Nefertiti and Paul rushed in towards the Iron Gate only to find a signboard which read 'All Auctions are Closed Off'.
Nefertiti, as you all might know, was the most beautiful Egyptian queen of 1300 BC. She resurrected in her secret tomb in Egypt. Paul is a 50 year old man; a retired archaeologist who is settled in Cairo. He is a government official, who is in charge of the pyramids in Egypt. Nefertiti seeked help from Paul to gain knowledge about the modern world and persuaded him to accompany her in her new quests.
Both were disappointed when Paul inquired, 'Madam are you sure you had the correct address?’Nefertiti stated firmly, 'Yes the location snap was downloaded from the Auction app itself and I still have it in my phone. But doesn’t this look confusing? Paul, do you see the other signboard, lurking behind, with the arrow mark , which means we should go inside.'
Paul warned and said, 'That would mean serious trespassing, moreover hardly anything is visible inside and it is pretty late now; Madam, rather let me check the GPS for the correct address.'
But even before the search was complete, Nefertiti had managed to slightly open the huge gate and squeezed in and started walking through the dark misty pathway, clad with bushes on both sides; 'Madam', Paul exclaimed, and quickly followed her.
They moved towards a building, inside, and as soon as they stepped in, a Welcome message popped into Nefertiti’s phone along with a route map. They followed it, and after a few confusing turns and walking through long passageways they finally reached the auction room. They expected a lot of guests at the auction however the majestic room was empty. It had multiple gorgeous tapestries and paintings hanging on the walls and a gigantic chandelier at the center illuminated the entire room; at the center of the hall, were many translucent, glass capsule like structures which resembled little spaceships!
As they entered they were greeted with welcome drinks served by drones and were give a token. Paul was extremely nervous and murmured, 'I think we are trapped, this place is not safe at all, everything looks suspicious and we should leave immediately.' Oblivious, Nefertiti kept on walking until she reached a capsule which matched token number 13, that they had, and the doors opened.
Nefertiti said with a smile, 'Paul, I think this is our seat!'
Paul warned and said, 'Please listen to me, and let’s not stay here, all these could be just a hoax!'Nefertiti consoled Paul and said, 'don’t you think, this, to be a fantastic arrangement for an auction, and let’s not procrastinate and wait to see what happens.'
Then a sudden announcement was made requesting guests to occupy their seats. As soon as they sat inside, the doors closed; A screen appeared on the desk in front in which all the instructions for the auction, were scribbled down.
It read, 'Welcome to the prestigious auction show .Participants have to remember, that they cannot not buy anything, here with money. They have to immolate something which is precious to them in order to get any of the valuables available for auction, today. Participants have to agree to the terms and conditions and they can opt for any one option; if an option has already been selected by any participant then that option would be grayed out automatically on others' screens. And in case they wish to revert it later that can be done only once, in next 24 hours, by uninstalling the app on their phones; but in that case they would not be able to participate in the auction in future. Participants also have to submit their decision in 30 mins after the auction has started otherwise some random option would be chosen on their behalf.'
Soon after, a new screen flashed in front of them seeking confirmation for participation. Looking at Nefertiti’s despairing face Paul pressed the, 'Confirm' button on the screen and the auction started.
The screen then presented a set of offerings, that could be bought, and what has to be sacrificed in order to get those. Both Nefertiti and Paul looked baffled as they stared at the screen. The list had more than 50 weird options which could be scrolled down. It looked complicated as they did not know what would be the consequences; 30 mins passed, almost within a blink of an eye, along with most of the other options getting greyed out. As it was time they both decided on the option, "Happiness for Time" and confirmed. But as soon as they confirmed the option within a few minutes the capsule started vibrating and then trembled heavily. Nefertiti closed her eyes but after a minute or so everything was back to normal. By then the screen showed "Congratulations" as the bid was accepted, and the doors opened.
Paul squeaked in a low tone, 'Madam, Do you think it is safe to step out?'Nefertiti stood up and was about to step outside the capsule door, but she mistakenly dropped her phone and it stopped working. There was still no one outside and so they hastily started walking towards the main door and rushed back towards home. On their way back home, Paul checked his phone twice but for some unknown reason it never showed time again!
The Big Day
The next day Nefertiti woke up with the sound of relentless buzzing of the doorbell. She opened the door and it was Paul. Paul greeted her with a smile and started, 'Madam,are you alright? You know, yesterday we did a blunder, actually we sold off time! I think the world is going to end now or at least the media and the press is saying that. I tried calling you but then I recalled your phone had stopped working. You know, all the clocks around the world have either stopped working or are rotating in anticlockwise motion. All trains, buses, flights and ships rather most forms of transport have been cancelled; all geological expeditions have stopped, connections with the satellites have been lost, scientists are dumbfounded as most of the experiments done so far were based on time constant, which have suddenly become inaccurate; basically, the whole world has come to a standstill, and we might all perish soon as there are forecasts of massive natural disasters.
But, I think, we still have hope. You remember, we have 24 hours to revert this but for that we need to fix your phone first and then uninstall the app; hopefully, then everything would be set to normal again.'
Nefertiti looked bewildered as she had no idea of what has happened, and said, 'Paul, I am extremely sorry and I deeply apologize for dragging you into all these.'
Paul laughed and continued, 'You know what, strange though, but all seems to be fine; and everyone is happy around, including me.
I did call my daughter and they are heading out for a day trip as they feel that we might not have much time left and they wanted to make best use of it, while my mother is happy that she will no longer get old!
But I am not sure why the spell has not worked on you! To be honest I do not have any regret or complaints. By the way, did you try restarting your phone and putting the battery on again?' Nefertiti looked extremely tensed and mumbled, 'I have tried all, but nothing works. Oh God, I hope we can do something to fix this before the world comes to an end. ‘Paul continued, ‘Madam, let’s take the phone to a service center and let’s see if it can be fixed.'
As they stepped out Nefertiti found, all the people in the streets were in a happy mood. They were smiling, laughing singing or dancing in joy, or at least seemed to be no longer bothered about work; it was as if no one knew what was stress or anxiety; it felt like, everyone has found a purpose in their lives, or had decided to love themselves more or celebrate life; more so, as if they were no longer daunted even by the fear of death; the whole world seemed to be ecstatic.
Nefertiti said, 'Paul, all the people around seems to be high!'Oblivious, Paul continued to walk without any answers, he was calm and had a smile on his face and looked contented from inside. They kept on searching for phone repair shops and service centers but most of them were either closed or they rejected to take up any new work for the day. Finally they found one shop which was open and Nefertiti persuaded the gentleman inside, to have a look at her phone. Though extremely reluctant, he agreed and Nefertiti handed over the phone.
Nefertiti was perplexed and said, 'Paul how do we know when 24 hours pass, as no clock is working anywhere now!'Paul informed, 'I think we got out of that place at around 10 PM, so we should have enough time to fix this.'
A few hours passed but still the service center guy was not able to understand the problem. Nefertiti gazed at him, waiting for an answer, when he suddenly spoke out, 'Why do you look so puzzled, as if I am working on a time bomb.' Nefertiti smiled and said, 'Almost!'
A few hours passed by and the guy called up another person for help and all they did was laughed and giggled instead of actually fixing the phone! Nefertiti was irritated, however she controlled herself and spoke in an elegant manner to complete the work as they did not have much time. The man chuckled and replied,' the whole world has run out of time!'
Nefertiti and Paul waited eagerly and the man continued with his investigation for some more time. It was late evening, when the service centre guy confirmed that he had figured out the issue but as it would take longer he preferred to do it next morning, if at all everything else was fine. Nefertiti insisted him to take it up immediately, and though initially unwilling he finally agreed, and started his work.
While he was working Nefertiti looked out at the dark blue velvety sky ,with all the stars speckling bright which created a mystic environment; and when no one knew what could happen next minute but everyone was happy as if all the burden, pain, anger, sadness have faded away ,along with time.
Nefertiti asked, 'Paul do you think it’s already late?'Paul replied, 'Don’t worry Madam, no matter what, I will be by your side, and whatever comes we shall face it!'
Finally somewhere around midnight the phone was fixed and the screen reappeared!
Nefertiti quickly grabbed her phone, scrolled down it to find the app for Auction followed the instructions to uninstall the app; her heart seemed to lurch out of her chest; and finally the app was gone!
Even before they could breathe in a sigh of relief, they felt a little bump as if the earth had started shaking, and then after a few seconds they felt rolling of the ground and finally a heavy jolt. Nefertiti and Paul along with others came out of the shop and ran for a safer location. The earthquake lasted for less than a minute and then it stopped.
Nefertiti looked at her phone and gasped and screamed out in joy, 'Paul its 10:30 PM Thursday, I can finally see time!'Paul was astonished and interrupted, ‘Madam Yesterday was Thursday! Never mind, we lost just one day, and may be the earthquake was just a result of the Earth trying to fix its orbital changes to jump back to time!'