2018, January 12,
Somewhere in forests of Malaysia.
“Squash your belly, my friend!” He yelled at me. I was perspiring profusely. I have to take some moment to breathe some extra air. Half an hour trekking on plain ground amidst grassland has yielded to my ongoing knee pains. I was carrying a backpack laden with a lot of foodstuff for at least two days. We were a group of 10 people wandering through forests in search of a specific location. More than ever, there is a legend related to that place.
Nearly 400 years ago, something from the sky fell over this place. Local tribes had seen a bright giant fireball in the sky just before hitting the ground. When they visited that place, they saw a giant crater with a pink color lake at the center. Lake is gleaming with an aura even in dead winter nights. Nevertheless, water was freezing cold, yet retained its fluidity. Tribal elders gathered on the shore and celebrated a ceremony for consecrating the gift of god. They strongly believed that this water holds enigma to immortality. Some of the elders drank that water. After sometime while returning to their huts, some of them vanished in thin air and others just become mad. Those Mad persons soon left the body. This incident further dismayed all tribes. Tribes discontinued going to that place. As centuries passed, generations erased memory of that place. Yet, legends always exist no matter how the world changes.
“ Yea, Gamma, I conserve this fat for extreme conditions! ” We used to troll Prash as Gamma, Not because that Prash has anything to do with most energetic Gamma Radiation, It is his frequent outbursts of energy whenever we feel low, gave him that unique name. Whenever we are on the receiving end of high octane rush in your nervous system. He felt exactly opposite. He looked composed or more precisely as a dumb witty in such situations, which made us think him as an inert gas. (Sorry, to use more physics related words, as we were MSc Physics Graduates working for a private research firm).
Gamma looked calm and patted my back with a stick. Soon, Grassland paved the way for a dense foliage of shrubs and stunted trees. Soil was slippery. We made our way into this shit with choppers. We approached a dry riverbed. Riverbed has a lot of boulders, hard rocks and some shining quartz here and there. As a team leader, I decided to traverse downstream as riverbed is inclined in one direction. As we looked at the some distant horizon, some grassland or plain place is evident. As per our map, this stream should lead to that mystic place. It took almost a year and some hefty gift, awful missions to obtain this map from an old tribe huntsman. He has cautioned us against this endeavor. However, the research firm for which we are working for had organized a search mission. Unknown of their valid intentions, we were more than obliged to do this.
Trekking on the dry river downstream was extremely hard. River reminded that of a snake path. Slope is changing at every corner. Gorge is becoming narrower and rock hard cliff decorated both the river shores. Finally, it leads to a broader riverbed. Fortunately, Main River has some traces of water ponds and a meager flow of water at one side. We followed the flow of water. Afternoon sun has already hid behind the clouds. Forest on both the riversides has broad leaves, large tree trunks. Subsequently higher canopy of forest hanged over the river shadowing the major part of our travel.
“Guys, we are approaching the lake! ” Gamma almost screamed in ecstasy. His debonair, took our toiled exhausted souls by surprise.
River has joined that forgotten and forbidden lake. Lake was striking with pink mystique fluid. Water ripples genially nudged the lakeshore. We approached the lake with more caution as we heard about many disappearances near this place. Our job is to explore the lake and get a sample of soil, fluid and radiation ratings around the place.
We erected our camps, started a small fireplace for cooking. Fire also kept us from freezing cold nights. This forest was devoid of animals, as we did not see any footprints or poops. Fire we started looked a miniscule compared to the aura of pink lake. As a rational scientist, we kept our options wide open for many theories to explain this mystery. Our discussions halted as dizziness and sleep empowered our wits.
Next Morning, some awkward rattling sound woke me up. I tried my best to see the origin of sound. My eyes were burning. I suppose I saw a pink object in front of my eyes. After some time, my vision became clear. I was surprised to stand on the lake. Lake looked placid. My feet felt a smooth creamy like surface underneath. I tried to cry aloud waving at my campsite. Gamma waved his hand. His face was calm. He threw a rope towards me. I groped for the rope as my eyes once again started burning and that pink object covered my sight.
As Gamma pulled the rope, I started sliding on the surface. Pink color object covered me. My head started rolling and in a split of a second. My consciousness drifted to some unknown memories. I saw some strange looking tribesmen, admiring and welcoming me. They looked happy living in a beautiful world. There were hundreds of suns on that planet as if bulbs transfixed to sky. Color of suns varied from blue to dark red. There were mighty trees secreting sweet nectar like substance. It drained the whole corridor. My vision lasted for an hour or so. I flew to many places within my visual sense. There were vivid persons, animals and plants, I found very difficult to keep count and to remember.
After sometime, rope loosened and I fell on hard ground. My rational mind doubted my visuals or my experience. I slowly gathered my energy to view surrounding.
“ Alas, there was no one. I found the river swelling to its highest level. I yelled every name of my members. I looked at the campsite. Campsite looked dilapidated. I excessively searched for my equipment and electronic devices. I disclosed my backpack and found my satellite phone. It was dead. I searched for a battery and replaced it.
Satellite phone read the date as “ 2019 January 12”