Death’s clock

“The winding red road is the only route to Nindo.” That was what everyone Ali met, kept telling him. What was unusual was the response he got when he asked for directions to the red road, some would ignore his question and walk off or their countenance would drop. When he asked the last Man, “What is it about Nindo that ruins everyone’s mood when I ask for direction sir? I really need to get there.”

“Don’t ever ask me or anyone here that question ever again!” The man barked back. So there was Ali walking around in circles through vast farms and ranches in nothing but green, the only red he saw for kilometers was the muddy sections where horses trained on ranches. It had been 3 straight days of walking and Ali was tired, hungry and growing impatient with this quest.

Three days ago when he arose, it was his usual routine; wake up his younger sister, Jenny. That morning she was missing from her bed and there was a note on top of a pillow in her handwriting. “They took me to Nindo. Come and get me.” Initially when Ali read the note, he laughed really hard and thought that Jenny was being sneaky to avoid going to school as she always did. She was 17 years old and the only thing she seemed to like was music, dancing and school holidays without school textbooks before her.

Ali had gone through 3 years of prank notes, nearly every weekday morning that Jenny used to try and avoid school. The routine check in her wardrobe and under her bed was exhausting after, a while of, receiving the notes. Ali just called out for Jenny to hit the shower as he prepared breakfast. The note initially did not faze him. Ali went about his routine, made breakfast, served himself and went to shower. It was after the shower that he felt weird. He realised that none of Jenny’s things were in the bathroom. He had tucked her in bed the previous night and her toothbrush and paste, shampoos, combs were all in the bathroom when he used it last. This morning nothing was there.

Now 3 days later Ali was roaming around rural Yiasa. Yiasa was infamous for the weird tales of missing people from across the country reappearing in that specific town tight lipped, blind and or deaf after reappearance. And this was most common when the person lost had been missing for 7 days onwards. Ali only had three more days to find her, and the red winding road was said to be the route of rescue.

Ali was stranded and completely helpless, he sat down in a heap and began to sob violently. Then a grotesque creature, half horse, half human with a bears face approached him. “I know the way Ali, follow me, Jenny will be safe.” It said. When Ali laid his eyes upon the creature, it vomited something; it was Jenny’s favorite bracelet.

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