Marvelous Four - In and Out of Danger Zone!, p.1James Prakash J. C. / Actions & Adventure
Marvelous Four: In and Out of Danger Zone!
By James Prakash J.C.
(A thriller/adventure novel)
Cover art by: James Prakash J.C.
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Copyright 2017 James Prakash J.C.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form by any means, including digital electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written consent of the author, except for brief quotes for use in reviews and such.
This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously; and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, books, stories or locales is entirely coincidental.
In and Out of Danger Zone!
Harshit plans to run away
Did you hear that? That’s Harshit toiling away in the kitchen. It does make life miserable for Harshit. People should help their family, yes, but it isn’t right to let one person do the entire work and the others laze around and enjoy themselves.
That was the case with Harshit. He did all the work in the Kumar family. Years ago, he had been adopted by the Kumars from an orphanage as a baby, when the Kumar couple was childless. He was only one month old at the time of adoption. It was a very happy family then, and Mrs. Kumar used to love Harshit as her own son. But then, Harshit was only an infant then, and could hardly remember those times though he had a vague memory of them.
And then, six months later, a baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kumar. This incident didn’t shatter Mrs. Kumar’s love for Harshit. But one day, when a relative came to pay a visit, the relative remarked upon Harshit, saying that she was shocked when she heard that Mr. and Mrs. Kumar, “a family of high social rank” had adopted “a lowly, poorly orphan”. However, even this couldn’t have stopped Mrs. Kumar’s love for Harshit had not some three or more relatives commented on Harshit in the same way. Besides a relative said that Harshit was “stealing” Mrs. Kumar’s love “which should rightfully go to Mayank” (Mayank was the new-born baby). This made such an impression upon Mrs. Kumar that in a minute, she turned her adopted son into her “slave”. I said “slave” not servant, because a slave doesn’t get paid for his/her services while a servant does get paid; and Harshit wasn’t paid for his hard work.
When Mayank grew up, he became selfish and overbearing, but Mrs. Kumar thought Mayank charming. He looked down on Harshit as a “lowly boy” and was ashamed of Harshit who he thought was probably born in a poor family even though Harshit might well have been born in a rich family for all he (or anyone else, for that matter) knew. Besides Harshit was handsome and had good charming manners, which made Harshit very popular with everyone outside the Kumar homestead. This only increased Mayank's dislike for Harshit. So, on the whole, Mayank hated Harshit heartily and considered him as his rival in all matters.
So, on this particular night, of which I was telling you about, at the commencement of this chapter; Harshit was washing the dishes, after which he had to clean the kitchen followed by the washing of the clothes. Only after doing all these jobs would Mrs. Kumar let him have his supper.
Whilst he was washing the dishes, he could hear the Kumar family talking gaily and sometimes shouts of laughter, as they ate their supper together. Harshit remembered, bitterly, the good old times when he too was having his supper with Mr. and Mrs. Kumar, talking nineteen to the dozen.
“I wish I could run away,” thought Harshit, “But there’s no place where I could hide myself from the police, if they get up a search for me. Besides I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, if I run away. I would feel very lonely. I wish I had a dog as a companion.” He finished washing the last dish, and put the plate on the rack. “Phew!” said Harshit, wiping his forehead with his dirty hands. “At least, the dish washing is over; now I’ve got to clean this confounded kitchen.”
Harshit took up a dirty cloth that was hanging on the wall, and started cleaning the stove.
“I don’t know what came over those Kumars, to make me work like this. They were good enough with me till eleven years ago. And then, they suddenly made me work like a slave. I suppose, when they were childless, they were glad enough to have me as their adopted son; but when Mayank was born, I guess they changed their minds; so the neighbours say. I don’t know it for sure. I was too small then, for me to remember those good times. There!” said Harshit, giving a finishing touch to the stove. “Now the stove looks as new as it ever looked.” Then Harshit turned his attention to the microwave oven. Soon the kitchen looked “like a new pin”.
Then Mrs. Kumar came in, half hoping that Harshit would break something, so that she could scold him. But everything was as clean as it could be, and everything was done right. She frowned. She was never able to find fault with Harshit. Oh, if only she could get a chance to scold him. She would then, scold terribly, till Harshit became deaf. However, she could find nothing wrong, so she said to Harshit, or rather she snarled at Harshit:
“Now, what are you waiting for, you rascal! Go and wash the clothes!”
“All right!” said Harshit, as he hurried out of the kitchen.
It was not until ten o’ clock in the night that Harshit sat down to supper, if it could called be a supper, for it was only some dry bread.
Harshit knew the Kumars had chicken seekhs with bread for supper, and some soup. He also knew that the Kumars had not finished the soup and the chicken seekhs, for there were too many for a family to finish in a night. Why were they like this? What had he done to be ignored so much?
He ate his supper in silence. There was no one to talk to anyway.
After supper, Harshit went upstairs and lay down on his bed to sleep. But he didn’t sleep. He lay thoughtfully in bed, thinking about his future. All he could see in the future was work-work-work under the Kumars but no pay. They didn’t even send him to a school. So, how would he get a job later when he became a grown-up?
“What is the use of living with those Kumars?” he thought, “I think I had better run away and make my own way in the world. There’s absolutely nothing that I would gain by working for these Kumars.”
He started planning for his escape: Where would he run away to? He could think of no place where he would be safe from pursuit. Suddenly a thought struck him! He would go to Andhar-ana-mana Mountains!
Andhar-ana-mana Mountains were a ring of mountains, not more than one kilometer away. These mountains formed a circle, and quite merged with each other. They formed a sort of a huge wall around the area of the circle inside.
The side of the mountains that was inside the ring was as steep as a wall. The villagers in the vicinity had declared it impossible to enter the ring of the Andhar-ana-mana Mountains except by jumping in, which of course was sure death or by letting themselves down with a rope, but as no one in their knowledge had ever manufactured a rope as long as the height of those mountains, no one took the trouble manufacture one themselves or to tie lots of ropes together to get the required length of rope. And, ‘course one could parachute down into the place, but then there would be the problem as to how to get out. No one knew if there was any place in the ‘ring’ (of the mountains) where they could land on an aerial vehicle safely; and as no one was interested in what may be inside the ‘ring’ no one to took the trouble to fly over the ‘ring’ on an aircraft to see if they could land anywhere.
No one had ever climbed those mountains to the top, for it was very dangerous. And so, no one had seen what was inside the ring of Andhar-ana-mana Mountains, at least, no one knew if anyone had seen it.
The side of the Andhar-ana-mana Mountains that was outside the ring was covered with ever-green trees, mostly firs.
Such was the place where Harshit chose to run away to. He was sure no one would dream to search the Andhar-ana-mana Mountains. And even if they suspected that he was in Andhar-ana-mana Mountains, it would need more ten thousand men to search the those mountains thoroughly. So he would be perfectly safe there.
But now another question presented itself before Harshit: How was he to obtain food? True there were some wild goats on the mountains. But he couldn’t live on goat-meat always. Yes! There were some fruit trees and grape vines on the mountains.
Now there was yet another question for Harshit to settle: When was he to run away? He had no great preparation to do to run away. What few things should he take? He would need a magnifying glass to make fire. Match sticks wouldn’t last long. And yes, he would also take his binoculars with him. Ok. That is all the preparation he would need. Then if that is so, he could leave that very night!
Harshit sat up in bed in his excitement. He thought first; would anything go wrong if he ran away now? No. He could leave on this night as well as any other night. Harshit then, made up his mind; he would leave that very night!
(Don’t dream of running away like Harshit. I can assure you, it won’t be easy to live on your as you think!)