Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Adventure

Pancha Forkers and the Egghead Robots

Pancha Forkers and the Egghead Robots

By Jp Vishnu vardhan

Published by Jp Vishnu vardhan at Shakespir

Copyright 2016 Jp Vishnu vardhan

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

[[++
++][CHAPTER ONE
++]]

WEIRD HAPPENINGS IN LENIN GARDEN [++
++]

April, 2015

The beautiful, early morning sun popped up East of the town of Kancheepuram and scattered the dull gray sky with streaks of pink, red and gold. Situated on the outskirts of the town, was the newly built Buddhist monastery. This building was constructed on arable land and spreaded out over 5 acres. From the outside, one could clearly see that the monastery compound contained three blocks of apartments, all of them painted in a pearly white color.

The first block served as residences for the monks. It was a rectangular piece of building, built with steel and glass and had five floors. The second was the Dhyan block, a circular building built with marble stones. It had three floors, all of them used for practicing meditation and Tai Chi exercises. The third building, the catering block, was squarely constructed and had only a single floor. It had a huge kitchen at the back and an enormous dining hall in the front. Monks would take turns to cook food in the kitchen, and would dine together merrily.

The three blocks were enclosed by a huge garden. It was planted with full of herbal shrubs, edible vegetables and all kinds of tropical and sub tropical trees. This garden was named as Lenin Garden. It was crisscrossed with foot paths to walk peacefully at one’s leisure. A huge barn was at the extreme end of the garden, where cows were reared for milk.

Every dawn, the monastery would teem with dozens of cheerful looking monks, both men and women, working in the large Lenin Garden. All of them had their heads and faces shaven clean and wore pale saffron robes. Some would hold spades or shovels and dig the earth to plant new saplings, others would water the vegetables and the extraordinary collection of herbal shrubs and trees growing there. A few would milk the cows and feed the calfs in the barn.

After completing their routine morning work, the monks would take a good bath and refresh themselves. Then they would enter the Dhyan block to do the regular Tai Chi exercises. After that, they leave to the catering block, prepare a healthy vegetarian breakfast, finish their meals in silence and would go to practice meditation or hear sermons from their master.

On that particular morning, the head of the Monk community, Master Bodhitaran, was sitting cross legged in deep meditation, alone on the terrace of the Dhyan Building. He was clothed in his usual pale saffron robes. The crisp sunlight streaming down from the cloudless blue sky, glistened off his bald head and made his ivory skin shine brighter.

His best disciple, Mr. Jing Jing, stood hesitantly at a corner of the terrace, watching him with reverence. He was there to remind his Master, the time had come for him to start his routine rounds around Lenin Garden. But he was reluctant to awake his Master from his trance.

Mr. Jing Jing was with Master Bodhitaran for the past couple of years and was now his Personal Assistant. He had impressed his Master with his quick wit, alert mind and selfless dedication. At the age of 25, he was elevated to a significant position in the monastery. But he hadn’t made much progress in the spiritual side.

Though he understood only half of his Master’s teachings, he was patient like a true disciple, and waited for the divine wisdom to blossom in his soul. He trusted the Master with all his heart. He was recognized as the right hand of the Master, because the Master was very fond of him. Mr. Jing Jing always held his Master in high esteem. He was the first among the 200 other followers in this Monastery, who were drawn towards him by the distinct aura of his divine grace and power.

Mr. Jing Jing stood there and stared at his Master, scratching his shaven head. He fidgeted with his pale saffron robes, not daring to disturb Monk Bodhitaran, even though he was clearly instructed by his Master to remind the time for him to do his other tasks. He wished his Master would soon open his eyes. As though he had read his disciple’s mind, Monk Bodhitaran slowly opened his pale grey eyes filled with full of kindness, and looked at Mr. Jing Jing. He smiled at his disciple.

“Jing Jing,” he said in a calm voice, “You here to remind me something?”

“Yes Master,” replied Jing Jing.

“The time is quarter to eleven. You are to go for your routine rounds in the Lenin Garden. It’s your time to….” he hesitated, then lowered his eyes and said, “to talk with nature.”

He stood there embarrassed, as though he had said something rude. Master Bodhitaran merely smiled and leapt to his feet gracefully, much more graceful for a 70 year old man. He beckoned Jing Jing to follow him, and descended the stairs rapidly like a teenager.

Jing Jing trailed him hastily, wondering for the umpteenth time, how his master could be so fit in this age, not even with a wrinkle on his face. His master was not a body builder – he was lean and short, only 4 feet tall. Yet, he was physically powerful.

Jing Jing had seen his Master fight and chase a group of 50 hooligans in the city, during a bundh against the government. His fight was not ferocious at all. It was graceful, like dance movements. That doesn’t meant it looked funny. He had excellently coordinated hand and leg movements. He anticipated his opponent’s every move and disabled him within seconds. Jing Jing thought it’s not possible for a normal human to have super natural concentration like that.

The youthful old Master and the young disciple marched steadily, bare footed, up the Lenin Garden path. Some monks were still working in the garden with sweat running down from their foreheads. On seeing their Master, they put down their tools, bent low and folded their hands in respect. Monk Bodhitaran reciprocated the gesture and moved on. Jing Jing lumbered behind him with a quizzical look on his face.

His Master broke the silence. “Do you ever wondered why I named this garden as Lenin Garden?” he asked.

“Hmm… Because you believe in socialism?!” Jing Jing suggested shiftily.

Monk Bodhitaran chuckled.

“Of course I believe. But that’s not the reason for naming this garden as Lenin Garden. The reason is, every living thing in this garden follows socialism. You know that?” he asked with a smile.

“Yes Master, I mean, no Master, I don’t get it Master,” blathered Jing Jing, thoroughly baffled.

“How could the trees follow socialism?” he asked shyly.

“Oh yes, they do. They are not like selfish, greedy humans. People earn lots of money and store them away for future. It’s fine as long as it is for a small period of time, like a saving. But most people simply lock away billions of money for hundreds of their generations to come! That sounds sickening, isn’t it? I mean, look at the number of children dying due to hunger across the globe. Poverty simply tears apart humanity everywhere.

People must understand that they take wealth from the nature, they take from the earth. They shouldn’t behave ridiculously like everything was created by them, like they were Gods.

Their mundane mind would never accept the fact, whatever they own is only borrowed for a short period of time, including their precious body. They never bring anything along with them by birth, nor do they take away their wealth at death.

They mustn’t create a narrow mindset of ‘my family, my blood,’ out of sheer possessiveness, which itself is an illusion. If they leave everything only for their spouse and children, they spoil their chances for liberation. If they shared their wealth equally among the needy, enlightenment would come running to them like a dear little child.” He said with a sigh.

Then he continued briskly, “Coming back to the socialist creatures of this garden, watch the birds, they built their homes on generous trees, who never torture them for rent money. Look at these scurrying ants, they share their work, home and food equally among them. Look at those scampering squirrels. They never save food for hundreds of their future generations, never save anything in excess, or exhibit sole ownership over resources.

Their savings would be only for a week or for the next season in the maximum. A peepul tree won’t stock million litres of water for the sake of its seeds that would sprout and grow into many peepul trees in the distant future.

Plants and animals know life is unstable, impermanent. They know they might be withered in a drought or even ravaged by a fire. Still, they would survive. But what happens with humans? You dream of building a luxurious palace to yourself, but you die the next day in a plane crash. What’s the use of such a life? Humans must be humble and ready to share, like the nature. Then, we could make a better world. But alas! that would never happen.

Humans would find a lot of blunt excuses – ‘Its my hard earned money, I have the right for luxuries. My family alone is my life. I pay my taxes, the government must take care of the poor. I’m doing a bit of charity, that’s enough, its not my fault that so many people are poor and burdening the planet with over population’. Yes, they always find excuses.” he finished sadly, and then relapsed into a meaningful silence. Jing Jing mulled over the wise words of his Master.

Soon they reached a secluded and denser part of the Garden. His Master suddenly stopped walking. Jing Jing perfectly know what his Master was about to do now. He bent his head low and averted his eyes from looking at him. But he could clearly hear his Master’s footsteps rustling the fallen leaves, moving away from the footpath, towards the large, towering neem tree yonder.

“Hello, Miss. Nicky! How do you do?” Monk Bodhitaran greeted the neem tree cheerfully, like an old friend.

“Hope you are not too thirsty in this hot weather. I asked my people to water you well,”

Jing Jing couldn’t resist. He raised his head with a jerk and his eyes found his master, who stood facing the tree. His head was bent forward, as if he was in earnest conversation with the tree. He was nodding and listening to the tree, as though it was replying to his queries. But the neem tree had not replied. It was there, silent like a tree, with no mouth to speak. The only sound came from it was from the gentle waving of its branches by a light breeze.

Monk Bodhitaran continued talking.

“Look here, Missy, you can’t possibly blame my people. If the share of your water was quickly absorbed by Mr. Conku, that’s not our fault. After all, I reckon a coconut tree needs more water than a neem tree.”

He stood there, listening to the tree with rapt attention, but Jing Jing couldn’t hear a single word the tree was saying. Of course, how could he? Trees never speak. He would be horrified if it does!

“Ok, All right, I would warn Mr. Conku sternly not to do that again. And I request you not to sleep when my people water you. It would be entirely your fault then, for losing your share. Now please excuse me. I have other trees to meet. Good day to you!”

Monk Bodhitaran walked away from the neem tree back to Jing Jing. He began in a solemn voice.

“It’s that rascal, Mr. Conku, the coconut tree. This morning, Miss. Nicky the neem tree was a little late in waking up. In that gap of time, he absorbed all her share of water. It’s her laziness that has to be blamed!”

He paused and looked at Jing Jing expectantly, as though he too would blame the tree’s laziness.

Jing Jing said nothing. He merely looked with a blank expression, apparently dumbstruck. Monk Bodhitaran continued, not taking in Jing Jing’s disgruntled face.

“Still, I think Mr.Conku is a little greedy. What he needs is a nice tick off. He is asleep now. I’m going to sit and wait on the lawn till he wakes up. You staying with me?” he asked eagerly.

Jing Jing suddenly found back his voice.

“Er.. No Master, er, I got a job to deliver tomatoes to the kitchen….”

“Well, I must deal with Mr. Conku on my own, then. After that I’ll return to the Dhyan Block. What’s my programme for today?” Monk Bodhitaran asked.

“Nothing in the afternoon, Master. Evening, you need to give a live speech to B.C.T.V. It’s scheduled at 8 o’clock.” Jing Jing said.

“Right. You may leave now,” said Monk Bodhitaran, and settled down on the lawn.

Jing Jing turned back and started to walk by taking lengthy strides, keen to keep as much distance from himself and talking trees. His whole brain was caught in a whirlwind. For the past 2 weeks, his Master had been behaving weirdly. Jing Jing revered and trusted his Master, but he simply can’t understand this odd behavior of talking with trees. If any other person behaved like this, he would have screamed into their ears that they are insane. But this is his Master, the great Buddhist Monk Bodhitaran, who had far more intelligence and knowledge than him.

He turned sharply around a corner and reached the edge of the Garden. A handcart stood there, loaded fully with fresh tomatoes harvested from the garden. They looked mouth-watering. He took a tomato hungrily and dug his teeth into it, sucking on the juice and enjoying its savory taste. He began to push the handcart, trudging slowly towards the catering block.

Right from his day one in the monastery, Jing Jing had heard rumors, that Master Bodhitaran was spotted talking with animals and plants. But he had pooh-poohed them as silly gossips spread by someone with malice, someone who had a grudge against his Master and wished to injure his reputation. Some people outside the monastery talked nastily about him, said he was a crackpot, a kook … Jing Jing never believed a single slander told about his beloved Master.

But 2 weeks before, he got the shock of his life. Everyday, after taking a light breakfast, his master likes to meditate on the terrace of the Dhyan building. Then sharply at eleven A.M.., he takes a stroll around the garden. Usually, Jing Jing would be the one to wake him up from his trance and sends him for his walk.

He would watch his Master amble into the garden, then he would run away to complete his other tasks. But on that specific day, the Master asked Jing Jing to accompany him. Puzzled and pleased, he went sauntering along with his Master. He knew that his Master always roamed alone in the Lenin Garden. If he suddenly needed a companion, then it must be for a special reason. Maybe he wanted to bestow some divine knowledge to him, thought Jing Jing.

After they went deep into the garden, Monk Bodhitaran asked Jing Jing to wait and left him on the foot path. He wandered yonder and halted before a very old peepul tree. Then he begun to talk earnestly with the tree. At first, Jing Jing couldn’t believe his eyes. He thought he was day dreaming. But soon, the Master finished his one sided conversation with the tree and came over to Jing Jing. He explained that the peepul tree was disturbed by a pack of mice who drilled his trunks and made numerous holes, thus turning the tree weak.

He was very much taken aback, when his Master referred the peepul tree as Mr. Pagoda. At that time, Monk Bodhitaran spotted a mouse running on the garden floor. He begun talking with it in a most courteous voice. All Jing Jing saw and heard was the mouse squeak at his Master and scamper away. Monk Bodhitaran turned back to Jing Jing, smiling.

He said the problem of Mr. Pagoda was solved. Needless to say, Jing Jing was half maddened by this time. He swallowed heavily, thinking this was some sort of joke played by his Master on him. Or else, it must be a psychological test, to evaluate his sanity. He thought he must not give himself away by expressing his doubts openly to his Master.

So, from that day onwards, every morning Jing Jing went along with his master, but turned a deaf ear to his weird talkings with the nature. He didn’t ask, nor did Monk Bodhitaran explained what was happening. It was a private battle of wits between the Master and the disciple. It was just a matter of time before one of them cracked.

After delivering the tomatoes to the kitchen, Jing Jing sat on a chair in the dining hall nearby an open window. He sipped a glass of iced lemonade with relish, to ward off the summer heat from damaging his body. He stared at the pale blue sky, stuffed up with puffy white clouds and pondered over his Master’s odd behavior. This was the fifteenth day, he thought. He won’t stand it anymore. He must confront his Master. He must demand the truth. If it was a joke or a trick, he would ask the reason behind such an act.

Abruptly, the lunch bell rang loudly and monks started pouring into the dining hall to have their lunch.

A short, fat, olive skinned monk waddled towards the table in which Jing Jing was sitting.

“Hello buddy, you early for lunch?” he asked Jing Jing and seated himself opposite to him. Jing Jing smiled at the fat face grinning at him.

“Hey, Mr. Sunker, a few minutes before I saw you snoozing on the lawn. Good thing you woke up in time for lunch.”

Mr.Sunker looked offended.

“I wasn’t snoozing, I was meditating. How could you accuse me of doing such an outrageous thing?” he asked, his voice full of indignation.

Jing Jing smirked.

“Well, you were practicing a new form of meditation, then. I never heard people snore loudly when they meditate. Your snore would have reached the Master’s ears. It was that loud.”

Mr. Sunker moaned.

“Oh, man. I still couldn’t get the knack of meditation. I sit there cross legged, focusing all my concentration into one thing, and guess what happens? After a few minutes I fall asleep in exactly the same position… Every time.” he sighed heavily. “Perhaps I must quit. I’m unfit for this life.”

Jing Jing patted his hands comfortingly.

“There, there. Don’t worry. All you need is a little bit of extra time. You have been around here just for a couple of months. You could do well with a bit of practicing,” he said sympathetically. “Actually, what you need first is a nice slimming, if you ask me,” he added.

Mr. Sunker grinned.

“Yes. My body and mind feels rejuvenated with these vegetarian food. The sad thing is, these foods are also very tasty. I couldn’t stop myself from having second helpings of everything. I particularly love the mushroom raveoli. You must try them. The chief cook does warn me, if I eat too much. Time to heed her warning seriously.”

They both stood up and walked over to the rack where the cutlery items – plates, spoons and forks were stacked neatly. Jing Jing and Mr. Sunker took a plate each, went to the wash basin and washed their hands and plates. Then they stood behind the queue before the smorgasbord.

“What do we have for lunch?” inquired Mr. Sunker to the person standing before him.

“Its brown rice and eggplant fry,” came the reply.

“Not bad,” muttered Mr. Sunker, smacking his lips.

At that time, Mr. Ryno, a burly, short tempered, white skinned monk, known to be a goon before joining the monastery, strode into the Hall. Unexpectedly, he elbowed Mr. Sunker out of the way and took his place in the line.

“Hey! You can’t butt in like that, go back!” said Mr. Sunker angrily and shoved Mr. Ryno.

Immediately, Mr. Ryno pushed Mr. Sunker down to the floor and stamped on his face and chest violently. Momentarily shocked, the other monks tried to hold him back. Mr. Ryno shook them off roughly and stormed out of the hall.

Jing Jing helped poor Mr. Sunker to stand up on his feet.

“Man, are you all right?” He asked in a concerned voice.

“Yeah, sort of,” replied Mr. Sunker faintly.

Clearly the brutal assault had shaken him. He felt his face with his hands to confirm nothing has been damaged.

“That goon Ryno would be surely expelled for this. This is the second time Mr. Sunker was attacked today,” said a monk nearby.

Jing Jing looked at Mr. Sunker with surprise.

“What?! Someone attacked you earlier? Who? How?” he asked.

“Well.. about 8 o’clock this morning, when I strutted out of the bathroom after having a shower, that black bloke, Mr. Needhimaan stood in my way. Abruptly, he tried to grab my pink towel from my waist, so I tried to get hold of his blue towel. But he twisted my hand roughly and pushed me down to the floor. Then he jumped on my face and chest repeatedly. When he had done hitting me, he forced me to polish his boots and made me to wear them on his feet,” Mr. Sunker said morosely.

“These guys are scamps, stand up to them! Have you complained to Master Bodhitaran?” Jing Jing asked, outraged.

Mr. Sunker shook his head. “Not yet,” he said gloomily.

They fetched their lunch and settled back at their table. Both of them ate patiently. They took the rice with their right hands and fed it into their mouths.

Mr. Sunker seemed to have recovered from the attack. He took a large piece of fried brinjal and swallowed it wholly.

Then he said to Jing Jing in a whisper, “You know, a most mysterious thing happened in the Garden this morning,”

“What, someone had a vision or something?” asked Jing Jing.

Elder Monks who had excelled in their meditation skills got glimpses about their past births, like a vision, in their trance state. Whether the things they claimed to have seen were true or not, young Monks were always keen to know about their visions, so it caused much excitement.

“No. It’s about our Master,” said Mr. Sunker in a low voice.

“Yeah, what about our master? “ asked Jing Jing curiously.

Mr. Sunker looked around cautiously and checked if anyone was listening to them. All the Monks were busy eating their lunch in absolute silence.

“Some people say that our master is weird,” he said in a dispirited voice. “I saw that with my own eyes, this morning.”

Jing Jing clutched hard at the edge of his chair. “You saw what?” he asked with an odd sinking sensation in his stomach.

Mr. Sunker grimaced and bend his head down.

“I was jogging down the footpath of the garden, you know, to burn my excess fat. All the way I was thinking what’s the food for lunch. Then I sort of went deep into the garden. Suddenly, I heard someone talking. I stopped and checked who it was. Our Master was standing before a coconut tree. And what do you think he was doing?” he asked from the corner of his mouth.

“Yeah?” Jing Jing listened with an accelerated heart.

“He was talking with the tree, like it was human. He called it as Mr. Conku! Chattering with it like anything. He paused occasionally to listen, as though it was talking back,” Mr. Sunker said, his eyes round.

He then took a huge chunk of fried brinjal and put it into his wide mouth. At once it chocked his throat and he coughed violently, his eyes bulging. Jing Jing thumped him hard on the back. Mr. Sunker took a sip of water and felt normal again.

“What do you reckon?” Mr. Sunker asked after a while, watching Jing Jing closely.

“Well… My friend, I think you jogged into the garden, felt tired; had a short nap on the lawn and got some weird dreams, in which you saw the Master speaking with trees. That’s what happened, I perceive. Or the attack on you outside the bathroom might have addled your brains,” said Jing Jing, with a simper.

Mr. Sunker’s face puckered. He felt angry.

“You think I’m lying? I’m making this up? I respect the Master more than you do, Jing Jing. What I saw was REAL. If you still think it’s some cooked up story of mine, come, let’s gather a few of our friends with us. Lets go straight to the Master. We will ask him the truth.”

Mr. Sunker looked so fierce that Jing Jing felt sure he would go marching to the Master instantly.

“No, No, you misunderstood me!” Jing Jing said, trying to pacify Mr. Sunker.

He was horrified at the suggestion of rushing to his Master with a group of people and interrogating him like a criminal.

“Cool down man, I was just joking. What I really meant was, after your tiresome jogging, you must have done meditation. I dare say you went into a trance, like our Master. You didn’t realize that. People sometimes get weird experiences in meditation. They must have felt real to you. I’m sure its not a dream,” Jing Jing lied, with a horrible guilty feeling in his heart.

Mr. Sunker looked stumped.

“You think.. You suggest.. That I had my first trance? Oh! was it my first success at meditation?”

“Of course pal,” said Jing Jing, struggling to keep a straight face. “Congratulations. Keep on the good work.”

He left the table, washed his hands and his plate, then placed the plate back on the rack. He waved good bye and showed the thumbs up, to a most perplexed Mr. Sunker.

CHAPTER TWO

THE SUICIDE OF GAWD, THE GREEN SPIDER

Jing Jing rushed out of the dining hall, gritting his teeth in anger. He was furious with himself. He vowed he would never lie again, not even to defend his Master. He sprinted to the Dhyan Block, bounded up the stairs and reached the terrace, panting. A small bamboo hut was in a corner. It was constructed as a home for his Master. Jing Jing went to the open door of the hut and peeped inside cautiously.

His Master was sitting on a Jute cot, holding a book before his face. He was reading something titled ‘Breakthroughs in Nano Technology.’ Monk Bodhitaran sensed the movement of a shadow before him and looked up. He saw Jing Jing and his face lit up with a brilliant smile.

“Kindly step inside, my dear Jing Jing. You look sweaty, the weather’s too hot today. Please have some lemonade.”

He pointed to a large mud pot placed on a stand in a corner of the hut.

“Oh, Thank you Master,” said Jing Jing gratefully.

He bent his head low and entered the hut. He went near the mud pot. A silver cup was chained with the stand. He took the cup and opened the tap in the pot. Cool lemonade flowed out smoothly and he filled it up to the brim of his cup. He took a deep swig and emptied it.

Then he stood before his Master with a sombre expression on his face. Monk Bodhitaran gestured at Jing Jing to sit next to him. Jing Jing sat at the edge of the Jute cot.

“What’s the matter with you? You look troubled?” Monk Bodhitaran asked in a kind voice.

Jing Jing hung his head down.

“Yes Master. I’m in a great state of confusion.”

He paused and looked at Monk Bodhitaran with a pained expression on his face.

“Why are you confused?” asked his Master softly.

Jing Jing stared at the silver statue of the Buddhist god Hariti, holding a thrishul; it hung near the tiny window of the hut. He decided to be bold.

“Because.. because of you.”

“Me!?” exclaimed Monk Bodhitaran, genuine surprise showing in his face.

“Yes Master. You are the reason. The past 2 weeks, you were acting so strange… Hearing you talk with plants and animals in the garden drives me crazy… Today Mr. Sunker saw you talking with a coconut tree…. I thought you were playing a joke on me, but it seems to be more than that. People are talking behind you Master; they say rude and nasty things about you. I can’t bear it. Please, I beg you… Explain me what’s the meaning of your actions.”

He said all this very fast and paused with bated breath, looking expectantly at his Master.

Monk Bodhitaran chuckled and looked at Jing Jing with an amused expression on his face.

“Hmm. Seems to me that you were bursting to say these things. I’m glad that you asked, and pleased that you didn’t think I’m a nutcase.. You thought my actions carried some meaning. It was wise of you to think that. Very wise indeed.”

He paused and considered Jing Jing for a moment.

Then he continued, “Mother Nature, collectively refers to all the other life forms on Earth, excluding humans; you must realize the greatness of Mother Nature. The origin and survival of human life, is closely linked with her. My talk with plants and animals puzzled you. That’s because you couldn’t hear their voice speaking back to me.

It’s not the voice of some imaginative alien beast I’m talking about. Come along with me. I shall make you hear the lively voices of flowers in the meadow, the ringing voice of the bee, the cool voice of the banyan tree and the velvet voice of the squirrel.

You’re not yet spiritually evolved to hear them without help. What you need is a device to converse with Mother Nature. Open that wooden cupboard, inside you will find a Tiger head made up of iron. It’s used as a helmet. Take it and follow me.”

Having said this, he didn’t wait for Jing Jing, but exited the hut and started to walk swiftly towards the stairs.

Jing Jing opened the cupboard. He saw mostly books of varying sizes, both old and new, arranged neatly in the top racks.

At the bottom most shelf of the cupboard, he saw five pewter colored statues of tiger heads, made in iron. They were hollow and very small, each the size of a human palm. One of them had open jaws with bared teeth; the rest of the statues had closed jaws. They were intricately carved and appeared to him as great pieces of art.

He felt slightly confused, because his Master clearly said him to take ‘the Tiger head made in iron which is used as a helmet.’

The five Tiger head statues inside the cupboard were nowhere near the size of a helmet. He took the Tiger head statue having a closed jaw in his hand. It had small slits for eyes. He saw no other helmet there, so he closed the cupboard and ran downstairs. He saw his Master entering the garden. He sped up to reach him, holding the iron Tiger head in the sweaty palm of his right hand.

Soon the Master and disciple were walking side by side in silence, into the dense garden. Suddenly, Monk Bodhitaran halted before an ancient Banyan tree. It was enormous, the width of its trunk reaching several feet. Monk Bodhitaran asked Jing Jing to wear the iron Tiger head like a helmet.

“Er.. Master, this is what I found in your cupboard, there was no helmet,” said Jing Jing, showing out the iron tiger head in his right palm.

“Well, this is exactly what I asked you to bring. Now, gently stroke the statue three times.” said Monk Bodhitaran calmly.

“Yes, Master.”

Jing Jing stroked the tiny Tiger head three times, feeling rather foolish.

Suddenly, it popped up into a big, hollowed Tiger head about the size of his own head. It was exactly like an iron helmet and Jing Jing put it over his head at once, astonished. There were slits near his eyes to see clearly. He felt at ease within the helmet. It was not so heavy and somehow kept his head cool.

Bodhitaran now turned towards the tree and spoke with it.

“My dear Mr. Bruze, it’s been a long time since I saw you. How do you do?,” he asked politely with a smile.

Jing Jing watched this from under his helmet. Then, to his utter amazement, a pair of human eyes, a long nose and a thin mouth appeared on the tree’s trunk.

The tree talked with its mouth in English.

“Oh, its you, Monk Bodhitaran. You seem to be in excellent health always. You never age, do you? I’m unwell for the past few weeks. The hot weather has taken its toll on my poor health.”

It gave a feeble cough, and then continued in a raspy voice.

“As you know well, I’m a very old man who yearn for some peace. But these birds – the parrots and the sparrows disturb me all day. Even the stupid, filthy fruit bats torture me at night with their endless prowling on my branches. Just because I’m big, they think I could stand too many of them. You tell them to shift to other vacant trees around the garden. There’s Mr. Prinse, the Sandalwood tree. That moron always seem to be empty. He rather enjoys his time alone, and he is very young too…” it said wailingly.

Monk Bodhitaran interrupted the tree’s laments.

“Wait a minute, Mr. Bruze. Let me introduce a friend of mine. This is my beloved disciple and Personal Assistant, Monk Jing Jing.”

The banyan tree roved its eyes around and found Monk Jing Jing.

“Hello, young chap. I say, aren’t you human? Why do you have a Tiger’s head, then?” it asked, puzzled.

“Jing Jing, please show yourself,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

Jing Jing removed his helmet briefly and showed his face. At once the eyes, nose and mouth in the trunk of the tree disappeared. He put the helmet back on his head and they appeared back.

“Hello, Mr. Bruze. Very nice to meet you,”

Jing Jing greeted the banyan tree warmly. The tree smiled at him, showing its white teeth.

“He’s wearing a type of helmet. It’s a device, an invention of me. It helps less spiritually evolved people to converse with nature,” explained Monk Bodhitaran, to the banyan tree.

“Oh, that sounds cool, Monk Bodhitaran. I’m impressed. Hey, I had to tell you a pressing matter in my hands. Mr. Gawd, the green spider, was pestering me the other day, asking me to send you to meet him. Some Monk of yours accidentally trod on him while watering the herbal shrubs and he hurt one of his legs badly. He whines day and night about it. He is becoming unbearable,” said the banyan tree with a disgusted expression.

“Where is this guy now?” asked Monk Bodhitaran.

“His home is on the begonia bushes, fifty feet from here.” replied the tree.

Jing Jing and Bodhitaran both wished the banyan tree a good day and moved towards the begonia bushes. When they reached the place, Jing Jing looked down curiously at the little creature sitting on a leaf, howling with pain. It was a well grown spider, bright green in color – the color of the grass snake. At first it didn’t notice them and went on crying loudly.

“There, there. what is ailing you, Mr. Gawd?” asked Monk Bodhitaran in a concerned voice.

The spider looked up with its many eyes in surprise. It cocked its tiny head at him and started to talk with its pincers in a hissy voice.

“Ah… It’s Bodhitaran. I suppose you came to see me if I’m still alive or not. How evil and mean of you, to set your thugs on me.. See what they had done to me? They chased me down the garden path for hours and hours, trying to stamp me to death with their giant feet. What is the need for sending 7 burly thugs to murder a poor, feeble spider like me, I ask? They were Apes, no doubt they were. One was huge like a King Kong. He took me in his hand, shook me and crushed me against a tree, ripped off my eighth leg…”

The spider poured a stream of complaints relentlessly. Monk Bodhitaran cleared his throat loudly.

“My dear Mr. Gawd, I never sent anyone to murder you. Who do you think I am? Head of some Mafia? All I heard was, one of my men accidentally trod on you while watering the plants. I’m very sorry for you. Accidents do happen sometimes. I will definitely help you to heal your leg. What I don’t understand is, why are you telling me such a bunch of ridiculous lies, that you was assaulted?” he asked severely.

The spider bristled with anger.

“Accident? Accident? No! It’s an incident caused on purpose by your thugs, carefully orchestrated as an accident! You want me to become handicapped, isn’t it? You are a stupid, spiteful old man! I couldn’t catch a single mosquito for the past twelve hours! All because of my hurt leg! You know how that feels? You’re a twisted, mad old merciless loony. A sadist in saffron robes, that’s what you are!”

Monk Bodhitaran listened to this extraordinary outburst with the utmost amazement. But Jing Jing boiled with anger. He couldn’t bear someone, not even a spider, speak in such an offensive manner to his Master.

“Look here, Mr. Spider, Mind your tongue! Master Bodhitaran is a great teacher, a wonderful man, a divine soul. Don’t spoil your meagre chances of liberation by speaking non sense about him!” he said aloud.

The spider turned it eyes towards Jing Jing for the first time.

“Ahaa! Whose this thug with a beast head, talking about liberation? I know all about your Monkey Monks grand design for liberating people. You’ll detonate a million megaton nuclear bomb on Earth, then Boom! Everybody is liberated! The human race Extinct! Earth burned down to ashes! That’s your master plan isn’t it, you great thug!” snarled the spider.

Jing Jing gritted his teeth.

“That’s not liberation, you great git. That’s destruction. Only a psycho spider like you with a fruit bat’s brain, could never differentiate between the two!” he said hotly.

Mr. Gawd ignored him and spoke to Monk Bodhitaran.

“Holy moley! That guy has a human body with a Tiger’s head! Really, what you have been doing Bodhitaran? Practicing black magic? You have beheaded a man and attached a horrible beast’s head on his neck! This is what you do to your followers? Make them half human and half beast? He looks like a nasty piece of work to me. A devil incarnation, that’s what he is!” hissed the spider.

Jing Jing snorted derisively.

“I’m wearing a helmet, you dunderhead. Why can’t you see that? Having many eyes doesn’t help your vision in the least.”

“And why do you wear such a helmet, designed like a Tiger’s head?” asked the spider, much interested.

Monk Bodhitaran replied this time.

“He is not yet spiritually evolved like me, so he needs a device like this helmet to converse with Nature. It is sculptured that way because the Tiger is one of the purest wildlife forms to establish contact with Mother Nature. Other pure forms are the cow and elephant. If a person chooses one of the afore mentioned forms, it symbolizes that he respects Nature. That’s why they could be used as metal helmets for the human head and helps us to talk with plants and animals.”

The spider chuckled darkly.

“So, to be spiritually evolved means to hear the voice of demons and beasts? How about making a statue in the form of an elephant’s head with a wasp’s body, or a human’s head with an ant’s body? One could easily talk with the devil using those idols!” it said maliciously.

Bodhitaran frowned at the spider.

“Humans must converse with nature, to be acquainted with the lower life forms from which they were evolved. That would cultivate mercy.”

“Your word play is amusing. A nasty trickster, that’s what you are,” sneered the spider.

Monk bodhitaran looked at with disdain, then continued, “Without showering mercy, there is no hope for enlightenment. As for fusing an elephant’s head with a wasp’s body, that form would suit your soul the most to dwell. Only decadent, evil and vile souls like you, would imagine of such repulsive ideas to cross animal and human forms with insect forms. Also, souls that love to rot in filth chooses the forms of spiders, scorpions, fruit bats and maggots.”

The spider, on hearing these words, positively shook with murderous rage.

“Oh, yeah! My form is a filthy one, so what? I heard your sermon the other day all right! Going on and on about birth and rebirth. I dare say I was born as a human and became your disciple in my previous birth. That’s why my soul ended up in this stinking spider’s body!”

Monk Bodhitaran closed his eyes for a few moments as though meditating. Then he opened it and spoke sharply.

“I know completely about your previous birth. You was a billionaire born in Mumbai. Mr. Raja Shield was your name. You ran a company called Brutish Pharmaceuticals. You also ran a foundation – the Brutish foundation for orphan children. Due to your greed for money, you performed illegal tests and inhuman experiments on those poor, innocent, orphan kids with your company’s medicines. That way you killed many of them and threw their bodies down the sewer.

You had a gorgeous girl friend. You abused, thrashed and battered her, all the time thinking she liked it. She ran away and gave a police complaint on you for domestic violence. You killed her. Using your money, you bought another girl to bear your beatings. She too ran away, and was murdered by you. This way, you killed about 50 women.

Then you made a lot of illegal money by evading taxes and stashed them away in Swiss and Mexican banks under bogus names. Fortunately, you was killed in a car accident; the world got freed from the clutches of a devil man like you. Your soul then entered the Circle of Energy. It judged your deeds and sent your soul to born in this spider body. My dear Mr. Gawd, any sane person would whole heartedly agree that you fully deserve your lowly spider birth.”

The spider jumped with excitement.

“Oho! so I was born as a human before. I bet my spider ass that I was a special human. Well, then, what’s this Circle of Energy? Who created it?” demanded the spider.

Monk Bodhitaran looked at it with narrowed eyes.

“Its the Circle of Energy.” he said bluntly. “You know what is a circle?”

“Of course I do!” said the spider angrily.

“Well then.. You could figure out easily that a circle has no beginning or ending…. It always existed in the universe…. It doesn’t need to be created…” he said slowly, as though explaining something to a dimwit.

“What birth would I take next if I die right now?” the spider asked eagerly.

Monk Bodhitaran looked at it with pity. “If you exhibit some socialist attitude, then you might be born in a respectable birth like a neem tree, dove, elephant or even take the most precious human birth… “

“Socialist!” Jeered Mr. Gawd. “Ha! I know what it means. It’s Sharing one’s wife with everyone else,” said the psycho spider, cackling madly.

Monk Bodhitaran ignored the barbaric remarks of the spider. “Hmm… You’ll probably be born as a stinking maggot or a filthy fruit bat, assuming by the way you are behaving in this birth.” he said dolefully.

“Well, I’ll make sure that won’t happen. If this Circle of Energy is indeed real, I’m going to escape from it and would be born in a new form of my own wish; a form far more powerful than humans. And I’m tired of this Mother Nature. I’m going to make her Extinct by wiping out all the plants and animals on Earth. Then that stupid Circle of Energy can’t put souls into beasts anymore!” said the spider defiantly.

Jing Jing’s face reddened with anger.

“You great eight legged moron! Humans survive each and everyday only by the divine grace of Circle of Energy! What wrong is there in taking birth as a harmless wildflower? Can’t your mundane mind see that humans evolved from all the other lower life forms on Earth, from Mother Nature? Don’t go on prattling about things you don’t understand!”

“Evolution, my ass!” scoffed the spider. “Human beings came from an alien planet called Puva Tuva located in the galaxy of Hooha.”

“Who told you that?” asked a startled Jing Jing.

“Nobody.” said the spider, in a matter of fact voice. “I imagined it myself. You jokers all deserve to be pushed down from the edge of Earth!”

“What edge of Earth?” asked Jing Jing, mystified.

“The edge of the Flat Earth, silly. The Earth is flat, isn’t it, so if we travel to its edge we will fall down. I believe hell is below there. You all belong to that place,” said Mr. Gawd, with a satisfied smirk on its spider face.

Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing exchanged exasperated glances. Then at once, they both burst into laughter. They laughed and laughed till tears came out from their eyes with unbearable mirth.

Jing Jing spoke, clutching the stitch in his stomach.

“Oh, please, Mr. Gawd, please, I’ll die laughing. You’re the most funniest spider I ever met. There’s simply no use in explaining anything to you! The Earth is a sphere, its not flat!” he said with a snigger.

“Yes! Yes! The things you say, no decent human or spider would wish to know! You say that Earth is a sphere, and humans evolved from beasts! Never in my life I heard such outrageous lies! Next you would say that the global warming hoax is true! You’ll even try to make me believe that humans walked on the moon!” shouted the spider furiously.

At once, Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing went into another fit of guffaws.

Mr.Gawd said scornfully, “You jokers wait and see! I will have the last laugh.”

It looked up to the sky and continued, “Whatever cruel and violent actions I did in my human birth, I was always meant to be born human again. No matter how horrible or evil my deeds were, I was meant to be a beautiful human forever.

If that Circle of Energy indeed made my soul born as a spider, I’m going to avenge it by making Mother Nature extinct. Mother Nature’s not human, so it won’t count as a crime. Without nature, there won’t be any birth and rebirth of souls as plants and animals. The Circle of Energy system would collapse.

After that, I’m going to kill all humans and imprison their souls using some scientific device. I’ll transfer the imprisoned souls into men’s dead bodies with the help of another scientific device, and would reanimate their corpses.

They’ll be alive and evolved dead bodies. They would be my sons. Then I will burn all the women’s dead bodies. There won’t be any women, so there won’t be any human Mothers remaining on Earth. A NEW WORLD, consisting of only Fathers and Sons, shall be established under my rule,” the spider finished hysterically.

Monk Bodhitaran was alarmed at the way the spider was thinking. He thought its time to cure the insane spider.

He said pleadingly, “Mr. Gawd, humans evolved from Mother Nature. Think how its barbaric to kill one’s own mother. Also, your efforts would prove futile. Because the Circle of Energy is far more powerful, good and mightier than your poisoned soul.

Why do you wish to kill all humans? Why you hate the womankind so much? It’s true that there are a few horrid, selfish and monstrous mothers among humans, but the rest of them are good and kind. Why do you want to burn only women corpses and transfer souls into men’s corpses?

A ‘NEW WORLD’ filled only with reanimated dead men sounds unbearably crazy, your plans are the ideas of a lunatic!”

The spider sneered at the Monk.

“I’m a lunatic huh? Really, I’m touched by your mother sentiment, Bodhitaran. Your believe that your Mother is Nature… Isn’t it? The pig is also a part of Nature, you know.

So do you meant to say that you are Bodhitaran the human, born to Pig the beast?! Are you calling yourself the son of a pig? or the son of a bitch? No no no, you’re a pig guy! I’m sure that’s what you are! ha ha ha ha!” Mr. Gawd laughed cruelly.

“I bet you told your followers to worship the pig, your mother!” it added wickedly.

By this time, Jing Jing felt highly resentful towards the spider. He quickly picked up a huge stone to crush the foul creature to death. Monk Bodhitaran quelled him with a severe look and turned back to the spider.

He rolled his eyes and said, “Really, Mr. Gawd, I never asked my followers to worship pigs, or any other living creatures or things; or even myself. Though I wouldn’t say no for worshipping a banyan tree, which is a store house of pure life energy.

All I do is, show my disciples the perfect path to reach the truth. Every human being born on Earth has only one final objective, which is : 'To liberate his or her soul from the Circle of Energy permanently by neutralizing one's deeds- karma of previous births.'

This process begins with the extinction of one’s negative desires with a well balanced mind and body achieved through continuous meditation. The process ends when one gets awareness of the true reality around them. This awareness gives the soul strength to exit the Circle of Energy.

Thus the soul escapes from taking another birth. Then the soul reaches its final destination, the permanent region of eternal bliss and peace. I never ask my followers to believe me blindly, but insist them to verify the mechanism of birth – rebirth cycle through deep and continual meditation.

So, the first solid step towards liberation is to cultivate mercy towards the lower life forms of animals and plants on Earth. In that way, one could understand evolution.”

“You are a humongous liar!” spat the spider.

“You talk like an evil doctor promising cure to people who don’t have any disease! A sewer rat, that’s what you are! Only a mutt, a crank would listen to your crackpot stories of birth, rebirth, karma, bliss, liberation and evolution! You’ll make innocent people worship violent, whoomping trees, then you’ll force them to worship flesh eating parrots! You keep on saying that humans have evolved from beasts, that your mother is a pig, that you’re a pig guy!” barked Mr. Gawd.

“Really, don’t you feel ashamed to call yourself born to a beast? How could you possibly believe in evolution?” asked the spider, exasperated.

“Well, I know you have no other choice but to argue in a silly manner,” said Bodhitaran calmly.

“There is no shame in admitting the truth. Glorious falsehoods are filthier than bitter truths. Let me explain you the facts in a simple way. My father and mother were humans, because only humans give birth to humans. Likewise, a bat gives birth only to another foul bat. Evolution is an entirely different process, it’s caused by gene mutations which usually takes place millions of years.

I’m calling the nature as Mother not only for the sole reason that humanity had evolved from it. Every living human on Earth is dependent on nature in one way or other, directly or indirectly, for his well being and survival. The starting point of evolution is from the single celled organisms, billions of years ago. Evolution of nature, as well of the soul, is a transformative and continuous process…

Oh dear, how am I going to explain it precisely to you…..?”

Monk Bodhitaran paused for a moment and looked at the spider thoughtfully.

“What is the most purest form of water on Earth?” he asked after a while.

“It’s the rain, of course!” exclaimed Mr. Gawd.

“Well done! You are really intelligent,” Monk Bodhitaran remarked and launched the next question.

“Where does the rain come from?”

“The rain pours down from the clouds, the clouds in turn are formed by evaporation of the sea!” Replied the spider promptly.

“Very good, very good!” appreciated Monk Bodhitaran.

“Even a small kid could answer your silly questions. I’m expecting tougher ones. I have knowledge more than anyone else in the whole universe!” said the spider haughtily.

“Okay, now please answer one last question. The stinking, foul sewage of our cities mostly gets discharged into the sea and gets mixed up with it. The same water gets evaporated and forms into clouds, then it comes down as rain. Disgusting gutter goes up, and comes down again as the rain, isn’t it? How could you ever call it pure! How could the filthy sewer water appear to you as the pure rain? Surely you are an idiot!”

Monk Bodhitaran said triumphantly.

“No!” roared the spider.

“How could you! Only the very pure water molecules gets evaporated to form clouds! They cool down and then fall as pure rain, you old crank! Can’t you see that the drainage water gets transformed into the pure rain water by a most complex and lengthy process?!” yelled the spider.

Jing Jing cut in furiously.

“Finally you figured out that didn’t you, you great moron! That’s exactly what happens in evolution! For you, calling the transformed rain water as sewage is absolutely goofy! frivolous! absurd!

BUT YOU DID EXACTLY THE SAME STUPID THING BY CALLING MONK BODHITARAN – A HUMAN, AS A PIG GUY! THE SEWAGE GOT TRANSFORMED INTO THE PURE RAIN WATER, AS THE CHIMPANZEE TRANSFORMED INTO THE HUMAN! THE GREAT TRUTH IS THAT HUMANS HAD EVOLVED, TRANSFORMED, PURIFIED, LIKE THAT RAIN WATER! YOU MUST ACCEPT IT, YOU BLOCKHEAD!” he screamed.

“I won’t,” said the spider, stubbornly.

“I won’t. Because I’m special. My previous birth as a human was unique. The other humans had evolved from beasts, not me. I was Raja Shield, the most brainy, the most handsome man ever lived on Earth. So it’s implausible that I could have evolved from beasts.

I repeat, I alone came from the distant planet Puva Tuva, located in the galaxy of Hooha. My alien biological father sent me here in a super fast space ship. I had no mother because in my planet there was no women, only men. As a result, we had only Fathers and Sons.”

“But you, Bodhitaran,” the spider said, leering at him, “has definitely evolved from the Apes on Earth. In fact I bet my eighth leg that you are a Human Ape! The way you talk and walk! There’s no doubt of it! That’s your evolutionary truth! You must study it hard, not me.

Have you ever once looked at your broad white nose and thick rose lips in the mirror? Those are the hallmark symbols of an ape! You resemble exactly the chimpanzee! YOU had evolved from them, not me, the beautiful Raja Shield!

You and I are exactly the same in every aspect, except my straight white nose and thin rose lips! But that makes me a human, isn’t it! But you, Bodhitaran, is a White Baboon, that’s what you are!” Mr. Gawd shrieked callously.

Jing Jing shook with uncontrollable fury.

“You twisted, stinking git! First you said that all humans came from that loony alien planet! Now you claim that you alone came from there!”

“No silly. My papa came along with me. I will now explain the reason why I and my father started our journey from Puva Tuva to Earth.

The Circle of Energy is not an eternal system as claimed by you, Bodhitaran. In fact, it was a recent system introduced by the great, great, great grandfather of the Prudatoar aliens. Once upon a time, the Human Apes lived happily on Earth. An ape’s soul was born again in an ape’s body, a bat’s soul was born again in a bat’s body. That was the natural system for the beasts, established by my own great, great, great grandfather, when he landed here from Puva Tuva for a vacation.

But our archenemies, the Prudatoar aliens, wanted to play games with the souls of beasts. So they created this Evil system, the Circle of Energy, which soon overthrew our ancestors natural system. It started to take control of the life on Earth and forced the souls of the poor beasts to take births into forms according to its own fancy.

My alien biological father – the Super Human Clean Shaven Bald Beast, who always wears a full black iron suit and had eyes that could see in the dark, decided that the time had come to reestablish our ancestors natural system. He thought only I had the power to undertake such an onerous task, even though I was a little baby at that time.

My bald, clean shaven father came with me wearing his black color protective iron suit. He had to leave me alone midway to fight the nasty Prudatoar aliens who crossed our ship. They came in a giant scarlet color spherical spaceship and trapped my father cunningly. They thrashed him to a pulp, then chained him and made him to starve. They watched him suffer in hunger and told him he was participating in a game called ‘The Starvation Sport.’ His suffering kept them entertained.

My father was soon filled with an enormous hunger and demonic anger. At long last, he was gripped by the holy desire to do anything to survive, like eating one’s own offsprings, as the scorpion does.

He bit all the shackles chaining him to pieces. On a dark, dark night, he sneaked out of the pit in which he was imprisoned and killed all the male Prudatoars with a trident. He ate their little children to satiate his hunger. Served them right for starving him!

Then he entered stealthily into another giant scarlet color spherical spaceship. Inside, he saw all of the female Prudatoars. Immediately, he felt his knees go weak. He fell at their feet and begged for love. Seeing his romanticism, they made him their king and gave him a lengthy honorary title -

“Our Emperor – The Super Human Clean Shaven Bald Beast, dressed fully in a black iron suit and gifted with eyes that could see in the dark, and who created a NEW WORLD by marrying us after killing all our husbands, eating our children and licking our feet.”

He married thousands of them and settled comfortably in the New civilized World he founded. He forgot all about me and the Circle of Energy. I was only a small baby then, but luckily I was extremely intelligent and beautiful, mind you. Even at a very young age, my planet taught me to hold my senses and focus, so I operated the super fast spaceship all by myself and steered it towards Earth.

A homicidal fiend followed me from my planet to destroy me. I was asleep in my golden cradle and was clothed in my favorite red color nappy. He approached me and took me in his hands with murder in his eyes. Suddenly, he wrinkled his nose, put me back in the cradle and staggered away, clutching his throat. Then, blimey, he dropped down dead on the floor! I think my nappy must have stank horribly. That nasty smell chocked and killed him instantly.

Pity, he was very handsome and beautiful, just like me. He too never belonged to this planet of Human Apes, the Earth. In my home planet Puva Tuva, there was only a single species of beast, and they were numerous like ants. All of them were elephantine in size. They were of an ugly dark brown, mummy brown or black in color. That’s enough to describe how horrid and terrifying they were!” said the spider, with a shudder.

Then it continued, “I landed with a thud, in Juhu, the trash beach of Mumbai. Soon I was found and adopted by my Human Ape parents. They named me Raja Shield. I grown up into an amazingly handsome man gifted with super natural powers and intelligence. I taught these brutal, savage, Human Apes how to eat and dress and made them civilized, I alone invented each and every technology on Earth over night for the use of this Human Apekind..”

“But Mr. Gawd! People on Earth were civilized well before your birth as Mr. Raja Shield…” said Monk Bodhitaran disbelievingly, shocked at this outrageous lie.

“Don’t interrupt me,” snapped the spider. “How many times I had to clarify, you absolute moron! I came from Puva Tuva in a space ship! I’m not born to Human Apes! What was I saying? Hmm, Yes. I gifted these thuggish Human Apes with great technologies for free, mind you. I never asked them to pay me, I never filed a single patent for my inventions. Monetary gain was never my intention.

These Human Apes should be forever grateful to me. In fact they must be willing to become my lifetime slaves. Using my super powers, I could have easily colonized their lands and plundered their resources, but I didn’t. Only bastards would do such kind of cheap things. Even if I did some colonizing and looting, I couldn’t be called a bastard, simply because I’m unique.” It said with a maddening look of pride.

“Who told you all these stuff?” asked Monk Bodhitaran weakly, tired of arguing with Mr. Gawd.

“Nobody.” said the spider brightly. “My hyperactive brain imagined it all by itself. I believe its the truth. My sincere hope is that I’m an alien, someone special. It sounds far more acceptable to me than your foolish theory that I evolved from monkeys. Hope is all I have. Nothing but Good Hope, which gives a meaning for the persistence of my pathetic soul.”

“I see,” said Monk Bodhitaran slowly, “I see. You chose to believe self created, non sense stories, even if the truth slaps at your face. You will put your faith in a false hope that you had come from something special, rather than accept the humble truth of evolution. Hear this – The only way to escape from evil is healthy reality. If you wallow yourself in superiority complex and started spinning ridiculous tales, then one day you will become the laughing stock of the world, like someone who always walk around only in their underwear.” he said with sarcasm.

“I don’t have any kind of complex,” said the spider swiftly.

“My previous human birth as Raja Shield was special and its the holy truth. I’m the most deserved person to live, to survive. On the twilight of an evening, I realized that I’m the one and only, most beloved, immortal person in the whole universe forever and ever. I can see that in the mirror. If you see yourself, you will realize your evolutionary truth, that you are a Human Ape, who came from the mud, an inferior fellow, a mongrel dog, a netherman, a numb and dumb person. You’re simply jealous about a confident and beautiful person like me, the great Raja Shield,” it said firmly.

“All right, I got it. Its useless in trying to change a wicked, self delusional, conceited, deceitful, evil, mean and rotten soul like you.

But I won’t stand your mendacities. You did all kind of monstrous things in your human birth, but now you’re lying to me you did SUPER HEROIC selfless deeds for humanity. Everyone wants to feel beloved, that’s not wrong, but imagining that you are ‘The one and only, most beloved, immortal person in the whole universe forever and ever,’ is utter rubbish. You’re purely diabolical.” said Monk Bodhitaran coldly.

“Glad you found that about me. You must know that poisonous mushrooms won’t change their spots. There is no need to teach new tricks to an old spider dog like me. I’m divergent. You can’t classify me into something decent. Now please listen to me, gentlemen. It’s no use calling me names. Whatever you say or do is only a joke to me. In fact, your funny statement that the Earth is a sphere was the greatest joke since 2000 years!” the spider said mockingly.

Then it continued, “In my previous birth as Raja Shield, the playboy billionaire of Mumbai, I was very happy and lived peacefully. I took good care of my company Brutish Pharmaceuticals and gifted the Human Apes with my new inventions for free.

Everything went on wonderfully until I was assassinated by the Circle of Energy. It wiped my memory clean and sent my soul into this spider’s body. It killed me only to stop me carrying out the glorious mission of my father.

I’m pretty sure the Circle of Energy is a wicked system. Any soul entering it would feel like getting lost in a huge metal maze filled with stone monsters. Yes, its terribly wicked! I’m certain of it as sure as the Earth is flat! Note this down, definitely I would avenge it one day! I will end it all,” said the spider bitterly.

“I will tell you the mission my father gave me to accomplish in this Human Ape’s planet, the Earth. I had mentioned it before, its nothing but to kill Mother Nature and humanity and free all the souls from the Circle of Energy.

My dear wild clowns, hear me. On a dark, dark night, Gawd the green spider planned to rescue the Human Ape’s planet by waging war on Nature and Womenkind. At the end of this war, after everything is ended by the ender spider Gawd, a NEW WORLD, filled only with reanimated, evolved dead bodies of men – the Fathers and sons – shall roam the Earth, exactly like in my home planet Puva Tuva. They would sing the praise of the glorious smell of putrefied corpses forever!” It finished balefully.

Jing Jing screwed up his face in disgust and turned his head away.

“How, a small spider like YOU, could wage war on humanity?” asked Monk Bodhitaran.

“I have excellent plans. First, I’m going to commit suicide. I now remember someone from my previous birth, who is capable of freeing my soul from the Circle of Energy temporarily. After my freedom, I would carry out my avenging.” The spider said in a cool voice.

Then it glared at them with malevolent eyes.

“Don’t you dare try to stop me, jokers! I’m a super spider! You know why this Earth, the Human Ape’s home, is called a blue planet? Because blue is the color of the Beast, you evil thugs! Even the extinct dinosaurs were blue and saffron in color. Black, brown and grey are the colors of alien beasts! Don’t ask me how I know all that! I imagined it myself! It’s time for creating a NEW WORLD without women, plants and animals; a new sky that is not blue and new men who are raised from the dead!” it gabbled on.

“A new sky that is not blue! You are insane. That won’t happen!” said Monk Bodhitaran firmly.

“Then I would destroy Earth! I and my fellow Sons would find another planet to dwell in the wide universe!” the spider shrieked.

“Hey, hang on! If there’s no Earth, there’s no humanity! Human babies could never be born outside Earth. Even if they did, they would be weak and unfit to live. They can’t sustain human life. The dangerous cosmic radiations in the outer space and the absence of gravity could hamper child growth in a harmful way. Earth is perfectly designed for human existence. The fate of the human race is sealed with their home planet.

THE SOUL BELONGS TO SKY, BUT LIFE BELONGS TO EARTH.

The probability of finding another planet exactly like Earth is very very negligible,” Monk Bodhitaran said gravely.

“Hmph, stop your fibbery. I don’t need babies or mothers. My Empire belongs to the living corpses of Fathers and Sons. They are enough for me. So long, suckers!”

Having said this, the spider quickly made a thick noose with its web around its neck and hanged itself from the branch of the bush. It writhed and struggled for a few seconds, then it died, became still and silent.

Jing Jing removed the iron Tiger helmet from his head and eyed the limp form of the spider with distaste. He looked at his Master.

“A not so sad end for Mr. Gawd,” he said.

Then a sudden suspicion crept into his mind.

“Master! The stupid, vague things the spider said, was it real, or did I imagined it myself?”

Monk Bodhitaran shook his head and smiled slightly. He too wished that what happened was only a dream, a nightmare. But he knew that Mr. Gawd and his evil plans were perfectly true and his suicide was not the end. In fact its a new beginning, a beginning for something more powerful and sinister than anything known in the universe.

“Master, one more thing…” Jing Jing said hesitantly.

“Ask away Jing Jing, ask away..”

“While talking with the spider, you said something about extinction of negative desires. What exactly are they?”

“Desires that branch into many, desires that are insatiable, desires that enslave the mind, desires which upset the balance of the mind and body, are the Negative Desires.”

“Er.. Is it possible to quit them altogether?”

“Yes. But it takes time.. First of all, one must recognize which are his/her Negative Desires. Then they must try to tame them. If they could do that, the final step of extinguishing them is very very easy.”

“How to identify one’s Negative Desires?”

“That.. is impossible to tell. There is no general criteria. Like the D.N.A. of every person, their Negative Desires ingrained within their souls are unique.. and is only within their own reach…”

“Oh, Okay Master,” said Jing Jing, with a dubious expression on his face. He was unable to comprehend his Master’s words.

CHAPTER THREE

UNCLE JUMBO HAD VISITORS

April, 2016

The smooth tar road of the National Highways shimmered in the intense afternoon heat of the April sun. A huge sunflower field expanded on the right side of this road. Its beautiful yellow flowers nodded their pretty heads in the occasional faint breeze. This field was called the Jumbo sunflower field.

On the left side of the road, opposite to the sunflower field, was the Jumbo paper mill. Next to this mill was a cluster of shops. It consisted of a restaurant, a bakery, a coffee shop and a petrol bunk. All of them were named as Jumbo. An apartment and a few lonely concrete houses were behind the paper mill.

A small, two storeyed modern structure, built fully with glass and steel, was visible right beside the sunflower field. It was painted in the sweet color of sky blue. People called it the Jumbo house.

This rather peaceful neighborhood, comprising the Jumbo group of properties, was known as Tagore Nagar. It was located just outside the city limits of the Chennai Metropolis, faraway from the city’s noise and smoke.

Inside the living room of Jumbo house, a man was reclining relaxedly on a comfy white couch. He kept checking the time in his golden wrist watch. This man’s name was Jumbo Raja. He was 41 years old, was stoutly built, had medium height and an olive complexion. He had long, wavy black hair and a handlebar shaped black moustache. He wore a full sleeve black shirt, indigo color jeans and black shades with white frames. Two tiny golden earrings dangled from his ears.

Jumbo Raja was a widower and had no kids. He never had the heart for remarriage, so he lived all alone. He owned the paper mill opposite, and all the four shops nearby. The sunflower field also belonged to him.

Jumbo Raja lived a simple life. Even though he was rich, he didn’t like keeping servants. He did the household chores himself, ate food from his restaurant and spent most of the time in his paper mill, taking good care of his business.

Another important aspect of his life was spirituality. He was an ardent follower of Buddhist Monk Bodhitaran. He never liked worshipping people or things, but he respected and revered the Monk simply because he was genuine. He attended all of Monk Bodhitaran’s public meetings and never missed his speeches in T.V. programs.

He never intended to establish a personal connection between him and the Monk, because he was content with admiring him at a distance. But Monk Bodhitaran was always watchful. He took notice of Jumbo Raja’s fervent dedication. One day, he descended from the stage of a public meeting and made acquaintance with Jumbo. From that day onwards, they became good friends.

He remembered one of the Monk’s nice speeches, in which he had talked about selflessness.

“Being selfless means abandoning the evil habit of being choosy. ‘My family, My people, My children’ – all these notions reflect a man’s selfishness born out of attachment. Selfless people would be inclusive. They see life as an interdependent entity and treat everyone with equality.

Hence, they would share half of their fortune with the needy. A high standard of living is fine if it is a necessity, but should be deserted when they turn extravagant.

The greatest illusion is one’s attachment to self. It tricks the mind into believing that the form of human body is one’s true identity forever. Thus it hinders the soul’s progress in spirituality.

The only thing that belong to you is the moment ‘now’. Everything else is ambiguous. The greatest deceiver is time. There is no past and future. Dead past becomes non existent and irreversible. Future is only a hope, an imagination, it couldn’t be entered at will. Only the present is an everlasting reality.

So stop being extremely lavish or stingy. Remember, if you ever did charity when you are famous, be humble.

Keep in mind, you are giving back what you had taken from nature and earth in the first place. If a rich man does charity, its his duty. There’s nothing to be proud of in that. On the other hand, if a poor man shares what little he has, that is greatness. Such a man is worthy of worship.

Listen to this story :

Once upon a time in Arabia, there were two rich merchants, fond of philanthropy. They were also thick friends.

Hearing their generosity, poor people from far off lands visited them. The merchants gave them enough riches to get rid of their poverty.

On a starry night, a desert genie, impressed by their benevolence, gifted them a super power. Using that power, they could read other people’s mind.

The next day, while the merchants were distributing alms among the poor, they decided to read the people’s thoughts. Though the people showed intense gratitude in their faces and words, most of their thoughts were distinctly rude.

Many were thinking the same thing – ‘Look at these two clowns eroding their wealth on us. If it were me, I would have locked away all the riches safely for my future generations and would live in the lap of luxury. As long as rich fools like these men are there, we could live easily without any hard work.’

The second friend was enraged on reading these thoughts of the people and stormed away, fuming. He came again the next day.

But that day also, the people’s thoughts were impertinent as ever, though they acted outside as if they were grateful. Some even thought of slitting the merchants throats and robbing their wealth!

The second friend stopped the first friend from giving any more alms.

“Do you read these people’s minds? How could you still do good to them? They are bitter and ungrateful!” he said furiously.

The first friend replied calmly, “Being hateful is their nature. Being generous is my nature. I can’t change my character because of others.”

So, do good both to your friends and foes alike. It reflects your own character.

Remember, honesty and humbleness are the twin virtues that would reserve a first class ticket for you in the train bound to the destination of liberation.”

Jumbo Raja took that eye opening speech straight to his heart. It made him a firm believer in democratic socialism. He decided he would share his wealth equally with the have-nots. Half of his yearly business profits now goes evenly to the city’s orphanages.

Jumbo Raja was not born into a wealthy family. He was orphaned at 10 and had spent his childhood in a slum, along with his 5 siblings. He came forward in life using his sheer talent, hard work and honesty. His childhood years of poverty were filled with humiliation and abasement. Even though those memories left a nasty cramp in his conscience, he never became a selfish man.

After steadying his business, Jumbo Raja got married to steady his life. His lovely wife brought breeze into his bleak surroundings. When he was getting settled into his new, blessed life, he lost his wife in an accident. He felt completely desolated. At that time, to save himself from his own wrath, he started following Monk Bodhitaran.

The words of the Monk gave eternal peace to his troubled heart, like the gentle drizzle spraying on one’s face from a grey sky. It’s not the kind of peace the cavemen gets after their savage avenging.

It’s the peace one would feel while sitting alone on a sunflower field in the evening, watching the gorgeous sun set; or gazing at the puffy blackish blue clouds on a rainy day.

It’s the peace one gets while staring at the stream of stars on a clear moon lit night; or by watching the flock of birds flapping across the sky in beautiful formations at dawn.

Jumbo Raja’s three brothers and two sisters, lived separately in different parts of Chennai city. Unlike Jumbo Raja, who chose to be an entrepreneur, his siblings had become doctors and engineers.

He was now waiting for a group of five young children and their pet dog. All those kids were his nieces and nephews sent by their parents, to spend the summer holidays in their Uncle’s home.

Uncle Jumbo loved having the five children and their dog in his house. They added color and music to his sombre and monotonous life. When they came last year for their vacation, he spent a lovely time with them. While he was ruminating on those sweet memories, there came a loud honk of a car outside.

He stood up and went to the entrance. His giant Hummer car screeched to a stop before the gate. The doors of the limousine flew open and out bounded four teenagers, a lovely little boy and a beautiful dog with a glossy brown fur.

“Uncle Jumbo!” the children chorused happily. Their Uncle eyed the lot of them with apparent delight.

The little boy, named Lenin Saakiyan, was his favorite. Being only 8 years old, he was still small, but well grown for his age, with a nice round face and cocoa color skin.

On the right side of Lenin stood another good looking lad, beaming at his Uncle. His name was Marx Pandyan. He was a tall, healthy, fair skinned, square faced boy. Both Marx and Lenin had their hair cropped in a medium size.

Behind Marx appeared a third boy, grinning. He went by the name Karma Veer, and had a heart shaped face, toffee complexion, average height, medium hair and healthy body. He was extremely handsome.

Uncle Jumbo opened his arms with a welcoming smile on his face. The little boy named Lenin and the dog rushed towards him. Uncle Jumbo immediately picked up little Lenin in his arms and swung him around playfully. The child screamed with pleasure. The dog, barking happily, jumped on him and tried to lick his face. Uncle Jumbo lowered Lenin down to the ground, still hugging him with his one hand. He patted the dog’s head kindly with his other hand and shook hands with it.

“How are you, Kingdum?” he asked the dog.

The dog wagged its tail vigorously and smiled, hanging its tongue out.

Marx Pandyan and Karma Veer started to unload the baggage. Two girls were helping them. The first one was Teresa Rani. She was of average height, had a healthy physique and caramel color skin. Her hair was tied behind in a ponytail. She looked pretty.

The second girl’s name was Maya Shree. She was tall, healthy and had a creamy complexion. Her long wavy hair flowed loosely around her shoulders. She was gorgeous.

All of the children had jet black hair and beautiful onyx eyes; besides Marx, who had bronze hair and hazel green eyes. The boys wore dull colored cotton shirts and jeans, while the girls were dressed in brightly colored cotton skirts and tops.

Apart from Lenin, all the kids were 13 years old and studied at the same school.

Soon the children had finished removing their luggage from the car. Uncle Jumbo nodded at the driver. He saluted smartly, turned the limousine around and drove away. The gang of kids crowded eagerly around their Uncle, holding their suitcases in their hands. They all tried to hug him at the same time.

“Oh Uncle, your tummy seemed to have grown a few inches like a pumpkin!” squealed the tall girl.

“Maya! don’t be rude,” said the other girl Teresa, crossly.

Uncle Jumbo laughed jovially, his huge belly shaking with the effort.

“Yep, Teresa. Maya is right. I haven’t been cross country running for the past couple of months. Not been able to get enough free time. Business alone seem to occupy my life nowadays,” he said, frowning slightly.

“Not anymore Uncle,” piped the little boy Lenin.

“We know you will spend time with us. You’ll take us to nearby hill stations, to the circus and theme parks, like you did in last year,” he said, holding his Uncle’s hands affectionately.

“No he won’t,” said the tall boy called Marx Pandyan gloomily. “Father told me Uncle will be busy this summer, expanding his business. He asked us not to pester him,”

“Well, its true. Business is booming this year. But I’ll still somehow manage to spend at least the weekends with you.” Uncle Jumbo said thoughtfully.

The children looked soberly at each other. Even Kingdum stopped wagging his tail.

Uncle Jumbo glanced at them.

“Come now, why these long faces? You all love to be on your own, isn’t it? You five and Kingdum could picnic anywhere you wanted around the city. I’ll send my driver with you, He’s a nice guy,” he said cheerfully.

“Oh, no Uncle, it won’t be fun at all without you,” wailed Maya.

Kingdum approved with a woof, capering playfully around the children’s ankles.

“Hmm. I know what you mean,” Uncle Jumbo said with a twinkle in his eyes. “Last year when we went to the circus, I ran halfway from the show when the lions came to perform. You all laughed and thought I was scared, no wonder it was funny to you.”

“But Uncle, I knew you had to go. Because if you had stayed, the lions would have been scared to death on seeing your large mustache. Then the show would have come to a stand still,” the boy called Karma said cheekily.

“Shut it. Don’t be so insolent!” snapped Teresa.

“Really, Uncle just went out to make an urgent phone call. I saw him. You’re being too saucy, Karma,” said Marx with irritation.

“Uncle, I wasn’t teasing you,” protested Karma.

“Its nothing, its nothing. Karma’s been always like that. Quick witted, that’s what I call him. But he’s the one who helps me the most with all the household chores; washing clothes and ironing and all those things, he even does some of my office work. That’s why he gets more pocket money from me,” Uncle Jumbo said with a wink.

“We too helped,” said Teresa indignantly.

“Not always,” said Karma, sticking his tongue out.

They all trooped into the house. Uncle Jumbo glanced at his wrist watch. “Well, I’m afraid I got to go now. I’ll be back for dinner around 8. Marx, you take care of these folks..”

“Uncle, we could perfectly take care of ourselves. Marx is our own age! we’re not toddlers who need care takers!” said Karma, outraged.

“Hmm… I know that. All the same, Marx is much more disciplined and responsible than the rest of you. Be good children and obey your team leader. And Marx, don’t go bossing around your team, they will squash you,” Uncle Jumbo said, beaming.

“Yes, uncle. I know. I still remember how the others soaked me in mud the last time I tried to be bossy,” Marx said, smirking.

“Clever of you,” said Maya with a sneer.

“Gosh, where’s Kingdum?!” little Lenin asked with surprise.

Karma squinted around. “I suppose he ran off to the sunflower field, to snap at those poor butterflies.”

“Er.. I forgot, You kids had finished your lunch?” Uncle Jumbo asked lightly.

“Oh, yes Uncle. We ate at Lenin’s house. Mushroom biryani and cauliflower 65. It was a very tasty dish. I had it rather full.” said Karma, tapping his stomach.

“Okay then. I had finished my lunch too. Have a nice time, I’m going back to the Mill,” said Uncle Jumbo, signing off.

They watched him as he trudged up the foot path and crossed the road towards the Paper Mill.

The children looked around the house. It appeared the same when they visited it last year. All the rooms were neatly furnished and brightly decorated. The first floor consisted of a living room, a kitchen, a dining room and a master bedroom attached with a bathroom.

Uncle Jumbo had provided the children double bed rooms with attached bathrooms, in the second floor. One for the boys and the other for the girls. Both the bedrooms were covered on one side with a wall fully made in glass. Through them, they could get a wonderful view of the sun flower field.

The children stomped up the stairs, dragging their luggage behind them. Marx entered the boys bedroom, banging the door open.

Little Lenin ran to the glass wall, slid back the curtain and pushed open the glass windows. A cool breeze immediately filled the room.

“There’s our tree house!” said Lenin excitedly, and pointed to a lonely mango tree right at the center of the huge sunflower field.

The mango tree was broad and tall. On its uppermost part, among the strongest branches, nested a wooden tree house. Three sides of it had small circular windows. The fourth side had a small door. The roof of the tree house was shaped like a pyramid, made from four blocks of wood, nailed together to form a sharp apex.

Each side of the wooden pyramid roof had a glass window, to let the clear sunlight stream into the house. The children built the tree house themselves last year, with some help from their uncle’s carpenter friend.

They simply loved to while away the time inside their own tree house. A small rope ladder hung from the base of the door. The children always preferred to climb inside the house using the branches; but the rope was there anyway, in case of emergency.

Lenin had insisted that Kingdum shouldn’t be left out of the tree house. Since dogs can’t climb trees like cats, they fixed a rope pulley attached with an old bathtub near the door of the tree house. They could put Kingdum inside the tub and lift it easily using the pulley up to the house.

“It still looks new and great! Please Marx, lets go immediately, lets go! lets go!” Lenin chanted excitedly and pulled Marx’s hands.

“Calm down kid, first we must have a dress change. Then we shall go to our tree house, and play chess there. I won the district chess tournament last month, do you know that? I’m sure I would become a World Champion one day. You must learn a few lessons from me,” Marx said, gazing at the mango tree. “I think we need to paint our tree house to protect it from the weather. What do you say Karma?”

Karma said nothing in reply. He didn’t even turn his head towards the glass wall but slumped on the bed, pulled out his smart phone and started checking his WhatsApp messages. Both Marx and Lenin started to change their dress speedily.

“Get up, you lazy lump, we’ll go to the tree house,” Marx nudged Karma with his feet.

Karma simply rolled to the other side of the bed and started typing something fast in his phone. Suddenly, there came the sound of pattering feet.

“Uh, oh. Incoming.” said Lenin.

Kingdum tore into their bedroom at hundred miles an hour. He jumped like a kangaroo and landed right on top of Karma’s head and started to lick his face furiously.

“Hey, get down Kingdum! I’m not an ice cream to lick like that,” Karma pushed the dog away.

Soon the three boys had dressed themselves in brightly colored casual clothes, not bothering to wear them matched. Karma wore a jade green T-shirt and periwinkle blue shorts.

The boys exited their bedroom and waited for the girls to join them. Karma leaned casually on the wall next to the closed door of the girl’s bedroom, still texting something of utmost global importance.

“Leader sir, you better make the girls come out soon,” said Karma, “using your leadership skills,” he added sarcastically.

Little Lenin stood on the balls of his feet, trying to peep at what Karma was typing, but Karma jerked it away from his view. Kingdum also did the same and his wet saliva drooled on the phone’s screen from his panting mouth. The dog even tried to scratch the screen with its paw.

“No Kingdum!” yelled Karma, hugging the phone to his bosom, alarmed.

Marx banged the girl’s bedroom door impatiently.

“Just give us two minutes,” said Teresa. Her frustrated voice sounded muffled by the closed door.

“Come out soon ladies. We’re going to a tree house, not the White House,” Marx said, scratching the ears of Kingdum who stood rubbing against his knees.

After five minutes, the door opened with a bang. Both girls stood there, dressed in matching gay T-shirts and shorts, and looked extremely cross.

“What’s the matter with you guys? Can’t you just wait for a few minutes?” said Teresa, stamping her feet angrily.

Marx ignored her and said to Maya, “I forgot to bring my chess board. Where’s yours? Take it out.”

Maya bit her lip. She went back and fumbled inside her knapsack. She grabbed something and then rushed outside.

“Here, I have it,” she brandished a Tablet computer before his face. Marx frowned at her.

“Not this, Maya. I asked for the real board. You know we can’t play peacefully with this. Lenin would badger us halfway to allow him play games with it.”

“Then you better give your phone to him if he wanted to play games,” said Maya firmly. “Like you, I forgot to bring my chess board. This tablet is a birthday gift from a very special friend of mine. I won’t allow anyone to spoil it.”

“But my phone’s charging,” said Marx, annoyed.

“Mine too,” said Teresa promptly.

“Don’t worry. I’ll coddle Lenin. He’s a darling, he won’t bother us,” Maya said.

Teresa was looking sideways at Karma beadily, whose eyes were still glued to the cell phone, his fingers working madly on the screen.

With a wicked grin, Teresa suddenly wretched the phone out of Karma’s hand and started sprinting down the stairs like a cat. Karma looked at his empty hand clutching the air, stunned. Then he went after her like lightning.

Immediately Kingdum scampered behind them. Little Lenin bounded after the dog, trailing its tail and disappeared.

“There goes my team,” said Marx with a sigh.

“Its a good thing we all wear sneakers. Else, at the speed Karma went racing on this mosaic floor, he would’ve fell down sprawling,” he said with concern. “And would’ve broken his nose,” he added hopefully.

“Well then, what’s the game plan for now, Fuhrer?” asked Maya, sweeping a strand of hair away from her eyes.

“Hey I’m not Fuhrer, only leader!” Marx said, looking shocked.

“All the same,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Marx looked at his watch.

“Well, the time’s already inching towards four. We shall go to our tree house and have two or three chess matches straight away. Then we’ll have our tea at uncle’s coffee shop. After that we’ll return to the sunflower field and just sit and watch the glorious sun set,” he said cheerily.

“Hmm. That’s not very much exciting, but I might get inspiration for my new poem. I do love writing in English. It’s a beautiful language. I’ll be a great English poet one day. I think I got the first line for my poem. It starts just like this :

‘When I set my lovely, lovely eyes on the lovely, lovely sun set…’

“It sounds great, Isn’t it?” Maya asked, her voice bubbling with enthusiasm.

“Yeah, sure,” said Marx, carefully not looking at her.

He turned his head hastily to hide his smile. He remembered how horrid her last poem about the rain was, when she recited it to them last year. He felt Maya’s poems were nothing more than nursery rhymes, but refrained himself from saying so, because Karma had pointed that out already, and made her cry bitterly.

Marx carefully locked the doors behind them. Then they ambled into the huge sun flower field, towards the mango tree at its center. Lenin was there, sitting on one of the lower branches and waved at them wildly. He was gorging on a fat mango, its juice dripping down from his palm.

Kingdum peeped its head out from one of the tree house windows, its black nose sniffing at the sweet scent of the ripe mangoes hanging from the branches. Karma had lifted the dog up into the house using the bathtub pulley.

Kingdum vanished from the window and reappeared at the door. It asked Marx and Maya to come up in its barky language. The two of them climbed up using the branches and went inside the house. Lenin followed them at once.

The tree house was surprisingly roomy for one little boy, four big children and an equally big dog. The sunlight from the roof top glass windows illuminated the place brightly. Teresa was sitting cross legged on the wooden floor, and was desperately trying to grab the cell phone from Karma, who dodged his hands away from her.

He was lying on his back comfortably on a squashy sleeping bag. It looked as if Karma had wrenched back his phone from her after the chase. Now, Teresa was again tugging at his hands to get hold of it.

“Just leave me alone, Teresa. Don’t mess with my personal matters, ok?” Karma tried to say with a serious face, but grinned at the last moment.

“Personal matters?” said Teresa disbelievingly. “Hmph, A little kid like you has nothing which is personal.”

She looked at Marx, who settled on another sleeping bag in a corner and reclined on the wooden wall.

“Marx, do you know with whom Karma was chatting all these time? It’s with that senior girl Sara! From what I’ve read in their messages, I reckon they are secretly in love,” she declared triumphantly, like a detective who had solved a puzzling murder case.

“What?” shrieked Maya, her hands flying over to her mouth. She looked at Karma with wide eyes, like he had done the most outrageous thing in the world.

“Really?” asked Marx, in an uninterested voice. He began to turn on the tablet and then opened the chess game App.

“You may get yourself into serious trouble at school if this news came out,” said Maya in a hushed voice.

“Stupid girls,” said Karma irritatedly. “Sara’s just a friend of mine, that’s all,”

Little Lenin eyed the tablet with longing. His fingers itched to play his favorite racing game. He began to take it from the lap of Marx.

“Hey, give that back,” Marx asked sternly, but Lenin simply twisted his body and turned his back on him. Marx started to pull the tablet from Lenin’s hand and the little boy immediately gave out a loud, piercing yell.

“Okay then, keep it yourself, you little wretch!” said Marx, defeated on seeing tears in Lenin’s eyes.

“Lenin, you’re a very good boy… Now give it back. Why don’t you take Kingdum down for a walk and chase butterflies together for sometime? I’ll buy you a double chocolate ice cream at tea. Ok dear?” Maya spoke to Lenin coaxingly.

On hearing his name, Kingdum turned his head around from the window and cocked his ears.

Lenin shook his head stubbornly and hid the tablet behind his back.

“Here, you play in my phone. I have installed a new action game. It’s superb, you’ll love it. Give the tablet back.” Karma said.

He threw his brick sized smart phone over to Lenin. Lenin caught it and slumped to the floor, putting his head on Kingdum’s body. The dog was lying down with its tongue lolling out, looking bored. Lenin soon became busy with his gaming.

Maya gave a sigh of relief and took back the tablet. Soon, she and Marx began to have a fiery battle inside 64 squares. Teresa was watching their game with the utmost interest. Karma lay down on his back and gazed relaxedly at the rolling fluffy white clouds in the beautiful blue sky, through the crystal clear glass window on the roof of the tree house.

Marx won the first game. Teresa and Maya drew the second game. Again Marx won the third game, this time with Teresa.

Suddenly, the alarm in Marx’s wrist watch went off. Kingdum woke up from its brief slumber and gave a sleepy woof. Marx stifled the alarm and noticed that the time was 5 P.M.

“Well.. we had 3 interesting games, and as usual, I won the most. Come, let’s have some snacks at the coffee shop. I’m already feeling a hole in my stomach,” Marx suggested.

Everybody agreed wholeheartedly. Kingdum thumped his tail hard, thinking about dog biscuits.

Marx first went down swiftly by hopping down the large and sturdy branches.

“Send Kingdum down,” he called from the ground.

Karma lifted and put a trembling Kingdum into the bathtub. Marx worked the pulley carefully and lowered the bathtub to the ground. As soon at it reached the ground, Kingdum leapt out with a yelp.

“Why all dogs are scared of heights?” Lenin asked in a puzzled voice.

“Because they don’t have wings, silly!” said Karma, with a stupid guffaw. Then he gave a yell like a gorilla, beating his chest. He swung from the upper branches to the lower ones methodically. When his hands slipped on a lower branch, he jumped to the ground wildly.

Then both the girls followed him. They climbed down gracefully using the strong and flexible branches. At last Lenin climbed down silently without putting much effort or show.

The children marched towards the main road and crossed it patiently, looking out for vehicles on either side. The Jumbo coffee shop with its glossy glass walls looked inviting. The children entered the posh building and began to settle on an empty table overlooking the road.

The head waiter Mr. Susi came to their table, smiling. He was a blind man; short, fat and black skinned, clad in a white shirt, midnight blue suit and tie. He wore oversized black shades with black frames.

“The five little children and their nice dog Kingdum, all back for the holidays. Hope you’re in excellent health and spirit?” he asked kindly.

“Jinkies! How do you know we’re here Susi?” asked a surprised Maya.

“I heard your dog, Missy. I know its scratchy bark. I do think you all are hungry. Kindly place your orders,” he said politely.

“Well, first we like to have five cups of steaming hot tea. Then bring us hot chocolate to drink. What shall we have for snacks?” Marx asked the others.

“Bring fifteen Vadas with hot Chutney, after that we’ll have ten Cupcakes. Don’t forget the Strawberry flavored dog Biscuits for Kingdum, he’s partial to that,” Karma said brusquely and bent his head down to the cell phone on his lap.

Soon the five children were having a smashing tea. Kingdum crunched his biscuits sitting under the table. Karma ate 7 Vadas and 3 Cupcakes all by himself.

“Don’t behave like a glutton, Karma,” said Teresa with disgust. “I say, look at the cashier’s desk.” she nudged Maya. Both the girls stared at the bloke there and started to giggle.

“What’s the joke? Who are you laughing at?” asked Lenin, his mouth full of Cake.

“Hmph,” said Karma, after checking who it was.

An olive skinned young man stood there, collecting bills. He was clad in a white shirt and violent pink suit. He wore an indigo silk tie, a silver stud in one ear and black sunglasses with pink frames. He had long black hair, a trimmed black beard, thick black mustache and thick rosy lips. His nose was fat like a capsicum.

“Its Justin Solomon, the jester who flatters himself as a charmer. I didn’t see him while we entered. He’s a dolt. The last time we met, he said he traded his Parker pen for a pair of tongs! Honestly, I can’t guess why these girls find him so attractive.” Karma said, his voice riddled with contempt.

“You’re simply jealous.” retorted Maya. “Because he’s handsome than you.”

“What?! I’m taller than him! he’s only 4.5 feet, I’m five. Look at my bulging arms! That guy looks like he couldn’t say boo to a goose!” said Karma furiously.

“Well he’s lean like a sword, not a bulky goon like you. He’s smart and handsome to me,” Teresa said with another giggle.

Karma honestly couldn’t think of anything sensible to reply. So he decided to sulk. He gulped his hot chocolate and relapsed into a moody silence. Marx turned his face into what he hoped was a neutral expression.

Soon Susi came with the bill. Marx tipped him generously and they stood up to go. Karma still looked sulky.

The guy called Justin Solomon flashed a brilliant smile at the children when they came towards him. He shook hands solemnly with all of them, except Karma, who simply nodded at him and kept his hands well inside his pockets. Justin gave a small pat to Kingdum, who was sniffing at his ankles.

“I didn’t see you kids when you came. I was out for a while. Back for the summer holidays, I suppose?”

“Yeah, we just came today. You’re now what… at your second year in college?” asked Marx, handing him the bill amount.

“Yes, young master. Next year is my graduation year,” Justin said brightly.

On seeing the money, he said hastily, “No, no, no! You don’t need to pay! Your uncle asked me not to charge you.”

“But we would like to pay! He’s giving us a lot of pocket money, anyway.”

Marx firmly thrusted the money into Justin’s hands, who accepted it with a grin.

“Nice shades you wear,” remarked Teresa coyly to Justin.

Karma cleared his throat loudly.

“Everybody, quick! The time’s already quarter to six! We must run to our tree house, or else we’ll miss the sun set!” he said urgently.

“Why, are you children painting the sun set?” asked Justin Solomon with interest.

“Never you mind,” said Karma rudely and stormed outside. The others waved good bye to Justin and began to jog towards the sunflower field.

“You’re awfully rude, Karma, if you don’t mind me saying so.” Maya said crossly.

“It’s jolly good of you to remind the time. I’m afraid the sun would be fully down before we reach there,” Marx said, racing ahead.

“Relax, fuhrer! This is not the very last sun set of the world. That giant fire ball is not going to perish anytime soon, it would rise again.” Karma said with a sneer.

“Stop calling me fuhrer,” snapped Marx. “Or else I’ll spread the romance story of you and that Sara girl all over our school,” he said with a vicious grin.

“If you do that, I’ll I’ll…” stuttered Karma, enraged.

“Clutch my feet and cry? Don’t worry. It’s going to come out eventually,” Marx said with a wink.

The five children and the dog reached a small mound located near their tree house. It was fully covered with grass. They started to move to the top of the mound and sat down, stretching their legs.

The children gazed at the golden streaks of the setting sun with ecstasy. The orange sun with its yellow rays; the pink tinted blue sky; the white fluffy clouds; the beautiful sun flower field with a lonely mango tree and a lovely tree house on its top, would enchant any onlooker. Even Kingdum stopped frolicking and stared mesmerized by the view.

“Nothing could ever recreate this wonderful nature. Never.” sighed Marx. “I mean, if I took a video of this in my phone and watched it daily, would it give me the same feeling?”

“No, it won’t. Nothing feels great like reality. But in the future, its possible to create near perfect virtual worlds. I mean, many scientists are working on it, isn’t it?” Karma said thoughtfully.

“Well, if you both still had a tiny inkling of reality, you must hear a phone ringing. Karma you great mutt! Its your phone. Pick it up,” said Teresa.

“My phone’s not with me. The little devil’s having it,” said Karma jerking his thumb at Lenin.

Lenin took out the phone and saw the caller I.D. “It’s from Uncle!” he shouted.

“Give it to me,” said Marx, reaching for the cell phone.

“I’ll talk, I’ll talk,” jumped Lenin and attended the phone.

“Hello, Uncle its me Lenin… Yes, Uncle, I’ll ask…. Uncle’s asking what we want for supper,” he repeated to them.

“Ask him to buy twenty Ghee Dosas,” said Karma quickly, before anyone could answer.

Lenin repeated it over the phone. Soon it became very dark and the children went into the house.

“I think I forgot to do something there on the mound. But I can’t remember what it is,” said Maya desperately.

“You forget to compose your new poem,” said Marx.

“Oh, no!” Maya wailed. “I got to try it again tomorrow,”

Marx caught Karma’s eyes, who bit his fist to stop laughing.

Inside the house, the children split to pursue their favorite activities. Marx busied himself with the desktop computer in his Uncle’s master bed room.

The girls spent the evening listening to Music in their own bedroom, while Karma chatted in his phone lounging on the white couch in the living room. Lenin sat right next to him, watching Cartoon on the TV. Kingdum lay down and snoozed peacefully at his feet.

Sharply after an hour, the sleeping dog opened one of its eyes. It stood up, ran to the door and barked joyfully. The children heard their Uncle’s heavy footsteps. Uncle Jumbo came inside, carrying a huge paper bag in his hand. Lenin ran to him and hugged his legs.

Uncle Jumbo looked tired, but he managed to beam at the children.

“You kids had a nice time?” he asked, moving towards the dining room.

“We had a lovely evening,” replied Teresa earnestly.

He gave the paper bag to Maya, who put it on the table and took out six food parcels.

“Lenin, there’s a tin of dog food on the lower shelf in the kitchen larder. Put it in a bowl and give it to Kingdum,” said Uncle Jumbo.

Lenin scooted away to the kitchen. He came back with a bowl full of dog Biscuits and placed it under the eager nose of Kingdum, who sniffed, licked and crunched the biscuits noisily.

All the others washed their hands and took chairs around the table. Maya fetched tableware from the kitchen. She emptied the packets of Sambar and Chutney in separate utensils and piled the Ghee Dosas on a huge plate.

Karma immediately lifted five Dosas from the heap. Using a scoop, he took a liberal amount of Chutney from the utensil and spreaded it over his Dosas. They all ate with their right hands in silence. The meal was over in ten minutes. For dessert, Maya served Gulabjamuns – a delicious sweet, to everyone in small silver cups with spoons.

Uncle Jumbo took his plate to the wash basin and washed his hands and the plate. Then he placed it neatly on the kitchen rack. The children all did the same.

Uncle Jumbo sat heavily on the white couch to watch the News. The children huddled on the blue couch that lay perpendicular to him.

“Well, you kids better go to bed. The time’s half past eight,” he said, dispersing them.

Karma elbowed Marx and mimed at him to talk. Marx scowled at him, then opened his mouth hesitantly.

“Er.. Uncle Jumbo, me and Karma were wondering, whether we could sleep in our tree house tonight… If it’s all right for you.. It’s fascinating to sleep watching the stars, and its a cloudless summer night, you know,” Marx said awkwardly.

“Yes! I too like to see the stars wink at me,” said Lenin at once.

“Sure, you three can go. Take Kingdum with you, and take care of Lenin.” Uncle Jumbo said, his eyes on the T.V.

“Could we also go Uncle?” asked Teresa hopefully.

“No, definitely not. There is not enough space on that little tree house. Anyway, It’s not a safe place for girls to spend their night.” he said sternly.

“That’s not fair, We too wanted to watch the stars,” complained Maya.

“You could see a whole lot of stars easily through the glass wall of your bed room,” said Karma scornfully.

“Those stupid stars would be visible from your bedroom too! Then why are you going?” demanded Maya.

“To have a closer look,” said Karma mildly.

“Huh, really? How do you suppose to do that? Have you fixed a telescope or something on our tree house?” asked Teresa huffily, crossing her arms.

“No. I’ll ask the stars to come close,” replied Karma with an innocent expression. Marx sniggered.

The boys donned their pajamas and wished good night to their Uncle. They lumbered to their tree house, leaving behind two furious girls. The night sky was strewn with millions of stars. The cool light rays of the silver moon was enough to illuminate their path, but they switched on their torches, anyway. They could see the head lights of vehicles zooming on the highway at a distance. Using the bathtub pulley, they uplifted a reluctant Kingdum into the tree house.

They debated whether to leave the torch on for the sake of Lenin, but the little boy said he could sleep without light. He nestled in between Marx and Karma. The three boys lay down on the sleeping bags silently for a while, staring at the glittering stars and rolling white clouds, through the glass window in the wooden roof.

Kingdum put its head on the feet of Lenin. A few minutes later, Karma started to snore loudly. Lenin began to tell Marx about all the adventure stories he had read in the school library.

“Pity, we don’t have any real adventures till now,” sighed Lenin.

“Well, you always imagine them, isn’t it. That’s why you often tell me fabulous tales of your own. It sounds far more exciting than any real adventures,” said Marx. “But who knows, we might have a real adventure, even a dangerous and heroic one,” he said hopefully. A cheeky star winked at him overhead.

Within a few minutes all the children, the boys in the tree house and the girls in the Jumbo house, were fast asleep. They never would’ve guessed that they’ll be gifted with amazing super powers, and would be sent to undertake a very exciting and dangerous adventure on their own; for destroying the most evil power in the Universe and save planet Earth! Those things are going to happen soon, very soon!

CHAPTER FOUR

[[++
MADAM SMELLINTHE CRUEL WITCH DOCTOR]]

Kolly street, located at the heart of Chennai, was famous for notorious reasons – Evil magic and sorcery. A flashy red sedan entered the smooth road of this infamous street exactly at 1 P.M. in the afternoon of a sunny April day. The power windows of the sedan lowered and the bald head of a black man peeped out of the car. He was clad in a black tuxedo, had a trimmed black mustache and wore white shoes.

“You’re sure this is the area I asked you to go?” the bald man asked his driver doubtfully.

“Yes sir, I’m sure of it sir,” said the driver earnestly. “I mean, we have come to the correct street, but the house seems to be not here. It’s a pretty small street; we already went up and down the lane two times. Still we couldn’t spot the house! I have seen a photograph of the building. Honestly I don’t know why we couldn’t see a huge house like that. It’s a very big one, a black and white house, without a garden. It must be plainly visible. Beats me how its not here,” he said with frustration.

“Well, may be it was demolished. Let’s make a few inquiries. Get out and help me, will you?” the bald man said with irritation.

The driver got outside quickly and opened the door for his Employer. The bald man climbed out of the sedan and looked around, surveying the unfamiliar place. The street looked completely deserted except for a queer looking guy standing at a distance, a few feet away from him.

The odd guy wore a yellow color checked lungi and a red vest on his body. He had a trimmed french beard on his tawny fox like face. His black hair was cut surprisingly short. He was busily ironing clothes kept piled on a large hand cart. It was parked on the pavement, under a Gulmohar tree.

The bald man asked his driver to stay near the car. He slowly approached the lungi guy and began to talk in a low voice. “Hello chap, my name is Oranje. I like to know where Madam Smellin house is,” he asked urgently.

The lungi guy put down the hot iron box he was holding and looked up with a curious expression. “You came to see Madam Smellin? Why do want to see the witch doctor? I bet that’s for no good purpose,” he said with narrowed eyes.

“That’s none of your business, my friend,” said Mr. Oranje, trying hard to keep the heat out of his voice.

“I have been referred to this woman by another friend of mine who had benefitted from her service. I assure you, I’m not here to do harm to anybody. I know that she has a bad reputation, but I want to consult her on a missing necklace. It’s a diamond necklace and a very valuable one. All logical means of finding it has failed, so I’m going to try using magic as a last resort. Now, please tell me, where’s this lady’s house?” he asked again.

The lungi guy gave a piercing, high pitched laugh. Somehow it sounded inhuman, almost like a ghost.

“It’s clear to me that you are lying. If you had any real friend who consulted the witch doctor, then he would’ve told you that one can’t see Madam Smellin at their leisure. She decides whom to meet and when to meet. I suppose you heard all about her by word of mouth and came to see her for some portentous matter. Well, if you’re lucky and if she wished to see you, then her house would soon become visible to your eyes.” the lungi guy said mysteriously.

Mr. Oranje felt what the lungi guy said must be true, even though it sounded unbelievable. He waited a few moments for the guy to say something, but he simply carried on with his work as if nobody was before him. Fiery red flowers from the Gulmohar tree above fell on Mr. Oranje’s head.

Mr. Oranje decided to break the silence. “Er… My friend, you said if the witch doctor wished to meet me, her place would become visible to me. So what shall I do now? Wait here and watch the houses in this street for that magical house to pop up before me, or go away and come back tomorrow?” he asked, feeling utter stupid.

The lungi guy didn’t say anything in reply. He simply closed his eyes for a minute, then opened it and spoke sharply to Mr. Oranje.

“I have informed Madam Smellin of your arrival. She had kindly condescended to see you. I must forewarn you, be truthful to the witch doctor. If you lied to her like to did to me, she would obliterate you and your driver simply with a spell,” he said with a nasty grin.

Mr. Oranje gulped. “Ok… But I’m not taking my driver with me.” he said in a shaky voice.

“Very well then, follow me,” said the lungi guy gruffly and started to walk.

Mr. Oranje gestured to his driver to wait in the sedan and plodded behind the lungi guy wearily.

Mr. Oranje had noted each and every house in the street carefully while they had searched for the residence of the witch doctor a few moments before. It was a huge, three storeyed black and white building. Hardly such a dismal structure could escape notice. The lungi man went right near the exit point of the street. Mr. Oranje began to think they would soon go into the next lane, but all of a sudden, the gloomy black and white building came into view!

Mr. Oranje couldn’t believe his eyes. A few seconds before only a navy blue building with a lawn was there, but now it was replaced with a black and white colored bleak house surrounded by withered trees. It apparated before his eyes from no where. The lungi man opened the heavy iron gate of the house with a rusty key. After entering the foreboding premises of the building, Mr. Oranje felt an odd sensation of being trapped.

The lungi guy stood before a huge oak door in the front. He pressed the calling bell, which gave a loud, eerie wailing noise. The door opened. A ratty boy in his early teens stood at the threshold. Immediately, Mr. Oranje was dumbstruck by his weird appearance.

The boy was olive skinned and his bald head was painted in topaz color. He wore a strange mixture of garments : A white T-shirt printed with a picture of clock in the chest and a mini skirt made of leaves over his white shorts!!

A long paper tail was pasted on his back. What the hell?! He also wore a pair of golden earrings, black shoes and socks.

The most remarkable thing about the boy was his face. The nose above his thick rosy lips had three large iron nails driven through it in a column. The wound appeared to be healed, and the boy managed to breathe through his hammered nose quite effortlessly. His eyes were also odd. He wore topaz color contacts.

“Hallo, Mr. Ironmane! I suppose you came to see the Madam?” the boy asked in a squeaky voice.

Mr. Oranje was momentarily confused whom the boy was talking to. It suddenly dawned on him he never knew the lungi guy’s name, so it must be to him that the boy must have spoken.

The lungi guy Mr. Ironmane answered in a professional tone. “Yes, my boy. This is Mr. Oranje, new client of our Madam Smellin. Mr. Oranje, this is Mowli Sharp Munky, second assistant of Madam Smellin,” he introduced casually.

The boy shook hands with Mr. Oranje feebly, then asked them to step inside. The visitors were shown into a luxuriously furnished sitting room.

Mr. Oranje and Mr. Ironmane sat side by side on the white divan.

“Madam Smellin would see you in half an hour. Kindly wait, gentlemen,” squeaked the boy and scooted away.

“Nice kid, is dear Mowli Sharp Munky. He doesn’t like his black hair. No matter how many times he washed it, it remains black, so he thinks it looks dirty. That’s why, he always shaves his head and eye brows and paints it in topaz color. He doesn’t like his black eyes either, so wears topaz color contact lens on them. Pity, he can’t do something about his poor nose. The crazy little clown has painted even his nipples and private parts in topaz color,” whispered Mr. Ironmane with a giggle.

Mr. Oranje was about to ask who hammered the boy’s nose with nails, but decided it’s better not to ask. He looked around the room. A huge L.C.D T.V. hung on the grim looking wall. A large clepsydra was placed on a brass pedestal in a corner. The clepsydra was not filled with water. Instead it contained a deep red liquid, that looked horribly like blood.

Mr. Oranje felt a strong surge of fear in his heart. A few minutes later heavy footsteps came from the room nearby. A man came inside the sitting room, carrying a gigantic stone hammer over his shoulders.

Mr. Oranje’s eyes popped out on seeing the man. He was torn between amusement and horror. This man was tall, burly and black skinned. Like the boy he had seen earlier, this man was wearing an assorted range of clothes. White shirt, grey suit, grey tie, and a scarlet underwear over his pants?!! Bright yellow shoes and socks?! What on earth?!

The man had very long black hair, like a woman. It reached up to his waist. His face was more than remarkable, it looked frightening.

Like the boy, this man’s nose was hammered column wise with three large iron nails one beneath the other, and the wound looked old and healed. It was amazing to see the man breathe comfortably through his nailed nose. In addition, his forehead had three big iron nails driven through it in a row! How could he still be alive!?

Furthermore, the man had black eyes, a thick black mustache and a trimmed black beard. He wore a pair of golden earrings and white baseball gloves.

He walked majestically towards Mr. Oranje and Mr. Ironmane. He casually lowered the stone hammer from his shoulder to the ground.

“Hi there, Mr. Ironmane! long time no see,” he said in a deep booming voice.

“How are you, my dear friend? Been busy with some of my assignments, so couldn’t visit you lately.” said Mr. Ironmane. Then he turned to Mr. Oranje, “Oh, pardon me, Mr. Oranje. I forgot. Let me introduce. This is Mr. Vandal Cannibal, first assistant of Madam Smellin. He is also the Uncle of Mowli Sharp Munky. Cannibal, this is Mr.Oranje, new client of our Madam Smellin,” he said formally.

“Excuse me,” said Mr. Oranje, unable to believe what he just heard. “Is that his real name? Vandal Cannibal?! What sort of name is that?!”

“That is my name,” said Mr. Cannibal with a foolish grin, showing his white teeth. “Well, nice to meet you, Mr. Oranje. See you around,” he winked at Mr. Ironmane, swung the stone hammer over his shoulder and strutted out of the room.

Mr. Oranje felt certain he had come to a madhouse. His mind worked furiously, thinking of an idea to escape from this place.

Both men sat back on the divan. Mr. Oranje got impatient by the passing of each minute.

Mr. Ironmane started to speak again in a whisper. “Both Uncle and nephew are funny looking people, aren’t they?” he asked with a ghastly crooked smile.

“Yeah, they look abnormal,” admitted Mr. Oranje.

“They always appear in this strange attire. It is their individual outfits, designed by Madam Smellin,” Mr. Ironmane said with a smirk. Then he continued in a serious voice, “Mr. Oranje, don’t forget my cautioning. Those two assistants of Madam Smellin whom you met now, had their noses nailed because they told a small lie. The witch doctor is an unforgiving and horrible woman. She was married thirteen times, you know that? And all of her husbands are now dead. You know why?”

“Don’t know. Died due to accidents, I presume?” suggested Mr. Oranje fearfully.

Mr. Ironmane gave him a foreboding look. “No. The witch doctor murdered all of them,” he said in a chilling tone.

Mr. Oranje licked his lips in fear. “Mur… Murdered them? Why? Suppose she married them for money and killed them later?” he asked with a shudder.

Mr. Ironmane gave a harsh, devilish kind of laugh. “Again you’re wrong. Madam Smellin already has a load of gold acquired through her evil magic and sorcery. Its their soul that she wanted. All of the thirteen souls are now her slaves. They are ghosts that could be sent to do her nasty works of cruelty. They have no hope of freedom until this mad, old hag perishes. But that’s nearly impossible.

You know, her first husband was a dhobi from Pakistan. He had a passion for photography and a tanned skin. He died within a year from the date of marriage. Poor bloke. Her second victim was an African prince. Third man was a Japanese Karate master. Fourth one was a fat, blonde and extremely wealthy Russian Industrialist. His name was White Knite. Fifth guy was a red headed German. His name was Dark Knite. The sixth man was from Afghanistan. I don’t remember his name.

The others were insignificant men from various parts of the world – they lasted for only a single night. The weird thing is, the witch doctor loved all of them and wanted all of them. That’s not possible, or fair, isn’t it. Her Russian husband was her most beloved one. More than his fat body, she loved his fatheadedness. She kept saying to him that he was her first preference as a spouse and all the others – the Pakistani, African and Japanese were secondary options. But in the end, she killed the Russian to marry the German.

The witch doctor needed an excuse to marry a second man, so she murders the first. That’s how she ended up killing all her thirteen husbands. You know what she says before killing a husband?

‘You’re so freaking hot and good looking, my dear husband. We recognized a kindred spirit between us. But I made a mistake in marrying you. I think you finally got my message. We could only be good friends. You’re more like the brother I never had. I need to move on, can’t be loyal to you anymore. Good bye!’

See how cruel she is. Madam Smellin is a purely evil creature. She is now at the peak of her profession in witchcraft. That’s why I’m warning you again… Don’t mess with her… Martin… “ Mr. Ironmane said softly and buried his face into his hands.

“Martin?! Who’s that?! I’m… I’m… Oranje,” stammered Mr. Oranje, his face full of panic.

“Ah, there’s no use in pretending. Madam Smellin is on the way, and you are going to pay for your falsehoods.” With this ominous proclamation, he lifted his face from his hands.

Mr. Oranje jumped violently. Mr. Ironmane’s eyes had changed completely. It was fully white. The black lens seemed to have vanished. He smiled in a sinister way, like a gruesome demon, and spoke in a high, sonorous voice.

WHY, MR. MARTIN, WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? THERE’S NO NEED TO FEAR THE DEAD. YES, I’M DEAD. I’M THE DHOBI FROM PAKISTAN, FIRST HUSBAND OF MADAM SMELLIN. I’M A GLORIOUS GHOST, IMMORTAL PHANTOM, ENSLAVED TO THE WITCH DOCTOR. SOON, VERY SOON, YOU WILL JOIN OUR RANKS.”

After this ghastly pronouncement, Mr. Ironmane began to disappear like a shimmering mist of vapour. Soon his place in the divan became empty.

Mr. Oranje stood up, terrified. His body was shaking and trembling uncontrollably. He reckoned its too dangerous to stay anymore. He exited the huge sitting room in a run, and went into a corridor where he thought the front door was. He saw a golden door, pushed it open and went through it, but he found himself in the sitting room again! Another iron door was visible in the corner. He passed through it but he came again into the sitting room! At that time, someone came in swiftly. It was the Mowli Sharp Munky boy. He was wearing a foul simper on his face.

“Aha! Not so fast, Mr. Martin. It’s not that easy to get out from the witch doctor’s house, its like a maze. You heard that? Madam Smellin is coming to finish you. You’re doomed, scumbag!” he laughed and ran away.

Mr. Oranje looked around with panic. Then, slowly, he felt an unfamiliar sensation of chill creep through his spine. He saw a shadow move behind him, but was scared stiff to turn back.

Suddenly, a mad cackle of laughter filled the room. It was a most horrible sound, it went on and on, steadily increasing in tempo. Mr. Oranje couldn’t bear it anymore, blood started to drip from his ears. He fell face down on the floor, his hands cupped tightly over his ears.

After a minute, the cackling stopped. Mr. Oranje cautiously lifted his head, stood up and looked behind him. At once, he was seized with another wave of terror. A voluptuous figure of a feminine looking creature stood there at arms length. It was the most shocking sight he had ever seen in his life.

The entire body of the woman, from top to bottom, was vertically divided into black and white colors.

The loose and lengthy hair on the left side of the head, the skin in left side of the face and neck, all were white. The left arms, hands, fingers, even the claw like nails were white. White robes covered the left side of her body from the left bosom down to the left feet.

The right side of the body was fully black. The long and wavy hair in the right side of the head, the skin in the right side of the face and neck, all were black. The right arms, hands, fingers and the claw like nails in them were black. The right side of her body was entirely covered with black robes.

He stared at the terrifying eyes on the woman’s face. Both were completely pale grey, without even a tiny speck of black or white in it. The lips were full and blood red in color.

The witch doctor bit her lower lip, and spoke in a grave, hollow sort of voice.

“Mr. Martin, so foolish of you to come alone to arrest me. You think you could ever touch the greatest and powerful witch doctor in the Universe!” The creature shrieked.

Mr. Oranje at once transformed into a different person altogether. He pulled out two desert eagle guns out from the pockets of his tuxedo and pointed it at the head of the witch doctor.

“Ha, ha, ha! how dumb are you, Mr. Martin. You think logic could ever win magical power on this flat earth? Or people would ever believe in evolution?” The witch doctor laughed callously.

“Well. You are cleverer than I expected, Madam Smellin. Yes, I’m not Oranje. I’m Martin David Bumblebee, Assistant Commissioner of Police, in mufti. I came to arrest you for the brutal crimes you had committed to socialists. You butchered and cooked them in pies and ate them. No one believed you did it or had any solid proof against you, but I know it was you all right. Your Chef is now under my custody. I made him sing.

And why the hell do you torture innocent children? Have you any idea what damage your book ‘The Bloodie Boy and the Holy Witch Cure,’ had caused on little kids? When they start to read your spiteful, horrid, ridiculous tale, they soon become mad and blind.

No scientist could figure out the cause. I pointed out to you of course, but none believed in magic anymore. Anyway, I had gathered enough witnesses. Now I found you in your hideout at last. The game’s up. Surrender to me,” he said, his voice ringing with authority.

“Ah, Mr. Martin, that’s my dialogue. I’m the one who always finishes the game, whether its rummy or chess. You are a humble and good man. I hate humble and good people. I won’t let them live but kill and enslave their souls to me to do unimaginable cruel deeds. Prepare to meet your doom…” drawled the mad hag in a silky tone.

Mr. Martin felt a sudden jerk around his shoulders and the light went out. He was engulfed in pitch darkness. After a few moments, a dim white light came from the ceiling and illuminated his surrounding. He was now standing in a room with stone walls, all damp and green. It looked like a dungeon. The guns had vanished from his hands and he was manacled by an iron chain to the walls. The witch doctor stood on a corner with a peculiar expression on her face.

“Well, well, well. Let’s see our police friend get what he deserves. My little pets would take care of you, Mr. Martin. You know, I hate socialists. I eat them alive. After that I transfigure their little children into my pets and keep them to do my nasty executions. You would like their little bites,” she chuckled madly.

To his abject horror, Mr. Martin saw a swarm of horrible looking insects moving towards him from the other side of the dungeon. They were peach colored fat beetles, hundreds and hundreds of them, each the size of a human fist.

Madam Smellin took one of the repulsive things in her hands lovingly and gave it a kiss. The beetle flapped its wings.

“They are beauties, aren’t they? Piece of cake. They love to eat human flesh alive. Go dear, go. Enjoy your feast,” she said dryly, and let the thing down.

Mr. Martin was terrified. He pulled and tugged his shackles violently, but it was of no use. He stared at the approaching filthy creatures helplessly. Mr. Martin started to scream as the foul things started to crawl and climb onto his body. He stopped yelling and choked, when a fat beetle went right into his mouth. Soon his body was infested with the insects biting and gnawing through his flesh. After a few minutes, only his skeleton remained.

Madam Smellin looked at the bones of Mr. Martin with indecent satisfaction. She caught his soul in a glass jar and went out of the dungeon, smiling with victory.

CHAPTER FIVE

[[++
CAPTAIN D.C. MARWELL AND HIS P.V. SONS HOUSE]]

The Secret Laboratory of the most maddest and funniest scientist in the universe – Delirious Clown Marwell, a.k.a. Captain D.C. Marwell, was situated in the North Pole – one of the remotest part of the world. This evil Laboratory was called as the Parthenium and Vulture Sons House, or the P.V. Sons House, located well away from the sun’s warm heat and bright light.

The P.V. Sons House was a huge three storeyed white color building, nicely camouflaged among the surrounding ice bergs. The structure had six sides, like a hexagon, and was about the size of a medieval castle. It had no visible doors or windows.

A black helicopter zoomed across the skies of Arctic Circle, giving out a continuous low roar from its rotor blades. A wandering Polar bear looked up at the flying metal bird in wonder. The chopper soon approached the P.V. Sons House and began to slow down. A part of the building’s roof top retracted back automatically, exposing a helipad, having a large ‘H’ on it. The helicopter landed onto the platform, and the rotating wings slowly came to a stand still.

The doors of the chopper opened and two men hopped out of it down to the steel floor, and closed the doors behind them.

One of the men was clothed in a long black fur coat over his black suit. He wore black sun glasses and fur cap on his head. The other was clad in a scarlet suit, scarlet fur coat, scarlet sun glasses and fur cap.

The man clad in black suit was tall, dark and lean. The man dressed in scarlet was pale, short and stout.

The helicopter’s wings started to whizz again and it took off in the same way it had arrived, speeding away into the gray sky. Then the building’s roof moved and closed again with a metallic crunch.

The newly arrived pair of men looked around the place deliberately. They were on the third floor of the building where the helipad was constructed. The roof and the floor were made of shiny, dark grey steel. Here and there, mud pots with Parthenium plants were placed on tripods. The walls were embedded with rows and columns of bright white electric lamps that spreaded light evenly throughout the place.

The men had expected the place to be air conditioned and warm, but it was unexpectedly chilly. It was not the extreme coldness of the outside, but still the temperature chilled their bones.

Right in front, a few feet away from them stood the door of a wide elevator. The place was virtually empty, save a cluster of wooden boxes in a corner of the floor. Both the men removed their fur caps and sunglasses, exposing their short black hair and dark eyes.

“Well, Mr. Dippy. We are here finally. What do you think?” asked the tall, dark man in a deep voice.

“Can’t say anything until I see the laboratory, Mr. Maggott. The size of the building is impressive enough. Why didn’t they turn on the air conditioners? I could do with some heat,” said the pale, short, stout man called Mr. Dippy. He looked around, expecting to find a switch for the A.C. somewhere.

Suddenly, the door of the elevator came to life and opened smoothly. Three men stepped outside and walked towards them stiffly.

The man in the front waved his hand and spoke loudly, “Didn’t expect you to arrive today, Mr. Maggott.”

“Hello, Captain D.C. Marwell… My friend here, Mr. Dippy, is a very busy man. He was free today, so I thought its best to bring him along with me,” said Mr. Maggott awkwardly.

“That’s okay, no problem. Come along gentlemen, we’ll go down,” Captain D.C. Marwell said, gesturing at the lift and began to walk back. The two visitors followed him without a word.

The man called Dippy looked briefly at his hosts. All of them were dressed fully in black shirts, suits and shoes. They wore black masks and had short black hair.

The man who addressed them – Captain D.C. Marwell, was a tall, middle-aged, topaz skinned man, with a large protruding belly.

The five men entered the elevator and one of them pressed a button. The elevator started to descend down to the second floor and opened again.

The men exited from the lift and moved forward along with Captain D.C. Marwell, who was leading them.

This floor looked the same as the previous floor. Steel flooring and ceiling, walls ingrained with electric lamps giving out white light, and mud pots with parthenium plants placed on tripods here and there.

The only new addition were the huge, queer looking machineries. They were operated by black skinned workers. All of them were clad in the same manner as Captain D.C. Marwell. They wore full black dress and black masks.

They worked mechanically and seemed oblivious to the little crowd passing them. The group led by Captain D.C. Marwell crossed thirteen such manufacturing units one by one.

Mr. Dippy observed the machineries with much interest. They were a supply chain for producing metal parts belonging to Robots. The men took the parts and packed it neatly in cardboard boxes. He didn’t see anyone assembling the parts, so was unable to guess how the Robots looked or for what purpose they were designed.

The men reached the extreme end of the floor and entered an isolated room. A round oak table was at its center. Tripods with mud pots of parthenium plants occupied the four corners of the room. A large L.C.D. monitor hung on the wall, displaying visuals from various parts of the building.

The five men took seats around the table. Mr. Dippy and Mr. Maggott took off their fur coats. “Would you kindly switch on the Air Conditioner, Captain? I’m freezing,” said Mr. Maggott politely.

“Ah, you don’t like the cold, Mr. Maggott? I love coldness. It reminds me of a peaceful morgue. But if it bothers you, I’ll turn the heat on,” said Captain D.C. Marwell pleasantly. He tapped his wrist watch and at once a 3D hologram was projected from the watch. He touch typed some keyword on it and a fresh stream of hot air flowed from the ceiling, making the room warm.

Captain D.C. Marwell turned his attention back towards his guests. With a wide smile on his frog face, he started to talk.

“Let me offer you some refreshments, gentlemen. What would you like to drink?” he asked lightly.

“Oh, anything warm would be suffice. We would like a few cups of hot coffee,” said Mr. Maggott looking at his companion, who nodded his assent.

“Very well then,” said Captain D.C. Marwell and touch typed ‘hot coffee for 5’ on the hologram of his wrist watch.

“Our drinks will arrive shortly. Meanwhile, lets get familiar with one another. Now, Mr. Maggott, we are both acquainted already. But my colleagues, Dr. Nutter and Dr. Nutcaze had never heard of you before.” He pointed at the two men who smiled and nodded at the mention of their names. “So, kindly introduce yourself and your friend.”

“Sure, Captain. My dear learned friends, my name is Raja Arson Joss Maggott. I’m a scientist who specialize in Artificial Intelligence. I’m not a professional, only an amateur. So it’s not a surprise that I’m unknown to regulars in this field. But Captain Delirious Clown Marwell could assure you that my knowledge is next only to him. This is my good friend Mr. Dippy. He’s an eccentric billionaire who likes to invest to save the world. I told him about the experiments conducted in this secret place, though I didn’t give him any particulars. I thought Captain D.C. Marwell might explain it elaborately,” Mr. Maggott said gravely.

Captain D.C. Marwell took a deep breath and sat upright. “Well, Mr. Dippy, to be frank, me and the people in this lab are masked vigilantes, terrorists in the eyes of the outside world.

A few months back, I was a reputed professor teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. I excelled in my subject Robotics and already had a few patents at my sleeve to my credit. Everything went on smoothly until the happening of a weird incident that changed the direction of my life.

One sunny sunday, I was strolling happily to the market. I was wondering, thinking of buying and treating myself to some chocolate ice creams. All of a sudden, I fainted and fell down due to a sun stroke.

After a few minutes, I woke up, cursing the stupid sun. After buying my ice creams, I went back to my home. I was licking the melting chocobar, when I suddenly remembered a vision I had while I lay down unconscious on the street with the stroke.

It was a vivid and elaborate vision, about a forthcoming gruesome danger to the world. A part of the yellow sun melted like a butter and fell on the Earth between the areas of tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. Just imagine the magnitude of such a catastrophe, gentlemen.

I previously had many such visions which came to be true. So I was certain that the world was doomed. I was considered already a joker at the Institute, so I didn’t dare to tell this to anyone there.

So, I resigned my job, got in contact with some of the famed terrorist organizations of the world and demonstrated them my prowess in Robotics. They were eager to use me and hired me to manufacture Robots for them. I described them the vision I had and asked them to set my lab far away from the Equator, where the sun won’t fall on my head.

Thus this P.V. Sons House came into existence. I and my fellow staff members create Robo parts and send them to the terrorist hideouts around the globe. They assemble and use the Robots for their good causes pertaining to terrorism.

In return, I get money to fund my Xobo the Robo project. This project is designed to save the world from the twin incoming future disasters the world is gonna face. One I had already mentioned, its the melting of the sun. The other is much more destructive. My colleagues here would explain it to you,” he finished and looked at his counterparts expectantly.

The man called Dr. Nutter cleared his throat and began to talk in a dulcet tone, “A couple of months back, on a dark, dark night, I was observing the sky through the telescope for signs of extraterrestrial life. It’s a hobby of mine and some of the staff here who are interested in Astrobiology. I looked earnestly for three hours, but found nothing. Then I fell asleep, and had a dream. A most terrible dream it was. A space ship designed like a gigantic wheel was speeding towards Earth. It was filled with naked alien monsters. They were of seven different colors. Black, dark brown, mummy brown, orange, dark grey, dark green and dark blue. And they had numerous tentacles,” he said with intense fear in his voice.

Mr. Dippy burst out laughing. “It’s only a dream, isn’t it?” he said with a snigger.

“That’s not the end of it,” said the other man called Dr. Nutcaze, enigmatically.

“The next day I took his turn to gaze through the telescope. I found nothing for hours until I decided to take a nap. Soon I had the same dream Dr. Nutter had. A most horrid nightmare it was!” he said with a shudder.

“We repeated the routine for thirty days and we both had the same dreams again and again, only while sleeping near the telescope, mind you. So they were not just dreams anymore, but a vision. We believe our mind had transformed into some kind of transmitter to observe the aliens telepathically, at a subconscious level.” Dr. Nutter said solemnly.

“And each day, our visions forewarn us that they are approaching Earth at an incredible pace with deadly weapons of Mass Extinction,” Dr. Nutcaze said glumly. “They have very very advanced technologies, so its impossible to fight them, unless we create some unique weapon,” he paused, looking at the door which gave a small beep.

It opened and a man clad fully in black with a black mask over his face, came inside carrying a tray laden with five cups of hot coffee. He placed the tray mechanically on the table and went away.

The men took one cup each and started to sip. After a moment, Captain D.C. Marwell continued, “We were sure that nobody would believe us, a bunch of loonies. We fancied ourselves as Earth’s mightiest heroes and considered its our duty to save the flat Earth.

So we formed a new team, the Vulture team. Our aim was to create an all powerful Robot that could fight the incoming horde of bogeys and save our flat Earth. I’m the Captain of this team, Captain Delirious Clown Marwell.

First we made Xobo the Robo. Then we created the Purple Eyes. These are metal eyes engineered through nano technology, and powered by new type of synthetic particles known as Alpha Gravitons.

The Purple Eyes could generate and project fire balls or water balls, using the surrounding atmosphere as a source of fuel. The fire balls are deadly weapons of destruction and the water balls are effective weapons of distraction. In addition, the Purple Eyes are also capable of levitating and moving multiple solid objects within a certain range of distance.

Those Purple Eyes has been fitted into Xobo. The final and unfinished task now is to boot the A.I. of the Robot. Then it could think by itself, using the internet as a source of knowledge. If its done, we are ready to take on any danger approaching Earth single handedly,” said Captain D.C. Marwell pompously, with a loud fart.

“And we are close to victory,” said Dr. Nutter.

“And we would never fail,” echoed Dr. Nutcaze.

Mr. Dippy stared at them thoughtfully for a long time.

Then he said, “Well, I hope we will win this war, if we fight together. I’m honored to be a part of this secret project. I would provide billions as your aid, Captain. You have carte blanche,” assured Mr. Dippy in a determined voice.

“You want me to clarify anything else, Mr. Dippy?” asked the Captain earnestly.

“Yes. I need to know one more thing. You’re all masked vigilantes. I understand that. But why dress fully in black? Why the black mask?” Mr. Dippy asked with a smile.

“Oh, that.” The Captain seemed to be embarrassed. “To be honest, I’m scared of darkness. I’m also scared of black beasts and black people, that’s why I’m always clad in black. I thought it’s best for my staff to follow my style, so they imitated me willingly,” he said shyly.

“What? You’re afraid of black women? You’re even afraid of black dogs?” Mr. Dippy asked skeptically.

“No, no. Black dogs I could manage. I’ll just kick at them or even eat them alive. The truth is, I’m afraid of black aliens. I see them often in my dreams.

And I don’t fear black women. They all are like a mother to me. Yes, a black woman is like my mother. I adore and worship them. It’s the black men that I fear. But you must understand, my fear is not out of hate,” he said agitatedly.

“I have a few workers here who are black. They are my best friends. I love them as I would love my own brother. The main reason for my fear is, I had a horrid experience when I was a child. I was abused cruelly by a black man. Those memories created an irreversible phobia in my mind. Even though I was rescued from him by another kind hearted black man, that phobia remained deep rooted in my mind.

Look at the world. When people are afraid of the dark, they do only two things. Either they would ridicule and demonize it, or would adapt to it. That’s the way blackness is clearly portrayed in all the cultures and religions around the globe.

Great chickens, whose ultimate hate and fear is blackness, would completely shun away from it, make fun of it or diabolize it as evil, monstrous and unclean. Insecure chickens, who feel vulnerable to blackness, entirely wrap themselves with it like an armor.

I chose to adapt the darkness, because that sounded the most logical way to fight back my phobia,” he said, smiling coldly. Then he pressed a key in the hologram of his wrist watch.

A portion of the wall embedded with light bulbs slid sideways, exposing a glass box, which contained a suit made fully in Black Panther skin.

“A few months back in Mumbai, I used to wear that special suit. It covers my head, face, body, feet and everything. I felt very confident and powerful inside that suit. I used it to fight against Byta, a black skinned goon with blue eyes. He often challenged me for combat.

Every time I used that suit against him, I emerged victorious. The last time I used that suit, I saved a beautiful girl named Mica, who was an immigrant from Antarctica. At once she fell in love with me. We married and lived happily. One day, when I came out of the bathroom after taking a shower, Byta broke into my house. At that time, I was wearing only a black towel in my waist. I hurriedly went to put on my suit but Byta stood in my way and laughed.

I was downright terrified. I couldn’t fight without my Black Panther suit and my hands started to tremble. Byta started to pummel me before my wife. I didn’t fight back and looked so pathetic, so Byta left me sobbing and went away. Later, my wife nursed my wounds and felt sympathetic towards me. But.. But.. The next day…”

“What happened?” Mr. Dippy asked in a hushed voice.

“She forsook me… and ran away with that goon Byta,” said Captain D.C. Marwell and burst into tumultuous tears.

Mr. Dippy patted the Captain’s shoulders with empathy and handed him a kerchief. The Captain blew his nose loudly. The others looked abashed.

A few moments later, Dr. Nutter and Nutcaze parted after muttering a few words like ‘busy schedule’ and exited the room. Captain D.C. Marwell escorted Mr. Dippy and Mr. Maggott down to the first floor to show them his Personal Laboratory.

The first floor exactly resembled the second floor in its appearance. They passed 13 Robo parts manufacturing units, and saw many men working hard with the machinery. Like their counterparts in the upper floor, these men wore full black dress and black masks. All of them were fair skinned. But they lacked the pinkness, the flush of blood on their faces. Something was wrong with them.

The broad passage suddenly split into two narrow ones and Captain D.C. Marwell took the left path. They entered into a dimly lit forlorn corridor. Half way through it, they reached the gigantic iron door of the Captain’s Personal Laboratory. It stood there like the entrance to a top security bank locker. The Captain made an input in the password box of the touch screen embedded on the door and it opened smoothly, sliding sideways.

The door immediately sealed shut itself the instant the three men moved inside. The Captain’s Personal Laboratory was very much spacious and it had an array of various equipments and instruments, all pertaining to Robotics. A huge golden shield hung on the wall. This shield was hexagon shaped and had a picture of Vulture spreading its wings painted on it.

But something else captivated the Captain’s guests. It was the hideous thing placed right at the center of the lab – A giant black metal spider, about the size of a full grown horse. On its head, it had numerous white eye balls with purple color lens in it. Underneath the eyes, a metallic jaw with pointed, grey metal teeth has been attached.

Mr. Maggot stood transfixed, while Mr. Dippy opened his mouth and closed again, spellbound.

“What the hell is that?” Mr. Dippy finally managed to mutter.

“Its Xobo the Robo, created by my Vulture team. It’s a pretty little monster isn’t it?” The Captain said with affection.

“Good thing that thing doesn’t move. If it does, I would run and bury myself in the thick ice outside rather than facing it,” Mr. Dippy said with a shudder.

Mr. Maggott quickly recovered himself. “Those eyes are the ones with super powers?” he asked, fixing his gaze on Xobo.

“Yes. Those are the Purple Eyes. Like I mentioned before, they are powered by synthetic particles called Alpha Gravitons. There are 50 such eyes on it,” replied Captain D.C. Marwell proudly.

“Well, they look very much human, those white eye balls with purple lens,” said Mr. Dippy fearfully, and took a few steps back.

“Yes. But really they are a mixture of mercury and steel. Nothing is organic in this Robot. It’s a fully metal Robo built with nano engineering.” Captain D.C. Marwell spoke reassuringly.

“Turn the Robot on,” Mr. Maggott said, his voice quavering with excitement.

“No! Don’t!” cried Mr. Dippy and ran for the door.

“Oh, there’s nothing to fear Mr. Dippy. This Robot is not yet operational. When it becomes fully functional, it would be strictly under my thumb. It could never act on its own,” said the Captain, annoyed.

“You told it has Artificial Intelligence,” said Mr. Maggott sharply.

“Of course it has! Its capable of thinking by itself by using information from the internet, but its not free. The machine is still a slave to the Vulture team. We have carefully programmed everything without a tiny snag or glitch,” said the Captain confidently.

“That sounds fine.. “ said Mr. Maggott. Then he shot a volley of questions.

“What’s the magnitude and range of the powers of a Purple Eye?

How much fire balls or water balls each Purple Eye is capable of generating?

How far they can be projected and controlled?

How much volume of air they consume as fuel?

How much weight it could levitate and move?

What height it could levitate objects and at what speed it moves them?

How many objects it could levitate at a time?

How much distance its levitation powers work?

Have you experimented everything?

How do you propose to integrate those metal eyes with the A.I. of that Robot?”

“Well, we have calculated the figures, the range of the Purple Eyes powers theoretically… But its only in paper. We are sure of it even though its not verified, and we can’t verify it experimentally without giving life to the Robo,” replied Captain D.C. Marwell, somewhat flustered.

“And how do you propose to do that?” Mr. Dippy asked the Captain.

Really, why do I invited Mr. Maggott here? I need his help, to trigger the A.I. of this Robot. To put it in layman’s language, Xobo the Robo needs a soul,” he said with a ghastly crooked smile.

“Well, then, let’s get to work at once,” said Mr. Maggott eagerly.

“Yeah, sure. But Mr. Dippy doesn’t need to stay. He could if he wish to watch us working,” said Captain D.C. Marwell.

“No, thanks, gentlemen. I indeed love to see you at work, but not now. I feel exhausted. First I need a little bit of rest. Kindly show me my room. I like to lay down for a while,” Mr. Dippy said in a tired voice.

“Okay then. As you wish,” said the Captain and turned to Mr. Maggott.

“You wait for me here, I’ll be back in a jiffy. Come along Mr. Dippy,” he said and started to move towards the door.

“Well, catch you later, Mr. Maggott,” Mr. Dippy said to his companion, and trailed the Captain.

Captain D.C. Marwell went back in the direction of the manufacturing units and reached the spot where the passages split into two. He took the other path running parallel to the corridor in which his Personal Lab was located. This passageway was full of rooms having numbers on them. He opened a room with the number 13 and showed Mr. Dippy into a small, but luxuriously furnished room. It was air conditioned and warm.

“Here you are, Mr. Dippy. It’s not much, compared with your billion dollar manor, but I do hope you feel at home. There’s an intercom for you in the corner. Dial 7 for food or 666 to call me if there’s any pressing matter. You may also help yourself to the tinned food and wine in the fridge and you could make hot coffee with the coffee maker.

And there’s a Desktop Computer for your time pass. I suggest first you take a nap on the warm bed. There’s dress in that wardrobe yonder; you might want to change into something comfortable before sleeping. Please feel free to visit my lab again any time you wish. We would be expecting you tomorrow. Have a good time,” the Captain bowed low and withdrew himself from the room.

Mr. Dippy closed the door. He doffed his scarlet suit, opened the closet and slipped into black pajamas, then slumped onto the bed. He felt lonely without his girl friend. “It’s been a long day,” he muttered to himself and fell asleep.

But he was not alone in the room. Something else was there, something ghostly, mean and immortal. It hovered invisibly near the ceiling and wore a sickening smile on its horrid, gaunt face.

It was the form of a man with dark hair, dark eyes, clad in tattered black clothes. And that man’s body appeared to be half rotten. It looked disgusting beyond words.

This partially rotten man’s form was none other than the notorious Mr. Raja Shield. The ghost of Mr. Gawd, the green spider, adopted the form of its previous human birth, Mr. Raja Shield.

Mr. Dippy would surely die of heart attack if this horrendous thing materialized in front of him. But it didn’t. It had other important matters at hand than to scare this idiot. Everything was going perfectly well in the way it had orchestrated. It rejoiced, glad that its evil plans were coming true at long last.

It is essential for the ghost to murder all the 100 people working in this place. Before doing that it must get temporary freedom from the Circle of Energy. And for that, it needed the help of the most cruel witch doctor in the universe, Madam Smellin. The phantom of Mr. Gawd, in the form of Mr. Raja Shield, floated out of the P.V. Sons House and began to move rapidly over the ice clad grounds of Arctic Circle like a hypersonic missile, towards Kolly street in Chennai.

CHAPTER SIX

PHANTOM GAWD MEETS MADAM SMELLIN

On a bright sunny April day, around eight O’clock morning, people were scurrying hastily up and down the Kolly street in Chennai city. The residents of this street greatly feared the powerful, wicked witch doctor Madam Smellin, and her two brutal, stupid assistants. They avoid meeting them as hard as they could.

The residents finish most of their morning chores well before 8 A.M, because by half past eight, Mr. Vandal Cannibal and his nephew Mowli Sharp Munky, would come out of the bright blue house of Madam Smellin, to carry out their everyday tasks set by the witch doctor. The house is not really as it looks to the outside world; its a black and white gloomy building bewitched to look blue by the sorceress.

The time was now sharply 8.35 A.M. The big iron gate of the witch doctor’s house swung open and out came Mr. Cannibal and Mowli in their respective outfits. Madam Smellin had given them strict instructions to wear the same dress everyday, she had designed for them. Anyone looking at her assistants would be terrified and humored at the same time.

Mowli Sharp Munky wore white shorts, a mini skirt made of leaves over his shorts, a white T-shirt printed with a picture of clock in the chest and black shoes and socks. A long paper tail dangled from his back from where it was pasted.

The nose above his thick rosy lips was driven with three big iron nails through it in a column. His bald head was painted in a topaz color. His pair of golden earrings, paper tail, topaz color contacts and eye brows blended well with his oddity.

Mr. Vandal Cannibal, like his thirteen year old nephew, was half clown and half monster. He carried a huge stone hammer over his shoulders held firmly by his hands, on which he wore a pair of white baseball gloves. The stone hammer is his favorite weapon to threaten and attack the frail and vulnerable.

On his gigantic body he wore a white shirt, grey suit, grey tie, bright yellow shoes and socks, two golden earrings and a tomato red color underwear over his grey pants.

He had thick black mustache, a trimmed black beard and very long black hair that cascaded up to his waist. His nose and forehead had three large iron nails hammered onto them by the witch doctor; column wise on the nose and in a row on the forehead.

Mr. Cannibal put a fatherly hand on Mowli’s shoulder. “Listen kiddo, I’m going to the butcher’s. You behave yourself and be a good boy. Don’t go around bullying people. Many had already complained a lot about you to that meddling policeman Mr. Gutham Victorious Melon. I don’t want him knocking at our doorstead today. The witch doctor’s doing some important spellwork and would be furious if she was interrupted. Mr. Ironmane had gone away to finish a murder assignment, so just keep a lookout for spies on the street okay? No teasing,” he said strictly and marched off.

Mowli sneered at the back of Mr. Cannibal’s retreating figure. He’s not going to give up his favorite past time, which is to torture unsuspecting residents of Kolly street. Suddenly, his empty stomach ached with hunger. He need to take his breakfast first. He decided to wait for Mr. Cannibal to return from the butcher’s and went back into the house, sat on the white divan in the living room and switched on the T.V. with the remote. He soon got immersed in the live telecast of Formula One Car Racing, which was his favorite.

Mr. Cannibal reached the butcher shop located next street and bought five K.G. of boneless chicken. Holding the bag of meat in one hand and the stone hammer in the other, he started to walk briskly back to home.

Abruptly, somebody blocked his way. It was Gutham Victorious Melon, the police Inspector of this area. He was a burly, olive skinned man with average height, dressed smartly in his khaki uniform. He was without mustache. Instead he had a black goatee on his face. A dark blue police cap was on his head.

“Wait a minute, Mr. Cannibal. I want a word with you,” the police officer said gruffly.

“If its about my nephew, I’m not going to listen,” replied Mr. Cannibal brusquely.

“No, its not. Early morning today, I got a serious complaint, a very serious complaint about you. A teenage girl said she has been sexually harassed by you yesterday,” the Inspector said gravely.

“Oh, yeah. I had some fun with a couple of girls yesterday,” replied Mr. Cannibal dodgily, and made a feeble attempt to grin.

“Excuse me! Harassing someone is fun for you?! That’s a very serious offence you have committed!” Inspector Gutham said sternly.

“Mr. Gutham, who had complained about me? Is it the girl who delivers pizza?” Mr. Cannibal asked anxiously.

“Yes. It’s the same one,” said the Inspector sharply.

“But, but… you too had molested her previously on several occasions!” Mr. Cannibal protested.

“Ha! That’s true, that’s true. She filed a complaint against me, but no one on Earth believed her. I mean, just visualize that. Me molesting her, it won’t look like a grim picture. It will look like a romance song straight out of Bollywood.

I later silenced her with a death threat. But that’s NOT the same case with you. Even if you petted a baboon, it would appear as if you’re raping it. If you trimmed the nails of a little girl, it would appear as if you’re chopping her fingers to make her beg in traffic signals.

Ugh, look at you! You’re a mud face man wielding a stone hammer. It’s no good if you change any number of getups. Regardless of what getup you are in, civilized society would always jump to the conclusion that you’re a profane, unhygienic and barbaric monster capable of doing any vile deeds.

But don’t conclude you could scare me, my friend. Whatever getup you put on, I’ll consider you only as a clown.

I think, the only way to stop people prejudicing you is to paint your face grass green. Then, even if you got unbrushed, dirty yellow teeth, it’ll appear as teeth made in gold to the onlookers.”

“Hey, I don’t like painting my face! It would look funny!”

“Ha! You’re face is funny even without painting. Well, it’s not my concern what people think about you. The girl harassed by you cried bitterly to me. She said you behaved odiously. What shall I do now?” the Inspector asked severely.

“Dunno why she said that… I was in high spirits yesterday. It’s not my fault she was not in the buoyant mood for some fun.. Really I meant no harm…” Mr. Cannibal said, shifting the stone hammer from one shoulder to the other nervously.

“Lets see about that afterwards. I’ll need to meet your employer Madam Smellin regarding this affair,” the Inspector said in a ringing voice.

“What?! You can’t do that! She’ll skin me alive! See how she hammered on my face for telling a small lie!” Mr. Cannibal moaned pitifully, pointing to the nails on his nose and forehead.

Inspector Gutham eyed the nails with revulsion. He said casually, “Then we must take care of that girl ourselves. Recently, she has gained the friendship of influential persons at an important Women’s Rights Organization in the city. At any cost, she needs to be silenced. You better do her to death and hand over the body to me. Don’t try to dispose the corpse on your own accord. I could sell the organs to private hospitals illegally. And for God’s sake, don’t use that hammer for killing.”

“Well then, that’s settled,” said a visibly relaxed Mr. Cannibal. “Meet me again at the witch doctor’s home in an hour. We shall plan the murder together,” he waved and started to trudge back.

Mr. Cannibal entered Kolly street and looked out for Mowli Sharp Munky. The boy was nowhere in sight.

“Good riddance to that little tyke,” he muttered to himself and went into Madam Smellin’s house. He was surprised to see Mowli inside the sitting room.

“I asked you to watch out for spies outside, not T.V!” Mr. Cannibal said resentfully.

“Uncle, I didn’t had any breakfast! How do you suppose I could work without energy in this hot weather?” Mowli squeaked indignantly.

Mr. Cannibal snorted in reply and went into the dining room. Mowli followed him and took the bag of chicken from his hand.

“Bring plates, forks and spoons,” Mr. Cannibal ordered, carefully placing his stone hammer against the wall and then sat on a chair at the dining table.

Mowli emptied the uncooked boneless chicken into a dish. He then ladled them equally on two separate large plates. He placed one plate full of the raw meat before his Uncle and handed him a spoon and fork.

“Ah! That’s how civilized people eat, with spoons and forks, not with hands,” Mr. Cannibal remarked and began to eat the raw chicken with relish.

Mowli Sharp Munky also started to eat the raw meat like his Uncle, stabbing the pieces brutally with his fork.

For the past ten years, Mr. Cannibal has been eating only uncooked meat. A foreign doctor had advised him that he could live forever, if he avoided eating vegetarian food and instead took only uncooked meat. The doctor pointed out that the cavemen ate raw meat and lived healthily. Mowli Sharp Munky too followed the paleolithic diet, simply because he adored his Uncle.

Soon they finished the crude meal in silence. Mr. Cannibal settled on the divan to watch T.V. He sent Mowli outside to scout for possible spies wandering the street.

Mowli Sharp Munky had no such intention to watch and capture spies. He walked to and fro on the lane at a leisurely pace, scanning left and right for potential victims to bully.

To his luck, he spotted his favorite enemy Mr. Hedweight, who was kneeling and dusting his Ducati bike with great care. It was parked on the portico. Mowli wandered near the gate of Mr. Hedweight’s house and peeped inside.

Mr. Hedweight was a tall, muscular, white skinned old man with a roundish baby face and tiny piggy eyes. He had medium size silver gray hair on his head and a thin black pencil mustache drawn on his face above the upper lip. He wore retro square black shades over his eyes, a red vest on his body and a blue lungi in his waist. He was an immigrant from Burma, and an ex-reporter.

“Hi there, Mr. Hedweight! Cleaning your bullock cart?” Mowli squeaked cheekily.

Mr. Hedweight turned his head towards the gate and gritted his teeth at Mowli. “You better run away, I’m in a foul temper today,” he growled in a low voice.

“Oh, I’m scared of you, Mr. Hedweight,” said Mowli mockingly. “Why threaten a poor, innocent child like me?” he asked with wide eyes.

“You are a filthy little beast,” said Mr. Hedweight tersely. “Why did you boil my kittens to death yesterday?”

“Oh, its very easy to answer, Mr. Hedweight. Quite simple. I did it just because you are a horny old goon!” he shouted and guffawed loudly.

Mr. Hedweight stomped towards the gate angrily. “You get out of my sight now, or I’ll break your stupid mouth!” he bellowed, shaking his fist.

“There, there, Mr. Hedweight. One of these days that awful temper of yours is gonna land you in serious trouble,” said Mowli coolly.

Suddenly, the boy picked a stone from the ground and threw it forcefully at Mr. Hedweight’s face. The stone hit squarely on his nose and red blood spurted out. Mr. Hedweight gave a cry of pain and saw the blood pouring from his nose with horror.

“What Mr. Hedweight? Is that tomato sauce dripping from your nose? Need a hanky to wipe it?” Mowli laughed and began to run, seeing Mr. Hedweight rushing towards him.

But Mr. Hedweight stopped short. He knew he can’t catch the boy on his feet. Once the kid gets into the witch doctor’s house, its impossible to get hold of him. Mr. Hedweight jumped on his race bike, started it swiftly and wheeled it out of the house. Soon he neared the running figure of Mowli and grabbed the boy’s arm in a vice like grip. Mowli writhed and struggled, but Mr. Hedweight held him firmly. He pushed the boy roughly to the ground.

Mr. Hedweight got off from his bike and approached Mowli, who lay down on his back. The old man removed his black shades, exposing a pair of gruesome looking eyes. It was fully white. Not a speck of black or color was there in it. Mr. Hedweight now resembled a baby butchering demon. Mowli started to shake uncontrollably with fear.

“You may be a nasty little thing, but I’m the most nastiest thing in the whole universe! I’m not human as you may think! I’m a ghost, a savage demon, an immortal phantom! You must pay for breaking my nose!” screamed Mr. Hedweight, with hellish fury in his face.

He raised his leg and stamped hard on Mowli’s chest. The boy gave a long, agonising yell and cursed the old man with a string of obscenities. Enraged, Mr. Hedweight stamped hard again. The boy howled with pain. Mr. Hedweight eyed the pitiful creature with vindictive pleasure and raised his leg once more.

At that time, someone kicked hard on the back of Mr. Hedweight’s head and he was sent flying down to the ground.

Dazed with the blow, Mr. Hedweight looked at his attacker. The police Inspector Mr. Gutham Victorious Melon was standing there, his eyes blazing with rage.

“How dare you make such a savage assault on a kid?” he roared.

“He broke my nose,” replied Mr. Hedweight faintly.

“So what? You must have come and complained to me, you old goon! Who gave the right to take the law into your own hands?” Mr. Gutham asked furiously.

Mr. Hedweight made a rude hand gesture at the policeman.

Enraged, Inspector Gutham grabbed the hair of Mr. Hedweight, dragged him on the ground and hit his head repeatedly on the Ducati bike’s tailpipe. Blood started to stream from the back of Mr. Hedweight’s head, who lay helplessly on the ground. Then, Mr. Gutham started to jump heavily on Mr. Hedweight’s chest, again and again. The old man gave a series of high pitched screams like a wounded animal.

“That would teach you a lesson for your mindless violence,” said the Inspector, breathing heavily like a winded boar.

He grabbed Mowli’s arm and pulled him up to his feet. “Do you feel all right, kid?” he asked with concern.

“Yeah, kind of,” replied the ratty boy weakly.

“I’m on the way to see your Uncle. Come, lets go,” he dragged Mowli along with him. Mr. Hedweight was left lying on the ground whimpering with pain.

Both of them went into the witch doctor’s house. Mowli Sharp Munky seemed to have recovered from the onslaught. All the raw meat eating had made his body taut and strong. Mr. Cannibal turned his attention from the T.V. towards the incoming pair of man and boy.

“Mowli! I told you to watch the street! Why are you coming again inside?” he shouted.

“Mr. Cannibal, your poor nephew was attacked by that brutal, old goon Mr. Hedweight. He’s out of his mind. I think he’s escaped from a mental asylum. Honestly, you would have smashed his brains with your hammer if you saw the way he assaulted this kid. If I hadn’t interfered, this boy would have died on the spot,” Mr. Gutham said with rage.

“Mowli! Did he hurt you bad? Where did he hit you?” Mr. Cannibal hugged the boy and started to fuss with him. He was very fond of his nephew.

“Its nothing Uncle. I’m not injured at all. Need more than an old goon and his race bike to hurt a boy made of steel like me,” replied Mowli mildly.

“I know it kiddo. You’re just like your Uncle – a man made of steel,” Mr. Cannibal laughed genially.

“I’m going back outside,” said Mowli, freeing himself from his Uncle’s giant arms and scooted away.

“No more mischiefs today,” his Uncle’s voice followed him.

Mowli decided to have an icecream from the candy shop next street. He began to walk fast, since the sweltering heat of the sun was becoming unbearable.

He froze suddenly, like a dog that had scented a rabbit. Luther, a blind boy about his same age, was strolling down the lane alone with a walking stick in his hand. He wore black shades with black frames over his eyes and was dressed in dim summer clothes.

Mowli sneaked behind Luther and tapped him in his shoulder. When Luther turned around, Mowli kicked him savagely in his crotch. The blind boy gave a muffled yell, cringed back and fell down, keeping his hands between his legs. He moaned with unbearable pain.

Mowli gave a mighty, cruel laugh.

“You don’t deserve to live, blind dog. Ask yourself, isn’t it pathetic to live such a lowly, weak life like yours? You never could see beautiful, gay colors. Better do suicide rather than living without sight.”

Having said this barbaric remark, he ran away from the spot. He’s not stupid enough to get caught again by some grown up.

Next he passed a small ground where two men, Mr. Eeti Anaath and Mr. Peter Payasam were working out with dumbbells under a banyan tree. The men were not so happy to see the malicious kid Mowli Sharp Munky.

Mr. Eeti Anaath was a very short guy about three feet in height, and had a well built body complete with six pack abs. He had short black hair on his head; and on his fox like face he had a thin nose, thin lips and bulging round eyes like a Tarsier.

Mr. Peter Payasam had an average height; very skinny body; jackal like face; long black hair and a short black beard. Both men wore red vests and black shorts on their bodies.

Anyone would be amazed if they watched Mr. Peter lift a 100 K.G. dumbbell easily with his bony arms. The funny truth is, Mr. Peter uses only dummy dumbbells made up of cardboard. The dumbbells Mr. Anaath using were the real ones. Mr. Peter lifts fake dumbbells to show off before the elderly woman living in the bungalow opposite the ground.

Mowli laughed out aloud on seeing Mr. Peter huff and puff to lift his dummy dumbbells.

“Hai there, Mr. Peter! I’ve never seen a worst actor like you in my life. Really, look at yourself, you’re enacting a comedy scene. How could you do it so seriously?” he asked with a snigger.

“Stop disturbing us! Get lost, you spiteful midget!” shouted Mr. Anaath furiously.

“Ah, that’s right, stick up for your joker friend, Mr. Anaath. Be careful whom you call a midget. You’re no better than a pygmy. I heard you smuggled phenyl bottles from the Department Store. Of all the things one could steal, you went for that!? Thought it’s butter milk huh?” he said, sticking his tongue out.

Then he continued, “Hey, Mr. Peter, I heard you went to Somalia for vacation. How come you never got tanned in that Equatorial Sun? Perhaps you came out only at night and did some midnight skeleton dancing?” he asked impudently.

Mr. Peter scowled at Mowli with disdain. Enraged, he threw the fake dumbbells on the ground and bellowed, “I’ll give you ten seconds, leave this place at once. Don’t force my hands to break your bones!”

“Ooh, please Mr. Peter, stop acting like a clown. There’s a street dog coming round the corner, it might grab you thinking you are a piece of beef bone,” retorted Mowli scornfully.

Mr. Peter lost his patience and charged at Mowli ferociously; but alas, a small white stone tripped him and he fell face-down on the ground, breaking his nose. Mr. Peter fainted immediately when he saw his own blood.

Seeing his partner down, Mr. Anaath too rushed at Mowli, screaming like a maniac. A small pit, five feet wide and ten feet deep, was in the way in between Mr. Anaath and the place where the boy was standing. It was covered fully with fallen twigs and branches, so Mr. Anaath couldn’t have noticed it. He fell piteously into the pit with a heavy crash and started to shout for help. His feeble attempts to climb out proved futile.

Mowli peeped into the pit cautiously. “Oh, Mr. Pygmy Anaath, shall I go and fetch a ladder? Or telephone the fire engine? What am I gonna tell them? That we have a Slow Loris with bulging round eyes stuck down in a pit?” he said viciously.

“You wait,” panted Mr. Anaath, trying desperately to climb up. “I’ll shake the life out of you like a rat when I’m back on the ground,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Don’t struggle too much, Mr. Eeti Anaath. Just sit down and cry loudly, your girl friend would hear and find you. She’ll lift you from the pit out of sympathy. I heard that whenever you are in shock, you’d fall down asleep. Why not listen to some songs to keep you awake?” Mowli said, chuckling heartily.

Then he looked back and began to run, because Mr. Peter was stirring back to consciousness.

Mowli reached the end of the lane and roved his eyes around. The sky suddenly became overcast and threatened to rain. Mowli debated whether to go back to the house, but soon he spotted his next victim. It was a little black boy, named Dev. Today was his tenth birthday and he was wearing his birthday dress – a crisp white shirt and indigo blue jeans. He was carrying a brand new colorful umbrella in his hand.

Mowli crouched low and lurked behind a nearby bush. When Dev crossed him, he gave a frightful yell and sprang before Dev. The kid stopped in his track, scared stiff. Mowli snatched the umbrella out of Dev’s hand. Then he slapped the boy hard in his cheek.

The little boy gave a cry of pain and looked at his attacker with panic, trembling like a hunted animal.

Dev has been bullied many times before by the ever sadistic Mowli. Last time, he hit the little boy badly and tossed him around like a rag doll, just because Dev chatted online with a girl called Asha. Mowli personally had an amorous disposition towards her.

“Please, brother, give back my umbrella. It’s a birthday present from my aunt,” Dev said with tears in his eyes.

“Oho, so today’s your birthday! My dear boy, its lucky when one gets beaten to a pulp in his birthday, very lucky. If you get beatings from me regularly, I will be generous and allow you to be friends with Asha,” said Mowli Sharp Munky with an evil smile.

“Please, brother, don’t hurt me. I’m younger than you,” sobbed the poor little kid.

“What do you mean, you’re younger than me?” asked Mowli, the grin vanishing from his face.

“You filthy bastard, are you saying that I’m hitting you just because I’m older than you?” he asked through gritted teeth, then began to strangle Dev’s neck tightly with both his hands.

The little boy choked, struggling for breath. Mowli watched Dev’s eyes bulge and face turn green. After a moment he let go of him, satisfied with the torture he had inflicted.

Dev immediately went down on his knees. He coughed, gasped and panted wildly to regain his breath.

Mowli poked Dev hard in his ribs with the umbrella.

“Get up, smut. We’re gonna play a role playing game. I’m now an Alien King and you are my slave. Here, you hold this umbrella over my head and walk behind me,” he ordered majestically.

Dev did what he was told and followed Mowli piteously, holding the umbrella high over the fictional Alien King’s head.

Mowli looked sharply at Dev’s attire and face. He felt a sharp pang of jealousy for various reasons. Dev had a whole nose, pretty and undamaged, while his own nose has been nailed by the witch doctor and was squashed and mangled beyond recognition. Dev had an athletic body, while Mowli looked ratty and weak. Even at his young age, Dev was well grown and reached the height of Mowli.

“You are dressed smartly. Why don’t you cover your ugly black face? Here, tie my kerchief over it and hide your hideous nose, mouth and cheeks. Then you’ll look human, even Asha might like you,” Mowli said with a sneer and fished out a topaz color hanky from his pocket.

He spat on the cloth and approached Dev to tie it on his face.

Dev shrank back from the hanky in revulsion. “Please, don’t do this to me!” he pleaded in a broken voice. “You’re treating me worse than a dog.”

“Ah, but this is an essential punishment to make you respect elders,” Mowli said and neared him with a demonic glint in his eyes.

Dev pressed his hands tightly over his face and started to wail loudly.

“Stop howling, you silly crybaby! Do you want me to smash your nose?!” whispered Mowli in an annoyed tone.

He looked around nervously to check if any grown ups had come hearing the noise. Dev started to wail still louder.

“All right, all right. Calm down! You don’t have to cover your face with my hanky. I thought it might help improve your animal magnetism. Now just shut up!” said Mowli frustrated.

After a minute, Dev stopped crying aloud and subsided into silent sobs. Mowli went into an awful state of temper. He took a handful of mud from the pavement, grabbed the hair of Dev roughly and rubbed the mud onto his face vigorously.

“Trust me kid, mud facial would make your face bright and fair like me! If you wash it after an hour, my dear slave, then you would become fair like your Alien King! Honestly, you’ll be white only when a 1000 watts light bulb is directly projected straight at your face. But this special skin care treatment would make you appear bright even in dim sun light,” Mowli said viciously.

Dev tried frantically to free himself but Mowli held his hair firmly. He smeared another handful of mud forcefully over the face of the wriggling and writhing kid.

At that time, someone came thundering down the lane.

YOU LEAVE HIM ALONE MUTT! ELSE I’LL BREAK YOUR STUPID FACE, YOU SEE IF I DON’T!” a voice roared from behind.

Mowli whirled around and saw a tall white boy of his own age standing there, fuming. He wore a full sleeve ash color T-shirt and midnight blue jeans. It was his archenemy Siva, the only person who stands up against him fiercely.

“What the hell are you doing?!” demanded Siva in an aggressive voice.

“I’m doing free mud facial for this midget. Fairness Creams would work for slightly darker people, but this creature is coal black, so I’m doing the only thing that’ll work on him – mud facial,” replied Mowli coolly.

“Oh yeah? Now remove your white T-shirt and use it to wipe his face clean, or I’ll do blood facial on your bloody face!” Siva shouted angrily.

“Hey, chillax dude. I don’t understand why you bother. If we wash his face now, you won’t see any difference. It looked already muddied before I applied mud,” Mowli said sarcastically.

Then he continued in a pious voice, “You know, I have a pair of black megabats as pets in my home. I wrap them daily in a clean red silk cloth, worship and adore them with flowers. Do you think I’ll hurt this kid who looks like a megabat wrapped in a white cloth?

Look at him, the white and blue dress he’s wearing is what makes him human. If we strip down all his clothes and make him completely nude, he would become a demon!

I mean, if this kid grew into an adult, he could romance a girl only if he wears a clown’s outfit, isn’t it? Then that girl would one day prefer him for marriage. And what do you think will happen in their honeymoon?

If he doffed his clown outfit and become starkers, his wife would runaway, screaming he had transformed into a demon! That clown getup is what made him human, not his white teeth. If anyone forcefully removed his clown clothes and make him naked, they could easily brand him as a demon and chop him to pieces.

We could make this kid to wear golden earrings like me and turn him human, but even then, jewels are under constant danger of getting stolen by thieves.

There’s only one way to solve this problem. It’s really an easy one. It’s the way my ancestors found, who immigrated from Antarctica to South India, 500 years ago. Soon after their arrival, they decided to change the local men to clown culture. The local men, like the half naked fakir Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, had the habit of wearing only a white dhoti in their waist and wore no other dress on their upper body or head.

My great great grandfather, the Emperor of Clowns, had a weird skin condition. His skin was scaly like a Dinosaur’s skin. So he painted his body from head to foot in a canary yellow color, including his face and genitals. But it didn’t help him in the least to appear human. He just looked like an ugly yellow Dinosaur. The local people who had healthy skin shunned his company.

He then tried to paint the local men and told them that even their own mothers would like them to be painted. But the local men laughed and said if they painted their bodies like him, their mothers would consider them as daughters and not as sons. They further questioned his masculinity.

Enraged, my great great grandfather decided to demean them. He was a chicken, like me. So he decided to beat them through cunningness. He announced that the men who hadn’t painted their body with gay colors were demons and declared war on them. The local men came to war wearing only a white loin cloth in their waist, so he chopped those demon men to death with a giant rotating blade attached before his golden chariot.

Then he enslaved all the dead men’s wives and married hundreds of them without their consent, saying he’s a golden angel who had fallen from heaven to enjoy Earthly life by practicing polygamy. Those women actually hated him. Nauseated by his scaly skin, they repelled his sexual advances. So he raped them brutally.

He couldn’t be punished because he was painted from head to foot, including his face and genitals, in canary yellow. His bright body painting showed his temperament that he meant to make love and not to indulge in sexual violence, even if he had the skin of a dinosaur.

The central government in Delhi at that period of time even gave a golden lion award to him appreciating his gentlemanly attitude. He had many eunuch fans inside the government who followed his culture. They painted their bodies and faces brightly in canary yellow and became clowns. They even went to war in this clown getup.

The male babies born as a result of the forced marriages between my great, great grandfather from Antarctica and the local women, were painted gayly once they became adults, so that they won’t be called demons. Our generation came from that line,” Mowli said proudly.

“So, following my ancestors clown culture, we must paint this Dev creature’s whole body to a lime green color, including his genitals, to make him human. See me, I had already painted my privates in my favorite topaz color. Want to have a look?” Mowli asked psychopathically.

“Ugh! Keep your body paintings to yourself.. I think, from a very young age, you had been reading crackpot comic books; that’s what turned you into a clown. And stop talking non sense, there’s no people who came from Antarctica to South India. I already knew that you are an insane clod brought up by uncouth people. This kid baths daily, he wears only clean clothes and he has a kind heart. That’s enough to be a human.

Now, wipe his face clean, Or do you need a little bit of persuading?” Siva asked in a dangerous tone, flexing his huge arms.

Mowli grabbed the umbrella from Dev’s hand and strutted over to Siva.

“Better YOU back off now, or I’ll spear you with this,” he said brandishing the umbrella.

Siva lunged forward, twisting Mowli’s hand and wrenched the umbrella from him. Then he punched hard in Mowli’s mouth, boxed his ears and sent him flying down to the ground.

Mowli tottered up to his feet, stunned by the ferocious assault.

“You’ll pay for this one day!” he said, scowling at the pair of them.

Siva took a step forward with clenched fists. At once, Mowli ran pell-mell towards the witch doctor’s house. Dev gave a weak laugh on seeing his torturer fleeing like a coward.

Mowli stopped a few feet from the house to catch his breath. He thought for a second, then took out his iPhone to take a selfie. The overcast sky gave out only faint rays of the sun and made the day as if it’s twilight. Hence his face appeared dark brown in the dim sun light. He thought he mustn’t propose love to anyone in this dim light, they would downright reject him.

Under the feeble rays of the sun, Mowli snapped a few black photos of himself in his white T-shirt and uploaded one of them as his new Facebook profile pic. Now he could post a lie that Dev had splattered his face with mud, and the new photo was taken only after that incident. He might get a little bit of sympathy from his Facebook friend Asha, who was a beautiful girl. He fancied her very much.

He must never allow Dev to become a friend of Asha. What if Asha liked him, and they started to go out together in the future? What if they fell in love with each other? What if they decided to marry?

If such dreadful things happened, he would brutally beat and humiliate Dev in front of Asha. Yes. He would pummel that mud face and denounce him as a coward. Then he would generously preside over their marriage himself.

No! That mustn’t happen. He should do something. Suddenly, he got a brain wave. It was really a cheap idea – He would tell Asha that if she married mud face Dev, the babies born to them would also be mud faces. Asha won’t like that. She’ll drop the marriage plan at once, Mowli thought diabolically.

“You’re a goddamned sly fox, Mowli,” he said aloud, snickering. Abruptly, few droplets of rain fell on his face from the sky. He began to run to reach home before the shower intensified.

In the meantime, on the street –

Siva took a clean green hanky from his jeans pocket and gently wiped the mud from Dev’s face.

“Come with me, lets go to my home and wash your face with some soap,” he said kindly to Dev.

Suddenly, to their utter amazement, the overcast sky burst into a heavy downpour. Dev didn’t open his umbrella. He let the rain soak him from head to foot. Dev’s face was washed well by the rain water.

“Well, the rain has done the job and cleaned the mess from your face nicely. Gosh! The shower is getting heavier. I think its time to part… Let me tell you something kid, don’t fear Mowli Sharp Munky. He’s a joker. Stand up to him. Why don’t you come over to my house tomorrow? I have a few friends coming. We’ll play badminton together!” Siva invited good naturedly.

“Sure, Siva. That sounds cool!” said Dev happily and waved goodbye.

Then the two boys started to walk in opposite directions to their respective homes.

Meanwhile, at Madam Smellin’s place –

Mowli was half wet by the rain when he went into the witch doctor’s residence. He wiped the mud from his shoes on the doormat at the doorstead. He heard loud voices coming from the living room.

“Mr. Cannibal, when will you go to collect rent from your tenants?” Inspector Gutham Victorious Melon was asking.

“Today is the last date of this month, isn’t it, so I would go and knock their doors sharply at 12 A.M tonight. If they fail to give the rent money, I would smash their skulls and throw their things out, you see if I don’t. I’m a very strict and beastly landlord, yes I am! And I’m proud of it,” growled Mr. Cannibal.

“You know Mr. Cannibal, I’ll soon follow your footsteps and build a few houses for rent,” said Inspector Gutham airily.

“Very good, Inspector, do that. It’s a great investment and a way of living without doing any serious hard work. All you have to do is to collect rent at the start of each month and sleep like a sloth the rest of the month.

But keep in mind, don’t put your money in building large, luxurious villas. Build smaller houses like match boxes for the poor. Those people are easy to humiliate. We could threaten and collect unfair amount of rent from them. It will be fun,” Mr. Cannibal said with a heartless chortle.

“What about your shop Thirumanam Jewelers? How’s business?” Inspector Gutham asked lightly.

“Its booming! Going thumping well,” replied Mr. Cannibal happily.

Mowli peeped inside the room tentatively. Both his Uncle and the police Inspector were sitting around a table, sipping wine. Mr. Cannibal was eating raw liver as side dish, while Mr. Gutham nibbled on potato chips.

Mowli sidled into the room.

“Can I have a drink, Uncle?” he asked politely, and took the wine bottle.

“No, keep it down. I won’t allow kids to drink. You can have some of the liver. It’s delicious,” Mr. Cannibal pushed the plate of raw liver towards Mowli, who took a handful and munched it eagerly.

“Caught any spies?” Mr. Cannibal asked.

“No Uncle, didn’t notice anyone suspicious,” Mowli replied evasively.

“What did you do then?” Mr. Cannibal asked with narrowed eyes.

“Nothing Uncle, just went up and down the street,” said Mowli quickly.

“Hmm.. hope you didn’t bully anyone,” Mr. Cannibal said, frowning at his nephew.

“Actually, a couple of kids bullied me. Mud face Dev and pig face Siva both got in my way and we had a terrible row. They attempted to attack me, but I gave them a taste of their own medicine. One got a broken mouth and the other a black eye,” Mowli lied shamelessly.

“Well done, kid. That’s the way to treat thugs. You had proven that you are my blood.” Mr. Cannibal said proudly.

“I could never bear a mud face beat you. I mean, look at me, I’m a mud face too. If you fight with me, I’ll willingly concede defeat rather than hurt you, because you’re my blood! It doesn’t matter if you are a good guy or a bad guy. You’re my own blood and you must win. That’s the only desire of your mud face Uncle,” he said, his voice chocking with emotion.

Mowli Sharp Munky’s eyes filled with tears.

Suddenly, a high pitched devilish voice filled the room.

CANNIBAL! I’M EXPECTING A MR. GAWD SHORTLY. HE’S A GHOST IN THE FORM OF A HALF ROTTEN CORPSE. HE WOULD BE WEARING A HOODED BLACK DRESS. SEND MOWLI OUT TO FIND HIM. BRING THE GHOST INSIDE AND ASK HIM TO WAIT.”

The evil voice echoed throughout the room and then stopped.

“It’s the witch doctor, she’s going to have a visitor,” explained Mr. Cannibal, to the startled Mr. Gutham Victorious Melon.

“I’ll better leave, then,” said the Inspector and grabbed his police cap hastily.

“Okay.. I’ll contact you later at midnight, after I had finished killing that pizza delivery girl. Then you could collect and dispose the body,” said Mr. Cannibal.

The Inspector gave him a thumbs up and left.

“Mowli! Why are you standing still? You heard the witch doctor! Go out and fetch that ghost Mr. Gawd!” Mr. Cannibal barked at his nephew.

Mowli rushed out to the street, wondering how on Earth he’s going to spot this Mr. Gawd. He squinted down the street and saw a black hooded figure standing at a distance.

He approached the thing and asked swiftly, “Excuse me, are you Mr. Gawd? I’m sent to escort you into the witch doctor’s residence.”

The hooded figure nodded it head. Mowli asked it to follow and it floated behind him. Soon they entered the house. Mr. Cannibal welcomed the guest warmly and ushered him into the sitting room. Mr. Gawd glided over to the divan and sat silently.

“Er, what would you like to drink, my friend?” Mr. Cannibal asked out of courtesy. Some ghosts indeed liked to drink wine, even though the liquid flowed through their immaterial body down to the floor.

Mr. Gawd shook his head slowly, then lowered his black leather hood. Mr. Cannibal gave a cry of shock and leapt back in fear. The bald head of the ghost was half rotten, and it had a pair of completely whitened eyes on its emaciated face. It looked utterly repulsive and gave him the creeps. Even the witch doctor was not this ghastly. Mr. Cannibal quickly exited the room and helped himself to some brandy from the fridge to steady his shaken nerves.

Mr. Gawd was staring idly at the T.V. screen when Madam Smellin apparated before him. She was the same as ever; each half of her voluptuous body vertically split into black and white colors. The left half of the body, from the hair, face, neck, bosom, waist, feet, all were white. Similarly, the right half of the body was fully black. Her both eyes were completely pale grey in color and her lips were crimson.

“Mr. Raja Shield, what a pleasure to see you as a ghost! Holy Cow! You’re so damn attractive and delicious, in your half rotten form with milky eyes.. You’re beyond beautiful… Except your dress, not a tiny tinge of black is on you from top to bottom… You look so macho and strong… The stubble on your scabbed face looks yummy… You dominate my heart so much… And the sweet scent emanating from your half rotten body.. It’s intoxicating.

Ooh! Look at me! I’ve gone all sweaty and wet, my heart is palpitating, my knees are trembling, I’m feeling butterflies-in-my-belly! You’ll give me sleepless nights. I’m smitten by you. A Dark Lord, that’s what you are. Yes, that’s how a Dark Lord should be, with maggot white eyes.. not beetle black eyes.. I knew you would come for me… as gladly as I would come for you…

I wouldn’t mind you flogging or whipping me.. or even ripping my head.. I know you do that for my own pleasure… You know what, I would like you to insert that silver grey sword deep down my nasty throat.. Please Sir.. The sensation would be exquisite.. It won’t dement me…” the hag said silkily, pointing to a ruby encrusted shiny silver sword on the wall.

“Madam Smellin,” said Mr. Gawd in a deep voice, rising stiffly from his seat and bowed deeply. “You talk too much. Kindly give me an opportunity to speak.”

“Of course, Sir. The sooner you explain, the better will be our relationship. You must approve my little flattery, to describe your delectable body in one word – Wow,” the witch doctor said with a sigh, and continued, “Quite a lot must have happened after your death. I’m ignorant of those events as well of the reason you are here now. It seems as if it was only yesterday when you visited me as the eccentric and enigmatic billionaire Mr. Raja Shield. I still remember how you cried, clutching my feet, and begged for my help to finish off your business rival,” the witch doctor said with a self-satisfied smirk, and bit her lower lip.

Mr. Gawd settled back on the divan, while the witch doctor sat on the floor in a Lotus position and smiled serenely.

Mr. Gawd looked offended. He spat on her face and said harshly, “Oh, no, Madam Smellin. You mustn’t sit like that, that position is for holy beings. Poopy, scumbag creatures like you must sit squatting on the floor!”

“Okay. As you wish, Sir,” said Madam Smellin, and squatted before Mr. Gawd. “I hear an inner goddess’ voice within my head, begging me to get whipped and flogged voluntarily. Do you think I am possessed by the spirit of a Zen Goddess?” she asked, fluttering her eye lids.

“No, you’re possessed by the spirit of a diseased pig. And your own subconscious mind is a flea-bitten dog.”

“Oh, thank you. You must remind me that 50 times a day.”

“I’ll gladly do that. Well, Madam Smellin, I’m pleased to know that you still remember me. After I died in that horrid accident orchestrated by the evil Circle of Energy, my soul roamed the Earth aimlessly for quite a long time. Then the Circle wiped my memory and sent my soul to take birth as Mr. Gawd, the green spider.

I lived in a place called Lenin garden that belonged to a sinister looking Buddhist monk called Bodhitaran. One day, I was talking with him and his disciple – he was a monster, he had a human body with a Tiger’s head. They were prattling on and on about evolution, birth-rebirth, karma etc, all utter rubbish. They even said the Earth is a sphere and not flat! What a pair of jokers they were!

During that funny conversation, Bodhitaran mentioned about my previous human birth as Raja Shield. At once I got my memory back in a flash.

I remembered how I and my alien father – the Super Human Clean Shaven Bald Beast clad in a black iron suit and had eyes that could see in the dark, set out from my home planet Puva Tuva in a spaceship bound to Earth for destroying the evil system Circle of Energy created by the Prudatoar aliens; how they crossed us; how my father beat them and killed all the male Prudatoars with a trident; how he ate their little children alive; how he married all the female Prudatoars after licking their feet and finally settled with them; forgetting all about me and our mission.

But I was an extremely intelligent baby. Even at a very young age, my planet taught me to control my senses and focus; so I steered the spaceship all by myself and landed in Juhu, the trash beach of Mumbai.

My billionaire Human Ape parents found and adopted me as their son. I grew up into the most intelligent and handsome man in the whole universe, destined to maintain that honor forever and ever. I know I was immortal because I didn’t belong to this world. But the Circle of Energy found a way to murder me.

One day, I visited you to ask your service to eliminate my business competitor. You helped me graciously. Then, after a month, I met that accident sabotaged by the Circle of Energy and died. I watched my precious body rot to dust with grief.

I must avenge the Circle of Energy by destroying it and reestablish my alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons.

There shouldn’t be any women form on Earth, including Mother Nature. Women create new babies, while Mother Nature perpetuates animal and plant life. They are the twin reasons why the Circle of Energy is able to shift souls into different human, animal and plant bodies.

The soul is a whole, isolated entity and it is NOT to be toggled among various bodies. I’m going to make Mother Nature extinct. Then I’m going to kill all men and women, capture their souls and put it into mens corpses and reanimate them into immortal, sterile, living dead bodies. They would be my sons and I will be their great father. That’s my holy mission,” Mr. Gawd finished, his voice heavy with emotion.

“Well, Sir, How could I help you to accomplish your subtle mission? And what would I get in return for my services?” The witch doctor asked blandly.

“I’m coming to that point. After I got my previous birth memories back, I killed myself and gave freedom to my soul from that feeble green spider’s body. As you’re probably aware, the Circle of Energy won’t sent a soul liberated through death, to take a new birth until it judges the soul’s deeds.

I got six months free time till my hearing, so my soul wandered aimlessly over a few cities. One day, I stumbled upon a very funny and clever scientist in Mumbai. His name was professor Delirious Clown Marwell, and he taught Robotics. I broke into his mind and created a brief hallucination.

In that, parts of the world between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn got destroyed by the sun. Joker D.C. Marwell took it seriously and ran away to the Arctic Circle to escape from the sun falling on his head. He collaborated with top terrorist organizations and built a lab there to produce and supply Robots for them.

I followed him and created another set of hallucinations to two of his stupid colleagues. It was a vivid delirium about Earth being attacked by aliens. They reported it to professor D.C. Marwell. He was alarmed. Soon they formed the Vulture team to save the Earth from the imaginary dangers I had projected into their minds.

They worked tirelessly and created a Robo called Xobo. This is a black color metal Robo in the form of a giant spider, about the size of a horse. The speciality of this Robo is, it has fifty human like metal eye balls with purple color lens, embedded in its head.

Those Purple Eyes have enormous powers…”

“What sort of powers?” interrupted the witch doctor eagerly.

“Well, each eye is powered by some new kind of synthetic particles known as Alpha Gravitons. They could generate and project fire balls or water balls by consuming the surrounding atmosphere as fuel. The fire balls are deadly offensive weapons while the water balls are effective distraction weapons. Each Purple Eye is also capable of levitating and moving multiple solid objects within a certain range of distance.

The Robot controls the Purple Eyes using the electrical signals generated from its electronic circuits. The fantastic thing is, those eyes are made not only to work when fitted inside a Robo. A human, or a creature similar to a human like you, could simply use it by holding it in your hands, because it also works by sensing the electrical signals from the brain.

The Artificial Intelligence of the Robot must be triggered to make the Purple Eyes functional. Then one could assess the magnitude of their powers with certainty. The Vulture Team is currently working on it.

I figured out instead of kick starting the Robo with A.I., I could bring it to life by possessing the Robo with my soul. For that I must be liberated from the power of the Circle of Energy. You’re the only one who could help me with that.

Now I’m free to wander till the time of my judgement, which is due next month. I know my soul could be freed temporarily for a few years by you. That time is enough for me to possess Xobo the Robo, destroy the Circle of Energy and carry out the mission of my father.

I’ll gift you ten of Xobo’s Purple Eyes for your help, and you could use them as you wish; they’re yours forever,” Mr. Gawd finished lamely.

The witch doctor looked at him thoughtfully.

“Hmm.. I could do with some of the powers of those Purple Eyes, especially the power to levitate and move. I could fly from one place to another easily. I’m currently using teleportation. Teleporting from one place to another is fine for a short distance, but it is extremely cumbersome and painful for me over long distances.

Your mission still remains unclear to me, and I’m very much puzzled how you’re gonna destroy the Circle of Energy, which, I found out through years of my experience in witchcraft, is beyond the reach of any known power in the universe.

But that doesn’t matter. I could guarantee five years temporary liberty from the Circle of Energy. For that, you must do a simple task. Murder the person I point out to you. Your wish would be fulfilled at once. Then you may go and possess that Robo. Don’t forget our deal. As soon as you become alive in that Robot’s body, send me 10 of its Purple Eyes,” the witch doctor said sternly.

Mr. Gawd rubbed his half rotten hands together in glee.

“That’s a fair bargain. My hands are itching to murder someone. You know, when I was alive as Raja Shield, I used to test my company Brutish Pharmaceuticals’ new medicines on little children from my orphanage. Whenever the experiments went wrong, I strangled them like chicken and disposed their bodies. It was real fun,” he chortled inhumanly.

“You’re not going to murder innocent children, instead you are going to kill an honest man. Mr. Verminn paid me to finish him. You know who Mr. Verminn is?” asked Madam Smellin dubiously.

“No. Never heard of him,” said Mr. Gawd with a frown.

“I’m sorry, I forgot that you spent many years in the body of a spider. So its natural that you’re ignorant about current affairs. Mr. Verminn is a famous regional and national politician. He’s well known for his simplicity in dressing. He wears only a torn black towel in his waist, nothing more. But everyone knows its a political stunt. In truth, he lives a luxurious life. He uses a Rolls-Royce car and stays in a marble palace.

He has a barrel like body, short black beard and short hair. He’s very easy to spot in a crowd. Let me tell you about this man’s political career. He usually bribes voters with money to come to power. He has 50 mistresses, 30 daughters and 70 sons. Speaking of his habits, this man has an appetite for eating little children alive. His other significant habit is spitting in public places. His mistresses also have that holy habit.

Mr. Verminn earns huge amounts of illegal money through the allotment of government projects to uneligible persons and through his Human Trafficking Enterprises. (Bogus Headquarters of this company is in a Tax Haven.) Then he uses his auditor team to launder the illegal money by smuggling it out of the country and invests it in share market through participatory notes. He also does charity with his illegal money and donates generously to temples, churches and mosques to wash away his sins.

When the opposition political party came to power, they arrested his auditor team and tried to worm out a confession from them to trace his illegal money transactions. That time Mr. Verminn came to me seeking my service.

I sent one of my slave phantoms to murder his auditor team who were locked up under police custody. Those police men were not good guys. They were the bad cops, psychopath police who were notorious for tampering evidences, framing and killing innocent and naive people in fake encounters to close their pending cases. All of them attended training classes in pimping and women trafficking regularly. They supply ‘surrender boys’ around the globe…”

“Surrender boys? What’s that?”

“India is an over populated, high poverty country, isn’t it? So to escape poverty, many men become ‘surrender boys’. A few powerful and rich blokes in the society, who have pimping as their chief hobby, commit crimes like murder and rape… then to escape from justice, they hire a ‘surrender boy’. That man goes to a local police station and surrenders for the crime his recruiter had committed. They’ll send him to jail. In turn, the recruiter showers money on the surrender boy’s family….”

“The police would arrest the ‘surrender boy’ on the basis of merely his statement? Without any solid inquiry?”

“Yes. I told you, they are the psycho police. They never care about truth, all they care about is closing their cases. These men are fiercely loyal to Mr. Verminn. Like him, they also have the habits of spitting in public places and eating children alive.

After my phantom had done the auditor team of Mr. Verminn to death, the psycho police hanged the dead bodies from the ceiling and closed the case as suicide.” Madam Smellin finished with a twisted smile.

“Gosh, this guy Mr. Verminn seems to be more formidable than me. I wonder what birth he would take after his death,” Mr. Gawd remarked.

“Oh, It’s pretty simple to guess. The Circle of Energy mostly sends the souls of men like Mr. Verminn to take innumerable births repeatedly as broiler chickens or sheeps reared for meat. They shall be butchered brutally.”

“But what use if they were butchered as animals? They won’t have the faintest idea that they are slaughtered for their previous birth crimes!”

“Ah, there you are wrong. Shortly before their painful death, those animals would get all of their previous birth memories back in a flash and they’ll die with the full knowledge of their cruel deeds. But that doesn’t concern us now.

A few days before, Mr. Verminn came to see me to avail my services again. This time, his target was Mr. Roosevelt.

This guy is an Interpol officer, now currently staying in Mumbai with his wife. This man holds the details of Indians who had stashed away illegal money in Swiss, Mexican and Mauritius banks. He was ready to provide the list first-hand to the Indian government. But the government secretly sent a Secret Agent to plead with him not to reveal the details of those people, because Mr. Verminn was first in that list.

Mr. Roosevelt was a man with a conscience, so he thrusted the list into the shirt pocket of the unwilling Secret Agent. But that guy hastily put the list into his mouth, chewed it and swallowed it like a donkey. Mr. Roosevelt laughed and said he has hundreds of such copies of the list. Hearing this, the Secret Agent prostrated and clutched the feet of Mr. Roosevelt. He cried and begged him to destroy the copies of the list.

But Mr. Roosevelt was adamant. He vowed to reveal that list publicly to the Indian Media and public.

Thats why Mr. Verminn wants him to be eliminated. Now, you go and kill Mr. Roosevelt and his wife. Here’s his address,” she tossed a small piece of paper to Mr. Gawd, who caught it with a half rotten hand.

“Ooh, your long, half rotten fingers look like popsicles.. They look so errrottttic… I do like to suck them…. and swallow the pus…. They make me drool… “ cooed Madam Smellin, with an indecent smile, and bit her lower lip.

Mr. Gawd cocked his head, blinked his whitened eyes and smiled a ghastly crooked smile that spreaded widely on his half rotten face.

“Ooohhhhh………..!” moaned Madam Smellin.

“Your smile is so dazzling! You made my intestine high jump over my heart!” The hag shrieked, jumping up and down, clapping her hands.

Then abruptly, she stopped jumping and switched back to business mood. “Well, that’s it, Mr. Raja Shield, or Mr. Gawd, whatever name you’re called. Killing the Roosevelt couple is your only assignment. Finish it, then you shall be free, free to choose your destiny,” she said soothingly. “Um.. Sir, It’s dinner time. Shall I cook oysters for you.. I remember its your favorite dish.. After having your dinner, you could fix a leash around my neck and take me out for a walk..”

“No thanks, Madam Smellin. I would very much like to make a meal out of Mr. Roosevelt now.. You go out for a walk with that Mr. Cannibal..” said Phantom Gawd and put back his black leather hood. Then he zoomed silently out of the house to do his favorite work – committing murder brutally.

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE RISE OF XOBOTHE EVIL ROBO

Mr. Dippy awoke with a jerk, sweating all over his body. He just had a horrible nightmare. In that dream, he was pursued by a giant spider. He stared around in confusion. Then he remembered he was inside the premises of the Parthenium and Vulture Sons House in the Arctic Circle, that belong to the funny scientist – Captain Delirious Clown Marwell.

Mr. Dippy checked the time. It was 7.30 A.M. He’s been asleep for nearly 12 hours. He felt his shoulders stiff and heavy. He climbed out of his bed and went over to the bathroom mirror. He looked briefly at his haggard face and dishevelled hair. He turned the tap on and hot water started to flow out. Mr. Dippy washed his face thoroughly. He felt immediately refreshed. Then he wiped his face with a black towel.

He doffed his black pajamas and stood before the wardrobe in his black underwear. He checked the dress inside, pondering what to wear. He finally donned a black shirt and suit. His stomach suddenly rumbled with hunger. He went to the fridge and checked the stuff inside. He thought he needed something hot and fresh for his breakfast, so he gave up the tinned food and took out only a soda bottle.

He walked over to the intercom, sipping the sparkling water. He remembered the number Captain D.C. Marwell gave to order food. He dialled 7, and immediately a gruff voice answered on the other side.

“Hello, good morning, Mr. Dippy. This is pantryman Jo. What would you like to order?”

“Good morning Jo. Bring me a pot of hot tea, scrambled eggs and steak and kidney pie, as soon as you can. I’m starving,” not waiting for his reply, Mr. Dippy put the receiver down.

He connected his mobile phone with the socket of the charger. Then he switched on the desktop computer to check his mail.

He heard a soft knock on the door when he was checking the news on YouTube.

“Come in,” said Mr. Dippy.

A tall man entered, bearing a large tray laden with food. Like all the men in this compound, this man also was clad fully in black and wore a black mask on his face.

Mr. Dippy turned from the computer and stared at the incomer.

“You must be Jo. Put the tray on the table, Jo.”

Jo placed the tray slowly on the table with care.

“There’s everything you asked sir. You didn’t say what you wanted for afters sir. Shall I bring ice cream? Or do you like to have a special Indian sweet called Rasagul? Its very good for dessert…”

Jo froze suddenly, like some one who had been petrified. He was staring open mouthed at something right above Mr. Dippy’s head and his eyes behind his mask widened with fear.

“What’s the matter with you?!” Mr. Dippy asked in alarm on seeing Jo’s horror-struck expression.

Jo gave a bloodcurdling scream and ran out of the room. His fading footsteps echoed throughout the forlorn corridor.

Mr. Dippy was immensely confused by the pantryman’s behavior. He searched the room thoroughly to find out if someone or something was hiding in there and scared Jo away, but he found nothing.

He settled at the table and began to eat his breakfast. After he finished, he felt full and satisfied.

He decided to visit the Captain’s lab and see how’s the work with Xobo the Robo is going on. He also made a mental note to report the odd behavior of Jo.

Mr. Dippy carefully locked the room of his door and trudged towards the personal lab of Captain D.C. Marwell.

He remembered the route he walked yesterday along with the Captain, so he navigated with ease in between the deserted corridors. Soon he reached the Captain’s Personal Lab and stood idly before the gigantic iron door, unsure of how to get inside, because it was shut.

Before Mr. Dippy could think of an idea, the door slid sideways smoothly and made his path clear.

Mr. Dippy stepped inside and felt the door shut behind him silently. He was spellbound on seeing the gruesome, horse-sized, black metal spider Robo that stood at the center of the lab. He felt a shiver run down through his spine. The fifty gleaming white eye balls with purple lens fixed on the Robot’s head, made from mercury and steel, gave him the creeps.

“What Mr. Dippy? You seemed to be enthralled by the beauty of my Xobo. Come forward and take a closer look,” Captain D.C. Marwell called from a corner of the lab. He was sitting before a mainframe computer.

Mr. Dippy didn’t go near Xobo, but went straight to the Captain. Like yesterday, the Captain wore full black clothes and black mask.

“Good morning. Please take a seat,” said Captain D.C. Marwell, pointing to the chair next to him.

“Good morning Captain,” said Mr. Dippy and sat heavily.

“I saw you standing outside through the CCTV camera and opened the door. You still seem to be tired, did you rest well? Do you had any breakfast?” the Captain asked with concern.

“Thank you, I slept all right. And I had a smashing breakfast. My shoulders feel stiff and heavy, don’t know what happened. Must be a wramp,” Mr. Dippy replied offhandedly.

“Mr. Dippy, that must be taken care of immediately. Shall I call the Chief Physician here?” The Captain insisted.

“Please Captain, don’t bother yourself. I’ll be fine in a few hours. Where’s Mr. Maggott?” Mr. Dippy asked, looking around.

“Speak of the devil, and he shall appear,” said the Captain, smiling at the monitor.

Mr. Dippy looked at the small window in the computer screen. It displayed the visual of Mr. Maggott standing before the iron door of the lab. He touch typed a password in the input box of the touch screen embedded on the door. It slid open and Mr. Maggott came inside, flashing a broad grin on his dark face.

He walked jauntily towards the place where Mr. Dippy and the Captain were sitting. He carried some sort of rectangular electronic device in his hand.

“Mr. Dippy! Good morning! Hope you’re enjoying your stay here. You’re not bored with us, aren’t you?” Mr. Maggott said and sat in a chair next to the Captain.

“Morning, Mr. Maggott. No, I’m not bored for an instant! It’s been very exciting to see all the stuff going on here. Had you guys readied that thing?” Mr. Dippy asked, pointing at Xobo.

“Not yet. First we need to fit this Alpha Graviton Particle Regulator into Xobo,” Mr. Maggott said, waving the device in his hand before Mr. Dippy’s face.

“Then we’ll upload the neural schematic. After that, Xobo the great Robo would become alive,” he said and clasped the shoulders of Mr. Dippy with enthusiasm.

“Ouch!” Mr. Dippy let out a sharp cry of pain.

“He’s got a nasty sprain in his shoulders,” Captain D.C. Marwell said with pity.

“Oops, very sorry Mr. Dippy,” said Mr. Maggott, wincing.

“It’s okay. Before you guys proceed to your work, shall we have a drink?” Mr. Dippy suggested.

“Sure, why not? What would you like to have?” The Captain asked and switched on the hologram in his wrist watch to order.

“Anything hot. May be coffee?” Mr. Dippy said, looking intently at the large display screen of the computer in which he saw the CCTV footage of Mr. Maggott.

“You could monitor the whole complex from here, isn’t it?” Mr. Dippy asked the Captain with a frown.

“Of course. We had placed cameras all over the corridors, labs, manufacturing and packaging units. We can’t afford to lapse in security,” the Captain said with a sneer.

“I forgot to mention earlier. Back in my room this morning, I ordered breakfast through the intercom. The pantryman called Jo brought the food to my room. He was a good mannered chap and was asking me if I wanted anything more.

Abruptly, he looked at something over my head and ran out of the room, screaming. He had such an abject terror look in his eyes; I was taken aback. I searched the room thoroughly, but found no one or nothing that could strike fear in a young man’s heart.

If there was a camera placed in my room and it recorded everything, then we might investigate what scared him..”

Captain D.C. Marwell cut him off.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dippy, but we don’t place cameras in private chambers. If you wish, we shall call Jo and interrogate the exact cause for his behavior,” he said, pursing his lips.

“Well, I doubt that fellow would tell us anything. Anyway, we’ll put that matter in the back burner for now. You’re going to fit this Regulator device into Xobo?” Mr. Dippy asked, turning to Mr. Maggott.

“Yes. The Regulator is used for tuning the magnitude of the Purple Eyes power in accordance with the volume of air available as fuel for consumption,” Mr. Maggott said, toying with the electronic device in his hand.

He then stood up and went to Xobo, with Mr. Dippy at his heels.

“Mr. Maggott, I’m going to finish troubleshooting the neural schematic before the upload,” the Captain said loudly.

“Yes, you’d better do that, Captain,” Mr. Maggott shouted back.

At once, Captain D.C. Marwell busied himself with the computer before him.

Mr. Maggott ran a loving hand over the smooth, shining, black metal spider body of Xobo. Then he jabbed some code in the small touch screen in its belly. A wide, thin metal lid slid back and opened, exposing numerous chips and wires, all tangled in a mess inside.

Mr. Dippy stood at arms length from the Robo and stared open mouthed at Mr. Maggott, who worked swiftly like a Master Surgeon performing a complex operation. He worked with a wide range of tools, handling them adeptly, and finally fixed the device in a small cavity deep inside the metal monster. Then he sealed shut the metal lid and turned to Mr. Dippy with a wide grin.

“It’s done. Let’s see if the neural schematic is ready.”

Both of them walked over to Captain D.C. Marwell, who was furiously typing machine codes instead of source codes in a window.

“My job’s finished Captain. How about yours?” Mr. Maggott asked, eyeing the computer.

“I’m almost done,” the Captain replied and pressed the enter key.

A red window popped up on the screen. It showed a countdown time of 15 minutes.

“We must wait till the countdown is finished. Only then, the troubleshooting would be complete. In the meantime, lets sit back and relax, have a drink or a snack. Ah, here’s Jo with the coffee,” the Captain said, seeing the CCTV visual in the monitor. The pantryman Jo in his black suit and mask stood before the iron door of the lab with a tray in his hands.

Captain D.C. Marwell gave the command for the door to open through the computer and Jo came inside. The instant he stepped in, his eyes got fixed on Mr. Dippy. At once he dropped down the tray and gave a terrible yell.

The three men jumped to their feet in alarm. The Captain and Mr. Maggott rushed over to him.

“Are you all right? What happened? Why did you scream?” Captain D.C. Marwell gripped Jo’s arm and asked urgently.

Jo stared wildly like he’s been buried alive. He pointed a trembling hand at Mr. Dippy. The Captain and Mr. Maggott whirled around. The sight that met their eyes chilled their spines.

It was like seeing a creature from hell. A body, a half rotten body, with a gaunt face and dressed in tattered pink clothes, was sitting on the shoulders of Mr. Dippy. It was a demon and its eyes were fully white, without a speck of any other color. Mr. Dippy seemed to be totally unaware of the thing perched on his shoulders. He simply stared at Jo with a baffled expression.

The demon sitting on Mr. Dippy’s shoulders suddenly grabbed his head with its half rotten hands and twisted it roughly. His neck bones broke with a crunching noise and he dropped down dead.

The demon gave a cackle of mad laughter, rose high up in the air and floated near the ceiling. Then it zoomed straight towards the three men near the iron door. Mr. Maggott and the Captain both dived out of its way.

The demon landed in a flash before Jo, who stood rooted to the spot, petrified. It lunged forward ferociously, and ripped off Jo’s head crudely by digging its long finger nails deep into his neck. Blood spurted out from poor Jo’s decapitated body, forming a thick pool of crimson on the floor.

The demon glared at the Captain with its whitened eyes, holding Jo’s severed head in its hand. Then it stripped off the mask from Jo’s face and gouged out his eyes from their sockets. It put the bloody eye balls in its mouth, and started to munch it delightedly, making a sickening sound.

It threw the head of Jo casually towards Mr. Maggott, as if passing a ball in a cricket game. Mr. Maggot gave a yelp and jumped back. The demon gave a frightening sort of giggle and vanished from the spot in a puff of pink smoke.

“Is that thing gone?” asked Captain D.C. Marwell after a minute, keeping a hand on his weak heart. He averted his eyes from the beheaded body of Jo.

“I think so,” Mr. Maggott said and looked around the lab fearfully. Then he gave a gasp and clasped his hands over his mouth.

“What now?” The Captain asked with panic and turned back.

Xobo the Robo had changed. From a black metal spider Robo, it had transformed into a white metal spider Robo. The change of color didn’t made much difference. It looked gruesome and hideous as ever.

An additional change was that its Purple Eyes were alive now. The fifty eyes in its head glowed and looked around, taking in the surroundings, like a new born baby.

Then it fixed its eyes on the two men cowering near the door.

It walked a few steps forward using its metal spider legs with an odd screeching noise. Then it talked in an unpleasant metallic voice.

“Greetings, gentlemen!”

The metal jaws under its eyes moved as it talked.

“I know all about you. You’re Delirious Clown Marwell, Captain of the jesters team – the Vulture team. And you’re Mr. Maggott, a confederate of D.C. Marwell. But both of you knew nothing about me. Let me introduce myself. I’m a ghost, an immortal phantom.

My soul has possessed your Robo’s body. From now on, its mine. Hereafter, I’m Lord Xobo, the Evil Robo, destined to rule the entire Universe forever!” it shrieked in a self satisfied manner.

Captain D.C. Marwell was extremely terrified and confused. Then he composed himself, deciding to approach the matter logically.

“How do you became alive, Xobo? We haven’t uploaded the neural schematic yet,” he said shakily.

Xobo the evil Robo gave a high, screechy metallic laugh that made the men’s ears ache with pain.

“Hey, Captain, how thick you must be? You didn’t believe what I said, isn’t it? Why shouldn’t a scientist believe in ghosts?

Think hard. You saw me in my ghost form only a few moments before. Who sat on the shoulders of Mr. Dippy and twisted his head to death? Who ripped the head of Jo from his body? Who gouged out his eye balls and snacked on it with relish? It was me!

You may wonder why I ate Jo’s eyes. I was extremely hungry after murdering the Roosevelt couple. Mrs. Roosevelt was a very pretty woman with golden blonde hair and emerald eyes. I particularly enjoyed killing her, but I didn’t had the heart to eat her. Mr. Roosevelt’s body was also unfit to eat because I had burnt him to death.

Pardon me, guys. It’s not possible for you to know who is Mr. Roosevelt and why I murdered him. He’s an honest Interpol officer, hence he was unfit to live. So don’t worry.

Coming back to the point, after those brief moments of fun of killing Mr. Dippy, ripping Jo’s head and eating his eyes, I went straight into your Robo’s body, possessed it and brought it to life,” Lord Xobo said in a mechanical tone.

For a few seconds, both men stood like statues, unsure of what to say or do. Then the Captain found his voice.

“But, But… It can’t be… It’s… impossible! How… how could a soul…. A ghost could possibly possess… possess a Robo?” he said nervously with much stammering.

“Ah, its more than possible. It’s plausible. The soul is a form of energy. If its free, it could possess any body or adopt any form according to its whim.

Well, enough of this pleasant talk. Now back to business. I have a mission to accomplish, and I need your team’s help.

Please don’t dream of doing anything stupid. You know you can’t fight me. I could burn you two to cinders with my Purple Eyes. There’s more than enough air available in this room to power my eyes. Perhaps I must first show you a demo,” the Robo said menacingly.

A ball of fire materialized from one of the Purple Eyes of Xobo. It zoomed at great speed towards the decollated body of Jo and burned it to ashes in a trice. Then came another fire ball which consumed the dead body of Mr. Dippy.

“Now, you saw what I’m capable of gentlemen. So kindly cooperate,” the Robo said severely and scanned the lab with its X ray vision.

It found a box stuffed with full of electronic wristbands under a table.

Using its levitation power, it lifted the box out of its place and landed it at the feet of the Captain.

“Hmm… You’re a wily man, D.C. Marwell. You don’t trust your team. Hence you made these electronic wristbands. I scanned and deciphered its functions. The people who wear this would be completely under your mercy. It can’t be removed unless you gave the code to unlock it. You could locate them easily and monitor their movements; it also records and transmits their speech. And alas! It’s also capable of discharging a lethal dose of electricity so that you could execute them through electrocution, anytime you wish. It’s a diabolical device,” Lord Xobo said with a metallic chuckle.

“Take a wristband and wear it, Captain. You too, Mr. Maggott,” it ordered them mightily.

Trembling all over, the Captain and Mr. Maggott did what they were told without a question. The electronic wristbands tightly clamped around their wrists with a click.

At that time, the iron door slid open. Dr. Nutter and Dr. Nutcaze strutted inside, both wearing full black dress and black masks.

“Captain, we tried to reach you through the chatroom, but you went offline. So we barged on you. Forgive us. Did you finished uploading the neural schematic? What about the Regulator device? Did Mr. Maggott managed to fix it?” Dr. Nutcaze asked striding over to the Captain. He stumbled upon something and looked down what it was.

The severed head of Jo lay there. His empty eye sockets stared at them sadly. Dr. Nutter and Dr. Nutcaze goggled at it with horror.

Before they could tell anything, the high metallic voice of Xobo echoed throughout the lab.

“Tut, tut. It’s a bloody mess isn’t it, gentlemen? If you’ll kindly step aside, I’ll clean it,” the Robo said and suddenly sent a fire ball at them.

Dr. Nutcaze ducked down to the floor to dodge the fireball, which hit the head of Jo lying on the ground and burnt it to ashes within seconds.

Dr. Nutcaze felt the smouldering heat from the ash and hastily moved away from it.

“Ah, that’s taken care of. My dear Captain, you have the honor of introducing me to your colleagues,” Lord Xobo said politely.

“What’s happening?” Dr. Nutter asked urgently to the Captain, with a panic striken expression.

The Captain spoke out of the corner of his mouth in a low voice.

“I dunno. A few moments before, a demon like creature came out of thin air, killed Mr. Dippy and Jo, then disappeared. Then Xobo became alive even before we uploaded the neural schematic. It changed from black metal to a white metal color.

Now the thing is saying it is a ghost and it killed Mr. Dippy and Jo and is now possessing Xobo. I think something went wrong with the Robo and triggered its Artificial Intelligence. Quick, think of a plan. We must stop it before it goes beserk,” he finished in a whisper.

“Oh no, Captain. You mustn’t plot against me. Really, how dumb you are to forget the wristband you are wearing? I heard your every word,” said Lord Xobo coldly.

The Captain, realizing his humongous mistake, smacked his head in despair. Immediately, Dr. Nutcaze did something very brave and stupid. He sprinted straight towards Xobo like a cheetah. Xobo, on seeing Dr. Nutcaze running towards it, sent a ball of fire at him.

Dr. Nutcaze dodged the fireball skillfully, slid down the floor, went between the eight legs of Xobo and stopped straight under its belly. He started to type a code on the small touch screen fixed there, but Xobo pulled him out swiftly using its levitation power and dangled him upside down in mid air.

“What’s the matter with you guys? Why all of you are so rebellious? I think I must teach you to be submissive,” Xobo said furiously.

Then it raised one of its eight sharp, white metal spider limbs and stabbed brutally on the chest of Dr. Nutcaze. Blood poured out of his mouth and he died instantly. His limp body fell down to the floor with a thud.

“You want more of these demonstrations, Captain?” Xobo asked threateningly. The remaining three men – Captain D.C. Marwell, Dr. Nutter and Mr. Maggott, trembled with fear.

“I’m fed up with these silly games. If anyone resisted me or attempted to flee from this compound, this is the fate that awaits them. It’s time to complete phase 1 of my mission. Captain, assemble your staff and distribute them the wristbands from that box to wear. Then I’ll instruct you what to do. Your Vulture team is going to create a new device called Evil Web,” Lord Xobo said with glee.

“What’s that device used for?” Captain D.C. Marwell asked anxiously.

“Hereafter, you must address me as Lord,” the Robo said coldly.

“Yes, my Lord. What’s the purpose of creating such a device, er.. Lord Xobo?” The Captain asked with a bow.

The Robo seemed to be pleased. It rolled its many eyes upwards and fixed its gaze on the steel ceiling.

“Well Captain, if you need to know, then listen to me carefully. Evil Web is an essential equipment to complete phase 1 of my mission. I have analyzed the enormous data available on the internet and created a blue print for the device. Evil Web is capable of catching the souls of dead people. I have told you already, the soul is a form of energy. So actually we’re making an energy storage device,” it said, moving forward with its white metal spider legs.

It carefully trod on the face of Dr. Nutcaze’s corpse with a sharp, pointed metal leg, making a hole through his forehead; then Lord Xobo gave a piercing metallic laugh that sounded demonic.

A large fireball came out from one of its Purple Eyes, engulfed the dead body of Dr. Nutcaze and consumed it rapidly with flames.

CHAPTER EIGHT

THE BIZARRE INCIDENT AT MIDNIGHT

The sunflower field next to the Jumbo house was alive with butterflies, which were wandering hither and thither under the bright, hot afternoon sun. When they settled on the sunflowers to suck the sweet nectar for a meal, a big brown dog snapped at them.

“Kingdum! Don’t! Leave them alone. They might think you are a monster!” little Lenin said reproachfully.

“Of course he’s a monster to them, my boy. Shrink yourselves to the size of a butterfly, then beautiful Kingdum would appear as a Tyrannosaur to you,” remarked Karma wisely.

Kingdum, bored of the elusive butterflies, ran to the big mango tree on which the tree house was built. It lifted its legs against the tree’s trunk.

All the children had finished their lunch just now. It was delivered to them by a worker from the restaurant of their Uncle.

After finishing their meals, Teresa and Marx rushed to the tree house. The other two stayed behind to help Maya clear the crockery. After the job was done, Karma and Lenin left, leaving Maya alone. She was still immersed in some household chore.

The two boys walked at a leisurely pace towards their tree house. Karma was chatting earnestly with someone through the phone in his hand. Kingdum was waiting patiently for them under the mango tree. It gave a few short barks, urging them to come fast.

When the two boys reached the mango tree, Lenin climbed on its branches and went into the tree house, plucking a few ripe mangoes on the way.

“Send Kingdum up,” he called from the door.

Karma put a squirming Kingdum into the bathtub. He worked the pulley carefully, lifting the bathtub up to the door of the tree house. Lenin grabbed and pulled Kingdum out of the bathtub, panting. The dog felt very heavy.

Karma grabbed a few branches, climbed up and followed Lenin into the tree house. Inside, Marx and Teresa were sitting cross legged. Both seemed to be deeply engrossed in a game of chess. They were playing it on the tablet computer placed on the wooden floor.

Kingdum jumped over the tablet and tried to lick the face of Marx, wagging its tail furiously.

“No thanks, Kingdum, I don’t want my face to be wet right now,” Marx said and pushed it towards Teresa.

“You’re the most loving dog in the world, Kingdum,” Teresa said and hugged the dog around the neck.

Karma and Lenin unrolled the squashy sleeping bags and settled on it.

“Where’s Maya?” Marx asked the boys.

“She’s decorating the Poet’s statue with flowers,” replied Lenin lazily.

“What Poet’s statue?” asked Marx, puzzled.

“The white marble sculpture of the great Tamil Saint and Poet Thiruvalluvar. It’s placed in the living room. Honestly, how could you possibly forget that?” asked Karma.

“Oh, yeah.. that one… Uncle Jumbo asked her to furnish it with flowers early morning. What’s the use of doing it late afternoon?” asked Marx, frowning.

“Its better to do it late, rather than forget altogether,” said Teresa.

“Hmph,” said Karma, without taking his eyes from the phone.

Suddenly, they heard the rustling of branches. Someone was climbing up. It was Maya. She came inside, looking all hot and bothered. Kingdum gave her a welcoming bark.

“You guys could have stayed back for a few minutes to help me,” Maya said crossly.

“Where’s the iced lemonade I asked you to bring?” Karma asked her at once.

“Go and fetch it yourself,” Maya said irately.

“I’ll go and bring lemonades for all of us,” said Lenin and rushed out immediately.

“He’s a good lad,” sighed Karma. “And she’s a bad girl,” he said, scowling at Maya.

“Yeah, and you’re all lazy slugs,” Maya scoffed.

“Stop bickering, you two. Maya, come over here and watch this game. I’m gonna check mate Marx in four moves,” Teresa said excitedly.

Soon, Lenin came back carrying six bottles full of iced lemonade. The children quenched their thirst with the chilled drink. Lenin poured the lemonade slowly into Kingdum’s mouth, who gulped it noisily.

“This summer is very boring. Till now, nothing exciting has happened,” remarked Lenin.

“Yeah.. Last summer was very exciting. We busted a horde of angry aliens trying to invade Earth. Come on kid, it’s always the same for us,” said Marx sarcastically.

“The only people threatening the planet would be the cavemen hellbent on avenging,” said Karma.

“What cavemen? What avenging?” asked Marx, baffled.

“The poachers and smugglers who destroy nature through deforestation and hunting. They are nothing but barbaric cavemen. They justify their crimes by saying they are avenging nature, because it sometimes creates disasters, you know, like earth quakes and storms,” replied Karma.

“Avenging nature! They’re fools,” said Maya.

“Why don’t we go out and play cricket? Oh, please, lets do..” Lenin begged suddenly.

“My dear boy, I’d love to play cricket as much you do. I bet Karma too feels the same. But the girls don’t like to play cricket. We can’t play leaving them out,” Marx said mournfully.

“But they watch cricket all the time on T.V! Let’s ask them, they will definitely come for a 5-Over game,” pleaded Lenin.

“Playing on the ground is not as fun as watching in T.V. Now keep quite for a minute, Lenin,” snapped Teresa, trying to concentrate on her game. She had lost two of her black bishops.

Lenin looked at the girls with a disgruntled expression, while Karma rolled his eyes.

Suddenly, Kingdum stood up, cocking its ears. He ran to the window, looked down and began to bark with joy.

“Marx! Maya! You kids up there? Come down for a minute,” Uncle Jumbo called them in his rough voice.

The kids slipped down one by one with the help of the rope ladder, leaving an unhappy Kingdum alone on the tree house, whining.

The five wouldn’t dare to climb down using the branches before their Uncle. He considered it too dangerous.

Uncle Jumbo had cut his hair in a medium size and had quit wearing his golden earrings. Instead of his enormous handlebar mustache, now he had a neatly trimmed French Beard on his face. He was wearing an ash color shirt and lilac color suit.

“What’s up, Uncle?” asked Marx.

“Listen children. I’m leaving for Mumbai right now. It’s a very urgent business matter. I’ll be back by tomorrow evening. I’ve asked Mr. K.S. Kavikumar, one of the supervisors in the paper mill, to sleep in the house with you tonight. He will take good care you,” Uncle Jumbo said.

At once, the children broke into a string of protests.

“We’re not tiny tots!” cried Maya indignantly.

“We don’t need anyone for baby sitting!” this was from Teresa.

“We don’t know the guy you’re talking about, he might be a lunatic,” said Karma.

“No thanks, Uncle. We could perfectly take care of ourselves for a single night,” said Marx firmly.

Uncle Jumbo gave Marx a penetrating stare with his sharp eyes. He seemed to be struggling to come to a decision.

“Ok, then. I’ll leave everyone under your care, Marx Pandyan,” he said after a moment.

Karma snorted derisively.

“But, I’m locking the tree house and taking the key with me. I won’t allow you to sleep in the tree house without an elder nearby. I’ll arrange Justin Solomon to deliver food for you tonight and tomorrow. I’ll call through Skype after you lot had your supper. I need to make sure everyone is safe and sound before going to bed. And don’t forget to speak to your parents tomorrow morning,” Uncle Jumbo said sternly.

“You know that we never spent a morning without talking to them, right from the day we came here. Don’t worry Uncle, we’ll be fine,” assured Marx.

“Yeah, I’m sure aliens won’t attack us,” said Karma mockingly.

Uncle Jumbo ignored him and walked over to the tree house. Kingdum peeped down, standing on the edge of the door. On seeing the children, he barked and whined, desperate to come down.

“Lenin, come here,” Uncle Jumbo called the boy. “Go to the tree house and send Kingdum down. Then secure the door with this,” he said, handing him a huge lock and key made in steel.

Lenin climbed up on the rope ladder and loaded a frantic Kingdum into the bathtub. Marx worked the pulley down. When it reached the ground, the dog leaped out frenetically. Lenin fastened the wooden doors with the steel lock and tugged hard at it, making sure it was locked well.

He climbed down and handed the key to his Uncle.

Uncle Jumbo pocketed the key. Then he beamed at the kids and said, “It’s nearly 4 p.m. I have half an hour to catch my flight. I suggest you all have tea with me at the coffee shop before I depart.”

“Ooh, that sounds wonderful Uncle! We’d love to have tea with you!” said Maya delightedly.

Kingdum barked and capered around Uncle Jumbo, as though he understood his every word.

“He’s thinking of Strawberry flavored dog biscuits,” said Lenin.

“It’s funny how I can’t spend time with you kids even if you live right under my own roof. I must find a trustful aide to take care of my affairs. It will lessen my burden a little bit,” Uncle Jumbo said thoughtfully, and started to walk along with the children towards his coffee shop.

All of them had a smashing tea. After a few minutes, Uncle Jumbo’s giant Hummer car arrived before the coffee shop. He waved goodbye to the five kids and climbed into the limousine. It roared and sped down the road to the airport.

The children walked back to the house, feeling full and happy. Soon they separated to pursue their favorite pastimes.

Marx went to the living room and settled on the white couch to watch a movie on TV. Lenin ran to his Uncle’s master bedroom and sat before the desktop computer. He switched it on and started to play 3D games. Karma wandered over to the girl’s bedroom to check what they were doing.

The view of the sun going down in the sunflower field was visible clearly through the glass wall of their bedroom. Both the girls were painting the beautiful scenery on sheets of chart paper.

“What Maya? You gave up on poetry? Is that a painting? It looks more like a daub to me,” Karma said with a sneer, standing at the door.

Maya turned and scowled at him.

“Get lost,” said Teresa curtly.

Karma, not wanting to disturb their amateurish artwork, left them to themselves and went down to the living room. He lounged next to Marx on the couch, took out his phone and began texting.

Sharply at 8 P.M., the calling bell rang. Kingdum ran to the door and scratched at it, barking madly. Karma opened the door. Justin Solomon stood there, with a wide smile on his short bearded face. He was clad in a pink shirt and black suit, wore golden earrings in both of his ears and had tied his long hair in a pony tail. Kingdum sniffed around the plastic bag he was holding and pawed at it.

“Food parcels for all of you, young Master,” he said, lifting the plastic bag before Karma’s face.

Karma grabbed the bag from Justin’s hand like a Robot and said coldly, “Thank you.”

Then he dragged Kingdum inside roughly by holding the dog’s collar, and shut the door with a bang on the face of Justin.

Marx, who was watching all this from behind, looked shocked.

“Why didn’t you call him in? What that guy has done to you to be so rude?” he asked with a frown.

“I can’t stand his fatheadedness,” said Karma in a dry voice. “Come on. Let’s eat. I’m famished.”

The five children finished their dinner in silence except Kingdum, who as usual, crunched his dog biscuits noisily.

As soon as they cleared up the dishes, Lenin ran to the desktop computer, but Marx got hold of him halfway.

“Not so fast, little chum. Time to go to bed,” he said.

“No! I’m not going to play. I’m going to finish my homework for the holidays, let go!” Lenin said, struggling to get free.

“What homework they gave you to do with the computer?” Marx asked disbelievingly.

“I got to write a C program and run it. I need to print the output of the program. I need another printout of an essay describing the mathematical function of infinity,” Lenin said feverishly.

Marx released the boy from his grip. At that time, his phone rang.

“Hey, everyone! Come at once, its a Skype call from uncle Jumbo!” he yelled at the top of his voice.

All the children came running and crowded around the phone. Kingum tried to get between their feet to see what’s the excitement is about.

Marx attended the call and the large grinning face of Uncle Jumbo appeared on the wide screen.

“Hello kids! Is everyone fine? All of you had your dinner? I finished mine just now,” he said genially.

“Yes Uncle. We finished our dinner. How was your travel?” asked Marx.

“It was a comfortable journey. It’s raining buckets here in Mumbai. Well, I think its time for you kids to go to bed. Marx and Karma, you boys make sure all the doors and windows are fastened securely. I’ll phone again in the morning. Good night,” he said with a yawn.

“Good night Uncle!” The children shouted together. Kingdum managed to get between their legs and jumped on the phone.

Uncle Jumbo laughed on seeing its doggy face and ended the call.

The five started to move towards the stairs, but Lenin stopped and tugged Marx.

“Wait! Don’t go. Help me to finish my homework!” he asked pleadingly.

“Can’t it wait till tomorrow? I’m sleepy,” said Marx.

“No! Let’s finish it now, then I’ll feel free. Come on,” Lenin pulled his hands.

“Yeah, go help that little monkey. That’s your duty, Fuhrer,” smirked Karma and ran upstairs.

The girls followed him. “Finish it soon and come to bed,” called Teresa.

“We will try,” said Marx and he went along with Lenin to Uncle Jumbo’s master bedroom.

They switched on the desktop computer and settled before it in two comfy chairs.

“Ok. Now what’s the assignment they gave you for homework?” Marx asked.

Lenin took out his homework diary he kept in the draw of the computer desk, and gave it to Marx, who turned the pages to the month of April. He saw two lines neatly written by a teacher.

1. Write a C program to perform the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Run the program and get a printout of the output.

2. Write an essay about the mathematical function of infinity and get a printout for the same.

“Pooh, its dead easy,” said Marx, logging into the system. “It could be finished in half an hour. But first, let’s put a background download for the new sci-fi comedy movie called The Cavemen’s Revenge 3.”

He went to a portal website for downloading funny movies and clicked on a link. A small window popped up and asked the target folder for saving the file to be downloaded. Marx created an empty folder on the desktop and chose it as location. The download process began automatically.

“There.. It’s downloading… Now lets begin work on your C program,” Marx said, rubbing his hands.

Meanwhile, at the P.V. Sons House in Arctic Circle –

The Vulture Team of Captain D.C. Marwell was threatened by Xobo the evil Robo, and forced to wear the electronic wristbands. There was no other way for them than to obey its commands. Unfortunately, the Robo killed Captain D.C. Marwell, Dr. Nutter and Mr. Maggott, because they staged a revolt that greatly infuriated the Robo. Using its levitation power, it ripped their bodies to pieces and burned them with fireballs.

Then it systematically instructed the terrified Vulture Team to create an energy storage device called Evil Web. The device would capture and store souls, which according to Lord Xobo, is a form of energy.

Soon, Evil Web was made, engineered perfectly by the Vulture Team. It was a transparent cylindrical device about the size of a small pillar, 10 feet in height and 5 feet in breadth. The cylinder was actually a chamber for locking souls. It was powered by a large rechargeable battery. The device was attached with a small touch screen side panel.

Lord Xobo, using its levitation power, operated the touch screen and turned the device on.

Then using the device, it scanned the surrounding area for about 1 square kilometer, to detect any freely roaming souls of recently deceased persons. Immediately it saw the six souls of the persons it murdered in this very lab. They were the souls of Jo, Captain D.C. Marwell, Mr. Maggott, Dr. Nutter, Dr. Nutcaze and Mr. Dippy.

Their souls, which looked like steel blue spheres, tried to float away; but the sucking power emitted from the transparent cylinder of Evil Web captured them eventually.

Then Lord Xobo decided to kill all of the personnel in the complex. It had total control over the electronic wristbands they were wearing. It sent a command to those electronic wristbands to discharge a lethal amount of electricity. All of the unsuspecting staff died piteously through electrocution. Then it captured their souls using Evil Web and stuffed them into the cylinder of the device.

After this brutal massacre, Lord Xobo felt happy, very happy indeed. It would now give the corpses of the employees new life; it would reanimate them by infusing the souls back into the dead bodies using Phantom Shock – a type of electrostatic discharge given out by Evil Web.

They won’t be humans after they were reanimated, but they would be alive and immortal, that’s enough. Then the Robo thought, first of all, it must create a family for itself. A family fiercely loyal to it. That would give a sense of security.

It turned off all the air conditioners and made the compound freezing cold like outside. Using its levitation power, it assembled the corpses of the staff members in a line on the floor of the Personal Lab of the Captain. It stripped off their clothes and wrapped each corpse tightly with polythene sheets. There were 100 dead bodies in total.

Lord Xobo turned to the transparent cylinder of Evil Web. It operated the touch screen panel and the bluish ghost faces of the souls of five men – Captain D.C. Marwell, Mr. Dippy, Mr. Maggott, Dr. Nutter and Dr. Nutcaze appeared on the transparent walls of the cylinder.

Then it talked with them in a scratchy metallic tone, using the metal jaws underneath its Purple Eyes.

“My dear friends! In the first place, I very much regret that I had to kill you. But you made some mistakes, so you fully deserved your punishment, and you know it.

Now, its time to carry out phase 2 of my mission. To accomplish that, I need your service. I have forgiven your mistakes. I’m adopting you guys as my 5 sons. From now on, I’m your Great Father, Lord Xobo.

Sadly, your bodies are destroyed. If your corpses had remained like the dead bodies of the staff here, I would have put your souls back into your corpses. I would’ve reanimated them and given you a new, glorious life.

But alas, that’s not possible. So I can’t give back life to you in human form. That’s not a problem. Look at me, I’m an immortal Robo. It would be best for my sons to be immortal Robots too. I’ll put your souls into Robots. Of course, you’re free to choose any human corpse to possess if you get bored with your Robo form. I’ll reanimate you into immortal corpses. But for now, you must be content with Robotic metal bodies.

What form of Robots you want to choose? I mean, I’m in a spider form. It’s a pretty cool form isn’t it? You can’t choose my form, you must choose different forms. What do you say?” Lord Xobo asked them, with the air of a parent asking his children what present they want as their birthday gift.

None of the five men’s souls replied. They simply stared at Lord Xobo with a vacant expression. They know they had no other choice but to bend to the will of Lord Xobo.

“I think you all are in a dilemma. I’m going to let you loose into the internet. Wander freely and choose the form you feel close to your heart. It could be anything, from forms of symbols or of machineries or insects. Come back soon. Great evil deeds could be done only with the help of you,” Lord Xobo said ebulliently.

Using the Evil Web, it transformed the souls of the five men into sophisticated computer viruses and pushed them into the internet.

In the meantime, at Uncle Jumbo’s house in Chennai –

Marx had completed writing the C program for Lenin. He ran it successfully and got a printout of the output. Then he typed an essay about the mathematical function of infinity on a notepad application. Then he selected the text, clicked on the printout button and got a hardcopy of the essay.

“There, your assignment is finished nicely. You’ll get a pat on the back from the teacher for your work,” Marx said.

“Thanks, Marx,” little Lenin said happily. “Look, the movie’s downloaded,” he pointed to the screen.

A pop up window appeared on the screen saying that the task was finished. Marx decided to check out the movie. So he opened the file in a media player. Suddenly, they heard the pattering of feet. Kingdum rushed inside the room and started to growl ferociously at the monitor.

A warning message popped up on the screen and said that a malicious virus is attacking the system.

Then, the whole screen started to shimmer. It shifted and transformed fastly into various colors, as if someone or something is adjusting the monitor’s brightness and color tones on its own whim. Kingdum started to growl louder.

“Shh! Keep quite Kingdum, you’ll wake the others,” Marx said sternly, trying to figure out what’s happening.

The mouse and keyboard stopped working and had no effect on the screen. Everything went haywire. Suddenly, the shimmering and the shifting of colors stopped to a stand still. The whole screen went blank. Small sparks came from inside the processor, accompanied with the smell of burnt plastic. Then the computer began to shut down.

Marx tried to reboot the system, but it didn’t work. Kingdum had stopped its growling and was now licking the hands of Lenin, who patted it head.

“That must be some new kind of very nasty computer virus. I think uncle Jumbo had forgot to update his Anti Virus software. That’s why the system was vulnerable to the attack. Well.. the damage has been inflicted and we can’t fix it by ourselves. We must wait till he returns tomorrow. Gosh! Look at the time, it’s midnight! Come on, kiddo, time to bed,” Marx said in a tired voice.

The two exhausted boys and the dog went upstairs. Back in their bedroom, Karma was snoring soundly and peacefully.

Lenin and Marx changed into their night clothes and fell heavily on the huge bed with a sigh. Kingdum climbed on the bed and cuddled at the feet of Lenin. Soon they were fast asleep.

The children never knew that the most powerful and evil Robo in the Universe, Lord Xobo, had sent the souls of his five adopted sons into the internet to choose their Robo forms.

They couldn’t have possibly imagined even in their wildest dreams, that a few moments before, the sons of Xobo went right inside the very computer they were working on and chose the forms for their Robo bodies from the data available inside the system, destroyed it and then escaped through the internet, back to their Great Father Xobo, who was waiting for them affectionately at the P.V. Sons House in the Arctic Circle, to carry out its deadly plans of destruction.

CHAPTER NINE

THE BRUTONS, KREAKS AND THE UNITED FAMILY

The P.V. Sons House – a hexagon shaped building in the Arctic circle, was engulfed with a gloomy silence; as if it has changed into a morgue. It’s nearly true, because, now there were no living humans inside, but only a pile of frozen dead bodies. The atmosphere was thick with darkness, not the kind of darkness one feels in the absence of light; it was the darkness created by the absence of life.

Lord Xobo, with its 50 Purple Eyes, stared idly at the 100 naked corpses wrapped in polythene sheets and laid down on the icy floor. Suddenly, it detected movements inside the transparent cylinder of the Evil Web.

“Aha! The souls of my adopted sons are coming back after choosing their forms,” the Robo thought happily.

It gazed intently at the cylinder. Soon, the five ghostly faces of its adopted sons appeared inside like a vapour.

“My dear sons,” Lord Xobo welcomed them warmly.

“Hello Father,” the soul of Captain D.C. Marwell greeted him rigidly.

“You asked us to choose new forms for our Robo bodies. We roamed the internet for some time and finally broke into a computer system in Chennai city. Inside the system, we found various files and applications. We particularly liked two files, a C program and an MS word file. The C program was written to carry out the four basic mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The word document was an essay explaining the mathematical function of infinity.

We were struck by the beauty of the symbols of those mathematical entities. So we decided to chose them as forms for our Robotic bodies.

I, Captain Delirious Clown Marwell, chose the plus symbol of addition.

Mr. Maggott decided to choose the minus symbol of subtraction.

Mr. Dippy chose the multiplication sign,

Dr. Nutter chose the division symbol,

And Dr. Nutcaze chose the symbol of infinity.” The soul of the Captain finished lamely.

“Very good, very good. It’s very wise of you to choose the forms of such gorgeous symbols, my dear sons. Now wait for a few minutes till I create the Robots in the forms you have so lovingly chosen,” Lord Xobo said it its hard metallic voice.

Soon it plunged into some serious engineering work. Using its levitation power, It assembled a wide variety of Robotic parts and tools from the deserted manufacturing units.

It carefully welded and carved the three dimensional steel structures of the five mathematical symbols of : addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and infinity.

Then it filled the steel structures with many sophisticated computer chips, wires and batteries and sealed them shut.

It made the five structures hover in the air and made them rotate slowly, to give his sons a 3D view of his masterpiece.

The first Robot was in the form of plus sign – Two rectangular shaped, horizontal and vertical steel bars were crossed into each other. The front side of the horizontal steel bar had five empty metal eye sockets in a row and a tiny slit under them like a mouth.

The second Robot was in the form of minus sign – It was a single, rectangular, horizontal bar of steel. The front side of the horizontal steel bar had five empty metal eye sockets in a row and a tiny slit under them like a mouth.

The third Robot resembled the division symbol – it was a single, rectangular shaped horizontal steel bar, complete with two solid steel balls; one above the bar and one below the bar.

The balls were held to the bar by some kind of magnetic power that attracted and repulsed the balls at the same time, so they floated steadily from the bar at a fixed distance. The front side of the horizontal steel bar had five empty metal eye sockets in a row and a tiny slit under them like a mouth.

The fourth Robot resembled the multiplication sign – two rectangular shaped, vertical steel bars were crossed into each other, like the English alphabet ‘X’. The front side of the vertical steel bars had five empty metal eye sockets grouped at its center and a tiny slit was under them like a mouth.

The fifth Robot resembled the symbol of infinity – It looked like a single, twisted cylindrical steel pipe, exactly in the form of the number 8 laid down horizontally. The front side of the twisted steel pipe had five empty metal eye sockets grouped at its center and a tiny slit was under them like a mouth.

All the five steel Robots were about the size of a full grown horse.

“Now,” said Lord Xobo with satisfaction, “Before I input your souls into the Robots, I want to share my powers equally with all of you, my adopted sons. You are rightful to make a claim for my powers, because you’re my heirs.”

Hearing this, the faces of the souls of five men looked vivid and lively for the first time.

“Yes, my dear sons,” said Lord Xobo, pleased at their expressions.

“I must remind you that the Purple Eyes are your own wonderful creations, though I was the indirect reason behind all of your hard work. If I hadn’t induced gruesome hallucinations into your minds, you guys would never have dreamt of making Xobo and the Purple Eyes with awesome powers. I’m gonna share 25 of my Purple Eyes out of 50, equally with all of you. That makes 5 eyes for each of you. Now I’m going to fit the eyes into your respective Robot bodies,” Lord Xobo said.

Using one of its sharp white metal spider leg, it gouged out 25 Purple Eyes from its head and they rolled onto the floor.

It levitated those eye balls and fixed five Purple Eyes into the empty metal eye sockets of each of the new born Robots. Then it connected the Evil Web and the new born Robots with a large fiber optic wire. The souls of the five men were transferred from the cylinder of Evil Web into their respective Robot bodies.

Soon the Purple Eyes of the new born Robots started to give out a dim glow. After the transfer of souls was fully completed, they began to shine brighter.

“How do you feel, my dear sons? Do you feel compatible to your bodies?” Lord Xobo asked anxiously. “It would be a little dizzy at first, but then you’ll get used to the feeling,” it assured them.

“I’m all right, Father,” said Captain D.C. Marwell.

His metallic voice came from the slit under the Purple Eyes of the plus symbol shaped Robot in which his soul now currently resided.

The other four new born Robots also talked through the slits under their Purple Eyes and guaranteed their father that they are fine.

“Well, I just thought of giving new names to all of you, as you’re new born Robots,” Lord Xobo said, peering good naturedly at them.

“Captain D.C. Marwell, who chose the form of plus symbol for his Robot body, shall be called as Lord Plus. Mr. Maggott who chose the minus symbol form would be known as Lord Minus. I name Mr. Dippy, who chose the form of multiplication symbol as Lord Mutt. Dr. Nutter who chose the symbol of division shall be called as Lord Dotty. I name Dr. Nutcaze, who chose the symbol of infinity as Lord Infiniti,” Lord Xobo said ceremoniously.

“Lord Plus is the eldest of my sons, and Lord Infiniti is the youngest of my sons. We all belong to one family, the United Family. Hmm.. let me see, something is missing. Oh, yes. I forgot to paint you. I’m a white metal spider Robo. Don’t expect me to paint you in the same color. I’ll paint you nicely with other rich colors,” it said.

Lord Xobo started to levitate a spray painting machine from the manufacturing unit on the third floor and brought it into the lab in the first floor. Using its levitation power, it operated the machine dexterously and began to paint his sons.

Lord Plus was painted brightly in stripes of gold and scarlet colors. Lord Minus was painted with black. Lord Mutt was painted in violet color. Lord Dotty was painted with toxic green. Finally, Lord Infinti was painted in a brilliant shade of royal blue.

After that, the five adopted sons of Lord Xobo in their new Robot bodies paraded around the lab, floating in the air using their Purple Eyes levitation power and stood before their great father. On seeing them together, tears started to leak with ecstasy from Lord Xobo’s Purple Eyes.

“My dear United Family, now it’s time for you to know the history of my soul and my great mission to save planet Earth,” Lord Xobo said solemnly.

It started to elucidate them about its soul’s history : how it started from its home planet Puva Tuva and came to Earth; how it was adopted and named as Raja Shield by its human ape foster parents; how it got killed in an accident sabotaged by the Circle of Energy; how the Circle sent its soul into the body of a green spider called Gawd; its arguments with sinister looking Buddhist monk Bodhitaran; its suicide in Lenin garden; how it asked the service of Madam Smellin as a ghost; and how it finally managed to possess it’s current body – Xobo the Robo.

It further told them about its mission to destroy nature and womenkind, and to create a NEW WORLD filled with reanimated corpses of Fathers and Sons – the system of its alien ancestors.

It admitted that half of what it said were its wild imagination and only half were true. What exactly is its mission and the purpose of its mission was still unclear to itself. But it would complete it anyhow with their help.

Lord Xobo talked steadily for fifteen whole minutes in its scratchy metallic voice. His sons listened to it with rapt attention and were dumbstruck by the oddity of their father’s subtle speech.

After a moment of pause, Lord Plus asked the obvious question.

“What are we going to do next, Father?”

“I’ve told you long before. I need you to carry out Phase 2 of my mission; now it’s time to work on that,” Lord Xobo said in a mighty voice.

It looked briefly at the naked corpses wrapped in polythene sheets and continued, “We have the dead bodies of the men here. Their souls are safe and sound inside the cylinder of Evil Web. Now we must infuse the souls back into the corpses using Phantom Shock. It’s a type of electrostatic discharge given out by Evil Web.

Then, they would be reanimated and become alive. We need more of these Evil Web devices to reanimate 100 dead bodies within a short period.

Time is of value for our mission, because the Circle of Energy is weak only in the months of April and May. Only at this time, we could reanimate dead bodies, capture wandering souls or attack wildlife and womankind; yes, timing is indeed necessary to attack because at other times, the Circle of Energy could stop us by using the elements of nature against us; but it couldn’t do so in the months of April and May.

Keep this in mind and act quickly. Scan the schematics of Evil Web and reproduce exact replicas of the device. Each of you must create 2 copies. Come on, fast!” ordered Lord Xobo.

His five sons started to work swiftly, determined to impress their Father with their work. Using the levitation powers of their Purple Eyes, they assembled electronic and electrical parts from the manufacturing units in the above floors and set out to replicate the Evil Web.

Soon, 10 perfect copies were made. Lord Xobo appreciated the hard work of his sons. Then he asked them to equally distribute the souls locked inside the cylinder of the original Evil Web device to its duplicates.

Lord Plus connected the 11 devices together like a circuit with fiber optics wire and dished out the 100 souls evenly into each device. Then it started to unwrap the polythene sheets from the dead bodies.

“When I say discharge, let out the Phantom Shock from the Evil Web devices you are operating,” instructed Lord Xobo to its sons.

All 11 Evil Web devices were activated and a brilliant beam of gold and scarlet current started to glow from the top of the rod on each Evil Web device.

“Discharge, now!” yelled Lord Xobo.

His sons used their levitation powers and simultaneously selected the ‘project on the target’ option in the small touch screen side panel on the Evil Web devices.

The gold and scarlet stream of current emitted from the top of Evil Web devices hit the dead bodies in a flash and they started to jerk uncontrollably. They seemed to transform altogether into a different human species; entirely different in appearance from normal humans. Sharply after 13 seconds, the flow of electrostatic discharge stopped.

The United Family looked briefly at the new forms of the naked dead bodies. All the hair from their bodies had either fallen out or was burnt, so all of them were bald. The most remarkable change was in their skin. It was all shiny, wet and sleek; like a poisonous frog’s skin; mottled with black and white colors; starting from their bald head down to their feet.

Suddenly, the corpses stood erect and goggled at the United family, opening their mouths in a snarl. Their teeth were human like and white. Lord Plus then noticed that their eyes were changed in a most terrifying manner. All the black and white had gone from it. One eye was fully a pale brown color and the other eye was fully in pale blue color. Lord Plus reckoned these things never could be human.

Lord Xobo gave a low chuckle.

“Phase 2 completed successfully,” it mumbled to its sons.

Then it looked at the 100 confused corpses standing before it with affection and started to address them in a loud, harsh, metallic voice.

“My dear Brutons, welcome to your new life. You’re not weak humans anymore, but immortal Brutons. I’m your great father who created you. These are my first five sons,” it said, pointing at his sons with one of its spidery metal leg.

“So they are elder brothers to you. But they are different and more powerful than you, so you must address them as Lord, the same way as you address me. I’m Lord Xobo, the evil, white metal spider Robo, supreme ruler of the Universe forever and ever. My eldest son is Lord Plus, the second one is Lord Minus, third one is Lord Mutt, fourth one is Lord Dotty and the fifth is Lord Infiniti.”

At the mention of their names, each of his sons bobbed up to the ceiling and came down again.

After a minute, many cardboard boxes zoomed into the lab. Lord Xobo had levitated and brought them from the store room.

“There’s clothes for all of you in there. Put them on,” Lord Xobo ordered.

The Brutons opened the boxes. They contained shorts, made in black leather. The Brutons donned them eagerly. Their torsos were left bare. They looked expectantly at the United Family with their eerie eyes.

“I need to say a lot more things to you, my dear Brutons, but we’re running out of time. The Circle of Energy is weak only in the months of April and May, so we must act now quickly and must kill as much as men and women possible and capture their souls. That’s our mission for now. We must preserve the dead bodies of the men to reanimate them in future, and burn all the corpses of women, who are useless and harmful.

First of all, like me, you too need sons of your own. My dear Brutons! Soon, you are going to become Fathers. Your sons would be called as Kreaks. They could be created only with the help of you. Be loyal to your great father and your elder brothers. Kindly cooperate to carry out our mission,” Lord Xobo said smoothly, then turned its spider body towards its sons and spoke in a grave voice.

“Time to complete phase 3 of my mission, boys. Let’s create the Kreaks.”

“But we don’t have any more corpses and souls to reanimate,” said Lord Minus, puzzled.

“Then go out and kill people! Start from here along with the 100 Brutons, and travel 1000 nautical miles to the south. You’ll come across a cruise ship named Dolphin 65. There are about a 100 men and 75 women on board the ship. You know what to do. Kill all of them; capture their souls with Evil Web; burn the women’s bodies and bring the men’s bodies here. Then we shall be able to create the Kreaks – the sons of Brutons,” Lord Xobo said with finality.

“Yes, Father! I’ll be back with victory!” Lord Minus said in a resolute, metallic voice.

He shepherded the Brutons towards a large exit located in the extreme corner of the floor and opened the huge steel shutter. A stream of cold air rushed inside the P.V. Sons House. The United Family were made in metal, so change of temperature means nothing to them; it was already very cold inside anyway. Lord Minus, hovering near the ceiling, carefully levitated an Evil Web device and carried it in mid air out of the personal lab of the late Captain D.C. Marwell.(who was now Lord Plus).

The Brutons marched steadily in formations out to the cold and frozen Arctic grounds. The grey sky gave only a faint light; but the Brutons had the ability to see in the dark, so it was no big deal.

Lord Minus stood in mid air, uncertain of what to do next.

“Lord Minus! Now concentrate hard and perform the feat of multiple levitations! Uplift the 100 Brutons and the Evil Web device along with you and fly towards Dolphin 65!” Lord Xobo shouted through the howling icy wind.

“Yes, Lord Minus! You was an expert archer in your human form before! You could do it, come on!” Lord Plus encouraged his brother along with the others, hovering near the shutter.

Lord Minus closed all five of its Purple Eyes and concentrated hard. The bodies of the 100 Brutons and the Evil Web device appeared like numerous points of dazzling white light in its mind vision. It focused on those points, choosing them as targets and opened its eyes again. With a spurt of its levitation power, it lifted the Brutons and the Evil Web device simultaneously into the air to the height it was hovering.

The United Family watching near the shutter, roared and cheered heartily.

Lord Minus winked at them. Then it turned and tore through the air in south direction, towards the cruise ship Dolphin 65. The 100 Brutons and the Evil Web device flew behind it under the influence of its levitation power.

Lord Minus and its army of Brutons began to fly over the ocean. They rapidly closed the huge distance between them and the cruise ship at an incredible pace. Soon the dark grey form of Dolphin 65 came into view. By this time, a slight rain started to fall from the sky.

Lord Minus landed its army onto the two desolate decks of the cruise ship in a very silent manner.

It quickly scanned the ship. Few people were taking rest in their cabins; but most of the passengers were in the huge central bar. They were drinking gaily, playing cards, or having a go at the snooker table.

Lord Minus gave a string of commands to the Brutons.

“Don’t attack the men, I’ll deal with them. We need their bodies undamaged; so I’ll kill them through drowning. You guys kill all the women. Don’t show any mercy; let your animal instincts take over you. Dominate them. From what my father had said, women are indirectly responsible for all the hot wars and cold wars going on Earth. So they must be destroyed. Remember, show no mercy. I repeat – Dominate them…” Lord Minus said in a hard voice.

The Brutons gave a series of demonic war cries -

“Hooo! Hooo! Hooo!”

They rushed inside the ship. Pandemonium reigned. The passengers ran pell-mell, terrified and panicked at the sight of the hellish creatures charging towards them.

Lord Minus jumped into the scene of action. It roved its Purple Eyes in all directions, choosing targets; then, using its levitation power, it casually lifted the men inside the ship one by one from the scene of chaos and started to throw them into the sea. Then it submerged them deep into the icy waters of the ocean and suffocated them to death.

Meanwhile, the Brutons started to revel in the carnage. The weak hearted women fainted at the sight of the dreadful bald Brutons. Their sleek and moist, poisonous frog’s skin, mottled with black and white colors, evoked an immediate feeling of aversion and dread; while their odd, loathsome eyes – one in a fully pale brown color and the other in a fully pale blue color, chilled the women’s spines.

The ladies who were bold enough tried to fight the Brutons with guns, knives or with any other sharp object they could lay their hands on. Those weapons had no effect whatsoever on the Brutons. They crept steadily towards the crowd of scampering girls.

Some men valiantly tried to protect the fairer sex by clinging onto the back of Brutons, and tried to push them into the sea or strangle them. They mistook the reluctance of the Brutons to attack them as fear, and tried to assault the Brutons with crude implements. But those men were lifted at once by Lord Xobo, who threw them unceremoniously into the sea and drowned them.

The Brutons pounced on the girls ruthlessly and pinned them to the floor. Once a Bruton got a firm hold on its victim, it sat on their bosom; stooped low; and slowly bit through the sinew and tissues of the victim’s neck, severing the head roughly from the body. Then it carried the decapitated head under its armpit, showing them around to other Brutons; as if the head was a trophy it had recently won.

A few Brutons gouged out the eyes of their victims and juggled with it playfully, then uprooted their hair roughly in a bunch from their scalp; or bit off their noses and lips; simply for the fun of it, before beheading them crudely with their teeth. Many women jumped into the sea to escape the Brutons; but Lord Minus lifted them from the water and put them back into the ship, laughing cruelly.

Within one hour the entire human life resided on the ship was wiped off, and its two decks were bathed fully in crimson blood.

Lord Minus looked at the mutilated bodies of women lying on the ship and the floating dead bodies of the men on the ocean with satisfaction. The task set for him by his Father was accomplished. Lord Xobo would be pleased. With this pleasant thought in mind, Lord Minus ordered the Brutons to stop eating the women’s corpses. Some of them were indeed licking the blood from the floor.

Lord Minus carefully turned on the Evil Web device hovering next to it, and scanned the surrounding area. The souls of the recently deceased 170 men and women were wandering aimlessly. They appeared like glossy, steel blue color spheres. Lord Minus captured all the souls with the sucking power emitted from the transparent cylinder of Evil Web.

After that, it started to levitate the dead bodies of men floating on the ocean into the air. Next, the Brutons too were airborne. Lord Minus created a gigantic fireball and burned the entire ship along with the maimed dead bodies of the women. Then it made the troop of Brutons and male cadavers to fly back towards the Arctic Circle.

Back inside the P.V. Sons House, Lord Minus (Mr. Maggott) replayed the scenes of the bloodbath on the cruise ship Dolphin 65 to Lord Xobo and its four brothers. It had recorded the incident using its Purple Eyes. After watching the visuals, they showered him with praises, except Lord Infiniti, who became very silent and morose on seeing the brutal carnage. It began to sulk. But Lord Minus seemed to be content with the commendation of its Father, and felt very happy.

“So Father, now we are going to reanimate these dead bodies into the Kreaks. Will they resemble the Brutons in their appearance?” Lord Dotty (Dr. Nutter) asked, eyeing the newly brought corpses with interest, which were neatly arranged on the floor, after being stripped off their clothes.

“No. They won’t be like the Brutons. We should give the Phantom Shock in a different voltage to the new corpses. That’s because they are going to be the sons of Brutons, so they must be slightly different from them,” explained Lord Xobo patiently.

Meanwhile, Lord Mutt (Mr. Dippy) ordered the 100 Brutons to huddle together in a corner of the lab.

Lord Plus connected all the Evil Web devices in a circuit with the original Evil Web device that Lord Minus brought back, which was filled with the captured souls of the people killed on the cruise ship Dolphin 65. The souls were distributed evenly among the other devices.

Then, all of the 11 Evil Web devices were activated simultaneously, and a brilliant beam of gold and scarlet current started to glow from the top of the rod on each Evil Web device.

The blinding gold and scarlet stream of current emitted from the rods of the Evil Web devices hit the freshly brought naked dead bodies in a flash, and made them to shake uncontrollably. At once, they got transformed into a different human species, entirely different in appearance from the Brutons and normal humans.

Exactly after 13 seconds, the flow of electrostatic discharge stopped and the transformation was completed.

The United Family watched the new born Kreaks cautiously, because they looked more frightful than the Brutons. The Kreaks had no hair on their bodies; but they were not bald, like the Brutons. On their heads, they had long and wavy black hair, similar to a lion’s mane. On their faces they had thick, short, black mustache and a trimmed black beard.

The most riveting thing about their appearance was their skin. It was entirely different from the shiny, wet, sleek, white and black colored, poisonous frog’s skin of the Brutons. The Kreaks faces and bodies had the scaly skin of an alligator. It was in the sickly, yellowish color of pus. Even at a distance, it looked nauseating.

Suddenly, the Kreaks leapt to their feet with the ferocity of a lion, crouching low; they opened their mouths in a snarl, ready to attack. Their teeth were inhuman; sharp, pointed and black in color.

The Kreaks sniffed at the air suspiciously and looked at the Brutons. Then they slowly relaxed into a standing position. They must have realized that they were their fathers, because the Brutons and Kreaks shared the same smell of stale bread.

The Kreaks eyes were also odd in a different way from the Brutons. One eye looked normal like a human, it was black and white. The other eye was abnormal; it was fully black, without a tiny tinge of white or any other color in it.

Abruptly, many cardboard Boxes flew into the lab and landed before the Kreaks. Lord Plus asked the new borns to open the boxes and dress themselves. The Kreaks removed the lids of the boxes and found black colored leather shorts inside. They donned the clothes quickly. Their torsos were left to remain bare.

Lord Xobo’s loud metallic voice boomed throughout the lab.

“Welcome to your new life, my dear Kreaks! I’m your great father, Lord Xobo. These are my eldest five sons – Lord Plus, Lord Minus, Lord Mutt, Lord Dotty and Lord Infiniti. The six of us are the United Family,” Xobo said, gesturing at its sons with a white metal spider leg. Then it pointed to the corner where the Brutons were cooped up together.

“Those are your fathers. You Kreaks already seemed to have recognized that,” Xobo said.

The 100 Brutons and 100 Kreaks exchanged glances with each other through their ghastly eyes. The Brutons started to walk towards the Kreaks slowly. The Kreaks stepped forward eagerly, sniffing at the nasty smell of Brutons and embraced them warmly.

Lord Xobo looked at the sight of Fathers and Sons, hugging and kissing each other deeply on their mouths, with tears in all of its 25 Purple Eyes.

Then it started to address the 200 demonic creatures.

“My dear Brutons and Kreaks! You are a new human species; the reanimated and evolved dead bodies; the immortal and sterile corpses. Brutons are the fathers of Kreaks; Kreaks are the sons of Brutons.

Me and my five sons, the United Family, are the Earth’s mightiest heroes, global police men, battling to destroy the evil and decadent system of Circle of Energy, which wipes the memories of a human’s soul and sends it to take a plant or animal birth. The noble bird Vulture is the symbol of the United Family.

Brutons and Kreaks! First of all, think about yourself. There is a greatness in being a living corpse. Humans had to eat three times a day, had to sleep five or six hours, had to shit and piss daily. These things are common between humans and lowly beasts. Humans age with the passage of years, wither and die. So they are weak, fragile.

But you, the glorious corpses, the evolved dead bodies, would remain immortal and frozen forever. You don’t have the stupid human obligations like eating, sleeping or shitting. The only thing dangerous to you is fire; so you must stay away from it. It’s an evil thing because it gives out heat and light. You would remain healthy if you stayed in a cold and chilly place.

You won’t have any appetite for food. So you don’t need to eat unclean plants and animals, in which the soul of the devil dwells.

Remember, you are independent and holy men who are free to indulge in savagery.

Have unshakable faith in your great father Lord Xobo. If I say Earth is flat, then its flat. If I say I came from Puva Tuva, you must accept it without a question. Logic is magic, magic is logic. Don’t ask whether my subtle statements are true.

Truths never matter, they are always bitter. Hopes about bogus things are sweet and great. I love you all and I would sacrifice my life for your well being by faking my death; that’s enough to believe me blindly. No need to verify my vague statements.

Human men always fight for women. Every hot war or cold war is centered on them. Women are greedy creatures, they goad men to fight over them and enjoy the fight. They are opportunists, they never care about anyone except themselves, they always want everything and will do anything to get it. They are evil creatures and should be destroyed. Men and women create perfect balance in the world. We must upset that evil balance and replace it with Fathers and Sons.

If there are no plants, no animals, no women, and only reanimated corpses of Fathers and Sons – The Brutons and Kreaks, then a better world, a New World could be created. The human race would have every opportunity to survive without plants, animals and women.

Who knows, we may even go to other galaxies and annihilate plants, animals and women everywhere, until only Fathers and Sons remain in the whole universe. We would sing the glorious smell of putrefied corpses forever and ever.

Our home, The Parthenium and Vulture Sons House in the Arctic Circle, is well away from the heat and warmth of the sun. This icy place is the perfect zone for the Brutons and Kreaks to live, and would function as a military Base for our war.

The sun is really an evil thing, because it gives out heat and light, it makes the skin tan. So corpses like you must run away from the evil sun. Look at that giant fire ball in the sky, it would remind you of hell.

Keep in mind, the evil sun gives life to evil plants, where the soul of the devil dwells. These evil plants are eaten by evil beasts, so the soul of the devil travels from plants into animals through ingestion. If we eat them, our souls also would become poisoned.

Bow to me, Lord Xobo the evil Robo. I will ensure the perpetuation of the legacy of Fathers and Sons. Using the D.N.A taken from your bone marrow, I would clone your bodies umpteen times and fill the universe fully with Fathers and Sons – the Brutons and Kreaks. My wish is that you must breed like the cancer cells.

But for that I need more souls. So we must kill all the people on Earth and imprison their souls inside Evil Web. We must also destroy Mother Nature to make sure that no soul enters, not even by accident, into a plant or animal’s body.” Lord Xobo finished its lengthy, insane speech at last.

“How are we going to destroy Mother Nature, Father? What’s our next step?” Lord Plus asked in a dignified voice.

“The next step of my master plan is to complete phase 4 of my mission. For that, we need to create the Egghead Robots. They would annihilate Mother Nature without a trace,” Lord Xobo said viciously, and gave a mighty, evil laugh that echoed throughout the P.V. Sons House.

CHAPTER TEN

THE EGGHEAD ROBOTS

Work for creating the Egghead Robots went full-fledged inside the P.V. Sons House. The United Family labored aggressively, following the commands of their father Lord Xobo. The Egghead Robots were nearing completion. The Brutons and Kreaks were dunces, so they couldn’t help the United Family. They simply squatted on the four corners of the lab in groups, and watched the proceedings open mouthed.

After about six hours of toiling, 50 Egghead Robots were made perfectly.

“Father, phase 4 of our mission is accomplished,” Lord Plus said proudly.

Lord Xobo, who was spinning tales about its fictitious home planet Puva Tuva to the dorky Kreaks, turned back. It looked at the Egghead Robots sharply with its Purple Eyes and scuttled towards them with its spider legs.

Each Egghead Robot was in the size of a full grown horse. It had a human like metal torso, attached with two human like metal arms. But below the torso, it didn’t had a pair of human like legs. Instead it had four pairs of jointed metal legs pertaining to a spider. It’s bald metal head was shaped like a large egg, and had a pair of hideous eyes like white bulbs bordered with thick grey circles. Below the white bulb eyes was a tiny slit for mouth, which had two, grey metal fangs. It had no nose. A long black cloth was attached behind the Robot’s shoulder, and it hung up to its waist. The cloth was printed with a picture of a vulture spreading its wings wide.

Lord Xobo took in the appearance of the white colored Egghead Robots with apparent satisfaction.

“These Egghead Robots are camouflage type Robots, they change colors according to time. In day, they’ll appear white. After sun set, they change to black color,” said Lord Plus.

“Nice. You guys had created them tactically. Now initiate them,” Lord Xobo ordered Lord Plus.

Lord Plus levitated a tablet computer before its Purple Eyes and entered a few keywords. At once, all the 50 Egghead Robots came to life. White light emitted from their bulbous white eyes, bordered with thick grey circles.

As the ugly Egghead Robots had no souls, Lord Xobo felt no need to lecture them.

It turned to Lord Plus and said, “Where are their weapons? Have you programmed them how to handle the weapons?”

“Yes, father. They are prepared for everything,” Lord Plus said, and brought in a range of war weapons from the store room through levitation.

Lord Xobo goggled at the weapons with a mingle of surprise and annoyance. They didn’t look like modern weapons used by Robots. They were in fact weapons of ancient times – huge stone hammers and hexagon shaped iron shields.

“What?! You’re going to give these things to them? How could they be used to destroy nature, I ask?” Lord Xobo said angrily.

“Wait and watch, father,” said Lord Plus mysteriously.

The other four sons of the United Family also watched with much anticipation; because these weapons were the solo creations of Lord Plus, unlike the Egghead Robots, which were created by their combined efforts.

Lord Plus commanded the Egghead Robots to pick the weapons.

The Eggheads responded at once. They moved forward with their eight metal legs in a line; then each of them picked a stone hammer and an iron shield in their hands.

“My dear United Family, if you kindly come along with me outdoors, I’ll show you what an Egghead Robot is capable of through live demonstration,” Lord Plus said. It ordered an Egghead to follow it and commanded the Kreaks and Brutons to squat silently in a corner until they return.

The steel shutters of the complex opened with a screech, and the United Family moved out, followed by the single Egghead Robot. When the shutters closed behind them, Lord Plus started to move up into the grey sky. It made the Egghead to fly along with it using its levitation power. The rest of the United Family followed Lord Plus at a distance.

The seven Robots flew steadily to the south of the tundra regions of Arctic Circle. After a few minutes of super sonic speed travel, they entered the temperate forests of Siberia.

Lord Plus landed on the wet, marshy grounds, amidst a patch of pine trees. The Egghead Robot landed next to it, followed by the other members of the United Family.

“Now show your skills with your weapons, Egghead,” ordered Lord Plus.

“Is it going to uproot all the trees with its stone hammer?” asked Lord Mutt.

The Egghead walked with its metal spider legs right into a thick patch of pine trees. The United Family hovered up in the air to get a better view.

Suddenly, the Egghead Robot struck the stone hammer forcefully on the hexagonal iron shield. At once, streaks of red and gold sparks erupted from the shield up to 15 square feet around the Egghead, due to the impact of the strike.

Every biological life – vegetation life and animal life, hit by those red and gold sparks burned and turned into ashes within seconds. The pine trees that were within the range of 15 square feet around the Egghead Robot, crumbled to smouldering piles of waste wood.

The Egghead moved forward ten feet, then hit the shield with the stone hammer again. Red and gold sparks erupted, burning down the pine trees within 15 square feet around the Egghead Robot. Soon the air was filled with black soot and heat.

Lord Xobo landed on the ground and walked on the ashen ruins. It upturned a roasted family of Siberian Weasels with one of its spider legs.

“Very good. This is the best you had given me so far,” said Lord Xobo happily.

The brothers of Lord Plus were also impressed, except Lord Infiniti, who closed its Purple Eyes in defiance.

“Well done, Lord Plus. It works exactly like our fire balls,” remarked Lord Dotty.

“On the contrary, these red and gold radiation sparks are better than fire balls; because fire balls need air as fuel to be generated by our Purple Eyes. But the radiation sparks doesn’t need any fuel, they work by frictional energy.

Those stone hammers and iron shields are not made up of stone and iron as they appear to you. They are actually made in a newly created alloy of lead and uranium; a synthetic metal called Hoplightium. The red and gold radiation sparks emitted from the friction of hammer and shield leaves long lasting radioactivity on the spot of their emission for about 300,000 years. No micro or macro organism could ever thrive on that spot,” Lord Plus said cheerily.

“Well… I’m fiercely proud of you, my sons. We’re the great United Family. I’m also fiercely proud of Brutons and Kreaks. With all of you standing along with me, my dream of establishing my alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons would soon become a reality,” Lord Xobo said with tears in its Purple Eyes.

“What next father?” Lord Mutt asked eagerly.

“Lord Mutt! You are the very guy to undertake phase 5 of our mission. Take 20 of the Egghead Robots with you and destroy the Gir forest in India. Our first assault on Mother Nature must be barbaric. You go at once. Tomorrow morning, Gir forest must be reduced to ashes!” Lord Xobo roared in a mighty, metallic voice.

“Yes father! Your wish is my command!” Lord Mutt said fervently.

A few moments later, the United Family and the single Egghead Robot journeyed back to the P.V. Sons House. Lord Mutt took 20 of the Egghead Robots immediately under its charge, bid farewell to its father and brothers, then made the Egghead Robots fly along with it into the grey sky. They moved rapidly towards the Gir forest at a supersonic speed. Lord Mutt was greatly excited at the prospect of destroying more life. Now was the perfect opportunity to prove its talents to Lord Xobo, it thought determinedly.

Meanwhile, in the Gir Forest –

On that particular night, the wilderness of the famous Gir forest located in the Gujarat state of India, was completely covered with a black blanket. The moon was absent, and the cloudy sky blocked even the very faint light of stars.

Forest Ranger Hurri Bobby, dressed in a moss green shirt and pants, was fixing motion sensor cameras on the trunks of a few, well marked margosa trees. The wild animals won’t change their tracks often inside the forest. On the rare occasions they did, he needed to carefully follow their foot marks and fix new cameras on their route, to snap pictures of their movements and activities inside the forest. He was now fixing cameras on the tracks of a lion, following its recent foot marks.

Hurri Bobby turned around anxiously, when he heard the distant howling of the wolves. He had his rifle and pistol with him, but even then, its not a clever thing to get trapped in the midst of a pack of hungry wolves.

He adjusted his night vision goggles, which gave out a faint, red glow. More than his firearms, this special equipment instilled confidence and provided a sense of security to him. It gave him a bright chance of survival against the beasts of the forests, which could see clearly in the darkness without any aiding device.

Hurri Bobby stooped low and fixed the last of the motion sensor cameras on the base of a broad margosa tree trunk and straightened up, exhausted.

He usually does these things in day time. But for the past four days, along with the other forest Rangers, he was hunting down a notorious poachers gang; so he didn’t had the time to do his routine works in day. Hurri Bobby started to navigate through the thick undergrowth back to his watchtower.

Suddenly, something went wrong with his night vision goggles. It stopped working. He fumbled for the torch inside his rucksack, took it out and switched it on. He started to move forward in the bright yellow light of his torch, but stopped abruptly. He sighted something weird amongst the dense trees before him.

Ten brilliant roundish specks of white lights flashed at a distance. They looked like they were emitted from powerful light bulbs. Hurri Bobby was puzzled. He was sure that these lights were not coming from the poachers; they never use torches. And his fellow Rangers don’t have flashlights which emit lights as bright as those visible ahead. He began to move forward cautiously.

After a few feet, he sensed movements among the thickset foliage of trees. Other than the voices of insects, he heard a distinct noise. It was an odd metallic noise. It was not the sound coming from some heavy machinery at work, but something new, extraordinary.

Hurri Bobby was seized with fear and curiosity at the same time. Is that noise coming from some kind of new machinery used by the smugglers to cut off trees? The Forest Ranger now saw about thirty light bulbs, all shining in pairs, moving towards him. The metallic noises soon started to encircle him, and the things that made the noises moved swiftly, rustling the bushes and the low hung branches of the trees.

Hurri Bobby panicked and flashed his torch around him wildly. He could see the faint outline of the horse sized, black things that made the noise. He stared at them, transfixed. When they moved a little closer, he got a clear view of them; he was instantly terrified.

It slowly dawned on him that they were some kind of Robots. He carefully studied their appearance. All of those things were fully black in color. The pairs of white light bulbs he saw were stuck on the bald, egg shaped heads of those metallic things. These white, glowing bulbous eyes were bordered with thick grey circles. Below the eyes there was a slit like mouth which had two grey metallic fangs sticking out.

Below the egg shaped head, they had human like metal torso attached with a pair of human like metal arms, which held a stone hammer and a hexagon shaped shield. They didn’t had legs, but four pairs of jointed metal legs akin to a spider. A long black cloth was attached behind their shoulders and it hung down to their waist. Under the bright, white light emitting from their eyes, he saw that the black cloth was printed with the picture of a vulture spreading its wings.

He calculated that there must be about 15 or 20 of the Robots surrounding him. Hurri Bobby knew he was trapped. He had absolutely no chance of escape, and was sure that his rifle and pistols won’t be much use against those metal monsters. The Egghead Robots started to encircle him from four directions. Seized by the instinct of self preservation, Hurri Bobby sprinted forward, crouching low. With a spurt of speed, he ran under the spidery metal legs of four Robots, towards a large clump of bushes. He jumped and hid behind them, switching off his torch. The Robots rotated their Eggheads, scanning the forest. They saw the Ranger lying low among the bushes. But they didn’t go after him.

Hurri Bobby was wondering whether the Robots had found him or not. He tried to activate his night vision goggles again and luckily it worked, giving out a faint red glow. Using it, he saw that the Robots were splitting and moving separately into the forest in eight different directions. Soon they disappeared from his sight. Hurri Bobby stood up from behind the bushes, took off his goggles and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

All of a sudden, vivid red and gold sparks erupted from the spots where the Robots went through the jungle. Hurri Bobby watched the sparks burn down the trees and plants into ashes. He rushed forward madly, trying to figure out what’s going on. He caught sight of an Egghead Robot, a few feet away from him. The Robot struck the stone hammer on the hexagonal iron shield. Red and gold sparks erupted from the strike, and burned down every vegetation within a radius of 15 feet from the Robot. Hurri Bobby was horrified. Those sparks burned down huge trees into charred waste wood within seconds. No fire or heat source in his knowledge was capable of doing such destruction within a short period of time. It looked like magic to him.

Hurri Bobby began to turn back and ran wildly. Soon red and gold sparks erupted all around him. He felt a sickening sensation of being roasted, and then everything blacked out from his vision.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE DEFECTION OF LORD INFINITI

Uncle Jumbo’s House, Chennai –

On that Sunday morning, the living room of the Jumbo house was crowded. Uncle Jumbo sat majestically on the white couch, while the five children – Marx, Karma, Maya, Teresa and Lenin sat together on the blue couch that lay perpendicular to their Uncle. Kingdum, the beautiful brown dog of the children, snoozed peacefully at their feet.

All of them were watching the national news on Long Dharshan channel with much interest. A newsreader was saying -

“The Ministry of Environment and Forest had ordered a thorough investigation into the huge wild fire that started yesterday night and consumed half of the famed Gir forest of Gujarat. It is feared that all of the Asiatic lions that lived in the forest must be dead in the fire, along with innumerable endangered species of birds, plants, animals and insects.

When asked about the presence of unknown radioactive substances among the charred woods, Environment and Forest Minister Mr. Manta Ray said there was no such substance found.

He dismissed the claims of some right wing journalists that ‘Pakistan terrorists smuggled an atom bomb into India hiding it in a lunchbox, and then detonated it in Gir forest,’ as baseless and senseless allegations.

On questioning him further about the controversial video clip roaming the internet in connection with the wildfire, he said it’s a smart work of C.G.I by mischief mongers.

This video is claimed to be a recorded clip taken out from one of the heat resistant night vision cameras, placed in the forest to track down the movements of wild animals by the forest department, on the night of the incident. The video contains odd visuals of alien looking, monstrous, eight legged Robots, sending red and gold sparks around them, generated using a stone hammer and hexagonal iron shield held in their hands.

These red and gold sparks seemed to have burned down the forest. Multimedia experts have agreed that the video is not fake and is genuine. It’s a mystery why the government refuses to accept the truth, simply because its weird,” the newsreader finished with a smirk.

Uncle Jumbo pressed the remote and skipped to the next channel – the Global Wave, for international news. A newsreader was saying -

“Investigators examining the bizarre fire accident that happened a week ago on the destroyed cruise ship Dolphin 65, were baffled on finding only remains of burnt women bodies in the sea. There were absolutely no traces about the men on board; they seemed to have vanished into thin air.

Investigators maintained stoic silence when asked about the disturbing video that is doing rounds on the internet related to the tragedy that took place on Dolphin 65. This video was taken by a women on the ship shortly before the fire broke, and was sent to her friend through her phone.

It depicts gruesome and frightening visuals of unknown demonic creatures, killing the women on board the ship cruelly. However, authenticity of this video is yet to be verified and it has been removed from YouTube on request from the Interpol. Coming up next is some hot stuff about the Miss World competition.. “

Uncle Jumbo pressed a button on the remote and skipped to the children’s favorite channel, Bubble T.V.

“Hmm.. A lot of horrible things are going around the world,” Marx remarked lightly.

“What could a person gain by destroying a forest, I ask?” Uncle Jumbo said, frustrated.

“So you don’t believe those were the work of Robots from an alien world, Uncle?” Maya asked, flipping her hair.

“Of course not. The truth is, its simply a forest fire started randomly by some rogues. The rest are people’s wild imagination,” Uncle Jumbo said firmly.

“But the video! We saw it on YouTube, it looked real..” said Teresa.

“Oh, anyone clever could create a fake video like that. The animation field has progressed vastly, providing tools to feed people’s fantasies,” said Uncle Jumbo.

“I think its the work of those cavemen, hellbent on avenging,” said Karma suddenly.

“What cavemen?” asked Uncle Jumbo, bewildered.

“I know! I know!” shouted little Lenin. “The cavemen are ‘the poachers and smugglers who destroy nature through deforestation and hunting. They justify their crimes by saying they are avenging nature, because it sometimes creates disasters, like Earth quakes and storms.’ That’s what Karma said, a few days before,” he told Uncle Jumbo.

“What about that attack by devilish creatures on the cruise ship Dolphin 65? I’m sure they were aliens,” said Maya.

“How do you know?” asked Teresa, with a dubious expression.

“I saw the 40 second clip on YouTube. It was horrible,” replied Maya with a shudder.

Karma started to describe the visuals of the video. “Yeah. It was awesome. They were bald creatures with sleek and shiny poisonous frog’s skin, mottled with black and white colors. Their eyes were the most horrid things in their body. One was fully a pale brown color, the other fully a pale blue color, without a tiny speck of black or white in them,” he said, and gazed thoughtfully at the silver Buddha statue with closed eyes, placed in the corner of the living room.

Then he continued, “Those creatures bit through the necks of women like butter and carried the decapitated heads under their arm pits. Some gouged out their eyes and juggled with them, others ripped their hair from the scalps, a few bit off their noses and lips….”

“No! Don’t! Stop!” said Teresa, covering her ears with cupped hands. “How could you watch such a dreadful video and talk about it so easily?” she asked in a trembling voice.

“Karma! You shouldn’t watch such extremely violent videos! Did Lenin watch it?!” asked Uncle Jumbo, shocked.

“No Uncle, he didn’t. Sorry, we were just curious you know, that’s why we watched,” said Karma apologetically. “It looked more like graphics to me.”

“No it wasn’t. They were real aliens,” snapped Maya.

“Well, if that’s true, somebody will stop them, I’m sure,” said Marx.

“Like who?” asked Teresa, frowning.

“Dunno,” replied Marx, in an offhand voice. “Perhaps the military?”

At that time, the five children and the dog never knew that they are the ones who are going to stop those alien looking Brutons, Kreaks and the United Family… with the timely help from Lord Infiniti and Monk Bodhitaran.

The P.V. Sons House, Arctic Circle –

Inside the personal lab of the deceased Captain D.C. Marwell, Lord Xobo’s eight legged, white metal spider body was roaming to and fro in midair. Four of his adopted sons stood lined up hovering before him. One of them, Lord Infiniti, was missing.

“Don’t worry, Father. I’ll go back to Gir forest and finish the task,” Lord Plus was saying.

“It’s all my fault, Father. I shouldn’t have listened to Lord Infiniti. I never thought he would become mad and act against you. What happened precisely, after I left with the Egghead Robots?” Lord Mutt asked anxiously.

“Well.. shortly after your departure, Father and Lord Infiniti had a terrible row. He kept saying madly that Father’s mission to destroy Mother Nature and Womenkind, and establish his alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons is terribly insane and must be stopped. He also yelled that he would stop him using force. I was enraged. I asked him to hold his tongue and to stop berating Father. He said from this instant, he is a free rebel who’s going to sow the seed of revolution against all of us. We tried to disable him, but he escaped through the emergency exit,” Lord Plus said contemptuously. “We never thought he was planning to trick you, else we might have warned you.”

“What exactly happened when he met you?” Lord Dotty asked for the third time.

“I’ve told you already,” Lord Mutt said warily.

“I was busy, commanding the Egghead Robots to carry out the destruction of the forest without any snag. We even had a brief moment of fun killing a Forest Ranger. The time was quarter past twelve at midnight, and half of the forest was already burned down. I hovered in the air, watching the Eggheads at work, and was confident that they would annihilate the whole forest just before dawn. At that time, Lord Infiniti came flying towards me. He said that you have ordered me to abandon the mission and return to the Base immediately, due to an unexplainable situation. I tried to communicate Father, but I couldn’t reach him, nor any of you..”

“That sucker jammed our communication system,” interjected Lord Plus furiously.

“I had no other choice but to trust him. So, forsaking the half completed task at hand, I ordered the Eggheads to stop and made them fly behind me towards our Base. I saw Lord Infiniti following us at a distance; but when we finally landed here, he was nowhere to be seen,” Lord Mutt said soberly.

Lord Xobo stopped his roaming back and forth, and spoke for the first time.

“Wherever he went, we must track him and hunt him down. That is of utmost importance. We can’t afford to have a rebel against us. He has complete knowledge about our activities.

My sons, time is of value. We must destroy nature as much as we can. Then we must kill lots of people and capture their souls within the end of next month. I’ve urged repeatedly; the Circle of Energy is weak only in the months of April and May, so we can wage our war only at this time.

Lord Plus! That ungrateful swine, turncoat Infiniti, has also tampered with the shields and hammers of the Egghead Robots. They are not working. Both of us must repair them. It will take at least 48 hours to make it right.

After that, you must take 30 Egghead Robots with you to Mudhumalai forest in South India and destroy that forest completely. Don’t relinquish your mission halfway, even if I asked you to do. Kill everyone and everything that stands in your way.

And you three – Lord Minus, Lord Mutt and Lord Dotty! Search, find and tear apart that traitor Infiniti! Capture his soul using Evil Web and bring him to me. I’ll show him what hell is!” Lord Xobo growled with murderous rage.

Uncle Jumbo’s house, Chennai –

“I didn’t expect Uncle to go away on a Sunday,” said little Lenin sadly.

The five children and their dog had returned just now, after having tea with Uncle Jumbo in the coffee shop. They bid him farewell, because he had to travel urgently to Mumbai after a business call and promised to return next day evening.

“Well… it’s his business and he must take good care of it, isn’t it,” Marx said deliberately, and moved his black pawn two steps forward.

The five kids and their dog were sitting on the floor of the living room, playing different board games. Marx and Maya played chess on the tablet computer. Karma, Lenin and Teresa were playing Ludo; Kingdum sat and watched them, snapping occasionally at a mosquito.

Soon the sky darkened outside and Lenin switched on the electric lights inside the house. At half past eight, Marx’s cell phone rang. It was a call from Uncle Jumbo. Marx attended the call and switched on the loud speaker.

“Hello Uncle, you landed in Mumbai?”

“Yes, I landed fine. Listen kids, Martin Solomon is down with fever. I’ll arrange some other person to deliver food parcels for your dinner.”

“Oh, that’s all right Uncle. Your restaurant is just a hundred feet away from the coffee shop. We’ll go there ourselves and finish our dinner.”

“Very well, then. Lock the door securely before you leave the house to the restaurant. Mr. Khan is the Manager there. He’s a gentleman. He’ll take good care of you kids. I’m going to have my dinner right now. Eat well and sleep well. Good night.”

“Good night, Uncle Jumbo!” chorused the children.

“Well, what are you guys waiting for? You heard Uncle Jumbo. Come, lets go to the restaurant,” said Marx.

“Wait! We don’t need to go to the restaurant, we can have our dinner here itself! I got a superb idea!” said Teresa brightly, wringing her hands.

“No! Don’t do it! We’ll all die!” Karma said in a terrified voice.

“Oh yes! I’m going to do it! It would be a nice change!” said Teresa, her eyes shining with excitement.

“What are you guys talking about?” asked Marx, completely sidetracked.

“They are talking about cooking dinner ourselves. Teresa wants to give it a try, but Karma doesn’t want to risk it. That’s because he thinks it won’t be tasty,” said Maya with a sneer.

“That’s not the reason,” Karma said coldly. “Teresa is adept at cooking the same way you excel in poetry. What if she added the wrong ingredients? What if little Lenin gets an upset stomach or something more serious like food poisoning? You want us running to the hospital in the middle of the night?”

Maya, stung by Karma’s jibe at her poetry, turned to Marx angrily. “I’m not eating hotel food tonight. Cook something to eat, or I’m going to bed with an empty stomach,” she got up from the floor and sat on the couch stiffly.

“Karma! You absolute moron! I’m going to make a simple dish – noodles! It’s very easy to cook. How on Earth a person could be poisoned by eating that?” Maya asked exasperatedly.

“Dunno; I’m not ready to trust your cooking. Remember the charred pancake you made last summer? Even Kingdum got sick after eating it,” Karma said scornfully.

Sensing a violent row is about to explode, Marx said quickly, “Okay, everyone shut up for a minute. Me and Teresa are going to cook noodles and hard-boiled eggs for all of us. Nobody is gonna get sick or die.”

Karma rolled his eyes. “I’m not betting on the last part,” he said with a smirk.

Teresa took six packets of noodles from the kitchen larder. Then she switched on the electric stove. Marx took six eggs from the refrigerator. Then they filled the eggs and noodles separately in cookware, and started cooking them very, very carefully. Lenin bustled around, helping them with utensils and ingredients; Kingdum kept getting between their feet, sniffing the air hopefully.

Teresa sliced onions and carrots, then added them with the boiling noodles. After five minutes, everything was ready. They filled the steaming hot noodles and hard-boiled eggs in crockeryware and carried it to the dining table.

Karma strutted over to the table and sat on a chair. Lenin brought the cutlery, placing them on the table with a clang.

“Yeah, that’s right little boy. It’s unwise to eat noodles without forks; like eating dosa with spoons,” Karma said with a stupid laugh.

He took a plate and eagerly opened the lid of the silverware containing the noodles. A hand grabbed his wrist.

“Oh no, Mr. Suspicious. This food might be poisoned. We’ll eat first. If we stayed alive for over an hour, your Highness would be assured its not lethal. Then you can eat the food,” Marx said mockingly.

“Hey come on, be a sport,” Karma said and started ladling the noodles onto his plate and Marx’s plate. He opened another silverware and took out two hard-boiled eggs, placing one each in his plate and Marx’s plate.

“Mr. Suspicious, don’t use forks. You could easily suck in the poisonous noodles with your frog mouth,” Maya said sarcastically.

Karma ignored her. He took a three pronged silver fork, and started to eat his noodles and egg in a dignified manner. Teresa filled the bowl of Kingdum with his share of noodles and an egg. The dog swallowed the egg with a gulp, then sniffed at the noodles. He gave it a tentative lick and liked the taste at once. In a flash, the noodles disappeared from the bowl into the dog’s stomach.

After everybody finished eating, they stared at the empty dishes before them. “What, there’s nothing for dessert?” Karma asked lazily.

Maya opened a plastic box and distributed Ladoos to everyone. Kingdum swallowed the sweet in a second.

“Sweets and eggs are all the same to you, Kingdum. It’s such a waste to give you sweets,” Lenin said, nibbling his Ladoo.

Kingdum, who was licking his paws, suddenly sprang to his feet and started to growl ferociously. He ran to the door and barked at it madly.

Someone pressed the calling bell. All the children stood up. But before any of them went to attend the door, it opened automatically. Immediately Kingdum came running back to them, whining and howling, and hid behind the legs of Karma.

Something, like a twisted cylindrical steel pipe, about the size of a horse; royal blue in color; came inside, hovering in the air. In shape, it resembled the mathematical symbol of infinity. It had five purple color eyes stuck on its front side, grouped at the center. A small slit like mouth was under them.

The kids gaped at the thing, which slowly moved forward and stopped before the children, fixing its five, glassy Purple Eyes on them. Kingdum cowered and howled dismally.

“Greetings, children,” the thing said in a metallic voice.

“What are you?” Marx blurted out.

“I am a Robot. My name is Lord Infiniti.”

The children looked at each other nervously.

“Why are you here?” Karma asked loudly, as though confronting a robber.

“It’s natural for you children to be scared…”

“We’re not afraid..”

“On the contrary, I could sense the increased heart beat rate inside your bodies, which meant you’re scared. Please calm down. I’m not here to harm you. I’ve come to ask your help to save the world, from a bunch of lunatics.”

“We don’t understand,” Marx said cautiously, after a pause.

The Robot let out a sigh through the slit like mouth, and rolled its five Purple Eyes.

“I know, its not an easy thing to understand. It’s a very long story. That’s why I’m going to feed my memories into your brains. You children are old enough to analyze those memories, and grok them later.”

Without warning, Lord Infiniti started to stream its memories through its five Purple Eyes, in streaks of purple colored electric currents, into the brains of the children. The exchange continued for a minute and then stopped. The five kids looked around them with a dazed look on their face.

“Well, my dear children. I have imparted each and every vital memory – right from my debut as chief engineer Dr. Nutcaze in P.V. Sons House – to my last conversation with Lord Mutt. I’m sure the United Family will track and capture me sooner or later.

A week before, the souls of my brothers and myself entered your desktop computer through the internet, to choose the forms for our Robot bodies. I chose my current form after reading an essay about infinity, stored as a text file in your system.

I was a free soul at that time, so I got a glimpse into your hearts, and found out they are the purest in the world. That’s why I’m going to provide you with the powers of my Purple Eyes. You can’t beat Lord Xobo, the United Family, and the Brutons and Kreaks, without super powers.

You can analyze the memories I gave you and figure out what my Purple Eyes are capable of. I’m going to channel its powers into something easy for you to handle.”

Having said this, Lord Infiniti levitated five silver forks from the dining table. Its five Purple Eyes started to glow and melted into a semi solid goop. Then, it engulfed the five forks and stuck on them like purple glue.

“I had destroyed my Purple Eyes, transferred its powers into those silver forks and turned them into purple forks. From now on they are your weapons of defense and offence. I’m going to kill myself before I get caught by my evil brothers. So long kids! I hope my self-sacrifice would make the Circle of Energy forgive me and send my soul into the region of eternal bliss!”

Two tiny thrusters opened at the base of Lord Infiniti. Thick smoke ejected from the thrusters, and made the Robo zoom outside unsteadily like a drunken man. Then it suddenly moved up towards the sky at a great speed. The children rushed outside and gazed up the night sky. Lord Infiniti glowed like a meteor for a short time; then it blasted into smithereens; lighting the dark sky with bright sparks of colors; like a diwali rocket.

Buddhist Monastery, Kancheepuram-

Monk Bodhitaran and his personal assistant Jing Jing were standing side by side silently, on the terrace of the dhyan block. The time was half past twelve in midnight.

“Master, You seemed to be deeply worried by something,” said Jing Jing hesitantly.

On summons from his Master, Jing Jing had rushed to his residence – a bamboo hut constructed on the dhyan block terrace. He thought it must be some pressing matter; that’s why his Master had called him in the middle of the night.

“Yes, my dear Jing Jing. My mind is stuck in a whirlwind. The calamitous soul of Mr. Gawd, the green spider, had escaped from the Circle of Energy. It is now possessing the body of a demonic Robo called Xobo, powered by something called the Purple Eyes. It had raised a family of five Robots as his adopted sons, and amassed a devilish army under its command to execute its vague mission.

It’s the mission it had mentioned to us shortly before its suicide. You had already watched the news about the destruction of the cruise ship Dolphin 65 and the Gir forest. Xobo the Robo is responsible for all those disasters,” Monk Bodhitaran said soberly.

“How do you know its the ghost of Mr. Gawd, Master?” Jing Jing asked in a startled voice.

“Shortly before an hour, I went into a meditative trance. At that time, I met the soul of the deceased Robot Lord Infiniti. He is one of the adopted sons of Xobo; he had rebelled against his father and had committed suicide. Before going into the Circle of Energy its soul bestowed its memories to me. I’ll now transfer them to you, so you might understand clearly what is going on. Stand before me and look in my eyes,” ordered Monk Bodhitaran.

Jing Jing stood erect and gazed deeply into the brilliant, grey eyes of his Master. He felt a flash of current flow from the eyes of Monk Bodhitaran into his own eyes. He got glimpses of a million fleeting images. He also heard background noises in a hazy mixture. After five minutes, the transfer was completed.

Jing Jing felt his knees go weak and sat on the terrace. His master sat next to him and looked at his face with concern.

“Are you all right? You’ll feel a little giddy at first. Sit quietly and ponder over the memories of Lord Infiniti for a few moments,” Monk Bodhitaran said and became silent.

Jing Jing closed his eyes and went through the memories of Lord Infiniti for quarter of an hour. Then he looked at his Master with a panicked expression.

“Master! Xobo must be stopped! You mustn’t let it carry on its maniacal plans!”

Monk Bodhitaran said softly, “I can’t stop Xobo the evil Robo, Jing Jing.”

“But… But.. Who else can?” spluttered Jing Jing.

Monk Bodhitaran looked at the shining, silver moon in the sky and said clearly, “Recall what you saw in Lord Infiniti’s memories, shortly before its death.”

Jing Jing thought again, then let out an audible gasp.

“Lord Infiniti chose to give the powers of his Purple Eyes to.. Five children. So… They are the one who’s gonna stop Xobo? Five children?” Jing Jing asked disbelievingly.

“Yes. And they’re not alone in this fight. We are going to aide them. Tomorrow morning, we are leaving to Chennai to meet them,” Monk Bodhitaran said resolutely.

CHAPTER TWELVE

THE PANCHA FORKERS BEGINS

Marx slowly opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. He was lying on the living room floor. He sat upright. Why was he not in bed? The early morning sunlight streamed into the house through the glass window. Marx saw the others lying down on the floor too. They showed no signs of stirring.

Karma woke up with a jerk and stared around wildly. “What?! Where.. Where am I? What happened? Where’s our bedroom gone?”

“It didn’t go nowhere, stupid. You slept on the living room floor,” said Marx.

Karma gawked at him. “Oh yeah? You too seemed to have slept here.. all of you,” he said, eyeing the two girls and Lenin. Kingdum silently came out from under the blue couch and put its head on the lap of Karma.

Lenin awoke with a start, followed by Teresa. Both of them had such funny, perplexed looks on their faces that made Karma burst out laughing.

Maya stretched out her legs luxuriously like a cat. It hit the face of Karma who was sitting right before her.

“Ouch! Watch out, idiot! I’m in front of you,” said Karma, annoyed.

Maya slowly got up. “What the hell are you doing in the girl’s bedroom?”

“What the hell you are doing in the living room?” Karma asked with a snigger.

“Hey! Who brought me down here?”

“Nobody. Listen guys. We all seemed to have slept here; or maybe we fell down here unconscious. My head feels heavy. Something weird must have happened. We haven’t even locked the door, see!” Marx said, pointing to the main door.

“Gosh! Now I remember!” said Maya.

“Very good! You remembered that you are a dingbat!” said Karma.

“I’m talking about what happened yesterday night,” Maya said testily.

“Hang on. Let me recall everything in my memory about last night. Stop me if I say anything that contradicts your own memories,” said Marx.

He stood up and started to pace the floor to and fro.

“Me and Teresa cooked noodles and hard-boiled eggs,”

“Right.”

“We finished eating our dinner and had ladoos for our dessert,”

“True,”

“Then the calling bell rang and Kingdum started barking,”

“Yes,”

“We didn’t open the door, it opened by itself. Kingdum ran back to us and cowered behind Karma,”

“Did you, Kingdum?”

“Woof!”

“I take it as a yes. Then something entered. It looked like a twisted, cylindrical steel pipe, shaped like the symbol of infinity, about the size of a huge pig..”

“No, it was horse-sized,”

“Okay then… horse-sized, royal blue in color; the thing floated into the house and entered our dining room. In the front side, it had five purple color eyes – white eye balls with purple lens, grouped at its center. A slit, like a mouth, was under those glassy eyes. It had no feet and hovered midair.

Then it said through the slit that it was a Robot called Lord Infiniti and it needed our help to save the world.. from a bunch of lunatics,”

“The Robot itself looked like a nasty piece of work by a lunatic,” remarked Karma.

“Then it said it’s not easy for us to understand and its a long story to tell. It said it will transfer its memories into our brains so that we could grok them later. Then streaks of purple current came outta its eyes and my mind went blank..”

“Mine too…”

“Then when my consciousness returned, the Robot said it will give us weapons to fight against Lord Xobo, Brutons…”

“Kreaks…”

“And the United Family.”

“Then it melted its Purple Eyes into a goop and pasted it onto… ?”

“Our silver forks…” said Lenin.

“Yes! That’s right. Then it said it had transferred the powers of its Purple Eyes into the Purple Forks and it need to commit suicide to escape from its evil brothers. Smoke came from the Thrusters underneath it and it went outside and flew upwards…”

“We ran outside and gazed at the sky, and saw it blasted to pieces, lighting the night sky with bright colorful sparks, like a firework!” Karma finished with excitement. “So its not a dream! It’s true!”

“What if we all had the same dream?” asked Teresa skeptically.

“No, its not probable,” said Marx.

“Its easy to find out,” said Maya and went into the dining room. The others followed her silently. Their dishes laid on the table, uncleared, and the children saw…

“Five Purple Forks!” shouted Lenin and ran to take one.

Marx pulled him back firmly. “No, you’re not going to touch them, not until we are sure what they really are. What if it was something dangerous?”

“No, its not! Think what Lord Infiniti said! Remember the night you wrote the C program and an essay about infinity, a week before for me? The computer was attacked by a virus and then got shut down. That was the night Lord Infiniti said it came to our house with its brothers, to select their Robo forms for their souls.

It said it saw our pure hearts, and that’s why it chose us to fight against Lord Xobo and the United Family, and gave us weapons having super powers! Those Purple Forks are the weapons! One of them is mine! Let me take it!” little Lenin talked feverishly.

“Marx, I reckon he is right,” said Teresa slowly. “I can now mull over the memories of that Dr. Nutcaze, that is Lord Infiniti, inside my mind. I suggest we write it down on paper and cross check whether the facts in those memories are the same in all of our minds. Then we could touch or use these forks without a hint of doubt or fear.”

“Yes. That’s a wise idea. Come on, everybody. Write down everything you remember about Lord Infiniti; recall the memories it implanted into our brains,” said Marx.

Soon the children settled down and busied themselves mulling over the memories of Lord Infiniti and wrote it down in sheets of paper. Kingdum occasionally nudged them with its nose to remind them it’s breakfast time, but everyone was too excited and forgot all about food.

After ten minutes, everybody had finished except Karma, who was writing his third sheet of paper.

“Hey! I asked you to write the facts precisely, not to invent tales, Karma,” Marx said, slightly alarmed on seeing the way Karma scribbling furiously.

“I’m not writing any imaginary things. I’m adding a little color to my vivid description, that’s all,” replied Karma dodgily.

He finished after a minute, completing his description with a fourth sheet of paper. Lenin collected all of their sheets and handed it to Marx.

“Well, I’ll go through them now. In the meantime, you lot go and refresh yourselves,”

“Why!?” asked Karma.

“You haven’t yet brushed your teeth, had a bath, or changed your clothes,” said Marx coldly.

“What!? Oh yeah, I forgot! All this Purple Forks business is making me a little woozy,” Karma grinned stupidly and rushed upstairs, followed by Lenin and the girls.

Kingdum went near Marx, pawed at him and gave a pathetic little whine.

“Really, Kingdum, you’re acting as if you’re starved for a week,” Marx said. Kingdum tried to lick his nose, but he dodged its wet tongue and pushed the dog away.

He then stood up and went to the kitchen, filled Kingdum’s bowl with dog biscuits and placed it under its eager nose. When he crossed the dining room, he looked fascinatedly at the five glittering Purple Forks lying on the table. He was very much tempted to try them, but changed his mind at the last minute. He must wait for the others.

Marx sat on the stairs and pored over the sheets of paper, marking out similarities between their descriptions of Lord Infiniti’s memories.

After a few minutes, comprehension dawned on him. He couldn’t detect a single dissimilarity of data in their descriptions, not even from Lenin’s untidy scrawl.

So, what the Robot said must be true, he thought. Because there’s no other logical explanation for the things that happened to them. Or is it some sort of trick, to make them touch the forks and murder them?

No. If that was the aim of the Robot, it could’ve done it easily yesterday night. Marx felt sure that the intentions of the deceased Robot Lord Infiniti must be genuine. He gave a sigh and sat on the dining table before the Purple Forks.

Karma, Lenin, Teresa and Maya were climbing down the stairs. They looked fresh after having their showers and wore clean, new clothes.

“I’m feeling sick,” complained Karma. “My stomach is growling,”

“It means you’re hungry, blockhead,” said Maya.

“Oh, yeah. That’s it, I’m hungry. I even forgot how hunger feels. Between Lord Infiniti implanting his memories and fiddling with my extraordinary brain, and the temptation to test the super powers of that Purple Forks, I’m feeling like a dolt,”

“How could that be possible, since you’re already a dolt from age one?”

“Well, talking about dolts…”

“Guys! Come over here! I’m here in the dining room!” Marx called loudly.

“What’s up, dude? Have you figured out anything yet?” asked Karma, sitting next to Marx. The others also took chairs around the table.

“Well, from what I deciphered from your descriptions, I reckon Lord Infiniti’s memories are true, and its intentions are genuine. I mean, look at the pattern of incidents stored in its memories. This man Mr. Nutcaze, who later became Lord Infiniti, was a man with conscience and courage.

The phantom of the man called Raja Shield, who was also the spider called Mr. Gawd, hoodwinked Captain Delirious Clown Marwell and his colleagues and made them create Xobo, armed with super powerful Purple Eyes. Then the ghost possessed the Robo, after killing two innocent men, Jo and Mr. Dippy. Then it killed Dr. Nutcaze,” Marx shuddered on recalling those memories of Dr. Nutcaze, in which Xobo killed him by stabbing on his chest with its metal spider leg.

“After that, it killed Captain D.C. Marwell, Dr. Nutter and Mr. Maggott because they revolted against him. Then Xobo forced the Captain’s Vulture Team to create a device called Evil Web and captured the souls of the six men, then caged it inside Evil Web. Shortly after that, it massacred the entire staff inside the P.V. Sons House and imprisoned their souls too.

It sent the souls of Captain D.C. Marwell, Dr. Nutcaze and his 3 other friends into the internet to chose forms for their new Robot bodies, after adopting them as his sons. They came across the computer in our house and intruded into the files inside, chose their forms, crashed the system and exited. At that time only the soul of Dr. Nutcaze, i.e. Lord Infiniti decided that our hearts are the most purest on Earth,” Marx paused to catch his breath.

Karma looked sideways at Maya and said, “Well, I know my heart is made up of diamond stuff, but can’t say the same for others,”

“Yes, Lord Infiniti also saw that your brain is actually made up of clay,” said Maya scornfully.

“Then the 5 souls returned to P.V. Sons House and announced to Xobo the forms they had chosen. Xobo created metal Robots in exactly the shapes of mathematical symbols they liked – Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and Infinity. He gave them funny names, painted them and fixed their bodies with Purple Eyes, which had super powers…”

“Let me continue,” said Maya. “Then he reanimated the corpses of the dead staff of P.V. Sons House into the Brutons, whom we mistook as aliens when we saw them in the video about the carnage on Dolphin 65,” she said with a shudder.

“Yeah, the Brutons executed that bloodbath under the leadership of Lord Minus. After that, he carried the souls and the men’s dead bodies back to their Base…”

“And the United Family created the Kreaks. Xobo said the Brutons are the fathers of Kreaks. Gosh, these Kreaks are more gruesome than the Brutons,” Teresa said, remembering the nauseating appearance of Kreaks through Lord Infiniti’s memories.

“Then they created the ugly Egghead Robots. Xobo sent them under Lord Mutt to destroy Gir Forest; in the meantime…”

“Lord Infiniti had a row with Xobo and his brothers. He defected Xobo and met Lord Mutt, and stopped him from destroying Gir forest completely. Then he came to see us because he thought our hearts were the purest…”

“And imparted his memories into us and provided us with unique weapons to fight the United Family, Brutons and Kreaks. Then he killed himself to escape from Xobo,” Karma finished with a sigh.

Teresa asked the trickiest question of all. “What shall we do next?”

“Well, I’m not sure…” began Marx, but Karma interrupted him.

“Wait! We clearly know who our foes are. But what beats me is their mission. I’m not sure what they’re planning,”

“Go through the memories of Lord Infiniti again, Karma. Xobo admitted to his sons that his mission is unclear to himself. Whatever that psycho Robot is thinking to do, it will end in nothing but destruction.”

“Yes. But for now, his objectives are only Two :

First one is to kill people and capture their souls, burn the women’s bodies and reanimate the men’s dead bodies. This way he could reestablish his alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons. He thinks he is creating a NEW WORLD.

Second one is to annihilate mother Nature. Remember, he said he could carry out these two tasks only in the months of April and May, when the Circle of Energy is weak,” said little Lenin.

Everyone gave a start and looked at him with surprise.

“What? I’m not a toddler. I understood Lord Infiniti’s memory as much you all do. One of those Purple Forks is mine,” Lenin said firmly.

“Hmm.. I suppose it is,” said Marx, looking at the Purple Forks thoughtfully. “But they have deadly powers in them. Remember how Xobo created fire balls with his Purple Eyes?”

“And its also capable of creating water balls…”

“Lord Minus lifted 100 Brutons up the sky…”

“Its called multiple levitation. I reckon the United Family Robots hover and fly, only by using the powers of the Purple Eyes.”

“Yeah. That’s true. Now everybody stand back. I’m gonna test the powers of a Purple Fork. If everything went well, then you lot could follow me,” Marx said with shining eyes.

He moved his hand dramatically towards the forks. Everybody looked on with anticipation. Suddenly, Marx’s phone rang loudly and made the children jump.

Marx jerked his hand back and took out the cell phone.

“Its from mum! Gosh, we forgot to talk with our mothers early morning, like we do everyday, and the time is now eleven, she’s going to be furious,”

He hastily attended the call and spoke with his mother, who was worried how the children could manage themselves without an adult in the house. She scolded him for not calling her earlier.

Then, all of the kids got incoming calls from their parents. The children had a tough time explaining they are doing well without Uncle Jumbo, who’ll be back by evening.

After patiently hearing a stream of reprehensions from their mothers for ten whole minutes, the children ended the calls.

“I lied I had my breakfast,” said Teresa mournfully.

“Me too. Are you sad for telling a lie, or for not having breakfast yet?” chaffed Karma.

“Wait. We’ll explore the powers of the forks first. Then we shall have a grand treat at Uncle’s restaurant,” Marx said, and finally picked up a shiny Purple Fork with a trembling hand.

Immediately, he felt a surge of current pass through his arm to his brain. Something snapped inside his head, as though a connection has been established between him and the fork. Now, the fork in his right hand felt like an extra arm attached to him. It felt lively and gave him a sense of immense power.

Holding the fork tightly with his right hand, Marx lifted it in front on him. ‘Create a fire ball’ he thought. Immediately, a tennis ball sized fire ball, emitting yellow flames of heat, materialized before the tips of the fork and hovered in mid air. Still holding the fork in front of him, he thought ‘move right’. At once, the ball moved a few feet to his right. Karma, who was standing right side of Marx, hastily moved out of the way.

‘So, one could control the ball through their mind. Let’s see if one could control it using gestures made with the fork,’ Marx thought. Then he moved the fork left side; at once, the fire ball moved and hovered a few feet to the left side, as if it has been bound to the fork and dragged by an invisible leash.

“Guys! This is fun!” said Marx.

“Of course its fun, as long as you don’t throw that ball of fire at my face,” said Karma, taking a few backward steps hastily.

Marx started moving the fork slowly in left, right, up and down directions. Accordingly, the fire ball also moved left, right, up and down. ‘Some invisible power is dragging the fire ball along with the movements of the fork,’ he thought.

Then he pulled the fork backwards wildly. The fireball started zooming back towards his face. Panicked, Marx thrust the fork forward, making a stabbing gesture in the air before him. The fire ball stopped a feet from his face, and then zoomed forward with great speed, to the place where Karma was standing.

Eyes wide with fear, Karma ducked at the last moment and fell face down on the floor. The fireball hit the window curtain behind him and it started to burn. The girls screamed in fright. Kingdum gave an yelp and shot beneath the dining table.

‘Create a water ball,’ Marx thought desperately. At once, a tennis ball sized water ball materialized from the tips of the fork and hovered in front of him.

“That’s not enough water to put out a fire!” shouted Maya, while Teresa ran to the kitchen to fetch a pail of water.

‘Larger’ Marx thought again. At once, the tennis ball sized water ball inflated to football size. ‘Still larger’ he thought. Now the water ball inflated twice its previous size. ‘Create two other water balls in this same size’ he thought again.

Two new, large water balls materialized out of the tips of his fork. Marx thrust his Purple Fork forward, making the same stabbing gesture he had done before. The three large water balls got projected to the front, hit the burning curtain and doused the fire.

The children gave a huge sigh of relief.

“Gosh, that was close,” said Karma, rising from the floor. “How long had you planned to burn my face, huh?”

“It was an accident,” replied Marx delicately. He decided to try levitating objects. Sticking out the fork before him, he closed his eyes and focused on the chair he wanted to levitate. It appeared as a point of dazzling red light in his mind vision. He slowly lifted the chair up and made it hover near the ceiling.

The girls burst into applause; Karma gave a loud and piercing whistle; Lenin shouted and cheered.

“Try to levitate many chairs at a time, Marx!” said Teresa enthusiastically.

Marx closed his eyes again. All the objects in the room now appeared to him as numerous points of dazzling red lights inside his mind. He focused on the points on the floor where the chairs were placed, choosing his targets; then he opened his eyes. The five chairs slowly flew up and floated near the ceiling.

“If you lower your fork, will they fall down?” asked Lenin.

“I don’t think so. As long as I didn’t drop the Purple Fork from my hand, I could make them hover. But if I needed to move those objects, I need to make gestures with the fork. Watch me,” said Marx, and moved the fork to his right. At once, the six chairs moved a few feet to the right side in midair.

“If I need to drop one of them using the influence of the Purple Fork, I need to close my eyes and uncheck them as my target in my mind vision,”

“How does the objects appear in your mind vision?” asked Maya.

“Like many points of bright red lights,” Marx said distractedly. He was having problem concentrating on all the six chairs at once. He decided to put them back on the floor. He made a gesture with his fork in down direction. The six chairs landed on the floor with a loud bang. Kingdum, who was cowering in a corner, howled with fear.

“Oops. I need to practice doing it much more gently,” said Marx. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to levitate myself,” he said dramatically with a small bow.

He closed his eyes and focused himself as a target. When he opened it again, he felt his feet being lifted off from the floor into the air. Before he could take control, he rose non-stop, then hit his head hard on the ceiling and fell down on the floor with a crash.

The children yelled in shock and ran to him. Karma helped Marx to his feet. Despite his awkward fall, Marx was grinning widely, showing all of his pearly white teeth.

“How’s your head?” Karma asked. “You’re a great entertainer,” he added with a smirk.

The girls started to fuss with him. “Oh! Marx, does it hurt very much?” Maya asked anxiously, rubbing his head.

“Its nothing. I’m alright,” Marx said, waving his hand and drank the ice water Lenin gave him. “Where’s my fork? I dropped it.”

The children searched the floor and every nook of the room, but alas! The fork was found no where! Only the other 4 Purple Forks lay on the dining table.

“Now what shall we do?” Marx asked frustrately. ‘Come back to me, my Purple Fork’ he thought desperately. Suddenly Kingdum, who was cringing in a corner, rose up in mid air and came flying towards Marx. It bumped into him and both of them fell down. Marx pushed Kingdum away from his chest. At that time, he noticed the dog clutching something in its mouth.

“It’s my Purple Fork! Give it back to me Kingdum!” he shouted. Kingdum was reluctant to let it go, but Marx finally wrenched the fork out of the dog’s strong jaws.

“That’s it! Did you guys realize the greatness of this fork?! I lost it, then I thought ‘come back to me my fork’ in my mind, and it flew back to me, along with its current bearer, Kingdum!” said Marx, waving the fork before them with gleaming eyes.

“You know what, its dead easy to use these Purple Forks. They’re simply awesome. Listen to my instructions carefully.

First you have to hold the fork a few seconds in your hand, and wait till a connection is established between your mind and the fork. If you want to create a fire ball or water ball, think ‘create a fire ball’ in your mind. Then imagine what size you want them, like football sized etc. If you want to inflate them or deflate them, think ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’. If you want to create more fire or water balls, just think the same. If you need to move them, make gestures with the forks in the directions you wanted the balls to move,” Marx lectured them like a Professor.

“The next part is about levitations. Grip your forks tightly and close your eyes. The solid objects around you would appear as points of luminous red lights in your mind vision. The points you select would continue to glow; the others will vanish. Those points are your targets. Now open your eyes. You could levitate and move the objects you have selected, either by using your mind or by making gestures with the fork in your hand. If you choose yourself as a target in your mind vision, you could fly.

And lastly, if you ever lost your fork, all you have to do is to summon it back in your mind, and it will fly back to its rightful owner. I’m sure no other person could use these forks, because they’ll work only for us!” he finished excitedly.

The others picked up the remaining 4 Purple Forks eagerly in their hands, and sensed an unfamiliar sensation flow from the forks to their heads. They now felt their forks as a part of their body, like an additional and powerful arm.

“I think its best for us to practice outdoors,” said Teresa. “We don’t want to burn down Uncle’s house or break his things.”

“What if somebody saw us?” Lenin asked doubtfully.

“We’ll go to the sunflower field, its always deserted and devoid of any loiterers. But wait, we need to have our breakfast first. Gosh, look at the time! It’s half past 12. It’s lunch time now,” Karma said in a surprised voice.

“Look at poor Kingdum, he’s scared to death. After seeing fire balls, water balls, flying chairs and flying Marx, he surely would think this is a mad house,” Maya said pitifully.

The children started to fuss with the scared dog. They patted and hugged him, muttering words of comfort all the time. Kingdum felt immediately better and got the wag in his tail back.

“Come Kingdum boy, we’re going to have lunch,” said Lenin, tickling the dog’s belly.

Lunch? Kingdum knew that word and pricked up his ears. That means big bones! He gambolled around the children happily. Marx, who haven’t bathed yet, rushed upstairs to have his shower, while the others waited for him patiently in the living room.

After ten minutes, Marx came down, looking fresh in his new clothes.

“Hurry up, fuhrer. Let’s finish our lunch. I’m itching to try my Purple Fork,” Karma said in an urgent voice.

Abruptly, the calling bell rang loudly. Kingdum ran to the door and began to bark frantically.

The children looked at each other in panic. Surely, the other Robots of the United Family knew nothing about them? What if they appeared right at their doorstep, just like Lord Infiniti did?

Marx gave them a warning look and beckoned them to come closer. Then he began to talk urgently in a low voice:

“We don’t know what’s out there. May be the psycho Robots traced the location of the missing Purple Eyes of Lord Infiniti to our home. You guys stay behind me. I’ll attend the door. If its something dangerous, I’ll raise the alarm and try to hold them along with Kingdum. You lot use your forks and escape through the back door. These forks are the only weapons that will work against them.”

“What?! We’re not going to leave you. We’ll fight with you! If we managed to escape, it must be all of us or none of us,” Karma said determinately.

“Yeah,” said Teresa.

“That’s right,” echoed Maya.

“I won’t leave you, I’m in with you,” little Lenin said, holding Marx’s hand.

“Don’t act like emotional fools! This is not the time to be sentimental! I’m the only person here who has the experience in handling the Purple Forks, so I’m the only person fit for combat! You guys won’t stand a chance! Listen to me once! I’ll fight, you flee, that’s the most logical thing to do!” Marx whispered furiously.

The calling bell rang for the second time.

“No, you listen to us. You have used that fork only once; how do you suppose you could fight single handedly against murderous Robots? If we attacked them in a group, then we might get a chance to distract them and escape,” Maya said resolutely.

The calling bell rang for the third time. Clearly the person or the things at the door were getting impatient. Marx groaned in frustration.

“All right! At least keep a distance from me,” he said and went to the main door, shoving a frenzied Kingdum out of the way. Holding the fork tightly in his right hand, he turned the lock slowly with his other hand and opened the door.

There was no United Family Robots outside. Instead, two bald men dressed in pale saffron robes, stood quietly at their door steps. The man in the front was short and lean; the man behind him had an average height and body. A white Ambassador car was parked at a distance on the pavement. These men must have come in it.

The short man, only 4 feet in height, had a brilliant face like the shining sun. He stepped forward with a smile. Divine kindness seem to melt down and flow from his pale grey eyes. By this time, the other children had come to the door. They stood behind Marx and gaped at the unexpected strangers.

Kingdum the dog was behaving oddly. He frolicked around the ankles of the short man like he was some long known friend. He rolled on the ground playfully like a puppy and wagged his tail furiously. The short man bent down and gave the dog a nice, long pat. Then he straightened up and looked at the kids with twinkling eyes.

“Hello my dear children! My name is Bodhitaran. I am a Buddhist Monk. I run a Buddhist monastery in the town of Kancheepuram.”

He pointed to the man behind him and said, “This is monk Jing Jing, my good friend and my personal assistant. We came here in that car,” he said, pointing to the white Ambassador.

The man called Jing Jing smiled warmly at the kids.

“I’m here to meet you on important business, regarding Xobo the evil Robo; his United Family and his army of Brutons, Kreaks and the Egghead Robots,” said the short man called Bodhitaran.

The children looked rather taken aback by the short man’s speech. How could he possibly knew such things? Did Lord Infiniti imparted his memories into this man also?

Monk Bodhitaran cleared his throat. “Do you wish to have our discussion on the lawn or inside your house? Both are preferable to me,” he said, inclining his head slightly.

“No! Come in, please do come in.. My.. My.. friends,” stuttered Marx, uncertain of how to address them.

Both the Monks stepped over the threshold and followed Marx into the living room. “Please take your seat, gentlemen. What would you like to drink?” he offered them politely.

Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing sat on the white couch.

“Some water would be suffice for both of us, my child,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

Maya fetched two glasses of water. The monks quenched their thirst. “Thank you, miss….?”

“Maya Shree,”

“Ah, Yes. Thank you Maya. And may I know the names of the others?”

Marx stepped forward. “Forgive us, we didn’t get a chance to introduce ourselves. I’m Marx Pandyan. This is Karma Veer, That’s Teresa Rani and the little boy is Lenin Saakiyan. This is our dog, Kingdum,”

Kingdum gave a small bark of acknowledgement and wagged its tail vigorously.

At that time, another sharp noise of a car pulling over the drive reached their ears. Lenin shot out to check who it was. Then he came back panting and announced:

“It’s Uncle Jumbo!”

The children didn’t expected this. They looked at each other uneasily. How are they going to explain everything to their Uncle, especially about the Purple Forks? And the arrival of these two strangers had complicated matters.

The heavy footsteps of Uncle Jumbo came steadily towards the house. Kingdum ran out to welcome him with a lick and a bark.

“Don’t worry, children. I’m sure we could explain everything to your Uncle Jumbo,” monk Bodhitaran said soothingly.

Karma looked at him suspiciously. “So you know Uncle Jumbo?… Sir?” he added.

“Of course!”

“How?”

“It’s not possible for you kids to know, but your Uncle is an ardent follower of mine,” Monk Bodhitaran said, smiling kindly.

Uncle Jumbo entered the living room, with Kingdum at his heels. His clean shaven face looked careworn. He was clad in a white shirt and black suit, and carried a back pack in his shoulders. His medium size hair was dishevelled. On seeing the two men, he removed his plum colored retro square shades, and stared at them with a startled expression.

“Uncle Jumbo, these two are…” Marx started to say, but his Uncle raised a hand to stop him.

“I know! The great Buddhist Monk, Master Bodhitaran, in my house! And that’s Mr. Jing Jing, his personal assistant. I’m the most blessed person in the world!” cried Uncle Jumbo, and fell face down at the Master’s feet. The children goggled at their Uncle disbelievingly.

Monk Bodhitaran stood up, looking embarrassed.

“No, Jumbo, I don’t like people prostrate before me, you know that. Please get up. Your kind heart is enough to get all of my blessings,” Monk Bodhitaran said. He greeted Uncle Jumbo with folded hands and a slight bow. The other monk Jing Jing also did the same.

Uncle Jumbo folded his hands and bowed to both of them in return. The guests resumed their seats. Uncle Jumbo sat in the blue couch that lay perpendicular to them. The children looked somewhat flustered at this unexpected turn of incidents and stood crowded around their Uncle.

“Tell me, Master Bodhitaran. What’s the purpose of this surprise visit to my home?” asked Uncle Jumbo.

“To be fair, these 5 children are the reason,” replied the Master, with shining eyes.

“Them?! How?” Uncle Jumbo asked with astonishment.

Master Bodhitaran gave a huge sigh. “Its a very, very long, time consuming, unbelievable story to narrate. It’s easy and best, to bestow my memories into you.”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

OFF TO MUDHUMALAI FOREST

“Bestow your memories into me? How’s that possible? Master, I beg you to be a little more explicit,” Uncle Jumbo said, befuddled.

“I’m speaking nothing but the truth Jumbo. The matter is well beyond the usual means of explaining. If you consented to allow me to impart my memories into you and the kids, then you’ll get a general picture of what I mean,”

“I’m ready to receive your memories, but why do you need to impart it into the kids?”

“I have told you already, these kids have everything to do with my visit. In fact, they have valuable memories of Lord Infiniti which made them understand the affair at hand,”

“What? Who’s this Lord Infiniti?” asked Uncle Jumbo frowning.

“It’s a Robot,” replied Monk Bodhitaran brusquely. “There’s no time to explain everything in detail, let me impart the memories..”

“Er.. Sir.. Monk Bodhitaran, how do you know about Lord Infiniti? Did it impart its memories into you also?” asked Marx uncertainly.

“Yes. But it didn’t meet me in its Robo form. After killing itself outside this very house, its soul reached me when I was in meditation. It thought only I could stop Xobo, because it had heard Xobo talk about me with fear and hatred. So it bestowed its memories to me. You children knew about the previous births of Xobo?”

“Yes. Xobo had explained to its sons that it was born afore as Mr. Gawd the green spider and Mr. Raja Shield before that. We learned these through the memories of Lord Infiniti,” said Teresa.

Uncle Jumbo was greatly perplexed on seeing the Master and the kids exchanging information totally unfamiliar to him.

“Hang on, whose this Xobo?” he asked, looking wildly at everyone.

“Xobo is also a Robot. Listen everybody, its absolutely essential for all of you to know the starting point, which incited Xobo the evil Robo to undertake a rampage against humans and nature.

I’m now talking about an incident that occurred last year, exactly in this month of April. The pathetic, evil soul of Mr. Raja Shield was born again as a green spider called Mr. Gawd in my garden and lived there. One day, I had an argument with that spider. My disciple Jing Jing here, bears witness to that incident,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

Jing Jing nodded his head in assent.

“You had a row with a spider?” asked Uncle Jumbo incredulously.

“Yes. At the end of the argument, the spider, Mr. Gawd, committed suicide. His soul left his spider body. Then it escaped from the Circle of Energy…”

“Wait a minute, Master. I remember your lectures about the Circle of Energy and how’s its impossible to escape from its influence, but now you say the soul of the spider escaped..”

“Yes Jumbo, it escaped. But I’m unsure of how it escaped.. May be it sought the help of people practicing some form of Evil magic..” said Monk Bodhitaran thoughtfully. Then he leapt to his feet.

“Stand in front of me and look at my eyes, Jumbo. Let me impart my memories into you.”

Uncle Jumbo stood nervously before Monk Bodhitaran and looked down at his eyes steadily. He felt a flash of current flow from the eyes of the monk into his own eyes. He got a glimpse of thousands and thousands of fleeting images. He also heard background sounds in a hazy mixture. After five minutes, the transfer stopped.

Uncle Jumbo rubbed his eyes and sat on the couch dazedly.

“You’ll feel a little dizzy at first, but it will pass away. I have transferred to you the memory of my arguments with Mr. Gawd the green spider, and the memories of Lord Infiniti. Sit silently for a few minutes and ruminate on those memories Jumbo,” Monk Bodhitaran said and turned to the children.

“Now, you kids stand before me one by one. I’ll bequeath the memory of my arguments with Mr. Gawd the green spider. It’s a crucial memory to understand the maniacal intentions of Xobo.”

“When you impart your memory into me, will it hurt?” asked Lenin fearfully.

Monk Bodhitaran chuckled. “No, not at all, my dear child. When you finish a roller coaster ride, how would you feel?”

“Somewhat woozy,”

“That’s how you’ll feel now. But its only for a few seconds, then it’ll pass away.”

Little Lenin suddenly felt brave and stood before him.

“Gosh, we’re both the same height,” Monk Bodhitaran mused.

He gazed deep into the onyx eyes of Lenin and initiated the memory transfer. It was over in a minute. Lenin slumped on the blue couch next to his uncle.

The other children took their turns one by one and stood before Monk Bodhitaran. After five minutes, they slouched on the white couch, next to Jing Jing.

Everybody was silent, mulling over the new memories they had received. Finally, after half an hour, Monk Bodhitaran broke the silence.

“Jumbo, Now I think you fully understood the seriousness of the matter in hand,” he said somberly.

“Yes Master. Things seem to be very grave indeed,” Uncle Jumbo accepted grimly.

Then he turned towards the children and asked, “Where are those Purple Forks? Hand me one, let me have a look at it.”

The children took out their forks from their jeans pockets and showed them to Uncle Jumbo. Marx handed his Purple Fork to his Uncle, who analyzed the three pronged fork in all angles curiously.

“This is one of our cutlery items; a silver fork, isn’t it? It seems to be covered with a heavy coating of shiny, purple paint,” he remarked. “How does it work?”

Marx took the fork back from his Uncle. He then stood at the center of the room, like a conjurer about to perform a great magic trick. Using his Purple Fork, he created a fire ball and a water ball. Both balls resembled the size of a tennis ball. Then, making gestures with his fork, he made the two balls race behind each other around the room elegantly.

At last, he made them collide in midair. The fire ball was put out by the water ball. Everybody applauded, including the two monks and Uncle Jumbo. After that, he made a small water ball, then inflated it 10 feet wide and tall. Uncle Jumbo gazed at it in wonder. Marx then shrunk the water ball back to a tiny size.

“Think what if he did the same with a fire ball. He could inflate it to any size as long as air is available as fuel for the fork,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

“Wonderful. It’s just like magic,” Uncle Jumbo said, awestruck.

“Technologies of future, appear magical at present,” said Jing Jing.

Marx then performed the feat of multiple levitations. He made the TV and two easy chairs hover and move in midair. Then he carefully lowered them back to the floor.

Suddenly, he closed his eyes and concentrated hard. He opened them again; levitated himself, and started to ascend rapidly upwards; but this time, he stopped at the last moment from crashing into the ceiling.

Then, sticking the fork in front of him, he crouched forward and zoomed towards Karma, who gave a cry of surprise and ducked out of the way. Laughing, Marx halted right before the wall. He turned sharply, flew backward and landed before Uncle Jumbo gracefully.

Everybody stood up and gave a loud applause. Marx bowed low, immensely pleased with their appreciation.

“So that’s what these Purple Forks are capable of. I wonder.. If they will work in my hands?” Uncle Jumbo asked lightly.

“No, Jumbo. Lord Infiniti had chosen these kids because of their pure hearts and would’ve made sure the Purple Forks work for no one else. The forks senses and responds to the D.N.A and nerve impulses of the five kids only.”

“You don’t mean, these forks could sense their touch? Come on, they don’t look like sophisticated scientific devices.”

“Ah, there you are wrong. They are distinctly unique and complicated creations. The Purple Eyes were made of mercury and steel, but not in a plain manner. They are built minutely using nano engineering. If you observe them under a microscope, you’ll see thousands and thousands of Robotic metal cells, just like the cells in the human body.

These cells are powered by the highly elusive synthetic particles – the Alpha Gravitons. Lord Infiniti melted his Purple Eyes and pasted them onto the silver forks; but their functions and powers remain intact, even though they switched forms. And they are virtually indestructible,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

“Did all of you learned how to use those forks like Marx?” asked Uncle Jumbo, turning to the kids.

“No Uncle, we haven’t tried them yet,” said Karma.

“Oh, Okay… Well.. Er.. Master Bodhitaran, I’m sorry to say this, but I have no other choice. I could guess what you are going to ask. I shudder to think about those creatures – Brutons and Kreaks. What little children could do against them? Please don’t expect me to send these kids to do war against murderous Robots,” Uncle Jumbo said softly, but firmly.

“Jumbo! The meanest person in the entire Universe would be the one who sits back and let evil happen; even though he has the power to stop it. Think what’s at stake! How could you refuse, after you went through those memories? Don’t you realize how the world is in imminent danger? Please be reasonable; send these kids with me.”

“I perfectly realize the situation. But you must consider my position. I’m guardian to these kids now. Their parents are already furious that I left them alone in the house and went to Mumbai yesterday. If I sent them with you, what answer shall I say to their parents?”

“My dear Jumbo, think smartly. The Circle of Energy is weak only in the months of April and May! That’s the time Lord Xobo and his army would choose to attack. The current month is April; these kids need to be on guard only another month. Then Lord Xobo would go into hibernation state and won’t come out until next year’s April month. If these kids manage to destroy all of the Purple Eyes of Xobo and his sons in the next thirty days, then the danger would be over forever; they could return to their school and begin their new term as usual,”

“I’m sorry Master, the matter is out of my hands. I suggest perhaps this is a problem for the military to involve,”

Monk Bodhitaran gave a harsh laugh. “You haven’t yet seen the morning news? Lord Mutt had single handedly destroyed fifteen high tech military bases around the world. Missiles and bullets went haywire against Lord Mutt because he diverted them back at the soldiers using its levitation power. Rumors are abound that he even smuggled a few nuclear bombs out of underground bunkers in China.

People are panicked about ‘multiplication symbol shaped alien Robot causing havoc.’ No government on Earth has the tech to stand against Xobo and his United Family. Except us. These five could beat them with the help of these formidable Purple Forks and few of my own magical devices. I’ll guide them to victory. Leave them to me, I pledge my life to protect them!” Monk Bodhitaran said with emotion.

Uncle Jumbo was moved, despite his reluctance to send the children with the Master.

“What if these kids lost their Purple Forks? Then they won’t have any means of defence.”

“We can’t lose them uncle, because they will fly back to us when summoned through our thoughts. Watch this,” Karma said solemnly and threw his Purple Fork under the couch.

Then he closed his eyes and summoned the fork. At once it flew back into his hands. “You see? Its wonderful,” Karma said brightly.

Uncle Jumbo was still unconvinced. “What shall I tell their mothers?” he asked with dilemma.

“Naturally, we can’t tell them the truth. Nor you can tell that they are here in your house. You better inform their parents that you had sent them to my Buddhist monastery, to attend a 30 day Course on Tai Chi. It’s a small lie that you and I must maintain for the greater good.”

“Yes. That sound’s fine. But you must make sure the kids talk with their mothers every morning through phone like they do here,”

“That can be arranged easily. I only hope their parents won’t come rushing to my monastery to see their children,”

“They won’t. They’re all busy,”

“Well.. it’s settled then. Children, if you pack your things, we can start…”

“Wait a second, Master. I suggest we all have lunch at my restaurant first. The five look dead on their feet…”

“We didn’t even had our breakfast…” complained Lenin.

“Woof,” said Kingdum, wagging his tail.

“Kingdum, you nasty dog! How could you lie like that, I fed you with dog biscuits!”

“Well, he will get a nice, large bone at the restaurant..” assured Uncle Jumbo, smiling at the dog.

The Children ran upstairs to pack their things. Uncle Jumbo accompanied Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing to the sunflower field, to show them the tree house of the children. When they returned, the kids had assembled their baggage in the living room.

“Kingdum is also coming with us, isn’t it, monk Bodhitaran?” asked Lenin.

“Yes. He’ll be useful to you. And you kids can call me Dhamo. That’s my nickname,” monk Bodhitaran said with a wink.

The two Monks, Uncle Jumbo, the five children and their dog had a very satisfying lunch at the classy Jumbo restaurant.

Then the five kids climbed into the white Ambassador car, along with their baggage and Kingdum. Jing Jing took the driver seat; Monk Bodhitaran sat next to him.

Uncle Jumbo held the hands of Monk Bodhitaran through the car window. “Master, I’m still unwilling to send them away on such a highly dangerous errand. I know I have no choice but to trust you. I beg you, please ensure their safety. I can’t bear if anything happens to them…” he said in a deeply worried voice.

“Jumbo, I repeat. I pledge my life to protect these children. They will be back at the end of May, to begin their new term at school. I will keep you updated about them everyday through phone. Bye,” monk Bodhitaran said soothingly.

“We will miss you Uncle! We’ll also miss the sunflower field and our tree house! Don’t worry; I’ll take care of the others, so long!” yelled Marx. The others also shouted their good byes.

Jing Jing started the car and it raced down the road speedily towards the Buddhist Monastery in Kancheepuram.

P.V. Sons House, Arctic Circle –

Inside the personal lab of the deceased Captain D.C. Marwell; on the cold steel floor, the white metal spider body of Lord Xobo was lying down on its back. It stretched its eight metal legs comfortably towards the ceiling. In this upside down position, its 25 Purple Eyes roved and looked sharply at his four adopted sons, who stood lined up, hovering before him at a respectable distance. With a swift movement, Lord Xobo rolled on the floor and straightened up.

“So. That traitor Infiniti killed himself?” he asked for the third time.

“Yes, father. That’s what we perceive. We had found parts of his blown up metal body on a forlorn sunflower field located in Tagore Nagar, on the outskirts of Chennai city. There was absolutely no signs of struggle on the scene. We are sure he wasn’t murdered. I mean, no power on Earth could destroy him because, you know, he had the Purple Eyes…” Lord Mutt explicated meticulously.

“But you couldn’t find the indestructible Purple Eyes from the exploded metal mess…”

“That’s right father; we scanned the entire area, but couldn’t detect the presence of the Purple Eyes. The Evil Web scanned the surrounding lands, but couldn’t find his soul…” said Lord Minus.

“Leave his pathetic soul, let it rot in hell,” snapped Lord Xobo. “The silly crybaby would have went running to his mother – the Circle of Energy. What I want now is his five Purple Eyes. It’s of utmost importance to trace them. I think, betrayer Infiniti has carefully constructed a plot against me. He would have died on purpose, I’m sure of that. He knew that his Purple Eyes are the sole weapons that could be used against us. So he might have planned to do something with it. We need to find out what it is,” he said thoughtfully.

“Lord Plus! You come along with me, let’s finish repairing the weapons of Egghead Robots. Lord Minus, Lord Mutt and Lord Dotty, you three go out and continue the search for the Purple Eyes of Infiniti. If you come across any military bases, just blast them with your fire balls,” Lord Xobo ordered in a harsh voice. “And Lord Mutt, you are going to Mudhumalai forest tomorrow, not Lord Plus,”

“Why father, why this sudden change of plan?” asked Lord Plus.

“Just for fun. Lord Plus, day after tomorrow, you must prepare to go to Mumbai. You are going to take the Kreaks with you and carry out a bloodbath there,”

Brutons and Kreaks, who sat together squatting in a corner, scratched their heads, unable to figure out what’s happening.

Madam Smellin’s House, Chennai –

Mowli Sharp Munky shot into the living room like a scared rat. His Uncle was yelling for him.

“Where the hell you went away, boy? The witchdoctor will be meeting us shortly. You know that she won’t tolerate latecomers,” Mr. Vandal Cannibal said furiously.

“I was mowing the lawn uncle,” Mowli lied. In truth, he was smoking marijuana, hiding among the bushes of the garden.

“Okay. Don’t bother yourself too much with the household chores. Sit down,” Mr. Cannibal pointed to the place next to him on the white divan.

Mowli sat and fidgeted with the leaf skirt on his white shorts.

“What boy, you seem to be nervous. Don’t be afraid, the witchdoctor won’t eat you!” Mr. Cannibal said jovially and thumped on Mowli’s back. Then he wondered whether he was wrong. Madam Smellin is a crazy creature capable of eating people alive.

The witchdoctor checked her gruesome reflection in the cracked mirror of her bedroom dresser. She decided to apparate downstairs to the living room and vanished with a pop. She reappeared before Mr. Cannibal and his nephew, who jumped to their feet with a royal salute.

“Cannibal and Mowli, I have important tasks for both of you,” the hag said in a formal tone.

“We are your slaves, Madam. Just lay down your commands,” Mr. Cannibal said, bowing low. Mowli too nodded his head feverishly, but avoided gazing into the spooky, fully pale grey eyes of the witchdoctor.

“You must both leave to Mudhumalai forest at once and camp there. A group of Egghead Robots under the leadership of Lord Mutt, would arrive there tomorrow to destroy the forest. Ambush Lord Mutt, pluck out his five Purple Eyes and bring them to me.”

Mr. Cannibal licked his lips in fear. “Madam, are you talking about the Egghead Robots that destroyed the Gir forest? I had seen them in a video clip, they look formidable! And this Lord Mutt, he’s the one who destroyed military bases in Pakistan! He’s an alien Robot! His Purple Eyes emits huge fire balls, how do you suppose I could… we will be burned…. Please… Send Ironmane… I can’t….” he started to blabber incoherently.

“Do you think I’ll send you without giving you special weapons?” asked the witchdoctor coldly.

She waved in the air and something appeared in her hand.

“Here, take this garland. This is a weapon of evil magic. Throw this garland on Lord Mutt’s neck..”

“He doesn’t have a neck…”

“Just hang this on any part of his Robo body, he’ll faint immediately,” she said impatiently.

Mr. Cannibal took the garland from her hand. It was made fully with lemons, smeared with kumkum.

“Then pluck out his Purple Eyes with this steel knife,” she handed him a sharp, kukri dagger. “And return to me at once. If you are in a position unable to return, or trapped by the United Family, call me immediately inside your mind. I’ll come and rescue you,”

“Who are these United Family you mentioned right now?”

“Oh, I forgot to explain. You know that bastard, the phantom Mr. Gawd who met me a few months back?’

“Ah.. Yes…” Mr. Cannibal said with a shudder, remembering the half rotten body and whitened eyes of Mr. Gawd.

“Only with my help, this bastard, this ghost Mr. Gawd later possessed the body of a spider like Robo called Xobo. It has 50 Purple Eyes on its head and they have super powers. In return for my help, Xobo had promised me to provide 5 of those eyes; but he went back on his word and ignored me. Xobo then created five Robo Sons for itself and shared 25 of its Purple Eyes equally among them. This Lord Mutt is one of his sons.

I want what he owe me. He cheated me, that’s why I’m sending you to pluck out five Purple Eyes from his son Lord Mutt forcefully,” she said with fury.

“Okay Madam, we could handle Lord Mutt with this garland, but how to fight these Egghead Robots?”

“They are programmed mainly to destroy wildlife. Don’t get in their way, you’ll be safe. Just shadow Lord Mutt.”

“How do you know surely that Lord Mutt would come to Mudhumalai forest tomorrow?”

“I have a steadfast spy inside the United Family, who informed me that. Now, don’t stand here like an useless idol. Start your journey at once,” the witchdoctor said and vanished from the spot with a pop.

Mr. Cannibal gave a huge sigh, hitched up the red underwear worn over his grey pants, grabbed his stone hammer with a white baseball gloved hand, and swung it over to his shoulder.

“You heard her Mowli, come lets go. Here, you keep these,” Mr. Cannibal said and handed the lemon garland and kukri dagger to him. Mowli took them with trembling hands.

“Hmm… We need more than luck to survive this mission,” Mr. Cannibal remarked.

Buddhist Monastery, Kancheepuram –

When the white Ambassador car entered the premises of Monk Bodhitaran’s monastery, it was evening time. The car came to a halt before the rectangular apartment which served as a residence block for the monks.

The five children climbed out of the car, along with their baggage. They looked around the place inquisitively. The posh residence block built with steel and glass captured their attention. Lenin fixed a leash around Kingdum to stop him running out of control. Without a word, Monk Bodhitaran started to walk away from them towards the Dhyan block. The kids stared uncertainly after him.

The few Buddhist monks who were resting under the cool shades of the neem trees peered curiously at the new group of children and the dog. Kingdum tried to get loose, but Lenin held him firmly with the leash.

“Children, your rooms are in this way, please follow me,” Jing Jing said, and led them into the residence block.

The five trailed him hastily, dragging their luggage with them. Jing Jing entered the lift along with the five kids and the dog. He pressed the button 5. The lift moved up and came to a stop at the fifth floor. The group exited from the lift, and walked on the marble floored, lengthy corridor. Marx noticed that they had crossed three locked rooms with large oak panelled doors. They soon reached the fourth and fifth room, which were the last.

“The fifth floor contains five rooms like these in total. These two are all yours,” Jing Jing said and opened the doors. He sent the girls with their baggage into the fourth room and ushered the boys into the fifth room.

The boys gaped in surprise. The room was very large and spacious. It was richly furnished. Karma looked at Jing Jing with a bewildered expression.

Jing Jing gave a low chuckle.

“It’s natural for you to be puzzled. You thought a Buddhist monastery would have nothing but huts and jute cots. Yep, that’s our way of living. But we won’t force them on others.

The newcomers to our monastery shall be provided at first with a lavish room like this. Gradually, when they progress in spirituality through meditation and Tai Chi, they’ll hate their luxuries and yearn for simple things like huts and jute cots. At that time, they would be transferred to the more moderate rooms in the lower floors.

Now, refresh yourself. I’ll be back in a moment,” he said and withdrew himself from the room, closing the door.

“Gosh, this is fabulous,” said Karma, looking around the room. The room was fully air conditioned and had a luxurious, attached bathroom.

A huge L.C.D TV hung on one side of the wall. A life sized portrait of Monk Bodhitaran hung on another side. He looked much younger in this picture. He was wearing white robes, and had short black hair and very long black beard, that reached down to his chest.

The other end of the room was fully covered with glass, similar to their bedroom in Uncle Jumbo’s house. Marx opened the glass window and gazed at the lovely view of Lenin garden. Kingdum stood on its hind legs, peeped over the window sill and barked.

“We can’t complain about anything here, its a very nice place,” Karma mumbled and jumped on the huge bed made of teakwood.

He took out his phone to check his WhatsApp messages, but Marx wrenched the phone from his hand. “No more of these non sense. We’re going for war tomorrow, remember? You guys had to practice with your forks now, come on,” he said sternly.

“Fine, Fuhrer..” snapped Karma, rolling his eyes and crossed his arms angrily.

Kingdum whined and pawed at the door. He was bursting to wander and explore the grounds of the monastery. He hated being restrained under a leash.

“Kingdum boy, just lay down and rest for now,” said Lenin, patting the dog.

The girls gave a soft knock on their door and entered. “How’s your room?” Marx asked them.

“Its an exact replica of this room,” said Maya, looking around the room. The two girls sat on the bed.

“What next, Marx?” asked Teresa.

“Practice,” came the voice of Monk Bodhitaran behind them. He was standing at the threshold of the door. Jing Jing stood beside him, carrying a huge rucksack on his back. He stepped inside and placed it down on a corner of the room.

“But before you start to practice, you kids need to have your tea. Jing Jing, take these five and Kingdum to the catering block. After their tea, take them for a stroll into the Lenin garden. I’ll be waiting here. If anyone inquires who these kids are, tell them they are my guests who are here for a short stay. Say nothing more,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

“You too come along with us, Dhamo. Don’t you like tea?” asked Lenin.

Monk Bodhitaran grinned on being called by his nickname. “No, child. I don’t drink tea. And I eat only once a day, only in the morning,” he chuckled on seeing the amused look on their faces.

The children followed Jing Jing into the catering block. Everywhere they went, the other monks smiled at them and eyed them with curiosity; but no one questioned them. Kingdum behaved like a good dog and was petted by every monk on their way. The children finished their tea along with yummy Samosas. Then they went for a walk into the beautiful Lenin garden. Kingdum capered around the place happily, sniffing at the various herbal plants and trees. They returned back to their rooms at sun set.

Monk Bodhitaran was sitting cross legged on the marble floor of the boys room, deep in meditation. On hearing their footsteps, he opened his eyes and leapt to his feet.

“Well kids, do you like my garden? How was our caterer’s tea?” he asked heartily, smiling at the lot.

“Your Lenin garden was splendid, very like our little Lenin…” said Maya.

“And the tea was jolly good, the Samosas were smashing!” Karma replied zealously.

“Okay. Marx! It’s time to initiate your training to others, I think. Is this room enough for you?”

“Yes, Dhamo. This large room has plenty of space. I’ll begin teaching them now,” Marx said, and asked Karma to stand before him with his Purple Fork. Karma stood rather haughtily, toying with the fork in his hand.

Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing watched Marx train Karma how to create a fire ball or water ball, and how to handle them. He also taught Karma to levitate objects in a deft manner. For a change Karma levitated Kingdum, who howled dismally with fear, when he suddenly found himself in mid air. Then finally, Karma hovered in the air and soared around the room, finishing the feat of self levitation successfully. He perfected in using his Purple Fork within 10 minutes.

One by one, the kids learned to use their forks with successful attempts. Maya dangled herself upside down while practicing self levitation and made Karma cry with laughter. There was an awkward moment when Teresa sent a fire ball straight to the boy’s bed. Karma doused it swiftly with a huge water ball; but it made the bed all wet and unfit for sleep.

Little Lenin got proficient with the Purple Fork’s usage within five minutes. Monk Bodhitaran hugged and appreciated him. Then, the Monk saw that it was dinner time. He sent the kids and their dog along with Jing Jing to the catering block.

When the children returned after half an hour, they saw Monk Bodhitaran sitting on the floor and handling an assorted range of curious objects in his hands. They were taken out from the rucksack Jing Jing had earlier kept inside the boy’s room.

“Ah, you’re back in time. Dear children, I hope you enjoyed your dinner?”

“Very much. I had five masal dosas all by myself; they were absolutely spiffing,” Karma said happily.

“Dear me, if you eat so much before sleeping, you might find it difficult to wake up tomorrow morning,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

“I’ll ensure he gets up in time,” said Marx.

“Yeah, a bucket of ice water would do the job nicely,” said Maya.

Karma scowled at her. “I’ll be the first one to get up, I won’t fail when duty calls. You wait and see, I will be the one to finish Xobo…”

“Sit down, kids. I’ll show you some of the magical devices I had invented. I’m going to arm you with those to fight against Xobo,” Monk Bodhitaran said calmly.

“Magical? So is it true that there are magical powers?” Teresa asked quizzically.

“Everything that can be explained with words is classified under science; for example your Purple Forks. The other things that words can’t explain are magical; for example these iron gloves and tiger helmets,” he pointed to five chalybeous colored iron gloves, and five pewter colored tiger head statues made of iron.

Marx took one of the tiger heads with its jaw wide open; the rest of them had their jaws closed. The statue fitted into his palm easily, and it was hollow.

“Dhamo, How this small statue could be a helmet?”

“Gently stroke it three times, you’ll find out,”

Marx stroked it three times, feeling rather stupid. Suddenly, the palm sized statue popped up into the size of his own head. The children gave a cry of surprise. Monk Bodhitaran ordered the others to do the same. They took one each and stroked the tiger heads. At once, they popped up into the size of a human head.

“Now wear them over your heads,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

Marx put on his helmet with open jaws; while the others wore theirs with closed jaws.

“Hey, Marx, that helmet looks cool on you,” said a strange, new barky voice in English. The children jumped violently and looked around, searching the source of the new tone. Their gaze fell on Kingdum.

“Hey Dhamo! I forgot to say man, I got a special treat of rava dosa from your caterer for my dinner. Thanks buddy!” Kingdum barked; no, no, talked through its mouth! The children froze with surprise and fear.

“Why are you staring at me like I’m a dinosaur, huh?” said Kingdum, cocking its head.

“Kingdum! You are talking!” The children chorused.

“Of course not, silly. I’m only barking. How do you manage to bark back at me?” Kingdum said, wagging its tail.

“We are not barking! We are speaking English, and you too!” said Lenin.

“I never knew English. That’s human language. My mother tongue is Barky Talky. You’re speaking my language; beats me how you learnt it,” Kingdum said defiantly, hanging its tongue out.

Monk Bodhitaran watched the exchange between the dog and the kids with amusement.

“Dhamo, Dhamo! What’s happening?” Teresa asked in panic.

“Nothing to fear, my child. You have just witnessed the power of the tiger helmet. It translates the language of animals and plants into human language and vice versa, so that conversation between humans and nature becomes a possibility,”

“Oh, really? Kingdum says we were barking. Do you hear us barking?” asked Karma.

“No. I told you, this is a translating device. All I heard was you lot speaking English and Kingdum barking. But the animals and plants won’t hear you talking English, they’ll hear you speaking in their own language. And their language would be translated into English before reaching your ears,”

“I won’t believe it,” Karma said brusquely and removed his helmet. “Now talk with me, Kingdum boy,”

The dog started to bark at him.

Karma put on his helmet. Immediately the incoherent barkings got translated into English midway – “…. why are you barking at me to talk… Why don’t you go to bed? See, good old Jing Jing had changed the wet bed and had put a warm bed in its place!”

“Is it some sort of hallucination?” Maya asked uncertainly.

“Why should I show hallucinations to you, children?” said Monk Bodhitaran in a hurt voice.

“Sorry, Dhamo… It just feels very weird, that’s why..” said Maya hastily.

“Its okay. I thought these things would be great use to you in a forest, since you are going to one tomorrow. Now remove the helmets from your heads and stroke them three times again,” ordered Monk Bodhitaran.

The kids did it and the helmets shrunk back to their palm size.

“There, now you could carry them with you easily. Now take the iron gloves and wear it in your right hand,”

The children took one each and wore the shining, steel blue, iron gloves on their right hands. It felt rather heavy.

“The function of the iron glove is to show you the right path. It acts as a guide to your destination. Now Marx, think in your mind – ‘intelligent iron glove, show me the way to Maya’s room,’ The iron glove would lead you to her room. Don’t hold your hand stiffly, just let it rest limply on your right side,” said Monk Bodhitaran.

Marx dropped his hand down and let it hang loosely. He closed his eyes and thought what Dhamo said. At once, his limp right hand, on which he wore the iron glove, raised before his body by itself, and pointed forward.

“Move in the direction the iron glove points to you,” Monk Bodhitaran instructed.

Marx moved forward, opened the door and stepped out into the corridor. His iron gloved hand turned and pointed to the direction in his left side. Marx took a few feet forward to his left in the corridor. The iron glove now pointed to his right side, where the door of the girls room was situated.

“Now, after you had reached your destination, just think politely, ‘thank you, intelligent iron glove,’ so that it helps you the next time,” Monk Bodhitaran said from his behind.

Marx thought what he said, and his hand fell down, limp again. He removed the heavy iron glove from his hand. The other children took turns to try their iron gloves and soon got familiar with it.

Then, Monk Bodhitaran gave five solar powered, satellite phones to the kids. Each phone consisted of a pair of wristwatch and an ear piece. The wristwatch functions as a dial pad and touch screen computer; while the ear piece, which is worn in one ear, functions both as a speaker and mike. They were designed as water proof devices.

“You must carry these with you always and be careful not to lose it. Its your only means of communication with me when your are in forests, or deserted regions. Talk with your parents each morning wherever you are. Tell them you are in my monastery to attend a 30 day course on Tai Chi. It’s a lie, but its essential and not wrong when said for the greater good of people. These are special suits for you.” Monk Bodhitaran distributed a pair of full sleeve T-shirt and pants to each of them.

Lenin ran his hand over the fabric; it was smooth and glossy, like silk, but at the same time felt thick and hard. The full sleeve T-shirts were black in color, and had a large, white chakra with 5 spokes printed on the front side of the T-shirt in the center. The pants were in a bright, peacock blue color. They were also given black belts and shoes.

“These special suits are made in nano engineered, synthetic fibers. They are fire and dust repellent, and would regulate your body temperature according to the surroundings,” explained Monk Bodhitaran.

“Dhamo, how could you afford to get high tech stuff like these?” Maya asked curiously.

“I have friends in the Defense Ministry,” Monk Bodhitaran said with a wink.

The kids wore their suits; it fitted them perfectly well.

“Cool. It’s sort of super hero suit, isn’t it. What about Kingdum?” Lenin asked.

“Oh, yeah. We have a jacket for him made in the same material. You can wear it on the dog’s middle, in his torso,” Monk Bodhitaran said and handed it to Marx.

Karma held Kingdum firmly, while Marx clothed the dog with the jacket. The jacket had a flowery design in blue, red and white colors.

“Kingdum, you look like a joker,” sniggered Lenin.

“Woof!”

“These bags contain essentials; like food capsules and water bottles, first aid kit, and the sort of things people carry when they camp inside forest,” Jing Jing said, pointing to five huge back packs.

“Oh, Okay… I think we should have a name for our team,” Marx said, looking at Karma.

“What about Aivar?” suggested monk Bodhitaran. “It means ‘the five,’ and you are five kids, set out to eradicate evil Robots.”

“It sounds fine, Dhamo, but how about this – ‘The Pancha Forkers.’ Forkers, because forks are our main weapons, and we are five, so Pancha Forkers!” said Lenin, jumping up and down.

“Ok. Let it be,” said Monk Bodhitaran smiling. “Gosh! It’s getting late. Time to go to bed. You must wake up by 5 o’clock in the morning, and start from here around 5.30. Me and Jing Jing will be here to see you take off to Mudhumalai forest. Rest well.”

Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing wished the children good night, then left the room.

“I’m worn out. Don’t know how I’ll wake up that early,” Teresa said warily.

“Don’t worry, I will wake you up. I can hardly sleep, I’m terribly excited,” said Maya.

Soon, the girls departed to their rooms, after wishing the boys good night.

The boys doffed their tight, super hero suits and donned comfortable pajamas. Lenin stroked his tiger helmet, enlarged it and put it over his head.

“What! You’re going to sleep with that thing on your head?” asked Karma.

“Yeah, I’m going to have a little chat with Kingdum before sleep.”

“What are you going to discuss, national debt?”

“No. Its about you. Hey, Kingdum! What do you reckon Karma would do, when he sees the Egghead Robots tomorrow?”

“Woof, Woof, Wooooooof,” Kingdum said sleepily, settling down at Lenin’s feet.

“Ha ha ha!”

“What?”

“He said you’ll wet your pants!”

“Did he say that really?”

“Promise!”

“Hmm.. Having a talking dog, is the greatest menace of all.”

Finally, the three boys and the dog plunged into a deep and peaceful sleep.

P.V. Sons House, Arctic Circle –

Lord Xobo was fuming with anger. It prowled on the steel floor of the personal laboratory of the deceased Captain D.C. Marwell, on its eight, white metal legs. It stopped suddenly; facing the United Family, the Brutons and the Kreaks.

It started to talk in a harsh metallic voice, moving its metal jaws under the 25 Purple Eyes in its head.

“My dear United Family, Brutons and Kreaks. I have solid information regarding the grand plot laid by that stinking, turncoat Infiniti; against me and my alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons. Traitor Infiniti had committed suicide. Can’t expect anything else from a coward; but shortly before his death, he had selected five children and imparted his memories into them. Then he transformed his Purple Eyes into forks, and presented them to those wretched kids, to use it against us as weapons! That ungrateful, paltry pig! Whatever birth the Circle of Energy sends him to take, I’ll track him down, capture his soul and show him what hell is!” Lord Xobo yelled maniacally.

It paused for a moment, then continued in a sanctimonious tone, “These kids have allied with the sinister looking Buddhist monk Bodhitaran. Together, they had sworn to destroy us. But before that, we’ll rip them to pieces!”

“How do you know these things, Father?” asked Lord Plus.

“I have a steadfast spy planted inside the monastery of Bodhitaran,” Lord Xobo said shiftily, then continued, “Those kids call themselves as Pancha Forkers. Beware of them, they’re evil thugs. They may look like innocent children, but they are actually alien monsters from the red planet Mars. They landed on Earth in black colored bugships. They liberated, destroyed and made extinct the human race on Mars. Now they have come to Earth with the same motive of liberation; that is extinction. They are hell bent on destroying our New World, our saintly life of reanimated corpses, the Fathers and Sons.

They would talk non sense like evolution; Earth is not flat and is a sphere; men walked on the moon; all humbugs! We must tell them that a thing is a thing, not what is said about that thing. At any cost, they need to be stopped. If they attacked us, we must hit back! No surrender! Hooooo! Hoooo! Hooooo!” screamed Lord Xobo.

The Brutons, Kreaks and the United Family echoed Lord Xobo’s war cry – “Hooooo! Hooooo! Hooooo!”[++
++]

“We will continue our destruction of the forests using Egghead Robots. Lord Mutt, you’re leaving to Mudhumalai forest right now! If those Pancha Forkers blocked you, rip off their heads!” yelled Lord Xobo.

“Your wish, my command, father!” Lord Mutt shouted back and went out into the frozen Arctic grounds. 30 Egghead Robots followed Lord Mutt, who levitated them up and arranged them neatly in a formation in midair. Then the group of Robots started flying south towards Mudhumalai forest; Lord Mutt leading them in the front.

Buddhist Monastery, Kancheepuram –

“Wake up, you lousy lump, its time!” Marx shook Karma roughly. Karma mumbled something unintelligible and rolled over. Marx fetched a pail of cold water from the bathroom; but before he poured it, Karma sat upright.

“Fool! Why struggle so much to bring water. There’s a much simpler way,” Karma said with an innocent expression. Abruptly, he created a water ball with his Purple Fork and smacked Marx’s face with it in lightning speed.

“Your aim is not so bad,” admitted Marx, drying his face with a towel. “Now get off the bed, take your shower and put on your suit. It’s time for some action,”

“Where’s Lenin?”

“He’s taken Kingdum down for a walk. You know, I’m the one who’s going to make Kingdum fly along with me. It’s going to be a tough time for him..”

“Yeah, more like a dog’s nightmare..”

There was a knock on the door and in came Teresa and Maya. They were dressed in their super hero suits and looked a little groggy.

“You still not ready? Forgot the call of your duty?” Maya asked with a dissing look, sitting next to Teresa on the sofa.

Karma scowled at her and ran to the bathroom. He just heard voices coming from the corridor.

The door burst open; Lenin came inside, Kingdum at his heels. The dog ran to Marx, Maya and Teresa, and gave each of them a wet lick. Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing followed them into the room and wished the children good morning. The children wished them back.

“Is everybody ready?” Monk Bodhitaran asked them.

“Karma’s taking his shower.” Marx replied quickly.

“Ok. I’ll wait in the terrace. Jing Jing, you make sure these kids carry everything of importance along with them. We must put them in the air before it becomes too bright,” monk Bodhitaran said, watching the faint rays of the rising sun.

Soon Karma got ready. Jing Jing fussed with them, ensuring that they took the necessary items for the mission – huge backpacks loaded with essentials, tiger helmets, iron gloves, satellite phones and most important of all – their Purple Forks. They forced a reluctant Kingdum into his special jacket. He seemed not too happy with it.

The children climbed the stairs up to the terrace. The early morning sky was getting brighter and the sun was half risen.

Monk Bodhitaran looked at the five children and the dog with pride. He thought very high of them. Where else you would see such brave kids?

“Pancha Forkers! It’s time for you to do war. It’s a great shame to send children to fight against monstrous Robots, but its your destiny, and you have accepted it with utmost courage. I have pledged my life to protect you. I beg you not to do anything rash. I have selected Marx as your leader. Follow his orders.

After reaching Mudhumalai forest, talk with your parents through the satellite phones. Then finish your breakfast. Lie low inside the jungle and stay away from Forest Rangers. Always wear your helmets; it’s very helpful inside the forest, especially when you come across wild animals.

Use your iron gloves wisely. Think – ‘intelligent iron glove, lead me to the Egghead Robots inside the Mudhumalai forest,’ and it will show you the correct path. Lord Infiniti’s memory says this is the day selected by Xobo to destroy Mudhumalai forest, so you must be alert. Keep your eyes open and look out for any unusual fires in the surrounding areas. If you came face to face with the Egghead Robots, keep a huge distance between you and their radiation sparks.

Try to destroy them with your fireballs. Remember, they can’t fly. You can. I’m sure Lord Mutt or any other adopted sons of Xobo will also be there to command the Eggheads. Avoid a direct conflict with any of the sons of Xobo, because they have Purple Eyes with the same power as your forks.

Our final task is to eliminate them along with their Purple Eyes. You must stab your forks on their Purple Eyes to destroy them. You can’t win them in a direct conflict, so device a clever strategy and ambush them, like a tiger.” He then looked at them with a worried expression.

“Oh, this sounds far more complicated than I expected. If any of you got hurt, or scared, return here at once. Marx, you must update me your current status every three hours. Well, that’s all. You can leave now.”

“Hasta la vista, Pancha Forkers!” said Jing Jing, showing them the thumbs up.

The Pancha Forkers stood in a line, with Marx at their center. “Forkers! Wear your satellite phones and helmets!” he barked.

Everyone took out their satellite phones. They fixed the ear pieces in their right ears and wore the touch screen wrist watch (used as a dial pad and a computer) on their left hands.

Then they took out the palm sized, iron tiger head statues out from their pockets and stroked it three times. It popped up into a helmet and they put it over their heads. Marx wore the helmet which had its jaws wide open. The helmets of the other Forkers had theirs jaws closed.

“Why are you guys wearing a cat’s head over your own head?” Kingdum asked lazily.

The children gave a violent jerk and stared at the dog.

Then Teresa said, “Its not a cat’s head. It’s a Tiger’s. This iron helmet is the reason why we are able to understand your language and you understand ours.”

“Well, a tiger is just a large cat! How does that helmet work?” the dog asked with interest.

“You talk too much, Kingdum. Forkers, now wear your iron gloves and take out your forks. You know what to do, ask the iron glove to lead you,” said Marx, wearing his iron glove.

“Hey, all of you guys flying to some place? Adieu! I’ll pass my time here by chasing my own tail in the garden,” said Kingdum.

“We are not going to leave you. You’re flying with us to Mudhumalai forest. Real tigers are waiting there to become friends with you,” said Marx. “Forkers! on the count of two!”

When Marx counted two, the Forkers, using their Purple Forks, rose and hovered on the air, twenty feet from the floor of the terrace. Kingdum floated next to Karma and howled at the top of his voice in fear.

“Let me down, let me down!” he cried in between howls, and worked his legs frantically, trying to run away in midair. Lenin and Karma laughed at him, while the girls eyed him pitifully.

“You think this is funny! I’m gonna complain to PETA!” the dog shouted.

“What’s PETA?” asked Lenin.

“People Eating Tasty Animals,” Karma said promptly.

“No its not! Its People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” Kingdum snapped.

The Forkers waved a last goodbye to Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing, then soared forward in the south direction the iron glove pointed to them.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

IRON GLOVE LEADS TO VICTORY

Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve –

[++
++]The first ten minutes of flying had been like an adrenaline pumping, roller coaster ride for the Forkers. They flew forward in a slightly crouched position; their forks held tightly in their left hands, which they kept well down near their waist. Their right hands, on which they wore their iron gloves, was raised in front of their chest without their effort, and pointed them the correct path to travel.

In the first ten minutes, they felt air resistance, and thought it is about to increase with their acceleration. But after ten minutes, something weird happened. Instead of an increase in air resistance in accordance with their acceleration, they felt no resistance at all. They felt like bolting through a tube of vacuum.

Karma used the dial pad in his wrist watch and called all of the Forkers. He asked them to join in a conference call. The others obeyed him and started to speak in midair through their earpieces.

“This is uncanny, I feel like flying through space; we are steadily increasing our speed but I feel no air resistance at all, reckon why that is?” Karma asked.

“Hmm.. I think, when we bypass a certain speed, our Purple Fork triggers some sort of repulsive power against air resistance. All is well. I was worried how we could manage the frictional heat generated by flying…” Marx said.

“Our suit is heat resistant..” said Maya.

“Its won’t resist after a certain limit….” scoffed Karma.

“What’s the altitude?” Teresa asked.

“Dunno..” replied Karma.

“We’re below the tropopause, because the air is still dense; it gets thinner after a certain height….” Marx said uncertainly.

“Shall we push our speed? I don’t think we’re moving fast enough…” Lenin said impatiently.

“What?! We’re moving at a terrible speed; look at the ground, everything is disappearing in a haze…” Teresa said, goggling below.

“What speed we’re flying?” asked Maya.

“Dunno..” Karma said again.

“Karma, you moron! Stop ‘dunno’ing for everything. Look at our wrist watch, it points out the altitude and speed; I think Dhamo has equipped it with an inbuilt electronic speedometer and barometer…” Marx said suddenly.

“What? Oh yeah! Look, it shows the altitude at 5000 feet! And we’re nearing subsonic speed!” Karma said with surprise.

The Pancha Forkers, guided by their iron gloves, flew steadily towards their destination. They tried as best as they could to avoid being spotted by people on the ground; so they skipped flying over populated zones such as cities and towns, and avoided flying over highways. This type of flying made them go in a zigzag route and they had to try hard, to stick to the direction the iron glove pointed out.

At that immense height, they loved seeing the green patches of the beautiful paddy fields and the trees in the countrysides which they crossed.

On the other hand, Kingdum the dog was having the worst experience in his lifetime. He closed his eyes tightly, praying to end this nightmare at once.

But as the time went, Kingdum started to enjoy himself. The air resistance dropped to the point of zero after crossing a certain velocity, so the dog opened its eyes. He felt a little dizzy at first on seeing the ground, which appeared as a green and brown fabric of velvet; but other than that, he thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of weighlessness. He had so much fun barking at the birds that flew nearby in formations, and made them scatter away with fear.

After half an hour of solid traveling through zigzag routes, they finally reached the border of Mudhumalai forest. It looked like a vast, sleek, green carpet spread out on strangely shaped hills, both small and large. The Forkers started to descend down into a small clearing. With the drop of speed, they felt air resistance for a small period of time, but that too stopped when their feet touched the ground smoothly.

Marx landed Kingdum next to him with a slight bump. The dog immediately ran towards a large oak tree and lifted its leg against it.

“Well Forkers, we’re here finally. Now end the conference call, then dial to your respective parents, and finish our ‘good children’ duties,” Marx said, removing his helmet. The others too did the same. They stroked their helmets three times and shrunk it to palm size.

The children started to talk with their mothers through their satellite phones. They were busy for a few minutes, telling a bunch of lies.

“Gosh, mother was puzzled when I called her from a new number. I said I’m speaking from a new phone gifted by Uncle Jumbo. It’s not difficult to invent wildly about Tai Chi…”

“Yeah, I said we all are staying at the famous Monk Bodhitaran’s Buddhist Monastery in Kancheepuram, to learn Tai Chi. I told mum it’s the same martial arts that Bruce Lee practiced. She was terribly excited…”

“Karma! Bruce Lee practiced Kung Fu!” Maya said in a shocked voice.

“Wha?! Oh, yeah, I said Tai Chi branched out from Kung Fu…”

“I’m starving,” complained Teresa.

“Sit on the ground. I’ll give you breakfast,” Marx said, and removed his backpack from his shoulders.

“Oh, my shoulders are aching,” he said, unzipping the bag, and took out a small box filled with colorful capsules.

He handed two of the capsules to each of the Forkers.

Karma looked at the capsules with a perplexed expression. “Is this some sort of medication to be taken before our breakfast?”

“This is our breakfast,”

“What? You’re kidding!”

“You didn’t listen what Jing Jing said yesterday night? They are food capsules,”

“I don’t like to live on these things!”

“You thought we’ll be eating idli, pongal in the midst of a forest?” Maya scoffed.

“Here, swallow your capsules and drink this, its an energy drink,” Marx handed them a bottle full of grape colored, syrupy liquid.

All of them swallowed their breakfast and took a swig from the bottle.

“This is delicious,” said Lenin, and sipped it deeply for the third time.

“Hey, you had enough for now. We need it later,” Marx said and wrenched the bottle from Lenin’s hand.

At that time, Kingdum started to bark at the dark woods. It growled and snarled towards something. The children sensed shadows moving behind the thick undergrowth. They put on their helmets on and walked towards Kingdum.

“Look! The trees are having faces!” Lenin said in a surprised voice, pointing a hand at them.

The children gazed at the surrounding woods with awe. After wearing their helmets, faces had appeared on the trunks of the trees. Each tree had a different face, just like humans. Some had large eyes, fat noses and thin lips; others had tiny eyes, thin noses and fat lips. Almost all of them were sleeping soundly. The Forkers looked down and saw the outline of very little faces on the shrubs, and they too were fast asleep.

“Come over here guys, check out these two funny clowns!” Kingdum called them with a barky laugh.

The children wondered who Kingdum was referring to, and walked forward silently, careful not to disturb the shrubs and trees. Suddenly, they heard a tiny squeal of pain from the ground. Karma had treaded on a grim looking Spinach shrub.

“Watch your feet, you giant git!” the plant yelled in a high pitched squeak, and scowled at him.

“Oh, Sorry, Mr. Spinach,” Karma apologized.

“Get lost!” the plant said rudely and closed its eyes.

“Now what shall we do! Look before us, nothing but grass on the floor! They’ll all shout at us and make an awful row if we walked on them!” Maya said dismally, wringing her hands.

“Maya! Don’t forget you’re a Forker!” Marx said severely.

“Oh, yeah,” Maya mumbled shamefacedly, and took out her fork.

The children used their Purple Forks and soared towards Kingdum swiftly.

“What took you so long guys? Look at these jokers; they tried to run away, but I’m holding them for you,” the dog said, and snarled viciously at the two strangers.

The children stared at the two weird looking persons before them. One was a man, and the other was a boy about their same age.

The man was tall, black and burly, and had very long black hair that hung up to his waist. He was wearing a white shirt, grey suit, grey tie, bright yellow socks and shoes, and white baseball gloves on his hands. He wore a scarlet red underwear over his pants and a pair of golden earrings.

On his face, he had black eyes, a thick black mustache and a trimmed black beard. The man’s nose was hammered column wise with three large iron nails; his forehead had three big iron nails driven through it in a row. He carried a huge stone hammer over his shoulder.

The boy was olive skinned, had a ratty appearance, and his bald head was painted in topaz color. He wore a white T-shirt printed with a picture of clock in the chest, and a mini skirt made of leaves over his white shorts. A long paper tail was pasted on his back. He wore a pair of golden earrings, black shoes and socks.

The nose above the boy’s thick rosy lips had three large iron nails driven through it in a column. Unlike the man, his forehead was not hammered with nails. He wore topaz color contacts on his eyes and had eyebrows in the same color. He carried a large garland made of lemons in his hand. It was smeared with kumkum.

For a few seconds, the man, boy and the group of Pancha Forkers sized up each other.

“Call off your dog, he’s blocking our way!” the man bellowed.

“Who are you, oddballs?” Karma asked loudly.

“Look who’s talking,” the boy said in a squeaky voice, smirking at them. “I’ve never seen such a bunch of oddities wearing a metal Tiger’s head over their own heads.”

“We’re wearing a type of helmet,” Marx said coldly. “What are you doing inside the forest?”

“That’s none of your business! Now call back your dog, or I’ll smash his brains!” the man yelled, and swung his stone hammer threateningly.

Kingdum growled ferociously and sprang at the man, but Marx restrained the dog by holding its collar firmly.

Karma laughed bitterly. “I like to see you try that,” he said with a sneer. “Our dog will rip your throat.”

“How could you two still breath with nails hammered on your noses?” Lenin asked suddenly. “And how are you alive after nails driven through your forehead?” he asked the man.

“Because we’re Warlords. We’re sent by the divine creature, Madam Smellin,” replied the man curtly.

“What!? Madam Smellin! It sounds funny… What’s your name?” Teresa asked the man curiously.

“I’m Vandal Cannibal; this is my nephew, Mowli Sharp Munky,” said the man in a gruff voice.

“Excuse me?! Is that your real name? Vandal Cannibal?” Maya asked with disbelief.

“Yes… Who are you? Are you really humans? Show your faces,” Mr. Cannibal said.

The Forkers removed their helmets. Mr. Cannibal peered at them.

“We’re the Pancha Forkers – super hero kids. I’m Marx Pandyan, leader of this team. This is Karma Veer, that’s Lenin Saakiyan. This girl is Teresa Rani and she is Maya Shree. A great catastrophe is about to happen in this forest. We’re here to stop that. You two better run and leave this forest to safer grounds,” Marx said gravely.

“Super hero kids?!” jeered the boy called Mowli. “What’s your super powers? Can you lift hills with your hands?” he asked derisively.

“We could if we wish. Mr. Vandal Cannibal, get out of this forest along with your nephew, before its too late. You’re in a dangerous place,” Marx said seriously.

Mr. Cannibal’s face contorted with fury. “Oh, yeah? Facing danger is like eating Halva to me. I’m not scared of any wild animals, I had fucked tigresses before. Who are you, to boss me around, you nasty little thugs? Which are your weapons? Those little forks in your hands? See my stone hammer. You won’t stand a chance against it. You’re nothing but chimpanzees brandishing forks, that’s what you are…”

“Of course, children like us won’t stand a chance against Vandals and Cannibals…” said Lenin.

“Shut up, you ugly brown mongrel dog!” Mr. Cannibal yelled at Lenin, and spat on the ground.

“Hey, I’m not a dog, Kingdum is the brown dog! And he is not a mongrel…”

“Shut your stupid mouth! You fancy yourself as super heroes huh? You know what, I’m the real super hero here.. Because I’m not wearing hockey pads, I’m wearing baseball gloves. And I’m an expert in Krav Maga martial arts. My nephew has got a black belt in Karate…..”

“Mr. Cannibal, this is not the time for cracking jokes..” Marx said in a tired voice.

Mr. Cannibal opened his mouth furiously, but froze half way. He had just heard something, a low growl from the left side of the jungle.

“A Tiger’s coming! Mowli! Run with me! You too, run for your lives!” he said with panic and grabbed the hand of his nephew, then started to run to his right side. Soon the pair of them disappeared among the dense wilderness.

“What shall we do now? Run and hide like them?” Teresa asked, shaking all over.

Marx heaved a huge sigh, frustrated.

“Teresa, please, please do try to remember, that you’re a Forker! We could escape from the tiger simply by flying! Or we could befriend the tiger by talking with it in a good manner!”

“Where’s Kingdum?” Karma asked, looking around.

“I’m here.” Came the trembling voice of Kingdum behind a large bush. “I’ll come out after that damn tiger went past us.”

“Kingdum, the cowardly dog!” Lenin called out and laughed.

“He’s not a coward. He’s just scared a little, the poor thing,” said Maya.

Karma snorted scornfully. “My dear poetess, people who are scared easily and goes into hiding are known as cowards in English…”

“That’s for people, he’s just a dog..”

“Grrrrr….!”

The huge roar of the tiger reached their ears clearly. It sounded very close.

“Listen Forkers,” Marx said in an urgent whisper.

“Stay behind me. Grab your forks tightly. I’ll try to to talk with the tiger in a friendly way. If it shows any signs of attacking, distract it with a water ball and soar high into the air.”

The Pancha Forkers put on their helmets and stood together tensely in a tight formation.

A huge white tiger sprang out from behind the trunk of a teak tree. It looked at the five kids with fierce eyes, and gave out a small growl, baring it teeth. Even in its anger, the big cat looked gorgeous in its white and dark brown striped coat.

“What are you humans doing in my forest? And why are you’re wearing a metal helmet designed like my head? To trick me? To fool me? Poachers and smugglers can’t deceive me! Grrrr….!” The white tiger roared.

“Er, Mr. Tiger, we’re not poachers, we’re the Pancha Forkers – super hero kids. The helmet on our heads translates your language into ours and our language into yours. My name is Marx Pandyan, I’m the leader of the Pancha Forkers….”

“Pancha Forkers! Never heard of you before.. Hmm…. I’m surprised you could talk with me. What sort of device is that helmet? By the way, I’m Lincoln, the white tiger – the king of this forest!”

“What? It can’t be, the lion is the king of the forest!” Lenin blurted out. Marx looked at him warningly.

“There are no lions in this forest, only tigers,” said the white tiger coldly.

“What if lions lived in this forest? Then who would be the king?” Lenin persisted.

“You must know, my dear simpleton, that lions and tigers never live in the same forest. No two species of predators could coexist in the same place,” the white tiger said haughtily.

“Pardon him, your Majesty. Am I allowed to ask how you became the king?” Marx asked politely.

“Oh, that’s easy to explain. I hunt only the cunning foxes and jackals who trick and eat innocent deers and rabbits. Other than that, I’m content with eating fishes from the river; so the other dwellers of this forest elected me as their ruler.”

“You seem to be a very good tiger,” remarked Lenin.

“That’s why I’m the king. Enough about me. Why are you here, Pancha Forkers?”

“Your Majesty, this jungle is in imminent danger from the Egghead Robots…” said Marx.

“Ah, those alien Robots that destroyed the Gir forest, I’ve heard about them from the birds migrating into our jungle.. You’re talking about them, isn’t it?”

“Yes, your Majesty. They’re not alien, but local Robots, who are extremely hazardous. They are programmed to destroy wildlife, and they are expected to come here today to carry out their deadly plans of destruction,” Marx explained.

Lincoln the tiger sat down on the ground and licked its paws. “So you’re here to fight the Egghead Robots?”

“Yes, your Majesty. Before they arrive, we need to evacuate the animals and birds, especially the endangered ones…”

“Evacuate? Where? There’s no other forest nearby…”

“Well, then ask them to hide inside agricultural fields.. If they went into towns or villages, people would panic..”

“Very well. I’ll make sure of that. But don’t you guys need help with your war? After all, you’re only kids…”

“No your Highness, we have powerful weapons on our own to fight the Egghead Robots. We beg you to oversee the evacuation,” Marx said firmly.

“Okay chap, I got it,” said the white tiger, scratching its ears with its leg.

“Your Highness, can I pat your head?” Lenin asked eagerly.

“Of course,” the tiger said offhandedly.

Marx gripped the arm of Lenin tightly and whispered in a low voice, “Are you mad?”

“You don’t trust me?” Lincoln the tiger asked them in a worried voice. Abruptly, a butterfly came flying down and sat on its black nose.

“Hello, your Highness. Remember me? I’m Briton the butterfly. How do you do?” it asked.

Lincoln shook its head to chase Briton away, but Briton took off and sat again playfully.

“Aha! Not so fast, my dear king. Let me rest a few seconds on your pretty nose.”

“Go away,” the white tiger snapped and rolled over, showing its belly. It pawed at Briton, who tried to sit repeatedly on its nose. Soon Lincoln got tired of chasing the elusive butterfly. He sat upright and gave a huge yawn.

“He doesn’t seem to be harmful,” Teresa said uncertainly.

“Yeah, that’s because he’s with a full stomach. If he was hungry, we would’ve been a nice dinner for him,” Karma said mockingly.

“Let go of me. He’s a good tiger, he won’t hurt me,” pleaded Lenin, but Marx didn’t loose his grip on Lenin’s arms.

“We are the Forkers. Why do we have to fear? Grab your forks tightly in your hands and follow me, chickens,” Maya said and marched towards the white tiger bravely.

Lincoln seemed not to notice her. He looked up at the sun and sneezed. Maya halted before the magnificent tiger and patted its head with a trembling hand. Lincoln closed his eyes, as though enjoying it. Maya stroked the smooth coat of the white tiger and smiled at the others victoriously.

Marx loosened his grip on Lenin, who rushed towards Lincoln at once. Teresa, Marx and Karma followed him warily. Lenin hugged the neck of Lincoln. The tiger gave a huge lick on the nose of his helmet.

A pathetic howl came from behind the bushes.

“For God’s sake, Lenin! Its not a cat! It’s a tiger! Look at its huge jaws! It’s capable of swallowing you wholly without any effort!” Kingdum shouted furiously.

“Who’s that stupid dog, Marx?” the tiger asked, now licking the hands of Teresa. She was stroking the velvety ears of Lincoln.

“Your Highness, it’s Kingdum, our pet dog,” replied Marx.

Another howl came from behind the bushes.

“That tiger is a man-eater! It’s licking you to find out which one of you is the tastiest! Then it will jump at your throats!”

Lincoln the white tiger guffawed. “If I’m a man eater, then you’re a rabid dog. Now shut up for a minute, Kingdum. Marx, I’m going to alert all of my subjects in the forest. I had thought out a plan. You guys stay in that clearing. If we spotted any Egghead Robots deep inside, I’ll send you Bahu, the black pigeon. He’ll show you the way.”

“Oh, no thanks, your Majesty. We have iron gloves, they’ll lead us to the Eggheads…”

“All the same, I’ll send Bahu to intimate you,” The tiger said and leapt to its feet gracefully.

“Good bye, Pancha Forkers! My dear rabid dog Kingdum, you can come out now, I’m going,” Lincoln said with a chuckle and ran into the forest.

Kingdum peeped out from behind the bush to make sure the tiger had gone, then he trotted towards the Forkers meekly.

“This is how you treat your loyal pet? Humans are all the same, if they found someone better, they forget their old friends,” he said with a whine.

“Hey! Kingdum! You’re always our darling! We were just teasing you,” Maya said, kneeling down and hugged the dog.

The others too fussed with him, patted and cuddled him. Soon the dog felt much better.

“Gosh! We forgot to give breakfast to Kingdum! Sorry boy, here’s your share,” Marx said, taking out a packet of dog biscuits from his back pack and gave it to the dog.

“More than your hugs and kisses, this is what cheers me up!” Kingdum said, grabbing the packet with his teeth and wagged his tail happily.

The children sat on the clearing in a circle to while away the time until the Egghead Robots arrived. Karma was fiddling idly with a twig. Teresa goggled at a sambar deer that stood behind a small rock. It stared at the children suspiciously. Maya was playing chess with the computer on the touch screen of her wrist watch. The weather was cool; blackish blue clouds screened the sun from view, threatening to give a sumptuous treat of summer rainfall any moment. Marx felt his stomach ache with hunger. He checked the time, it was 1 P.M.

“Look at the time! It’s been nearly five hours since we came here, and Dhamo asked me to update him every three hours about our current situation! How could I possibly had forgotten that,” Marx said, smacking his head hard.

“Relax Fuhrer, nothing had happened till now. Why bother him unnecessarily? I think Xobo had changed his plan about attacking this forest…”

“Look!” Lenin shouted. He jumped to his feet and pointed at the sky.

The others looked up and peered the horizon. A group of things were flying towards them in a solid formation. Even at a distance, there was no mistaking those white things with egg shaped heads and eight jointed metal legs. The violet colored thing leading them had the three dimensional shape of Multiplication symbol.

“Forkers! Quick! Take cover among the bushes!”

“Hey! Where’s Kingdum?”

“He’s already cowering behind the bush!”

The Forkers squatted behind a clump of rhododendron shrubs, which yelled and squealed at them for disturbing their sleep. Kingdum appeared behind the Forkers and inserted his nose in between the shoulders of Marx and Karma.

By this time the Egghead Robots, along with Lord Mutt, started to descend and landed on the clearing in a battle formation. There were a total of 30 Egghead Robots. The horse sized Robots had egg shaped metal heads; a human like metal torso attached with two human like metal arms; they held a hexagonal shield in one hand and stone hammer on the other. Below the torso, they had four pairs of jointed metal legs akin to a spider. Long black cloths, printed with the picture of a Vulture spreading its wings wide, were attached behind each Robot’s shoulders. The cloths fluttered in the gentle breeze.

On their egg shaped, bald metal heads, they had a pair of glowing, bulbous white eyes with thick grey circles. Below their white bulb eyes, they had a tiny slit for mouth, attached with two grey metal fangs.

“What are those things?” Kingdum whispered fearfully.

“Those are the Egghead Robots. We’re going to fight them,” Marx said shortly, and removed his heavy back pack.

“All of you, remove your bags and keep it down. We can’t fight carrying them on our shoulders. Kingdum, your job is to protect these bags.”

“Righto, Marx. I’ll remain here and guard these bags with my life!”

“It would be much better if you guarded our lives out there,” remarked Karma, pointing at the clearing where the Egghead Robots stood.

Kingdum feigned deaf, drooping his ears.

“These are the same Robots that carried out destruction in the Gir Forest,” Marx whispered.

“They can’t be.. Those were black color in that YouTube video, these are white,” said Maya.

“Think what you saw in Lord Infiniti’s memories. The Egghead Robots appear white in the day and change to black at night,” hissed Karma.

“Forkers, I’m calling you through phone; come online in my teleconference,” muttered Marx.

The others attended his call and joined him.

“Now, who remembers Lord Infiniti’s memory about disabling the Egghead Robots?” Marx asked through his earpiece.

“Water disables them,” replied Karma.

“No, water disables only their red and gold radiation sparks,” said Lenin.

“Exactly. When they begin to create radiation sparks by striking their stone hammers on their iron shields, we must attack them simultaneously with huge water balls and fire balls….”

“They don’t have stone hammers! Check Lord Infiniti’s memories, they are made up of a new alloy of lead and uranium called Hoplightium….”

“I know that Karma, but we’ll refer them as stone hammers, its sounds complicated to call them Hoplightium hammers…”

“Look, Lord Mutt is dividing them into 5 teams..”

“Yeah.. 6 Robots in each team.”

“Listen carefully. The first three teams in the front should be destroyed by Teresa and Maya. Lenin should take care of the last two teams. Forkers, attack them first with water balls and make them wet, so their radiation sparks won’t work. Then attack them with huge fire balls; they will be melted, even if they won’t burn,” Marx instructed them, then added, “PLEASE, DON’T GO NEAR THEM, AIM AND ATTACK THEM AT A SAFE DISTANCE.”

“Okay, but you and Karma are going to do what?” Teresa asked in a quizzical voice.

Marx laughed into his earpiece. “How could you take out the soldiers easily while their commander is present amongst them? You think Lord Mutt would sit back and let us destroy his Egghead Robots? He has Purple Eyes with the same powers as our Purple Forks. Someone has to keep him occupied and distract him, until you lot finish the Egghead Robots. Both me and Karma are going to take on Lord Mutt. On the count of three, soar high up in the air and attack your targets.”

“One, two…”

But before Marx counted three, the five of them were pulled roughly up into the air and were dangling like puppets before Lord Mutt. Then, in the wink of a second, their forks flew away from their hands into a small black box that hovered next to Lord Mutt. Lord Mutt closed the box with a snap using its levitation power, then laughed a high and cruel, metallic laugh. Its five Purple Eyes rolled from left to right, looking hungrily at the Forkers.

“Well, well, well. What do we have here? The alien monsters from the red planet Mars, disguised as children with a beast’s head. What do you call yourself? Ah, yes. The Pancha Forkers. How do you ever dreamt of beating our great Father, Lord Xobo? He warned me rightfully about your evil plans to stop us. When I landed in this region, I first scanned the surrounding area for beasts having a human body, and I found you five crouching behind a bush.

You know what that black box is? Its called a Disarming Box. Our Father created this box as soon as he came to know that the traitor Infiniti had presented his Purple Eyes, after changing them into Purple Forks, to a few children under the care of that old goon, the sinister looking Monk Bodhitaran. We knew you could summon your forks back to you through your mind. That won’t work anymore, if they are locked away safely inside this Disarming Box,” it said with another scratchy laugh.

The Forkers, who were hovering upside down at ten feet from the ground before Lord Mutt, looked at each other gloomily.

“Forkers, concentrate hard and try to summon your forks,” Marx said into his Earpiece.

The Forkers tried desperately, but their forks didn’t came back flying to them. Lord Mutt stopped levitating the five and they fell down to the ground with a thud.

“Now, I’m going to throw this box into the jungle, beyond your reach. You can’t find them again,” it said, and threw the Disarming Box very high up into the air. The box flew far away from them and disappeared into the greenery of the dense forest.

“You fools! Watch my Eggheads burn down this forest into ashes. Then, I will kill you lot, capture your souls and later would inject them into the cloned, reanimated bodies of Brutons and Kreaks – the living corpses of Fathers and Sons,” it said with a metallic chuckle.

“Tomorrow, Lord Plus is leaving for Mumbai with the Kreaks. He’ll execute a bloodbath there, and would add more souls into the stockpile of souls kept imprisoned inside the Evil Web. Eggheads! Begin your work!” Lord Mutt ordered.

The Pancha Forkers slowly stood up on their feet and looked at the Egghead Robots helplessly. Few of them scuttled with their eight metal legs away from the clearing and stood near the dense trees. They lifted their stone hammers to strike on the hexagonal shields. At that time, the overcast sky burst into a heavy downpour. The Eggheads were thoroughly soaked; when their hammers struck the shields, no red and gold spark emitted; only a dull metallic sound came out.

The Pancha Forkers gazed at the sky gratefully. Lord Mutt looked furious. He dived into the internet and checked the weather forecast for the region of Mudhumalai forest. ‘Heavy rain for the next 48 hours,’ the forecast said.

‘Damn, now the mission has become useless,’ it thought, hovering in mid air. The Egghead Robots hit their hammers on the shields again and again, bewildered on seeing no sparks coming from them.

The forkless Pancha Forkers standing on the ground, laughed at Lord Mutt heartily.

“The Circle of Energy is on our side, you great dork! See, it has sent the elements of nature to our help!” yelled Marx, amidst heavy roars of thunder and lightning.

Mr. Cannibal and Mowli, who were sitting on a huge oak tree hiding among its branches, watched these events with their mouths agape. Someone else was perched on the branch above them. It was Bahu, the black pigeon. It carefully noted all that happened and took off to inform its King – Lincoln the white tiger.

Then all of a sudden, within a minute, the rain stopped and the blackish blue clouds dissolved without a trace. It was one of those rare, very short spells of summer rainfall.

Now it was Lord Mutt’s turn to laugh. It closed its Purple Eyes and laughed unhindered for five whole minutes. In that brief period of time, Marx muttered into his ear piece, “Quick, Lenin, run away and find that Disarming Box; you know how to find it.”

“Right Marx…” said little Lenin. He sneaked out from Lord Mutt’s view and ran into the forest.

“How do you suppose he could find it..” began Maya, but Marx cut her off with a “Shhh…”

Finally, Lord Mutt stopped its laughter, opened its Purple Eyes and looked at the forkless Pancha Forkers with triumph.

“My dear thugs! You mistook silly coincidences as help from the evil Circle of Energy! Nothing could work against our great Father Lord Xobo – the supreme ruler of the Universe, forever and ever!” it shrieked foolishly.

Then it levitated the four Forkers and dangled them upside down in the air.

“Let go! You great brute!” shouted Karma.

“You weak, little, alien thugs! How could you have the nerve to confront us, using our own patented forks, wearing our patented shoes and socks?” Lord Mutt asked coldly.

“We bought it, ugly git! We bought our shoes and socks with our own money!” Karma said indignantly.

“Ah, that won’t stand for long. You paid to use them only for a short period of time. You know, the United Family holds a patent for shoes and socks. To use them permanently, you must bow to our great psycho Father Lord Xobo; bow to Lord Plus; bow to all of the United Family; bow to Brutons; bow to Kreaks..”

“What if we didn’t bow?”

Lord Mutt gave a wicked chortle. “Then, we won’t accept you as humans. If you don’t bow to us, we would always portray you as Alien Monsters, Human Apes, Elfs, Kobolds and Ugly Robots.”

“Portray to whom?”

“To the Brutons and Kreaks, of course. If you don’t bow to us, you don’t have the right to use our patented forks, shoes and socks, even if you pay for them. Join us in destroying Mother Nature. Join us to reestablish Lord Xobo’s alien ancestors system of Fathers and Sons, join us to destroy womenkind and create a New World filled with putrefied, reanimated corpses of Fathers and Sons – the Brutons and Kreaks.

Else, you must quit wearing shirts, T-shirts and pants, and wear only leaf skirts on your bodies like true savages. How dare you use the forks to kill us? Forks are used to eat raw meat, like civilized people do, not to kill holy monsters like us…”

A huge fireball came flying from somewhere and hit the Purple Eyes of Lord Mutt.

“Aaarrrggghhhhhh……….!” Lord Mutt screamed and dropped the four Forkers.

But they didn’t fell down, but hovered two feet from the ground. They looked around and saw Lenin with his tiger helmet on, soaring towards them.

“Caught you in time!” the little boy said.

“What took you so long?” asked Marx. “Have you destroyed that Disarming box?”

“Yes. I burned it,” said Lenin, handing back their Purple Forks.

“Hey, Hang on! How do you manage to locate that Disarming Box?” Karma asked disbelievingly.

“Simple. I asked my iron glove to show the way to reach the Disarming box. I had to navigate through the jungle and treaded on many plants on the ground; they made a huge ruckus..”

“Watch out! Lord Mutt is coming!” said Teresa. The Forkers rose high up the air.

“So, you managed to retrieve your Purple Forks… Well, I prefer you to die in this way, with weapons in your hands… It will be a fair fight…” said Lord Mutt, and sent five fire balls at them.

The Forkers neutralized it with five water balls. But immediately, Lord Mutt created another set of five fire balls and hurled at them. Again, the Forkers created five water balls and doused the fire balls.

Without a slight interval of time, Lord Mutt aimed and sent fire balls continuously at them. Not even a single Forker got a chance to take on the Egghead Robots, because all of them were busy defending their lives from Lord Mutt’s fire balls. The air was thick with the smoke emanating from the clashing of fire and water.

“Look, the Egghead Robots are taking position to project radiation sparks! Somebody send water balls at them!” Marx shouted into his earpiece.

“We can’t! Lord Mutt isn’t giving a break with his fireball throwing! If we shift our aim at the Eggheads, we’ll be burned! I think he is keeping all of us engaged with him on purpose!” yelled Maya.

The Egghead Robots raised their stone hammers to strike on their shields. Suddenly, the sky darkened. The Forkers thought the rain was coming again, but it was something else. An enormous flock of avian birds, huge enough to blot out the sun, came flying and descended from the sky into the clearing.

Swallows, sparrows, parrots, pigeons, almost all the local species of birds, thousands of them, swooped down at the Eggheads and started to puncture their glowing, bright white bulbous eyes.

The Egghead Robots, after losing their electronic vision couldn’t choose targets or directions to move. They began to scuttle hither and thither in their eight legs, and struck their hammers on the shields wildly. Scarlet and gold radiation sparks emitted, charring many birds and a few of the nearest trees.

“Look! they had begun to produce sparks…” Karma said with despair.

Lord Mutt, unfazed by the attack of the birds, sent fire balls at the Forkers tirelessly and kept them occupied, thus preventing them to take on the Eggheads.

Suddenly, the ground shook heavily.

“Earthquake!” Marx shouted.

“No! It’s Lincoln the tiger!” Lenin shouted back.

The Forkers, keeping an eye on Lord Mutt’s fire balls, looked sideways at the edge of the forest.

Lincoln the white tiger had emerged from the woods and was sprinting into the clearing.

“In the name of Mother Nature! My dear protectors of the jungle! Attaaack!” the tiger roared.

At once, 50 huge elephants came thundering from eight directions into the clearing. By this time, the blinded Eggheads were sending radiation sparks randomly around them.

“No! They’ll be burned! Ask them to go back!” Marx yelled desperately. He knew his voice won’t reach the tiger.

About 30 elephants surrounded the 30 Egghead Robots in a circle, then started to spray the water stored inside their trunks on the Eggheads. At once, the red and gold sparks stopped to emit from the friction of shields and hammers. Only dull metallic clangs came out.

Now, the remaining 20 elephants entered into the fray. They lifted the horse sized Egghead Robots with their trunks and tossed them around. Many elephants trampled the scurrying, eight legged metal things to pieces under their legs. They crushed their egg shaped heads to a metallic pulp. Every single Egghead Robot was destroyed.

Lord Mutt looked irately at the destruction of his soldiers, all the while sending fire balls non stop at the Forkers.

“You reckon you’ll win? Think again, scumbags! I’ve sent message to our Base in Arctic Circle requesting backup! Lord Dotty is coming! You all dead!” Lord Mutt cackled madly, and sent a particularly large sized fire ball.

Marx put it out easily with a giant water ball. “No matter how many clowns like you come, we’ll fight till our last breath,” he shouted.

Lord Mutt increased the ferocity of its attack and moved forward steadily. It made the Forkers move backwards in midair, and they hovered near the edge of the forest, dousing the fire balls of Lord Mutt repeatedly.

They were now engaged in a mortal combat beside the huge oak tree, in which Mr. Cannibal and Mowli were hiding, waiting to ambush Lord Mutt.

“Lord Mutt! What’s happening?”

Lord Dotty had arrived and descended from the air, near to Lord Mutt. The Forkers eyed the Division symbol shaped, toxic green colored Robot with distaste.

At that time Mr. Cannibal, who was crouching low on a branch, aimed the lemon garland at Lord Mutt, and threw it over him. But due to his poor aim, it landed and hung on the rectangular shaped, horizontal steel bar of Lord Dotty.

At once, Lord Dotty fainted; his Robot body collapsed to the ground. It lay there, immobile, its Purple Eyes staring vacantly at the sky. The two steel balls which completed its division symbol form rolled on the ground and disappeared into the bushes.

Lord Mutt eyed the crumpled form of Lord Dotty with panic. “Lord Dotty! Wake up! What happened to you!” it cried fearfully.

The Forkers, using this momentary distraction of Lord Mutt, began to attack it simultaneously with fire balls. Lord Mutt was scared stiff. The Robot lost its courage to fight, and was overwhelmed with fright and the feeling of self preservation. It zoomed back out of the clearing and disappeared into the sky, without turning back once.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cannibal jumped from the tree to the ground and ran to the unconscious form of Lord Dotty. He took out his kukri dagger and gouged out the five Purple Eyes of the Robot.

Lincoln the white tiger sprang before him with a growl. Mr. Cannibal gave a cry of fear and dropped the Purple Eyes. He sprinted back into the forest, closely followed by his nephew, Mowli Sharp Munky.

Marx landed on the ground and picked up the Purple Eyes. He gave one each to the Forkers; at once they stabbed them with their forks. The Purple Eyes got blasted into a puff of white smoke, vanishing from view.

“That’s it! We had destroyed a Robot of the United Family, along with its Purple Eyes!” Karma said gaily.

“Your Majesty, that was a great and timely help of yours. You had saved our lives,” Marx said gratefully to Lincoln the tiger.

“Oh, its nothing. It’s my duty,” said the tiger modestly, waving his paws.

“Your Majesty, how do you know water disables the radiation sparks of the Egghead Robots?” Maya asked curiously.

“Bahu, the black pigeon was listening to your conversation with that metal thing. It repeated the information to me, and I acted accordingly!”

“Where’s Kingdum! Gosh, we had forgotten him! Is he hurt!?” screamed Teresa.

“Your rabid dog is fine. He is protecting your bags loyally,” said the tiger, and lead them behind a thick growth of shrubs.

Kingdum was hiding underneath their bags. Only his trembling tail was visible outside. The Forkers took their back packs and saw the dog lying down with his paws covering his eyes.

“Get up, Kingdum boy, the war’s over,” said Lenin, sniggering.

“Yeah, we’re flying back to home,” added Karma cheerily.

“Oh, no! Not another nightmare!” moaned Kingdum.

The Forkers laughed, along with Lincoln the white tiger, who gave a huge roar. It was drowned by the loud and victorious trumpeting of wild elephants. It echoed majestically throughout the jungle in all directions.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Lord Xobo Retreats

[[++
++]]

Mumbai City, Maharashtra –

[[++
++]]Police Inspector Shiv stared at the haggard face of the Assistant Commissioner of Police with irritation. It’s the third time in this month he has been assigned an escort duty.

“Sir, its okay for my brother, but could you kindly reconsider your decision for me? I have single handedly solved the complicated murder case in Bandra….”

“No, Shiv, this matter is out of my hands. The Commissioner has specially asked me to put you in charge of the guards escorting the Women and Child Welfare Minister today afternoon.”

“Why?”

“He feels you are the most competent officer for the task..”

“But Sir, I need to shadow No. 420, regarding the jewelry shop robbery case…”

“I’ll ask officer Rocky to do that..”

“That guy’s a dud..”

“Sorry, Shiv. I know you love solving cases zealously, unlike the other officers who are keen only on closing cases, but I have no other choice. Now kindly cooperate without grumbling..”

Not giving a chance for Shiv to argue, the Assistant Commissioner departed abruptly. Shiv half wished to take a sick leave, but dropped the idea at once. It’s unusual for the A.C.P. to come to his home early morning and request his services personally.

Shiv sighed heavily and went to take his shower. He came after 15 minutes, then changed hurriedly into his Police uniform – khaki shirt and pants. He looked briefly at his reflection in the mirror. His medium sized black hair was untidy and stuck out at an odd angle. He put his dark blue Police cap on his head and flexed his bulging biceps. Being a cop is a tough job, you need to maintain excellent fitness to cope with goons.

Shiv then went to his brother’s bedroom and drummed the door impatiently.

“Get up, get up, or you’ll be late, you’re in my team today!”

“Get lost,” replied a groggy voice.

“Come out! Or you’ll miss a delicious breakfast! I made it for you!”

There came the sound of shuffling feet and the door opened with a bang.

“You made breakfast today?!” his younger brother Rishabha asked in a surprised voice.

Shiv looked at Rishabha coldly, who stood there bare chested in blue shorts. In many ways, Rishabha looked exactly like him – well built body with six pack abs, bulging biceps, medium sized black hair, onyx eyes. The visible differences were – Shiv had a round shaped face, cute owlish eyes, crooked nose, full lips, and a neatly trimmed mustache; his brother had an oval shaped, clean shaven face with chubby cheeks, straight nose and full lips. Rishabha was six feet tall and chestnut complexioned, while bronze skinned Shiv had an average height.

Rishabha worked in Shiv’s own department, but in a much cool and exciting job. Rishabha was a first class Commando Sniper. Due to their posting, they stayed away from their parents who lived in Hyderabad. Both men were in their early twenties and were bachelors. Shiv was a loner, more like an ascetic, but his brother was a party animal, a hedonist.

“No, I didn’t made any breakfast. I lied to wake you up. Now get ready in half an hour. Today we’re going to escort Women and Child Welfare Minister Miss. Twinkle Star to a meeting about Women Empowerment…”

“Hey! Hang on! I have other assignments today..”

“Everything has been put on hold. The A.C.P. came here early morning..”

“What?!”

"Yes. He came to inform that he had shifted both of us to the Minister's personal security team. The Minister got a death threat from a volatile terrorist group lately. So the Police Commissioner thinks she would be under constant danger, and decided to provide only his best men as her guards. Recently, the Minister had discarded Z+ security. So the entire burden now falls on our shoulders..." "Why does she refuse Z+ security?"

“To cut down unnecessary expenditure for the government,” Shiv said with a sneer. Then he added furiously, “It would be a lot better if the people running the government cut down funding money for useless, populist schemes created for the sole purpose of swindling people’s money. Secondly, they must stop ridiculous tax exemptions for the huge corporates.

Thirdly, they must concentrate on building high quality urban and social infrastructure… But that too will work only if they give out contracts in a transparent way, otherwise it is also a ploy to rob the taxes of the innocent, hard working and…”

“…. cowardly middle class who doesn’t care or have the grit to fight against corruption. Shiv please, our country is a democracy! The quality of government reflects the quality of the majority of people in India.. The real change must begin from the people…” Rishabha said solemnly.

“Oh yeah?” Shiv said angrily. “What choice people have, I ask? All the political parties are corrupt; Not a single party in India is transparent. They never show proper records about their party’s funds. The corporates want to loot the land and other mineral resources of the country; hence they bribe the parties with fat sums of money to run their own oligarchy and practice crony capitalism..

Nor do the political parties have a credible internal democracy.. All they practice is hereditary politics and fiefdom.. The common man is left with no alternative. He had to choose the least rotten tomato among the putrefying pile!”

“That’s why I say, if democracy meant the choice of billions of idiots, then an honest, intelligent, kind dictator is far better than them..” Rishabha said triumphantly.

“Really?” Shiv frowned at his brother. “There’s only one flaw in your statement.. Dictators may be intelligent and honest, but never could be kind.. In fact they would be cruel and heartless. We’ll be meeting the Minister in a few hours. Why don’t you suggest your over brilliant idea supporting dictatorship straight before her face?”

“Yeah, and I’ll lose my job, and will be branded as a Maoist, like they brand tribals.. that’s what you want isn’t it. This State is a failure.. The judicial system is a failure.. justice delayed is justice denied.. It’s useless.. Education and hospital services had turned entirely into unethical, plundering businesses. The stupid government never would control the ever increasing population; they view people only as vote banks.. Look at the disastrous future! Machines are replacing humans everywhere! What jobs these people would do for a decent living, I ask?

I told you already, next year I’m going to immigrate into Singapore.. Please come with me. Many had said this before, but I’m repeating it – The rich is getting richer, the poor is getting poorer.. Even within this city, you could witness both heaven and hell – indecent luxury and extreme poverty. You mark my words, this country is going to implode.”

“I’m not a pessimistic coward like you to run away… India might fail on the governance side, but the Society is strong like steel. Our great culture is still vibrant.. This is a very, very ancient country where the roots of civilization goes back to thousands of years. Whether they are rich or poor, a considerable number of Indians still value kindness, tolerance and moral values more than their lives. I’m one of them.. youngsters like me would bear this nation on our shoulders,” Shiv said proudly, throwing his chest out.

“Well, good luck, bro,” Rishabha sneered. “Now, what about my breakfast?”

“As usual, at the Police station canteen.”

Rishabha banged the door at Shiv’s face.

“Come soon, I’m waiting!” Shiv yelled at the closed door.

“I’ll be back!” came the muffled voice of Rishabha from inside.

Shiv wandered into the living room. He went to the coffee maker and poured himself some hot coffee, then busied himself with the day’s newspapers.

After about 15 minutes, Rishabha came back, wearing his full black Sniper suit. He had zipped his black Sniper Jacket up to his chest, exposing the white round neck T-shirt he was wearing underneath. His tousled bangs hung low over his forehead and he wore plum colored, round shades.

There came the honking horn sound of a Police jeep outside.

“Let’s go,” said Shiv gravely, and his brother followed him.

[[++
Blue Crystal Tower, Andheri East, Mumbai –]]

Miss. Twinkle Star placed her hands carefully on the sill of the glass window and looked down. The wide tar road on the ground below looked like a tiny grey line filled with speeding cars, which appeared like miniscule toys.

She was standing in the top most, forty first floor of the posh Blue Crystal Tower. Miss Twinkle Star was excited. She was going to deliver a speech in a Women Empowerment Meeting for the first time, among a group of 500 young students of a renowned Women’s college in the city. But she doesn’t know, at that moment, she was being watched closely by a few men stationed around the building.

Police Inspector Shiv had placed four Snipers in tactical positions on the skyscrapers around Blue Crystal. Rishabha was one among them. He lay flat on his stomach in the terrace of the building straight opposite to Blue Crystal. Rishabha adjusted the lens of his Sniper rifle and focused on the curvaceous figure of Miss. Twinkle Star, who stood near the window. He zoomed his lens to her gorgeous face, and lost himself momentarily in the exceptional beauty of her fish shaped, onyx eyes. Miss. Twinkle Star was the youngest Cabinet Minister of the country. Her prettiness, unmarried status, and her immense talent in politics had spiced up her charisma to a very high level.

“Sniper 3, is everything ok?” the voice of Shiv came out from the walkie-talkie in Rishabha’s pocket.

“Roger Guardian. View’s beautiful…” blurted out Rishabha, without thinking.

“Beautiful? What are you talking about, Sniper 3?” Shiv asked, annoyed.

“Oh, sorry, Guardian.. I was a little distracted. Zone’s clear. Hey! Hold on! I see something,” said Rishabha, when he sensed a huge shadow like a cloud, descending upon Blue Crystal.

Rishabha raised his gun upwards and focused on the sky. He saw the silhouette of a plus symbol shaped, gold and scarlet colored, three dimensional metal object, about the size of a horse, hover near the terrace of Blue Crystal. When he zoomed further, he saw many bizarre looking creatures floating around the metal object. They landed one by one on the terrace.

To his intense shock, he saw five of the Commando Police men stationed on the terrace of Blue Crystal hurled from there to the ground. They fell to the floor like rag dolls.

Rishabha grabbed his Walkie-talkie and shouted – “Emergency Guardian! Send Strike Team to the terrace of Blue Crystal at once!”

“Roger that, Sniper 3. What do you see? Paratrooper Insurgents?” asked Shiv.

“No Guardian. But I’m sure they’re not humans, I’m going in there,” said Rishabha.

Not waiting for his superior’s order, he took out his grappler gun and shot a zip line straight to the 41st floor of Blue Crystal. Wearing his plum colored round shades, he started to slide towards the building.

Meanwhile, inside Blue Crystal Tower –

The lady Minister rested her head on the window frame, and gazed dreamily at the panoramic view of the prolific city. Her jet black hair waved in the gentle breeze.

“Excuse me, Madam. The other guests had arrived. Everyone is waiting for you,” her Personal Assistant said, appearing behind the Minister.

Miss. Twinkle Star jerked out of her reverie.

“Okay. You go, I’ll come to the stage in a minute,” the Minister said, and went to the rest room.

She washed her face in the basin; then corrected the position of the gold chain in her neck, after checking her reflection in the mirror. She was wearing a full sleeve white blouse and a black silk saree over that. She adjusted her saree near her waist. At that time, she saw something move behind her. She turned around to see what it was and got the shock of her life.

The thing that stood before her was the most ugliest and repulsive thing she had ever seen. It was five feet in height and had a muscular physique. Even though it was in the form of a human, it had scaly skin on its face and body, similar to an alligator, in a nauseous, pus color. Its torso was bare and it was wearing a ragged, black leather shorts in it’s waist. It had long and wavy black hair, like a lion’s mane. On its face, it had a thick, black mustache and a trimmed beard. One eye was in black and white, while the other was fully in black color. The thing grinned at her, showing out sharp and pointed black teeth; then it opened its arms wide, as if inviting her for a hug.

Miss Twinkle Star looked side ways at the open door and made a run for it. The thing roared and grabbed her hair roughly. Miss Twinkle Star gave a blood curdling scream, but the creature’s roars drowned her voice. She smashed the nose of the creature with her elbow and ran out of the rest room. The Minister stood panting in the corridor, overcome with fear.

Suddenly something fell inside, breaking through the window. Miss Twinkle Star jumped back and braced herself for an attack, but relaxed after seeing who it was. It was only a man; in fact she recognized the clean shaven guy; he was a Commando Police.

“Minister, are you all right? I’m Sniper 3, one of the Commandos in your guard circle,” Rishabha said shortly, approaching the woman and showed his I.D. card.

Miss Twinkle Star pointed a trembling hand to the rest room.

“A monster is in there!”

“What? In here?” asked Rishabha and moved towards the room.

He went inside cautiously and checked all around. Nothing was in there. Perplexed, he came out.

“Watch out! It’s behind you!” Rishabha yelled at Miss. Twinkle, who whirled around.

The alligator skin creature was right behind her, standing on its hands and legs like an animal and gave a huge roar. It’s mad eyes looked at Rishabha and Miss Twinkle, deciding its victim, then started to run on all fours towards Miss. Twinkle. The Minister shrieked and ran towards Rishabha, who took out his desert eagle gun and aimed at the creature. He shot through its chest and forehead. It collapsed on the floor.

Miss Twinkle grabbed the arm of Rishabha tightly.

“Come Minister, I’m gonna take you out to safety,” he said and moved forward, by passing the creature which lay motionless on the floor.

Suddenly, the creature opened its eyes. It crawled speedily on the surface like a lizard and caught the saree of Miss. Twinkle. She screamed again; Rishabha kicked and stamped on the creature’s head, which roared loudly and bit through her shoe heels. Rishabha finally silenced it with a shower of bullets throw its skull.

“Run along with me, Minister,” he said gruffly, and started to move fast towards the auditorium door.

They froze on hearing death cries and wailings from inside. The Minister looked at him with wide, panic stricken eyes.

“Oh no, oh no, there’s more of them, and they’re.. they’re attacking people inside…” she said in a quavering voice.

Rishabha beckoned her to follow him towards the lift. But it was not working and was jammed.

The auditorium door burst open and two girls rushed outside, screaming. Two of those creatures were clinging onto their waists and was biting through the girls neck. One of their heads was severed crudely with the teeth of the creature, and the head rolled onto the ground. The headless body ran forward for a few seconds, carrying the creature on its waist, then slumped lifeless on the floor, wetting the corridor with thick, crimson blood.

The other woman’s head also met the same fate. The two creatures crouched low and started licking the blood on the floor, quenching their blood thirst, then straightened up with content. The auditorium door opened again; thirty of those creatures jumped outside and stood cramped in the corridor. The group of creatures roared, glaring at Rishabha and the Minister murderously.

Miss Twinkle hid behind Rishabha, who took out two desert eagle guns from his back pocket and handed it to the petrified Minister. Then he took out another pair of desert eagle guns from his socks and aimed at the creatures.

In the parking lot of Blue Crystal Tower :

[[++
++]]Inspector Shiv stood near a black Jaguar car and looked up towards the towering form of Blue Crystal. Everything is going horribly wrong. The whole area surrounding the building was barricaded. People had been evacuated from the first fifteen floors, but above that, no one knows what is happening.

The lift was jammed, the C.C.T.Vs all went blank and the plus shaped thing hovering near the top of the building had blasted an attack helicopter to pieces with a giant fireball. Rockets launched at it from surrounding buildings got deflected from the thing mysteriously and hit nearby buildings.

He had now sent a Strike Team of fifty men through the stairs, and waited for further developments. Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice in his Walkie-talkie.

“Guardian! Guardian! This is Sniper 3. Send Strike Team to the top floors immediately!”

“Roger that Sniper 3. Strike Team has been dispatched already. What’s your current status?”

“The Minister is with me, Guardian. We shot 30 creatures and got away from them, but they rose again and chasing us. We’re now descending the stairs.”

“Roger that Sniper 3. What sort of creatures are they? Sniper 3, Sniper 3, do you hear?”

Shiv heard heavy gun fire and then the line went dead.

Shiv looked through his binoculars; he saw the plus shaped metal object move around the building, and hover near the 30th floor. Suddenly, glass windows of the 30th floor broke to pieces and twenty men came out flying, as though someone had flung them out forcefully.

Shiv watched the 20 men hit the floor hard helplessly. They were the men in the Strike Team he had sent right now. He ran towards them and kneeled nearby them to check their pulses. All of them were dead, their spines snapped with the shock of the fall.

The Plus Shaped metal thing now moved through the air to the other side of the building.

Shiv loaded his pump action shot gun. He decided to enter the building. He stopped short on seeing six figures soaring through the air and aimed his gun at them.

“Look! That Cop’s gonna shoot us!” yelled Lenin.

Marx sent a water ball straight at Shiv. It hit him with the force of a small missile and threw him backwards. The Police man lay on the floor, drenched with water.

The Pancha Forkers slowed down and landed on the parking lot, along with Kingdum, their dog.

“Gosh! We’re late, look, Lord Plus had thrown men up from the building and killed many of them!” Maya said in a chocking voice, pointing to the dead men of the Strike Team.

“Oh no! I hate to look what the Kreaks would’ve done inside the building,” said Teresa with a shudder. “If only we had come early, we could’ve avoided casualties.”

“How do we know Lord Plus would choose this building to attack? We arrived in Juhu beach before dawn, trying hard not to be spotted by people, and we waited for ages until we got a breaking news about an attack somewhere; this place was under attack for the past 10 minutes and the stupid news channels telecasted it only now! And hundreds of people have spotted us flying throughout the city! Some nosey parkers even snapped pictures of us!” Marx shouted angrily.

“Relax, Fuhrer, its not our fault. We are wearing our helmets, aren’t we, so nobody’s gonna identify us. Now we are here, let’s do our job,” said Karma, squaring his shoulders.

“Well, you hardly seem to need me. Hand over your backpacks to me as usual, I’ll guard them with my life,” said Kingdum, and took refuge under a white Scorpio car.

The Forkers removed their backpacks and shoved them under the car.

“Hold right there! Raise your hands, or I’ll shoot!” screamed Shiv.

“Uh-oh.”

“What’s that you kept under the car? Explosives? Remove your stupid helmets, which terrorist group do you belong?” Shiv asked them in a ringing voice.

“Typical Indian Police..” sighed Karma.

“We belong to no terrorist group, we’re children..” said Marx, raising his hands up.

“Yeah, the main terrorist is up there. You must’ve seen him; gold and scarlet colored, plus symbol shaped, stupid, psychotic metal robot with five purple eyes. He’s Lord Plus….” said Karma.

“And he’s set his Kreaks on a killing spree inside the building! We must stop them Mr. Police man! Now get off our way!” yelled Marx.

“One step you take forward, I’ll blow off your head!”

“Look! There’s Lord Plus! He’s capturing souls with Evil Web!” Lenin said loudly.

Shiv looked up distractedly.

Suddenly, the glass windows of the 38th floor broke with a tinkling noise and 30 men were tossed out into the air.

FORKERS! CATCH THOSE MEN!” Marx bellowed.

The Forkers concentrated with all their might and pointed their forks towards the falling men. The men stopped short from hitting the ground and hovered 3 feet from the floor. Shiv watched this with mouth agape.

The Forkers slowly placed the 30 men on the ground. They leapt to their feet at once and looked dazedly at Shiv and the Forkers.

“I hope now you trust us, Mr. Police man! We had just saved 30 of your men!” Marx shouted. “I could easily wrench that gun from your hand using my fork, but I don’t want you to be without weapons, not with Kreaks around you..”

“How did you do that?! It looked like magic…”

“You’re not the first one to say that…”

“And not the last one….”

“Forkers! Let’s fly inside.. Leave Lord Plus.. First we must burn the Kreaks…” Marx said resolutely.

At that time, Rishabha came running out of the portico, carrying a bleeding Miss. Twinkle in his arms.

Shiv and the men of the Strike Team saved by the Forkers ran towards them.

“Rishabha! Is the Minister all right?!”

“Yes, she’s alive… Got bitten by one of those creatures in her leg. It sliced and chomped through her flesh like it was a piece of pork.. Here, take her to the paramedics…” Rishabha said, handing the Minister to one of the Strike Team men, who cradled her carefully in his arms.

“Thanks,” mumbled Miss. Twinkle, smiling weakly at Rishabha, who nodded at her gravely.

“Its my duty, Minister,” he said, adjusting his plum colored, round shades.

The Strike Team man started to run, carrying her to the group of Paramedical Ambulances parked at a hundred feet distance.

“You all right?” Shiv turned to his brother with concern.

“I’m fine. Tried to kill them with bullets but it didn’t work; they rose again and again…”

“Only fire would destroy them…” said Lenin.

Rishabha eyed the Iron Tiger helmet wearing children curiously, then continued, “The real gore lies inside the auditorium. About 500 women were slaughtered, all young college girls. The creatures killed them by decapitating them crudely; bit through their necks. Never had seen such a scene in my life. The whole place appeared to be swimming with blood…. Severed heads all over…”

“Oh, no!” Maya moaned with horror.

She grabbed the arms of Teresa for support. Both the girls cried silently inside their helmets. Lenin burst into sobs. The little boy could imagine the magnitude of the massacre; how much pain it would inflict on numerous families.

Marx and Karma looked at each other’s eyes, deeply troubled. They are bequeathed with super powers only for the sole purpose of preventing the maniacal actions of Xobo, and here they are, standing useless, letting everything happen.

Karma clenched his fists tightly. Anger was throbbing through his veins. Marx longed to vanish from the spot. He was the leader of the Pancha Forkers, how was he going to explain to Dhamo?

Suddenly, a swarm of Kreaks came rushing out of the portico in battle formations, with their standard war cries -

“Hooooo! Hoooooo! Hoooooo!”

“Pancha Forkers! Change of plan! Lenin and Maya will fight Lord Plus, the rest of us fight the Kreaks..”

“Why?”

“Look, if Lord Plus had any courage, he would’ve come before us like an enraged beast; instead he’s still hiding behind Blue Crystal.. It confirms he’s a chicken, a chicken is easy to beat..”

“Ok, we’re off,” said Maya and soared along with Lenin into the air.

“What did you call those things?” asked a man from the Strike Team.

“They’re the Kreaks. Ok.. Stand back everybody.. We’re going to roast them…”

The three Forkers – Marx, Teresa and Karma stood in a line, twenty feet high in the air, and sent fireballs at the incoming horde of Kreaks. Many of them ducked to dodge the fireballs. They shrunk back, snarling furiously, showing their sharp and pointed black teeth. The Forkers chose targets and started to burn the Kreaks. It was no big deal because they were highly inflammable.

Still, many Kreaks managed to escape the fireballs, since they were large in number. Marx estimated that there must be 100 Kreaks.

Shiv and Rishabha shot the Kreaks with their guns; the former with a pump action shot gun and the latter with double desert eagle guns. Their shootings had no effect whatsoever on the Kreaks. They stumbled when the bullets hit them, then rose from the ground and advanced steadily, roaring.

A seven feet tall Kreak with a muscular body, fox like face, began to run on all fours and sprang at Rishabha, pinning him to the ground. Rishabha punched the thing repeatedly on its face, but the Kreak remained unhurt; it bent down to chop his neck with its teeth. All those slaughtering of women hadn’t satisfied the Kreak’s appetite.

Marx saw the trapped position of Rishabha and hovered low above him, thinking of a way to help him. A Kreak stood on a car and jumped from there onto the back of Marx. Both of them crashed to the ground; the pewter colored, Iron Tiger Helmet of Marx rolled on the floor. Its open metal jaws looked menacing. Marx quickly leapt to his feet and burned the Kreak that attacked him with a fire ball.

Meanwhile, Rishabha fought desperately to push off the Kreak sitting on him. His hands found the Iron Tiger Head with open jaws. He grasped it tightly and whacked the Kreak’s head with it repeatedly.

The Kreak, dazed momentarily by the blows, fell sideways, giving out a low growl. By this time, Rishabha had regained his strength and stood up to his feet.

The Kreak also leapt to its feet like an animal. Rishabha felt no fear at all. He thought of the girls mutilated by these creatures, and he felt a surging sense of hatred and loathing. He lunged forward, the helmet held tightly in his hand, his eyes blazing with fury.

The Kreak also jumped forward with a snarl, its fierce eyes glaring insanely. Rishabha aimed for the Kreak’s head, and gave a huge smack with the helmet on its face. The Kreak staggered backward, and stood in between two cars with locked doors. Rishabha crouched low and charged at the Kreak like a bull; the Kreak had no place to dodge away from the attack; so it pulled apart a car’s door and held it before like a shield; Rishabha straightened out of his crouch halfway and kicked hard at the door; the Kreak fell backwards, the door fell out of its hands; the Kreak leapt back to its feet and spat on the ground. Rishabha charged towards the Kreak at lightning speed again like a bull and hit its chest with his head; blood spurted out of the Kreak’s mouth and it rolled on the ground pathetically.

Rishabha saw fire erupting everywhere; the Forkers were stamping out the other Kreaks with fireballs.

The Kreak fighting with him tottered to its feet and lunged again ferociously, baring its sharp and pointed black teeth. Rishabha smacked on its head and face again and again savagely with the iron tiger head; now blood spurted out from the nose of the Kreak; it fell face down on the floor.

With a cry of fury, Rishabha leapt high into the air, baring his white teeth in a snarl; helmet raised in his hand, he landed it on the Kreak’s head. The iron tiger helmet smashed into the head of the Kreak; the open metal jaws of the tiger got stuck on top of the Kreak’s head. Blood oozed out from its forehead and it growled with pain.

Rishabha pulled the Kreak on the floor along with the helmet, the metal jaws still stuck on the top of its head. He dragged the thing for ten feet and left it before a black Jaguar car; an Indian Tricolor flag was on the car’s hood. He looked at the Kreak lying on the ground, and then at the Jaguar car. The door of the vehicle was slightly ajar.

Rishabha climbed into the Jaguar car; the key was still in the ignition. Obviously the owner of the car had deserted it and ran away in panic. Rishabha started the car and smiled. The Kreak whom he assaulted just now was back on its feet and stood snarling before the car. Rishabha pressed the accelerator; the car projected forward with a spurt of speed. The car’s bumper hit hard on the Kreak’s stomach; the creature disappeared under the wheels; then Rishabha felt the car being jolted, as if the car went over a large stone. After going forward a few feet, he hit the brake. Then he leapt out of the car and looked behind. The Kreak was destroyed, its head crushed to a pulp by the front wheels.

“Here kiddo, thanks!” Rishabha threw the tiger helmet back to Marx, who was burning three Kreaks at a time. Shiv came running to Rishabha.

“Let’s go inside Blue Crystal tower to check if anyone’s alive or got stuck in there…”

“No, some of these things might be hiding in there…”

“I don’t think so, these kids seem to have finished them all,” Shiv said, glancing at Marx, Karma and Teresa. They were burning the last ten Kreaks, whose bodies fell to the floor and gave out smelly, toxic smoke.

“Wait, we would take these kids with us.. They seem to have… weird weapons,” Rishabha said uncertainly.

“What’s up, officers?” asked Marx, soaring towards them. Karma landed next to him.

“Hey, kid, could one of you accompany us inside Blue Crystal.. you know.. to check if anyone is alive or any of these things are still lurking in there,” Shiv asked awkwardly.

“Ok. We both shall come with you. Teresa, you remain here…” Marx said, and then shouted into his earpiece, “Maya! What’s the status, have you guys disabled Lord Plus yet?”

“No, he started to fly away when he saw us. We’re chasing him currently over the Arabian sea…”

“No! Leave him and return here at once! He might lead you into a trap.. RETURN HERE AT ONCE! IT’S MY ORDER!”

“Okay, okay, we’re turning back.”

Marx and Karma soared into the portico, leading the two Policemen. They hovered three feet from the ground, their forks stuck out before their chests, ready to attack, and navigated through the long, deserted corridors of the building, watching out for any human or inhuman beings. Rishabha and Shiv jogged behind them at a distance.

The group carefully avoided looking at the decollated bodies of women strewn here and there. They started to move up the stairs; Rishabha stopped, waiting for Shiv to catch up with him. He looked back but saw no sign of Shiv.

“Shiv! Shiv! Where are you?!” Rishabha yelled with panic.

The lone Bruton –

Shiv slowly opened his eyes and looked around. He was lying in a large kitchen. He remembered trailing Rishabha, and when he turned around a corner, something hit him hard on the back of his head; then he went unconscious.

Shiv peered in front of him. A black and white creature crouched in a corner, tearing and hacking a woman’s headless corpse with a butcher’s cleaver. Shiv took his dark blue Police cap lying next to him, and put it on his head. Then he cautiously stood on his feet, careful not to make noise; but to his bad luck, his head hit on a cupboard. Silverware tumbled down to the floor, making a loud clanging sound.

The black and white creature stopped its barbarism and straightened up. Shiv stumbled back with horror. This creature looked entirely different from the ones they had fought a few moments before.

It was bald and six feet in height. It’s sleek and shiny poisonous frog’s skin was mottled with black and white colors; its fox like face alone was fully black. It wore a tattered, black leather shorts; the upper body was bare. It’s eyes looked horrific. One was fully a pale brown color, and the other was fully a pale blue color, without any speck of white or black in them.

The thing drew back its thin lips in a snarl, baring its white teeth, and advanced towards Shiv with the butcher’s clever. It licked the spot of blood on the blade with relish. Shiv grabbed a poker from the side stand and braced himself for the attack. The creature rushed at him, swinging the cleaver wildly. Shiv dodged the blow cleverly and kicked the creature in its groin. Unfazed, the creature attacked again, but Shiv gave it a ferocious blow on its ears. Enraged, the creature lunged forward. Shiv assaulted the thing savagely with the poker on its black face. He pummeled and battered the creature, mustering all of his strength. But the thing stood erect, like a pillar, and bore the beatings with ease. Shiv, tired of whacking the thing, stopped to catch his breath.

At that time, the creature leapt on him and pinned him to the ground. It crouched low to bite his neck. Suddenly, the creature was lifted from his body and hovered in the air. It was thrown backwards, hitting the wall with a crunching noise and fell down. Marx was floating near the door, his Purple Fork raised before him.

“I see that you have met the one and only Bruton in this fray.”

“A what?” asked Shiv. He looked shaken, but leapt to his feet briskly like a tiger.

The Bruton tottered to its feet feebly and goggled at Marx. It raised the cleaver above its head and charged at him.

“A Bruton,” repeated Marx, and sent a huge fire ball at the Bruton, engulfing it with flames.

[[Uncle Jumbo’s house, Chennai –
++]]

The living room of Jumbo Raja was crowded with people. Monk Bodhitaran and Jing Jing were sitting on the white couch, along with Lenin and Karma. Perpendicular to them, Uncle Jumbo, Marx and Maya sat on the blue couch.

Teresa came out from the kitchen, bearing a tray laden with glasses of lemonade. She distributed it to the lot. Kingdum was snoozing under the white couch, feeling sleepy after his heavy lunch.

“When me and Maya cornered Lord Plus behind Blue Crystal, he cried, ‘Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me! Please, I’m a chicken, don’t hurt me!” Lenin was saying.

Maya continued, “And we approached him and said ‘what choice do we have?’ He suddenly turned tail and began to fly high up the sky, carrying the Evil Web device with him. The cunning vulture tried to shake us off midair, but soon we neared him, and then Marx was yelling through the earpiece ‘Come back at once! This is my order! Remember I’m your fuhrer!’ And we reluctantly gave up the chase,” she said with a smile.

“Well, nothing had happened after that for 25 days; I’m glad this May month ends with today. Tomorrow you kids could leave to your homes and go to school like normal children..” said Uncle Jumbo.

“I will miss being a Pancha Forker,” said Lenin sadly. “Can’t we keep our Purple Forks with ourselves, Dhamo?” he asked pleadingly.

“Definitely not! You might attract unwanted attention, and your Purple Fork is not a play thing. Already you lot had made the headlines – ‘Five mysterious, flying children, wearing tiger head metal helmets, saves the day in Mumbai.’ But you could have them back, in next year April month, when you come here for your summer holidays. You’ll need them to fight Xobo. I hope you would finally destroy him and his other sons. Then the world would be permanently freed of a great danger. Once you have grown into adults, the Purple Forks will be all yours, along with the Iron gloves and Tiger head helmets,” Monk Bodhitaran said kindly.

“I wonder, why Xobo didn’t attack after the battle in Mumbai,” said Jing Jing.

“Well, he got greatly scared after the Pancha Forkers destroyed Lord Dotty. So he retreated altogether, and went into hibernation state. He won’t attack again in any other part of the world, till the beginning of next year’s April and May months – it is the period of time when the Circle of Energy is weak.”

“So, we must wait for one year until our next adventure,” said Marx.

“I wish you would try the tiger helmet for once, Uncle. You would love talking with Kingdum,” said Teresa.

“Oh, I don’t need a translator to understand his every bark. I know their meanings,” Uncle Jumbo said with a wink. “Hey! Kingdum! Is chicken okay for your dinner?” he asked loudly.

“Woof, Woof!” came the reply from under the couch.

“There! He says he loves them, especially the bones,” explained Uncle Jumbo.

“Yeah, bag or bones, he’ll guard them with his life,” said Karma.

The children roared with laughter.

YOUR FEEDBACKS ARE WELCOME:

FACEBOOK :

Facebook.com/authorjpvishnu

TWITTER :

twitter.com/authorjpvishnu

GMAIL :

[email protected]


Pancha Forkers and the Egghead Robots

The mad ghost of a dead spider possessed the metal body of the most powerful Robo ever created in the Universe. The result? Xobo the evil Robo rises, building a Robo family and Demon army of its own; they run amok and cause world wide destruction. Militaries fail against them. So who's gonna stop them? Five children and their dog. What do you think their weapons were? Forks. Yes, the same forks you use to eat your noodles. But they're not ordinary forks, but forks loaded with spiffing super powers. Have fun reading the exciting adventures of Pancha Forkers clashing with Lord Xobo. LORD XOBO'S FAMILY : Lord Plus Lord Minus Lord Mutt Lord Dotty Lord Infiniti THE PANCHA FORKERS : Marx Pandyan Karma Veer Teresa Rani Maya Shree Lenin Saakiyan Kingdum the dog LORD XOBO'S DEMON ARMY : Brutons Kreaks Egghead Robots

  • ISBN: 9781311920263
  • Author: Jp Vishnu vardhan
  • Published: 2016-06-15 02:35:21
  • Words: 85209
Pancha Forkers and the Egghead Robots Pancha Forkers and the Egghead Robots