Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Rescue

''Be careful! There are hostages inside,'' the man with the dead eyes told her as the carbine in his shoulder was slung carelessly. The man was pointing to the first floor of the broken down building before them, as they were hidden behind a huge pillar in the next building.
''We frankly did not think you would make it so far,'' the man told her bluntly, as the people around him - young people with guns in their hands looked around with anxious eyes, watching for anything out of the ordinary.
There was machine gun 'rat-tat-tat' at least a kilometer away and the man and his people were looking very watchfully, fearfully.
And the woman knew that once these young people started shooting, nothing was going to stop them. They were not yet much experienced in the art of the waiting war. None of these people were even meant to be in a place like this. They were meant to be in colleges or even in schools, homes and they were meant for laughing, playing pranks on each other and learning.
The woman had traveled from her own place to get here for this particular hostage situation or rather one of the hostages here. And as she was getting to that place, she had to go through the war-ridden streets of the city. And the woman frankly did not know what to say. Because as the woman was escaping from one gun totting group to another in the city, trying to be unobserved as she ran through what was once a home, a garden, a.... the woman sighed as she made a depressing observation....This was once a city. A living and thriving city. With normal people. People who had ambitions in their mind. People who had love in their heart.
It was once a city....
''Are you sure you want to go inside?,'' the man asked her in the same listless voice. The firing of the machine gun could still be heard. But it was further away and almost dying out.
''Yes,'' the woman replied quietly.
''Fine,'' the man turned nodding to one of his people. ''One of us would guide you to the entrance. After that you are on your own,'' he said flatly.
The woman shook her head. ''I can take care of myself. I do not need help. I just needed to know which was the building, they were keeping him....,'' the woman fumbled. ''...the hostages,'' the woman corrected herself, as she removed her backpack and looked into it. As she seemed satisfied with what she saw inside the bag, she nodded to the man before her.
The man watched the woman keenly and the woman was sure that this was the first time in many months, there was an expression other than sheer listlessness in that man's face. But apparently the man did not know what to say as he just nodded.
He watched as the woman was running in quick steps towards one of the pillars. She was fleet footed and ran with perfection keeping to the shadows and making almost no noise as she ran. Almost, as if the woman knew how much energy to spend for what. The man then sighed shaking his head realizing that the woman was no longer his problem as he nodded to his people, who were slowly dispersing from there. Their work here was done.
The woman did not go directly to the entrance. She was already running into the next building, to get to the roof of the other building. The woman was sure that, from that building, she could see exactly how many of the bad assholes were there.
And the woman knew why they were having the hostages. Especially, the one man she had come here for. To put in one word it was money and put in many words it was a ransom demand. That were the reasons, these assholes had kidnapped the rich man and his team who had come here for no reason other than to provide some medical relief for the war-torn people.
The woman got on the roof and hanging dangerously from the ledge, she sneaked a peek inside the building. And the woman was shocked - really and badly. She was watching him almost after six months now. And there he was, with his wavy grey streaked hair, right in the center. There was some blood coming from his forehead and the man as usual looked like he did not notice it.
The woman was finding it difficult to see the others, because suddenly things were becoming too bright.
Focus Baby! The voice came almost deep within herself as the woman nodded to herself. Slowly her vision was clearing as the woman pulled out her backpack. After satisfying herself that the building was completely empty, she got to work.
Ten seconds later, the woman was inside the building where she had seen the man in the first place. As she climbed up the stairs, she took some of the grime and sand from the steps and liberally put it on her face and nearly sneezed. Her dress was going to show that she was also from there.
And then taking a deep breath, the woman took a stone from the ground and threw it faintly on the wall opposite. It made very little noise, but the woman knew exactly how such noises were perceived by people fighting any battle and after that she was slowly walking, trying to make noise.
She had one minute..
The woman really did not have to wait long. Three people who were inside the room, were almost upon her and she was really good at telling her face to behave, as she yelled pushing herself back letting her fear show in her face. ''I wan..no trouble,'' she said rapidly one word slipping over the other as the man who reached her, slapped her hard. He pulled out his weapon and pointed it at her as the woman almost reached for the gun. She had not expected this. She thought that.
''STOP IT'' The voice was a whiplash. The man who was about to hit her stopped as he looked back angrily.
''Put her in with the others,'' the voice which had spoken first said again.
''Come on....,'' the man said angrily pulling up the woman angrily. ''She is not even part....''
''ENOUGH. We can kill her later. If we kill her right now, we will just attract a lot of unwanted attention, one which we could do without,'' the speaker said pointing at the faint rat-a-tat of the machine guns further off.
The man was angry but he seemed to realize the logic and furiously pulled her and dragged her up the stairs as he looked at her viciously, ''What are you doing here?''
''I was going back home,'' the woman whimpered. ''There was a gunfight and I had to take a detour. And because....,'' the woman knew that she had to keep talking. So that, they would believe she was scared.
''ENOUGH'' The man yelled as he brought her up the first floor and pushed her hard on the floor. There was a collective gasp from the other hostages and from the corner of her eyes she could see the man. Though he was a hostage himself, he was walking towards her slowly, trying to comfort her.
''Its ok, kid,'' the man told her in a gentle voice, as he was coming towards her. ''Don't be afraid.''
There were eight bad people inside the room and six hostages. And, none of the hostages were near the windows.
Ding...Her watch chimed quietly and even before she knew it, she yelled pulling out the gun from her shoe.
''DOWN!'' She shouted, as the building opposite to them exploded in a loud voice.
The hostages were down and whimpering and the woman paid no attention to any of them. Most of the gunmen were shooting from the window at the building opposite and their backs were towards her. And she really did not miss. She had already shot four of them, when one of the hostages hit one of the gun men, who fell down like a bridge on him.
And slowly there was smoke coming from the other building, streams of it. And the two gunmen were confused. The man who had spoken to her was confused for a whole second as he punched one of the men, who fell down.
That left just one of them, who was very close to the woman and he was closing in on the woman.
The goon was obviously no Einstein and did not know that it was very unhealthy to let any attacker come too close to you. Because that way many parts of your body are open to attack and that too at close quarters. But then the woman honestly did not expect the goon to know all this. The goon was just that – a hired muscle. Very little brains, plenty of brawn and a lot of aggressiveness. The woman had met plenty like that. Her past year had been full of skirmishes with people like these. And now thanks to that, the woman was an expert in dealing with people like this.
She pulled the gun from the goon before him and in a fluid move, pointed the gun up. The goon struggled against the sudden attack and in the scuffle between the goon and the woman, the gun fired as the people around them whimpered. And that shocked the goon himself. The woman wasted no time, as she punched the goon on the face with her other hand, holding on to the gun real hard. The goon fell back holding his bloody nose as the woman retained the gun in the hands and in a fluid motion pointed it at the goon.
''Don't move,'' the woman said pointing at the goon. Neither the voice nor the gun wavered and the goon really did not move as he saw the gun pointed at him
''Get out!,'' she said looking around and that was when she saw the grey haired man, close up.
The man was watching her like he was finding it difficult to believe, when there was a sudden tenderness in that face. The other hostages were running, towards the door, and she saw the man's eyes widen in that familiar look, but there was bewilderment in it. She could see the struggle between his heart and mind which was visible clearly in his eyes.
And as always the heart won. Because the woman knew that the man was always like that, it was always the heart which won.
''Baby?,'' the man asked stumbling. The other hostages were out.

''Lets go, dad!,'' the woman said as she smiled after what seemed like a really long time.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Don't fall for a woman who gets shot!" - Part 2

"How is your hand?" Aarvi's question died in her throat as she saw Kiran looking like the world was about to end. Ok, that was no surprise. Kiran always looked like the world was going to end anytime.

"I did not come here to say sorry!" Kiran told Aarvi and he wished for the umpteenth time that he could record her brown eyes. They always looked like they were mischievous.

"Honestly, I did not expect you to say sorry," Aarvi said frowning, wondering what new thing had gotten inside Kiran's head.

"I...I...." Kiran looked around struggling to breathe properly. He had to get this right. "I do not deserve this life which I am having with you, Aarvi! I am dark and dangerous. People around me die. I am not fun to be with!" Kiran said miserably. "And you..." Kiran cleared his throat watching Aarvi. "You are everything that I am not. You need to have a man who can look at you and see you for what you are. You need a man who can make you feel like a queen. A man who can make you laugh. A man who would look at you and be able to tell you that he loves you."

Aarvi sighed looking at Kiran as she caught his hands. "Look at my eyes and tell me you do not love me!"

"THAT IS NOT THE POINT OF THIS!" Kiran yelled angrily. God, this woman was impossible. Everything right from her brown eyes to high cheekbones and sparkling eyes, she should have been a....Kiran had no idea what Aarvi should have been, but he did know that it was not with him.

Kiran's recent brush with that prick Loran Mathur just proved it. That bastard – a small time criminal, had been so angry with Kiran, after Kiran had shut down his cocaine business and Loran had come after Kiran with a vengeance.

And Loran had came straight for Kiran...Kiran's heart.

And Kiran was so sure that he had lost Aarvi, forever. And even now, Kiran was sure that it was only because he was lucky that Aarvi was safe and that bastard Loran was dead.

Otherwise...

Kiran shuddered, trying to concentrate on Aarvi, "I cannot forgive myself if anything happens to you. You should be blaming me and instead you just keep loving me!" Kiran shook his head tiredly, "I should have done this a long time ago. You need to move on with your life." Kiran was depressed as he shook his head. "I am destined to be alone!' Kiran said, his voice chocking. Kiran knew that he could never forget Aarvi's light brown eyes. They were his base. His necessity. And he could never tell that to her. Or she would never leave him. And Kiran realized that if he kept Aarvi with him, he was going to kill her."I will never forget that I was loved once. And I think that is enough for me!"

"Oh my God!" Aarvi moaned as she was clutching her head, looking like she was trying to ward off a headache.

Kiran was staring blankly at Aarvi. He was expecting a lot of things from this conversation, right from a tantrum, to some shouting, even a lot of yelling or some tears. But this....

"Did you practice that speech before you came in to see me?" Aarvi asked and she had the audacity to look shocked.

Kiran was flabbergasted and his brain was frankly refusing to work.

He then snarled angrily as he got up.

And that was when Kiran saw Aarvi's amused dimpled smile as she was struggling not to laugh.

"And honestly, I slept off after you said something about being alone," She said keeping a straight face. "Can you repeat all that?" Aarvi asked.

Kiran did not look capable of talking or even thinking. This woman...

"ACP, Kiran Maral!" Aarvi nearly rolled her eyes and stopped herself at the last time. "You are the most pigheadedly stubborn man I have ever seen!' Aarvi said with feeling.

That jarred Kiran back to thinking. He was startled and then sighed.

"Add that to the list of things that you don't like about me..." Kiran said sadly.

Kiran stopped talking because his cheeks hurt a lot and it had been ages since he had been slapped by anyone. Kiran was still clutching his cheeks unable to articulate himself when Aarvi yelled angrily. "Did I say I don't like men like that?"

Kiran was wrong. There was a time in his life when he seriously avoided the other sex, for the very simple reason that talking with them confused him too much. Aarvi was one of the first few women whom Kiran had spoken with and Kiran just could not stop talking with her. He had found himself telling her so many things about himself which he had not told anyone. That was the time when Kiran revised his opinion deciding that probably all people from the other sex were not completely confusing.

But now Kiran was having a second or rather third opinion. Talking with girls, did give him a headache.

"I am a cop, lady!" Kiran yelled back. "I don't want to stay near you. I will get you killed!" He said in a fuming voice. That was the simple and stark truth. One that no one could deny. He just could not understand why such a brilliant girl could not understand such a simple thing.

"And I am a reporter, mister! A good one," Aarvi said in a loud tone. "I have someone trying to kill me on most Mondays!" Kiran was lost for words as Aarvi continued, "And you have someone trying to kill you on all the other days of the week!" Aarvi admitted generously.

Kiran was deflated. Completely deflated. He was a fool thinking that he could make this woman understand anything.

Aarvi caught his hands and this time her voice was stern. "And I love you."

Four words. Just four words, should not make him feel so...deliriously happy. There was a part of Kiran, which was wondering whether they had missed all this in his psychiatric evaluation.

Aarvi's eyes turned a real light shade of brown as she continued, "And that is all that matters, right now. Both of us live dangerous lives and we could die tomorrow!" Aarvi said as Kiran took in a deep breath not saying anything.

"In these circumstances, it makes sense to live life when we can. The parts of life that we live, that is what is going to define us. It is my life and I need to spend it with a man who loves me for what I am. Which happens to be you and I love you unconditionally. So your choice is simple. Stay away from me and be miserable and alone, for however long you are alive," Aarvi looked disdainfully at Kiran, "Because no one else is going to waste her time with you."

There was a small part of Kiran wondering whether he had just been insulted. But frankly his brain was not in good working condition to give him an answer to that question.

"Or live your life with me, no matter how short it is." Aarvi studied Kiran's inscrutable face as she continued in the same breath, "And no, I did not practice this speech. Being near you, makes me really, really weird, talkative and.."

Aarvi could not speak when she found a hard kiss on her lips.

"You do talk a lot!" Kiran complained still looking angry, catching her hands tightly. He knew he was never letting her go. Ever.

"It is because of the company I keep!" Aarvi said honestly.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Night Out

The gun felt uncomfortable in the boy’s hands because the weapon was heavy and strange. And in the hands of a boy who usually spent his time working on the computer, the gun actually felt weird.
The boy had tears in his eyes as he remembered how many years back his father had reluctantly taught him to use the weapon. And that was just because the boy had pestered his father repeatedly. His father had been unwilling at first, but then his father could never refuse him anything. His father. The man who had raised him. The man who was now lying dead in the hospital, with a bullet wound.
And from his car, the boy saw the man whom he was following had got out of his car. And for a second the boy gasped. Because the man who got out of the car was a small man, with twinkling gray eyes and thick wavy hair. Nothing about the man stood out exceptionally. And the man did not see anything around him as he walked towards the seedy hotel. Admittedly, there was nothing to see at one o’clock, in the night. Nothing at all, except for a boy in his late teens with a raging heart and a loaded gun.
The man walked inside the hotel. There, the man woke up the sleepy hotel manager and a few minutes later, the man walked inside as the boy lost sight of the man.
From his car, the boy saw lights of a room in the first floor of the hotel come up and could see the silhouette of the man inside the room.
The boy was shaken out of his reverie as another car honked loudly from behind and drove inside the parking of the hotel.
The light in the first floor hotel room was on for a few seconds and then there was darkness.
A cold darkness.
The man was sleeping peacefully after what he had done, the boy thought savagely as he pulled the gun and slipped it inside his pocket because he honestly did not know where else he was supposed to keep the gun. For a brief second, the boy wondered who the man he was going to kill, really was. Because his father had never told him that. I work for a man with many names. Considering what we do for a living it is necessary. But I work for him because he respects life. He does not believe in violence and does not keep weapons at all. Because he believes that weapons take away life – An act that can never be undone.” Despite what his father did for a living, the boy’s father was never frivolous about life. In fact the boy had never even heard his father talk about life or death.
And this man was responsible for killing my father, the boy thought angrily as he pulled on the muffler he had brought from his home and put on his gloves, as he got out of the car. He saw that the man's room in the first floor could be reached by jumping on the parapet.
And the foolish man inside the hotel room, had kept his window open, the boy thought as he walked towards the side of the hotel not noticing the basic fact that no one seemed to have gotten out of the other car which had come inside after the boy had come inside the hotel.
**************
The man inside the first floor hotel room, went by many names, but today he was just plain, old Shyam Karthick. No one knew whether that was his real name. But for today that was his name.
Shyam pushed the window open as he heard the noise from below. He then walked towards the bed and was lying on it. Shyam was thinking about who it could be. There was something about this job. Right from the time, Hari had approached him giving him information about the stone in the museum, to the actual steal, today. Something was just not going right and Shyam could not believe that the scrap with the cops today was just because the breaks went against them.
Shyam heard someone climb inside his window.
Don’t make any stupid moves,” The boy snarled as he came very close to Shyam.
Despite the muffler and the gloves, it took less than a second for Shyam to know that his assailant was a boy. And a terrified one at that. The boy pulled out the trembling gun and pointed it at Shyam’s forehead.
You have five seconds to say goodbye to your pathetic life,” The boy said stuttering badly. The gun in the hands of the boy shook even worse as the boy yelled, “Five seconds to reflect on your pathetic life,” the boy repeated savagely.
Five.” The boy said adjusting the weapon to point it at Shyam.
Four.” The boy continued his voice trembled even worse.
Have you ever even used the gun before?” Shyam asked the boy. “And how do you have this gun?” Shyam asked again as he saw the weapon in the dim light.
The boy’s grip on the weapon tightened as his hands were shaking even worse. “SHUT UP,” the boy yelled and the man wondered whether the boy was going to pull the trigger out of fear. “SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” The boy swore angrily but looked incapable of pulling the trigger.
Shyam smiled mirthlessly. “It would really help if you remove the safety catch from the gun.” He said.
The gun shook dangerously as Shyam got up from the bed in a swift movement and stepped forward as the gun moved in an arc crossing him. The man hit the back of the gloved hands real hard.
The boy let the gun go, almost shouting in pain as the gun fell with a clatter. Shyam kicked the gun away from the boy.
Other than a ragged breathing and panting from the boy, nothing was heard from the room.
Why do you want to kill me, Arpit?” Shyam asked.
The boy nearly bolted away from the room, whimpering half in rage and half in fear. Arpit seemed to realize the utter futility in the hood and nearly ripped it off as he stared at the man in front of him.
Shyam stared at the fresh face of the boy in his late teens with the mad, popping black eyes who was panting hard and felt a stab of pity for the boy. And somewhere in some corner of Shyam’s mind it registered that the boy looked exactly like Prasad.
And then Shyam was suddenly scared. Not a twitch in Shyam’s face betrayed what he was feeling. But Shyam was beginning to get very scared. He had known he was being followed. But Shyam did not know by whom or for what. Now seeing that it was Prasad’s boy who was following him, Shyam was worried.
The boy swiped angrily and honestly the punch was not even anywhere aimed at Shyam. Shyam did not even bother catching the punch as he bent down and kicked the boy hard on the feet. The boy did not even know what hit him as he collapsed on the floor.
Stay down!” Shyam said as he was getting up as he saw the boy. “I know that you have a knife in your back pocket. Please do not use it and just tell me how you managed to track me!” Shyam said urgently.
HE DIED,” Arpit yelled in rage, cutting back a sobbing breath. “My dad died,” Arpit screamed trying to get up and falling hard because he was actually crying. “Because you left him to die,” the boy whispered in a hoarse voice, staring at the floor angrily, thumping his hands hard on the ground.
And the news hit Shyam real hard. For the first time, a look of profound sadness passed Shyam’s face.
Shyam did not have many friends. With the kind of life the man led, that was a necessity. But the boy’s father – Prasad, was a friend. A really good friend.
Shyam studied the boy before him and suddenly remembered how Prasad never stopped talking about his son. Arpit was his father’s pride and joy – the boy who was a topper in class and had managed to get employment in one of the biggest firm in the city. The very same boy who was now before Shyam with a gun in his hands out to kill him.
Shyam was thinking hard about the things which happened an hour back, when he had dropped Prasad back at Prasad’s house, after that very dangerous steal at the museum. It was dangerous because the cops had almost got on to them. Shyam was worried about the quickness with which the cops had operated, which was why Shyam had asked Prasad to stay low for a few days. Shyam was driving away from the city, when he had realized that he was being followed. Hence the detour to this hotel. This hotel was definitely not the top ten of Shyam’s favourite places, but it had its uses and Shyam used this hotel specially for contingencies like this. And with all this, Shyam could not understand how the boy had managed to track him. Prasad was very firm on keeping his personal and professional life separate.
Who told you about me?” Shyam asked in a slight whisper as he was focusing on hearing. It was important right now.
Dad never told me about you,” Arpit said talking to himself in a small voice. “He said that there was a man who always called him for small jobs here and there and after every job, dad had a lot of money. But then today when I was walking out of the hospital, I overheard three people who had come to see my dad. They were talking to each other that you were the one who hired my dad for jobs and that you were responsible for killing my father. They were talking that you come to this place in times like this,“ The boy said letting out a shuddering breath.
Get up,” Shyam said as he pulled the boy up. Arpit felt something heavy drop in his jacket as Shyam pulled him up roughly. “Window!” Shyam said pointing at the window behind him. “We are in the first floor. I want you to jump out of the window and go onto the parapet and down to the ground floor and then keep walking. If you have come by your vehicle, get inside and drive away. Away from the hotel. As far away as possible,” Shyam told the boy.
What?” Arpit asked the man, shocked and angry.
Climb out the way you came, boy,” Shyam snarled angrily. The boy was looking blankly as Shyam saw him sharply. “Do you understand?” Shyam demanded.
Arpit shook his head looking slightly less angry but more confused.
I am a thief,” Shyam told the boy, “And whether you believe it or not, your father is a friend. One of the best friends I had.” Shyam shook his head. “I would never hurt him. After our work today, he was fine and I got him home and asked your dad to lay low.”
Arpit snorted angrily as Shyam ignored the slight throbbing in his hands where he was hurt just an hour back, when he and Prasad were trying to escape the police. “I had a feeling that we were betrayed and I wanted to figure things out,” Shyam continued.
Arpit shook his head angrily as Shyam continued. “Your father was evidently followed.”
The boy shook his head again, refusing to believe Shyam.
I knew you were following me for the past half an hour.” Arpit watched Shyam and looking at Shyam’s piercing gray eyes, it was impossible not to believe Shyam. “I came into this place because I wanted to see who you were and..." Shyam picked up the gun from the floor and pointed it at the door.
The door burst open.
The boy whimpered falling back, nearly screaming, as Shyam nodded his head studying the people who had come inside the room.
...And because you were followed.” Shyam told Arpit, as inside the room came three men looking huge and they had three very big guns in their hands. Really big guns. And all of them were pointing at Shyam. Arpit definitely did not notice that Shyam had stepped in front of him almost as if making sure that the new comers did not notice the boy.
No one even noticed Arpit, who was looking stunned and numb. But Arpit knew the three people. They were the people whom he had overheard in the hospital.
You were supposed to kill the boy!” the person in the middle told Shyam. The speaker was Hari, a security guard working in a museum. And the two people near him were big, stupid and someone whom Shyam did not even waste time studying.
I am a thief, Hari” Shyam said sharply. “Not a killer.”
You and your morals,” Hari, said almost grumbling. But then Hari grinned. “I guess your morals are what helped us now. It was so easy to make the boy believe that you were the one who killed his father.”
Hari pointed the gun at Shyam. “Do not waste my time, Shyam, or whatever it is you are calling yourself now. Where is the stone?” Hari asked Shyam in a sharp voice.
What stone?” Shyam asked softly. “The one for which you killed Prasad?”
Hari saw Shyam with a little anger and Hari waved his gun a little sharply nearly ramming the gun at Shyam’s face. “Where is it?” Hari asked in angrily. “And if you don’t tell me, I will kill the boy,” Hari said with a cold smile.
Shyam Karthick smiled mirthlessly, “Do you know why I chose this place to come to?” Shyam asked as he pushed the gun to a side.
There was a slight frown in Hari’s face.
The door behind Hari opened again.
Boys, there is a really big gun pointed at all three of you!” The voice from behind, told them. “And I really don't miss!”
One of the men near Hari turned, as there was a slight “pfft” and the man who had turned winced, gasped and fell down clutching his bloodied shoulder.
Arpit was whimpering and groaning as neither Shyam nor Hari even noticed it. Hari pulled his hands up and so did the other unhurt person near him, just to show that they were unarmed.
Any one else is feeling like dancing?” The voice continued as Hari and the other men stood like statues.
Don't hurt the boy!” Shyam told Chirak, the hotel manager whom Shyam had met downstairs and who was having the gun in his hands. “The boy is innocent and knows nothing!” Shyam said as he came forward studying the men.
Chirak, all of them are armed and I do not want to frisk them,” Shyam told the manager.
Why?” Chirak asked confused.
One of their weapon could be a murder weapon,” Shyam said. “And I do not want my fingerprints anywhere on it.”
Chirak gasped and then stared at Shyam, “Prasad?” Chirak asked as Arpit moaned unable to stop sobbing. Shyam nodded.
I am going to kill them!” Chirak said angrily cocking the gun in his hands.
Don't be a fool!” Shyam blazed angrily. “Make sure the cops know of this,” Shyam said as Chirak nodded reluctantly. Chirak held his gun more tightly as Shyam pulled out a cell phone from his hands and put it in Chirak’s pocket. “That cell phone is untraceable. Call the cops and get rid of the phone.” Shyam said as Chirak nodded.
I just want the stone!” Hari mumbled whispering, “I was the one who came to you telling you about the stone!” Hari said with open hatred and anger. “I just wanted it.”
Didn't you learn sharing when you were younger?” Shyam asked Hari. “We all worked for it. I planned to get the stone out! Prasad got us inside the museum. We all worked together,” Shyam shrugged. “We all could have shared the proceeds!” Shyam said.
It is mine,” Hari said snarling. “All mine!”
Me and Prasad were practically ambushed by the cops, Hari,” Shyam said viciously. “The cops knew we were coming. And it was not me and it could not be Prasad. So how could the cops know our plan?” Shyam asked with a cold smile on his face. And a part of Shyam noted that there was movement behind him. That meant that Arpit had used the window and was out of the room.
Hari was slightly scared as Shyam nodded, “It had to be you and you killed Prasad, when he did not tell you where the stone was!” Shyam said with cold anger in his face. “And you made sure the boy overheard you! You knew I do not hurt people unnecessarily. You figured the boy would lead you to me!” Shyam said with cold anger
I..it… is just business,” Hari said with frightened eyes.
I am a thief, Hari. I don't mess with people's lives. And I definitely don't betray people!” Shyam repeated. “But for you I am willing to make an exception. Just remember that if you walk out of prison alive, that would be the last day of your life. Because that would be the day that I will hunt you down and kill you,” Shyam told Hari, with a cold smile. “And nobody will be there to avenge your deaths. Not one person,” Shyam declared as Hari’s face paled.
Where is the stone, boss?” Chirak asked Shyam, as he pulled out handcuffs from his pocket.
Safe!” Shyam said as Chirak cuffed the three men behind their back as Shyam kept a watch on them. “You will get your share in the morning!” Shyam declared as he walked out of the room.
Shyam turned to the hotel owner, “Make sure you are clear when the cops arrest them,” Shyam said closing the door behind him. “And don’t drag the name of the hotel anywhere during the arrest.”
The last was a very useless piece of information because Shyam knew that Chirak was very careful in that regard. That was one of the reasons, the hotel was still running.
Shyam took a deep breath as he was walking down the stairs.
And that was when Shyam found the boy huddled in the lounge of the hotel looking incapable of moving. Shyam felt very sorry for the boy as he walked towards him. Come, Arpit! I will drop you home,” Shyam told the boy.
Arpit shook his head trembling. “I don't want to go home,” Arpit said struggling not to cry. “I want my dad.”
Come, I will drive you around,” Shyam said unhappily.
Listlessly, the boy followed Shyam as they got inside Shyam’s car, forgetting Arpit’s car. Arpit was silent as Shyam started the vehicle.
Your father was a good man, kid!” Shyam told the boy, “And he is one of my best friends!”
Arpit said nothing. They passed a police van which Shyam studiously ignored. The boy was watching the police van go towards the hotel frowning. But Arpit still said nothing.
There was complete silence in the van as both the man and the boy were lost in their own thoughts. Both grieving.
You have known dad for long?” Arpit asked after some time.
Shyam nodded, not elaborating.
Sorry,” the boy said in a voice which sounded like he had cold. “Dad told me what he did for a living, because I kept asking. But he never told me anything else. When I heard those men in the hospital, I was filled with rage. Blind rage,” the boy said sobbing. “I thought that my dad had worked for you his whole life and you just betrayed him!” Arpit said breaking down crying.
Shyam said nothing. But he did realize why Prasad loved his son so much. Shyam was feeling a dull ache in his heart but he said nothing as he stopped the car in the side of the road.
I am so sorry, I tried to kill you,” the boy told him, hiccuping a sob. “ I was mad with anger. I went home and got dad's gun and I wanted to shoot you,” the boy wept again.
Your father enjoyed his work. But he never wanted you to come close to it,” Shyam told the boy. “He loved you. You were the reason he took up the jobs, I gave him. He wanted you to have everything that he did not have!” Shyam said as the boy wept again.
As the night went on, Shyam talked to the boy as he was driving. Shyam told him how he and Prasad had been childhood friends and how he had always been a thief. And by the end of a few hours the boy was beginning to look slightly less morose.
Hari approached me for robbing the museum!” Shyam told the boy. “I was not too keen but Prasad wanted to do it!” Shyam looked sad, “So I planned it!”
Where is the stone?” Arpit asked. “They thought my dad had it,” Arpit shook his head. “It was not there with him.”
Safest place I know!” Shyam said with a small grin.
Arpit frowned as Shyam put his hands inside Arpit’s jacket and pulled out a shining beautiful emerald from it. “I had it with me when you attacked me,” Shyam said with a smile as the boy was watching the stone shocked.

You could get out of that room alive,” Shyam said, “I was not too hopeful of my own chances! Besides I want you to have it!” Shyam told the boy as the boy saw the sparkling stone, words completely failing him.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Once on a cold planet



Arlan's bleeding hands were trembling in the cold as he tried to ignore it and see ahead. The ice cold snow was making it difficult to breath and in general was interfering with everything that he could do effortlessly.

There! Arlan thought savagely. The white snow right ahead of him moved slightly. Having no doubt that it was one of the assassins after him, Arian pulled the trigger.

Arlan was rewarded by a slight slump in the otherwise undisturbed ice cold snow as he breathed a sigh of relief. This insane and extremely uneven battle between himself and the droids had started off with the impossible odds of six to one was now down to three to one. Not the best of odds but better than what it was before.

That was when Arlan noticed something wrong. The white camouflage of the droids. When the droids fell, the camouflage came out to show the machine underneath. But now the surrounding where the droid had fallen was stubbornly white. Almost as if...

Arlan cursed as he dived and fell back hard. It was a trap! The droid had presented itself as a target just to calculate the trajectory of the shot he has fired to know where he was.

Arlan knew that he had less than five minutes as he abandoned the relative warmth of the cave. Now the fight was in the snow where Arlan knew that he was in a severe disadvantage.

The machine droids could not feel cold and he just could not stop shivering. That was when Arlan realized that he had two weapons with him. The energy bolt was a powerful weapon and it shot pure energy decimating anything in it's path. And the other was an equally powerful weapon which Arlan had taken from the remains of the previous droid. The range of the droid weapon was higher than his own energy bolt.

Arlan smiled as he saw three droids coming towards the caves.

"Be careful 765!" The first droid told its helper. The third one - 4378 was hit real bad to do anything other than follow orders. The leader droid 5, one of the first in it's batch wondered whether it should dismantle 4378. 4378 was a liability now. And could bring down their chances of success against the human. 5 did not know the feeling of surprise, but if it could be asked to qualify it's feeling it would be surprise.

The human, from the frail homo sapien species was unlike other species that 5 and its team had hunted down in the past two years in this very planet - this very planet, where countless people from countless species had met their downfall. And it was all because droids did not execute it's prisoners, the prisoners were hunted down in impossible to win circumstances.

"There is an energy source in the cave, 5!" 765 told 5 as 5 stopped.

5 realized that the human was proving very good at setting traps with the tools he had and the human was an excellent marksman. But 5 honestly did not expect the human to part with his weapon. Probably he was too weak to fight.

"Scan the cave for life form!" 5 said. Their scans operated at 50 feet and were powerful.

"None found!"

5 made a quick decision. "Take the weapon! It would incapacitate the human further!"

Droids did not talk back because they were not programmed to, but 765 detected a flaw in 5's logic but it's circuits could not process or completely as 765 went inside the cave. 5 stood outside as it scanned for any life form and found none within 50 feet.

765 brought the weapon out which was beeping slightly.

"What is the noise, 765?" 5 asked.

"The weapon is being discharged!"

At that second 5 realized that the human was indeed a clever man or probably just a desperate one.

"Throw the weapon." 5 said or atleast tried saying.

There was a loud explosion as there was nothing but scrap where 765 was standing. 4378 collapsed as it's last circuits were fried in the explosion. 5 fell back as it felt something rip through it's circuits.

5 knew that it's circuits were irrevocably fried in the explosion. All that 5 could feel was that it had lost.

From it's blurring vision, it saw a shivering human walk towards it, pointing the weapon of the droids which he had in his hand. The human had shot at the energy bolt while discharging the weapon causing maximum damage to the surrounding including itself.

"Kill me, human!" 5 said quietly. "You have won!"

"Where is the transporter shuttle out of the planet?" Arlan asked 5.

"I am not at liberty to tell you that!" 5 said as the human sighed.

"Fine! I will hack into your data bank!" The human said in a dispirited fashion.

"Your extremities are turning blue! You may not make it out of the planet even if your get the transporter shuttle!" 5 said as the human came forward. The human was very thorough as he checked the surrounding and first brought then brought the remains of 765 and 4378.

"Bad odds!" the human said with a lopsided grin. "Always had it!"

"Why do you fight when the odds are not in your favour?" 5 asked out of genuine curiosity. The human was shivering, as he first dismantled 5's self destruct sequence and then the human took off the communication capability of the 5. 5 could not communicate to other machines. said nothing as the human turned his attention to 765 and 4378.

"Because there is someone waiting for me! For her, I would do this!" the human said quietly.

"Do what?" 5 asked, deciding that it could not defeat the human. But the chances of the human making out of the planet alive was less than 0.5%.

"I love one of your kind!" the human said with slight embarrassment.

5 wondered whether its auditory circuits were broken and realized that the internal scans were fine. "Droids cannot feel!" 5 said.

The human almost laughed as his teeth chattered and he gave up the attempt halfway. "You were humans! You just moved your conscious to machines! That does not take away your ability to feel. You just ignore it. And you have ignored it long enough. Atleast she can feel now!" the human said.

"She? You called the droid as a female?" 5 asked wondering whether this was how it was supposed to be feel astounded. Droids were machines. They could not be designated gender.

"What is her number?" 5 demanded.

The human said nothing as he continued working.

"The transporter shuttle is a kilometer due east!" the human said triumphantly after a few seconds.

"You cannot make it alive in this cold!" 5 said stubbornly.

"I would laugh if my teeth would stop chattering!" Arlan said honestly. He was about to walk away, when 5 spoke to the human, in spite of itself. "You really think you can make it there!"

"Yeah! Two things make me sure that I am going to do it!" Arlan said with a slight smile.

"Which is?" 5 asked intrigued. A part of 5 was telling it that its circuits were malfunctioning. It was feeling something which was never programmed to it.

"Hope and..." Arlan said as he shook more pronouncedly in the cold.

"And?" 5 asked as it could feel the last of its circuits, beginning to burn.

"Love!" the human said with a smile. "She will wait for me!" 5 saw the human and for once it realized that the human genuinely believed what he was saying.

"I am going to the shuttle! Do you wish to come with me?" the human asked it.

"I just tried to kill you! Why would you....?" 5 could not longer articulate its sentences as its vocal circuits were fried.

"I am not the smartest guy, but I do know whether a person is my friend or not!" the human said.

"I cannot survive the journey!" 5 said finally, managing to set right its circuits.

The human smiled shaking his head sadly. "I did not ask you whether you wanted to come with me. I asked whether you wished to. That is why you need to understand. We humans feel things. We think them. That is what determines us!" the human said.

5 thought it understood and for a glorious second it felt that that whatever it was that it had always felt missing in its life. 5 wondered whether it was a female, like the one the human liked.

Half an hour later, the transporter shuttle left the planet.

5 watched it from the planet and though it's existence was about to be terminated it felt that it had done the right thing by not overriding the command of the human and not self destructing.

5 could do that but it had not. It seemed right thing to do.