Features » Young World

Updated: June 16, 2010 15:01 IST

Shopping for adventure

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It was a lazy afternoon, and Megs, Rohan and Sandhya were bored. Rohan suggested they explore the dark, gloomy shop at the end of the road. Excitedly, they ran off. When they arrived at the shop, it was...well, dark and gloomy. But what was strange was that the shop had no shopkeeper.

Megs was bored. So were here friends Rohan and Sandhya. Then Rohan suggested they explore the dark, gloomy shop at the end of the road. Excitedly, they ran off. When they arrived at the shop, it was…well, dark and gloomy. But what was strange was that the shop had no shopkeeper. It was filled with all kinds of stuff — all old and dusty. There were vases and glass jars; wooden boxes and barrels; wall hangings and light fixtures; clocks and more clocks all tick tocking away.

There was one large grandfather clock that was making a rather angry noise. They watched in fascination.

“It's like he is shouting at us,” said Sandhya.

“Gives me a creepy feeling,” said Megs, “Let's get out of here.”

Just then they was a loud whirring sound and the clocks began to chime. It was three o'clock. Even before they knew what was happening they were grabbed and pulled into the clock. Then they found themselves thrown out. Getting up and dusting themselves they looked around. They saw many children like themselves looking at them.

“Where are we?” asked Megs. The kids didn't say a word.

Just then they heard a loud Voice. “Welcome children. You are now in Clocking Town. I am your leader and you are in my power. But I am not unreasonable. If you want to leave this place you have to get out within an hour. Once the clock chimes the fourth hour and you have not been able to get out, then you will be like my other subjects…yes, they are the ones watching you.”

“No one would want to stay here…” said Megs.

“Why not?” asked the Voice. “These children lead a good life. Chocolate and fries, movies and video games… and of course work!”

“Work?” asked the three.

“They are helping me in my project. And that reminds me…Children BACK TO WORK!”

The children scattered.

“So do you want to get back or not?” asked the Voice.

“Of course we do,” said Rohan irritatedly.

“Well…in all this talking you have already lost 15 minutes. Solve this riddle in the remaining time and then you are free. And time is running out! Hahahahah!”

“Will you tell us what the riddle is?” shouted Rohan. They were getting frantic because they had by now lost another 10 minutes.

“Nought in a box

Incredibly guarded by Mr Fox

Turn right

Step One, Two, Three

And you are free!”

“Oh no!” said Megs, “What does this mean? We are never going to solve this thing!”

“Don't let's give up even before we start!” said Sandhya. “Let's see. Nought in a box…”

After much thought they figured it must be an Easter egg.

“Come on, let's not waste time. Let's try and find the egg or Mr. Fox,” said Megs.

So the three of them ran off, not knowing where they were going. They ran to the right and the left and in circles. But the couldn't find Mr. Fox. Tired, they sat under a tall statue. They had just another 10 minutes to go before they became prisoners in Clocking Town.

Megs leaned against the pedestal. There were letters on it. Unconsciously Megs began to read the letters. “This statue is erected in memory of Roald Dahl, the best-selling children's author of classic books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach…

“What did you say?” asked Sandhya.

“Nothing. I was just reading what's written on the pedestal.”

“Let me see…” and Sandhya read it all over again aloud.

Megs jumped up screaming, “I've got it. I've got it. Come on quick. Turn right and take three steps…”

Barely had they taken three steps when they heard a roaring sound and from out of the ground came a large box. They opened it and reached out to get the chocolate egg. As their hands touched the egg they found themselves once again carried away with great force. With a thud! they landed back in the dark, gloomy shop.

“Phew! What an adventure! And we thought it was going to be a boring afternoon!” said Megs.

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

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