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Saturday, September 4, 2010

The diversion

    Two elderly friends had made up their mind about wanting huge muscles bulging out of all their limbs and 8 pack on their abdomen like their idols they had seen on television. They decided that they had to go to the body building gym to get their body toned up for the body building contest that they were thinking of participating in. They had talked about it for many weeks and discussed the plus and minus points in full details and finally decided to pump iron like the pros.

    The light turned red and their journey came to a momentary halt. The rush hour traffic was just horrible that day and they really did not know if they would be able to reach their destination on time. Fred began to wonder loudly why he even bothered to listen to Jim to get out of the house today knowing fully well how chaotic the traffic is at this time. The stop and go traffic was driving him nuts and the vehicular pollution making them dizzy. Pulling off to one side as the start/stop traffic was getting on their nerves and they decided to wait it out. Fred called up home and informed the family about the mess and where they were stuck.

    Looking off to one side, they saw a cluster of houses on a slight rise which overlooked a park. A huge Maple tree near the park away caught their eye. It was an old one. Probably as old as the park in which it was situated and if it could talk, it might have a tale or two to tell the passerby. Looking at it with envy, they wondered how much their life would be different if they could leave all this behind and live in a house in the country side where there are no trappings of modern life.

    The cluster of houses, if they could be called a town wore a deserted look as if most of the people had gone to office and only the elderly and children were left behind. Most of the door and windows were closed and the white lace window curtains were drawn also in most houses. Only one or two doors were open where a small group of people could be seen sitting in small groups either chatting away, playing some game or simply enjoying the autumn sun. A huge forest was on one side which was far older than the town itself seemed to call one and all with its soft whispering of comfort and forgetfulness in the cool comfort of the dark forest.

    The town itself seemed quaint as if frozen in time. Both guys swore that they had never seen such type of houses anywhere and they resembled English houses from a bygone era. Getting out of the car to stretch their tired and cramped legs, they decided to walk down the dirt path and into the town as the life here looked so different from the city life which they were so used to. A soft breeze started to rustle the fallen leaves and ruffled their hair ever so gently, yet died down as quickly as it had risen. They could hear children voices in the park and a group of children seemed to emerge out of nowhere to chase each other through the shrubs and weave through the trees and finally disappear once more into the wooded park.

    As they wandered down the dirt path which followed the town houses, they eventually found themselves at the end of the colony. There were dried leaves all over the place and a crunching sound was heard as I walked across the path. As I near the faded bronze gate which has a lion head emblem, a gentle wind rustles through the dried leaves and opens the gate. Sitting down on a green bench under the huge maple tree in the park which was surrounded by a boundary wall, they finally noticed quiet neighborhood the neighborhood was.

    The growing darkness made them look around and uneasiness grew in them. Looking up, they saw the sun slowly disappear behind a cloud and a pale yellow moon appear. The moon seemed to glare at them through the clouds and at other times through the tops of the trees. Frightened, they looked around and it seemed like the park was alive and could sense them looking at it. They swore to each other about seeing many pairs of large yellowed eyes some distance away staring at them and the rustle of leaves and branches which disappeared when their attention turned towards them. In this haunted park, it seemed like a thousand voices talking to each other from some nameless source. The voices seemed everywhere and they kept whispering "Not knowing what a farthing is, but being so excited to be invited to anything, knowing I haven't been anywhere since that hog calling contest back in the spring, you know, when Maudene Splatswether spit her false teeth clear across the snortin section and hit Ole Judge Crump right upside his bald head while he was trying to be what he calls flirtatious with 23 year old Summer Dawn Meadows, the only contestant and first runner up of the Miss Pork Contest of 2008,"... over and over again.

    They called out and the voices died as quickly as they had appeared. No one could make out what was happening as total darkness still engulfed them. After what seemed like eons, the bodiless voices seemed to chase each other through the shrubs, weave through the trees and finally disappear some distance away. As the voices fade away, both men began to wonder how so much time in this timeless and cursed park has flown by and how do they escape it to find their way home.

    The sound of a glowing toad going Ribbid Ribbid on a bicycle wound his way through the dirt tracks broke the spell and the men realized that it was late in the afternoon. The dark sky with the sickly yellow moon was gone and the sun was burning away the last remnants of the dream they were caught in. Startled and badly frightened at the sight, they stood up suddenly toppling the bench back and breaking the roots from the tree limb which was attached to their head until a few moments ago. The evil glint in the yellow eye which was there a moment ago receded and upon rubbing my eyes I saw an old leafless Maple tree surrounded by crumbling walls, broken gate and a rotting broken play ground by the corner.

    Not wanting to linger in this haunted area anymore, they traced their footsteps back to the car located on the main road. As they retraced their footsteps, they see the same houses and yet they seem more alive than the last few hours. They walked slowly back towards the houses and the sound of activity was evident even from a distance. The sound of children playing in the streets and smell of food was gently carried over to general area and lifting their spirits a little bit.

    The remaining journey was uneventful. The main cause for this traffic mess was evident a few miles down the road. There was some huge pipes being laid and a portion of the road was dug up for it. Therefore, there was only a single lane access to both incoming and outgoing traffic. They were many hours late and they made a solemn promise not to take anymore diversions. They had seen many new sights which are usually hidden from urban life and they could not forget this experience. Getting lost and diverted can be a startling and hair raising experience at times and one should cautious every moment since we never know what life throws at us