The fort of Indefinite Times was claimed to be a myth, yet through my binoculars and right in front of my eyes was the mighty formidable structure that stood the test of time (Well, it’s called the Fort of Indefinite Time.)
People said that there was a treasure hidden in there so precious and rich that no one ever wanted to leave the place and come back. And that was precisely what I wanted. As a traveller, I wanted a place where I could end my travels, find a place which I love and never want to leave.
For decades, I travelled leagues and continents and finally, I found in on the other end of the Desert of Deserted Souls. All I had to do was to walk across the Viel of Moondust which could be found only by those who drank from the vial of Dust spotter.
So, what’s the problem? My rucksack with the phial of Dust spotter (which took me ages to get my hands on) was nowhere to be seen. I panicked and I tried searching all around. I was walking in circles all day and somewhere near sunset that I saw the eastern wind blowing sand over the dunes! It was so obvious! My rucksack was buried under a layer of sand!!!
I tried running back to the spot but I couldn’t make it for I was thirsty and in need of water, food and nutrition… I fainted midway.
I opened my eyes to see moondust falling all over me and it took me a while to realise I was floating in space and in my hand was the phial of Moondust. I closed my eyes slowly feeling the warmth of the Moondust flowing all about me as it sunk under my skin and enriching and purifying my mind and soul. Such cleansing was so refreshing that all I wished was to sleep and sleep I did.
When I awoke I found myself halfway near the fort. I didn’t want to waste any moment, so, I picked up my rucksack and sprinted towards the fort. As I approached near it, just a few hundred yards near the gate was I intercepted by a Knight on a Dark Horse who stopped me in my tracks and said, “Someone who loses their precious doesn’t deserve to enter the Fort of Indefinite Times.”
“Who are you?”,I asked reading myself for an attack. I instinctively gripped my sword.
“Who do you think helped you when you passed out? It’s me the Gate Keeper. And I shall not let you in.”
“I shall not turn back after all that I’ve done to get here.” I could feel the heat. I tightened my grip on my sword.
Just as I expected, the Knight tried to land a blow on me, little did he know that he was fighting against someone who travelled all around the world and learnt so much that his adversary could use multiple sword fighting arts at the same time.
It was just a matter of time that the Gatekeeper was kissing the dirt and lay on the ground counting his breaths.
I chose to let him be and I turned around and ran towards the Fort of Indefinite Times. I heard a scream and I turned around to see him open a bottle.
Out of it came a yellow coloured gas as it approached me, I realised it was Sun smoke.
I ran faster towards the gate but the Smoke got to me first. I still struggled to run while the Sun Smoke burned into my skin, negating all the power the Moondust fueled me. It seemed to drain all of my energy out of me until I couldn’t bear the pain and passed out.
I opened my eyes to find myself floating in space, Again. And this time I saw my burnt body on the ground. The gatekeeper looked up towards me. I somehow felt that he was the only one who could see me in my present Spirit form.
That’s when he said, directly looking at me, rather looking through me, “You did well traveller of Continents; You passed the test. And now you have unlocked the Dimension of Indefinite Times.
I waited for long. I saw days and nights go by, but nothing happened.I saw many men come like me, some turned around post the warning by the gatekeeper, some lost the battle except for a couple who won and ended up floating like me.
Wait? What? No … That can’t possibly have happened…
But This is what it is …. this IS what happened I could do nothing but float around. It dawned on me … The treasure of the fort was Eternal Life where there was no concept of time and hence everything has stopped. Paused! (No wonder they said no one would come back once they see the treasure… No one could come back.) The
The Sun smoke didn’t negate the Moondust … But both did react and negate the concept of time altogether….
Oh yes, I’m stuck here forever at the Fort of Indefinite Times …
So true right? the Fort of Indefinite Times …
I sigh… and I keep on sighing indefinitely …
This is a short story I wrote at the Literary fest called “Literati 7.0” at CBIT in Hyderabad. with the prompts “Traveller”;”Moondust”;”Space”
I hope you liked it and please do let me know how you thought about it …
And even if you didn’t please do let me know what you didn’t!!
Thank you again!!
Until the next time…