Name of the Book : Ragnarok: Fate of the gods
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Rabindra Setu, better known as Howrah Bridge in Kolkata, was busy like any normal day. Happy people were hurrying back to their families as the Government had declared a holiday earlier that day. The Government had also declared a red-alert because storm clouds had gathered on the horizon. This was no ordinary storm. Before anyone could do anything, lighting struck at different parts of the city.
There was no option but to declare a holiday. Everyone was so busy in their own world that they did not see the boy standing on the railing of the bridge, staring at the water.
Debojyoti Das wept as he considered his options one last time. His longtime girlfriend, Debosmita Dutta had finally given up on him. She dumped him because they both had the same Dak Nam or nickname Debu. He decided to end his life and this ordeal once and for all. He took a deep breath and screamed, “Debu, I love you….” last time (he realised how stupid that sounded as his Dak-Nam or nickname was also Debu). But in the final moment of the jump, his brain had an epiphany and he realised that changing his name was a better and easier solution. Five-seconds before his jump he had the realisation that life was more precious and he considered not dying today. But the very next moment, his leg slipped and he fell from the bridge.
The moving traffic paused. Vehicles halted in the middle of the bridge causing head injuries and fractures to their drivers. Debojyoti Das was not falling off the bridge. He was floating high up in the air. 7000 years later, the world would divide for a massive argument or war of words on the issue of Debojyoti’s fall. True believers would argue that he was the reincarnation of God who had come for their salvation. Others would believe that he was a cheap magician who tricked people and robbed them. Today but yet, suspended forty feet in the air, Debojyoti was in an awkward position as he had a Nature’s call at that moment.
But this is not his story; this is the story of why he was suspended in the air on that fateful day.
His was not the only one; many events happened around the globe, which no one could explain. A big vortex opened up in the middle of the Thames River and sucked many boats inside it. A group of boy scouts were camping in the Grand Canyon national park when the rocks turned into quicksand and the boys got sucked in. Vehicles skidded on the streets and buildings collapsed. Many countries declared national emergency. Some people panicked and announced the end of the world to everyone. Soon there was a mad dash to be on television by posing many theories on extinction. They tore into religious dogmas to find one statement that could correlate to the events. When they found nothing, they started making claims about God appearing in dreams. Almost all Gods appeared in someone or the other’s dream along with dead wives, dead parents or dead relatives. There was a confusion about few of these predictions till a few people who were earlier thought to be dead, turned up alive. Dogs everywhere started howling. Actually unknown to humans, they were passing a single consistent message throughout the planet, in a language alien to the humans.
Televisions blazed with breaking news of what the mainstream media dubbed as “The Apocalypse”. People panicked everywhere.
Today was the day that almost all the humans feared. All religious dogma had talked of this day. It was predicted This was the day humans were preparing against since they climbed down from the trees.
Everything that humanity had lived for, developed for…. lay in vain. People turned against each other in a barbaric manner. The only law that remained was : survival of the fittest. Rest did not matter. The paper notes for which billions of trees were mowed down now seemed fruitless. The metallic coins for which the land was drilled down beyond the wildest dream looked like a burden to carry. Nothing was important…. the only thing that remained was the ultimate truth. The truth that humans had been running away from- They were expendable, worthless animals.
7 billion species on Earth stood facing the incident that they dreaded for the last 65 billion years. It was the final day; the ‘End of the world’.
It all started four days ago.
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“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Every species on the planet are linked to the Nature that creates them; this link also binds them to each other.
Nature embeds every species with a biological genetic signal to make sure this link is not broken. The human definition for this term is instincts.
There are different types of instincts stored for different purposes. Newly hatched sea turtles on the beach move towards the ocean. Honeybees communicate by dancing in the direction of food source. Nesting instincts embedded in many species urges the pregnant female to build a nest for the upcoming new born. The involuntary instincts triggered based on some action are reflexes. Many mammals shut down their eyes as soon as an object reaches close to it.
In many animals, instincts warn the creature about the threat of predators. This is the safety mechanism by Nature to protect the weak from becoming dinner for predators. but yet, it is this same Nature that embeds into the predator the instinct of attacking the weak creature. Humans call this instinct Hunger.
Chief Archaeologist Daniel Paul Singh was not sure whether he was more angry or hungry. He had been working on a classified archaeological site for an undisclosed organization. The location of the site was not marked in any map. Only six people in the entire world knew the location of the site. He was not one of them.
Daniel was hungry but the project manager, Soundarya, would not let him have his lunch until he finished the task at hand. His body was having two instincts- one was hunger and the other one was the urge to kill his boss. Many anthropologists believe this new instinct to be the result of rapid industrial revolution after World War one.
To his frustration, a large cloud of dust settled down on him as the big drill machine dug deeper in the ground. Angry, frustrated and dirty, Daniel walked behind the bunker for a smoke, bad mouthing words about his job and his boss. He was so frustrated and lost in thoughts that he did not notice that hand was emerging from the sand right in front of him.
Unknown to him, within the next few minutes this hand would put him in six months of therapy for post-traumatic shock. Currently, he was busy puffing away clouds of smoke that were helping him destroy his lungs.
Out of the many reflexes embedded in the human body, primal reflexes are the most important. These are a group of reflexes found in a newborn human baby, but they fade away once the baby begins to socialise with the other humans. One of the primal reflexes is the palmar grasp reflex. When an object comes in contact with the palm of a newly born infant, the fingers automatically curl around the object. The baby also releases the grip suddenly and without warning.
Daniel’s leg brushed against the palm of the hand that was protruding out of the sand. Many reflexes worked at the same time. The hand, following the palmar grasp, grasped Daniel's leg making him spit the cigarette out of his mouth. A cold chill spread through his entire body, kicking in the survival mechanism called fear and he jumped. The jump loosened the grip on his leg, but he banged himself at the stone bunker and fell right in front of the arm.
This would be the cause of a post-traumatic stress he will deal with and it would also result in his giving up smoking forever.
But before he passed out in shock, his brain sent out a final distress signal for help. This build up of events would be a hot topic of gossip for many days. He had screamed like a little girl.
People gathered around the unconscious Daniel and saw the still hand visible in the sand.
“Alright,” asked Soundarya, “Who buried a dead body near our excavation site?”
Soundarya refused to apply her last name. Living in the world of men, she did not want another man’s name associated with her. She worked on many secret projects sponsored by the military and the government alike. Her only qualification for these projects was, ironically for a woman, the ability to keep it all hushed up. She started as a consultant lawyer for corporate law but soon started working for the Office of Prime Minister. Since then, she had worked in several classified military and government projects. She drew legal binding contracts that kept a lid on things.
This excavation was her latest project. Like other projects her anonymous clients wanted to keep the findings of the project to a limited group of people. She was standing in the scorching heat testing the power of SPF 15 sun lotion to make sure that no one could contact the outside world. For the rest of the world at large, they were nowhere. But now everything had changed, there was a dead body near the excavation site. Soon there would be doctors, police, media involved and they will be asking questions.
She had her priorities right and right now her top most priority was the excavation. Human lives were somewhere at the bottom of the list.
“Bring him out... be careful, and don’t break anything and confirm if he is one of us...” she ordered. She turned her attention towards the unconscious Daniel, “…And for God sake someone wake up this sissy. We don’t want two dead bodies here.”
The workers got busy in their fruitless task. Now finally, they would see their families.
How wrong they were!
They excavated the body from the ground. It was not old or decayed. It was fresh... The person was completely naked with no identification marks on his body. The army medical officer on site checked the body for signs of life and to the surprise of all present, found the person alive.
“Alive? The man we found buried in the sand is alive?” asked Soundarya surprised.
“We do not have the equipments here to run the tests but he is very much alive. The heart is pumping very slowly, yet there is a distinctive pumping.” The medical officer reported.
Soundarya’s mind screamed. She could bury a dead body and nobody would have a sniff on it, but a live one was a big problem. A thought crossed her mind to kill him and bury him anyway, but there were too many witnesses and many didn’t like her.
“Alright,” she took a quick decision, “I have called for a helicopter to take him to the nearest hospital. Remember your contract, not a word about this to anyone. If you do, I’ll find you the deepest bunker in the desert.”
The medical officer had no idea where they were or he would have run away from this godforsaken place long back. Now was his chance, he was not going to return.
How wrong he was!
She saw the buried man being loaded in the helicopter and hoped that this would be the last disturbance to her project. She had a site to excavate and before anyone could have a wind of it.
How wrong she was!