"All we need to do is peek. That is all. A quick peek and we will be back." Prithvi told Ritvik as he was looking at the house in front of them.
Well, it was not a house. It was a rickety two storey building and it had always been that way. For as long as Ritvik could remember. He went to college this way and the construction of the building had never been completed – the grass outside the house was always short – like nothing could grow there -which was why Ritvik could see the house – it had been under-construction and it had not been completed - not since the time that he had been in school. No one knew why. Which was why no one answered Ritvik question. And yes, Ritivik had tried to ask people around him about it – the people in the locality. They also lived here and it was obvious that they would know about the House. But every time, Ritvik asked the question, he was met by blank stares... like as if people did not know what he was talking about.
But then Ritvik was not going to give up so easily. It was stupid. It was just a house and he needed to know. Which was why, he had picked the Sunday morning and his best friend to come and look at it.
"I am not coming." Prithvi said in a sudden nasal tone as he shook his head firmly. "Have you seen the fence of the place? It is old, corroded and still it is holding. I mean... no one has even tried to break into it. Even that fire which broke in the locality, ten years back did nothing to the fence." Prithvi's brown eyes were looking slightly worried as he shook his head. "Nope. I am passing this one. I really do not want to know what is going on in there."
"Come on, Prith." Ritvik was exasperated. "It is just a house – a broken down house – and it has been there for as long as either of us remember. Aren't you even a teeny-weeny bit curious to know..."
"No." For some strange reason, Prithvi sounded very firm. "I am going back home. If I had known that this is what you were calling me for, I would have..."
Ritvik fumed. "Fine! Stay here." He told Ritvik angrily interrupting the other boy. And this time Ritvik knew that Prithvi was just being a pussy. "I am going to look into it."
"Ritvik!" Prithvi called.
But he was too late. Ritvik was already walking away from the fence and going towards the old corroded gate to their left.
The gate was rusted and could not be opened. But Ritvik already knew that. In a single swift move, he climbed over the gate. The gate protested and squeaked. But Ritvik realized that the gate was still solid. It could hold his weight and not buckle.
"I am going to look inside and come." Ritvik told Prithvi who was outside the gate. "Wait for me."
"Come back, Ritvik." Prithvi sounded irritated. "We are not meant to..."
Ritvik snorted. "Stupid wuss!" He told his friend. "There is nothing here. And I am going to show you that. And you are going to feel stupid that you didn't come with me."
Ritvik looked at the place and saw absolutely nothing – nothing which was out of the ordinary. Or even wrong. There were rocky pebbles in the front marking a rough gravel path and the grass on the side. That was when Ritvik looked closer at the grass – it had been cut. Actually cut by someone. He had not been able to see it from outside the gate.
Which was when Ritvik realized what was really bothering him.
Prithvi had not said anything.
And he stared.
The gate.... the street... everything.... Where the fuck was it?
All Ritvik could see was a blank nothingness. A misty gray nothingness. The city, the entire place was just... gone.
Gasping for breath, Ritvik ran back. Or at least he tried to. The gate. It had to be here.
But in front of him was... nothing. He could feel nothing. He could touch nothing.
This is the land of the Forgotten.
Ritvik's heart was hammering badly as he turned.
He had heard it. He had definitely heard something. It was a clear, old voice... powerful and....
Ritvik moaned. Because there was only one thing which had not changed since he had come inside the gate.
And now, Ritvik knew that the voice was not coming from someone inside the house.
It was the House itself.
Nearly screaming to himself, Ritvik pushed himself back and fell back, trying to find the damned gate. It had to be here. He had just jumped in.
You have crossed over, stranger. There is no turning back now. And those who venture inside cannot return. There is no one left to remember you.
"NO!" Ritvik screamed. "Prithvi is there." Ritvik was blubbering and he realized that there was no one he was talking to. There was no one who could listen. But still Ritvik was talking. "Prithvi will come!" Ritvik said furiously trying to run away from the House, towards where he thought the gate was.
But it never came. No matter how much Prithvi ran, he never reached the gate.
He did not know how long he had been running. But he collapsed after running for long and he still could not see the gate.
He was gasping for breath and his vision was blurring badly.
And Ritvik's breath was caught in his throat. The House. It was still before him.
He had run away. He had run so far away.
And the House was still before him. In the exact same spot as he had seen when he had got in.
And all he remembered was just one sentence – this is the land of the Forgotten.
NO! Ritvik pushed himself up and started running again. Prithvi knew him. Prithvi would remember him.
Prithvi was frowning as he was looking at the rickety house.
Prithvi was frowning because he was standing just outside the gate and looking inside.
And Prithvi was frowning because he had no idea why he was doing that.
Prithvi did not know why he had come here to this broken down house or why he was looking into it.
Sighing Prithvi shook his head and walked away. Ritvik had called him and Prithvi was going to go Ritvik's home. That just did not explain why Prithvi was wasting his time staring at this building.
Prithvi grinned wryly to himself as he started walking towards Ritvik's home.
Probably he should bring Ritvik to this house. Ritvik would like spooky things like this place.