Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Wraithmaster's Chronicles IV : The Desolate Mansion

Chapter 4: The Desolate Mansion

Location: Udaipur , India
Time : 5:00 PM

The plane landed on a small airstrip in Udaipur. Bobby stretched his arms and yawned. It has been a long flight back to India. He realized that Esckezi’s training had not quite solved any of his problems but had instead made him more acclimatized to them. On his way to Udaipur he had sensed souls lost at the sea, people who died decades or even centuries ago and many other things. They however no longer terrorized him. He realized that they were more afraid of him than he was of them.

A small man with a shabby looking car waited for them at the airstrip. This was a stark contrast to what Esckezi had provided for him. Bobby allowed himself to smirk sarcastically at the millionaire’s meager offerings wondering if his client was a miser.

The small man joined his hands. “Namaskar Sir, Singh sahib has been waiting for you.”

Bobby noticed that the man had greeted Javier and not him. He started laughing as Javier pointed at him. “He is your Ghost hunter not me. I am just his assistant.”

The man stared at Bobby for a second and said dismissively, “What is this? Singh sahib called for a foreigner, not for a local.”

Bobby took offense. “Tell your ‘sahib’ that I have been sent by Esckezi. Either use my services or we can fly back.”

At that moment, another door in the car opened and a stout but a more respectable looking man emerged.
“Please excuse his manners. I just got a call from Mister Esckezi suggesting that you are indeed our man. Please come in.”

Bobby looked at the second man. “Who are you?”

“I am Jaidev Singh. I requested Esckezi’s services.”

“Why did you come to pick us up personally?”

“I am in a bad state of financial affairs. I wanted to offer you my best as a host. So this is all I could do.”

Bobby thought about the man’s words. Esckezi had mentioned that the man was a millionaire but he looked a far cry from being a millionaire. Javier and Esckezi dumped their bags in the car’s boot and sat in the rear seats. The car was a small one with an air conditioning system that did not work. Udaipur had hot weather on top of that too. 

As the car pulled out, Jaidev who sat in the front seat turned back. “I am sure you are wondering how a mansion owner like myself is in such sad state of affairs.”

Bobby nodded. “That would be nice, Mister Singh.”

“I am a descendant of a prestigious land owner family. However, something happened with my grandfather that changed our fortunes.”

“Your grandfather?”

“Yes, I grew up in affluence as a child however when I was twelve, my grandfather died under very mysterious circumstances. He left my father and my uncles the family estate. However one by one they all died over the years before any of them could stake claim on the property. As of now, I am the last of my line left.”

Javier was looking out of the window. “This is a beautiful city.”

The driver nodded. “Indeed, it is Sir. I could arrange a private tour for you…”

Singh shut him down. “Let us just talk business here Ranveer.”

Bobby was interested in the story. “So why can’t your people claim the family wealth?”

“You see, my grandfather didn’t believe in banks. He stored all his money as gold inside his palatial mansion. 

To get our inheritance we need to take back the mansion and find a secret safe where my grandfather hid his wealth.”

“I am wondering how you made a contract with Mister Esckezi if you don’t have anything to pay us.”

“I told him the same story as I told you. He said he will take the pay after I get back my wealth.”

The car stopped outside a hotel and Singh pointed at it. “I am sorry this is all I can afford. It’s a three star place but does fairly well.”
But neither Bobby nor Javier stepped out of the car. Bobby rubbed his hair backwards. “Why can’t we go to your mansion right now?”

“Are you sure you want to go there at this time of the day? Its almost dark.”

“Well, what good are we going to achieve if we drop in to your mansion when your ghost is not active?”

“I know that I asked for your help but Mister…” Singh looked at Bobby.

Bobby realized he had not introduced himself yet. “Bobby, Bobby Mehra.”

“But my previous attempts to cleanse the mansion haven’t ended well. People who have spent a night there have returned crazy. And those who dared to spend more than a night ended up being dead.”

“So I take it that you have not been inside your mansion?”

“No. I am not risking my life to go in there unless it is cleansed.”

“Mr. Singh, people often believe in ghosts when they go to places of tale. It is very possible there is nothing there.”

“I assure you that it is no tale. The people that went in there, they were all experienced priests, exorcists and tantriks.  Their crazed screams are something I can’t forget.”

“And what makes you think we are the right people for your job?”

“I don’t know if you are. I got Esckezi’s name from a big man I know.”

 “Very well then, lets head to your mansion right now. Let us do our job.”

Singh’s driver Ranveer laughed. “Are you out of your mind? No one goes there after dark. That is when the spirits are strongest in there.”

Singh added, “Besides, the city’s administration bars people from even going close to that place past six.”

Bobby wondered if the duo were serious with their need to exorcise the ghost. “If you want our services, we need to be there when it happens.”

Singh reluctantly gestured and Ranveer started driving. The car moved past the hotel. Soon the car was at the outskirts of the town. There were no houses around and just short trees and barren land. A small hill appeared and Ranveer made a turn towards it. Bobby noticed a large mansion on top of the hill. It reminded him of the haunted Scottish castle.

The car stopped by a board on the road. The board was barely visible being illuminated by the feeble evening light. It read, “Do not wander in this area after 6PM. For your own safety. – Archaeological society of Rajasthan.”

Singh rubbed his hands. “All right, this is where I will leave you. The mansion is located about a mile ahead on top of the hill.”
Javier laughed. “You are making us walk now?”

“I am not going beyond this point. I will be here at eleven in the morning to pick you up. May God be with you.”

Bobby and Javier got off with their bags and started ascending the slopes of the hill in front of them. Singh’s car quickly backed and sped away.
Javier looked at the car disappearing from the sight. “He seems to be in a hurry.”
Bobby took out his camera and clicked the nearby surroundings. “I feel our host did not tell us the whole story. Something feels off.”

Bobby and Javier traveled light. Other than a back pack each, they had nothing else on them. Bobby wondered if this was simply a case of ‘power of suggestion’ where people imagine the unnatural. As they walked up the mountain Bobby didn’t sense any spirits.In fact, this was one of the best places for Bobby. He wasn't being stalked by needy ghosts for a change.

 There were a lot of wild animals on the hill. A monkey, rabbit or a fox would occasionally run across the broken road. The sun set as the two neared the mansion. Bobby took out a bunch of keys that Singh had given him and approached the mansion’s huge door.

Bobby smirked. “You could turn back if you want Javier.”

“I am to assist you at all times. Besides, anyone who has been living with Esckezi has little fear of ghosts.”

Despite living with friendly ghosts for the past eight months, Bobby still feared the unknown. As he turned the key, a chill ran across his hand. The fear in the air was real. He closed his eyes and turned his right hand into a fist focusing his energies around him.

This was a basic dark energy technique taught to him by Esckezi. It was called a “Dark Wave”. It allowed him to emit waves of dark energy around him which could intimidate most spirits around him.The strength of the waves depended on the strength of the user. Bobby could only use the waves over a small area, a few paces around him. He was still a newcomer. Esckezi could use the waves over his entire island.

They entered the mansion, it was dark inside. The glass windows were so dirty that they barely let any light inside.

Javier took out a huge torch and switched it on. There were cobwebs all around the place. The stair case leading to the upper area appeared as if it could fall anytime. There were a lot of things covered with a white cloth. 

Javier turned the torch on and inspected the foyer. Bobby however did not require any torch or light. He could see in the dark with his new found abilities. "Night Vision" was an ability he acquired when he was cursed. It was more of an annoyance than a boon. He had difficulty sleeping because he could see things in the dark. He studied the foyer carefully.
“This atmosphere somehow scares me.”

Javier was still looking around the place. “Indeed Sir. This place feels very tense.”

“I cannot sense any spirits yet. But my normal instincts suggest that something is terribly wrong with this place.”

With their minds lost in thoughts, a sudden sound caught their attention. One of the covered objects was shaking. Javier became alarmed and turned the torch on that object. Bobby slowly turned and faced the object. Despite being a wraith master he could still feel fear and anxiety. 

Bobby and Javier slowly approached the shaking object. Javier plucked out a metal baton from his back pack and held it in a manner mimicking a baseball batter.

Bobby’s legs shivered as he closed in on the object . He could not sense any spirit and his training with Esckezi did not teach him how to handle such a situation.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Wraithmaster's Chronicles III : Channeling Darkness

Chapter 3: Channeling Darkness.

There were several mansions and houses all across the tropical island. Bobby sat on a small golf cart as the vehicle was driven by one of Esckezi’s employees. Bobby studied the surroundings very carefully. His host looked like a man of great affluence.

“Hope you are enjoying the view, Mr. Mehra?” said Esckezi interrupting Bobby’s thoughts.

“An entire island in the Southern Indian Ocean, big mansions, an army of servants and private planes, you seem to be quite a rich man Mr. Esckezi!” 

“Indeed. I made all of it with hard work and my curse.”

Bobby raised an eyebrow. “Curse?” he asked.

Esckezi started laughing. “We will discuss it over in a more comfortable place. The weather gets quite hot around these parts at this time of the year”

The cart stopped in front of a smaller mansion. Esckezi got off and talked with a burly looking man. The man nodded and approached Bobby.

“Greetings Sir, I am Javier. I will be your personal assistant for your time at my master’s abode. For now, please allow me to direct you to your room.”

Neil looked up at Javier. The man was a walking mountain and must have been at least six and half feet tall. “I don’t plan to stay long here. I don’t even have all of my things…”

“Oh! Do not worry, Sir, give me a list of whatever you feel is missing and I will have it brought to you.”

Bobby looked at the man with surprise. The man took Bobby’s bags and guided him through the mansion towards his room. The mansion was perfect in every way imaginable and had the most beautiful interiors Bobby had ever seen. It even made the Scottish castle appear pale in comparison. Bobby wondered if all the mansions on the island were this beautiful. The man stopped at a door and opened it.

“This will be your room, Sir. You will find everything that you need over here. Mr. Esckezi has some business to attend to and he will meet you at dinner time. We hope you will make yourself comfortable meanwhile.”

Bobby looked around the place. It wasn’t just a room. It was a luxurious studio apartment with several rooms. Bobby explored the apartment and it had everything an average person would ever need. The room outclassed any premium hotel room Bobby had ever seen. There was peace over here for some reason. Bobby was no longer seeing his delusions and ghostly figures. Bobby sat and immediately fell asleep on the bed. 

A few hours later, he suddenly woke up and looked at his watch. It was ten in the night. He had been asleep for seven hours. He got up and washed his face. He wondered if Mr. Esckezi was waiting for him. He ran to the front door and opened it. He was shocked to see Javier standing there.

Javier smiled. “Ah, you are up Sir! Should I contact Mr. Esckezi and let him know that you are free to meet him now?”

“I am sorry. How long did I make you wait here?” said Bobby apologetically.

“I have been here the entire time. It is Mr. Esckezi’s request that I be at your side at all times.”

“Don’t you have a phone or something? This was such a waste of time for you.”

Javier smiled. “Don’t worry Sir. I am compensated quite handsomely for my time. This is the best job I have ever had.”

Javier spoke into a small microphone that was on his collar. “Yes Sir! We are on our way now.” He then turned to Bobby. “Please follow me. Mr. Esckezi awaits you in the dining room.”

Bobby followed the man to a large Dining room and Esckezi was seated there in front of a beautiful dining table. He was now dressed in formal attire and Bobby quickly brushed his own clothes since they looked untidy. 
Esckezi looked up as Bobby approached the table.“Please feel free to tell Javier whatever you would like to eat. My chefs will prepare it.”

Bobby requested fried rice and some fruit punch. Javier walked away. The room was now completely deserted and only Bobby and Esckezi were present in it.

Esckezi put down a book he had in his hand and said, “Oh good, we can talk at last.”

Bobby had a large number of questions that he wished he could ask all at once but he started with one. “Why am I here?”

“Dr. McGraw is one of the people I pay to find special people. To be honest, you are the only other marked human I have found after thirty five years.”

“Other? You mean you know more people like me.”

Esckezi laughed and rolled up the sleeve on his right hand and showed Bobby a scar. Bobby froze for a moment. It resembled his scar but had a different shape. He stammered, “What…does this…mean?”

“I got this after burning a wraith. Remind you of something?”

“You are like me.”

“Exactly, however this happened thirty five years ago.”

“You have had that thing for thirty five whole years?” Bobby sounded alarmed.

“Be Calm, Mr. Mehra. There is no need to panic. I understand exactly what you are going through. After our little conversation you may probably feel a bit better about yourself.”

“But if you could not find the cure for thirty five years with all your resources, what can you offer me?”

“Could you do a better job at finding the cure, if say, you had all of my resources behind you?”

“What do you mean?”

Esckezi smiled and then his face changed into a grim expression as he leaned back into his chair. “I no longer have the vigor and the strength I had as a young man, Mr. Mehra. I wish to die in peace without becoming a mindless apparition. “He paused briefly. “When I was young, I was perhaps like you- A simple person working as an accountant in Europe. Then one day, I was camping with my friends in a forest and we were attacked by an apparition. Two of my friends were killed in that encounter and in panic I picked up a burning log and threw it at the Wraith. The wraith was reduced to ashes but not before it marked me. Like you, I started seeing ghosts and spirits all around me…”

Bobby intervened, “I didn’t see any ghosts on your island though.”

“That is because I have cleansed the island and guided all the spirits over here to the other side.”

“By other side do you mean after life?”

“Most of them went into the afterlife but some remain in our world. There is a small spirit village on the other side of this island. The ghosts usually stay there and don’t venture far into the island.”

“All of this sounds…weird. I frankly find it hard to believe any of it.”

“Mr. Mehra, this island used to be a burial ground for the soldiers of World War two. There were some hundred and eighty ghosts over here. Now only forty remain. They reside in the spirit village I create and don't roam around the island.”

“How did you manage to do all of that?”

Esckezi smiled and leaned forward, “This curse comes with a blessing. You have a massive amount of dark energy within you. If you learn how to use that energy, you could be a powerful being with a lot supernatural abilities Mr. Mehra.”

Bobby stared in shock as he saw what Esckezi was doing in front of him. The book that Esckezi was reading was floating in the air and apparently it was Esckezi’s doing.

“Does telekinesis interest you Mr. Mehra?” asked Esckezi as the book dropped back on the table.

“How did you do that? That has to be a magician’s trick.”

“Oh I assure you. It was no trick.” Esckezi got up from his chair and looked at Bobby with a menacing smile. Bobby felt lighter and he suddenly rose into the air like a balloon. This frightened him even more.

“What is happening? Put me down.”

Bobby then gently descended back to his chair.

Esckezi looked composed and completely in control. “You see Mr. Mehra, thirty five years is a long time. I travelled the world, made a massive fortune and learnt a lot of things in that time. The only thing I couldn’t find is a way to remove this curse and that is why you are here.”


“I offer you all my knowledge and all my resources if you can find a cure to this condition. It is a good offer Mr. Mehra, you will have more wealth than you can dream of and you would never have to worry about making ends meet. You would also get to visit certain places around the world which you could not have otherwise visited as a freelance photographer. ”

“What is the catch? It sounds too generous to be true?”

Esckezi looked at Bobby and said, “All I want from you is the cure and that you heal me of this condition.”

Javier and a few other men brought in food and it was served to the two men.

Esckezi signaled the men to leave them alone. He then looked at Bobby. “Now let us eat, take your time and think over my deal, Mr. Mehra.”

Bobby wondered whether a cure truly existed and what if it was good enough to cure only one person. He could see that despite being a billionaire, Esckezi had sadness and desperation within him. “If I find a cure buddy, I am dispelling myself of this curse first.” He thought.

After finishing his meal he looked at Esckezi directly and said, “I don’t have much of a choice here Mr. Esckezi. With your knowledge and resources I would probably do better than what I would have done on my own.”

Esckezi smiled gently. “You are a wise man, Mr. Mehra. Now please go and get yourself a good night’s sleep. From tomorrow I shall teach you everything I know about dark energy. You are lucky to have me as your benefactor. I gathered all my skills learning from different masters around the world. It took me many years - From the sages on the Himalayas to the monks in China, from the Pagan scholars in Scotland to the shamans of Native America, from the witch Doctors of Africa to the last Mayan mages. It has been a long journey but hopefully I can teach all of it to you in a shorter time.”

Bobby gulped as he drank water. He still hoped that all of this was a bad dream but it wasn’t.

As Bobby was preparing to return to his room, he felt uneasy and felt a cold chill in the dining room. He saw a pale man wearing a helmet floating in the air towards him. He immediately realized that it was another ghost. 

The apparition came close to Bobby and said, “Who would you be? There is so much darkness around you.” The apparition then floated toward Esckezi who was calmly sipping his wine. “What is this Esckezi? You found another one like yourself?”

Esckezi wiped his mouth and replied, “Indeed, Captain Riker and what brings you here?”

Bobby noted that the ghost had a hole on his chest and had some sort of a military uniform on him.“Probably a dead soldier,” He thought.

“That old fool Captain Kelly is playing politics at the base. He wants to be the only commanding officer around. We are both Captains and he cannot pretend to be my superior.”

Esckezi shrugged his head in disappointment. “You men have been dead for almost three quarters of a century. Haven’t you even tried to be a little friendly with each other in all that time?”

The ghost did not find Esckezi’s answer satisfying. “I hate Kelly’s attitude. He was full of himself even when we were alive. I demand you arbitrate and resolve this issue once and for all.”

“All right Riker, I will try to be there next Sunday. Till then I expect you hundred year old gentlemen to behave.”

“Who are you calling hundred years old? I was twenty five when I died. I am still the same.”

The ghost vanished and the chills vanished.

Bobby found his voice and said, “You said the spirits from the village don’t come here.”

“They do drop in without invites sometimes. They usually prefer to avoid me. Dark energy is so unpleasant for those poor souls.”

“That ghost soldier man didn’t look like a hundred year old man. He looked twenty five as he claimed.”

“Ghosts don’t age Bobby. Their visage remains the same as the time they died. Captain Riker will always look like the fine young man that he was when he died on the battlefield.”

“Why is he still in this realm? Shouldn’t he be in after life?”

Esckezi laughed and walked up to Bobby. “Some spirits themselves don’t know what they want and tend to stay in our realm for decades or even centuries. Hopefully, I can help these soldiers find their way to the other side before I die.”

Bobby returned to his room and lied on his bed looking at the Ceiling. The room was dark but he could see things clearly. He wondered whether the ability to see in the dark came with the curse too. It would make sense.

 He thought about the incidents he had faced so far. He remembered the ghosts he saw at the airport, his house, in the sea and the ghost of the soldier in the dining room. He felt very cold and drew a blanket over him. He thought it was funny feeling cold on a tropical island in summer. 

Bobby realized that life will no longer be normal. He cannot go back to his old life. He must find a cure to his condition in order to prevent being transformed into a wraith after his death.

The next morning was a warm one as Esckezi appeared wearing beach clothes again.  

“We are going to the beach Bobby. It is the best place to start your training.”

Bobby nodded with a hum as they slowly walked their way to the beach. There were many rocks near the small beach.  Esckezi sat over one and signaled Bobby to sit down on one too.
“Now Bobby, depending on your aptitude, this could take a few months or even a few years. Once we start there is no going back. Are you absolutely sure you want to start?”

“You aren’t having second thoughts about your offer, are you Mr. Esckezi?” Bobby smiled.

“Very well then, for starters I just want you to close your eyes and think of nothing. Whatever may happen, please do not open your eyes till I tell you to. Just hear the ocean’s beautiful symphony.”

Bobby closed his eyes and tried to think of nothing. It was difficult. He would get strange thoughts, hear voices and felt as if he was not doing justice towards his task. He tried to focus on the waves of the ocean. As his focus slowly improved he could hear the waves getting louder and louder. His mind felt a sense of clarity and peace.

 Just about then he heard Esckezi. “Wake up Bobby. That is good enough for day one.”

Bobby opened his eyes and the light hurt him. He noticed that it was afternoon already and wondered how long had he been meditating. He didn’t feel the time pass by that fast.

 Esckezi smiled and then said, “Now with your eyes open, try and make the conditions as they were when you had closed your eyes. When you can hear the waves as clearly, then we will proceed to the next exercise."

Bobby tried hard but he could not get himself to be on the same level of clarity as he was with his eyes closed.

 At the end of the day Esckezi told him, “This training had nothing to do with your state. It is a simple exercise to help you clear your mind. It is essential that you do not let unnecessary thoughts cloud your mind. We cannot proceed further unless your mind is completely calm and clear. “

A few days passed but Bobby finally managed to complete this exercise. It was not easy but Bobby  managed to clear his mind even with his eyes open. His health seemed a bit better and he had slowly started to accept the changes he was experiencing.

Esckezi stopped Bobby when he was heading to the beach on his ninth day at the island.

“We are visiting a very special place today. I must ask you to remain calm whatever happens. Panic ruins things very fast. Today, I will introduce you to your own dark energy.”

The two men sat on a golf cart but it was driven by Esckezi this time. Bobby wondered why Esckezi had chosen to drive himself. As the cart moved through the trails in the forest, Bobby sensed strange energies around him. The visibility was getting poorer by the minute and soon they were surrounded by tropical forest and dense fog. Esckezi seemed to have no trouble driving in the mist as he whistled a tune and continue to drive.
Bobby could see faces in and out of the fog. Some of them curious and some of them scared. Suddenly, it hit him where the cart was heading. The vehicle passed a strange board that read “Fort Newfront”. Bobby realized that it was the spirit village that Esckezi had discussed on his first day on the island.”

A familiar apparition emerged from the mists and came towards the cart. Bobby recognized him as Captain Riker. The ghost said in an assertive tone. “You finally made it Esckezi. You are four days late.”

Esckezi opened his eyes wide and stared at the apparition."Are you ordering me around, Captain?"

The apparition looked frightened and backed a bit. “I am sorry, I am sorry. I will let you handle things as you see fit.” Then the Captain disappeared into one of the trees.

Bobby felt a sudden surge of dark energy around Esckezi. 

“What did you do to scare the Captain?”

Esckezi grinned “You felt that, didn’t you? I increased the amount of dark energy around me and it scared the good Captain away. Most spirits are easily intimidated by dark energy. It has the potential to rob them of their energy and leave them in stasis for days, weeks or even years.”

“You said that this was a ghost village but this looks more like a haunted forest.”

“My dear boy, ghosts can’t make houses. The specters in this village live inside different trees. This is a village of trees.”

Esckezi drove the cart towards a strange twisted tree and Bobby again felt a surge in the darkness around Esckezi.

Esckezi turned to him and said, “This is quite easy when your mind is calm. All that you need to do is have a strong desire to see beyond the normal and commune with what you see. This causes you to emit dark energy which in turn allows you see into a hidden dimension. This is how you see and speak with ghosts.”

“But I already see ghosts.”

 Since you are untrained, your dark energy surges when you are asleep or if your anxiety level goes up. This is why you are seeing spirits.  However, to control the situation around you, you must learn to control your darkness.”

Esckezi then looked at the twisted tree and shouted angrily, “Kelly, come out here. I know you are in there.”

A bulky looking ghost slowly emerged from the tree and said, “What brings you to my humble backyard, Esckezi?”

Bobby sat quietly and observed the ghost interact with Esckezi.

Esckezi roared, “Why are you bullying your unit, Soldier?”

The ghost laughed, “Did that Riker come to you again crying like the little baby that he is?”

“It is hard to believe that you two were part of the same unit. As captains, can’t you men share responsibility of your undead unit?”

“Listen Esckezi, Riker was never a soldier, he made his way up the ranks cause he was one of them fancy talkers with an education. He died in his first five minutes of actual combat. He could not even take down one man before he hit the ground. That weakling cannot expect any respect from me.”

“Regardless, you two have the same ranks and this unit was made to follow joint command. You are expected to respect your fellow officers.”

“Riker has to earn his respect.” The ghost paused and then noticed Bobby. “Whoa! What do you have there? Another one of your kind?”

Esckezi whispered to Bobby, “Isn’t he annoying, he bullies everyone in this camp and wants to be the boss? And he also appears to be a bit condescending. Doesn’t his kind make you angry?”

As Bobby thought about what Esckezi had told him, he did feel angry and immediately Captain Kelly backed in fear. “Hey hey, what are you doing kid? I mean no harm. Please stop releasing your darkness… Esckezi, please stop him. He will destroy me with that kind of dark energy.”

Esckezi laughed and said, “Listen Kelly, treat Riker like your little brother and don’t make a mess out of your base. This boy here doesn’t have much control over his darkness. If you cause chaos again I will send this boy to have a field day in Camp Newfront.”

The ghost appeared alarmed, “Hey, Hey let us not get down to threats, Esckezi. I will try to share responsibility with that wimp provided he doesn’t talk fancy with the unit. We really don’t need a man here who thinks he is better than the rest of us.”

As Esckezi drove back towards his mansion he noticed Bobby was quiet. “Not a good first experience?”

Bobby seemed to be in deep thoughts. “I cannot say that our current experience was normal, Mr. Esckezi. This will take time adjusting to.”

“Your life is no longer the normal life you want it to be. Try and accept that kiddo and things will be more comfortable.”

Bobby was silent for a few minutes as the cart moved through the misty forest. “If I don’t have control over my dark energy yet – wasn’t it dangerous for me to walk among spirits?”

“Why do you think I taught you to pacify your mind first?” Esckezi smiled as he got off the cart and walked away.He then turned back and said, “You are probably the strongest being on this island right now. I know it, the spirits know it but you probably don’t. Try not to feeble and sickly. Don’t let the darkness control you, learn how to control it instead.”

Bobby looked at the trees around him as Esckezi walked away. He wondered if they were looking back at him. “This seems like a rather strange journey. But let’s see where it leads me.” He thought.

Bobby continued to train under Esckezi day after day. He learnt of things he never thought would exist.  From spiritual to the arcane, Esckezi taught Bobby everything he knew. Esckezi also put Bobby under a tough physical regimen and taught him how to use a sword.

Eight months passed in this manner. Bobby had now become a permanent inhabitant of Esckezi’s Island. He had seen strange things and learnt of methods which were beyond imagination. He had made friends with all of the apparitions in Camp Newfront. He had tested his training on them several times and had even knocked out Captain Kelly for a couple of weeks.

There was a lot more for Bobby to learn and understand but Esckezi had given him a good start and strengthened him for the things that lied ahead.Esckezi finally wanted to put his teaching skills to a test. He walked towards Bobby on the island’s air strip. Bobby appeared bored. It was a pleasant winter morning on the tropical island. There was some wind as well.

Esckezi had a mild smile on his face, “Consider this your graduation, kid. You have managed to endure whatever I threw at you for these past eight months but I want you to test you in a real life situation.”
Bobby looked confident. “I think I can practically do anything after spending two months in Camp Newfront.”

Esckezi laughed, “It is difficult to imagine you as the depressed kid that you were before. You have learned how to channel your dark energy but now mastering it is a long journey ahead. ”

Javier approached the two men with a lot of suitcases packed with equipment. “Do you mind me accompanying you, Bobby?”

“Won’t be fun without you Javier. I could use some muscle.” Bobby turned to Esckezi and asked, “So what exactly is my assignment?”

 “I will make it easy on your first assignment. I have been contacted by a millionaire from your own country of India. This man owns a mansion in the city of Udaipur. However, he can’t bring himself to live in it due to paranormal occurrences.”

“Ghosts in the mansion?”

“I suspect. Our client got local priests and holy men to try and exorcise the ghost but the ghost refuses to leave the premises. Your first assignment is to successfully guide the ghost to the other side by using all means necessary.”

“What if our ghost is a wraith?”                                                                                                     

“Wraiths are very rare but they unfortunately can hurt you. Since you are already cursed by a wraith, you can’t be cursed further if you defeat them. Use that special ritual I taught you for defeating wraiths. Good luck and don’t wind up dead.” Esckezi laughed.

Bobby frowned. “Don’t worry. I won’t die on my very first assignment.” 

Esckezi turned to Javier and said, “Are the clearances with the Indian authorities in order? We wouldn’t want any glitches flying over Indian air space.”

Javier responded, “That has been taken care of. Their aviation authority has approved our flight plan and granted us a local call sign. We will fly straight to Udaipur and Mr. Singh will meet us personally.”

“Excellent. Do well everyone.”

Bobby nodded as he walked towards the plane. The past few months had been weird and unpleasant. Bobby couldn’t say that this was the best time of his life but at least he had a direction now. He had to put his abilities to test.  “I will do whatever it takes to find a way to dispel the curse.” He thought as he boarded the plane.

Javier closed the door as the plane took off for Udaipur in India.

Esckezi stood alone on the air strip watching the plane till it vanished from his sight. He smiled and said, “You have been a good student, kid. I hope you don’t let me down.”

Happy New Year, Dear Readers.

Happy 2014 to everyone. With this new year comes new resolutions and a lot of ambitious plans(they sound grand in my thoughts at least ha) for my blog. I have been busy with my main fictional project the past few months so my serialized story plan took a hit but as I work on my final drafts of my project I have completed the third chapter of The Wraith master Chronicles. I hope I get more viewership this year and am able to roll out all the projects that I have planned for this year. I hope you enjoy the latest chapter of the Wraith Master Chronicles.

A friend suggested that I should have a web comic or a manga version of the story too but neither of us are good at drawing. I would love to collaborate with a freelance artist on this matter :)

I thank you for taking time to come here :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Diwali 2013

This year's Diwali had a lot more fireworks than the previous one. As always, I avoid the noise but love the beautiful fireworks that don the sky. I wish everyone a Happy Diwali. Diwali is the festival of lights, where the eternal light conquers the darkness. It is all symbolic beyond the religious lore. To me, it means the eternal light within one that vanquishes the demons within and opens the route to prosperity and success. I am pretty sure people living in countries with a sizable Indian community already know about this festival. Some even call it as Deepavali. However, I wished to share my joy with everyone. I feel it is not just a festival for Indians but a festival for everyone who seeks victory over darkness.

(Image taken from echarcha.com)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Wraith Master's Chronicles II : A Man called Esckezi

Chapter 2: A Man Called Esckezi.

Bobby arrived in the heart of a small town in Scotland. He was seeking the person whose details were passed on to him by Daniel. Bobby looked at the mail on his phone. Dr. Arianne McGraw, Parapsychology expert and paranormal investigator…Bobby thought it sounded fancy. He arrived at the address that was provided to him. It was a small building with apartment houses. He walked up two flights of stairs and rang a doorbell on an apartment’s door. The door was opened by a woman who appeared to be a scholar of some sort. She had a rather heavy pair of spectacles. She was short, appeared eccentric and gave Bobby the creeps.

“Hello dear, can I help you?” said the woman looking through Bobby.

“Hello, I am Bobby Mehra. I am looking for Dr. Arianne.”

“That would be me.”

“I was told that you can help me with my condition.”

“What exactly is your condition?”

Bobby pulled his sleeve up and showed the mark of the wraith to the woman. The woman appeared to be in shock.

“Good Lord, these things always happens with tourists. Won’t you come in, dear?”

Bobby was directed to sit on a seat opposite to that of Dr. Arianne. She was apparently reading a book before he came. The woman sat down and then with a grim look said, “I wish I could help you but no cure for that condition exists in the world to the best of my knowledge.”

“That is depressing.”

“Well, being marked by a wraith has its own advantages.”

“Advantages? I am feeling gloomy since the moment this happened to me. I cannot think of anything good.”

The woman got up and took out a book from a rack of books. She obviously looked like the bookworm type. She turned several pages on the book and showed Bobby a page. It had a bizarre illustration on it. It showed the sketch of man with a fire around him and ghosts cowering in fear. Bobby could not make any sense of this.

“What is this?”

“It’s a sketch of a man showing man cursed by a wraith warding off ghosts.”

“I do not understand.”

“Wraiths often feed on the happy memories of humans. The memories aren’t lost. They are still there but difficult to access.“

“That explains my problem with recollecting good memories, Doctor but what does that have to do with this strange picture?”

“By a slaying a wraith, you have liberated a lot of dark energy from the wraith. The dark energy enters the body of the person who was marked by the wraith. In this case, that would be you.”

“Isn’t Dark energy a hypothesis used by astrophysicists?”

Dr. Arianne smiled and took off her glasses as she sat down on her seat. “No, dark energy is very much real. It is just that conventional scientists do not understand it as well as us.”

“So I have dark energy within me, I assume that is what the fire in the picture means.”

“Correct, Dark Energy wards away normal ghosts.”

“So wait, wraiths are different from Ghosts?”

“Yes, there are many types of spirits but wraiths are the only spirits with dark energy. The dark energy usually scares most spirits.”

Bobby wondered what he had gotten himself into. He was inclined to not believe any of the things the woman was telling him but he did not know what to believe in anymore. He was marked by a ghostly spirit which was called a wraith. He did have a mark on him and he did have trouble recollecting all the good that had ever happened with him in his entire life.

“I don’t know what to say. I can keep spirits away from me now but when I die I become the worst kind of them. I don’t think there is much to celebrate.”

“Well,” the woman looked at Bobby, “You can use dark energy as a source of power and a way to commune with spirits.”

“Huh? How is that useful?”

“It will give you access to practically infinite knowledge. It is possible that you may even find a cure for your own condition.”

“How do I use dark energy in the way you suggest?”

“You will need training of course.”

“And you will train me?”

“Of course not, you must be trained by someone who has a good command of dark energy.”

“Can you recommend someone?”

“As a matter of fact I can. Leave me the address of the place where you will be for the next week and he will find you.”

“Who is "he"?”

“Well I don’t know much about him. In our network we just know him as a man called Ecskezi. None of us have ever met him in person but we all acknowledge him as the authority on dark energy in the world.”

Bobby nodded. He gave the woman his address. She was of not much help to him and she referred a person who in most probability doesn’t even exist. He had to leave for India tonight. He wondered if he could find a solution in his own country which was known for mystics and spirituality. The day passed and Bobby was dozing off at a terminal at the airport. He saw a most bizarre dream. He saw that he was in the airport but the all lights were switched off. The whole room was dark and empty. There was a one more person on the room, a pale looking man in a policeman’s uniform. His hat was hiding most of his face.

 The man walked up to him and said, “You reek of dark energy foreigner but I have no one else to turn too. I have been roaming this place for fifty years now. I have been so lonely.” Bobby could clearly see the man’s face now. It was completely pale and had a large wound on it that appeared as if he had been slashed across his face. This man appeared to be a ghost. No human could live with that kind of wound on the face. The shock woke up Bobby. He realized that he was dreaming. The terminal around him was indeed empty but it was lighted properly. Bobby wondered where the people went. 

He got up and walked into an area with more people. His flight was announced shortly. He went through the security checks and boarded his plane. The plane was mostly vacant. The route was not a common one and there was just one flight the whole week. His trip to Scotland lasted a little over a fortnight. Castle Glenburg was the last part of his tour. 

A day later the plane landed in Mumbai, India. Bobby had tried sleeping several times during the flight but he would keep having dark and gloomy dreams with ghosts talking to him. Didn’t that lady tell him that dark energy keeps ghosts away so why are they bothering him in his sleep?

Bobby arrived at his apartment house in a building in downtown Mumbai. He was extremely tired. He really wanted to sleep but he did not want to see more ghosts. However, he could not fight off his sleep. He eventually fell asleep on his couch. He saw another dream. He saw an old man whom he recognized. It was Mr. Verma. He was Bobby’s neighbor who had passed away four years ago. The old man came and sat beside Bobby on his couch.

“You look like a mess, Bobby. Seems like you are not used to seeing us.” The old man started laughing.
Bobby had so far not responded to the ghosts in his dream. He decided to reply this time. “Why are you in my dreams Mr. Verma?”

“Oh, it is because you have dark energy around you. Beings of our realm cannot approach you while you are awake. However, when you are asleep, your dark energy sleeps with you.”

“Why approach me at all?”

“Because your eyes have the capability to see me, and ears to hear me.” The old man was still laughing. “Your spirit has been corrupted by a dark ghost. It is full of dark energy. You are closer to our realm than your own.”

“What do you want from me, old man?”

“I want you to fulfill a request of mine so I can be at peace. I cannot go to the other side because I am not at peace.”

Bobby woke up at this moment. It was the middle of the night. Bobby realized that he was both tired and jet lagged. He had arrived to Mumbai in the afternoon but it was past midnight now. He had a severe headache. He had trouble remembering the dream he had seen. All he could remember was Mr. Verma. Bobby had a difficult night encountering Mr. Verma and many other people in his dreams. All of them wanted something from him. His doorbell rang. He opened the door and there was a small man standing there.

“Hello, do you happen to be Bobby Mehra?”

“Yes, what do you want from me?”

“Ah good, you have finally arrived at home. Sorry for the short notice but I am here on the behalf of Mr. Esckezi.”

Bobby froze for a moment trying to recollect where he had heard that name before. He recalled that it was the name mentioned by Dr. Arianne.

“Wait, how did you find me?”

“You left your address at Dr. Arianne’s sir.”

“Who are you people? I also left my phone number; you could have called me first.”

“Sir, I am just an employee whose works for Mr. Esckezi’s estate. Now, I hope you haven’t unpacked, we will be taking a short flight to Mr. Esckezi’s private island in the Indian Ocean.”

Bobby wondered if these people were for real. He decided to play along with the flow. If things go out of hand, he could fight the small man. Bobby picked up his baggage and followed the mysterious man. There was a car waiting for him. The man directed Bobby to sit. The two men sat in the passenger seats. The car was driven to a section of the airport which was usually used by private planes. 

Bobby wondered what was going on. He had expected this Esckezi guy to be nothing more than some quack using an alias over the internet. But chauffeur driven cars and a private plane trip were things he had not imagined to be a part of the equation. Bobby wondered if he is in bigger trouble than he had imagined. The man who had escorted Bobby to the airport pointed at a small plane.

“This will be your ride, Sir. Do not worry, it will be quite comfortable. Mr. Esckezi has insured that you get better than first class service. “

Bobby was feeling lost. Should he board the plane? He wondered what he has gotten himself into. He wondered if the thing that happened in Scotland was even real in the first place. The mark on his hand could be some kind of a chemical stain. However, his dreams seemed to speak in favor of the wraith theory. He hoped that this Esckezi character can solve his problems or at least provide an understandable answer to all that is happening around him. He boarded the plane. He was greeted by a single hostess who took him to his seat. The plane had excellent interior decor. This Esckezi guy certainly had a good taste. It looked reminiscent of the pictures of private planes Bobby had seen in photography magazines. The hostess smiled at Bobby and told him.“We will be reaching our destination in around five hour’s time. Please make yourself comfortable Sir.”

The plane took off and went over the sea. Bobby stared out of the window to look at the water below. Something disturbed him and he blinked his eyes many times to confirm what he just saw. He was sure he saw faces on the sea's surface looking up at him, Hundreds and thousands of faces. He realized that the wraith’s curse was real. He had been having rather strange experiences which were a little more real than mere delusions. For most of the trip after the incident, the only thing he saw below was the ocean and an occasional ship. He heard the hostess exclaim that the aircraft was unusually cold. He began to wonder if he was responsible for that. He remembered how the terminal in the Scottish airport had mysteriously become empty. It was perhaps the coldness around him which drove the people away. He spotted an incoming island. The aircraft was descending onto the island. It was a tropical island with forests all over it. He wondered why Esckezi had to live on a remote place like this. As the aircraft flew over the island, Bobby saw a palatial mansion, huge gardens and a small airport down there. Just who was this Esckezi person?
The hostess instructed Bobby to tighten his seatbelts as they will land shortly. The plane began to circle the airport and slowly descended onto it. Bobby was full of curiosity as he alighted from the plane. The air was clean and the jungles were beautiful. It was cooler than Mumbai and the surrounding forest felt unreal. A man in a beach shirt and a pair of colorful shorts with a straw hat and sunglasses was standing at the tarmac smiling at Bobby. He was short, plump and his face had an aristocratic beard. He looked old and was probably in his sixties.

“Welcome to my Island Mr. Mehra.”

“You are Mr. Esckezi, I presume.”

“Yes, that’s the name I go by in the world.”

“Can you help me out of my condition?”

“Unfortunately, I can’t Mr. Mehra, there is no solution to your problem.”

“Then why did you bring me on a secluded tropical island thousands of miles away from my home?”

“I am sorry Mr. Mehra but you forget why you were told to meet me. I will help you understand your dark energy and train you in its use.”

“How does that help me?”

“To begin with Mr. Mehra, it will get rid of those nasty dreams which you have been having since your encounter with the wraith.”

(C)Rishabh Mittal