Unexplained cases of people getting petrified are rising; The Shadow Breakers have received a call from the ancient but colossal Panikkar Mansion. Can they capture what seems to be Ghosts?
Eerie sounds greeted us as our purple-colored Van reached the open courtyard of the traditional Naalukettu Mansion. The clay tiles could be seen flying around, leaving an open space near the center of the sloping roof. Zariyah exited the Van from the driver’s seat, removed the portable Ghost Gobbler from her back pocket, and gestured toward us to get down.
As the rest of us got down, we noticed a movement behind a group of Ashoka Trees, standing tall in the dead of night. A middle-aged man peeked with his eyebrows raised and his mouth slightly open. Zariyah gestured to Mr. Panikkar with her left palm pointing toward him. We slowly marched towards the antique entrance, each holding a Gobler in our hand. The golden eagle on the left side of the door had its wings open, indicating the main entrance was ajar.
“Catch us if you can, WHOEHAHAHA!!” taunted the voice.
The mansion echoed ghostly sounds when suddenly, out of nowhere, thick clouds of charred smoke filled the room, making it impossible to see.
“Cover your mouths, everyo…” shouted Zariyah as the smoke caused all of us to feel dizzy.
That was the last thing we remembered before waking up in a dimly lit room. I blinked my eyes a couple of times as I slowly stood up, trying to understand where we were. I felt relieved when I saw Captain Zariyah and Serpent Catcher Faneesh. As my eyes moved toward their arms, I saw them handcuffed to a colossal table. Idhant, our jujutsu expert, was still out and sleeping like a tiny baby.
A flashing green light fell on my eyes, and as I moved my head toward the wall on my right, I saw a message which read, “Solve the Puzzle, or PERISH.”
“Shar! Thank God you are up,” said Zariyah looking at me as I rubbed my eyes. “Idhant, you need to wake up. You need to find something to help us break out of these locks,” she added, visibly angry and frustrated.
I shook Idhant briefly when unexpectedly, he shouted, “Jujutsu, Jujutsu,” and stood up, taking a fighting pose.
“Relax, no one here; we are locked in,” I informed Idhant, calming him as he inadvertently bowed his head and stood there relaxed.
“Can we not call Oorshita?” inquired Faneesh in his unique dialect of pronouncing certain alphabets.
For a few seconds, there was a smile on our faces, which is when Zariyah responded, “No, we can’t contact Uuurshita. If you haven’t noticed, all our gadgets are gone; I don’t even see the Gobbler,” looking around with one hand tied to the table.
“Idhant, you search that side for anything we can use,” I said, pointing in the direction behind Zariyah and Faneesh. “I will search the other side,” I added.
Idhant nodded, and we strode in opposite directions. “There is a metal cupboard over here,” shouted Idhant.
“I see a clothing hanger here.”
“Something is inside the cupboard, but I can’t make it out due to the dim light.”
“There are some clothes here; I will search them to see if I find anything.”
“The cupboard has a combination lock.”
“What kind of combination, numbers, words, or both?”
“It’s a Wordlock, buddy!”
“Hmm, look for any clues,” I replied, exploring the back pockets of some military pants.
“I think the clue is in this photograph,” intervened Zariyah looking toward her right.
“Found a Key, Found a Key!” I shouted as I turned around and ran back towards the hand-carved wooden table.
I took the key and tried to unlock Zariyah’s handcuff, but we only heard a “Tic” sound as the cuffs were still locked.
“Try Faneesh’s,” mentioned Zariyah.
I nodded, turned left, and started working on Faneesh’s handcuff. But alas, I was unable to unlock the cuffs.
“Sheesh, now what?” I stated with a sigh of dejection.
“Let me try once,” mentioned Idhant, “you go back and check if you find anything else there,” he added as Idhant took the key from my right hand.
I had not even taken a few steps when I heard, “Clickkk, Clickkk!!”
“Super Idhant,” praised Zariyah as she and Faneesh were out of handcuffs.
Idhant bowed as a Samurai warrior, saying, “I can’t take all the credit; Shar found the key; I just used my inner power of jujutsu.”
“Now what?” I asked as the four of us looked at each other.
“We need to crack the code from the photo so we can open that lock,” stated Zariyah turning around, facing the greenish metal cupboard, and pointing at it with her eyes.
The wallpaper had four images of different items: a long silver axe, a clock where the time was nearing twelve, a rope in the form of a loop, and a tunnel where light could be seen.
“Idhant, Try the words one by one,” suggested Zariyah, “Axe, Time, Rope, and Light,” she added.
“Click Click Click”
Idhant tried all combinations, but none worked, “It’s a four-character word; Axe or Light won’t work, while Time and Rope don’t cut the bill,” he mentioned looking at the rest of us.
“What do all these images indicate?” thought Faneesh aloud as we all pondered the possible solution.
“Jeezzz, we will all be dead!!” I shouted.
“Don’t overthink; we have been in such situations before,” stated Captain Cool.
“No, No, I mean the word could be ‘Dead’; all four images indicate the same,” I replied.
Idhant quickly tried the combination, “SNAPP!” the lock was opened.
“There is a file inside,” he stated as he held a dust-covered black color file.
As the dust was blown from the cover, all of us were left stunned as we read the name on the file, “Mansion of Death – Truth Diaries.”