the book to a random page. He held the book in front of Amar’s eyes. Amar slowly and inaudibly read the lines, which were written in Hindi. Mantra asked him to be louder, and he did. Everyone was caught aback hearing him. The crowd started murmuring in a scared demeanour.

“Silence,” the woman said, as the crowd stopped making any sound.

“How can you Dorian read our Ancient Guides?” the woman asked.

Amar replied “This is a book of medicine I suppose. It is (interrupted)…”

“I asked you a question Dorian…” the woman said.

“This is my language…” Amar replied.

“LIAR!!! All ways of learning the ancient scriptures were destroyed by the Dorians. After the great war those centuries ago, the Dorians made sure that every human record of History, Science or anything at all are destroyed, other than those in these ancient scripts. They made sure no one but the unholy mother can comprehend or decipher what is written, cutting off tongues, fingers and punishing all who knew or taught it. So, how do you know the script?” the woman said.

As soon as she did, a heavy tremor started flowing through the ground, followed by comet-like lightning covering the face of the sky and striking the mountaintop nearby.

“It is them… Hide away Shodians… Hide away or be forgotten…” the woman screamed. There was utter ruckus afterwards. Everyone started dispersing to underground shelters. Amar couldn’t get up and was helped by Shalia. She pulled him to one of the houses where Mantra stood by. She requested him to help others. In the bunker close-by, two small children stood crying for help. Shalia rested Amar and ran for them as another comet-like strike hit the ground beside her. She was thrown away across the ground. A flock of drone-like bots appeared in the sky, descending to find their targets. There was also a huge mechanical structure hovering amidst the clouds. It was larger than ten such villages put together. Amar was clueless as to what to do. He wanted to help Shalia, who lay unconscious. He started dragging himself towards her when one of the drones intercepted him. Suddenly, a spear came and pierced the drone, which fell on top of Amar. Mantra appeared and escorted them both to a small shelter. The attack had now amplified. Amar was carrying the disabled drone with him. He started fidgeting with the panel on the bot, but it was in an incomprehensible code for him.

“Hey! Mantra… where is everything I brought with me? There was a small thing…” Amar said.

“Yes… that unholy brick. We concealed it from her or you would have been executed in your sleep.” Mantra replied.

“Yes, where is it?” Amar asked.

“It is with me,” Mantra said as he took out Amar’s mobile phone from his satchel and gave it to him.

“I would also need that,” Amar said, pointing towards the knife on Mantra’s belt.

Amar grabbed the knife and cut the back panel of Mobile open. He then opened the panel on the drone and took out a wire, which he rolled and connected straight to the soldered part of his USB connector. He then switched his phone on and started fiddling through various on-screen buttons. His screen started loading and displaying the drone’s control.

“Let us see what is controlling you,” Amar said, as he continued his clicking and sliding.

After a few seconds only, he said “What… this is not even the minimum international recommended standard. Ain’t these people overconfident…” Amar said.

Mantra gazed at Amar as Shalia still lay unconscious.

“Hey! Help me outside, just to peep,” Amar said, as Mantra held his upper-body out. Amar started looking at the giant ship hovering over the village.

“I hope this works; jammers redirect to reverse control feed. And (pushes a button)” Amar said, as the ship started to thrust across the sky.

“YESSS!!! Now the master would know what it feels to be a slave…” Amar said as the ship started tilting downwards towards the mountaintop, spearheading into it and exploding in loud flames. All the drones combing the ground automatically shut off. Everyone was still ambiguous about what transpired.

“What did you do?” Mantra asked Amar.

“(Groans in pain) Nothing much. I overrode their controls hacking into their amateur server and brought it down.” Amar said.

By that time, Shalia had regained consciousness and was trying to get up. Mantra went towards her to help her up. The three assembled as they started hearing loud cheers outside. They supported each other to walk outside and saw that everyone was celebrating the victory that they couldn’t comprehend. Then, all of a sudden, a cloud of gloom covered the village as a few people carried the woman-leader to the centre of the crater. She seemed to have been hit and was bleeding from her upper abdomen. They kept her down as people got in closer.

“Where is the invader?” she whispered to one of her underlings. They all made way for Amar, Shalia and Mantra. The woman raised hands towards Amar as he limped towards her. He got in close as she said to him “You… it was you who brought that demon down, didn’t you?”

“Yes…” Amar replied.

“I saw it. He did something with the flee and it came down.” Mantra interjected.

“(Gasping for breath) You are not a Dorian… What’s your name?” the woman said.

“My name is Amar… Well (nervously) it means immortal in English.” Amar replied.

“And the immortal shall set us free…” the woman said in a disappearing voice as she raised her enclosed fist towards Amar. He grabbed hold of it, as she dropped a glowing pendant in his hand. Her hand fell down as she seemed to have passed away.

“What is this?” Amar asked.

Shalia came walking behind him and said “That is the medallion-key to Shodia… it is given by one ruler to the next…”

“What… Wait… that means… I am a…” Amar said.

“You are our king now…” Mantra said as everybody bowed down in reverence of Amar.

***

A dark smoke-filled room, with the door slowly opening to show some light. Amar and Shalia walked in as she guided him towards what seemed like an enclosed cave-way.

“The path from this is to be traversed by the ruler alone. No one in past ever understand what’s inside. I wish you luck. In there you would know the weapon of our survival.” Shalia said.

Amar took his pendant off and inserted it inside a small hole at the centre of the wall. The wall started displaying illuminated patterns as it started sliding upwards. It was dark inside, so Amar carried a torch with him. The wall closed behind him. Shalia went out to wait for his arrival.

“What do you think Mantra?” Shalia asked.

“I think nothing. I just hope for everything…” Mantra replied. A few minutes later, they heard a sound. Amar walked outside with his torch and a bundle of books in his hand.

“There are just thousands of bookshelves inside covered in paper-preservation oils. There isn’t any weapon there.” Amar said.

“WHAT… It isn’t possible. You are the one who shall wield the weapon to defeat the Dorians.” Shalia replied.

“Well… I am sorry to disappoint you.” Amar said as he carried the books back inside. Shalia and Mantra followed him. They accompanied him inside out of rebellious curiosity and saw that there were literally thousands of concrete bookshelves built there.

“Everything is in Hindi…” Amar said as he started picking up and opening books out of random.

“They are the holy text… the weapon must also be here…” Mantra said as he vigorously started searching the place for some clue. Amar opted to join him and started throwing random books off their shelves. Shalia interrupted “These are holy books. Don’t mistreat them…”

“Okay, my apologies” Amar said as he started placing them back on the shelves. He then saw a strange-looking book covered with red paper. It seemed like a diary. He opened the first page which read in bold letters in Hindi- Bhavishya ke bhulaye kisse- Bhaag 1/9.

“What is it?” Shalia asked.

“This is strange… It reads the ‘Forgotten Stories of the Future, Volume 1/9’.” Amar said.

“It is no time to read stories… Find the weapon.” Shalia said as Amar tucked the book behind his trousers.

Their search failed as Amar returned with them back to his bunker. Mantra and Shalia went on with their daily errands as Amar started reading the book.

A few hours later, Amar came rushing out. Everyone was surprised to see his weird behaviour. He ran towards the cave again and Mantra and Shalia followed him. He started scanning the entire area for specific books. He grabbed one from a corner. His search continued while Shalia and Mantra stood questioning what he sought. He didn’t say a word and continued searching for hours. Eventually, he got seven more books. He sat down and started randomly reading them all. Mantra and Shalia kept inquiring but to no resolve. Suddenly, Amar got up and turned towards them “I know how to defeat them. Or should I say… defeat her.”

“What do you mean? How?” Mantra asked.

“These are specific guides as to when did it all begin and what exactly are the Dorians… The Dorians are not humans you see. They are androids. They are artificial beings created similar to humans on an organic level using genetic cloning technologies. And they were created by the rebel artificial intelligence program centuries ago, called ‘Mother’. The mother controls them all and began decimating humankind by erasing not just their existence but their purpose of existence. Their history, their language, their knowledge… everything. Initially, the mother was controlled by this crazy man who could communicate in Hindi. Hindi enigmas were used to encrypt it all and that is why it was the only language preserved. Over time, as humans forgot themselves and went downhill the evolution cycle, they simplified their security mechanisms and made it all very simplistic. I know what weapon we have to use against them. The weapon is there in my mind. Help me reach their fallen ship and we can defeat them once and for all…” Amar said.

“I just understood that we have to go to the mountain. But it is impossible. That place must be full of Dorian flees.” Mantra said.

“We’d hide and hike… don’t worry about it.” Amar replied.

***

The three had made their way near the Ship wreckage, hiding in the dark behind rocks and trees. The pace was crowded with drones. Amar got up to sneak inside the back entrance. He went and sat in front of the secure gateway. Mantra and Shalia sat behind him with their spears and swords, guarding his attempt. Amar connected his phone to the security panel and pushed some buttons to open the doorway. The sound of the opening alerted the drones nearby, which started coming in armed positions. Everyone rushed inside. Amar started trying to close the gate behind them, but the drones were closing in fast. The door started closing slowly but two drones made their way through. Shalia impaled one of them with her spear while mantra caught hold of one. The drone stabbed Mantra’s shoulder with a hook as he leapt outside “You guys go. I would stop them here.”

Amar and Shalia ran in as the door closed. Cutter blades started showing up across the door as they heard multiple screams of Mantra. They both helplessly continued running. Soon they reached the bridge control of the Ship. The panels were all powered off. Amar went and tried to reboot the system. As soon as the system restarted, the big screen in front started displaying weird vector visuals and sounding in a strange female sound.

“System reboot initiated. Uplink to Mother streamed. Waiting for handshake.”

Amar started scanning the room for cameras. He took hold of Shalia’s sword and went across all dubious and out-of-place glass panels and broke them.

“What are you doing?” Shalia asked.

“They shouldn’t see we are here,” Amar replied.

Amar then connected his phone to a digital input interface and started fiddling with the device again.

“Input breach detected.” the screen displayed as red alarms started sounding in the entire ship. Loud noises started sounding outside the ship. The drones were all assembling.

“I cannot go through. It needs a familiar signature.” Amar said.

Amar and Shalia started moving around in a panic when suddenly the alarms and sounds stopped. The screen started displaying a set of large blue eyes.

“Hello, Shodians… It has been long since I talked to one.” A voice came.

“That’s mother. We have to go or we be dead.” Shalia said in a frightened tone.

“You cannot leave already. The party is just beginning. At least wait for your host to arrive,” the Mother said as one of the side doorways slid open to reveal dense smoke. A shadow walked in revealing a human-like figure.

“This is Captain Dama to Mother. I am intercepting the intruders,” the man said as he took a huge jump and landed in front of Shalia and Amar. He grabbed hold of Shalia by her neck and threw her across the room. He started walking in towards Amar. Shalia started getting up as a huge drone appeared above her head. Amar hurled the sword towards the man who caught hold of it. He broke it into half and walked in closer to grab Amar by his neck. He raised him up. Amar started searching on the table behind him for objects of defence. He found an open electric grid and pulled the wires. He then stabbed the man’s ear-lobe with them. The man was electrocuted and fell back. The drone was alarmed and left Shalia to go for Amar. Amar ducked the drone and grabbed the broken part of the sword. The man got up and walked furiously towards Amar. Amar was sandwiched between them. He hurled the broken sword towards the man who caught it again.

“Unlike me… you don’t learn” he said. Then came a scream from within the smoke “Duck now.” The man’s attention was distracted as he turned back. Amar ducked down as a speeding spear came and impaled the man’s head along with the drone and nailed them to the metal wall. Amar immediately grabbed the broken upper half of the sword and stabbed the man’s throat. He groaned to death immediately.

Amar looked behind the man to find that a blood-clad Mantra was dragging himself through the smoke. He had apparently lost one of his hands fighting the drones.

“Unlike me… You dead.” Mantra said as he coughed blood.

Shalia went to help Mantra, who warned them against an impending invasion. Amar looked outside to find multiple ships hovering over them and a swarm of drones flying in towards them. He immediately took out a knife to cut the processing unit from the drone’s body. He took it and connected it to the phone. The screen displayed ‘Signature Recognized. Stream to Mother initiated’.

The windows showed the ships loading and pointing their weapons towards them. Amar hurried in typing through various display panels on the screen and on his phone. The screen turned back to display the mother.

“You are already erased… The fleet shall end your existence as well as any memory of you…” Mother said.

“Likewise,” Amar said as the screen started displaying “Master Override. Reprogramming initiated.”

“How much time?” Shalia said, holding Mantra on her lap. Amar looked out to see that the ships had loaded their blue plasma canons.

“Just a second,” Amar said as multiple drones entered the room and rushed in to attack him. He immediately pressed a button on the panel which read “Mother Program Deletion Initiated.” The drones halted midway and started malfunctioning one by one. All of a sudden, they all fell down and the ships in the sky exploded into bright plasma glitters. The screen display started dying with the Mother’s eyes still visible “It isn’t… possible… we… made… sure…” The display went dead as it all came down to perfect silence. Amar immediately ran towards Mantra and Shalia. Mantra had almost bled out.

“We won brother. Don’t give up yet. The life begins now…” Amar said.

“I… never give up. You two… never give up… for me. For Shodia…” Mantra said as he went silent.

***

Everyone stood at the centre of the village crater awaiting the people of the night. Amar and Shalia walked carrying Mantra’s corpse with them. There was sheer silence of remorse amidst the crowd.

“Shodians… Our great friend Mantra sacrificed himself in our war with others… But… his sacrifice has not in vain. He died protect the chosen one… Yes… the immortal… Amar. He has defeat Doria, Dorians and the evil Mother forever. Shodia stands victorious…” Shalia said as people started screaming loudly in joy. They came and held Mantra’s body above them and passed it along to their holy shrine. They then bowed down to Amar.

“We won…” Amar ambiguously said to Shalia as the celebrations continued.

***

23 Years later

The atmosphere of the Shodian habitats had changed and evolved. With Amar helping to build new technologies from old texts, it was now an uphill journey for them. Amar and Shalia had married, with Shalia taking the throne as the official leader. People revered her and Amar alike. Their daughter, Saisha, had grown up to be a rowdy teenager. Amar used to spend his time in the old cave-library, sometimes for recreational reading but mostly for deciphering old texts. He had taught many others to read and write in both Hindi and English. He used to sometimes sit in a hidden corner of the cave and recall his life before ‘The Lift’. He used to sketch his ex-wife and late daughter. Shalia and Saisha often enquired about them. Amar always told them how much like them they were, but how first circumstances and then God took them from him.

One night, when Amar rested in the cave, Saisha came up to him.

“Let’s go for a hike dad. You had promised. It has been weeks since you promised.” Saisha said.

Amar decided to take his daughter for a trek into the unknown forest to have his desired father-daughter time. They both walked for hours through the forest, when Saisha told him she wanted to take a loo break. He waited beside a tree as she went ahead to attend her nature’s call. After waiting for a few minutes, Amar said: “You done baby?”

Hearing no reply, Amar presumed Saisha was playing a game with him. He walked ahead and started desperately searching for her. After not finding her for the next few minutes, he got restless. He started screaming loudly “Saishaaa”. He got high on his nerves as dark memory recalls started making way into his head. Suddenly, Saisha appeared behind him “Look what I found Dad…”

“Are you crazy?” Amar said as he shook Saisha by her shoulder.

“I just went to pee dad. Calm down. Just see what I found…” Saisha said.

“Leave it be… let’s return home. It is getting late.” Amar said as he walked ahead.

“Already… Arghhh (opens the book). What’s this… Bhavishya ke bhulaye kisse- Bhaag 9/9” she said as Amar stopped walking. He turned around and grabbed the book from her. He opened it. The book showed weird sketches on every page. Then Amar turned to a random page which showed the sketch of an Elevator. Amar looked stunned. He kept turning the pages and the last page showed written in Hindi- “Amar”. It was his signature. Amar didn’t understand what was happening. He turned back to Saisha “Where did you find it? WHERE”. He angrily shook her shoulder.

“It was by that weird rock,” Saisha said as she pointed ahead. Amar hurried down followed by his daughter. He found a huge rock and walked in close to it. It looked strangely shaped and oddly placed.

“Where exactly?” Amar inquired. Saisha pointed to a place on the mud which showed the shape of a dug-out cuboid.

“Here…” Amar said as he started digging up the ground. But nothing happened. He soon gave up. He stood up and lost his balance, with his elbow falling on the rock. The rock sounded a hollow noise. Amar got curious. He started walking around the rock to its other side. Saisha followed. To his utter shock, he stood in front of the same Lift that had brought him there. It was covered in vines and weed. Amar took out his sword to cut it all off. He dusted off the door and pressed the button on the side panel. Nothing happened. He then asked her to step back as he inserted his sword between the doors. He kept pressing as the doors opened halfway. He slid through them inside the dark box as the medallion he was wearing on his neck got stuck and fell out. Saisha grabbed hold of it. There was no light inside. He pressed against the front wall to find buttons. He started pressing them. Nothing happened still.

“What is it, dad?” Saisha said.

“Nothing. Just an old forgotten memory.” Amar said, smiling while giving up his efforts. As he began to step outside, the doors suddenly shut.

Saisha became worried and ran to help her father out. Then, the light inside the box lit up. Amar was almost blinded. He started struggling to see something. The only thing he could first see was the display panel showing the numbers seven two nine two. The elevator immediately started descending fast. Amar started screaming for Saisha. He fell down on his knees due to the turbulent movement of the lift. It kept descending. Three thousand… two thousand… six hundred… one hundred… twenty… five… one… zero. The lift stabilised as Amar got up. He was perspiring heavily, still wondering as to what was next. The lift door opened as he took a gulp. A huge crowd started entering the lift immediately, dispersing him out. He slowly walked out when suddenly someone banged against his shoulder. He turned to the most frightful of sights. He saw a young and nervous-looking man walking inside the elevator. Amar gazed at him meticulously to find that it was none but his own younger self. He was shocked beyond recovery. He could do nothing but stand still as the elevator door closed. He then regained his senses and started wondering about Shalia and Saisha. He ran to the reception and asked “Excuse me… How do we get to floor number seven two nine two?”

The receptionist was amazed at the idiotic query. She looked at the oddly dressed man and presumed he was either a drunk or a maniac or both. She said to him “Sir… we don’t have those many floors… in fact… no building in the world has those many floors and possibly can have also.”

“No… I went… I just… that man just went to that floor number.” Amar said as the people ignored him. He then hastily went up to the elevator and started pressing the buttons. The receptionist called the security who came to escort Amar out. He kept screaming “He has gone up… He has gone up…”

“Sir, the most anyone can go up to is the roof at floor sixty-one,” the receptionist said. Suddenly, a huge bang was heard outside with the car alarms starting to sound. Loud screams were heard. The security along with everyone rushed outside. Amar slowly walked out. There was a large crowd surrounding a rubbled car. He saw from behind that a man’s bleeding body lay on top of it. On observing closely… Amar saw that it was the same younger self of his who had gone up. He couldn’t comprehend anything.

“But… he should have… how…” he said as he went breathless. Everyone around him started clicking pictures of the dead body and whispering as to how it must have been a drunk and crazy person. Amar was feeling nauseous, so he started coming out of the crowd. The book he had carried with him fell down. He saw and bent down for it. The book’s back cover had some more writings in Hindi. He involuntarily started reading-

“(In Hindi) Time and Fate are two independent yet collaborating bastards. Where time shall work in the strangest of ways for you… fate shall not let your happiness persist. Nevertheless… they both can be defeated. Only, if you are willing to not give up… Only if you seek to live for those who are yet to be alive… Only if you wish to be for them more than to be with them… Yours Faithfully, The Immortal who Chose to Live…”

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