Wednesday, August 15

The Search for Jim Thompson

Our journey started a few months back. On a normal morning, on an unassuming day, in April. The gloomy skies, remnants of the bonfire from the night before and the early morning fog flooded the land with a poetic carnival of senses. As we waited for the ride, the smell of spices seeped and searched for new territories around us.

Today we are again detached from the cycle of life, nursing a deep strange void in our hearts, the dying bonfire left a few blood red cinder to mourn it. Life is slowly waking up, clambering to find it's majestic spot again for the a couple more decades of hours atop this mountain. The travelers, as always warned by generations of other travelers were warned but did not heed to words, a warning that resulted in this predicament we were in. We must find a way back, but more importantly we must find our souls.

His journey started years ago, maybe a hundred year ago. A stranger in a strange land, he was from the traveler clan too. The nomadic foreigners who forgo their luxuries of lavish tea parties and overnight mistresses as they cross the sky bridges on hot air balloons to trap mythical creatures and capture in their photographic plates images of naked maidens in God's playground. Nomads who spent golds and silver as if the natives have never seen them before, who threw gold coins into crowds of children who were more mesmerized by their jester like Victorian cloths, knee high stockings of red and white stripes, something the children of the forests saw only in the Shaman king stories. These traveler clans for once thought maybe gold and silver finally managed to buy them safe passage through the uncharted lands to reach their pot of gold under the Asian rainbow. Unknown to them, the natives were foretold of the misadventures of these strange men. They are not afraid of their metal guns or twisting languages because they know the Shaman king is protecting them and the secrets of the jungles.

Jim Thompson was a rich traveler, he had farms and estates all around Europe. Not the Europe of Kings and Queens, but an alternate Europe where Kings and Queens were mere clan members of the hundreds of clans scattered there. Visions of old Europe that I learned in books and photos never answered my questions of these strange travelers a hundred years back. The shaman stories were more of a joke to us initially, but some among us did fear of the story. But why did this Shaman tell this story, we knew what we came for, but how did he know what Thompson might have faced in his quests...

A few days in our journey to the highlands, we checked out of our lodging and guided by the experienced traveler, a local man whose eyes were so deep that felt like he has seen the creation of the universe. He knew before we would finish our words what we came looking for. But today, in front of this Shaman, we knew we got more than we asked for. My trembling hand handed over the drawings, illustrations on an old notebook of the lost jungle to the Shaman. His laughter was followed by an enlarged blood red eyes staring right at me, through me into my desires. He asked more than anything we can offer, he told us that we cant turn back before we find what we came for, even if we never find it. The momentary fear numbed my senses, and we gathered to make a final decisions. A few of us would return, and four of the remaining, including me will make the what now seems to be a dangerous and mysterious journey to search for the truth. One of the mates asked what to tell if anyone asked, we told him, them, to tell the truth. At sundown, as the new world jumped to life around us, we would walk into the mountains, following the moonlit path to eternity.

Thompson in his travels before his disappearance created a record of sorts. He was a master traveler, a pioneer for he discovered many new lands, cultures and people - the Indians of South America, the tepuis and the red clay lands of Australasia. But Europe at that time was looking for something else, the traveler clan painted maps and charted paintings, mixing fantasy and science to entice centuries of men and woman who are just embracing the industrial revolution. As electric light bulbs blinked one by one across the land, new stories started to emerge, new strange stories that not many are willing to believe. Lord Champlain and John Jacobs were the first among the traveler clan to come with this strange news of a new world, and when Jim Thompson's notebook were discovered by the later day travelers, the new world was named an 'alternate earth'. Such a bold assertion at a time when science and physics were making waves and were illuminating more minds of the atoms and stars. When Einstein was asked about the forays of the traveler clan, he gave a cold stare at the reporter, the master of the universe had no words or no idea of the kind of rubbish the people were writing. At a different stage, the Queens Court wanted to banish these traveler clans for telling stories of a new world, a world where the Queen has no different blood from the commoner.

Our guide will only take us until the Sky Mountains. After that we are all alone, whether we want to continue, or return it's our fate. But we don't have much of a choice. It took us a week to reach the Sky Mountains, a mountain range capped by snow and in another extreme jungles of frozen wood and stones and melting rivers that seems to be stretch forever. Being the tallest mountain range at this part of the world; the lower forests and most of the terrains near the cities has been mapped, but the trails over and across the range are reduced into folk stories and for the few chosen ones, or the ones who choose, are given guidance by the Shamans. Across the mountain we will find a Shaman King and he will grant us passage to the trails of Jim Thompson. I was carrying the amulet that would protect us against the wild cats, the deadly panther. But to search for Jim Thompson, we need a new soul.

We bade farewell to our guide on a cold morning, after a small breakfast and briefing. Before he left, he told us that change has already happened, we were already in it. He asked us to look into our hearts to find what it was. Could it be real then, we were in a new reality? A new dimension, the alternate earth? But how does the world choose who enters and who doesn't, that is the real mystery. My fellow traveler assured me that we already chose our path, we wanted to escape from the daily yearnings of life, to answer questions and seek the truth. Why Thompson brought us towards him or why we wanted to search for him, no words can tell. It just happened, just when you have a dream and then you wake up to a changed world. We gathered our supplies and checked our equipments for one last time...

When news of mermaids and exotic beautiful land started to appear in the book markets of the cities, Jim knew this was the right moment to mount another expedition. His lies would be vindicated by what they find later, he thought. As he ran a series of advertisement among the popular daily prints around Europe, he gathered a lot of attention, even the Royal Society wanted to send a few scientists, mostly botanist and zoologists, on the journey. He received Chamberlains blessings and his precious writings. This will serve him in his early months, who to meet, the villages and jungles to cross. And he carried gold, a lot of them to appease the natives and he brought sacrifices, able men from every corner of the Western world for the shaman kings and the Shaman Lord he would eventually meet.

A total of one hundred and thirteen men started out in the giant airships of the Leornardo Air Ships Corp. Five of this airships, giant balloons hundreds of stories high and at the bottom were lavish gondolas akin to deep sea galleons, but now sailing the high skies carried the supplies and men. Thompson would eventually land in the border jungles of India and Cambodia before making the land trek to the the Fire Mountains which would take him to the courts of the Shaman King. I turned the pages towards the end of the book, where an illustration of a dream catcher with a tiger claw tied to it subtly tells me that Jim is still alive. We went to sleep as the day died, for in the early hours, we will start our own journey.

End of Part 1
[Disclaimer: This story is Pure Fiction, no names or places present here coincide with any real life events (though the places might really exist). The story is protected under the creative commons license 3.0, free to distribute but please refer the authors name and website]


Kavi said...

I am so glad that you back to doing what you so very good at ! Loved it..rereading it

Keshi said...

u write too good Ghosty....I feel so blonde next to ya :)

btw I luv ya too! ;-) HUGGGGGGGGGGGGZ n ty for being YOU!


Princess said...


Keshi said...

Ghostyyyyyyyy :)


Princess said...

hi ghost,

I have written about the nice matters award in my dreamscapes blog... do chk..


Jeevan said...

Hum… it goes as interesting story. Enjoying reading, keep on coming bro :)

Alok said...

Siva, it is simply brilliant ... the way u have moved along from sentence is to sentech is amazing ..

"The nomadic foreigners who forgo their luxuries of lavish tea parties and overnight mistresses as they cross the sky bridges on hot air balloons to trap mythical creatures and capture in their photographic plates images of naked maidens in God's playground - This is brilliant stuff

enjoyed it man!!


Ghost Particle said...

[Kavi] Thanx sar...wanted to write this since the writing it now...

[Keshi] u r not blond!!! :p ur a smart girlll...thanx for reading it! Hugs.

[princess] dear, thanx for the award and also happy independence day!

[jeevan] thanx second part is up. hope you like it.

[alok] my words...our words are always unique...and the best moment is when we understand each other...thank you for capturing the moment.


it rains around the world sleep welcomes the dream, and  enigmatic souls awaken along the eternal shores of destiny