Hey there! I hope that you all enjoyed reading my short novella which was up on my blog. So, here is another short story that I had previously worked on for a writing competition which was conducted by Scholastic India. Here it is. Happy reading😃📄📝

Nick, Beth and Zoe were attending an interview conducted by their friend, Lily, who was curious to know why they had skipped their classes for 10 days straight. ‘How did all of this begin in the first place?’ asked Lily. Beth started narrating their mysterious and magical adventure.

‘Zoe’s father, James Anderson, is an archaeologist. He used to travel to several countries. During the second last week of Spring Break, Mr Anderson went to Kazakhstan on a 15-day expedition trip to research about their tribes. On the 5th day, Zoe had talked to him. He constantly told her about his journal kept in the attic.’

‘Ten days later, Mr Anderson was expected to return from his journey, but he didn’t. The flight had already arrived and his name was there on the passenger list too. Zoe’s mother went to the police for registering a complaint. Zoe tried contacting him but his phone was unreachable. Once, he picked up the phone and said “Zoe everything is in the journal. The journal is the key to save me. There is a map …” And suddenly, the call was cut. Zoe started to cry, but we convinced her.’ 

‘The next minute, we went to the attic and took out the journal. As we were going through the pages, we found a map. Nick opened it and at the top of it was the title written by Mr Anderson. It said Kazakh Island.’ 

‘The first spot said West Lafayette, the place where our university is. The next spot said Tramolia. We had no idea where it was. When we flipped the next page, there was a big article on the city of Tramolia. When we read it, it said that it was next to the country of Kazakhstan. Without further thinking, Zoe told us that we needed to reach Tramolia as soon as possible.’

The Kazakh Island map

‘So, we told our parents that we were being called two days early for our humanities project by our professor and left for the airport. We had booked the tickets beforehand using the money we had made from our part-time jobs. In the next 2 days, we were in Kazakhstan. We went to a hotel and booked a room. After we had freshened up, we went and asked the receptionist of the hotel whether she had heard about Tramolia. She said that it was a city, 3 hours away. She recommended us to take a train from the city, we were in.’

‘When we reached Tramolia, we had opened the journal for our next clue. The next spot was Naroui Bridge. So, we asked the local people about the bridge. They said that it was a 5-minute walk from the hotel nearby. So, we had our lunch at the hotel restaurant and went walking to the Naroui Bridge.’ 

‘Under the Naroui Bridge, near the waters, Nick had discovered something unusual. She had found a dusty jacket pierced in some places. She had also found a billboard with the word “help” written in bold letters. When she flipped the jacket, it had the initials J.A. marked on it. Zoe said that it had belonged to her dad. We went asking nearby people whether they had seen a person wearing the jacket. We had no response and referred to the map for our next location. The map did not have the next location and we were unhappy about that. But an old lady, about 60, said that she had seen him four days before. She said that he was going towards Sarosi Cave. She also mentioned that the cave will lead to a new place on the other end. We thanked the lady and went to our hotel.’

‘As we were flipping through the book, the map suddenly fell. When Zoe picked it up, she discovered something strange. At first, when we had seen the map, it did not have Sarosi Cave on it. But it had suddenly appeared on the map! We were gobsmacked. So, the first thing next morning, we went straight to the Sarosi Cave. It was dark inside and was silent too. We went in till the other end and started to hear waves. As the lady had mentioned, the other end of the cave did not lead us to the road. It led us to an Island.’

‘There, we saw something lying on the sand. When Zoe went close to it, she found that it was her father’s notebook. She opened the book and the first page had a sentence written on it. “DOTWAY THRESH SEAT.” Nick suggested that we try unscrambling it. All the three of us tried unscrambling it and did not find anything relevant for quite some time. ‘Is it RHEATH EATS TOWDAY?’, I asked. ‘No,’ Zoe replied.’

‘At last, Nick found a perfect match- TOWARDS THE EAST. With the help of our compass, we started walking towards the east. ‘

‘We had at least walked for 15 minutes, but he was nowhere to be found. We lost hope and were planning to go back. But suddenly, we came across an old and creepy building. I went inside and found Mr Anderson there. He was sitting there in a crouched position. Zoe called out to her dad and tears started to emerge from both her dad and Zoe’s eyes.’

‘When we asked him why he was in that building, he replied, “I was in Sarosi Cave and was taking photographs. Suddenly, some tribal people came to the island and started to beat me up. I already knew that this place would be perilous. To get away from them, I decided to run towards the east. Therefore, I left a note in my notebook and I knew that you three would come to find me.”

‘This was how we saved her dad.’

‘Wow, it was amazing to hear. It would have been more amazing if I had come too, said Lily. 

Trrrrng… rang the bell and everyone went to present their projects.

– Shreshta Manikandan

The story ends here. Do drop in your thoughts in the comments section 😃💖


8 thoughts on “The Case Of The Missing Archaeologist- Short Story

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