Chapter 4: Iti Kaand (The Final Chapter): Boomerang

Finale of the story. Chapter 1, 2 and 3 posted earlier.

******

His head was buzzing. After trying to call Caddy for the last three hours for some work and failing to get through, he had called one of his reports. That’s how he came to know. He immediately checked in on the others. He could not get through to any of them. Sweating profusely, he checked the news articles from the local newspapers online. Four victims identified. Fifth not identified. But the photograph? No mistaking him. And her. All five of them were dead. This couldn’t be a coincidence. He immediately left the office. He felt like puking. But he had to get away. Before anyone noticed. He took a taxi to Marine Drive. On a weekday afternoon, it doesn’t take long to get there.

He had been staring at the ocean for the last eight hours since then. But all he could feel right now was a dark emptiness. And fear. He had gone through all the details a few times over. Finally, around midnight, he felt convinced that his living in a narrow street of Mumbai, as against the others being in different parts of US would make him untraceable. It was easier to track bloody Americans. Serves them right.

He took the last train back. Usually, these trains are deserted. The compartment he picked was quite, and there were 5-6 passengers sitting in different corners of the compartment. He stood closer to the gates trying to get some fresh air. The distance between Churchgate and Andheri can be quite a bit when time is not on your side. The world seems to desert you at Dadar. Or join you. Tonight, it didn’t. By the time, the train inched into the Bandra station, there were only three of them left. As the train left Bandra, the other two had moved closer to each other. For a moment, he wondered if they were after him. They were having a conversation in hushed voices. At Vile Parle they got up. By the time, the train left the station, they were standing very close to him. He could see that one of them had his hands in his pocket. His mind was playing tricks with him. Or not. The limbo can kill you, without really doing nothing. Or, by doing nothing. The train had gained momentum. The two had started necking. He felt comfortable. At Andheri station, he got down. They did too.

He walked hurriedly to catch an auto-rickshaw. Just as he was about to get down at his apartment in a not so dreamy suburb of the city of dreams, his cellphone started ringing. He hated the default ringtone. He did not know how to change it though. He took out his wallet with his right hand as he picked the call from his left hand. He did not recognize the voice at the other end. Just as the voice asked him to, he turned around. He could see two autorickshaws comings. Both of them stopped right behind his autorickshaw. From the first one, the couple from the train got down. They either were a couple that had a fight before they came aboard the train at Churchgate, or there was a price tag. It would be good to know the price tag. The other auto had an old men getting down. Is he the one? How long do I need to wait? “The couple”, the voice on the phone answered the question he did not ask.

His heart skipped a beat. The couple came closer. The man had his hands in the pocket. He could feel his heart beat louder, and the world around him slowed down to a dramatic slow-motion as the man started taking his hands out of his pocket. He was aware of everything. The old man moving towards the main entrance of the building, the red ford escort pulling over in a distance, the security guards sitting by the tiny fire not expecting any visitors at this time of the night, the girl chewing on a gum which had most likely lost its taste if one were to observe the the wider and rhythmic motions of her mouth, and pulling something out of the hip pocket of her faded navy blue jeans, his own autorickshaw about to take a U-turn and the driver bending down to spit on the other side of the road. He wanted to focus on the guy’s hand just as much as he wanted to run inside the building, but something about the twitch in the girl’s eye made him look at her. She was handing him a small piece of paper.

“Money was lost, Money was found.
What goes around, comes around.
1 played 5, but 1 played 6.
5 are dead. Are you in a fix?”

“Gotcha!”, the man said.

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About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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