Tag Archives: Thriller

Heroes

(This story is a fictional dramatization based on some real events and was drawn from a variety of sources, including published materials and interviews. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the story contains fictionalized scenes, characters and dialogue. The views and opinions expressed in the story do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by individuals)

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Chapter 1:

Arup Sen is quite happy and proud, his sting operation against the additional district magistrate is published in the local daily today. He was working on this story for around 3 months now. Arup Sen is an investigative journalist who is working for a famous local newspaper in the city.

A engineer by profession, Arup never thought he would choose journalism as his career, but everything changed when he started his own venture, a small weekly magazine name ‘Expose’ which included the stories about the corruption and misdoings of local authorities. Today he is quite renowned in his field, one of the young and budding journalist. He has already earned many enemies among the bureaucrats and political circle.

As his doorbell rang he answered it. It was his maid Radha, but she was looking distraught, her face was swelled and eyes were red, looked like she was crying all these while.

“Radha, what happened? Your husband has beaten you up again? I have told you to lodge a police complain if he has done it again.” Arup spoke angrily.

“He is in hospital, he tried to commit suicide by consuming poison.” Radha burst into tears.

Arup felt the jolt, he knew Radha’s husband Jeevanlal, an auto driver by profession and a notorious drunkard, he is a habitual wife beater, but he did not seem to be a suicidal type.

“What happened? Tell me everything.” Arup asked Radha.

She was sobbing, but whatever the said in a nutshell was, few months ago Jeevan was approached by a company and they offered him a position, it was a business proposal, he had to invest an amount of money and be the salesman of their product, as well he had to rope in as many people into the same business, more people join the business, more incentive will be paid to Jeevan.

Jeevan happily agreed as he can always use some extra cash, he borrowed around 50,000 from a local money lender and invested, a few months it went well, but slowly he felt the heat, the product was not getting sold and people were uninterested to join the company. The money lender was creating all types of pressure on him as he took the loan on a high interest. It proved too much for him.

Arup listened to her carefully, “You don’t have to work today, go to hospital and be with Jeevan, here, keep some cash.” He gave Radha some money and sent her back.

Arup heard about such business Jeevan was doing, it’s called MLM or Multi-level marketing, he is vaguely aware of this. He decided to hurry as he is late for his office.

*********************************************************************************

Arup knocked at the cabin door of Mr. Dutta, his chief editor, he received a warm welcome.

“Did you see your story today in our newspaper? You made quite an impact my boy. Now the ADM has no other way but to resign.” Mr. Dutta spoke in an enthusiastic tone.

“Amm yeah, I was lucky to get that piece of information that he is taking such a large sum of bribe. But I’m here for something else, I remember a while ago someone covered a story on MLM business scheme, do you remember who did that?” Arup asked curiously.

“That might be Nilesh.” Mr. Dutta spoke thoughtfully.

“Ok.” Arup hurried out of his chief editor’s cabin door. And went straight to Nilesh’s desk.

“Hey Nilesh, I’ve something to ask you.” Arup spoke in a concerned voice.

“Ahh Arup, what a big shot like you might want from me? His voice was sarcastic and Arup did not miss the hint of professional jealousy.

“I remember you did a story couple of months back, it’s about Multi-level marketing scam, I would like to know about it.” Arup ignored the gesture

“What about it?” Nilesh is curious now, he is a senior to Arup but he neither has his talent or eye for a story, so he looked interested.

“Tell me everything, actually let’s go into the presentation room.” Arup urged.

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“Well, MLM is a network based business model, a pyramid shaped multi-level business, where one can profit by two ways, either by selling the product which they buy or get from the company, or by pulling in as many people into it and get the commissions for it or both.

This business model is controversial and in lot of countries it’s banned, it’s also true that in few countries they are not, even in first world countries. The main issue here is though that you are hired by the company you are not under their payroll so you cannot claim back anything if you’re facing losses and your income is purely about how many products you sell. And there’s an easy way out, if you recruit as many people under you, you will actually get paid a portion if they sell and make profit. So basically you can hire 5 people and make them sell the products and earn by almost doing nothing.” Nilesh paused.

“Is it that simple?” Arup blurted out

“Easier said than done.” Nilesh smiled. “It all depends how well the people under you are selling or marketing the products, as almost all roped in to this are novice. Chances are always less, especially when you actually have to invest your own money or buy the products from the company.” Nilesh took a sip from the glass of water kept in front of him.

“If it’s that controversial why it is not banned everywhere?” Arup pulled down his eyebrows.

Nilesh shook his head, “Some of these industries are multibillion dollar industries, they have big banners, powerful people as allies and cult status. There’s a guy called Bill Ackman an activist business man is at war with one of biggest MLM Company Herbalife, for years he is fighting his law suit and nothing has changed.”

Arup got up from the chair and walked towards the door. Nilesh looked at him surprisingly, “Then?” he asked.

“Well, I got my next story.” Arup shrugged.

*********************************************************************************

Next couple of weeks Arup got busy tracking down the whole business and their key people around the city and other places. He got to know a lot of people are involved even including an MLA from the ruling state party.

Arup was busy working on his story in his place, it was 7pm when heard his doorbell, he opened the door and found his younger sister Misha and her boyfriend Avik are standing.

“What happened to this place? It looks like you fought a war here.” Misha screamed when she saw her brother’s entire apartment is a total mess.

“Well, my maid Radha, she is not coming for weeks, her husband is unwell.” Arup answered in an apologetic and embarrassed tone.

“Well brother, bachelors shouldn’t be apologetic to live in a dirty apartment.” Avik was laughing.

In next few hours Misha cleaned up his place and cooked dinner for them. Avik and Arup were chatting. As they all sat for dinner, Arup told about the gig he is working now.

“Wow! I envy you investigative journalist, you get to have so much fun on the field.” Avik exclaimed. Avik is a non-fiction writer who already published his two books.

“I’m proud of you big brother, but do you actually have make enemies with these political goons?” Misha was concerned.

As Misha and Avik were about to leave, Misha looked at her brother, “You need to find a nice girl, it’s been a while now. Forget about Anu.” Arup almost started laughing as his cute younger sister tried play his mother.

“I often wonder what you saw in Avik. But did I complain?” Arup sarcastically taunted his sister.

“I am serious, that girl never deserved you anyway, I know how hard you took the break up, you better find a girl or I will hook you up with whomsoever I find.” Misha hugged his brother and bid good night.

*********************************************************************************

As the story published in Arup’s daily, it created a havoc. The local opposition party demanded the resignation of the MLA and he denied all the allegations and charges.

Police arrested a few people for fraud but they couldn’t trace down the head of the business, as if he never existed, even the top employees never have seen him, seemed like he ran the show by emails and phone calls.

After few days the accused MLA tripped down from stair case and admitted in hospital with a severe head wound and stayed in coma.

Saturday evening Misha called Arup, “what you doing tomorrow, would you join us for lunch?”

“Sorry Misha, I’ve an important work to do, found a guy who actually met the head of this business, he is scared and won’t go to police, I am meeting him tomorrow.” Arup replied.

“I though everyone is caught and the business was shut down.” Misha asked interestedly.

“Nope, the real boss still at large and out of the radar. Wait someone at the door, I will call you later.” Misha heard the clicked sound.

*********************************************************************************

Sunday early morning Misha’s mobile phone was ringing madly, with sleepy eyes she attended the unknown number displaying on her mobile screen.

“Misha Sen?” A heavy voice spoke from the other end.

“Yes, it’s she.” Misha replied.

“We are calling from local police station, I’m afraid we have a bad news. Your brother Arup Sen has committed suicide last night.”

Misha suddenly felt sick, she couldn’t even react, he saw Avik coming out of bathroom, she looked at him blankly. Avik looked at Misha, she was trembling and pale as if someone drained her blood out of her veins.

*********************************************************************************

As Misha and Avik reached to Arup’s residence they were greeted by Inspector Shiladitya Sinha. Misha was crying uncontrollably.

“What happened here?” Avik somehow asked the question.

Inspector Sinha shook his head and handed over a note. It reads, “Though I have got almost everything in my life I wanted, one thing I never achieved. I couldn’t win the love of the woman of my dreams, Anu. My life is meaningless now, I guess it’s time to say goodbye.”

“A clear case of suicide. Unfortunately.” Inspector was shaking his head.

Misha was sobbing, “No he can’t do that, he can’t kill himself over that witch.” And then she saw the note and screamed. “THAT IS NOT MY BROTHER’S HANDWRITTING.”

*********************************************************************************

Chapter 2:

That day by evening Arup’s last ritual was performed, a few close friends and relatives were present. Police registered a formal complaint for a suspicious death, as Arup mostly used to work in his laptop, there was hardly any hand written notes to compare but Misha provided few hand written old letters and basis of that it was clear the handwriting in that suicide note was not Arup’s.

Misha, who was completely broken down by her beloved brother’s death, urged Avik to stay with her at Arup’s place. Misha wanted to feel his brother’s presence at his residence with his belongings.

It was around 9 P.M. when the Arup landline rang. Misha answered it.

“It’s Mohan, why you kept your mobile switched off? I was trying since evening.” The voice at the other end barked.

“Who is this?” Misha replied in a broken voice. “Who are you?”, The voice asked.

“It’s Misha, Arup’s sister, but….” Before she completes her sentence the voice spoke again. “Ask your brother to pick up, I will ring again.

Perplexed Misha told Avik about the call. In another ten minutes the phone rang again. This time Avik replied.

“Hello.”

“Mohan here, now listen carefully, I don’t have much time and can’t stay in this line for a long time. I have got what you wanted. All the documents including the list of people involved. It’s bigger than we thought. I’m keeping my part of bargain and now you have to. And don’t involve anyone, even the cops. Everyone is in this conspiracy. Now take down the address, meet me at 8 P.M. sharp tomorrow at this address.” The voice gave Avik an address and cut the call.

“What is it?” Misha’s curious voice nudged Avik.

“I’m not sure, but maybe Arup was gathering some kind of evidences from someone, some Mohan.” Avik answered worriedly.

“It must be about the same story which killed him. Avik we have to get those documents.” Misha spoke enthusiastically.

“I’m not so sure Misha, if we should get involved into this, it’s dangerous, besides, he said not to involve police as they might as well a part of all these.” Avik was hesitant.

“Avik, he was my brother and I’m willing to take any amount of risk to catch his murderer, if police are involved we will go to higher authorities, press, media, even to ministry. I won’t give up on Arup, if you want you can step back, after all you didn’t lose your brother.” Misha replied angrily.

“I am not backing out, I’m just worried about your safety, you know Arup was my friend too.” Avik was hurt.

“Then let’s get to the bottom of it and get my brother the justice he deserved.” Misha’s voice was firm and strong.

*********************************************************************************

Next day morning Avik went to Arup’s office and met his chief editor Rohan Dutta.

“So is there any development, what cops are saying?” Mr Dutta was warm and willing to help. “He was our star reporter, any help I can be to trace the culprit.” He ensured Avik.

“Amm, do you have any information on what exactly Arup was working after the breaking story on that MLM Company?” Arup asked.

“Well, he hardly used to discuss his work as it requires a great deal of secrecy. I used to get briefed by him once he already prepared the story. But yeah for the last story he worked on, time to time he took help from another of our journalist Nilesh Mehta. If you want you can have a word with him.” Mr. Dutta spoke.

“Of course.” Avik stood up and walked out of Mr. Dutta’s cabin towards Nilesh’s desk.

“Well about a year ago I covered a story regarding a fraud company, a man with no money or capital started a business and became millionaire in matter of months. It drew a lot of attention and at last he was caught by police but later released on bail as lot of other big fishes were involved in that and he knew too much. After that he just got vanished in thin air.” Nilesh shook his head sideways, “I have cautioned Arup about the danger. But you knew him, he could never back down.”

“Does this person have a name?” Avik asked.

“He used to go by his first name, Jalal.”

As Avik walked out of Arup’s office, Mr. Dutta dialed a number

“Yes he was here, he spoke to Nilesh. (Pause) I don’t think Nilesh knows anything much, he is not of Arup’s caliber, I don’t think he is a threat, but we must keep an eye on Arup’s sister and her boyfriend.” Mr Dutta cut the call and called Nilesh in his cabin.

*********************************************************************************

Avik was waiting at the given address by Mohan, it’s near the highway and is completely dark, he checked his watch, it’s 8:15, still no sign of him.

“Did you get my ticket and money?” Avik almost jumped off his feet as the voice suddenly spoke from behind.

“You’re late.” Avik replied, “I was watching you, I had to be sure no one is following you.” The voice spoke again.

“Where are the documents?” Avik asked in a husky voice, “Where is my ticket and money, wait…… you’re not Arup, who are you? Mohan screamed as the light of a speeding vehicle fell right on Avik’s face.

“Arup is dead, I can help you if you give me the documents.” Avik caught his hand as he was trying to flee.

“Leave me, I don’t wanna die, you don’t know what kind of danger you’re in, they killed Arup, now they will finish me off.” He was pleading.

As Avik was trying to pull him, the papers Mohan was holding fell down on the road, as Avik bent down to pick them up, Mohan ran for his life at the opposite direction Avik came from.

*********************************************************************************

Avik returned home with all the documents and few hand written notes, one of them has a list of names. After checking that Avik and Misha was in shock.

“Now we know, we can hardly hope anyone help us.” Avik was visibly disappointed.

“Don’t lose hope Avik, there are still few good people around. We need to get the proof out.” Misha tried to be optimistic.

“But how?” Avik asked with an impatient voice.

“Remember Arup used to run a weekly magazine ‘Expose’? What if we publish all these in that?” Misha’s eyes were hopeful.

“That magazine stopped almost a year ago. If it needs to republish we need a publisher, we need enough budget to print them, circulate them around.”

“Can your publisher help Avik, don’t worry about money, I have some savings, if needed I will sell my apartment or mortgage it, I want my brother’s killers to be punished Avik.” Misha started to sob.

Avik considered that option, his publisher is an honest man, but would he be ready or able to help publishing something of this magnitude.

But Avik’s publisher Satyen Bose kept all the speculations aside and was ready to help. “I am fighting against corruption and equal rights for years, I will not see this opportunity go by me. Don’t worry Avik we will restart the magazine again and it will publish all the proofs that will bring the culprits to justice.”

Avik went with Misha to meet him at his office. “Thank you so much Sir, I hope you know the kind of retaliation we might face, I fear we are putting you and your family in danger.” Misha spoke with an appreciative voice.

“Don’t worry sweetheart, I am strong and I have no immediate family, never will be.” He smiled.

Avik explained Misha, Satyen’s orientation is from LGBT community, he did not declare it publically as he did not want to embarrass his relatives who are pretty conservative.

“You take Satyen to our place and give him the documents, let him analyze which one to publish first and how. I think I will go meet Nilesh, let me see if I can find something from him.” Avik instructed Misha and stepped out, it’s already evening 6 P.M. Avik doubted if he will find Nilesh at his office now.

As Nilesh got down from bus and started to walk towards his house, his sixth sense told him someone is following him.

*********************************************************************************

Avik couldn’t find Nilesh at his desk, Mr. Dutta informed he just left a while ago. Avik considered going to Nilesh house and then he dropped the idea, he can meet him tomorrow morning.

As Avik pushed the door of his apartment and stepped in he was surprised the door wasn’t lock. He called Misha’s name and stepped into his bedroom. If human could feel fear, sadness, shock, anger and disbelief, Avik would feel them all at once.

It’s Misha and Satyen lying on the bed, without a thread on their body, the bedsheet is drenched with blood, both have a precise bullet wound right at the middle of their forehead. The scene was so horrible that Avik felt sick in his stomach and vomited on the floor. He tried to get a grip and ran towards the cupboard where the documents are kept. And then he heard a click sound of a gun’s safety latch right behind him.

“Looking for something Mr. Avik Banerjee?” the heaviness of the voice hit his ear like a bullet.

*********************************************************************************

Detective Rounak Banerjee was sitting in office in Singapore, his business is booming. It was the right decision to leave Indian army and start this odd business of private investigation, but now it’s flourishing, he even hardly miss his family.

As he was browsing through the Indian newspaper sites his eyes stuck to a piece of 1st page news, it reads, ‘An unfortunate ending of a love triangle.’ It reports two gruesome murder and a suicide.

Writer Avik Banerjee who is known for his non-fiction style writing came home last night and found his longtime girlfriend Misha Sen with his publisher Satyen Bose in a compromising position. Blinded with anger he killed them both with his pistol and then committed suicide with the same gun. Misha Sen recently lost her brother Arup Sen who was a reporter and going through some tough time.

Rounak’s eyes were moist, it’s been so long he had spoken to his younger brother but never thought he will lose his brother in this fashion.

But then his detective mind told him there’s something wrong about the news, Avik didn’t even know how to use a gun, and he knew Misha, she was not that sort of a girl.

Rounak decided to fly to India in the very next flight.

*********************************************************************************

Chapter 3:

As the Singapore airline flight touched down to the airport of Indian capital, Raunak looked outside of the window. It’s been quite a while he visited his motherland, and today in a very different circumstances. After the divorce of their parents, Raunak and Avik weren’t very close, but they always stayed in touch, Avik grew up with his father and Raunak with his mother.

He looked at the next seat, Shreya was still sleeping, Shreya Reddy, his personal assistant. Though her parents are Indian she grew up in Singapore, a sharp and intelligent mind, Shreya soon became the right hand of Raunak. Today she is both his strength and weakness.

They took the second flight to Avik’s city.

Another 2 days, Raunak and Shreya gathered all the details regarding Avik, Misha and Satyen’s death. Raunak refrained from declaring him as the closest kin of Avik and let his last ritual performed by the authority. It was tremendously painful for him to not to attend or see his kid brother for the last time, but as a professional investigator her knew his animosity is his biggest strength. If he’s exposed as Avik’s brother, his killers will surely be alarmed.

Nilesh was playing with his 2 years old son when his wife Sangeeta walked in, “Your mobile is vibrating, why you always keep it in silent mode.” She barked.

Nilesh got up and attended the phone, “Nislesh speaking.”

“Hi Nilesh, my name is Raunak, I just need 5 minutes of your time, could you meet me at the café next to your place in another 10 minutes?” An unknown voice spoke.

“What is it about?” Nislesh was surprised.

“it’s about a story, something that can change your life and career, if you don’t want to miss the opportunity you’ve got 10 minutes.” And the line went dead.

Nilesh stood there foolishly, “Could this be a prank?” he thought, nonetheless he decided to walk to the café, it’s just 5 minutes’ walk.

*********************************************************************************

Nilesh was looking at them, a tall, dark, well-built man in his early 30’s and a strong beautiful woman with a medium complexion with piercing eyes in her mid 20’s. Nilesh is wondering what they might want from him.

“Well, now as it’s clear you called me telling me a false reason, I would like to know what you want.” Nilesh cleared his throat.

“We just want to be in your boss’s cabin for 5 minutes when he is not there.” Raunak replied with precision.

“Ok, so why should I do any of it for some strangers, why am I not reporting you to police?” Nilesh laughed.

“Tell me Nilesh, recently do you have a feeling that someone is following you, that a pair of eyes are always surveilling you? Did you notice something of that sort?” Raunak leaned forward and asked those questions in a dramatic fashion.

“I… I don’t think so.” Though his mind went back to the time when he usually return home. Now a days he always feel someone is shadowing him.

“You’re lying, Mr. Mehta.” This time it was Shreya.

Raunak pulled out his iPad and showed him some snaps. Where it was clearly visible, a man in different posture and different times and places, places where Nilesh had been.

“We’ve a reason to believe your boss, chief editor Rohan Dutta is involved murdering, Arup, Avik, Misha and Satyen. He and some powerful men are running a nexus. And if I’m not wrong the next target is you.” Shreya calmly spoke.

“Me? Why me?” Nilesh started to sweat.

“Because they think you might know something that can be harmful for them.” Raunak replied.

Now Nilesh is sweating profoundly, he gulped some water from the water jug kept in front of him. He paused for a moment and looked at them, “Why telling me all these, why not going to police?”

“We have information that the local police department is also involved.” Sherya replied this time

“The entire police department?” Nilesh exclaimed.

“No, but a portion of higher and lower officials, at this point of time we don’t know whom we can trust. We have checked your profile Nilesh, you seem to be an honest journalist. We need your help, else we wouldn’t have revealed ourselves to you.” Raunak spoke in an assuring tone.

“See Mr. Mehta, we are going to bring down this whole nexus with or without your help, but once the war starts you have to decide which side you want to be, with the right people or wrong.” Shreya firm voice nudged Nilesh.

“What you people want to do?” Nilesh asked hopelessly.

“Bug Rohan Dutta’s telephone and office, clone his mobile and plant micro transmitter chips in his clothes. We require to know every of his activity and words he speak.” Raunak replied to Nilesh.

*********************************************************************************

“Sir, he is here, would you like to take the interview?” Nilesh peeped into Mr. Dutta’s cabin.

“The sports journalist? Ok let him in.” Rohan Dutta answered.

Raunak entered into his cabin, “Please take your seat.” Rohan greeted him.

“Sir, could you come here for a moment? I have to show the new story I’m covering, just for a sec.” Nilesh peeped into the cabin again.

“Can’t it wait for another 10 minutes?” Chief Editor Dutta were irritated.

“I just need you for a minute, I’m kind of stuck.” Nilesh pleaded.

“Excuse me.” Rohan made a grunting noise and walked out of cabin. As Raunak was anticipated, his mobile was lying right in front of him on the table. Raunak pulled out a similar model of his mobile phone and started to clone it, then he moved without a noise and planted the chips in the bottom of the landline and in the vase on the table. Nilesh is instructed to keep him busy as long as possible. The cloning of the mobile is taking time, Raunak knocked on the table impatiently.

There was a mild sound of the cabin door opening, Raunak felt his heart skipped several beats, he turned back and saw a guy in his 40’s is standing in khaki shirt and dirty white pant.

“Who are you?” Raunak barked.

“I.. I am the peon, where is Dutta sir.” He was panicking.

“He just stepped out”, Raunak replied. “Oh..ok” the guy turned to leave. Raunak noticed the cloning is done.

“Listen, what is your name?” Raunak called him back.

“M..Mohan sir”, he replied in a timid voice.

“Inform Mr Dutta, I have got an urgent call and I can’t wait, I will meet him later.”, Saying so Raunak did not wait and hurriedly came out of the office.

*********************************************************************************

“We shouldn’t meet in public, after all I am still the investigating officer of Arup’s death.” Inspector Shiladitya Sinha was taking his third drink, Rohan Dutta was sitting right in front of him.

“Relax Sinha, we got things under control now.” Rohan sipped into his glass. They both are sitting in their favorite bar away from the city limits.

“You fool, I told you Nilesh might be a problem, he is not as harmless as you think, my men picked up some suspicious movements by him.” Inspector Sinha barked

“We can take care of him anytime we want.” Rohan smiled.

“And why Jalal is still alive, you kept him in your own office as a peon, what if someone recognized him. No Dutta, you are being careless.” Sinha shook his head.

“Well none will recognize him, all his recorded photos he has long hairs and bushy beard and mustache, I gave him a complete makeover, and remember, always hide something or someone in plain sights, always works. We are not sure if he has some old documents with him, that cunning b****** can’t be trusted, but can’t kill him without being sure. What if he already shared the secrets to someone else?” Rohan spoke indifferently.

“Bosses are getting impatient, we are meeting this Sunday to decide the next move. Be there on time.” Inspector Sinha gulped his drink and got up.

Form a safe distance Raunak listened and recorded every word of it.

*********************************************************************************

As Raunak submitted the evidences to court with the help of a high court judge, DIG of Police, Food and Health minister, a business tycoon and few other important persons got arrested from different places of the city. It was a joint operation by CID and local police. Chief Editor Rohan Dutta and Inspector Sinha were taking into police remand immediately for interrogation.

Jalal alias Mohan agreed to be prosecution witness and was ready to testify against all of them. He was arrested and kept in the lock up.

The trial dates were finalized. While Nilesh and his wife Sangeeta and Sheya decided to present in the court. Raunak decided to visit the place where Avik and Mohan aka Jalal met, as Jalal told him there are few documents Avik did not get and he hid it near a bridge in the same highway.

As Raunak was loitering around near the bridge unsuccessfully trying trace those papers, he felt the presence of few more people. He turned back and saw there are 4 men standing behind him, they looked like hardcore criminals, with Knives, chains and iron rods.

Raunak put his arms above, “You can take my wallet and watch, I don’t want any trouble.”

The first guy swung the iron rod at him, years of military training made Raunak’s nerves strong and calm. He moved out of the way and punched the goon in his throat, the second one charged him with a chain, he ducked and tripped him by his legs. The third one with the knife jumped at him, he caught him by his hip. And then suddenly raunak felt a sharp pain in his lower back. The fourth goon stabbed him continuously till his t shirt and jeans got drenched in blood, the pain and the blood loss made Raunak weak, as the other 3 joined together and started continuously beating him with rods and chains.

After a while a homeless street boy saw 4 men carrying another men who’s bleeding from every part of his body, then they throw him off the bridge to the river and the heavy current of river flushed his body away.

Nilesh, Sangeeta and Shreya were waiting impatiently in the court room, while Shreya was trying frantically to call Raunak, still no answers, calls were going into voicemail.

The public prosecutor was approached by a man, he whispered something is his year. The public prosecutor then addressed the court.

“My lord, it seems our prosecution witness Jalal aka Mohan died in appendix burst today early morning, I smell a deep conspiracy, I urge the honorable court to adjourn for today so his death can be investigated.”

Shreya, Nilesh and Sangeeta came out of court with dejected heart. Sherya tried to call Raunak one more time, this time it was answered.

“Hello Raunak!!” Shreya almost screamed. “No ma’am, this is the police patrolling vehicle, we have found this mobile lying down on highway, there’s blood everywhere but no trace of anybody here.”

Meanwhile Nilesh was walking towards his car to unlock the door, Sangeeta could hardly react as she saw with horror a lorry from nowhere approaching towards Nilesh. The impact was so brutal that Nilesh’s body was thrown off in the air fell onto the nearby car’s roof.

Sangeeta and Shreya stood there motionlessly, it seemed they were paralyzed.

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Chapter 4:

Sangeeta was at the hospital holding her son in her arms, her in laws had come there already. Doctors declared Nilesh as brought dead. Nilesh’s 2 years old son wasn’t able to understand why his mother was crying inconsolably.

Sherya was at the police station, they took her to the crime scene where the mobile was found. Police were searching for Raunak’s body though they were not sure how far the body was flushed away by the river. They showed her the mobile and a small box of ring which they have found there, there was too much of blood around soaked in the sand, the police medical examiner declared that it’s almost impossible for a man to be alive after so much of blood loss.

Shreya had a faint hope that Raunak might be alive as his body was yet to be recovered. As she saw the box of engagement ring she broke down in tears. She knew Raunak was carrying it for a while to propose to her someday. Raunak never knew Shreya was aware of it, nor Shreya ever told him she already knows. The setting sun witnessed a sobbing woman who had lost her friend, her mentor and love of her life.

*********************************************************************************

“We have to get going, we have to bring them to justice, for the sake of all the people lost their lives to reveal this conspiracy.” Shreya clinched her jaw, it’s been almost a week passed after the incidents.

“I just lost my husband, I have a child to take care of, do you think a widow with her kid can fight this battle?” Sangeeta spoke in a bitter tone. They were sitting in Avik’s apartment, police handed over the key to Raunak once he declared himself as Avik’s brother. Raunak and Shreya were living there since they filled the case.

“You’re a lawyer too, it’s your duty as well to unmask all the faces who took away your husband’s life.” Shreya replied impatiently.

“I’m just an assistant lawyer, that too a corporate one. What you want me to do?” Sangeeta sound hopeless.

“It’s up to you whether you want to stand next to me and fight shoulder to shoulder, because I am not stopping till I have my revenge for Raunak. If you want to play safe, if Nilesh’s death means nothing to you, then good luck.” Sherya’s voice was trembling with anger and frustration.

“What you need me to do? I will do anything to nab the murderers of my husband, as long as it’s not putting my son’s life in danger.” Sangeeta replied.

*********************************************************************************

Justice M Sohrabuddin is still fit and strong even in his 60’s, being a high court judge he has completed his 35 years of service in Law and order department and he has a reputation of being honest and straight forward man.

He finished his jogging and sat on the bench in the park as his daily routine, a young woman came out of nowhere and sat beside him, she was wearing a navy blue hoody.

“Justice M Sohrabuddin?” The woman whispered. Sohrabuddin was little surprised, “Who’s asking?”

“This is Shreya, Shreya Reddy. Few days back my Boss Raunak Banerjee and Nilesh Mehta met you regarding a case, you helped them to file a case against the police officials and state minister.” Shreya whispered again.

“Yeah I remember, I read it all in the news and watched it on TV, I’m really sorry for your loss, but I guess the case is on. The prosecution witness Jalal’s death was unnatural, one of his lock up inmate got arrested. And the tainted DIG of police has resigned. The party has expelled their Food and Health minister. Law is taking its own course but you have to have patience.” Justice Sohrabuddin spoke in a compassionate voice.

“But I have my suspicion that more people in the state ministry are involved and they are still at large, targeting people whoever know anything about them. They need to be stopped.” Shreya whispered strongly this time.

Sohrabuddin was surprised again, “Do you have any proof to establish your claim?” He asked.

“Not yet, but if I get you the proof, could you help me?” Shreya pleaded.

“I can sure try to. I know some people in central government, we can ask for a central probe in this case, but as I said, we need strong evidences, enough proofs.” He replied.

“I will meet you in few days, with proofs.” Shreya stood up and jogged away.

*********************************************************************************

Secretary of state home minister Jayant Biswas is a busy man, so busy that he always misses his lunch. So when one of his security guard came and gave him a chit with a name he was irritated. Then he read the name and was surprised, it reads Sangeeta Mehta.

Jayant Biswas bought few lands in his wife’s name and with his influence he managed to evade taxes, but as some legal implication befallen on him he had to hire a corporate lawyer from a lawyer firm. Sangeeta was one of them, a bright young woman who helped him multiple times with legal issues. He asked his guard to send her in.

“Good afternoon Ma’am, how did you lose your way to my office today.” Jayant Biswas had a warm welcoming smile.

“I need your help Mr. Biswas, an urgent help.” Sangeeta spoke.

“Sure, anything within my power.” Jayant Biswas replied.

“I need your help to look into some important files and documents.” Sangeeta replied. “What kind of files?” Jayant was curious.

“I need the access of all the files basically, the state affair files, I have to search them.” Sangeeta spoke in a serious tone.

“I’m sorry Mrs Mehta that I can’t allow. They are confidential.” Jayant shook his head.

“So are your tax evasion files Mr. Biswas, and I never leak anything out.” Sangeeta wore a sarcastic smile on her face.

“That’s the client confidentiality every lawyer maintain.” Jayant chuckled.

“And what if I decide not to maintain?” Sangeeta was serious again.

“Wait, are you trying to blackmail me?” Jayant’ voice got louder.

“I am not here to blackmail you Mr. Biswas, I came here cause I need your help, my husband Nilesh got killed few days ago and authorities are denying to help, please.” Sangeeta’s eyes got moist.

“Sorry Mrs. Mehta, I truly am sorry for your loss, but can’t help you in this.” He shook his.

Hopelessly Sangeeta got up and turned back, “Mrs Mehta, please write your mobile no in this register. We have some protocols, visitors need to provide some details.” Jayant called her back.

As Sangeeta hit the road her mobile phone rang. “Hello.”

“Mrs. Mehta, Jayant Biswas here, please meet me at Arundhati hotel for lunch in another 15 minutes.” And the line went dead.

*********************************************************************************

It was 8 P.M in the night, Sangeeta and Shreya were fanatically searching something in Jayant’s computer. Jayant was standing near the collapsible gate, he sent the night guard to get some food, he gave him a tough list so it will take some time.

Jayant was grinning to himself, got a good deal from these ladies, about 10 lakhs worth of cash and jewelry for the information they are looking.

Shreya searched with the name of the MLM Company and got all the data copied to two separate USB drive and gave one to Sangeeta.

“Keep it, in case of any of us, touchwood let it be me, if we are attacked the other one has to reach to Justice Sohrabuddin.” Shreya whispered to Sangeeta.

“Let’s get out of here, tomorrow morning the 1st thing we’ll do is this.” Sangeeta replied.

“No not tomorrow, tonight, I am going tonight to him. You go home and wait, if anything happens to me tomorrow morning you have to give it him.” Shreya clinched her fists.

*********************************************************************************

Shreya reached to Justice M. Sohrabuddin’s residency at about 9 P.M, the lights were still on. She went to the main door and rang the doorbell.

A security guard opened the door, “Is justice Soharabuddin awake?” Shreya asked him. He nod his head and showed the way to his drawing room.

“Sir I’ve got the proof in my hand, now you must act, Shreya announced as she entered into the room.

Justice Sohrabuddin was sitting in his easy chair showing his back towards the door. He did not reply, also he looked half lying in a different posture. As Shreya walked up to the chair, she couldn’t help but had a muffled cry.

Justice Sohrabuddin’s left hand is dangling from the chair and his head is tilted to left, his eyes and mouth were open. He couldn’t reply cause he is not alive anymore. There’s no sign of struggle or injury on his body in plain sight, an empty syringe was lying on the floor.

Air Embolism, Shreya thought. If more than 60ml of air can be injected direct into human vein, it can cause fata cardiac arrest. Shreya heard few footsteps towards the door.

As Sangeeta reached near her house and about to push open the gate she noticed a big van with a baby food logo on it. A man from nowhere suddenly appeared.

“Ma’am we sell baby food, it’s a new launch in the market so doing a door to door marketing.” The guy spoke politely.

“Door to door marketing at 9 P.M. in the night? And how do you know I need or buy baby food?” Sangeeta looked at him with suspicious eyes. All of a sudden she felt a strong push from behind and the guy who was speaking held her mouth with his palms to prevent her from screaming, they dragged her like a plastic doll towards the van.

Shreya heard the footsteps, she pushed open the window of the room and jumped out on the veranda. It was a cake walk for fit and trained Shreya to jump off the boundary wall. She could still hear the shouting’s and voices abusing her.

She ran as hard she could, about after 5 minutes she stopped. She realized she got into a closed lane and she could see the dead end. She turned back.

There were about 20 men, to be precise, starving beasts were standing at the entrance of the lane. Everyone had hungry eyes like wolves.

As 20 of them took turn to ravage, brutalize and destroy her, after a while she went numb, she did not feel any pain, humiliation and agony. She felt nothing.

Next day’s newspaper headlines were dominated by only one topic, ‘Crime against women in the city is on the rise.’ It reported in two different incidents two young woman, a widow and an NRI women were ravaged and dishonored by predators.

There was another news as well, it was reported that high court judge M Sohrabuddin died in cardiac arrest at his residence around 9 P.M last night, he had no history of heart dieses.

Sangeeta was admitted in hospital with a deep head injury and cigarette burn marks on her whole body, doctors reported she had gone through inhumane torture. Next day afternoon she lost her last battle to death. Shreya was kept in the ICU. Her condition was critical.

Jayant Biswas’s mobile phone rang, “Yes sir, thank you sir. All done then. Glad to provide the information sir.” He cut the call and grinned, he always go with the highest bidder.

*********************************************************************************

“May I come in Sir?” Animesh knocked the door and held it half open.

“Come on in”, CBI director D’Souza shook his hand.

“My next assignment is it?” Animesh smiled.

“Here read this”, D’Souza pushed a file at him and lit his cigar.

Animesh took 10 minutes to read the report. “Geez, it’s a b*****y ‘Game of Thrones’ out there.” Animesh chuckled.

“That’s why we decided to send you, do you need anything specific?” D’Souza left another puff of smoke in the air.

“Oh yes! I won’t work with local authorities’ sir.” Animesh replied.

“Though it’s a central investigation, we need local and state help. Can’t cut them off.” D’Souza replied casually.

“Not exactly.” Animesh replied and leaned forward to explain his plan.

About 6 feet 2 inches tall, fair and handsome Animesh RoyChowdhury is hailed from one of the oldest and famous family of Bengal landlords. And 2006 batch IPS officer in his early forties, he is known as a living nightmare of many bureaucrats and politicians. Because his obsession towards white shirts and outfits he is known as the White Knight of CBI department.

As Animesh was about to walk out when D’Souza called his name, “Animesh, don’t get killed, department needs you.” And the he had his trademark mad laugh.

Animesh smiled, “Don’t worry, I won’t sir.”

*********************************************************************************

Last Chapter:

It took almost two weeks for Animesh to gather all the details about all the incidents and deaths happened in the city which were connected directly or indirectly with Arup’s investigation. Though something was telling him that the roots were deeper than he anticipated.

Once he got all the reports, he tried to arrange them like a jigsaw puzzle.

Arup started to investigate about an MLM company with a pyramid scheme. He exposed an local MLA and few others connected to this illegal business. The MLA soon after meet with a domestic accident and goes into deep coma. Was that an accident or a preplanned attack? If it was an attack then who tried to kill him?

Arup kept investigating even after few people got arrested. Then he died in suspicious circumstances which was almost covered up as a suicide. But Misha found out the truth. Together Misha and Avik launched their investigation, got in touch with Mohan aka Jalal. They tried to unmask few powerful people and again they are been killed. It was again tried to set up as double murder and a suicide. But somehow they did not know Satyen Bose was a closet homosexual, hence the angle between him and Misha cheating on Avik fell apart. What were Avik and Misha planning to expose that they had to meet this horrible end?

Then Raunak came along with Shreya, they got a very important breakthrough as they were able to nab chief editor Dutta and Inspector Sinha and thus unraveled a bigger conspiracy. Bring down the DIG, a minister and few other billionaire businessmen. They found Mohan aka Jalal hiding in plain sight as an employee in Editor Dutta’s office. He agreed to be a prosecution’s witness and he was brutally killed by his lockup inmate, at first again this death was been covered up as appendix burst but later revealed as he was been punched continuously in his abdomen and died of internal bleeding. Raunak was attacked near a bridge in highway or at least that was been reported, Raunak is still missing, no news yet about him or his dead body is recovered. Nilesh was killed at the same time in a freak accident, the lorry driver claimed his brakes failed. Is Raunak still alive? Is Nilesh’s death is just an accident or he is killed?

That left Shreya and Nilesh’s wife Sangeeta to act together. They were also brutally attacked and Sangeeta is dead now, Shreya is the only person alive who knows a lot about this case. She has to be protected, she is recovering but Animesh is certain there will be an attempt to take her life. Also Justice M Sorabuddin with whose help Raunak, Shreya and Nilesh filed the case against the accused, found dead in his residence same night Sangeeta and Shreya were attacked. He had no history of heart disease, yet he died in cardiac arrest. Too much of coincidence?

Animesh looked at his watch, it’s 3 A.M. in the morning and he is still sitting in the balcony in the arm chair. It was a little chilly because of falling dew, it was clam and quite around. And then he hard a sound, someone threw a stone at him, but luckily it went on hitting the window. He picked up the piece of stone, it was quite big, if it would have hit him, he would have been injured badly.

Animesh saw a piece of paper tied around the rock, he took it off and read it, “There’s no place for a white knight in a dark realm, Run before the darkness consumes you.”

Animesh smiled to himself and then he dialed a number. “Keep her safe. Don’t let her out of sight even for a moment.” And he put down the phone.

*********************************************************************************

Animesh got a call around 8 A.M from Chief Minister’s office, CM would like to meet him at the breakfast table in his residence by 10. Animesh got ready in a hurry and started.

He had no idea that the state home minister would also be there. He greeted both of them.

“How’s the investigation going?” CM asked Animesh.

“It’s going good Sir, we made some breakthrough. Looks like a lot of people are involved in it.” Animesh replied politely.

“I have our home minister here, he is concerned about something he would like to discuss with you.” CM looked at the Home minister.

“We are seeing a lot many para military force’s presence in the city, we are witnessing a lot many people in camouflage uniforms moving across the city. I find it a matter of concern.” HM cleared his throat and spoke.

“Oh! They are helping me with the investigating and nabbing the accused. Don’t worry, CBI head quarter already gave a go ahead to take help of para military force.” Animesh replied confidently.

“Is it a way of saying that local police and authorities are not trustworthy?” HM had had a crooked smile appeared on his face.

“Well, a significant amount of local higher authorities are under the radar. At such circumstances I have little choices.” Animesh snapped back.

HM shook his head, “I have no problem with the CBI probe but I can’t allow para military force tearing down this city, I have already wrote to central ministry and they agreed to withdraw them within 48 hours, you will have that order on your table by today evening.” The smile from HM’s face is gone.

“Will that be all Sir?” Animesh looked at CM.

“Yes, yes, see I do agree with state home ministry, we can’t allow this.” CM spoke. “But please, finish your breakfast, your tea is getting cold too.”

“Sorry Sir, I have got an important work came up, I gotta leave.” Animesh stood up leaving his half done breakfast and stormed out of there.

Animesh straightaway went to see Shreya at the hospital. Doctors informed him she has responded well to the treatment, but still very weak to give any statement. Animesh cautioned his men one more time and went directly to the room where Shreya was kept.

“You can’t be hare, she’s still very weak and unstable.” The doctor attending her warned Animesh as he showed his ID.

“I just need 5 minutes with her.” Animesh ignored the doctor.

One side of Shreya’s face was unrecognizable, it was battered and bruised, the left eye was heavily swelled. She had scratches and bruises from her head to toe, still she was in her senses. Animesh who has nerves of steel, even for a moment he felt the nudge.

“Those animals.” Animesh clenched his teeth and leaned onto Sherya, “Shreya I know you were there at justice M Sorabuddin’s place that night you were attacked and I know you were keeping in touch with him. Tell me why did you go there?” Animesh whispered the words.

Shreya looked at Animesh with disbelief and slowly uttered, “Who are you and why should I trust you?”

“I am Animesh RoyChowdhury, CBI special branch. You have to trust me because only I can help you and you have nothing to lose.” Animesh’s voice was firm.

“True, I’ve lost Raunak, I’ve lost my honor and I have lost the very will to live.” Shreya whispered back.

Animesh leaned further, “Help me, so I can help you. I only have 48 hours” Animesh pleaded.

*********************************************************************************

Animesh came to meet the CM, he had specially requested the CM to meet him.

Sitting at his desk CM greeted Animesh, “So you’ve solved the case?”

“Yes Sir.” Animesh replied.

“Tell me about it,” CM looked curious.

“As I was assigned to this case, I have a vague idea what I will be against, there were about dozens of death which was linked with one case. But I wasn’t able to understand how so many people who are layers, getting caught yet the whistleblowers are getting killed.

As per my investigation at least 4 sets of people tried to unravel the conspiracy behind one MLM company and all of them succeeded to unmask few faces but that wasn’t enough and got punished for doing so.

I was wondering why Arup never stopped investigating even after the scoop he has published which created a lot of buzz. The only person alive who knew all about the whole investigation is Shreya. Shreya and Sangeeta were acting together when they stumbled upon few documents from state ministry, Jayant Biswas helped them. Then he double crossed them as well. Shreya made two copies of the files in her USB drives. But she had a special one, a usb drive with cloud backup which instantly send all the data to an online drive. Though both the USb drives were snatched from them the data was available. I spoke to her and retrieved the data.

And then everything is cleared like a sunny day to me. It was of course one of the greatest conspiracy.

Jalal aka Mohan was into fraud business for quite some time, He made a lot of money with a lot of Ponzi schemes and the money was stacked lying in a lot of places. On November 8th the demonetization announced, he had his partners were at sea, because all they had was cash, black money. They needed to push them into the banks somehow. They started another business, an MLM business, but this time the cash flow would be in reverse order.

So they started finding the less fortunate ones, and offering them money to find more people and giving the cash to them. As the highest amount you could deposit was 250,000, they started pouring their accounts with any amount less than that. The plan was simple, find poor people and use them to deposit the money in their account. Whoever tried to rebel or act smart were hushed up. So as one man recruiting another 10, automatically they are getting more bank accounts to deposits, who did not have bank accounts their accounts were opened overnight. Arup’s maid’s husband Jeevanlal was among them, but when he understood the plan he revolted back and faced the consequences. A relatively new privatized bank was also used for it.

But all these things were never possible without the backing of political muscles or without the local authorities. Slowly it reaches to the highest possible parts of the state leadership. When they were threatened to get ripped of their reputation because of a few people trying to uncover the whole thing, they panicked and started to kill all the whistleblowers.”

Animesh paused.

“Whom exactly are you accusing Mr. RoyChowdhury?” CM asked in easy tone.

“You sir, I am accusing you. The way all these things were done and been covered up, only someone of your position could do so.” Animesh’s voice was calm as well.

CM burst into laughter. “Mr RoyChowdhury, you have a vivid imagination.” CM was almost chocking in laughter.

Animesh continued, “As we are speaking the state ministry affair office is been raided, Jayant Biswas proved to be very useful. The Governor has been briefed and so is the President. And here’s your arrest warrant.”

CM suddenly noticed his residence is getting infiltrated by a lot of CRPF personals in their para military camouflage uniforms.

Animesh stood up, “That would be all sir, good day.”

*********************************************************************************

Shreya opened her eyes and to her surprise there was Animesh with a bouquet of flower in his hand.

“For you.” He kept on the table and the gave her a double sided photo frame, one side of which has a collage of Arup, Avik, Misha,Nilesh, Sangeeta’s photo the other one has a smiling face of Rounak.

“We are still searching for Raunak, unfortunately I have no news about him till now.” Animesh spoke those words slowly.

“You know, we don’t have to search for heroes only in our borders, within our soldiers merely. Sometimes we just have them among us. And you people are… the Heroes.” Animesh uttered those words with pride.

Shreya completely broke down in tears like a child holding the frame in her hands, only hoping and praying that Raunak is still alive.

Animesh slowly walked out of the hospital room keeping the door ajar.

*********************************************************************************

(The End)

Island….

Image description not specified.

(This story and characters are fictitious. Certain nations, long-standing institutions, agencies, and public offices are mentioned, but the characters involved are wholly imaginary. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)

Part – I

It’s already 8 pm, Dr, Ishaan Roy was shoving his laptop into the leather bag, ‘Gone are those days when one was busy shoving the important files into the briefcase before leaving the workplace.’ Dr. Roy chuckled.

At the same time his cell phone started to glow and making a hissing sound like an angry cobra, obviously, he kept it in silent mode, the only thing he wants is to get disturbed by cell phone rings when he is concentrating on his work.

He looked out through the glass wall, his assistant Nethra was busy collecting and organizing some papers. The call did not land up in her desk in that landline else she would have just shunted the caller saying Dr. Roy won’t be able to attend the call no matter how important it seems to the caller. And if he gets a call on his personal cell phone, it’s obvious that the caller might be known to him.

Ishaan left out a long sigh, as usual, he is late, his work hour is 9 to 6 but he ends up working 8 to 8, not that someone is waiting for him back there at his residence. Nonetheless, he picked up the call.

“Dr. Roy speaking.”, There was a heavy voice which greeted him from another side, “Good evening, Dr. Roy, how do you do?”

Ishaan was surprised, it’s none of the voices known to him. “Good evening, I’m fine. May I know who’s speaking?” He replied with half surprising half irritated tone.

“You don’t know me, but is it possible to have an appointment with you tonight?” The heavy voice spoke again. Ishaan felt angry in his bones, It’s 8 pm and someone wants to meet him at this hour, that too an unknown person who happened to get his personal cell phone number.

“It is not possible, by the way how you got this number?” Ishaan’s tone was bitter

“It is quite important Dr. Roy, at least, could you make time for an early morning tomorrow?” The voice is almost pleading now.

“No!!” Ishaan cut the call and switched off the phone.

Ishaan stormed out of his cabin and was walking towards the lift when he heard Nethra calling him.

“Dr. Roy! You have forgotten your car keys again.” Nethra was walking straight at him with a smile.

Ishaan felt a bit impressed and a bit embarrassed, he smiled nervously and took the keys.

********************************************************************************

Nethra is working with him for 1 and ½ year now and by this time he became a complete dependent of her. He remembered the day when she came to him with an odd request, Ishaan already left his prestigious government post and joined as an R&D head of a startup geological survey based company, he had a small team and he did not have any secretary or PA.

Nethra came to him with a request to work as an intern. As the company has no such policies to keep an intern she agreed to work as a PA of Ishaan as well as his intern. The thing that surprised him was then 25 years Nethra was her identity. She is the daughter of Brigadier V Suryanarayanan, a decorated soldier, and commander of the army. She had completed her masters in Seismology and was perusing her Ph.D.

“You know we can’t pay you that well, and why us? You could get a job in some university, that would have helped in your further study.” Astounded Ishaan asked her while looking at the tall, dusky girl with a natural flair of beauty and a heavenly smile.

“I want to work with you, I have heard so much about you. I would like to work for a while before I get back to my study and research. I don’t mind how much ever you pay, if you want I can work even without a salary.” Nethra Suryanarayanan spoke those words with firm determination.

Ishaan did not stretch the conversation after that, his workload was increasing and he really needed a helping hand. Nethra turned more than a helping hand, she almost became a nanny to him who keeps track of his appointments, personal belongings, bills to pay and diet.

********************************************************************************

“If you would have gone down without these, you had to come back all the to 10th floor again.” Nethra was smiling at him, she looks really sweet when she smiles.

“I know I’m late and because of me, you are late too. You really don’t have to wait till I leave, once your work is done, you can go home.” Ishaan was visibly embarrassed when spoke those words.

“It’s ok Dr. I hardly know anyone in this city, it’s not that someone waiting for me in my empty apartment.” Nethra left a sigh, she sometimes misses her dad and family who are far away in another place in this country.

“Well, ride safe and let me know once you reach.” Ishaan started walking back towards the lift.

“I might have to take a cab or auto, I gave my two wheeler in a service center.” Nethra too was walking the opposite way when she replied.

Ishaan stopped there and turned, “You don’t have your two-wheeler? I can a drop you. Come along.”

“Amm I still have to wrap up few things, might take another 10 minutes,” Nethra replied.

“All right, I am waiting down in the parking lot, wrap it up and meet me there.” Ishaan did not wait for the reply and got inside the lift.

Nethra waited till the lift door gets closed and then shook her head as she recalls things about him.

Dr. Ishaan Roy was one of the greatest geophysicists in the country if not in the world. A brilliant academic and sharp, intelligent mind rose steadily in the field of geology and geophysics. The young and bright young man soon became an integral part of Government Geological department and became the deputy vice president when he is mere 35 years old.

Then 5 years back, everything changed, a storm came into his life and left it wrecked. Ishaan with his wife Kavita and son Soham was in Cairo, Egypt for a casual vacation. While traveling in a caravan, there was a desert storm. A lot of tourists were injured but Kavita and Soham were missing, the local police couldn’t trace them as if they got vanished from the face of the earth.

Ishaan tried all possible ways, including getting help from the embassy but nothing worked. Heartbroken Ishaan was changed since then, he came back here, resigned from his job and for a year mourning for his loss. Then he joined this small company for a living, his parents are no more and he hardly has any relatives here.

When Nethra thought of studying geology she always had Ishaan as his icon and she was overwhelmed when she got the chance to work with him. The tall, fair, 40 years old, babyishly handsome Ishaan is like an absent-minded child who sometimes can’t even find his specs on the table, but when it comes to his work and knowledge, he is like a sharp surgical knife, neat and precise.

Nethra started hurriedly to finish off the work.

********************************************************************************

Ishaan was leaning onto his Honda city waiting for Nethra, the parking lot is almost empty and dark, his radium watch is showing it’s 8:25 pm

Suddenly he saw two men are approaching at him, they both are wearing black coats, there was hardly any sign of any human except the security guard who is still sitting near the main gate under the light.

“Dr. Roy?” one of them asked in a husky voice, “Yes!” Ishaan replied in an unsure tone.

“Let’s go.” All of a sudden he felt a pair of hands grabbed his neck and shoulder and then felt the touch of a cold metal on his back, the gun was pressed against him by one of them.

“What.. is going…on?” Ishaan tried to resist but then the man who was grabbing his shoulder whispered, “One more word or scream and you’re dead. You should have taken the appointment.”

As Nethra walked into the parking lot, she was temporarily blinded by two big headlights lit up right in front of her and then a black van hush passed her in full speed.

********************************************************************************

Image description not specified.

Part – II

Ishaan was inside the van sandwiched between two goons who just abducted him, when the van was started to move he saw Nethra through the windscreen, she was walking right towards the van. Ishaan tried to scream and warn Nethra but he only managed a muffled cry. When he saw the van hurried past her, he left a sigh of relief.

There are lots of question revolving in his head, who are these people, clearly, they are sent by that unknown caller, what they want from him. They did not blindfold him or not holding the gun against him anymore but they are faces are stone clad, sign of no emotions at all. Ishaan sighed again, who knows what is waiting for him?

They traveled for almost half an hour, the van stopped at last, the 1st goon jumped out of the van and roughly pulled Ishaan out of it, the 2nd one followed. They are standing right in front of a tall building, Ishaan vaguely recognize the place, it’s one of the rich and posh residential area of the city. Ishaan was immediately dragged towards the entrance then to the lift, there was the security guard who saw them did not react to the situation at all, as if it happens regularly and he witness so all the time.

The lift stopped at 8th floor, as usual Ishaan was dragged out of the lift and then they press the doorbell of the door 803. The door opened immediately, a beautiful brunette in her black apron answered the door, she saw them, didn’t utter a word and make ways form them. In a glance she looked familiar to Ishaan but he couldn’t recollect where he saw her.

As he was dragged and pushed to another room he saw a man sitting on the sofa, Ishaan could see him partially as his face was turned 90 degrees towards the TV.

“Hello Senor Dr. Roy, we meet again.” The man looked staring at Ishaan now while speaking those words in heavy Latin accent. Ishaan knows him pretty well. It’s Juan Carvalho!!

********************************************************************************

The 5 feet 3 inches half bald man, almost same in length and breath, flat nose and thick dark lips, was looking straight at Ishaan with his dark cold blooded murderous eyes and grinning constantly with those dirty rotten teeth. Juan Carvalho! The Columbian drug lord and one of the most wanted man in his nation and by Interpol.

“What happened Dr. You look surprised, Don’t tell me you aren’t happy seeing me again.” Again Carvalho spoke with his Latina accent.

“What you want?” Ishaan answered.

“Ahh, see Dr. that’s what I like about you, you never waste any time and get to the point right away. I don’t want much from you, I am just here to invite you, to an interesting journey.”

“But, you didn’t call me, I could have recognized that voice or that accent.” Ishaan suddenly remembered.

“Ohh, I have many men at my disposal senor Dr. Do not be worried. Now, now, all you have to do is apply for a long leave and start the journey with us, we are flying tomorrow. I guess it won’t give you much time to pack your things. Unfortunately, we are on short notice.” Carvalho was speaking as if he is inviting an old friend for a sudden surprise tour.

“Carvalho, do you really think I will come with you? Just like that?” Ishaan’s temper was rising.

For a moment Carvalho’s eyes sparked with fury, but then again he spoke in his sweet tone, “Dr. Roy, you are very well aware of what I can do, I know you don’t care about your life, but think about your relatives who are scattered around this country, think about your friends, think about your cute little assistant Nethra, you know I can hurt them, I can hurt them bad. Do you want me to be that cruel?”

Carvalho’s words jolted him, yes he knows what this devil is capable of. This is not his first encounter with Juan Carvalho El Diablo. He held his breath and muttered under it, “Where do you want me to come with you, to el inferno (The hell)?”

“Ahh senor Dr. you started to ask the right question, of course not to inferno but el Cielo, to the heaven. Now my men will drop you back at your apartment and you will collect your clothes and belongings for a month vacation. I want you to call your office and ask for a month leave for grave reason, maybe cause your uncle is in deathbed or something else, see I don’t want any loose end, I don’t want anybody gets alarmed of your sudden disappearance, so make up a good story. Buenas noches Dr. Roy, I will see you tomorrow.”

As Carvalho bid goodnight to Ishaan in Spanish, he was again held and dragged out by those two goons, the lady who opened the door was watching them, Ishaan remembered now, its Carvalho’s lover and right-hand women Ana Maria.

Ishaan was almost thrown out of the van as they reached near his residence, one more time one of the abductors warned him what might happen if he goes to any authority or police.

He, at last, reached to his flat, took a long cold shower and throw himself on the bed, though there was no sleep in his eyes.

********************************************************************************

Nethra fell on the ground as the black van speeding past her, she was angry and terrified at the same time, “How could be someone be so irresponsible while driving”, she thought.

She waited near Ishaan’s Honda city while unsuccessfully trying to call his mobile. The only answer she got was the mobile number is switched off and try again later. When it became 10pm she started to get really worried, she asked the security guard but he claimed he did not see anything.

While being worried sick she tried to contact the police, they told her the missing person FIR can only be registered if a person is missing for more than 24 hours, she also mentioned about the black van but as she did not notice the number plate even that was a dead end.

Tired, exhausted and frightened Nethra reached her apartment around 12 am, the OC of the police station was kind enough to provide her a police jeep to drop her at her place. While lying down in her bed she was imagining all kinds of gory incidents might have happened with Ishaan, Ishaan sitting in his place, was trying to find a way out of all these.

Ishaan knew for sure if he goes to police or any other authority they will promise to help him in all possible way, but knowing Cravalho, he won’t stop at that. “No, I can’t let him hurt any of my near or dear ones, or for that matter innocent Nethra.” He was sure there is no other way but accept Carvalho’s term. “What’s the worst might happen, I might die? What do I have to live for after I lost my family?” Ishaan, made his decision, it’s a one-way journey.

********************************************************************************

Early morning at 8 am Ishaan a dropped a mail to the director of his company that he is travelling out of station to deal with an urgent personal matter. He started packing from last night, Carvalho’s men will be there at his doorsteps any time.

Ishaan recollects his brief encounter with Carvalho in Cairo in those odd circumstances, his couldn’t but feel angry and helpless at the same time. With clenching fists and grinding teeth he promised himself he will give Carvalho a fitting answer when time comes.

Nethra couldn’t sleep at all in the night, once she is up in the morning she was thinking what she can do to find Ishaan. After a while, she decided to go to Ishaan’s residence and check there. Once she reached to his apartment to her surprise she saw Ishaan was getting into a car with two burly men with him.

“His car is still there in the parking lot and here he is traveling with two suspicious looking men?” She decided to follow the car and told her cab driver to do so.

After 45 minutes the car Ishaan was travelling in stopped in in front of the airport, Nethra’s cab reached there at the same time. She saw Ishaan pulling out his bags and started to walk towards the gate, a short, bald and fat man wearing a suit and a hat was waiting near the gate, she couldn’t resist anymore, she wanted to know what’s going on.

“Dr. Roy, where are you going?” Yelling those words Nethra almost ran towards him. Ishaan turned back and shocked to see Nethra.

“Nethra, what the hell you are doing here?” Ishaan barely speaks those words. “What’s going on Dr. Roy, I am looking for you since last night after you are vanished from the parking lot.” Nethra was almost in her tears, her voice was filled with anger and complains.

“Ahh, I see your sweet little assistant is here to pay us a visit.” Juan Carvalho was standing next to them with his devilish smile in his lips.

“Carvalho, keep her out of all these, she need not be dragged into this mess.” Ishaan protested, but he knew…

“Come on Senor Dr. you know I can’t let her go and alarm the authorities. Unfortunately, she gotta come with us now.” Ana Maria suddenly appeared right behind Nethra silently, before she knew, her hand and shoulder is grabbed.

Startled Ishaan and clueless Nethra were pushed towards the gates, Nethra looked at the airport security but then she heard Ana Maria’s hissing voice, “Anything stupid you do and you and your boss will die right here.”

Carvalho was busy showing some documents at the gate and then they are on their way towards the departure lounge. In few minutes they all were standing in front of a chartered airplane, a 16 seater private jet. Carvalho was smiling ear to ear, Ishaan was quiet and Nethra was wondering what on earth is going on!

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Image description not specified.

Part – III

“My prized possession senor Dr. Isn’t she marvelous?” Pointing at his Bombardier Challenger 850 Jet. “This bird of mine can fly more than a speed of 800km/h senorita.” Carvalho was speaking with his heavy Spanish accent to Nethra now hoping that might impress her. Nethra looked at Ishaan, he was looking so helpless.

They all got into the private jet and the journey towards an unknown destination started.

“Where are we heading?” Ishaan asked Carvalho. The Jet is really well decorated inside. Beautiful air hostesses are serving drinks and food, Ishaan and Nethra did not touch them.

“Patience Dr. It’s a virtue,” Carvalho replied while drinking his champagne and munching the pork ribs.

Nethra who kept quiet all these while leaned on Ishaan shoulder, “Will you tell me, Dr. Roy, what on devil’s name is going on?”

Though Nethra whisper those words to Ishaan, Carvalho heard, “Oh senorita, mine and Dr.’s history is pretty old. Someday Dr. Roy might tell you the story. Now enjoy the flight and have some food. We are for a long long journey.”

******************************************************************************

Ishaan woke up as the plane came to a halt on landing gear with a heavy jerk. Nethra was fast asleep keeping her head on Ishaan’s shoulder. Instantly the door opened and two hefty looking men walked in, “Monsieur Carvalho, the packages are ready.” One of them spoke in a heavy French accent. In reply Carvalho only smiled a little and walked out of the plane with them, as their footsteps faded, Nethra opened her eyes and whispered in Ishaan’s ear, “Quick, the bag.” indicating a black leather bag resting near Ana Maria ‘right hand, she was in a deep sleep.

Puzzled Ishaan opened his mouth to ask something but Nethra did not gave him a chance, she moved in a flash and grabbed the bag, when she was pushed into the plane Ana Maria snatched her mobile and kept in that bag. As she opened it to her disappointed she found the phone was dismantled and the sim card was probably thrown away. But there’s another phone, Ana Maria’s, but it is locked with a code.

Ishaan heard few footsteps and then the voices were getting louder around the door, he ran towards it hoping that might cover Nethra. Then he saw the familiar face of Carvalho and his assistants and two new faces.

Carvalho looked at Ishaan who was standing almost near the plane door, at first he was surprised and then he got a cruel smile on his lips, “Well well Dr. Roy, are you trying to escape? Ha ha, don’t worry if you want you can try.” He was laughing loudly while finished his words.

“Look I have got you company, your kind of people”, he pointed at the other two strangers, one of them looked like he is in his 60’s, tall and pale looking, he was looking visibly worried and irritated, but his eyes were showing his helplessness, the other one almost the same age of Ishaan, slightly bald and plump, he was looking happy.

“Dr. Antoine Valentin and Dr. Hans Schmidt.” Carvalho pointed out the old man and then the plump one.

Ishaan immediately remembered Dr. Valentin, the renowned French botanist, but what is he doing in this plane. “Pourquoi suis-je ici (Why am I here)?” Asked Dr. Valentine whose shoulder was grabbed by one of Carvalho’s men.

“All in good time gentlemen, now we must fly out of here. We are falling behind our schedule.” Carvalho immediately snubbed him down.

As all of them sat down together and the plane was on its way to another destination, Ishaan was still looking at Dr. Valentin with wide eyes and disbelief, here’s the man who was nominated for Nobel Prize for his work various rare plants, even he is a prisoner of Carvalho now.

“Bonjour Dr. Valentin, how are you? This is Ishaan Roy, remember we met in a summit in New Delhi.?” Ishaan tried to be friendly.

“Je suis d’être retenu contre ma volonté . Je ne veux pas parler (I’m being held against my will. I do not want to talk), Dr. Valentine answered with a grim face and turned towards the window.

“Hallo, wie geht’s dir (Hello, how are you doing)” The other plump and half bald guy extended his hand for a handshake. “My name is Hans Schmidt, Dr. Hans Schmidt, I have few degrees in chemical research, just a small chemist. And I am not been held against my wish.” Dr. Schmidt was grinning ear to ear.

“Then why are you on this plane?” Surprised Ishaan asked.

“Oh, Herr Carvalho offered me money, a lot of money to do this work.” Schmidt was still grinning.

“What is that work?” Ishaan’s curiosity was increasing. “I do not know yet.” He replied.

Ishaan sighed and leaned back onto the seat near to Nethra, “At least could you tell me where we landed a while ago?”

“Algiers, capital of Algeria.” Dr. Hans Schmidt replied with a cheerful tone.

******************************************************************************

When the plane landed to its next destination its 3am in the morning, the outside world was looking dark and calm.

“Welcome to San Juan my friends, we shall halt for few hours here and then will fly to our final destination,” Carvalho announced. Then they were taken into a two stored building near the airport.

There were two more guests waiting in that building, Dr. Aiden O’Connor, the Irish oceanographer, in his fifties, a large and powerful man in chains, his right black eye is carrying the evidence that he is also forced to participate in this voyage. And there was also beautiful Dr. Nina Petrov, she is in true sense a doctor, a Russian physician in her early thirties. For some strange reason she immediately took fancy of Ishaan, which Nethra did not like a bit.

After a small supper, everyone was gathered in the hall where Carvalho was smoking is favorite Havana cigars. Ana Maria was standing on his left and the other goons were scattered around keeping a careful eye on the prisoners.

“Ladies and gentleman, I greet you all, I guess you were already acquainted with each other, if not you’ll have plenty of time to do so. Now I just want to warn you about one thing, few of you are here by their own will and few are not. But if any of you try to create trouble or try to contact the outer world, remember such things are only punishable by death.” Ana Maria spoke in her thick Spanish accent, but she sounded she meant business. Carvalho was just sitting there smoking his cigar and smiling impishly.

“A geophysicist, a chemist, a botanist, an oceanographer and a physician. It seems like an odd team. Where are we going Mr. Carvalho? After a long gap Nethra spoke those words in a very bitter tone.

“We are going to an island.” Juan Carvalho grinned ear to ear.

Brigadier Suryanarayanan is a very worried man now. He received a text from an unknown number. His daughter is missing for more than 36 hours, local police confirmed she is not in her apartment and her office confirmed she did not turn up for work as her boss Ishaan is also not there. Both of their cell phones are switched off.

He read the text from his mobile one more time. ‘We are in grave danger, do not try to call or contact this number, but trace it if you can. – Nethra’

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Image description not specified.

Part IV

The private jet of Carvalho started next morning around 6 am and reached the destination within an hour. ‘It can’t be more than 500 to 600 km from San Juan’, Ishaan thought.

As the door of the airplane opened the stairs automatically rose. It was Carvalho and Ana Maria first who climbed down followed by his men and then the bunch who had no clue where they are or what is waiting for them.

“Any idea where we are?”, Dr. Aiden O’Connor who stood right behind Ishaan whispered. “I am not sure, but we are in one of those many islands in an around Puerto Rico that I am sure of, shouldn’t be very far from the main island,” Ishaan muttered.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the island, this piece of land is my very own and it’s not under any jurisdiction of any country. All of you must be wondering why we all are here, well I have bought this island for spending my vacation and fishing with my guests, but lately I am having a lot of issues. Some are even inexpiable, well at-least by me. So I gathered you all, the best minds of the world to help me out. Don’t worry, once you get me the answers and solve the issues, each one of you would be paid handsomely and you people will go home rich and happy men.” Carvalho was announcing enthusiastically while chewing his cigar.

“Je ne veux pas de votre argent . Je veux juste rentrer à la maison (I do not want your money. I just want to go home)” Dr. Antoine Valentin spoke in a bitter tone.

“Or you will reach home very dead, the choice is yours.” Carvalho finished while munching his last few words.

***************************************************************************

They all were marched or pushed towards the tents were made, at least 10 tents were made and they were quite big and specious. It was decided that Dr Hans Schmidt and Dr. Antoine Valentin will be staying in one tent and Ishaan and Dr. Aiden O’Connor will be staying in another tent. Nethra and Dr. Nina Petrov will be each other’s tent mats.

As they went inside, Ishaan found the tent is well equipped with all basic amenities, “Hi Dr. Roy, I am Aiden.” The 6 feet 4-inch gentle giant shook Ishaan’s hand, Ishaan felt like his right hand will tear off from his shoulder, “Ishaan Roy, geophysicist.” He replied back somehow.

“You are also here against your will I presume?” Dr. O’Connor asked eagerly. “Yes, of course I am.” Ishaan replied while massaging his shoulder. “Don’t worry, all we need to find how many men they got, if it’s less than 10 we have a good chance, I alone can take on 4 guys, and if you people chip in we can easily overpower them.” Aiden was speaking excitedly while shaking his fists. “I am also a heavy weight champion in amateur category.”

“Well, I am sure they have more men in here.’ Ishaan replied frightenedly. “Do they?” Dr. O’Connor asked with a disappointed voice.

After lunch the whole team were started towards the south as instructed by Carvalho. Few of his men were leading the way, the scientists were in between while Carvalho and Ana Maria were right behind them. The Island is covered by jungle and tropical trees, the paths are often covered by small and big bushes, the surface wasn’t smooth at all, rather uneven and graveled.

As they were slowly climbing up, Dr. Valentin was stopping every now and then and checking the trees, plants, and flowers, he was looking surprised and muttering something under his breath.

Nethra and Dr. Valentin kept falling behind, Nethra looked visibly tired. Ishaan saw it and asked Carvalho to have a short break, which Carvalho accepted gleefully.

Everyone has poured coffee from the thermos flasks which were carried by the men. Nethra who was sitting next to Dr. Valentin was curious, “You seems to be surprised every time you were checking the plants and floras.” Nethra asked.

“There are lot many plants and flowers here I am not able torecognizee, a good number of them.” Dr. Valentin replied with his broken English with French accent. “although I can’t claim I know everything about plants, but sure there are something which is making me uncomfortable.”

Nethra looked at Ishaan who was sitting on a big stone, she saw Dr, Nina Petrov slowly walked to him.

“So Mr. Geophysicist, tell me what’s going on.” She sounded fluent in English but the Russian accent was prominent.

“I am still figuring it out. This whole island looks like a plateau, a tableland. The island is covered with trees and forests but I have hardly seen any animal or even birds, the soil of this island is looking normal, but I can only be certain if I could run some tests.” Ishaan replied unmindfully.

“Dr. Roy, you always think about work?” she smiled.

“Err.. Dr. Petrov…” Ishaan was immediately cut off, “It’s just Nina, and I hope I can call you Ishaan.” The blonde, tall and fair Russian smiled again, Ishaan noticed she got cute dimples.

“I need to do a routine check-up for every one of your health, once we stop I guess I can start. And I shall have your check-up at the last, after everyone”. Nina spoke.

“Why after everyone?” Ishaan asked the question foolishly

“Because you need special attention.” This time Nina had a devilish smile on her face.

***************************************************************************

As they commenced and finished their journey at last. They reached near a big lake, surrounded by the forest as far as anyone can see.

“My friends, we have reached to one of our destination points, I would like us to tent down here for few days.” Carvalho announced.

Dr. Hans Schmidt slowly walked towards the lake and knelled down, Dr. O’Connor also walked a bit far along the lake shore. The water was blue and looking clean, as Dr. O’Connor bent down and took some water in his palms, immediately Dr. Schmidt yelled at him, “Stop. Don’t drink that water.”

Aiden looked clueless first then he roared back, “Why?”, “Mr Irish Oceanographer, don’t you see there’s no fish in sight? The water is transparent enough to see through, did you see any sigh of life? Hold on and quench your thirst from the water bottle, till I check it.” Hans replied with a mocking tone. “I thought you should know plenty about Sea and water life.”

Aiden was surprised at first and then angrily threw his hands, “I was not about to drink that water anyway, I was just checking it.” Hans still had that sarcastic smile on hanging from his lips.

“we will make our tents here for days, and gentlemen you people have plenty of time to run your tests. There are many more things going on in my island and I want to know everything about them.” Carvalho barked from behind.

Meanwhile Nethra came and stood next to Ishaan, “What that Russian doctor was telling you anyway.” Her voice was heavy.

“Amm nothing, she just wants to run some medical check-ups on us.” Ishaan replied absentmindedly.

“Be careful with that woman, I don’t trust her.” Nethra had a caution in her voice.

“Why, she looks fine to me.” Ishaan protested feebly.

“Every tall and fair blonde looks fine to you men anyway.” Nethra hissed, “They are always nice and good compare to darkish unattractive women.” The anger and frustration was unmissable in her voice.

The sun was setting in the west, the light of dusk was falling onto the tall, slender and dusky figure of Nethra who was looking straight ahead. She spoke again, “Nina Petrov looks too comfortable here, even Carvalho doesn’t bother her much and she looks quite authoritative with Carvalho’s men.” Then she looked at Ishaan, “And looked like she took a fancy to you.” Nethra walked away speaking those words furiously.

Ishaan shook his head and mumbled, “Triya charitram, Purushasya bhagyam, Devo Na Janati, Kuto Manushya”

***************************************************************************

Brigadier Suryanarayanan was worried and confused what to be done next. The army intelligence was traced the phone number somewhere near north Atlantic Ocean, it was transmitting the signal from the San Juan airport but after that the signal is lost.

It’s been more than 3 days his daughter is missing, he decided to discuss this matter with his superiors. As he was thinking so he heard one of his junior commander walking at him, “Sir, there is a call from Defence secretary, he is waiting.”

“I was about to call him Sir, my daughter…” Suryanarayanan was cut in the middle before he could finish.

“Listen Brigadier, we are aware of the situation, we are anticipating she is either abducted or travelled with Dr. Roy willingly. Now it’s a situation, not her but we are not so sure about Dr. Roy’s intention. So it’s a hush hush matter, I am already in a meeting with Vice Admiral of Navy. But I want you not to disclose the matter yet, is that understood? We are doing everything to get your daughter back.”

In reply Suryanarayanan could only nod his head and say yes. He was surprised to hear even Defence secretary is aware of it.

Lui Van Dijk, the air force pilot of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) woke up from his sound sleep as his mate Aaron Richard jerk his shoulder off. It’s an order from the high command and they have leave now. Lui checked his watch, it’s 2 AM in the morning, after an hour two F-16 combat airplane of NATO flown for an undisclosed location somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean.

INS Sindhuyatra was on its way, Captain Amrinder Singh got the orders from the highest possible level, and they are traveling across the Indian ocean to North Atlantic Ocean, in his 11 years of service in Navy, he never crossed the international sea borders. He is not even sure if it’s under the international Naval treaty. But his superiors told him they have necessary permissions.

Iqbal khan, the MARCOS commando leader was thinking the same, he and his 9 team mates are instructed to sail in this ship, their orders are so vague, the further orders will only be issued once they reach the destination, even which is where also not clear. He sighed, in his long career of Marine commando service he learned many things but one, how to question the authority.

In a bleak and silent night, the soviet made submarine was piercing through the water of Indian ocean 200 feet below, to its unrevealed destination. The body of the submarine reads, “Bhāratīya Nau Senā, Shaṃ No Varunaḥ (Indian Navy, May the Lord of the Water be auspicious unto us)

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Image description not specified.

Part – V

Dr. Hans Schmidt already proceeded with his equipment to test the water of the lake While Dr. Aiden O’Connor was looking at him curiously. Ishaan was sitting just a few steps away from him, he heard him muttering “These Germans!”

“Dr. Roy, here’s the lunch, have something, I am sure you’re hungry.” Ishaan looked up blankly and saw Dr. Nina Petrov is smiling at him holding a paper box.

“Thanks.” Ishaan took the box from her hand, Nina opened her lunch box as well and sat near him. A meatloaf sandwich and some boiled veggies were there, Ishaan suddenly started missing his usual lunch of rice, daal and fish curry.

“So Ishaan, I hope I can call you that, are you married?” Nina asked with dancing eyebrows.

“I was once; I don’t know if she’s even alive today.” Ishaan answered with a sigh.

“Terrible, but we all have lost our loved one once a while, you never fell in love again?” Nina asked with a heavy voice.

Ishaan shook his head, “No girlfriend?” Nina asked again.

“Nope, he is single and ready to be taken.” The answer came from a little distance, Nethra was standing there with a lunch box in her hand. “I see you already finished your lunch, how stupid of me to bring this for you.” Nethra’s target was Ishaan this time, her voice sounded like a wounded tigress.

Frightened Ishaan tried to defend himself as he was well aware of her temper “I mean, amm..err..”

“Tout est si étrange ici (Everything is so strange here)” As Dr. Antoine Valentin spoke all three of them looked at him, he was still examining a leaf from a plant.

“If anyone liked to accompany me down there, I saw unnamed, unidentified flowers.” Dr. Valentin looked hopefully at them.

“Sure Dr, Valentin, I will accompany you with pleasure. Anyway few people need space to talk about their private lives.” Nethra followed Dr. Valentin overenthusiastically

As they left within no time Carvalho appeared out of nowhere, “Ah Senor Dr. Roy, my I borrow you for sometimes from this beautiful Russian?” Carvalho had his trademark devilish smile on his face.

Ishaan almost immediately walked away from Nina and stood face to face of Carvalho, “I too need to speak with you, it’s been quite some time you’re beating around the bush, I want to know why Are are here?”

Before Carvalho can open his mouth they heard Hans speaking in a loud voice, “This lake is quite a unique one, but I need to observe it from the other bank as well, probably if I could just have a swim and dive, I hope you got all the equipment for diving.”

“Yes we do, my men will give them to you.” Carvalho answered in a same loud voice.

“So Irish scholar, would you like to join me for this expedition? Being an oceanographer I hope you hope some experience in deep sea diving, this is just a lake though. But if you are scared then leave it.” Hans Schmidt’s sarcastic comments were again targeted to Aiden.

“Of course I will, maybe I can teach you a thing or two.” Dr. O’Connor roared, and started to walk.

“I also have scuba diving as my hobby, could I tag along?” Nina Petrov was jubilant like a child.

“Sure thing, we can use the help of a doctor.” Hans replied immediately.

As those three started to walk towards the other side of the lake, Carvalho signed his two men to follow them.

“Come to my tent Dr. Roy, this is time when you and I have some real conversation.” Carvalho invited Ishaan to his tent.

***************************************************************************

Ishaan and Carvalho sat against each other, they were looking eye to eye at each other.

“Carvalho, no more games. Why are we here.” Ishaan questioned fiercely.

Carvalho lit one of his Cuban cigar and left a mouthful of smoke in the air, “Well, let me give you some facts and history and then you do what you do best.” Carvalho started.

“This island of mine wasn’t mine two years back; it was a property of Ana Maria’s grandfather. That old man was one cranky old b*****d. It was his property since 1950’s, I am not sure why he never tried to sell it as he spent his last days in poverty. As he died, being the closest kin Ana Maria became the owner of this land and thus became mine.

When the old man died, in his last minute he told Ana Maria not to sell this island and this will change her fortune if she could find the treasure in here. Well she had clue what he was talking about and those were his last words.

This island has a reputation, a lot of people called this a Isla Maldita (cursed island), fishermen are afraid of coming near this island as they consider this place is owned by devil.

I am certain that theirs is something valuable here in this place, maybe a gold or silver mine, maybe oil, maybe some rare medical herbs or maybe a real time treasure buried here somewhere. That’s why I god Dr. Valentin to check the growth of the plants, Dr Schmidt to check the chemical compounds here, Dr. O’Connor to research on the ocean water around it and you my friend, will tell me if there’s something really valuable in here. I chose you people as I knew you are the best in your fields.”

Carvalho spoke in one breath and then paused. Then spoke again,

“I had another expedition team landed 6 months back, the team ventured towards a small mountain situated on the other side of this island. After few days they all were found dead except one, they had bite marks on their neck and the blood was drained out of their body. The one who found alive died after few hours of rescue, even he had the bite marks but he died cause of high fever and his whole body was paralysed.

Even the fishermen nearby have given details about such encounters, during the night so many vessels and boats were attacked by human like figure, as per them it came flying and attacked few of them, bit their neck and drank blood. None of them who got bitten by that creature stayed alive more than two days.”

Carvalho stopped there and smiled.

“Are you telling me that Vampires are living here in this island?” Ishaan asked in a calm voice, “Cause if you are suggesting so, let me tell you, I don’t believe in them.”

“Don’t you?” Carvalho had that cruel smile back on his lips, “Did I tell you Ana Maria is actually Romanian, and her family is hailed from Transylvania, you know a place so famous for ‘Count Dracula.’Ana Maria’s grandfather often bragged about his noble blood, said he was from an ancient family of rulers.”

Before Carvalho finish his sentence there were some loud voice could he heard from outside. Both Carvalho and Ishaan came out of the tent as they Hans, Aiden and Nina were carrying one of Carvalho’s men. He was bleeding profoundly.

When Ishaan looked closely his eyes were bulged with shock and horror, the guy had deep wounds near his shoulder and neck, and which clearly looked like a huge bite mark of sharp canine teeth.

***************************************************************************

After few hours of deadly struggle, the man died of blood loss and paralysis, his whole body grew stiff. Dr. Nina Petrov tried her best to save him but couldn’t. During his last breath he was asking for water, as Ana Maria got the water and walked in the guy looked at Ana Maria as if he saw a ghost. Nethra still remember the scream of death and how the body of that poor man was twisted and twitched after seeing Ana Maria. That was the end of that poor soul.

“Did you see him, his eyes were popped out and he screamed as if he saw a ghost, why was he so afraid of Ana Maria.” Nethra who just walked inside Ishaan’s tent saw him sitting with a leather bag.

“Was Ana with you and Dr. Valentin?” Ishaan asked. “No, I thought she always stay close to Carvalho.” Nethra answered.

“Well, she was not, in fact I didn’t see her after lunch. And I spend a good amount of time with Carvalho, she wasn’t around.” Ishaan replied.

“What are you trying to say?” Nethra asked horridly.

“Nina, Aiden and Hans got some samples of soils and rocks from the other side of the lake.” Ishaan spoke in a very worried tone and then he took a stone and kept on the table. “Do you know Nethra what kind of rock this is?”

“I don’t see a diamond.” Nethra tried to sound easy and cheerful.

“No it is not a diamond. But this one is more valuable than a diamond in today’s world.” Ishaan finished his sentence absentmindedly.

***************************************************************************

Iqbal was restless, it’s been 24 hours but still there is no proper information about the operation he is leading. His teammates are constantly asking him how and when they need to prepare as they need some insights.

At last Iqbal couldn’t resist and ended up asking Captain Amrinder Singh, “Sir, where are we heading to, what kind of operation is this? Is it a search and rescue, covert operation or just monitoring and report? I need to get my team ready as per the situation.”

“I don’t have any clue Iqbal, just like you I am at sea.” Amrinder enjoyed the pun he intended to and smiled, “My instructions are to sail towards North Atlantic as per the latitude longitude given, anchor in the shallow water and wait for the next orders.”

“Have you ever been into such kind of operations sir? Where you don’t have any clear instructions?” Dissatisfied Iqbal asked

“As a matter of fact, No!” Amrinder answered in a worried and heavy tone.

The vice chairman of the NATO Military Committee Louis Peeters was not an happy man, one of his investigating officer who flown to an NATO aircraft carrier which is anchored near an inhabited island just reported.

Few days back the guards of the aircraft carrier were attacked by a bat like creature which looked like a full grown man, one of the guard died on the spot and two of them are in deathbed fighting to survive. There’s also a rumour that the island is cursed and Vampires were sighted by local fishermen.

Louis was scratching his head; could this be just rumour or there is a deeper conspiracy behind all these. Especially attacking an Aircraft Carrier located in such important location…

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Part -VI

Dr. Hans Schmidt was busy examining few of the rocks from his bag, he was completely engrossed into the little tests he was performing.

“Am I interrupting?” Ishaan cleared his throat and asked.

“Oh not at all Dr. Roy, how you have been today?” This was the next day morning after the horrible death of that poor man.

“Dr Schmidt, so in all these fiascos I didn’t get enough time to ask you, so what happened when you reached the other side of the lake? Did you find something? What exactly happened?” Ishaan shot at him

“Well nothing much, we have collected the samples of the rocks around it and the water. It looked fine from outside but I was unable to find any trace of life in it. Not even any kind of algae or plankton. Which is kind of odd.” Schmidt spoke absentmindedly.

“Is there any theory you have about it? Confirmed of unconfirmed?” Ishaan asked eagerly.

“It could be for various reasons. Mainly chemical toxic compound waste in the water, but the water looks clean to me, also if there’s any shortage of oxygen in the water. I can’t say for sure till I ran some more test.” Hans looked worried.

“What did Aiden say? Does he have a theory?” Ishaan was restless.

Hans Schmidt had a crooked smile this time, “Our Irish boy is clueless, he calls him oceanographer but knows little about the water. He looks more like a weight lifter than a scientist. I wonder how I never heard his name, if he had some significant contributions in his field. Heaven knows from where Carvalho dug him out. On the other hand Nina was quite a handful. She has good knowledge about the wild and water lives.”

“Of course you will like her, she’s the only blonde in our team.” Ishaan replied grimly and walked out of the tent.

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Louis Peeters was at sea as he is informed the third man also died battling with his life. The symptoms are grave and if because of this an epidemic starts in the carrier the situation will go out of hands. Hence he refrained from sending the dead bodies for post mortem back to base and instead ordered to bury them in the sea.

As his orders were carried out, he got a call from his cell phone, “Is it done?” A heavy voice asked.

“It is.” Now I’m on the way back to you.” Louis replied. “You better hurry.” The voice answered and cut the call.

Amrinder Singh has reached to the point he was ordered to wait. The submarine is resting in the shallow water, completely submerged. His orders are not to move an inch before the further instructions.

Iqbal looked at his commandos, they are looking bored and restless. He left a long sigh, as a MARCOS commando patience is also a virtue needs to cultivate. “Hope we will see some actions soon” He tried to cheer up his men.

“We are near a ship, away from few nautical miles, if I read the signs and information fed by navigation, I doubt it’s an aircraft carrier.” Amrinder spoke in his husky voice.

“Any idea who’s it is?” Iqbal snapped.

“So far, no clue!”

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Ishaan came out of Hans Schmidt’s tent and started to walk when he saw the other man of Carvalho, he was also with Nina and Hans during the attack on the other guys. He was leaning on a tree and smoking.

“Hi there.” Ishaan greeted. “I am Dr. Roy; I don’t know your name yet.” Ishaan extended his hand to him.

“Karim Salah.” He replied. “Are you Algerian?” Ishaan couldn’t help hearing his voice.

“Na’am(Yes)”, he shook his head.

“If you don’t mind, may I ask you what happened last night. I mean your mate died, looks like something bit him.”

Karim smiled sadly, “Dr. Roy, if I am not wrong, we all will be a victim of this creature soon, It’s the island of the devil and the devil is with us.”

“What do you mean?” Ishaan was jolted visibly. Karim did not say anything and pointed him with his eyes, Carvalho and Ana Maria were discussing something standing at a visible distance.

“Carvalho?” Ishaan spoke. Karim shook his head negatively. “He is bad alright, but not the devil, She is the one, the Iblis. I guess Carvalho never told you, he had another expedition team 6 months back. He left them and his men to run their research for a week. When Carvalho came back, all of them were dead, all the blood from the dead bodies were drained.” Karim was shaking his head continuously.

“Why did you accept to do this if you are aware of the danger?” Ishaan was shocked now.

“I have 3 kids and my wife at home, I have to feed them. Do you have any idea how difficult the life is in North Africa? Even the places of opportunities in Europe are getting dried because of the economic meltdown. Life is hard Syd Dr. Roy.” Karim replied indifferently.

“And why you think of Ana Maria as Iblis?” Ishaan was still not out of his shock.

“Didn’t you see the guy screamed to his death after seeing her? The scientists were a little far away from us. She appeared from nowhere after the attack” Karim replied angrily.

“Could you describe the creature?” Ishaan asked carefully.

“It looked like a bat, but as big as a human, had a cape behind it, it was already dark then and it happened in a fraction of a second, I opened fire to it and it flew away.” Karim relived the horror for a moment.

Ishaan did not say anything and walked away.

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Aiden O’Connor held the earpiece in his left hand on his right ear where his right hand was exploring various things on the table. “Yes, I guess I have found it, and I am not sure if he has already told him. I think we have to hurry.” Aiden was talking in a very tone.

“What the hell you’re doing here?” Hans Schmidt was at first surprised and then angry as he saw Aiden O’Connor was going through his stuff lying on his table. “Who gave you permission to enter into my tent and going through all my stuff?” he yelled.

“I.. I got a headache, I was looking for some aspirin.” Aiden replied dumbly. By the time everyone else were gathered there. “You should have asked me.” Nina Petrov frowned.

“I am sorry, I should have.” Aiden mumbled and walked out of the tent.

Ishaan saw Carvalho was examining Aiden inch by inch with his small yet cruel eyes.

Ishaan came back to his tent, suddenly he remembered something and almost ran out of it. Nethra was sitting near the lake on a rock, Ishaan ran to her.

“Where is Dr. Antonio Valentin? He was with you right?” Ishaan was edgy.

“I don’t know. We went down to checkout few plants and then he….” Nethra has to stop as they heard Aiden screaming. “COME HERE!!!! I don’t know what on devil’s name is happening here!!.”

All of them ran towards the other side of the lake where the attack on Carvalho’s men happened. As they reached to a point they saw Aiden O’Connor was standing like a statue, in a short distance Dr. Antonio Valentin was lying unconscious. But that was not the only scary scene. The part of the lake was covered with smoke as the water of that part was boiling. The temperature of that place was rising as the water vapour was spreading around.

Nethra heard Dr. Hans Schmidt speaking incoherently, “No wonder there’s no water life in this lake.”

Image description not specified.

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Part – VII

“It’s a volcanic crater lake.” Ishaan uttered those words breathlessly. Everyone else looked at Ishaan blankly.

“It must be a volcano, possibly a dormant volcano or an inactive one. The crater or the opening of the volcano must have been filled with rain water, but as deep inside it’s still active, the magma must be leaking at some place which is making the water boil. Dr Schmidt has collected the water sample, I am sure a lot of sulfur and its compound should be found in it, as the water is boiling time to time, there must be a shortage of oxygen in this lake, makes it impossible for any life to survive in it.” Ishaan was extremely excited.

Dr. Nina Petrov was about to step off towards Dr. Antonio Valentin but before that Ishaan jumped to his feet and pulled her back.

“Dr. Valentin is unconscious because of the poisonous gas venting up with the water vapor, we are almost 5 to 6 feet away but it’s a safe distance. We need gas masks if we have to go near Dr. Valentin.” Ishaan cautioned Nina.

Carvalho’s men already brought some gas masks, Nina, Ishaan and Aiden wore them and rushed to rescue Dr. Antonio Valentin. A few hours of intense battle between life and death and at last death had the last laugh. Dr. Antonio Valentin did not regain his consciousness and breathed his last.

Nethra was awestruck was holding Ishaan’s arm all the time. “I was bored as he was examining the plants and flowers for hours, so when he told me he wants to explore some more area I excused myself saying I’m not feeling very well.” Nethra was looking pale.

“What the hell happened?” Carvalho was irritated and impatient.

“It’s the lake, I suspect it’s leaking Carbon monoxide and other deadly gases, it’s a rare phenomenon, but there are examples, such as crater Lake Nyos in Cameroon had a limnic eruption on 1986 and the gas cloud rose at nearly 100 kilometers per hour killing more than 1700 people, even insects weren’t spared. Similar kind of incident took place in Cameroon in 1984 at Lake Monoun. Lake Kivu on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda considered as one such lake which leaks enormous amount of such deadly gas causing massive water life extinction.” Ishaan was breathless while speaking those words.

“I think it is only wise that we leave this island as soon as possible.” Ishaan concluded.

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The defense secretary was busy signing some papers when he had a knock on his door, “Come in.” he replied. The round face of his secretary, Mrs Mallik appeared through the half open door. “Vice Admiral Aniket Ahuja is here.” Her words were short and crisp.

“Send him in.” defense secretary wrapped the documents.

As Vice Admiral of Navy slowly walked into the defense secretary’s chamber, “Any news?” he asked. Vice Admiral shook his head, “Not yet.”

“Was this a mistake? Just like Cairo?” Vice Admiral was rubbing his palms.

“Relax Ahuja, our boy is stronger than you think.” defense secretary was smiling.

“I do hope so, on the contrary, I feel he lost his mind after losing his family in that operation.” Vice Admiral left a long sigh.

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Juan Carvalho had lost it. He was throwing his hands in the air and jumping around here and there. “How is this even possible, even yesterday everything was right, nothing happened for last 50 years, and all of a sudden you’re saying this island is unsafe and there is an active volcano now.” Carvalho screamed while he was holding the collar of Ishaan’s shirt.

“I don’t know. My only assumption somehow there is a leakage in the bottom surface of the lake from where the magma is leaking. The situation is grave as the water from the lake is entering in through that crack, creating vapor and gas, because of which this volcano can erupt anytime. We must leave this island as soon as possible.” Ishaan blurted out those words in one breath.

“We must listen to Dr. Roy, our lives are in danger. We must leave.” Nethra spoke in a hurry.

“Do you have any idea what this island worth? Do you? You are a cunning bastard Dr. Roy, I know you already have an idea.” Carvalho spoke those words with immense resentment.

“I know Carvalho. This island is full of kerogen rocks. The most important alternative to petroleum and other traditional oil fields.”

Everyone looked at Ishaan with extreme curiosity. Carvalho had nothing but fire in his eyes. Ishaan ignored him completely and continued.

“The biggest problem our world is facing today is running short of conventional energy and resources, mostly like oil, coal and other non-reusable resources and minerals. One of them is surely the petroleum.

You must be aware of the sudden drop of oil and petrol price world-wide which is a big headache and worry for largest oil producing countries. It is mainly because, USA and few other developed countries have found the alternatives in Shale Oil. It is the art and science of producing oil from the organic rocks, mostly from the kerogen rock, a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks.

The procedure of producing the oil from these rocks was costly and non-environment friendly. But in some recent developments there are ways discovered to produce the oil in more economic and less polluted way. There was even an article about it a few days ago.

Ana Maria’s grandfather was aware of the facts and knew sooner or later the island will have value in billions, that’s why he was persisting to keep this island.”

Image description not specified.

“Got it, but how can you explain the sudden turmoil in the inner surface of the lake?” Dr. Nina Petrov shot her question at Ishaan with a curious tone.

“Something or someone has disturbed the surface recently, although it could be a natural phenomenon.” Ishaan replied absent-mindedly.

“Now the important thing is to move out from here safe and sound, we must hurry.” Nethra was almost pleading to everyone.

All of a sudden two of Carvalho’s men burst onto the scene. “Boss, there are choppers and speedboats are approaching to the north coast. Every chance they are NATO forces, we have intercept few radio signals today morning.” One of them barked.

Immediately Carvalho held Ana Maria’s hand and hurried out from there, Dr. Hans Schmidt tried to follow them, but Carvalho’s men were having their guns targeted at them.

“Now you all wait here to die.” Carvalho threw those words at them with his poisonous look and rushed towards his private jet, his men followed behind.

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Amrinder’s radio beeped. He answered it and then looked at Iqbal and his men. “We might have some action coming, get ready.”

Iqbal clenched his fists, his men were waiting for his command.

INS Sindhuyatra waited eagerly, but patiently to have their next and most important instruction to be relayed.

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Within half an hour NATO choppers have landed onto the island and arrested Ishaan, Nina, Nethra and Hans. Aiden O’Connor ran towards his tent as soon as he saw the choppers arriving. He was pulled out of the tent by NATO forces and seized few things from him. One of them is a heavy metallic rocket shaped thing looked very old.

Where are you taking Dr. Aiden O’Connor?” Ishaan asked the commander in charge as he was separately taken out by the guards.

The NATO commander smiled, “Dr. Aiden O’Connor died 6 years ago near the coast of Northern Ireland. That’s an imposter, name is Richard Doherty, an ex IRA (Irish Republican Army).

When Nina saw the rocket shaped shell she was left shocked and bulged eyed. Her family is one of the longest serving family in Russian Military and government, so she knows what it is.

A plutonium bomb, perhaps 50 to 60 years old. A prototype which is smaller but more powerful invented during and after the Second World War. The marking on it looks blur, but the letters USA is clearly visible.

Dr. Nina Petrov bit her right third molar or the wisdom tooth, she felt a tingling sensation as the micro transmitter inside her gum got activated.

“My poluchayem signal (We are receiving the signal)” An operator yelled. Building situated in the Lubyanka Square stayed on high alert. That was the headquarter of known to many as Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation)

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Part – VIII

Amrinder’s radio beeped for the 2nd time. As he answered it, the voice from the control room spoke, “There is an NATO Aircraft carrier docked near the island you are now. They are transporting few prisoners from the island to that carrier by speed boats. Captain Iqbal and his team’s orders are to intercept that and rescue the prisoners.

If the prisoners are already reached to the aircraft carrier, their orders are to ambush the vessel with non-lethal weapon and rescue the prisoners. I want this operation to be completely bloodless and no causalities, at no point they should reveal their true identity. And Amrinder, we have Dr. Ishaan Roy among the prisoners, I want him to be alive and well at any cost. Any doubts?”

“No Sir.” Amrinder shout back the answer though his mind was clouded with questions and doubts.

“Over and out then, we’ll contact you in another 30 mins.” The radio has gone

Amrinder knows who voice it was, Vice Admiral Aniket Ahuja. Amrinder wondered how big and important this mission is actually.

He turned back at the MARCOS commandos, “Listen to me carefully boys….” He spoke in his trademark calm and quiet voice.

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Ishaan and Nethra are been put into different speed boats. Ishaan is with Nina and Nethra was paired up with Hans and they have no idea where they were to be taken.

NATO personals have already transported Aiden or as they know him now as Richard by the chopper along with the dead body of Dr. Antonio Valentin.

Ishaan still could not fathom what exactly happened to them till now, everything seems so blur and confusing. Ishaan left a long sigh, all he wants now to send Nethra home safe, she is in all these chaos because of him.

“What are thinking Ishaan?” Nina voice jolted Ishaan back to his senses. He chuckled sadly, “I’m thinking that even a week before everything was alright.”

“You need have patience.” Nina spoke in a slow and low voice.

The 12 MARCOS commandos who are in Atmospheric diving suit, slowly float out of the submarine which was still at over 100 feet below the water. Their mission was simple and straight, intercept the speed boats, topple them if possible and rescue the 4 prisoners before it reaches to the carrier.

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Three speed boats were piercing the blue water of the Atlantic Ocean on a pleasant moonlight evening on their way, the NATO commandos were alert and watchful. Nethra and Hans were quietly looking at each other. The reflection of the yellowish moon can be seen on the water.

“Look up there, somethings up in the sky.” A NATO commando shouted out to the next man.

And then… there was a complete mayhem. The water level rose almost 5 feet above and the speed boats were knocked down. The NATO forces including Ishaan, Nethra, Hans and Nina were thrown off to the cold water of Atlantic. No one knew what happened.

As all of them were struggling to afloat and trying to swim out their way that night they witnessed the dreadful nightmare of their lives. Two huge black shadows almost covered the insufficient moonlight and landed upon them, two huge human like figures with wing from their shoulder to tail, with horribly disfigured face and drooling thick saliva from their mouths.

“My god, they are bats, they are… huge!!!” Ishaan heard Nina gasping those words who was holding his hand.

Rest of the people witnessed in horror as two of those bats sink their teeth on two NATO personals. This part of the ocean had become a living hell by the horrifying screams and shouts and prayers by the group of people desperately trying to survive in the ice cold ocean water and from the attack of the killer bats.

The MARCOS commandos were totally scattered by a heavy undercurrent wave, Iqbal was pushed away from his men to another corner. The submarine was displaced and thrown off to another direction.

“What’s happening?” Amrinder shouted at his navigators.

“I don’t know sir, but looks like we’ve been hit by powerful ultrasonic waves. One of them shouted back.

“Get us back into the same place, we’ve men out there, let’s gain some altitude and move towards the surface.” Amrider commanded.

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Ishaan was watching the bats took off from their prey’s bodies. One of them was screaming with pain and fear and the other lifeless body is floating around, it was chaos everywhere, people are trying to swim towards the carrier, wrecked boats and heart wrenching cries making this moonlight filled night into a complete horrendous one

“Look there!!” Ishaan heard Nina screamed at the top of her lungs pointing something out towards the island. Ishaan could see now the smoke coming out of a particular side of the island.

Before Ishaan could react, a powerful hand grabbed his shoulder. “Dr. Ishaan Roy, come with me.” The heavy voice of Iqbal sounded heavier.

“Who are…” Ishaan couldn’t finish his sentence as Iqbal thrust the oxygen mask on his face pulled him into the deep sea.

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INS Sindhuyatra was waiting in shallow waters now and the periscope camera was floating out of the water.

Amrinder looked relieved as he saw Ishaan Roy was almost carried by Iqbal in his arms into his submarine.

“Where is Nethra, where is she?” Ishaan franticly asked Amrinder.

“Don’t worry doctor, we have all 4 of you in here. Perhaps you’re asking for the young lady who is lying senseless over there, our doctor is attending her.” Amrinder replied

Ishaan hysterically rushed towards bed nearby as he saw the calm and senseless face of Nethra, holding her hands, after a long time today Dr. Ishaan Roy broken down in tears.

“I have my four men missing and there are NATO personals out there to rescue. I have to go back.” Iqbal barked.

“No, we must return, we have secured the people we came here for.” Amrinder shouted back.

“I can’t leave my men to die in the mid of ocean, we must help them.” Iqbal felt angry in his bones.

“If we stay longer here, we are as good as dead.” Ishaan spoke in a tired tone. “I have seen smokes from that island and as per my assumption there is an underwater volcano which can erupt any time now. The lake water is getting inside the volcano through a crack and creating a lot of gas while it mixes with the magma, the eruption can happen any moment.”

Ishaan looked at the tired and scared faces of Nina and Hans who were sitting not very far away.

“Iqbal it’s committing suicide going there, we have our orders to return ASAP and also you heard the doctor.” Amrinder pleaded.

Iqbal clenched his teeth and fists, and then sat on the floor. This was not the first time he lost his men, but he never left his team members left behind, alive or dead.

As INS Sindhuyatra turned it’s nose and started towards the east with full throttle, Ishaan held Nethra with both his hands, Nina got busy to help the injured commandos and Hans got inside a sleeping bag and slept.

After few hours INS Sindhuyatra felt a heavy tremors of undercurrent waves almost as if a quake under the sea, it was quite powerful but Captain Amrinder held his ship steady.

The whole journey, Ishaan couldn’t sleep a wink but only stayed awake and keep asking questions to himself, “Where from those bats came?

What became of the island after the eruption?

Where did Carvalho go?

What happened to that NATO carrier and its people?

And what happened to the plutonium bomb which was recovered?

His sleepless mind kept looking for the answers.

Image description not specified.

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“Where are we going?” Ishaan asked Amrinder as they were transferred to another Navy ship from the Submarine after 1 and ½ day.

“Well I have my orders to deliver you to this ship of Indian Navy. Some important personal would like to meet you.” Amrinder replied.

As Ishaan, Nethra, Nina and Hans were waiting inside one of the cabin of the ship, all of a sudden they heard, bullet sounds, people shouting and sound of heavy boots running. Perplexed Ishaan wait for 5 mins and then slowly opened the door of the cabin.

He stood motionlessly as he saw there are few gun men were moving around, Amrinder was shot and down on the floor with a pool of blood, Iqbal was kneeled on the ground with both of his hands on his head as one of the gun man was pointing a gun at him.

“So Dr. Ishaan Roy, how was your journey?” Defence secretary was standing there with a smiling face, there was also Vice Admiral Aniket Ahuja standing next to him, but he had no smile on his face rather a cruel cunning look.

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Last Part

Hans and Nina peeped behind Ishaan and they too were speechless, Nethra was sitting quietly inside.

Ishaan did not know where to begin, he looked blankly at the Defence secretary of the country. He smiled again.

“See Ishaan, I just want to know what you find in that island and explain all the bizarre and wired thing that happened over there, we know them in bits and pieces.”

“There was also a NATO carrier and their personals and choppers also landed in the same island, they have a Prisoner name Richard Doherty who was with us as Aiden O’Conner. Why don’t you ask them?” The Answer came from Nina, with a taunting tone.

“Ahh, Nina Petrov, how nice to see you. But if you don’t keep your loud mouth shut, then I have to shut it.” The sarcasm in the voice of Defence secretary was unmissable.

“Now Dr. Roy, please don’t waste my time.” He beamed at Ishaan.

“I… I have no.. idea…” Ishaan stammered.

“Come come doctor, I don’t insult your intelligence, please don’t insult mine. I very well know by this time you already have a theory, I would like to hear it.” Defence secretary couldn’t stop smiling at them.

“We were attacked by bats, giant bats, we are completely lost, we have no theory or understanding whatever happened there. Why don’t you people go there and see it through your own eyes.” Hans Schmidt barked at them.

“The whole island is gone, around 36 hours ago there was a huge eruption and explosion in that island, and it’s gone from the map now, even the NATO carrier anchored near it, wiped off from the face of the earth.”  This time it was Vice admiral Ahuja who spoke while munching his words.

“Dr. Roy, I just need to know about your opinion and a logical explanation whatever happened over there. I know you are the sharpest mind among us, but if you are not co-operating with us, I have ask my men to shoot someone to make you talk, we can start with your cute little assistant.” Defence secretary grinned.

“Alright, I will tell you all about my theory and everything I gathered about, but you have to promise me that no harm will come to my friends.” Ishaan replied with a tired tone.

“Alrighty, start then…” Defence secretary curiously looked at Ishaan.

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Ishaan started.

“When we all reached to the Island the geographical position of that inhabited island intrigued me. There was hardly a sign of life, Animals or birds. As soon as we found the trace of Kerogen rock which has a huge value in today’s world, we have also found various compounds in the soil which normally don’t exists.

During and after the World War II, USA and UK have done so many weapons testing including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons mostly in inhabited places including some islands. One of the known incident is the ‘Nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll’.

ba

As we all know the chemical and nuclear weapons effect the very base of genes and DNAs causing mutation among the living beings who survive such occurrences. One of the live instances is of course the Chernobyl disaster gave birth to numerous mutant animals.

wolf

(Radioactive Wolves of Chernobyl)

The bats who attacked us are most probably Desmodus rotundus or as simply know as Vampire bats. These creatures feed solely on blood. As bats mostly live in caves, my assumption is a few were survived from all these weapons testing but the poisons spread in the air definitely affected them, changed their very structure of anatomy and made them into these large blood sucking creatures.

Now as we know like dogs, even bats carry the virus of rabies which can create hydrophobia, fear of water. I can only think how deadly the virus have become within this mutant bat as they too evolved. I assume people who survived the blood loss died by the infected virus.”

Ishaan stopped to breathe for a while. “That’s why the man of Carvalho who died in the camp screamed when he saw water in Ana Maria’s hand. He was scared of water not Ana Maria.” Nethra spoke after a long time.

Ishaan paused for few seconds and the resumed,

“If I am not wrong Ana Maria’s grandfather acquired that island in late 1950’s. Probably when the experiments are all done and they no longer required it. Perhaps from some reliable sources Ana Maria’s grandfather discovered that the island is full of Kerogen rocks. Now the Shale oil extraction is costly and also health hazardous as it causes mule spinner’s cancer. Also as Middle Eastern countries have had so much of natural oil resources, Shale oil industry did not flourish that well.

But things started to change in late 90’s after the gulf war. The big players in oil industry understood they cannot solely rely on natural oil and gas as its non-renewable energy source and a renewable source must be found.

crude-oil-2015

Recently USA and few other countries have found cheaper and safer way to extract shale oil started to produce in plenty causing a massive price fall which started to affect Russia and other Middle Eastern country as it is one of main source of revenue for them.

shale

Again based on my assumption, I think several expeditions were took place by various teams that island after Ana Maria’s grandfather acquired it and thus he came to know about the kerogen. Time to time these expedition teams had encountered the killer giant bats attack as even the nearby fishermen also experienced, the survivors must be pretty less, hence it had gotten its name as Isla Maldita or cursed island.

So as the old man in his deathbed he gifted it to his granddaughter but I’m sure before tell her in detail why the island is valuable he died and through her Carvalho got it’s possession.

Carvalho is shrewd enough to have an idea that the island is holding some kind of treasure in some form, so he too arranged an expedition team and it failed as all the crew member died. Carvalho did not step back and arranged another team, this time with world’s renowned scientists, he offered them huge sum of money and who declined he ruthlessly kidnapped them as in most of us.

By this time another international group got interested in this island for a complete different reason, if I am not wrong, they are called New World Order (NWO).”

Ishaan stopped for the second time and then looked around, Hans, Nina and Nethra were quiet and listening to him carefully, concentrating to each of his word. The defence secretary and Vice Admiral looked a bit uneasy.

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committee-of-new-world-order

Ishaan paused for a longer period of time and looked at every face around, except the stone faced gunmen around rest all were looking curious.

“Ishaan’s voice started to sound tired but he continued anyway,

“New World Order is a secret and powerful organization of elite people who actually controls the events of the world. A lot of people believe it’s just a conspiracy theory. But it is also proven that a lot of events are been arranged artificially and with the help of powerful individuals, let that be army coups in various states of the world or let that be grave international affairs like ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’.

From the ages they are known by many names such as Illuminati, Free Masons or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and now as NWO.

This shadowy organization is also known to work for the mankind for its better and greater good though it means to be the necessary evil for the present.

The balance of the power (American Civil War, World War I & II etc), Population control (Black Death, stopping from inventing vaccines for killing diseases like Cancer, AIDS, Ebola), Alien technology and communication with extra-terrestrial (Area 51, signal from HD 164595) and also created powerful front organizations to control the world affairs formally (United Nations [UN], North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], etc)

As we all know right now the biggest crisis of our world is the population crisis and it’s already crossed 7 billion. Scientists have already gave warnings about the situation that in few years we will be in the point of no return and can push this world to an end.

At this juncture probably only one thing can check the population, a full-fledged World War III, a nuclear war. And it’s not easy as all the countries with nuclear power are well aware of the catastrophe a nuclear war might bring.

The only way is to of course keep provoking them and thus the deadly militant organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS has come into existence.

A very likely situation can only be created if there’s an unprovoked nuclear attack on sovereign nations, not one but many and so NWO is now on the hunt of lost or hidden nuclear weapons as they don’t have any ownership or trail.

Already there are 100s of incidents lost nuclear weapons in sea or lands during experimentation, plane crash or such so. A many of them are still containing the core undamaged and which are well hidden from the public domain. The New York Times wrote an article back in 1989 about it and since then it’s a well-known fact.

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I am sure one such incident is also recorded somewhere that of a failed experiment caused a bomb lost somewhere in the sea, it actually dropped in the Crater Lake but did not go off.

Richard Doherty the ex IRA who was living the life of Oceanographer Aiden O’Conner, is most probably hired to search and find and helped to make his way through Carvalho’s team. I think his instruction was to search and find it. My guess is when Hans and others were dived into the lake, Richard identify where it was and later he went to recover it. The only explanation of the volcano became live as he might done something to surface beneath which made the lake water find way deep inside the magma. Created vapour and gas which made it go mad.

I am sure a part of the crew, if not the whole crew of that NATO carrier was involved as for sure NOW have also penetrated the organization like many others. They panicked when their people were been attacked by bats and also Dr. Antonio Valentin died, so they called it in and tried to show they are arresting Richard.

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“Dr. Roy, you have been brilliant, as always, but this is as far as it can go. You know too much, so you need to be hushed up.” Defence secretary spoke that in a very light tone. “All we need to know how much you’re aware of, guess you have the whole picture.”

Ishaan was almost prepared for it, “You can do whatever you want with me, but spare my friends.” He pleaded.

“Tck tck, Sorry doctor, with you they too are now aware of everything and one of them is a Russian spy, you know it’s nothing personal.” Vice Admiral Ahuja spoke in jubilant tone now.

“Why are you even doing this?” This time it was Hans.

“Dr. Roy said is himself, NWO has penetrated all the international organizations in the world and believe me we are doing it for the better future of this world.” Defence secretary looked serious for the first time.

But he hardly finished his world when Nina kicked the gun man in his throat on the left and then a right hand karate chop to the other one. In the blink of an eye she pushed Ishaan and Hans back into the cabin, Nethra who was standing behind automatically pushed in. As they closed the iron door in a jiffy the heard the crashing bullet sound on the door but it was bulletproof.

They heard him saying, “It’s of no use. How long you can be in there? This ship is already in an isolated location and the Navy is told to stand down and not even sail towards this way by Vice Admiral here. We control this part of the ocean sweetie.” He chuckled.

“Why even wait, if you people don’t open the door till I count to 10, I’m gonna shoot this commando. No one is coming of your rescue.” They heard Aniket Ahuja barking.

“Don’t open the door, not even on my dead body.” Iqbal clenched his teeth and shouted.

And again Ishaan and others heard the gun shots, screams and thud sounds of heavy boots. Ishaan looked completely lost when heard Nina saying, “Rescue team is here.”

“But vice admiral said the Navy was instructed to stay down and not to act.” Ishaan looked at Nina.

“Not only the Navy controls this area of the sea, there’s another central armed force of this country with more than 15,000 men, 60 air crafts and with 150 vessels controls the territorial sea, you often forget them.” Nina smiled.

As everything gone quiet and there’s a knock on the door, Nethra cautiously opened it, to find a fleet of soldiers in white uniforms, as their badge on their chest read, ‘Bharatiya Tatrakshak, Vayam Rakshamah’ (Indian coast guard, We Protect)

Ishaan too came out of the cabin door, he was still confused what was going on, meanwhile Amrinder has been taken away and Iqbal was assisting the Coast guard commandos. Defence secretary was pinned down and Vice admiral Ahuja was at the gun point of commandos while he has drawn his revolver. All of a sudden he pulled his trigger pointing it to Nethra as she was in the range of his gun.

Ishaan saw Ahuja pointing and pulling the trigger from the corner of his eye and he had fraction of a second to react. He almost jumped to push Nethra out of the way and fell into the line of the bullet. The bullet hit him on his right shoulder and tore the muscles with a deep flesh wound. The very next minute Ahuja lifeless bullet ridden body was lying down on the floor, commandos hardly a second left to burst open fire at him.

Ishaan saw Nethra was holding his arm while screaming her lungs out. That was the only thing he remembered before everything went dark in front of his eyes.

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Ishaan was lying down in the bed of the nursing home, Nethra, Nina and Hans were there in the room with nurse attending him.

“We had a hell of an adventure. But I am glad we all came out alive, few of us weren’t so lucky.” Hans shook his head, “But if I ever have to go for an adventure like this I sure want you guys by my side.” He grinned at Ishaan.

“There is a series of arrests going on across the world. The defence secretary has resigned on medical ground, media came to know that Vice Admiral has died in a freak accident. Chief of Naval staff is already briefed. After FSB got my SOS they immediately contacted your government, as they were not sure who all in the payroll of NWO from Navy, they decided to involve Coast Guards and planned for the operations.

Many higher officials and leaders are caught even in my country as well from US and European countries. Looks like The New World Order has taken a hit.” Nina smiled.

Ishaan only could reply with a weak smile, his shoulder was killing him, but he felt better when he saw Nethra is safe and sound.

“Feeling alright O ‘knight in shining armour’ after saving this ‘damsel in distress.’ You should stop trying to be a hero cause you are not one.” Nethra teased him with mock anger.

“So we successfully averted a third world war and saved the mankind, I am feeling like a hero already.” Hans was back at his own self already.

“Who knows, what they were trying was actually in benefits of the mankind in the future. And only the time will tell if we played the heroes or the villains for this world.” Nina relied absentmindedly.

“No you are not fiddling with that cell phone mister, you need rest, and your mobile is getting confiscated.” Nethra shouted at Ishaan when she saw he was trying to reach for his mobile.

“Alright lady Hitler.” Ishaan smiled weakly again. Nethra pulled the blanket on Ishaan and suddenly kissed his forehead.

“We should leave now.” Nina, Nethra and Hans came out of the room flowing the attending nurse.

“You should tell him you know, how you feel about him.” Nina looked at Nethra. Nethra felt if only she had a fair complexion like Nina, she would turn pink.

“Don’t forget me.” Hans chuckled.

Nethra decided, once Ishaan is recovered, she will open her heart to him.

Ishaan turned to his left when he heard the intercom on the table is buzzing.

“Hello.” He picked it up.

“Hello, Dr. Roy. Congratulations, for being alive.” The heavy voice spoke.

“You called me, the first day, in my office.” Ishaan was puzzled.

“Tell me something, do you still miss your wife and kid?” Ishaan felt a chill ran down his spine. “I do.” He replied.

“What if I tell you they are alive?” The voice spoke again.

Ishaan held the receiver to his ear as hard as he can, he couldn’t reply, his eyes were full of tears. He forgot about his wounded shoulder, his pain, everything.

“Get well soon Dr. Roy, you have to do something for me, and then maybe, I can tell where they are.” There was a brief laughter. Then the click sound….. And the line went dead.

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Lady Love

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It was an idle Saturday evening with no much of work in hand. I was lazing around at my place almost bored to death, I decided to pay a visit to Dr. Akhil Mitra. It’s actually been a while I met him since I wrote the story Doppelganger based on one of his case files. As I reached to his place and about to knock the door I heard sounds of laughter and two voices in bits and pieces. As I knocked, to my surprise Inspector Dubey opened the door.

Me: “Oh, hello Inspector Dubey, pleasant surprise, I thought you are on your duty”, I spoke.

Dubey: “Naah, I am on leave today, my wife and kids have gone to my in-laws place, so I thought to spend some time with Dr Mitra. Come in, Dr will be pleased to see you.”

As I entered, I saw Akhil was sitting on his couch, keeping his legs on the table and sipping into his tea cup. The weather turned a bit pleasant now as I could see some clouds in the sky. I greeted him.

Me: Dr. Mitra, how are you? All’s well?

Akhil: “Ahh Ani my boy, come in. How you lost your way to my doorstep today. Have a sit, let me make you some tea, the pakodas on the table are still hot I guess.”

Me: “You don’t bother, I am going to kitchen, looks like your cup is going to be empty soon. How about another round of tea?” I asked in a cheerful tone

Akhil: “You know me and Dubey, we will never say no to tea. But hey you just came in and you are going to kitchen to make tea?”

Me: “Well, between 3 of us I make the best tea, so no sweat. You people just wait here for 5 minutes.”
As we 3 of us sat together for the second round of tea, Dubey started the topic.

Dubey: “Sir, why you never got married? You are still a handsome old man and I am sure you have several admires in your young days; I have also heard about a few of them. Was no one worthy enough to tie the knot with?

Akhil did not answer immediately, rather he was smiling patiently.

Me: “Yes, even I am curious about it too, I mean I am sure back then you had a huge female fan following, but have you never fall in love?

Akhil: “There’s hardly a man who never fell in love with a woman.”

Dubey: “Then tell us about that woman sir, we are here to know”, he urged impatiently.

Akhil: “Very well then, as we all have nothing better to do, let me tell you the story.”

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Ghum

Akhil’s Story, in his own words:

It was back in 1989, I have just finished my masters and started my PhD, It was the month of October when I got a letter from my cousin Avinash. He was working in Railways and got married almost a year and half back. He was presently posted then on the highest railway station of India, ‘Ghoom, Darjeeling’.

We were always quite closed during our childhood but I couldn’t make it to his marriage, so he invited me this time to take a vacation and stay with them for few weeks. I was already exhausted with my research work, so I found this invitation as a welcome break from my hectic schedule. I packed my baggage and started the very next day. When I reached the destination, I found Avinash was waiting with his wife to receive me.

Avinash: “Brother, any difficulties during your journey?”

Me: “Not at all, so good to see you, now introduce me to your wife.”

Avinash introduced his wife Shikha to me, she was tall, well built and tough looking woman. Avinash brought his open hood jeep to take me his home. I was impressed to see her driving us the whole way, back then it was kind of rare for women to drive. Avinash was always a dare devil kind and one of his many hobbies were hunting, I was surprised and pleased to know Shikha also had the same hobby and quite good with hunting Riffles. She bragged about killing a wild boar in the jungle of Assam. Her dad was in Airforce and she was born and brought in a quite competitive environment. To me it looked like a match in heaven.

Once we reached there, I found the quarter of Avinash is in a beautiful location, from his terrace there’s an awesome view of Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. The beauty of Himalayas was still not hidden behind the pollution and population that time. The climate was chilled and pleasant, it was mid of October, and winter was still to come.

Panorama_Kangchenjunga_from_Darjeeling

In the evening we all went out to a nearby cafe, Avinash told me he will introduce few of his acquaintances here. As we all sat down with our fuming coffee, Avinash introduce me to another two gentlemen. Mr Shailesh Das, a young bank manager recently posted here, he was in his mid-20s like me and an elderly person Mr Charles D’Souza, an Anglo Indian who’s in his early 50s.

The young banker looked quite jolly and cheerful in nature, but I was intrigued by the elderly gentleman, he was a retired pensioner but his hobby and passion was quite unique. He was a medium, he used to play as a medium in planchette.

Planchette is an art or technique to call the spirit of a dead person. There are various ways to perform planchette, like use Ouija board or using pen and paper on the table. But the most famous way was to use a live person who acts as a bridge between two worlds and the spirit enter into him and answer the questions put to him by other participants.

Though a lot of intellectuals consider it as bogus and wastage of time, a lot of famous people vouch for it. A medium must have some qualities that clearly others don’t possess, as he must be spiritual and respectful towards the spirit and must have a body which is easily accessible to the spirits, not everyone can play a medium hence it’s an important role among the participants who perform planchette.

seance group

Being an avid observer of paranormal activity, I could never confirm nor deny the authenticity of planchette, but I always kept an open mind and fascinated with the idea of mingling with a medium, it was during my early days of course and I was really interested.

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In few days we really got along, after 3 days we were having a tea party at Avinash’s place. Shailesh and Mr D’Souza were also present, when we were surprised and overwhelmed by the presence of a new guest. As there was a knock at the door, I voluntarily answered. There she was standing, not so tall, medium built, fair and feminine, she was wearing a black gown with a black hat, he deep dark eyes were darker then the shade of her gown, her strong jawbone, cherry lips and confidant stare made her look like a goddess of elegant beauty.

Before I could open my mouth Shikha shouted from behind, “Hey, look who’s here, Rebecca!!!”

As I moved out of her way she entered inside, Shikha almost came running and hugged her. “Where have you been? I heard you were out of station, come in, you are at the right time.” Shikha spurred those words enthusiastically.

“Yes, I was out for a few days. I see a new face in this party.” She indicated to me while speaking.

“Ohh, That’s Akhil, Mr Akhil Mitra, cousin of Avinash, one of the brightest mind in his university, doing his PhD on Parapsychology. Rest of us are already known to you,” Shikha was smiling while introducing me.

“How do you do Miss Rebecca?” I leaned forward and shook her hand. I could see her smile vanished for a moment. She shook back my hand and answered, “Rebecca Fernandez, Mrs Rebecca Farnandez”

I won’t lie, her words hit me like a punch on my face, especially the word Mrs. I had seen and dated few beautiful ladies by that time, but truly I haven’t witnessed such breathlessly charming prettiness.

“Hello Mr D’souza.” Rebecca greeted. “Ahh my child, how are you?” Mr D’Souza replied with a smile.

“And Shailesh, what are you up-to lately?” Rebecca turned to the banker. “Nothing much really, you know how boring my life is”, Shailesh answered with a grin.

In another one hour it became clear to me that Mr Banker has fallen head over heels for Rebecca as he kept trying to make conversation and tried to flirt with her unsuccessfully. I can’t say I did not enjoy the show, but I was more curious to know about her.

I was helping Shikha in the kitchen when I asked her about Rebecca, “Poor soul, such a young age to lose her husband.” Shikha spoke abruptly.

“You mean she’s a widow?” I asked astonishingly.

“Yes she is. My heart goes for that poor tender thing. It’s been a year and half she lost George, right after 3 months of their marriage” Shikha shook her head sadly.

“No wonder Shailesh is trying to woo her, he is making quite a scene,” I replied in a mischievous tone.

“Nothing goes unnoticed from you”, Shikha replied back naughtily, the she spoke in a serious voice, “But he shouldn’t, knowing her past he shouldn’t.”

“What is it?” I was curious now,

Shikha hesitated, “Probably nothing, but there is a history, possibly just a rumour,”

“Rebecca is young, beautiful and sounds quite intelligent. She never thought of remarrying someone?” I asked.

Shikha hesitated again and then spoke, “After the demise of her husband, her parents found another guy, Robert Almeida. Everything was set when Robert met with a road accident, you know the hilly roads sometimes can prove fatal, Robert’s jeep was found 50 feet below from the cliff, his vehicle’s petrol tanker blasted and his body was charred beyond recognition.

Then it was a local called Ravinder Singh, who was so fond of Rebecca, Rebecca too were known to have a soft spot for him. But he was a heavy drunker, few days after his dead body was found hanging from the nearby jungle. Police verified he was too drunk to hang himself, they opened case of homicide but couldn’t arrest anyone.

After that it was Somsundar Chakrabarty, the characterless boss of her late husband George, Som used to follow and harass her in so many ways. That B****d had a wife and kids yet he was trying to lure her. Then one day he went straight up to her house with his heinous intention. He was found heavily wounded in her backyard by police. Before he died he confessed he went there to force himself upon Rebecca, but just before that a shadow emerged behind him and that broke his skull with a heavy blunt instrument. He confirmed it was not Rebecca by any chance as the shadow was taller than her.

All these incidents had an adverse effect and created some unwanted whispers,” Shikha caught her breath.

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The party ended around 10pm, Shailesh was dejected, hence he left early, Mr D’Souza bid goodbye by 9:30pm. In hilly places like Darjeeling 10 PM looks very much like 12 PM midnight. Someone needed to escort Rebecca to her from Avinash place which wasn’t very far, may be half a mile, so I volunteered.

As we were walking the quite dark road together, I was feeling like piece of iron unimaginably attracted towards the magnet called Rebecca.

As I dropped her in her door steps she turned to bid me goodnight and then she spoke.

“Do you believe that women actually can read the mind of men?”

“I do.”

“Then just stay away from me.” Rebecca replied.

“Rebecca, you deserve a second chance, you deserve to be happy, to be loved, cherished and protected by someone.” I couldn’t but blurted my heart out.

“I am protected….. By my late husband,” With fire in her eyes she replied and stormed inside her home.

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Next day morning I woke with a fuming hot bed tea right in front of me, Shikha was standing there and smiling impishly.

“So, how did the tete a tete go with Miss err.. Mrs Rebecca?” She asked

“Ahh, nothing special, she told me to keep away from her.” I replied with a smile

Shikha shook her sadly, “She’s been through a lot yes, I mean her late husband wasn’t a very kind one, he was known for his temper and brawling, once he almost bitten a coolie to death for trivial reason. He was way older to her too, almost in his mid-thirties.”

I started to sip into my tea cup. I made up my mind to pay a little visit to Mrs Rebecca Fernandez today.

As I hit the road around 9 am by foot, after walking a while I heard a car honking behind me.

“Mr Mitra, where you are heading to?” I heard a familiar voice, I turned back and found Shailesh Das was peeping his Head out of his white ambassador

“I was just going nearby.” I answered.

“Ohh hop in Mr Mitra, we both are the sailors of the same destination.” He smiled

As I opened the door of the car, I couldn’t help but noticing the driver, he was almost 6 and ½ feet tall, hugely built person, when he turned his head his eyes were red like rotten tomatoes.

Shailesh saw me staring at his driver and laughed, “Mr Mitra, that is my driver come bodyguard Raghunath Yadav, he was in the army but that didn’t suit him. Don’t get intimidated by his size or looks, he is actually pretty loyal.”

I smiled back and sat next to him. As the car started he removed his sunglasses and looked at me,” I presume you are on your way to see Rebecca, if I am not wrong.”

I hesitated then answered, “Yes, I am, a matter of fact.”

Shailesh wore his sunglasses again and lazily leaned back to the seat, “Yeah, I know you went to drop her back at her place and you had some intimate discussions as well.”

“The words spread faster in small towns I see.” I replied patiently.

“Well I and Rebecca are friends, she doesn’t hide anything from me,” Shailesh replied lazily again.

“Then I take you people speak a lot over phone, as it’s just 9 am and it’s most unlikely you have already met her between last night and this morning as you stay pretty far out.” I spoke.

“Mr Mitra, you have a very good observation, I tell you what, I have no problem if she chooses another guy over me, but I will not see her getting hurt by anyway.” The last few words almost hissed out of his mouth. “And I guess we have already reached to our destination.” Shailesh indicated out of the window, I saw Rebecca was sitting on her lawn.

As I opened the door and walked to her, her face did glow up for a moment but turned pale seeing Shailesh behind me.

“Hello Akhil, good morning.” She spoke in a soft tone.

“Good morning to you too Rebecca.” Shailesh said those words in a loud voice.

“You people here early in the morning. Anything important?

“Nothing at all, Mr Mitra here wanted to see you, so gave him a lift in my car. I guess my job is done here, I should on my way to work, after all not everyone is fortunate enough to have good time in hand to chit chat.” Shailesh was speaking in an unusually cheerful tone, as if he was trying to hide his anger and frustration behind it.

Once Shailesh left we sat together, this time I was curious about her past life, though I wasn’t sure how much she was going to reveal after all.

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“So you said, you are protected by your late husband, may I know why you feel that way? I mean someone who’s dead cannot be around to look after you.” I asked.

Rebecca smiled, “I know Akhil you have already asked about me to Shikha, and I am sure you have also learned about 3 painful deaths after I became a widow.”

“I hope you didn’t mind me asking about you to Shikha and she telling me about you, I persuaded her as I find you an interesting character.” I had an apologetic tone.

She ignored it and continued, “Those 3 people Robert Almeida, Ravinder Singh and Somsundar Chakrabarty, I hardly knew them and I had no wish to be the reason for their deaths, on the contrary maybe I wanted Somsundar dead for what he was about to do to me.

I was hurriedly married off to my husband George as I was once fell in love with a guy whom my family never accepted. George was almost 12 years older to me, he was suspicious and abusive, one of his favorite thing to do was getting dead drunk and then beat me to a pulp. I was not even allowed to speak to any guy even when we are out in a party. All our neighbors were aware of it and they used pity me but were scared my husband’s temper.

So I can shamelessly admit I was happy to hear the news of his death, I thought I can start over, can have a new life. I was all set to remarry Robert as I found him kind and nice, but then fate had other plans, so it was with Ravinder. But then when the day arrived when Som, that pig came to violate my honour, he came inside like a mad drunk bull in my house, punched and kicked me and threw me on the couch as I was trying to resist, and then I saw a tall shadow emerged right behind him from nowhere and hit him on his head with a wooden chair, not once but thrice, Som tried to run away but collapsed just outside my backyard.

Then I remembered something, once when George was alive and in a good mood I asked him why he being so mean to me and he answered, ‘You are mine, I can and I will do whatever I wish to do with you. I am your tormentor and I am protector, you will always be mine. If I am dead or alive it doesn’t matter, you shall not be someone else’s in this life.’

I don’t know how else to explain all those happened to me, people started calling me ‘The Black Widow’, whichever man turn me, he ends up dead.” She broke down while saying the last few sentences.

I held her shoulders and tried to console her “They all might be just a horrible coincidence; your late husband’s words mere be some jibber jabber of a mad man. Do you really want to believe in all these and spend your whole life in darkness?”

“There’s more.” She pushed her chin up and looked at me, “I can feel their presence, my dead husband, Ravinder, Robert, sometimes I see what they saw while they were alive, I can’t explain it, It’s inexplicable. I don’t say these to people as they might take as insane too.” She was in her tears.

I held her face in my palms, wiped the tears with my thumbs and almost naturally I kissed her lips while she closed her eyes. The moment lasted for maybe a few seconds and then we broke free, she almost jumped on her feet and ran inside. I stood up like a fool and slowly started to walk back.

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As I walked back to Avinash’s place I found them arguing over who is better at shooting guns, there were 2 hunting rifles were lying in a corner of the backyard and few broken wine bottles who were used at targets.

Shikha saw me and came running at me, “Look here Akhil I shot 4 of 5 bottles and Mr Avinash Mitra only took out 3 of 5, now he is arguing on wind direction and all, now you dare take your brother’s side.”

Avinash twisted his lips, “Huh, anyone can shoot sitting bottles, the talent is to shoot a moving target.”

Shikha made a face too, “I will show you my dear, when the time comes.” And she stormed in the bedroom

Avinash was laughing, he turned to me and said, “Well, at times I feel she is a better shot than me, but again my pride comes in-between.”

I shook my head, “Indeed.”

“Oh, while you were out Shailesh has come over, it seems Rebecca kept a dinner party tomorrow evening, he came to invite us on her behalf.” Avinash was speaking as he was checking few letters,

“Are you sure?” I asked in a puzzled tone, “I was there with her all these while, she never mentioned about any dinner party.”

“Why would he lie?” Avinash was taken aback, “But if you want I can ask Shikha to confirm with her one more time”

As Shikha called Rebecca, she confirmed there’s indeed a dinner party tomorrow evening and we all are invited,

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The night arrived, we all were present at Rebecca’s place, there were same familiar faces, Me, Avinash, Shikha, Rebecca, Shailesh and Charles D’Souza. As we were finishing our drinks the power went off. The whole bungalow sank into the darkness.

“There must be a power failure.” Shikha shouted.

“Unlikely.” I responded. The houses nearby have power.”

“Ahh, must be some fuse gone off, let me ask Raghunath to get an electrician.” Avinash spoke.

The candles and lanterns were lit as Shailesh send his driver to fetch an electrician, as Rebecca’s bungalow was little far off then it’s neighbouring houses and on a higher altitude, we could see the lights in those houses faintly.

“So, while we get the lights back, why don’t we do something fun?” Shailesh asked

“What exactly do you have in your mind?” Avinash asked

“Amm, let’s see, we have a parapsychologist, a medium and dark bungalow, why not we call a spirit?” Shailesh was jovial

“What nonsense?” Rebecca replied

“Nonsense!! No my dear the nonsense is how you keep saying your dead husband is around not letting you to get remarried, nonsense is how you are snubbing me away but entertaining the new stranger Mr Mitra. How about calling your dead husband’s spirit and sort it all at once?” Shailesh’s tone was serious now.

“Calm down Shailesh!” First time Mr D’Souza spoke

“Oh I am calm, but don’t we all want to see your gift Mr D’Souza, this is a perfect time to show us your talent.”

“I don’t consider it as a talent rather a way to help people” Mr D’Souza’s voice was composed and quiet.

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After some heated discussion everyone came to agree it’s a good idea to call George Fernandez’s spirit through planchette.

Shikha excused herself from it as someone got to check on food and drinks for dinner.

We all sat on a round table with a candle burning right in between, the other candles were put off and lanterns were deemed, the feeble light of the candle in the big room already making a supernatural ambiance. Shailesh and Mr D’Souza sat right opposite to each other. After Shailesh its Rebecca and Avinash on the right of Mr D’Souza, I was between Shailesh and Mr D’Souza completing the circle.

“Everyone put their both hands on the table, close your eyes and try to picturise George Fernandez, I guess everyone either saw him or his photo, so please visualize him and call him here.” Mr D’Souza’s heavy voice made commanding effect. I have already saw George’s photo with Rebecca.

“Once you see the table shaking and my head gets tilted, please ask if George has come. Also please ask the questions that can be answered strictly by Yes or No.”

There was a complete silence for 10 minutes and then the table started to move and its legs were making sounds, Mr D’souza’s head was fell down on his left shoulder. We were bit puzzled as what to do next. I thought to take the next initiative.

“Is it you George Fernandez? Are you with us?” I asked

“Yes.” The answer came from Mr D’Souza, it was his voice alright but sounded like the voice is coming from a long distance.

“We have called you here to ask you few questions. Would you answer us?”

“Yes.” D’Souza spoke again, his eyes were tightly closed and head was resting on his left shoulder.

“Rebecca feels that you are always around her, not letting her be with any man after your demise, you don’t want her to remarry. Is it true?” I asked again

“No”, the reply came.

“The death of 3 people involved with Rebecca, do you have to do anything with them?”, I shot my next question

“No.”

“Do you know who is responsible for those deaths?

“Yes.”

“Is he or she is among us today?”

“Yes”

“Is he someone close to Rebecca?” I put forwarded my trick question

“YES!”

Shailesh Das jumped off his feet, “You think I will believe in all these Horses**t, open your eyes Mr D’Souza, you’re an imposter.” Saying those words Shailesh was searching something in his pocket fanatically.

“Looking for this Mr Das?” Without us noticing D’Souza was also on his feet, something of silver color was glittering in his hand, in the faint light of candle also we could see D’Souza was holding a pistol.

At the same time someone increase the flame of the nearby lantern. “Lower your weapon Oldman, or I will shoot your head clean off.” I turned and saw Raghunath Yadav, Shailesh’s Driver come bodyguard appeared from nowhere and aiming a double barrel shotgun at D’Souza.

“And you two hold it right there!!!” It was a female voice this time, none other than Shikha. She appeared from the other door from the right in the room. She was holding and aiming her Karabiner 98 kurz 7.92×57mm Mauser bolt-action hunting rifle. Leaving me, Rebecca and Avinash sitting in-between this Mexican standoff.

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“Don’t you people have to go home? It’s quite late.” Akhil Yawned.

Me and Dubey felt like we woke up from a dream. Everything Akhil was describing were running right in front of us.

“But Sir, rest of the story?” Dubey pleaded.

“Some other day, are you people not hungry, its 10pm in the night.” Akhil Yawned again

I was feeling dejected because of this unwanted interval. Then I realized it’s raining heavily outside.

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Dubey opened the main door and looked outside. It was raining cats and dogs. The sky was dark, cloudy and getting occasionally lightened up by thunder lightning.

“Looks like the rain won’t stop tonight.” Dubey chuckled.

“Well my guest room is ready, but what about dinner” Akhil asked.

I went to the kitchen checked the ration, “How about khichdi and omelet and brinjal fry?”

“Sound delicious, in this pouring rainy night.” Akhil and Dubey both spoke cheerfully.

As we are done with cooking we sat for dinner, it was khichdi, egg fry, brinjal fry and desi ghee, which tasted better than it ever could.
Once again we sat in Akhil’s drawing room or as he described we both almost pulled him from his good night sleep to finish his story.

And he continued from where he left……

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“Hold your gun aiming that old bastard Raghu, and shoot if he moves.” He turned to Shikha, “Listen Shikha, it’s not me, it’s him, D’Souza.”

“Well in that case I want both him and your driver to lower their weapon, I am not trusting anyone till you do.” Shikha shouted.

“Shailesh, what the hell is going on, and Mr D’Souza please.” Rebecca stood up and try calm people down.

“Well Mr. Shailesh, what are doing you doing with this handgun in your pocket than? And how come driver is also armed? Seems like you came here with full preparation.” Mr D’Souza chuckled.

Shailesh smiled, “Yes, and like an experienced conman you picked it up from my pocket without me even realizing, I see you are quite good at pickpocketing and stuff. And as a matter of fact it’s not only us who are carrying weapon, seems like Mrs Shikha Mitra as well carrying her hunting rifle.”

“So can we all give up and have a proper discussion in a civilized way?” Rebecca moved near Mr D’Souza.

All of a sudden too many things happened at once, D’Souza grabbed Rebecca by her shoulder and pulled her towards him.

“Don’t shoot.” Shailesh screamed at Raghunath as he aimed for D’Souza who was holding Rebecca in front of him.

Then he shot at Raghunath before he could react, the bullet pierced through Raghu’s shoulder. Immediately D’souza turned at Shikha and yelled “Drop your gun or she dies.”, pointing his pistol at Rebecca’s head. Shikha was now aiming the gun at D’Souza but her clearly she was at her wit’s end.

Shailesh who as on the other side of table, leaped over it and attacked D’Souza with bare hands, he caught hold of D’Souza’s right hand and as both were struggling, Shailesh to snatch the gun and D’Souza to hold onto it.

Another cracking sound of bullet and with everyone’s horror Shailesh Das fell down on the floor, Mr D’Souza shook his shoulder and aimed the gun back at Shikha who was completely awestruck with the whole development.

injured and unconscious Raghunath was lying there with his shotgun resting few inches away from his hand. In the blink of an eye Avinash dived onto the floor and rolled, next thing I heard and was a blistering sound of another bullet and Mr D’souza’s ear splitting scream, the pistol he had and half of his palm, was gone, Avinash was holding the shotgun and smoke was coming out of its barrel. Avinash looked at his wife who was in shock but still holding the rifle, “Yeah baby, I am still the best shooter in the family.”, he grinned.

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The police arrived in 15 minutes as we have called in. Next few days me and Avinash actively took part in the police investigation about the whole matter.

Shailesh and George:

Shailesh, before he got posted in here he was a bank manager of a branch of a nearby town. There was theft of 20 gold bars from his previous bank branch, and he was one of the suspect, but he was off the hook for lack of evidence.
Shailesh and George were partners in this crime, mostly it was George’s part to hide the gold and keep it safe till the things gets cooled off. Nobody ever suspected George as he was a railway employee and not connected to the bank, he carried the gold here and kept in a safe place.

His sudden death changed the whole equation, as George did not tell Shailesh where the gold bars are actually hidden. Shailesh took a transfer here and started to search it.

Rebecca’s secret:

Rebecca had not disclosed a couple of things to us, one of which even she was unaware of. She was telepathic. Now Telepathy falls into different categories, Telepathic Communication, Telepathic Perception, clairvoyance etc. She had an ESP something called ‘Retro-cognitive telepathy’, she could enter into other people’s mind subconsciously, mostly when she was resting, sleeping or lost in some thoughts.

As I said it used to happen when she isn’t conscious she didn’t even know what she was doing, but every time she entered into someone’s mind the memory fragments of that person used stay inside her head. Thus she could see or feel the memories which were not hers, I guess that’s what she tried to tell me when she said she sometimes felt inside people’s head watching things.

Thus she had memories fragments of her Husband, Robert or Ravinder, whomever she was very attached to.

The other thing she did not tell us was Robert Almeida indeed wasn’t a stranger but her ex-boyfriend whom her parents initially rejected, but as she became a widow she expressed her feeling to remarry him and her parents couldn’t say no.

The real identity of Charles D’Souza:

Charles D’Souza was a small time crook who earned his reputation as psychic. He used to fool people claiming he got powers to speak to dead people and also he was involved into some violent crime including robbing his clients houses even for murder.
But he was also the biological father of George Fernandez, Charles and George’s mother got married quite in early days but it ended up in divorce. George’s mother moved here and got married again, George was raised by his mother and step-father. But George had his father’s blood in his vein, he also grew up a crooked dishonest man.

After a long time, Charles was back in town, George’s mother and foster father were already expired. There was a reunion of father and son. George told his father about the bank heist and golds, but did not disclose the place where he hid it.
Then the sudden death of George jolted him, George wasn’t popular and had many enemies, I’m not sure if he was killed or it was an accident, but the police promptly closed the case as an accident.

Then Charles came to know about his widowed daughter-in-law getting married again, George never introduced Rebecca to Charles as his father, she had no clue who he is, she simply believed his lies that he is just an old retired man.
When Charles find out Robert is actually the ex-boyfriend of Rebecca, he suspected that they both might have planned and killed his son, which is not true. But the cruel and vengeful father tampered the brake of Robert’s vehicle resulting his death.

Ravinder Singh:

Ravinder Singh was a private investigator hired by Shailesh, as he was after his gold and the keeper is already dead, his only hope was to find out if Rebecca knows something about it. Ravinder got close to Rebecca and started to investigate, when he found out about Rebecca’s ability and the idea strike to him that Rebecca might have few memories of George and using that he can find out where the gold is hidden.

But there was another guy keeping an close eye on Rebecca and Ravinder, that was Charles D’Souza. Charles came to know about his investigation mostly when Ravinder was drunk and spit out few information. When he came to know about the gold Charles saw an opportunity to kill two bird in one stone, get the gold and then take his revenge by killing his daughter-in-law, but first he had to make sure Ravinder doesn’t play a spoil sport, he removed him from the path.

Somsundar’s death:

Somsundar died in the hands of Raghunath. After the death of Ravinder, Shailesh smelled that Rebecca might be in danger, he ordered his loyal henchman to keep an eye on Rebecca. When she was attacked by Somsundar, Raghu intervened and in that scuffle Somsundar died. The tall shadow Rebecca saw before she fell unconcious was none other but Raghunath Yadav.

Rest of the story:

Once Shailesh received the news that Ravinder is killed he has no other choice to get into the act by himself, he tried to get closed to Rebecca but as days went by he started to fall for her genuinely. Not that his greed for the gold died off but still he was actually had fallen in love with her. It proved when he tried everything to protect Rebecca, starting from telling Raghu not to shoot when Rebecca was hostage than tried to save her life and died in that process.

Shailesh was a criminal but he also had human side, on the other hand Charles D’Souza was almost a psychopath who had no remorse or guilt for killing so many people.

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Akhil finished the story and yawned again.

“But sir what happened to Rebecca, did you not tell her about how you feel about her.” Dubey asked

“I did, but she refused, she was not ready for any more commitment, she was heartbroken and horrified knowing how many men tried to use her for different reasons. She devoted rest of her life to the church and became a nun.”

“Are you people still in touch?” I asked

“No, we were in touch for few years through letters but then we moved on, I couldn’t forget her though.”

“What about the gold? Did police were able to track it?”

Akhil was smiling impishly. “Yes they did.”

“Where was it?” me and Dubey asked together.

“George kept it to the safest place he knew, he gave it to Rebecca. What could be the safest place for gold more than a woman’s possession.”

“So it was in George’s house all along?” I was surprised.

Akhil sighed, “No, she kept it in her bank’s locker, the same bank Shailesh was working in.!!!!!.”

VectorToons.com
Cartoon Vector Stock

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Doppelganger

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Akhil was sitting on the bench in the park for a while now, watching the birds in front of him, are screeching and picking the peanuts Akhil threw at them. He was observing the one of the pigeon closely, it has black polka dots on its whitish chest and it looked like an odd customer among its gang.

Someone cleared his throat next to him, “May I speak with you for some time?” The voice asked.

Akhil looked at him with curiosity, a man around in his early thirties, wearing a grey a shirt and a black pant was standing next to him. “By all means, please have a sit,” Akhil answered and shown the empty space on the bench.

“I hope I found the right guy. You are the famous psychologist, Dr. Akhil Mitra, I guess.” The stranger spoke in a soft voice. Akhil was measuring him from head to toe, about 6ft height, fair, black hair and eyes, the pair of eyes look dull and sad, yet there is a spark of some kind in them, a pair of thin pink lips, sharp nose and small ears. A man shouldn’t be called beautiful but handsomely, Akhil felt for this stranger ‘A beautiful guy’ would be an apt adjective, with very sublime features of femininity.

“I don’t know if I am the famous one, but yes I am Dr. Akhil Mitra.” Akhil laughed and replied.

“It’s a pleasure meeting you sir. I’m Hiren, Hiren Bose.” Hiren spoke those words and took a pause. Akhil felt he is hesitating for some reason.

“You can tell me what is bothering you, I will try my best to help you,” Akhil spoke in an assuring tone to Hiren.

“My wife…. My wife sees me, in multiple places.” Hiren said those words hesitatingly.

“Could you be a little more elaborate and specific?” Akhil requested in a warm voice. “Tell me everything, from the start.”

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Hiren’s story:

I am the only child of my parents. My father was a pilot in an airlines company and my mother was a homemaker. My father always used to be out of the station, we had enough servants and to take care of them and other businesses we had a manager called Gokul Misra or Misra uncle. I and my mother were very close, I was her ‘apple of eyes’. I remember she used to drop me at school and used to wait there until the last bell, even during recess she used to be with me. I was bullied by other schoolmates as I was such a ‘momma’s boy’, partially because I was also weak and feeble. My mother was always so protective of me.

When I was eight, my mother died, she had lung cancer and when it was detected it was too late. My dad was a complete workaholic, he came back to the country only finish the rituals of my mother’s funeral.

After that, he called me to his study room. “My son, I know how much you loved your mother, so did I, but now as she’s gone, I am worried about you. Next to me you will only inherit mine and your maternal grandfather’s fortune. You are young and you know the nature of my job, I can’t keep you fly by me till you grow up a little. Till then you will be under the guardian of your Misra uncle. I trust him completely, yet if you ever feel something is wrong, remember I am just a call away.”

My maternal grandfather has a huge tea estate, which was inherited by me after my mother’s death. As I was juvenile, as per his will dad was the caretaker, dad never bothered much about that estate and the income from it as his own salary was more than enough for us. As he went back to his work, Misra uncle becomes my guardian and caretaker. Gokul Misra or Misra uncle was short, dark and bald, and he had immense affection and love for me, he loved me just like his own son but always reminded me that he is mere a manager and I am the master, he was humble and intelligent, and absolutely loyal to my father.

Misra uncle had a daughter, Haimanti, we were of same age, after my mother’s death we became very close, almost all the time we were with each other. We grew up together, went to the same school and then college, slowly I started to realize I was falling in love with her, and I knew our feelings are mutual, even she was in love with me.

When I was in the last year of my college years, we got the bad news. My father passed away in a flight crash. As everything was burned and destroyed in that crash, the flight company was unable to retrieve his dead body, they sent back his belongings with their condolences and a fresh job offer for me, which I politely declined.

As a family of mine then I only had Misra uncle, Haimanti and few old and trusted servants. I was engrossed in our family tea business and in our tea estate, Misra uncle was getting old and he needed a helping hand, so we employed a new assistant manager. The new assistant manager was proved quite clever and street-smart, after few months of joining he was handling the works at ease, his name was Jiten Sappru.

One day as I came back home, I saw Misra uncle and 2 of the servants are standing around Jiten, who was sitting on the ground with a torn shirt and blood all over his face, he was clearly been beaten black and blue.

“What’s going on? Who did this to him?” I asked Misra uncle.

“He is fired. He won’t work here anymore.” Misra uncle said those words quietly.

Jiten was shown the door that very day. When I nagged Misra uncle to know the reason, after a lot of persuasions he hinted that Jiten was speaking ill and spreading rumours about me and Haimanti’s relation. I immediately took the decision of getting married to Haimanti and told the same to Misra uncle. Initially, he was dead against it, but then he accepted. In few days we had done a registered marriage without any ceremony, there’s hardly anyone to invite except the people at home.

As soon as we got married we started for Kashmir for our honeymoon. After 3 days tragedy strikes again, Haimanti went missing from the hotel room, next day her cold disfigured body beyond recognition was found 10 kilometres away in the nearby Jhelum River. Her eyes, face and parts of her body were eaten by the fishes. Misra uncle rushed there immediately as soon as he got the news, broken hearted and distraught we cremated her there and performed her last rituals. This unfortunate accident affected us both, I tried to forget everything and invoked myself into the business, but for Misra uncle, it’s proved too much take. In a year, he also passed away peacefully in his sleep. After his demise, in few months, the old servants also took their leave, partially because they were old and partially because of my indifference.

All these while I stayed a lonely workaholic man, but a year ago Riya came to my life, we fell in love and decided to get married, I thought my life about to take a turn towards happiness, but I was wrong.

Almost after 8 months of our marriage, one evening as I came back from work, as I entered into the drawing room there was no one. I thought Riya might be asleep on the first floor, I got refreshed and called her name, she got down from upstairs saw me and spoke in a puzzled voice.

“Did you go to the office again?”

“What again? I just came back now, get me some tea and snacks, I am starving.” I answered while wiping my face with a towel.

“But you came back today afternoon, had lunch with me and then we went to bed for a nap.”

“Were you dreaming all these time in your sleep?” I started to laugh. She looked confused. “Who knows, maybe, but it felt so real.” She tried to smile but couldn’t, she was looking worried.

“It must have been a dream baby.” I went and hugged her, she too held me tight. “I seriously hope so,” She said.

 

It happened again after a week or so. We were having breakfast on our dining table, Riya left the tea kettle on the gas oven, as she heard the kettle whistle she hurried into the and then I heard her scream and a sound of a heavy thud on the floor. I rushed into the kitchen to find Riya on the floor, unconscious. I carried her to bed and sprinkled water on her face. As soon as she gained her sense, she screamed again seeing me and then hugged me with both hands and started to sob.

“I… I saw him again, I saw you in the kitchen, leaning on the wall and smiling, and then I turned and saw the other you sitting on the dining table eating your sandwich through the door. There are two of you, there are one real and one fake of you…” She spoke in scared trembling voice.

It continued, she kept seeing me time to time, when I am there at home and also when I am not there, she almost started to act insane, last two weeks I didn’t go to work, I have always stayed with her, most of the time she is holding me. Our life has turned into a complete hell.

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“I need you help Doctor, I think only you can help us,” Hiren said those words as his eyes were getting wet.

Akhil was observing Hiren closely, his story is incredible and astonishing, yet not even once he felt Hiren is lying, his eyes, body language and everything else were indicating he was describing the true event of his life as it happened.

“May I speak with Riya?” Akhil Asked. “Of course, you can. Would you like to come now with me?” Hiren enquired eagerly.

“Not tonight, I have some work to complete. How about tomorrow 9 AM?” Hiren Asked.

“Very well, we shall wait for you then.” Hiren replied and got up from bench, he started to walk and then again he turned and came back, “Doctor I don’t know if you accept fees or money for your services, but if you solve this case I shall be ever grateful to you and promise you to pay you by a fortune.”

Akhil smiled, “That won’t be necessary. Let’s meet tomorrow.”

 

Akhil reached to Hiren’s residence by 10 AM in the morning, Hiren sent his car to fetch him. His tea estate is 50 km away from the city and his bungalow is just behind the estate, a huge one. The entire place with the tea garden won’t be less than an acre Akhil presumed. Hiren greeted him warmly and informed he has arranged for his breakfast which Akhil politely declined. He was curiously waiting to meet Riya.

The walked up to their bedroom. Riya was lying on the bed and a young man of Hiren’s age was sitting there wearing his stethoscope. “This is our family physician and my friend Sudheer Chatterjee and my wife Riya.” Riya looked at Akhil with an empty gaze, Sudheer smiled and shook hands with Akhil.

“I have written some medicine and a strong sedative for Riya, make sure she take them after food, I am leaving now, I shall check her up in another two days,” Sudheer spoke as he started to keep arrange his medical kit bag.

On his way out he shook hands with Akhil warmly one more time “I have heard so much of you. Hiren did the right thing to engage a psychiatrist, Riya needs some counselling badly, please let me know if I am of any help.” Sudheer applauded Akhil’s presence here.

 

Akhil Sat near Riya, she is about in her early twenties, short and petite, Akhil wondered, the couple must be having at least 7 to 8 years of age gap. He kept his hand on her forehead. “How are you feeling now?” Akhil asked in a soft voice.

“I don’t know, I am scared. I don’t know what that fake Hiren wants, I am scared, very scared.” Riya murmured.

“Can you tell me how and when it started? Would you be able to? Don’t get up, just lay down and tell me.” Akhil spoke again in a soft voice.

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Riya’s story:

It’s all started that day when Hiren came back early from his work, he generally comes home by late evening, but that day he was early. He didn’t speak much, we had our lunch together, I was happy seeing him early and then we went for a nap. When I saw him again in the evening, at his normal return time, when he told me I probably dreamt all of those thing, I wanted to believe it but I knew something somewhere was wrong.

Then I saw the other him in the kitchen, he was leaning on the wall and smiling at me, I looked back and found the same Hiren I left on the dining table still there, eating. I couldn’t take it and faint.

Slowly his presence started to be stronger and clearer, One day as I felt thirsty I got up from the bed and came down, I saw someone was standing on the balcony, I wanted to run away but my feet were stuck to the ground. I saw he turned back and he called my name, “Riya, could you get me a glass of water?” I felt dizzy and fell down there. When I woke up I found myself in the bed, Hiren was with me. But I was scared, suspicious if he is my husband or that imposter. But as he touched me I felt relieved, I recognised him by his touch.

Though our servants are staying in the servant quarter Hiren ordered our maid and cook to stay with me all the time, I don’t see him when somebody else is present, but every time I am all alone he appears in front of me. Dr Sudheer had done a lot of check-ups and gave me different kinds of medicine, but everything is in vain. A few days ago when I was sitting on the chair reading book, the maid was fast asleep, I saw a shadow emerged near the door, my heart started to beat like a drum. I got up from my chair and walked up there. Hiren was standing there, I was confused if he is the real or the fake one.

“Why you are so scared of me? I won’t harm you.” He whispered, and he slowly walked towards me and touched my cheek. The fingers were cold like ice and felt a strange smell of rotten flesh, as he moved closer to me the pungent smell was unbearable. I screamed and fell down unconscious. Since then Hiren stopped going to work, he is running the business from home, the maid stays with me for 24 hours.

I feel his presence everywhere, I hear him whispering at the night, at times I hear his footsteps. Sometimes the sound of easy chair moving in the study room. Once I was having dinner with Hiren in the dining area, I clearly saw him sitting on the sofa in the drawing room through the gap of the door connecting the drawing and dining room, I screamed and told Hiren about it, he rushed there but nobody was there then.

My little happy life now turned into an inferno, I don’t know what to do, whom to turn to?”

Riya’s big dark eyes were full of tears, Akhil felt bad seeing her crying helplessly. “I promise you I shall do everything in my limits to help you out of this situation.” He assured her.

“Do you know about Haimanti?” Akhil enquired. “Yes I do.” Riya answered in a quiet voice.

“Have you ever seen her around here?” Akhil was probing. “She’s dead, how will I see her here?” Riya answered with a puzzled voice.

Akhil felt uneasy, he shouldn’t have ask that question.

“Where is your family? Are they live somewhere nearby?” Akhil asked, “My dad is no more, It’s me and my mother and few distant relatives, I am from the nearby village, my mother lives there.”

“All right. You look exhausted, take some rest. I will talk to you later.” Akhil stood up.

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Akhil and Hiren was walking side by side as they were taking a round his tea estate.

“I have few questions Hiren, I hope you can answer them.” Akhil started. “Of course, ask me,” Hiren replied.

Akhil: “You said your mother died of cancer, do you remember anything odd or suspicious about her death?”

Hiren: “No, I remember nothing of that sort, once her cancer was detected doctor had given 3 months, she died on the 3rd month.”

Akhil: “And your father?”

Hiren: “The Airlines informed us about the flight crash and the death, as there were no survivors, everything was burned to ashes.”

Akhil: “About Haimanti, did you discover her dead body on the river shore?”

Hiren: “No, I was informed by the local police, I was hysterical and distraught, Misra uncle came at once as he got the information. He identified the body from her attire and birth mark.

Akhil: “Gokul Misra?”

Hiren: “He died in a heart attack when he was asleep, there was no mystery at all in his death.”

Akhil: “Hmm, and about the maids and servants, do you have any of your old ones?

Hiren: “No, as I said they all were grown so old, now all the servants working here are new, the oldest one among them is serving from 4 years.”

 

The uneven lines on Akhil’s forehead were getting prominent now. Something is not adding up. There are 4 deaths in this house yet Riya is seeing the dual persona of her husband but none of those people. Is she hallucinating? Or someone is trying to scare her and if so then why? Or is it really about some supernatural occurrence?

He bid adieu to Hiren for the day and hit the road towards the city, he need to have a word with Inspector Dubey.

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Akhil walked into the police station, a sub-inspector saw and greeted him, “Hello Akhil sir, Inspector Dubey is not here, he went out for a case investigation.” “Oh! When will he return?” Akhil was disappointed. The sub-inspector shrugged “No idea, he is gone for long I guess.”

Akhil thought about going to university at the second half as he had some classes to take, but he was too exhausted. He went home and slept for 4 straight hours. When he got up in the evening he tried to call Dubey for few times but his mobile was switched off. While sitting in the dark Akhil was trying to arrange all the events and incidents took place in Hiren’s life like a Jigsaw puzzle.

Hiren lost his 4 family members, his mother at the tender age of 8, then his father when he is college, probably after 10 years of his mother’s demise. Then he lost his first wife Haimanti and his manager and his father-in-law Gokul Misra in a span of 3 to 4 years. There are two unnatural deaths, Hiren’s father died in a plane crash, his dead body was never found or identified and Haimanti whose body was identified by her father but was unrecognizable.

The questions which are emerging now are, is Hiren’s father really dead? Was that Haimanti’s body? How loyal was Gokul Misra especially when he became the father-in-law of Hiren? What happened to Jiten who was humiliated and thrown away? Why Riya is seeing two Hiren, is it just an illusion? Or she is lying? Or somebody is trying to scare her?

Akhil went to kitchen and made himself a strong hot cup of tea, while sipping into his smoking hot tea he thought ‘coffee is just too overrated’. He got a headache while thinking of all those questions revolving in his head, the hot tea sure gave him a soothing relief.

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Akhil dialled Hiren’s number, after few rings Hiren picked up the call, “Dr Mitra, tell me.”

“I need few documents and photos, Could you get me the death certificates and the photos of your deceased family members? Pay me a visit tomorrow, I also have something else to tell you.” Akhil said in a serious tone.

“It’s kind of hard to leave Riya alone at home even if the maid is there, but I guess I can manage an hour or two. I shall be there by tomorrow morning.”

Next day morning Hiren came to Akhil’s residence and handed over the documents and photos Akhil asked for.

“I have only one photo of Haimanti, when she was 7 years old, I keep it in my purse. Rest all the photos were kept away by Misra uncle. After her death, he was not ready to keep any of her pictures around, he loved her so much. He couldn’t tolerate see his dead daughter’s pictures as it used to remind him of her.”, Akhil said in sad voice and kept the photo on the table.

Akhil picked up the photograph, it’s an old colour photograph which has almost turned yellow, a cute girl of 6 to 7 years is standing in red lehenga and a green dupatta, with her neck little bend towards the camera, she is not smiling instead looking at the camera with irritated eyes.

“I will return this back in few days” He said that while checking the other photographs, they all are quite old, by seeing at Hiren’s parents picture Akhil understood from where Hiren got his handsomely presence, both of them were tall, fair and had an aristocrat look. Gokul Misra was a short, dark and bald man but his eyes were saying he was a clever and shrewd personality.

“Hiren, do you have any CCTV camera installed at your place?” Akhil enquired.

“One at the entrance but it’s not working, I have to replace it. But why?” Hiren asked with a baffled voice.

“Would it be possible to install few CCTV cameras inside your house?” Akhil spoke absentmindedly.

“I sure can, I can get cameras in each room, but does that mean Riya is telling the truth? That it’s not her psychological issue but someone really is there who looks exactly like me?” Hiren is looking visibly worried.

“I am not saying anything. I am just wondering if we can have 24/7 electronic surveillance in your place for few days, I guess Riya will also feel secure.”

“Very well, today itself I will get some people to install them. But if I knew I have to do this, I wouldn’t have appointed a parapsychologist.” Hiren said those words angrily and stormed out of there. Akhil was still thinking something.

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It was Saturday, after Hiren left from there Akhil finished reading a half-read book, worked on one of his thesis, in lunch he brought some parathas and daal ghost from a small hotel nearby. The daal ghost was so very hot and spicy that it almost burned his tongue, but it was tasty as well. Akhil wondered when it comes about tasty food, road side shops are way better than the fancy restaurants.

After lunch he took a nap for 3 hours, then in the evening went to the park and sat on the bench as usual. He bought some sprouts and grams and spread in front of him, as the flock of pigeons landed on them, he tried to find the one with the polka dots, but it wasn’t there. It started to drizzle after some time and people started to leave from the park, Akhil didn’t move, he was expecting it to be a passing shower. But the rain didn’t stop and started to pour heavily when Akhil returned home he was completely drenched.

He made himself and cup of tea, as he was sipping it he felt feverish, a little throat ache, his eyes were turning red and his head started to feel heavy. Akhil went to bed and tried to sleep but the fever was increasing, not letting him sleep, he was slumbering.

He felt a hand on his forehead, he opened his eyes, it was Sakina. She was looking at Akhil with her sad big eyes, “You should have someone here to take care of you.” She spoke in her soft sweet voice. Slowly her face started to change, It was now Neela who’s looking at him and smiling. “You should have accepted me when I proposed to you in college, at least you wouldn’t be laying all alone here, with none to take care of you.” Akhil closed his eyes, his breaths were getting hot and heavy, he knew he is hallucinating due to heavy fever. He heard the giggling sound now from the corner of the room, he opened his eyes again and found Ayesha was sitting there. “Tell me Dr. Akhil Mitra, how come you never succeeded to save any of your female client’s lives? Every woman who depended on you, you let them down miserably, even that poor little thing Sakina. Do you think you can save Riya?” There were more giggles as she finished speaking.

Akhil could hear someone is continuously pressing the doorbell and banging the door, a voice is also calling Akhil’s name. He somehow got up from bed and switched on the light, there was no one in his room and he can hear the voice calling his name is getting louder. Akhil walked towards the door by weak steps and manage to open it. As soon as he opened the door he lost his balance and was about the fell on the floor when two strong hands caught his shoulders.

“Dr Mitra, what happened to you? Are you alright? Your body is burning with fever.” Inspector Dubey spoke in terrified voice as he was holding Akhil in his both hands.

Dubey admitted Akhil in the hospital within an hour, whole night Akhil was half conscious as he could see the faces of doctors and nurses in his room. Next day afternoon Akhil regain a little of himself, doctors told him there’s nothing to worry but it’s better if they discharge him after 2 days.

Inspector Dubey came in the evening to visit Akhil, “Sir you need at least a full-time servant to be at your place. You are a bachelor with none of your close relatives in this city to take care of you if you fall sick. I wonder why you never got married.”

Akhil weakly smiled at Dubey “That’s a long story, I will tell you some other time. Now take the keys of my house, there will be few documents and photographs lying on my table. Get them and try to find as much information about them. Also find the details of a person called Jiten Sappru, he should be a local person staying nearby tea estate run by Hiren Bose. He had also worked under him. ”

“Will do, but my sincere request to you, not to indulge into any case till you are fine.” Inspector spoke in a concerned voice.

“I have promised somebody that I will help with all the way I can. I have 2 more days to be here, meanwhile if you can run the investigation.” Akhil said those words while his eyes closed.

“Very well, I will get those things and run a check on them, but you take care of yourself.” Dubey took his leave.

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“Dr, Mitra, what a surprise? I just came to know you are admitted in this hospital.” Dr Sudheer Chatterjee’s cheerful tone brought back Akhil into this world, he was lost into his deep thoughts. He looked at Sudheer surprisingly, “You work here?” Akhil asked.

“I do. I did not have my duty last night, today when I saw the list of newly admitted patients I came across your name, heard you were admitted here with high fever.” Sudheer answered while sitting on the chair.”

“How long do you know Hiren? If you don’t mind me asking” Akhil asked again

“I know him for around 3 years now. We had a common friend, through him we met and we got along, he used to come to me for any kind of medical issues after that.” Sudheer replied.

“I need some information about him and his family. I guess I you have no problem as he engaged me solve Riya’s case.” Sudheer nodded in reply to his query and then Akhil and Sudheer had a long discussion.

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Next day Akhil was feeling better but he was still weak. He decided to call Hiren and check on him, he dialled Hiren’s number, Hiren responded almost immedietly.

“Hello Dr. Mitra, how are you? I have heard about your condition from Sudheer. Please accept my apology for that ill behaviour, all these while I thought it’s all Riya’s illusion, but when you suggested about CCTV camera, first time I felt Riya is telling the truth. It’s all fine for few days as Riya did not see anyone yet. I also started to feel there might be someone out there who looks just like me.”

“Good to hear that, I am still investigating from my side. You people stay careful.” Akhil replied.

“Today is my birthday, I want to spend some good times with Riya, last couple of months were hell.” Hiren was cheerful.

“Many happy returns of the day.” Akhil wished.

 

It started to drizzle in the late evening again. Inspector Dubey came back to hospital and found Akhil was half lying on the hospital bed reading a book.

“Here, the information about the people you needed are in this file. And yes you have asked about Jiten Sappru, he worked there in the tea estate long time ago, but was thrown out from there due to some issue.” Dubey gave the file to Akhil.

“So where is he now?” Akhil took the file and asked.

“Dead, he was humiliated in front of lots of people, he couldn’t take it, his dead body found hanging from a nearby tree after 2 days of that incident. I have checked on other people as well, there was nothing fishy except one, that’s about Haimanti.”

Akhil started to read all the case file information of each persons, by that time it started to rain steadily. Suddenly the power went off and the entire hospital sank in darkness, but in few minutes the lights were back as the backup generator was started.

“If it rains like this the power won’t come back before tomorrow morning, the outskirt areas of the city were sure out of power by now.” Dubey was watching the rain through the window.

Akhil almost jumped off his feet. ‘Dubey, we have to go to Hiren’s place now.” He shouted.

“Now?” Dubey asked in puzzled voice.

“Call the police station and ask for backup, I am going now.”

“I can’t let you go alone. And how will you go? I am coming with you. I am calling my sub-inspector to get the force there.”

Akhil and Dubey were rushing towards Hiren’s residence, during the whole journey Akhil didn’t not speak a word, Dubey was driving the police vehicle almost 100km/hour, he sent his driver to get the backup force.

In an hour they reached to the destination, Akhil ran inside and found the maid was standing there, baffled. She saw them and started to sob, while sobbing whatever she said was, just about half an hour ago the power went off due to rain, suddenly she heard Riya screaming from inside. Hiren rushed in and found Riya crying. She said the same fake Hiren tried to molest her and then when she screamed he ran towards the tea garden. Listening to this Hiren was mad and he ran towards the garden, Riya also followed her. The maid doesn’t know what to do and it’s almost 15 minutes now they are gone.

 

“Call the other servants from servant quarter and ask them to follow us.” Akhil shouted those words at her and fanatically ran towards the tea garden. Inspector Dubey followed him.

It was still raining, the tea garden at the midst of a dark rainy night was looking nothing short of a dense forest. Akhil did not care much and ran in screaming Hiren’s name. As he went inside around 300 meters he found Hiren was lying on the mud covered with blood. He heard another muffled scream and then a thud sound. He turned and saw Dubey is also down on the ground with blood oozing out of his head, behind there’s a shadow standing with a shovel.

“And this is for my father.” Riya spoke those words with enormous hatred and raised the shovel. The silence of that mute rainy night was broken with blistering sound of a bullet, Akhil stood there motionlessly as he saw Riya’s lifeless body dropped to the ground, Inspector Dubey was still holding the pistol right at her body despite of bleeding profoundly.

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Inspector Dubey was lying in the hospital bed with a bandage on his head, Akhil was sitting in front of him, Dubey’s family just left after seeing him. Hiren is also admitted in the same hospital and Sudheer is with him, his injuries are fatal but he will live.

“Riya’s full name was Riya Sappru, the only daughter of Jiten Sappru.” Akhil spoke as Dubey was looking at him with curious eyes.

“Well, that’s clear now, but what about Haimanti? As I showed you, I couldn’t find her birth certificate and her death certificate also looks like a fake one.” Dubey asked in perplexed voice.

 

“When I first saw Hiren the thing that strike me is a sublime feminine look of Hiren. He was the only child of his parents and very close to his mother. A lot of mothers like to dress their kids like opposite gender when they are small. Like sometimes they dress up their daughter like a son or vice versa. Who knows maybe Hiren’s mother wanted a girl child. So she used to dress him up like a girl sometimes, perhaps she only used to call him Haimanti when she dressed him up like a girl. Slowly the Hiren got that habit of cross-dressings, it might have been stopped by his mother but before that she passed away.

Hiren was weak and feeble in his childhood and was continuously bullied by his school mates, his father was always out of stations, during this time the only playmate he found was Haimanti, his alter ego. Gokul Misra was aware of it, to make a motherless child happy he also got into his game and became the father of his alter ego Haimanti. After few days maybe during any medical check-up Gokul Misra came to know Hiren is actually transsexual, one of the cruellest joke nature played here. Maybe Gokul informed the same to Hiren’s father, who knows maybe the conservative disappointed father started to keep distance from his own son.

The outside world was unaware of all these as Hiren used to be Haimanti only inside the four walls, he used to talk to himself for hours thinking he is talking to Haimanti and answered to himself as well. When Jiten was appointed, he kind of got an idea of what exactly is going on.

I am not sure if Jiten tried to blackmail Gokul Misra or was just making fun of Hiren, but he did a grave mistake. Gokul Misra was loyal as a dog to Bose family and when it comes about that family’s reputation he was ruthless. He handpicked all the servants who were also aware of Hiren’s situation.

When Gokul came to know about it, he threw Jiten out of the estate, but he knew Jiten won’t stop here, he would surely spread the words. So he sent his men after him to finish the job, but before Jiten got killed he told everything to his wife and daughter.

Then a new problem aroused, now Hiren wanted to marry Haimanti. I believe some psychiatrist must have given the idea to Gokul, that if he could make Hiren believe Haimanti is dead he will probably be able to kill that alter ego. He did the same, he produced a fake death certificate, made Hiren believe that Haimanti went missing and found dead and he went and recognised her body.

The idea worked, as in Hiren’s subconscious mind Haimanti was dead, he stopped his crossdressing habits. The photo of Haimanti he gave me was mostly taken by his mother when she dressed him up like a girl.

Now Riya and her mother was driven away by Gokul’s men to a distant village, Riya grew up with immense hate and loathness towards Gokul and Hiren, she was a struggling small time actress when she met Hiren. She recognized him immediately, but he didn’t know her. She trapped him into her net. Sudheer and Hiren both met her in a party and Sudheer had a soft corner for her. When she decided to marry Hiren, Sudheer actually warned her that Hiren is an incomplete man, but she did not pay any attention.

When I spoke to Sudheer yesterday he told me everything and I started suspecting Riya. Hiren never spoke anything about Haimanti’s mother, from your report I came to know Gokul was never married and he also never adopted any girl and lack of her birth certificate I was certain it was a case of dual personality.

Funny thing is Riya also chose to play the game of duality. Most probably her plan was to make Hiren believe of another Hiren and drive him to commit suicide or make it look like an accident while he fighting with his own alter image.

But with me in the scene she understood it will be difficult now, especially with CCTV cameras installed inside. When you said last night the power won’t be there in the outskirts of city, it came to me that without power the CCTVs won’t work. It was Hiren’s birthday as well, for a revenge seeking woman this might be an ideal situation that was my hunch and it paid off.”

 

Akhil stopped to catch a breather after speaking continuously.

“Dr Akhil Mitra, you are a genius.” Inspector Dubey smiled.

“Elementary, my dear.” Akhil laughed.

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After few months, one Sunday morning Akhil heard the door bell ringing. He opened the door and found a beautiful lady standing on his door.

“May I come in?” She asked in a husky voice.

Akhil moved away from the door, he was surprisingly looking at her.

“Do you recognize me?” The stranger asked.

Akhil shook his head.

“This is Haimanti.” She spoke.

Akhil was still looking at her with astonishing eyes.

She left a long sigh, “I went under the knife and changed my gender, I guess there is no point hiding the real me inside, already I was a woman trapped inside a man’s body.” She got up, “I will come some other time, I have to leave now.” She was slowly moving out.

“Wait, at least have a cup of tea.” Akhil asked, “Some other time maybe.” Haimanti smiled.

“Don’t you want that photograph back?” Akhil asked again.

“Keep it, at least it will remind you of me.” Haimanti smiled and walked away.

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{The Characters Sakina, Neela and Ayesha were appeared in my previous stories, She (https://anibhoot.com/2016/02/06/she/) and Hallucination (https://anibhoot.com/2016/01/22/hallucination/) respectively}