“A big white owl came and sat on the branch of that tree, just outside the window. It had the most beautiful, luminescent and hypnotic brown eyes, which absolutely captivated me. It kept staring at me, unflinchingly”, said Zakir. The quiver in his voice was unmissable.
“Are you sure it was an owl?”, asked Alex.
“Yes, it was and as soon as it started staring at me, inexplicably my muscles froze, and I couldn’t move an inch”, replied Zakir.
“Go on. Tell me everything that you remember. Don’t leave anything out. What you might assume to be inconsequential, could turn out to be the missing link, that solves this riddle”, urged Alex.
Zakir got up from his chair and walked slowly towards the window. A sudden gust of wind blew into the room, carrying with it the fragrant smells of the forest, which surrounded the four-storeyed guest house. After ruffling the pages of the book, which was kept on the table, the wind mysteriously disappeared.
Zakir rested his hand on the windowsill and gazed at the tree, whose uppermost branches could be touched, from where he stood.
“A gust of wind, much like the one, we just experienced, blew in from the window. The full moon, which was shining brightly in the horizon, mysteriously inflated itself and grew bigger, as if it were a hot air balloon, thereby creating a beautiful white halo around the owl’s head. The sight was so mesmerizing, that I was left speechless. But what happened hereafter, is beyond any logical explanation”, said Zakir.
He became teary eyed, and his voice began to choke.
“Take a minute and regather yourself”, said Alex.
Zakir took in a deep breath, wiped off his tears and continued, “I heard a piercing sound which resembled the sound of a whistle, and it overpowered all the other sounds in the background. Nothing could be heard, other than the sound emanating from the flying saucer, hovering over this tree!”.
“You saw a UFO! You are kidding me, right?”, asked Alex.
“I am not and please do not interrupt. Listen to my entire story, before you draw any conclusions”, pleaded Zakir.
“Okay”, replied Alex.
“A giant beam of light came out of the UFO and came in through the window. It resembled a focus light and was targeted towards Anand’s neck. He was in deep sleep and was oblivious to all that was happening around him. Suddenly, two peculiar black marks mysteriously appeared on his neck. His body started shivering uncontrollably and it levitated in the air, a good two feet above the bed. This went on for a minute before the light unexpectedly disappeared and Anand fell onto the bed with a loud thud. There was no reaction from him, despite the ordeal, except for the fact that he was perspiring profusely. It was as if, nothing had happened!”, said Zakir.
“What happened to the flying saucer and the owl?”, asked Alex.
“The flying saucer flew off into the stars, in one swift and continuous motion. It disappeared into the abyss in a matter of a few seconds. It couldn’t have been man-made. The owl on the other hand, stayed back and kept closely staring at Anand for a few more seconds, after which, it too flew off!”, said Zakir.
“So, you think Anand has been abducted?”, asked Alex.
“Possibly”, replied Zakir.
“Why are you doubtful?”, asked Alex.
“Because I don’t know what happened to him after I fell asleep”, replied Zakir.
There was silence. It fueled the tension, which was palpable within the room.
Alex walked up to Zakir, gazed at the tree and shook his head in disbelief.
“You don’t believe anything that I have uttered, isn’t it?”, asked Zakir, a tinge of despair had crept into his voice.
“It doesn’t matter. I have one question though…”, said Alex.
“And, what is that?”, asked Zakir.
“Where was I, when all of this was transpiring?”, asked Alex.
Upon hearing this, Zakir burst out in laughter, the sound of which reverberated within the room. He tried desperately to curb his instincts and somehow managed to regain his composure.
“You my friend were taking a bath. I tried my best to get you out of the bathroom, but you were too busy bathing and singing your favourite song!”, replied Zakir, in a sarcastic tone.
“How is that possible? Are you trying to tell me, that I was bathing from 3 pm in the afternoon till 11 pm in the night?”, asked Alex, visibly flummoxed.
“Yes!”, came Zakir’s quick and short reply.
There was silence. Alex and Zakir stared at each other. The expressions on their faces clearly narrated, what they were going through.
The tables had turned.
The glasses of marijuana, they had consumed the previous morning had left behind a dirty trail!
(end of part one)