STREAK OF DESTINY

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May 25, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 30 times)

Dear readers and my friends.

Here I am with my next story. It is not based on any serial. 

And before I start I want to once again state that I've written this based on borrowed concept. Except for the concept the story is purely my imagination. This time,I've decided the story to happen near my hometown. 

Hopefully you will all read and enjoy

And feedback of all kinds is always welcome.

With love

Rani


STREAK OF DESTINY.



CHAPTER- 1



FIVE YEARS AGO. BANGALORE



Lt. Mohan Kumar woke up from his sleep when he heard his phone ringing. He looked at his radium dial clock on the opposite wall it was three in the morning. "Hello??" he said grumpily. "Lt. It's Jana here. You better come down immediately to The Residency here in Indira Nagar."

"What is it Jana?"he sat up all sleep gone. 

"It's Major Preetam Singh....he was found in dead in his car....asphyxiation ....in the Hotel's parking garage."  

"What???? Come again....do you mean the .... Major..Preetam Singh?"

"Yes sir! The police is already at the spot....they might remove the body soon...if you want to get a look, better come fast."

"When did this happen?" Mohan was already changing his clothes.

"Around midnight..."

"And you are telling me now?"he asked irritated. Precious three hours gone. Don't know what evidence was left or taken. The police won't be so forthcoming. 

"You are the first to know as soon as I got the news."said Jana in his defence. 

"Who is in charge of this?"he asked.

"Guess who?"

"Not....that Anwar Hussein?" When there was silence on the other end, he cursed, "****...****..."

"Exactly!"said Jana. 

"Okay I'm on my way...try to stall them.."

"Will do.."

Mohan reached 'The Residency' fifteen minutes later.  Jana was waiting for him, and they quickly walked towards the spot, passing the police cordon, showing his ID as he walked past the security. Superintendent of Police Anwar Hussein, was shooting instructions at jet speed and often confusing his officers who often wondered they had heard him right and understood exactly what their boss was trying to tell them.

He saw Mohan and stopped, "Well...well...look who is here."

"Hello, officer, bad morning I guess." he said eyeing the corpse.

"Bad morning indeed and now that you are here hope it doesn't get worse....for me at least..."he said cynically.

Mohan ignored him. "What do you think happened?"

"Well...what do you think? Clear cut suicide... he got himself a room on the top floor, got drunk, went to  his car in the garage jammed the exhaust pipe, locked himself in and turned the motor on..."

"I would like to see the body...before you move it..."

"Look Colonel.... I know he is one of your men....but we are in charge outside the cantonment... So it would be appreciated if you would allow us to do our duty and stop interfering in our work..."

"Point taken sir... I just want to see him...after all I've worked with him....and there might be some link to other cases as well..."Mohan said patiently.

"Okay...okay...just two minutes.."Anwar said and gestured to a policeman. The policeman removed the covers. Preetam was laid on a gurney on his back. His face had turned garish blue and he looked like painted ghosts in horror movies.  He was wearing just a bathrobe and nothing underneath it.

Mohan turned away, and Anwar ordered his men to continue their work. "Any witness?"he asked.

"No...I guess people had already left after dinner and those remaining were in their rooms."

"Who found the body?"asked Mohan.

"The cleaners....went to dump the trash when they saw him down here."

"How can you be so sure...that he killed himself?"he asked again.

"You mean...somebody could have forcibly done him in...?"asked Anwar

"Or could it have been an accident?"asked Mohan.

" An expensive Audi car doesn't get jammed by accident...Colonel...." Mohan nodded, " "And moreover he had handed over the keys to the valet for parking, who had parked it in the garage at around nine pm and says that it was in an excellent condition." explained Anwar.

"May I check his room?"

"Colonel!"said Anwar in exasperation.

"I just want to see...."

"Okay...okay...I would not just sit there and take it with folded hands if I come to know that you have been ..."

"No Anwar....you know me....there won't be any reason to complain." Mohan smiled.

"That is the problem.... I know you..."he said, gritting his teeth in irritation.

"Thank you! "Mohan turned away quickly before Anwar could change his mind. He walked towards the hotel lobby when he saw Tarun Vaidya  standing there with a crestfallen face.



PRESENT- WELLINGTON, OOTY.



Preeti continued packing her duffel bag and stuffed her running shoes inside the back pack, listening to her husband's protest to her decision to go to Kotagiri for the weekend.

"I have to be there....Raghu...the Medical camp is very very important... with the incessant rains and the infections..."

"Exactly! It is not so safe to be out there ...high up in the mountains in those villages...during this season...it sounds crazy...there are people out there to take care of things and the camp will very well go according to the plans without you being there..." argued Raghu

"It's just for a couple of days...Raghu... Monday morning I have to be in the clinic...and I need this ....Sunday night I'll be here..."

"That running is so very important to you isn't it? Considering the fact that you've just recovered from your ankle injury."he asked frustrated, that nothing will stop her, and it angered him even more to think that it had always been like that from day one of their marriage.

"I've completely recovered...and I don't want to miss this opportunity ...I've chalked out the route and it is absolutely safe....anyways ...I know those mountains like the back of my hand." She said, pulling the zip to close the bags. 

"This compulsion of yours...is.."

"We've been through this before Raghu...I've made up my mind..."

Her mobile rang. She picked it up, saying to him, "Don't worry..." Then into the phone, "hello Leela.."

He threw up his hands in frustration shook his head and walked out of her room.

"All ready?"Leela asked.

"Yep..will be leaving in ten minutes.. Have you informed Mrs. Kamali, that her son's operation is scheduled for Tuesday and not Monday, and tell Nikhil to stay back the night..."

"Yes....Preeti... We've gone through all this a hundred times..."

Preeti laughed, "I'm sorry...I know you and Nikhil will take care of things...it's just..."her hand brushed her thick brownish black hair back, and rubbed her neck as if to massage away the invisible pain, there.

"Is it Raghu? " Leela asked.

"Yeah...he is still grumbling against me going to the camp...more than the camp...it is my training for the marathon he is against..."she sighed.

"Relax...everything will be all right once you return..." Leela said trying to comfort her.

She wished it was all so easy and smooth within, between the two, as it looked outside. She began to feel the growing distance between them and the marathon was not the problem her marriage was. Of late these little skirmishes became bitter at the end of the day and it only added to her determination to go out to the wilderness for a couple of days to think things over. Probably the distance and the absence will help them to rejuvenate their relationship. 

"Okay...see you on Monday, Leela.."

"Preeti... Take care..."

Then one by one the nurses and her clinic staff began to call and wish her good luck. Finally she came down with her bags, Raghu was already getting the car ready for her. She smiled at him and dumped her bags at the back seat and said, "Thank you!"

Raghu simply nodded and opened the driver's door for her. "Bye Raghu! See you on Sunday." she said.

He hugged her and said, "I love you...bye..take care." He stood there looking at her and before she got inside the car, "Preeti..."he called, "Be careful!" He said. "I will ..." she said and got inside the car. He saw her drive out of their gates and take the road towards Lovedale. He took out the cell phone punched some buttons and said huskily, "Hi...your place or mine...?"

"You just couldn't wait for her to leave...isn't it? My place of course!" he heard her laugh. "That sound's fine, Leela....have the best wine for dinner..let's drink and dine and have great ****...for a couple of days and think of nothing else..."

"I just can't wait for the evening to come darling. Bye!" 

He cut the call and smiled, pocketing the phone thinking of the next two days.



May 30, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 23 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY - CHAPTER- 2



FIVE YEARS BEFORE- BANGALORE



Tarun stiffened to attention when he saw the Colonel.

"I'm sorry..Tarun... Real bad...I know what you must be feeling right now."

Tarun looked devastated he couldn't believe his mentor, who had so much to give youngsters like him had just snatched away his own life in this ghastly manner.

"I have work to do...will talk to you later.."Mohan walked away, with Jana following him.

"Sir!" Tarun relaxed.

Mohan went to the ninth floor and saw a flurry of activity outside the suite which had been occupied by Major Preetam Singh, few hours earlier. Mohan stepped in and looked around, then looked at Jana and nodded. He nodded back. Both began to move in opposite direction, scrutinizing the room. Everything was in it's place, as if the room had just been cleaned for the new occupant. The sheets on the bed were hardly touched. Preetam's clothes, dark blue shirt and grey trousers were neatly folded and was hanging inside the closet. The toilet was not used, in fact nothing had been touched. No bags, no briefcase even, no papers no files, nothing to indicate that he had come to stay or meet someone. It seemed as if he had come to this room just to get his car parked in the garage, for this parking garage was exclusively for

He turned away disappointed and looked at Jana who nodded at him. 

"Found anything interesting?" he asked the policeman who was standing there.

"Nope....just a couple of finger prints on the closet door and balcony door. We have nothing here...that's very clear he came here for a sole purpose..." he said. 

"What's that?" Mohan asked, looking below the chair placed near the table. Jana bent low to look at it, "It's a button sir!"he said. 

The policeman came running and went on his knees to look at it. Then took out a plastic ziploc bag and put the button into it. It was a blue colour shirt button, that was from Preetam's shirt. Confident that they might find something else they searched the room once again. They couldn't find anything otherwise to conclude that it was not a suicide. They came to the lobby, and Tarun was still there waiting to talk to them.

"Sir...any clue as to why he did this?"he asked expectantly.

Mohan nodded his head. 

"At present...nothing here..Tarun... Who told you? How come you are here?"he asked.

"Sir, the hotel management called, Major Bhakshi...he called me to inform you and to come here and get all the information but the police wouldn't let me." Tarun said politely. Mohan looked at Jana. 

"Yes sir, he called me to ask me if you could be troubled at this hour, I told him I'll inform you."Jana said.

"Have you informed the family?" Mohan asked Tarun.

Tarun nodded sadly, "No sir... I want to have some concrete info. before facing them. But the news would have reached them by now."

"I couldn't find anything suspicious....as of now this looks like clear cut suicide..."said Mohan shaking his head. "I can't believe it....why would he do such a thing? Anyway let's wait till the autopsy report comes."

"Yes sir!"Tarun came to attention. Mohan nodded and left.

An hour later his phone buzzed. It was Anandakrishnan. "Good morning! Anand... What is it? You wouldn't be calling so early without reason."

"Yeah I have some news for you. The boss is going to ask you to investigate Preetam's death. He'll call you first thing in the morning."

Anand was PA to the Mayor, Mr. P.V.Rao, Preetam's father in law, and his very good friend since college days.

Mohan laughed. "You forgot that the police is already handling the case and ...."

"Yeah...yeah...it is going to come as the Minister's request. You will be working alongside Anwar."

"Really?"

"And don't forget to feign surprise when he calls to put in the request tomorrow morning." Anand said.

"But why? Does he think there is foul play? It looks clear cut to me."Mohan lied. The single button had been at the back of his mind ever since he laid his eyes on it. 

"That's what he thinks....and who better than you?"Anand laughed.

Mohan was surprised, "I thought  I would have been the last person he would have thought of ...you know we've crossed swords many a times."

"I know ...I know...but wait for the call." Anand cut the call.

Mohan became thoughtful, thinking about the new turn of events.



PRESENT- WELLINGTON, OOTY.



Preeti switched on her car audio and increased the volume once she was out of Wellington and sighed in contentment, once **** Hill's voice filled her car. She began to enjoy the Lee Child's audio book and laughed aloud, at Jack Reacher's  subtle humour. Beautiful scenery, pleasant weather, with the rain Gods showing mercy, driving a beautiful machine in the winding roads, with Jack Reacher to listen to, "Ha...! This is life." she thought and smiled. She needed this and why not? She deserved this  break. The last month, had been hectic. She had to manage the renovation in the first floor, at the same time manage the clinic with ever increasing number of patients, then she had to travel back and forth to Chennai and Ooty to attend the meeting with the pharma company's R&D, the outcome of which angered Raghu more and more. But this did not dent her passion for training for the marathon. She was waiting restlessly for her ankle to heal for the last two months and as soon as the doctor gave the green signal, she took off. The marathon was six months away in Coimbatore and it was a massive campaign for a new Pediatric Cancer Wing in her father's  hospital and she had to be in the forefront. She had been working on the modalities for the past year with her trustees and nothing was going to stop her from realising her dreams. The medical camp  was just an excuse for her to get away. 

Nikhil and Leela were her pillars of  strength though she couldn't say the same about her husband Raghuram Gounder. When they had started the clinic four years back, in Wellington, Leela had introduced him as her very good friend. Then they had  started meeting regularly and Preeti found in him all she wanted  from her life partner. He cared for her, supported her and encouraged her in her endeavours. He hated running or any type of work out. But he kept himself physically trim and fit and it amused her when she found him standing in the finish line  all prim and proper, applauding her achievement, ready to receive her. She loved him she definitely knew that but the initial exuberance and joy of sharing and spending quality time together began to wane slowly and the disturbing fact was they both began to realise it. She began to concentrate on the story and absent mindedly waved at the people in other cars who honked or greeted her as they passed by. 

An hour later she reached Kotagiri and took the road to the Paradise Inn, where she had booked a room. She called Raghu and told him she had settled in, "Good....take care..come back soon on Sunday....I'll have special dinner ready for you." he said. She smiled wished him bye, cut the call, had some fresh juice and began to make phone calls.



Jun 3, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 14 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY - CHAPTER- 3



FIVE YEARS BEFORE- BANGALORE



Mohan Kumar went to his office around nine. And as expected at around ten, Mr.Vellupillai,  Minister for Urban Development, entered his office. Mohan Kumar welcomed the Minister, and offered him a seat. "Tell me Sir, to what do I owe this honour of you visiting my office?"

The whole premises was buzzing with curiosity for everybody there knew that the Colonel and the Minister who was previously, the Defence secretary in the previous regime were never at good terms for the Colonel was one person who never compromised his integrity and towed the lines of the politicians, who according to him would even be ready to sell their mother to stay in power.

"I'll come straight to the point, Mohan...."said Pillai, ignoring his sarcasm. "I want you to investigate Preetam's death."

"You forget sir, that he went and died outside our jurisdiction..The police are already..."

"I want you to find out what really happened  and tell me before the world comes to know about it."said the Minister.

"Sir....as the head of the Corps of  Military Police my department is responsible to find out and prevent crimes, petty or big…... in the army...but if I take over this case...we'll forever lose the support of the police department... They are not going to take this kindly."

"I know...I've talked to Anwar... He has accepted to assist you in every way he can...I assure you there won't be any problem from their side."the Minister's tone softened.

"Okay....you want the truth..."

"The truth.... yes..." "

You'll get it....everything...but on one condition..."

Pillai knew what was coming but still asked, "And....that is?"

"I don't want any interference....from the government....to suppress the truth...if... it is not a suicide..."

"Done."

"And...I want Tarun Vaidya... To assist me....nobody else."

"Why that boy....? What does he know about investigation.... he is a black cat..."

"He is the only one I can trust at present."

"Okay...go ahead...I want no stone unturned...."

"And I'll report only to my superiors directly....not to you..."

Pillai starred at him for oner long minute, "But I want to know the developments... If there is any ...regularly."

"That I leave it to my boss to decide."

The minister nodded and got up to leave, still Mohan remained seated. "Have a good day, sir!" Mohan said. 

Jana rushed in, "What was that about? Is it true, that you are asked to handle Preetam Singh's case. Anwar is waiting outside and I have to warn you, he is as mad as a bull dog."he said with a serious face.

Mohan smiled, "I didn't expect anything else."

"Sorry to spoil your discussion gentlemen..... "Came a booming voice. 

Mohan stood up to greet Anwar. "Good morning officer!"he wished as he extended his hand and took a firm grip of his in a handshake. He never desisted from respecting one of his own.

Anwar placed a folder on his table and smiled at Mohan, "You know what....I really don't care about this case...because...there is nothing in this....so cut the embarrassed look on your face...and let's discuss."

"The hotel register has noted down the time of entry as eight forty five pm. He had taken a safety deposit box...locker number...1291."

"A safety deposit box? Why? Did you find anything inside the box?"asked Mohan expectantly. "We did open the box there was nothing inside. He had no visitors, but had made few phone calls. The call list is there. The CCTV camera were checked and just shows a taxi...Indi-go... in front of his car, which came to drop the famous director Manoj Ranjan. In fact they checked in together, they were seen talking and greeting each other. There were no visitors to his room..."

"Someone must have surely seen him walking in his bathrobe from his room to the garage..."

"That is one thing that is not in line with his action...why would a man change his dress if he was thinking of taking away his life...what does it matter what he is wearing???"

"What about the entry to parking garage? Is there any other entry?"

"Yeah..of course it was checked...the trucks that bring in supplies...enter the garage and they have a separate service elevator...that goes up to the terrace."said Anwar.

"We'll start the enquiries... Anwar..thanks for the lead. I think the autopsy report will throw more light on the matter and I guess we have to sit it out."



PRESENT- KOTAGIRI, OOTY.



The Rotary club of Kotagiri, with the collaboration of Murugadas Memorial Hospital Trust, had organised this free medical camp for children. The Christian Missionary school was kind enough to lend their premises for a day. The labs also came in handy for taking blood samples and other tests.  She had sought the help of  other pediatricians in and around the town who were only too forthcoming to give her a helping hand. Saturday, the next day, kept her busy till late in the evening. As the day progressed the crowd began to swell. At one point of time even the volunteers were asked to assist the doctors in controlling the crowds. Though it was advertised extensively that the camp was for children, the adults especially the old people began to pour in as the day progressed. The volunteers were at their wits end, in trying to explain to them that the camp was for kids below fourteen years. Some began to fight and one or two refused to leave the premises, saying doctors are doctors if they could treat kids then they can treat other people as well. A middle aged lady with swollen gums was not satisfied with the prescription but wanted medicines as well. No way could they make her understand that the medicines they had were for kids and it will not work for her. They had to give her some vitamins and tonic and send her away. 

Preeti had her own frustrating tale to tell. A woman had come with her daughter complaining that her daughter was too weak and asked for a general check up. The girl looked not more than twelve. "What's your name?" she asked checking her pulse.

"Kanaka..."

"How old are you?"

The girl looked at the mother. "Fifteen.."the mother said.

Preeti was shocked, "Fifteen? Which year was she born?"she asked hoping probably the mother was wrong.

"I don't know ...but I know she is fifteen..."

"Is she getting her periods regularly?" Again the girl looked at the mother.

"No...sometimes she gets ...sometimes...nothing..."

Preeti looked at the mother frustrated, "When was the last time she had ..."

The mother scratched her head and nodded in negative. 

"Do you remember? "She asked the girl, her voice raising a notch, "You must be going to school...you must be knowing the name of the months.."

The girl looked at her mother then at Preeti and starred with a blank look.

"God!" Already she was tired and she was losing her patience, "Show some mercy!"

"Haan...The month we had the temple festival, that was the last time she had it."the mother said.

"Listen...there are so many temples all over the hills...which temple which month...?" asked Preeti trying very hard to keep her frustration under control.

"That month they have that fire walking and car festival..."the woman scratched her hair. "Oh...in the month of Chithirai...? That was nearly four months ago...did you check with any other doctor? Look at her eyes...she is anemic.." Then realising that the woman will not understand a thing she is saying softened her tone and said, "She is so weak...no blood...I will recommend a doctor in Lovedale...near your home...you have to take Kanaka to her she will advise you as to what to do.."

"Why ??? Can't you give her medicines...can't you treat her?"asked the mother.

"No.....probably, her thyroid has to be checked....her uterus scanned...only this doctor will be able to do all that and then treat her...it is important you meet her...okay?"

The woman nodded not knowing the complexity involved in treating humans. Preeti looked at her pitifully.

Later during dinner, they had a good laugh over their experiences and the doctors took their leave. Preeti went back to her room tired to her bone , wondering if she'll be able to wake up early in the morning for the jogging she was planning. She had a hot shower, called Leela who gave her the update on the clinic then to Raghu and talked to him in detail about her day, wished him good night and cut the call. She slept as soon as her head hit the bed. 

"Damn her! What timing! She just won't allow me to be happy..."muttered Raghu, as he dumped the phone in the night stand and pulled Leela towards him.

"Oh come on Raghu....you have to play your part of the loving husband so that she doesn't become suspicious..."said Leela.

"This charade will soon come to an end!" he said and grinned at her, "Let's not waste anymore time talking about nonessentials.."he said and went for her lustily.

Jun 6, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 19 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-4

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

As soon as Anwar left, Mohan called Tarun and Jana.

"First let's go and meet his family. We have to talk to his wife." He told them. "When is the postmortem?"he asked Jana. 

"Sir...at around eleven."

Mohan looking at his watch said, "I think we'll just have enough time to make it to the hospital. Jana, I want you to take two more officers and go to 'The Residency' and check the guest list and talk to every one of them. The hotel has been already told that no one should leave the premises until told so...find out from the staff, employees, room service personal if they had seen anybody or heard anything. "

"Sir..." Jana got up to leave.

"I want every smallest of small details covered...nothing should be left out...check the cameras, the vehicles coming in and going out, find out who was in these vehicles, talk to them, even the neighboring apartments... somebody would have seen something...."

"Got it sir!" Jana left.

"Tarun....whatever we discuss, whatever we find out should not leave the office without my permission."

"Sir...do you think, Singh Saab didn't kill himself?"

"I don't know, son....let's talk to his wife and find out if we can..."

"Sir...may I ask you something? Why did you select me to assist you?"

Mohan smiled, "The whole of the cantonment knows you were like his son to him, you were the closest...I think you would be able to explain his mind set better than anybody else."

"I was the closest, but still I couldn't do anything to stop him from killing himself."he looked down at his toes. 

"This not the time for self pity kid, let's move."

They reached the Major's residence and already the media vans were all parked around and police had cordoned off the area keeping the reporters at bay. Mohan and Tarun entered the house. The solemn faced maid opened the door and asked them to be seated. A little later the Mayor walked into the living room. "I'm very sorry sir....please accept our condolences."Mohan said gravely.

Rao nodded. "What is it gentlemen? Anything important to inform us about the death?"he asked expectantly.

"No sir....you can't expect anything so soon. Meanwhile we thought we'll start our enquiry from here."said Mohan.

Rao went on the defensive immediately. "Why? What do you expect me to tell you about my son in law? Except that I'm devastated.... and wouldn't expect this from an army Major, who had served the country for two decades." He turned his head away, and sounded as if he was more ashamed than sad.

"We will talk to you later Mr.Rao, but now we want to meet Mrs. Singh."

"Look here...Colonel can't you do all this later....she is grieving and in no position to talk..."he protested.

"We are only doing our duty sir...on your request the Minister wanted a speedy end to this case."

"Its okay pappa...I'll talk to them..." Came his daughter's voice from behind. 

"Oh...okay..."he said reluctantly.

"Shweta....this is Colonel Mohan...and of course you know Tarun."he said.

"Namaste!"she said.

Mohan looked at the woman in front of him, her calm exterior was masking her tumultuous feelings within her, "I'm very sorry ...mam..."

Shweta nodded and looked at Tarun. "Ma..ji...I'm... So...sorry..." Tarun couldn't find enough strength to face the woman in front of him. His eyes glistened. "Thank you. Please sit down."

"Mam..we know we are here at an inopportune moment..we're sorry , please spare us just a few moments..."

"We can always ask them to come..."intervened Rao and came forward to sit.

Mohan interrupted, "Mr.Mayor...we want to talk to Mrs.Singh...alone...so please..."

"Look here...Colonel... Whatever she has to say will be said before me."protested Rao.

"Papa...I'll be fine...it is okay..."she told her father.

The Mayor starred indignantly at the two of them and got up and left the room.

"Mrs.Singh, tell us exactly.. What happened?"

PRESENT- KOTAGIRI, OOTY.

Her mind clock woke her up at five in the morning and she got ready and was out in her car to the look out point from where the trail started. She parked her car on the side of the road and got out. She did her stretching and looked around. Because of the incriminating weather there were hardly anybody outside. The locals depended on the tourists and the monsoon months were the lean period and people lazily went about there work. She once again checked her phone and the map she had downloaded on it. This sixteen kilometers uphill trail to Doddapetta and the same downhill was going to be quite challenging and she welcomed it, but she was not going to be foolhardy about it.The trail looked daunting, and she was ready and rearing to go. She adjusted her band over her forehead, opened the passenger door took out her sweat shirt and wore it then took out her fanny pack adjusted her straps, put on the hood and the sun glasses and took off.

The shiny expensive beautiful car caught his attention. He adjusted his powerful binoculars and looked at it, curious to know what brought someone so early in the morning towards the forest path. He saw her get out. He should have moved his eyes away, lowered his binoculars and gone about his daily routine, but his hand stilled, his breath caught in his chest. She was wearing a tennis bra and a vest over it. When she raised her hands to bundle her flaming reddish brown hair into a pony tail, his breath came out in a hiss, when her petite ****s raised along with her hands and he just couldn't control his urge to see more of her. She then brought  the band that was around her neck up above her forehead to the front of her hair. He could see last pair of ribs and flat abdomen and the rounded stomach muscles. Her vest had slightly risen above revealing her perfect navel, his nerves began to tingle. He got from his perch and jumped down and stood once again to watch her. She then opened her side of the passenger door bent in to remove her sweat shirt. He saw her perfectly rounded bottoms and her tapering thighs and her lean calf muscles to her small ankles and then he saw her running shoes.

He jerked his binoculars away from his eyes. "Is she crazy? Running...uphill..in this weather?" He quickly saw the opposite hill where the narrow path she was going to take, winded uphill towards the forests before coming out to the clearing. A dense fog was already coming down and it would engulf the valley anytime. Then he admonished himself. Probably she is just a visitor who wanted to enjoy the early morning fresh air of the hills. He should be on his way he thought and turned to go. But his heart refused to listen to his head. He looked at the opposite hill again. She had already locked her car and was wearing her sweat shirt. She then put on her sun glasses, and threw a  small back pack  behind her back adjusted the straps and the hood and began to start jogging. "****...****...what is she doing?"he asked himself, then shook his head and was on his way. 

Ten minutes later again he looked down the opposite hill, she was steadily jogging. He had underestimated her. She seemed to be a seasoned athlete and was moving at quite a pace and had covered a lot of ground than he had expected. She seemed know her trail well and very well aware of the fog that was coming down fast. The speed at which she was running she would soon enter the forest trail and would be out of it by the time the fog covered the trail.  It has been long time since he had seen anyone run with such grace and ease and athleticism. He smiled and went about collecting dried wood. The last night heavy rain made It quite difficult for him and he was left with less choice, but still he went for the smaller logs hoping they would dry soon before the next rains. The early morning dawn was a treat to one's eyes, the Sun's rays breaking through the mountain peaks. He was clearly able to see Ketti, Kotagiri, Ooty and the nearby places through his binoculars from atop the Doddapetta peak, whereas the hills very near the hill on which he was standing were covered with mist. He once again looked at her. She had entered the forest. In another twenty minutes she must be out of the forest and moving uphill towards Doddapetta, he thought. He had collected the wood, bundled it with the rope he had brought with him and was ready to move towards his cabin, when he checked his watch. Another ten more minutes he thought. He decided to wait.

From the ninth minute he began to check the trail that was leading out of the forest. He waited and waited she didn't not emerge out of the forest. He waited for another five more minutes. No movement. He began to grow restless. "Damn!"he thought. "Why should he bother? Just get on with your job at hand. For all you know she would have traced her way back to the car and not continued on the trail."he admonished himself, but he couldn't control the urge to find out if she was safe. He waited for another fifteen minutes, then a strange fear began to grip him. He began to scamper down the hill to his previous spot and searched for her, he saw her car still parked there. He waited for another ten minutes. With no sign of her anywhere he ran towards the other side of the peak and climbed down the hill and reached a spot where he could clearly see the trail running through the forest. He was panting and his hands were not steady. He waited to catch his breath and then began to scan the Forest trail. He saw her.

Lying face down, motionless, her sun glasses away from her, her leg twisted  and one hand was by her side and the other above her head, 

He began to run towards the hill like a madman. It will take minimum, thirty minutes for him to get there and the fog was threatening to engulf any second. He had to get to her. Then he stopped. Perhaps it is better he called the police he thought, give them  the exact location and allow them to take over. Once again he looked at her, lying unconscious in the forest while minutes ago she was active and vibrant. His legs automatically moved towards her.

Jun 10, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 24 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-5

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

Mrs.Singh sat there looking at her fingers. "Mam....tell us what happened."prompted Mohan.

"What do you want me to tell?"she asked softly, controlling her tears.

Mohan coughed, then asked, "What happened last night? What did he tell you? What time did he leave from here?"

Shweta looked at him, "He came back from office late in the evening...around seven...then we had dinner around eight thirty. He went back to his...our room. He was on the phone."

"Who was he talking to?"Mohan asked.

"To our son....Shashank ..."

"Where was your son at that time?"he asked.

"He is at St.Martin's....first year junior college...in the hostel....he used to come only on weekends..."she said.

"Did he say anything specific?"he asked.

"No....in fact he cut the call when I entered the room. Then he said he was going out for a drive.."she hesitated.

"Did he tell you where he was going?"

"No...."

"Didn't you ask him?"

"He started going for late night drives regularly... I asked him once or twice... He didn't tell me ...and I stopped asking him..."

For a split second she looked at him then lowered her eyes. "Did you think he was having an affair?" Mohan asked bluntly. She blushed, Tarun shifted embarrassed, "I started to believe so ...yes.."

"Do you know the woman?"

"No..."she said quickly.

"Our son was not here....we were missing him....probably...that affected us...but I didn't know he'll go to this extent."she began to weep.

"Tarun...please bring her some water and tissues..."Tarun got and went.

"You can tell me anything mam...anything that will help in the investigation..."he said softly.

"I don't know....I don't even know if he is seeing someone else he was very tensed the last few days... He kept getting phone calls and he wouldn't answer them in front of me...  Those calls disturbed him...that much I know...I don't know who called him and why he was tensed."

"That is okay mam...I can get the details from his phone records."

Tarun came and gave her water and kept the tissues on the side stand. "We had dinner....he talked to our son....then as usual went for a drive. And then we heard the news..."she  said. 

"1291…...what does that number mean to you?" He asked suddenly.

"What? 1291?" she looked at him, eyes blank. "I've no idea..."

"That was the number of the safety locker....he had taken in the hotel...and there was nothing inside....do you have any idea why he had to take a safety locker and leave it empty?"

"I don't know....a locker?"she asked confused.

"Do you think anything could have been stolen from it?"

"I've no idea...." Next instant her eyes widened, "Oh!!!"she covered her mouth.

"What is it maaji??"Tarun ran to her side.

She began weeping loudly, "Tarun....how can I forget it....1..2..91...oh my God! It is our wedding date....how could I ...."she dabbed her eyes and sniffed into the tissue.

"That happens mam....I said it as a number....not as a date..."Mohan said.

"I think that is enough for today sir!" Came the Mayor's voice from behind.

Mohan looked at the watch, "Okay...mam..once again sorry...for troubling you in your time of grief. Namaste!" Both walked out. Mohan looked at the watch..."Let's go to the army hospital...Dr.Nanda will be ready for the autopsy."

"Sir...Mr.Singh....was not seeing any woman...I know that...for he loves his wife and kid...so much...no sir...I would definitely say he did not go to the hotel to meet any woman." Tarun said.

"May be you are right...Tarun...but we can't leave any stone unturned..."

They got inside the car and left for the hospital.

PRESENT - DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

Preeti didn't open her eyes  for the light outside was like thousand pin pricks and the pain inside her head, was like as if somebody was using an electric drill inside her head. There was a throbbing pain in her leg. She realised that the  bed she was lying on was not the one in her bedroom and the sheets smelt different. Though she was curious, she didn't want to open her eyes when she smelt coffee. "Why do I smell coffee in my bedroom? Probably Raghu made a cup of coffee for me." She smiled and suddenly realised, that he doesn't make coffee... she jerked open her eyes and took a minute to focus on her surrounding. At first everything was a blur and every cell in her body was screaming in pain. Unbearable she closed her eyes and tears were rolling down the sides of her face, then a second later she opened her eyes realising she was in an unfamiliar place, and sat upright. She turned her head suddenly and felt an intense excruciating pain rip from her head to toe, she half screamed,half groaned in pain. It was like hundred hammers hitting her head at the same time. She caught hold of the sides of her head and lay back. Next second she began to wretch. A loud cough from her under belly and putrid bile rose up from her gut and stung her throat. She turned to her side to vomit and felt a bucket being pushed below her. Nothing came out of her mouth. She lay back as everything went black.

Once again she woke up, this time her eyes focused immediately.

She saw him, standing next to her bed. "Who are you?"she screamed.

"How are you feeling?"he asked softly in a drawl, and took a step towards her. "Don't come near me.."she cringed back.

He stopped, "Look...you needn't be afraid of me...I'm not going to hurt you..."

A fire was burning in the fire place, the hammering pain was still in her head so she just rolled her eyes to look around. It was a shed like room a wooden cabin perhaps. She saw a closed door and a pair of windows. A wooden cupboard , a table , then a counter on the far corner of the wall and then looked at him again. She felt so weak and he was a giant. Her heart began to pound, fear gripped her. She was telling herself it was no good to panic.

"What happened to me?" She asked.

"Only you could tell me that."he said.

"I was running...did I fall down?"

"I found you on the trail in the forest. You were hurt...in the head...you were unconscious and I brought you here."he said quietly.

"Hurt..."she touched the back of her head, just behind her ear, felt her matted hair and dried blood and felt around the actual spot where her skin had broken and blood oozed out. She could feel the swollen skin around her wound and it was paining like hell. She looked at her fingers covered with blood.

"Where is here?"she asked. He simply swung his arms around denoting his cabin.

"How long have I been here?" 

"I found you at about eight in the morning..."

She looked at the time on her watch, it was ten to seven. "Oh my God!"she gasped.

"I tried to wake you up several times..." he said.

"Why did you bring me here? Why didn't you take me to the hospital? Why didn't you call the police?"

"The hospital is quite far away and I'm not sure of the efficiency of the local police, so I thought it is better to bring you here."

"My phone? Where is my phone? I have to call my husband."she said, and felt weak and dizzy after putting forth so many questions in front of him.

"First...would you like to have some water...something to drink? You sound so weak."he asked.

"No....I have to call ..."

"I know....your phone is right there...."he said. "But first have some water." He handed her a glass of water.  Her mouth was dry but she refused to take it from him, looking suspiciously at him.

"You are scared I'll drug you? Why should I even try...when you were out stone cold, unaware of what is happening around you?" he asked smugly. 

"No ...I don't want..."she said softly. 

"You can surely have this?"he held a Sprite bottle to her.

"Evening seven? I have to go ..."she tried to suddenly get up, and the pain ripped through her body when she moved her head. She swayed, "Amma...thaaaye..."she groaned. He caught her in time and held her gently.  She didn't like him touching her, but knew that if he hadn't held her she would have fallen face down. Tears were flowing from her eyes. "You want to lie down or sit?"he asked.

"Sit...thanks. My husband will be worried....my phone....I must go ..."she said. "Why didn't you take me to a hospital." she asked him again. He gave the bottle, "Drink this first..." He then reached for her phone and gave it to her. She pressed the  on button and the screen was blank. "****.....low battery...do you have a charger?"

"Relax....ofcourse we'll  have to charge it ....let's first find out the extent of your injuries."

She took few sips of Sprite and she gave the bottle to him quickly and tried to get up closing her mouth. He quickly brought the empty dust bin near her. She threw up with a loud gutteral sound and tears sprang up in he eyes, as the movement sent a searing pain across her head. She took a glass of water from him and washed her mouth. 

"Feeling better?"he asked.

"Like hell..."she said.

"You do not have broken ribs ....that I checked...and from your movements I guess your spine is okay....but your ankle looks swollen."he said looking down at her legs.

"Oh God! Not again." She exclaimed, gently feeling her ankle.

"What?"he asked.

"I've just recovered from  an ankle injury...but it feels okay..."again she felt her head, "Probably I've had a concussion, that's why I've slept for such a long time."

"I thought so.."

"Probably it needs stitches.."

"No it doesn't... the gash isn't deep for stitches..."

"I need to see a doctor...it is still bleeding." "Doesn't he know that any head injury had to be checked immediately?"she thought.

"No it had clotted quickly, I had cleaned it and dabbed it with peroxide...you are lucky...it could have been worse..the way you had fallen..."

"He had done all this and decided for himself that it doesn't need checking."she thought. "I must be okay...for I still remember the day , month, the Prime Minister of our country...why I am here..."

"Thats good.....when I had concussion I defenitely didnt know who the PrimeMinister was at that time..."he said.

She laughed, "Thanks for helping me...Mr....?"

"Preeti... Dr.Preeti....?" he asked suddenly changing the subject and moving his eyes towards the wall. Her fanny pack was leaning on the wall. He had removed her running shoes and had placed them in line with the bag. "Yeah, Dr. Preeti Murugadas."

"Doctor?" He asked though he had already checked her driver's licence and immediately googled and found out about her clinic, about her parents and the Trust...almost everything about her.

"Pediatrician.. I came to attend a medical camp and after the morning run,  I was supposed to have returned to Wellington....I have to call my husband..do you have a phone?"she asked.

"No I don't...there is no power now..you can charge...

"No phone?"immediately she became suspicious. "You don't have a phone....I don't believe it...who doesn't have a phone nowadays?" 

"Well I don't... Nobody to call me and nobody for me to call."

She began to panic. All the effort she had put in to calm her nerves deserted her and fear gripped her. She got up from the bed,  desperately looked around, and took a step towards the door and next instant screamed in pain and stumbled and fell down.

Jun 14, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 19 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-6

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

Mohan and Tarun rushed to the hospital. Dr.Nandha was waiting for them. His expression conveyed his sour mood to them. They were more than an hour late behind the scheduled time. "You are very early Colonel Mohan."he said sarcastically.

"Sorry we were held up else where."

"I'm already scheduled for four postmortems today....we can't be waiting over one body, you realise that don't you? I've taken photos ....made the reports... it's all ready and kept there..."

"I'm sure you have time to explain your opinion on your findings Dr. Nandha."asked Mohan. "Well...."started the doctor, pulling a chair and sitting down while the other remained standing.  The cause of death was due to lack of oxygen and inhalation of carbon monoxide fumes. He was brain dead under ten minutes. The time of death is twelve thirty AM. There were no marks on the body to suggest that there was a scuffle or any skin under his nails, or anything to suggest that he might have had a struggle. It looks like he wasn't even conscious of what was happening to him. He had taken sleeping pills mixed with liquor. But I might recommend a second opinion on the postmortem... I've explained in my report."

"Why do you say that...if it is a clear cut suicide?"asked Mohan, "Why do we have to go for a second opinion?"

Nandha, opened a folder and brought out an envelope. He took out some, 8×12 inches photos and threw them on the table. They were all showing the naked back of the body. "You see these marks here.."he showed some aberrations on the skin for nearly three inches just below the neck and the shoulder, where there were impressions  on the skin as if some object had pressed the skin real hard. "I'm not able to deduce what these marks are and how it came there. That's why..."

Mohan looked closely. "What do you think these marks are, doctor?"

"No idea...that's why a second opinion, officer."

Tarun gave one look at the photos and recognised  it immediately.

"Doctor...can I have the look at the body...can you show me the marks..please?"asked Mohan starring at the all too familiar marks on the photos.

"Help me turn the body..."the doctor got up. Tarun and Mohan moved forward to help him turn the body over. Nandha removed the covers and Mohan saw the marks. The skin looked s****ed, and the marks were a shape of a crescent moon and size of the impression became smaller towards the end. Mohan looked confused, is there a connection between this and the other deaths? Could this be the reason for his death?

"It certainly looks like a metal or something had been pressed here...but what could this be? " asked Nandha.

"Sir..."hesitated Tarun, "I need to talk to you."he said.

One look at his face and Mohan knew he knew something.

Mohan collected the reports and the photos and thanked the doctor and left.

They didn't talk until they reached his office. "What is it Tarun? You look disturbed. I'm sorry , I should have known you are not used to seeing dead bodies being cut up and stitched on the table like that."

"Yes sir...." drinking some water and trying to calm down the nausea. "But that is not what I want to talk about." Mohan looked at him quizzically. 

"I know what caused those marks on his shoulder."he said.

PRESENT- DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

He quickly went near her and tried to help her up. She cringed back, "No...don't come near me...let me go.."

"Let me help you..."he bent down.

She pushed back leaning on the bed post, "No....who are you? Do not touch me. Let me out of here...." He moved away. "Please....let me go..."she cried. He kept looking at her.

She wiped her tears, no....she was not going to let the situation get out of hand. "Talk to him. Dont show you are weak. Don't let him know you are scared."She looked at him and said, "No phone?"

He nodded. "Then take me to some place where there is a phone. Your neighbour? They might have a phone."she said.

"There are no neighbours..."he said looking blank.

Her breath came out in gasps, she tried very hard to control the thudding of her heart. Her mind began to conjure all sorts of situations. She had read about women and girls just disappearing, with no trace, women being chained and locked up in the rooms by perverted minds and subjected to unimaginable torture and abuse. She caught hold of the leg of the bed and slowly got up and stood. 

"I bet ...you must... surely have a vehicle..."she asked.

"A bike...yes.."

"Then take me a place where I could make a call...to a  police station...."

"I can't"he said simply.

"Why?"

"I can't ride anywhere ...especially down..."

"Down?"she asked again.

"Down the mountain."he said undisturbed.

"Where are we?"she whispered.

"In another hill...."

"I will not stay here the night...in fact another minute...I'll walk down the mountain if I have to.."she said stumbling towards the door.

"You can't..."he said and was there near the door before her. He opened the door for her to see. The scene outside depressed her. The rain was coming down in sheets.

He closed it quickly, when the drizzle inside made her shiver. So that was the thundering sound inside her head the whole time she was sleeping. "Good that I saw you earlier and brought you at the right time, you could have got caught in this rain and wandered off or got lost in the forest." He paused looked at her pale face, eyes wide and terrified at the prospect of staying the night with him his voice softened,  "It will get better tomorrow.... hopefully... Will you have something to eat?"he went towards the kitchen counter and began to heat the curry he had made earlier. 

"Didn't you hear me? I will not stay here the night...I want to go..."she said in a raised voice, her chin raised a notch higher.

"You have no choice..."

"There was a choice...earlier you could have..."

"We've been through that before..."he was calmly and deftly moving the rolling pin and making chappathis. "I..I don't believe you..." It was like talking to a wall, an electric pole rather. And it angered her and built up her frustration, adding to the hammering head ache and throbbing ankle. She wanted to scream, hysteria building up inside her, but she would not lose control, not now. She starred at him defiantly.

"I can't help what you believe, but definitely say that you were caught in the circumstances."he said.

"You put me in this circumstance."

"Would you like to have something?"he asked again.

"No....I'm feeling sick..."she said.

"Then you should probably, have some sprite that will ease your stomach. Want to lie down?"he asked, stacking the chappathis on his plate. 

"No...I'd rather sit.."she stumbled her way to the table and pulled a plastic chair and sat on it. He kept his plate on the table, and said, "I waited for you...since you are not eating..."

"You go ahead.."she said.

He brought her Sprite bottle and some salt biscuits on a plate and placed it in front of her. 

"I need to wash my hands."she said. He brought a wide bowl of warm water and liquid soap and gave it to her. She washed her hands off her blood stains. He gave her a towel and took the bowl away. "Thanks...Sorry...your dinner is getting cold." He washed his hands and came to the table.

"That's okay..." He sat down and began to eat. "I feel bad eating like this in front of you.."he said a bit embarrassed.

"So he could smile, show some emotions, she thought and began to observe him. He had lighted a couple of candles and it was throwing huge shadows as he moved around. She saw neatly arranged paperbacks, in English, Hindi and Tamil according to their size. He used clean vessels, and had clean towels. 

He was so adept and functioned with ease even with all the limitations. For the first time she really looked at him. He was wearing a sleeveless grey flannel shirt and navy blue flannel pants, he had a day's stubble on his face and had a thick moustache. His brown skin was shimmering in the candle light. He has never said a wrong word till now to her, has never made a wrong move yet, his language was perfect, he was very decently dressed, very neat, not a thing out of place in that small cabin, all perfectly arranged in order. He was full of mystery. 

"So...you are a ...?"

"Paediatrician.."

"Take care after the baby comes out?"

She nodded. "Do you have any?"he asked.

"No."

"Mr. Murugadas... Is he a doctor too?"

She looked confused for a second. "Who? My husband? Murugadas is my father...I didnt change my name, because of the legal issues. My husband, Raghu...No...he is the CEO of a financial company."

"Oh! Takes care of the finances of companies?"

"Yeah. That's what he does."

"That brings me back to square one, I have to call him, he will be very worried."

"Once the weather clears, we'll get power, you can charge your phone then..."he said straight faced.

He collected his vessels and took it to a stone wash basin and began to wash them. 

She went slowly to the bed and sat on it. "What do you do....for living?"

He looked at her for a second, then said quietly "I live." and turned back and continued cleaning the vessels.

Jun 18, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 20 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-7

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

"Talk to me, Tarun....I'm all ears."Mohan said.

"Sir, when this STF, (Special Task Force) which involved training for Black Cat commandos, they introduced a rigorous training and new techniques to attack the terrorists and render them defenceless. One such technique was called chokehold." Mohan's eyes widened in realisation.

"Of course I've heard of it....but that was banned fifteen years before...and it is no longer used. But what is that got to do with that."

"Yes sir...it was banned, because if the person applied too much pressure for a longer time  then he had the victim suffocate and sometimes becomes fatal."

"Yes I've read about cases where even minor scuffles and fights among trainees ended in spate of deaths because of this chokehold and sometimes terrorists who were important witnesses were mistakenly killed."said Mohan taking out few more envelopes. "And I have something more to show to you."he showed Tarun some more photos. They were photos of bodies with same marks on the back, below the shoulder to the neck in a descending order. "These deaths have occurred over a year ....three families, nine members all killed.... and a training officer....these marks found on six persons.....I still can't understand  how these impressions were formed..." Said Mohan comparing the photos.

"What is this 'chokehold' actually? How does it work?"he asked puzzled.

He called his office assistant and asked him to cooperate for a demo. Tarun casually came up behind him, in a spur of a moment, his right hand went around the man's neck in the front  and applied correct pressure and with his left hand from behind he caught the two forearms of the assistant who was immobilized in a second, and the next second he fell on the ground unconscious. Thirty seconds later the man got up, dusting his pants, he looked around confused, "What happened... Sir?" 

"Are you alright?" Asked Mohan.

"Yes sir....but how did I ...?"

"Tarun just now demonstrated a technique to render opponents defenceless for few seconds...are you sure you are alright?"Mohan asked again.

"Yes...sir..I'm alright..."

"You can go now....and thank you." The man saluted and left.

"So one hand goes over the front, the other... that is, the left hand holds both his hands behind.... now what about the marks... Tarun?"

"Those are made either by a kangan or a watch worn by the assailant.. Sir..."said Tarun. Mohan compared the marks on all the photos. "Could it be that Preetam's death is in someway connected to these other deaths as well?"

"First I have to send these reports to the forensic lab and get it analysed that the marks were made by the same watch....and probably find out what size of the dial it could be...."said Mohan, putting the photos inside the envelopes.

"The second question is, who would use this chokehold that had been banned fifteen years earlier? By the way how did you learn this chokehold?"

"Sir, Major Preetam Singh...was the first batch in the STF who learned this technique, then it was banned later. He was also in the panel that made enquiries on deaths by chokehold and passed the order that it should no longer be continued. He often said that I have a balanced temperament and I would not misuse this technique and taught me this. I've never used it on anybody, until now sir."said Tarun.

"I'm very sure it cannot be an outsider who would use this technique, it has to be one of us...."said Mohan. "There  must be thousands of trainees over the years, who would have learned this....."

"But sir anybody could learn this from a YouTube video...it is that simple...."said Tarun.

" We had to go through all the files thoroughly once again Tarun."

"Three army men their wives and sons found murdered. All the three had a single son who passed out of NDA and were to start as lieutenants. All killed almost in similar fashion. All of them have marks on the back. It's on the wife in one case and the father in the other cases. This is the fourth guy." Mohan showed the next photo.

"He is one of our trainers, Lieutenant Aashish Sood."said Tarun.

Mohan nodded, "And now...."he kept Preetam's photo amongst them.

"All except one lady were shot directly, point blank on their forehead.  Each of their faces covered by a pillow and then shot, probably to muffle the sound of the gun. One of them was shot directly while climbing the stairs....she had rolled down and broken her neck....and Sood was shot in the park at the back of his head and you can see the mark here. Lastly, it was Major Singh....same mark on the back. But this is different. While the assailant never hid the fact that he had murdered all the others, here he had made it look like suicide....why?"

PRESENT- DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

"I live...." he said, what does that mean? This man is a mystery. Why is he so secretive about himself? What has he done to live like this, away  all alone....why?" She jerked taking a step back startled, when his voice broke her thoughts.

"I have some analgesics... It will help to reduce the pain." He said and gave her the bottle.

"Thank you ...I'll take it if necessary."she said.

"As you wish...I'll keep a bottle of water near the bed with these pills. You ask me if you need anything. I'll wake you up every few hours to check if you are okay."he said.

She quickly shook her head, "Not necessary.. I'll set the alarm for every two hours in my watch."

"The toilet is there."he pointed to the other door on one side of the cabin. "Take the candle with you."

She walked warily towards the toilet with the candle. Never in her life time had she done anything in candle light, except for a  few candle light dinners with Raghu, she hadn't had the necessity to use a candle....especially in a toilet of all the places! She looked around not knowing where to place it. Then she put it on a wooden shelf on the wall where he had neatly arranged his toiletries. She looked around thanking the Almighty for a neat commode. A tin was used as shower. "What kind of a guy uses this kind of shower? Can't he buy a proper shower head?"she thought. There was a small square mirror on the wall which opened to a cabinet. She saw a hair brush, tube of paste, a razor, his tooth brush, dental floss, "Well...well..."she thought "the guy does seem to know about modern living..."she smirked. She took some paste and brushed her teeth with her finger. Then she washed her face. And looked at the mirror. The vision was still a blur. That is normal, she thought. She so wanted to get out of her jogging tights but she had no option. She went out. He was sitting and reading a book by the candle light.

He had changed the pillow cover which was blood stained, straightened the crumpled sheet and had arranged the bed for her. She slowly sat down. He went to the toilet and brought the peroxide and his kerchief, "Here let me put it for you." "It's okay I can do it myself."she tried to take it from him. "You can't do it yourself, and you might open the wound by straining yourself."he gently caught her chin and turned her head to the side.

Her face was so close to his throat as he was bending low and applying the peroxide. "God! This is so....very.."she had no words to describe how it felt to be so close to him. His Cologne still lingered on him whereas she was smelling of dirt and sweat.

"There you go....it has closed and the bump looks smaller."he said moving away.

"Thanks! Sorry to have stained your pillow covers...you needn't have changed them."she said and lay down slowly.

"They are after all on only stains....Blood stains often go away when washed...."he said and sat down to read. Some time later he closed the book and stood up.

She did not close her eyes. 'Blood stains often go away when washed' he says, what does he mean? She was acutely aware of his movements across the room. He brought out a folded wooden recliner from behind the cupboard, unfolded it, pulled a chair in front of it, lay down on it, stretched his legs over the chair, his legs almost touching the wall, he then pulled a blanket over him. She kept starring at him, wondering if he was a fugitive, or a psychopath who wanted his victim to really fight him before  taking her.  So he is probably waiting for to recover before making any move. She kept starring at him and found him starring back at her. "How did you find me?"

"I was looking through the binoculars from this hill."he said in an expressionless voice, as if it was a normal activity for him. 

"What?" She exclaimed, she didn't like the idea that somebody was following her from a distance. 

"Yeah..."he drawled. "I just happened to see you running and few minutes later you were down and out..."he said.

She just couldn't believe what he had just said. She kept starring at him, once again fear creeping inside her and rendering her speechless. She then realised that he was watching her starring at him. Embarrassed, she turned her head away. In spite of her mind telling her to be alert and awake, her tired body began to relax and soon she began to drift off to sleep. She jerked awake immediately and sat up, looked at him, he was still looking at her. "You haven't told me your name."she said.

"Yeah...I haven't..."he said.

"Well..."she waited then raised her brows, "aren't you going to tell me?"

"No."he simply said.

"No...? why?"she was baffled by his response.

"Because I think it is not necessary for you to know my name. Good night, doc!" he closed his eyes.

Jun 22, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 26 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-8

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

"Why should he go for families with only one kid? All three were not of same class in school, were not friends...in fact they were from different batches from NDA."

"What about any visitors.... Sales people, service people...for repairing equipments?"asked Tarun.

"Only one of them had called for AC servicing.... He had come two days before they were dead.....then there were maids and gardeners....all had alibis and  had been checked. No one had visited them ....except the boys' friends. We checked with them as well...they had met their friends but were not there at the time of death."

He handed him the list of  the people who had visited these families before the murder. Tarun casually glanced through the names. Some names were very familiar. Having grown up in the same premises, they all had common friends or at least were known to each other. 

"The man whoever it is, that is assuming he is a man, went inside the house, attacked one of them, immobilized him with a chokehold then shot him. Assuming  the other two members heard the shot and ran to the room to find out what happened when they were accosted and then shot."

"The victims, that is the men were all in the army, their sons had just finished academic training, were about to join the services, and the women were, the three of them were house wives. All the killings had happened between eight to eight forty five in the night, when most of the neighborhood was quiet, and people had settled for the night. Mostly, the television would be on in most of the houses, and they would have hardly noticed any activity outside." Mohan said.

"Is this a case of vengeance...?"

Mohan nodded, scratching his chin, "If it is for revenge, then what has it got to with the training officer...where does he fit in this scheme of things? Major Singh, doesn't have any direct working relationship with the other three men... and the training officer...but they all seem to have one common enemy."

"Let's find out if Jana has something for us." He called him. "Jana ...how is it going? Any break?"he asked.

"Sir, I'm talking to the staff here, Suresh and Gautham are talking to the guests. So far ...nothing. And it is going to take sometime before we finish here, sir."

"Okay, Jana...we'll meet in the evening."he cut the call.

"Let's go to Ashish Sood's house and talk to his wife again." 

Ten minutes later they reached the Training Officer's house  and rang the bell. The door was opened by a young woman, Ashish's widow.

"Namaste Saab!"she greeted.

"Namaste, Sheila...how are you? Shall we come in?"he asked. Sheila smiled, a sad smile. "Sure ...come in. Come in Tarun.."they went in and sat down. "Is it true? What I hear about Major Singh, it's all over the TV?"she asked.

"Yeah....but haven't watched the news so don't know what exactly they are saying, but the fact is Major Singh was found dead in his car in the hotel garage."

"What is happening, Saab? What is the meaning of all this?"she sounded shocked and terrified.

"Don't know Sheila....I really don't know...we are trying really hard to find out. That's why we've come here. Do you remember any thing at all what happened that night....? Other than what you've told us?"he took out a sheet of printed paper and went through it.

"No Saab...it's all I remember that night."

"Could you please recount what exactly...happened?"

"I've told you already ....that he came back from work...he looked tense... and angry, but didn't talk about it...we had dinner around eight thirty, Vivek  went to do his home work, I proceeded with my cleaning...I heard him talking to somebody on the phone. Then he told me he was going out to see someone and would come back soon....and he never returned."she said.

"Do you know with whom he was talking....any name you remember he mentioned while talking?"

She nodded. "No I was concentrating on my work..."

"He was talking to uncle Singh."came Vivek's hesitating voice from behind.

PRESENT- WELLINGTON, OOTY

"Why hasnt she called yet? Aren't you going to find out if she has returned or not?"asked Leela, while serving him dinner. "She should have returned by now."

"She said she'd call once she's started from there." said Raghu and continued eating. "Probably she is staying back tonight and driving back in the morning, because of the rains."

"What if she had already returned and is waiting for you in your house?" Leela asked doubtfully.

"She has forgotten the keys...."Raghu had a wicked grin on his face, "She has to definitely call me now. She thinks she is smart haan...all planned and cut out...ever self reliant...my foot!"he stamped his foot in anger and continued eating. 

"Still...you should call her Raghu... It is already late...what if she is stuck somewhere?"asked a worried Leela.

"Then it is all the more necessary that she calls me."

Half an hour later, they were cuddled up on the sofa, with drinks in hand, Leela again brought back the topic.

"Can't you see all this is her ploy to get my attention. She wants me to be concerned for her, ask her to be careful and beg her to come home soon. Why are you insisting on calling her...when I have better things to do?"he said, putting his glass down and pulling her by his side. 

"Do you think she is suspicious of us?" Leela asked worried. 

"Probably she has got it in her mind that I'm having an affair... But doesn't know with whom. She has been trying very hard to find out, though..."he laughed. "She thought I'd be taken by her constant show of concern, asking me if I had my lunch, if they could go out for dinner, go out on a weekend retreat.... Ask me where I am, every few hours call up and ask me about how my meeting went...  if I was free ..if we could go out for a movie....she thinks I wouldn't guess why she is doing all this....inspite of all that I managed to sneak off with you..." His hands had sneaked under her shirt and he was absentmindedly rubbing her ****s with his palm. "Wow! What a week end!"

"Yeah...it was long time since I've had breakfast in bed."Leela laughed. 

"It was almost lunch ....by the time you woke up."he smiled at her.

"Yeah... probably too much wine...."

"Not just wine baby...what about the pot I brought...that really hit us..."he laughed.

"Our body couldn't take both I guess...we are not getting young anymore..."

"It was fun while it lasted, except for that call from Preeti."he said with disdain.

He was thinking about his life with her for the past three years. She was always out of the house even before he woke up, and came home very late in the night. And most of the nights with her patients calling anytime, asking what to do about their kid's running nose or blocked nose, or diarrhea or dysentery or coughs or colds. Then her damn marathons. All her free time she had to train for the marathon in one part of the country or the other and she runs and runs and he was fed up of cheering and clapping for her at the finish line. And she began to avoid him, probably because she knew he was looking else where to satisfy his needs. And their s.ex life began to dwindle and to think about it, it had  been a year since they've been together. That very thought that he was cheating on her aroused his passion. Leela was not a stunning beauty, but she satisfied him in more ways than Preeti ever could. And last night, like many other times before, his wife had an uncanny sense of timing, always intruding in their foreplay. But her call only made his lovemaking more intense. He showed more aggression as his thoughts centred around his wife and minutes later he smiled at Leela for he knew she was definitely better than Preeti in faking her enjoyment.

An hour later, he began to think if he should really call her and find out. At least he should pretend to be bothered about her no-show at least in front of Leela. He called her number it went to voicemail. He called their private number with the same result.

"Her phone would have run out of battery...she wouldn't have charged her phone... Typical of her."he said  with sarcasm.

"What if she had gone to the clinic?"asked Leela.

He called the clinic and the nurse answered, "Hello...sir.."

"Is Preeti there?"he asked.

"She is supposed to report tomorrow only...I've just come in.. I'll find out and call you back sir."she answered. Meanwhile, Leela called Nikhil and her other friends if Preeti had contacted them. The nurse from the clinic called back to inform them that she had not come there. Raghu decided to wait the night out.

The whole night he kept vigil. Every time she coughed, or woke  up he was beside her asking her if she was okay. She was awake when the nausea hit her but didn't want to get up afraid that he might see her condition and she did not want to vomit in front of him. She slowly woke up , still with the hammering pain in her head and she felt dizzy and caught the bed stand. He heard her movement and came to her side in a jiffy.

"Are you okay?"he asked. One look at her pale face he knew what was coming. He caught her by the waist and slowly took her to the toilet. 

As soon as she was inside she closed the door and fell on her knees and began to vomit. The deep throated loud wretching caused ripples of pain from top of her head to below her stomach. What little fluid she had taken came out. Her eyes were tearing up. She sat for few more minutes to let the dizziness subside and get back her breath. She flushed the toilet and slowly got up to wash her face.

"Is everything okay there, doc?"she heard him asking her.

"Yeah ...I guess so." She answered.

She came out a minute later. Her dizziness had subsided she felt much better. He gave her some water and she drank it and he held her as she walked to the bed. His hand went behind her neck, and he said, "You are soaking wet. You better change your clothes. I'll find something for you to wear." He made her sit on the bed and went and opened the cupboard and brought out a towel, a full sleeved flannel shirt and pants.

"I broke into a sweat in there...but ....I'm not going to change right here."she protested.

"You cannot sleep in these wet clothes....in this damp and cold weather."

Though she knew he was right, she would rather die of cold and infection than change her clothes in front of him. "I will not..."she didn't complete, for already he was with a rope in his hand and tying it from one end of the room to another. "What are you doing?"she asked. 

"I'm preparing a temporary screen." He then checked if the rope was tight and then took out some sheets from his cupboard and threw it over the rope. For a moment she was surprised, then smiled. He had a solution for every situation and for a moment she couldn't help think what Raghu would have done in this situation. He would have screamed the place down and made it even worse for her and would have blamed her for getting hurt in the first place. 

"There you go." she startled back to reality.

She got up and changed into his huge shirt and pants, put her own clothes on the bed stand and went to crawl into the bed when his voice stopped her.

"Are you done doc?"

"Yes ...why?"

"I want to remove the screen..."

"No..it stays.."she protested lying down and pulling the quilt over her legs.

He pulled the screen back and said, "I said it was only temporary..."

"Why?"she asked again.

"I need to be able to see you...what if you need something...and I needn't tell you you shouldn't get dehydrated."

Oh damn! He thinks about everything. "I'm feeling better. The dizziness has gone...I'll call you...if I need.."

"That's what you said earlier...we could have ended up with a mess in our hands."he smirked.

She drank some water and took an analgesic ad said "Please..let the screen be...I'm fine...I'll feel much safer." 

Did she see the hurt in his eyes? But the mask fell back. He looked at her for one long moment and then pulled back the screen in anger and turned and went to his recliner.


Jun 28, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 18 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-9

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

"Vivek.... Go inside...when elders are discussing... You shouldn't..."

"It is okay...Sheila...let us listen to him...come here Vivek...."

The boy came towards them, still looking warily at his mother, who looked distinctively uncomfortable. "Tell us....what did you hear your papa speak on the phone."

"I wanted his permission to join the skateboard coaching class, so I went to his room, as soon as I entered, papa raised his hand," he raised his palm as if signalling to stop. "I waited, when I heard him say, 'I can't believe it Major....if what you are saying is true....then it is a serious matter...we should not keep quiet... We have to tell ....'he was quiet, so I said, "Papa I want to....then he covered the phone and looked at me angrily and shouted, Vivek...get out from here...can't you see I'm busy....leave...he said, so I came back to do my home work."

"Do you remember anything else your papa said...that day?"asked Mohan.

"No...."the boy nodded.

"You are a good boy Vivek.....and thank you for telling us this."

"Will you catch the man who killed my papa and put him in jail?"he asked sadly.

"Of course...I promise you we'll catch him soon....and we'll not let him go that easily. If you remember anything else, just tell your mama...okay...now I need to talk to your mama .... please could you go inside and play for some more time?" Vivek nodded and left.

"Listen sir, please I wouldn't be taking him seriously if I were you....he might be wrong..."said Sheila. "I don't want any body to get into trouble on the hearsay of my son."

"Look Sheila.... We can always confirm who your husband talked to by checking his phone records.... And on the day he was shot Major himself told us that they had talked just a few minutes before and that  they had planned to meet in the park. Kids are more sharper and hear and  remember things much more than we give them credit for. Now do you have any idea what your husband had to discuss with the Major that would have upset him?"

"No.. I don't know what they were talking about, as you know already.... I was not there in the room when he was talking to him...but I do know that he was giving physical training for Shashank for the past few weeks."

"What????what physical training?"Mohan looked surprised and looked at Tarun as if asking him if he knew anything about it. Tarun shook his head and looked equally surprised.

Shashank was just short of being obese because of his hormone medications due to a deficiency and he was often the butt of ridicule amongst his friends and their parents. In spite of their age difference, Tarun and Shashank were good friends and he often used to confide in him that he was his only friend who saw him for what he is. They were both busy the past couple of years, Tarun with his rigorous sixty five weeks training for a black commando, Shashank with his high school finishing exams, that they hardly stayed in contact. 

Sheila explained, "After his regular work, weekly four days including weekends, Aashish saw to his work outs in the gym. I've often heard him mention the irony of it all. The major on one hand a stickler to physical fitness and everyone knew how he used to take to task any officer who lacked physical fitness, and his own son on the other hand who was huge and obese and shapeless and hated any form of physical activity."

"Do you think he was reporting about Shashank's training and that would have been the cause of tension between the two?"asked Mohan.

"I don't know....but he was really upset and worried when he left for the park that night.... and he never came back..." her voice broke.

"I'm very sorry Sheila...."he said getting up, "if at all you find anything, a note, a number, something strange, any doubt, anything you remember he had told you earlier, if Vivek remembers something, don't hesitate to call me....you might not know but it may help us to nab the killer."

"Sure sir....all I want is this to stop..."she said wiping her eyes.

They were sitting in Mohan's office half an hour later. "Aashish Sood was the trainer for Shashank ....last he talks to his father, seems to be worried and upset and goes to meet him in the park to discuss something important where he is accosted with a chokehold and then shot dead."

"No witnesses?? But how could that be? And who would have known that they had talked and were going to meet at that particular place?"asked Tarun.

Mohan opened his cupboard locker and brought out a ziploc cover. Tarun took it in his hand, "A Beretta?"he asked.

"Found near the bushes where Aashish was shot. As expected, the licence number is erased with acid poured on it."Mohan said.

"Is this the same gun with which others were fired at?"  Tarun asked. Mohan nodded.

"Surely somebody must have seen or heard something?"asked Tarun. 

"A volleyball tournament was in progress on the other end of the park, so it was lighted up, noisy and crowded, whereas this end was dark. The late walkers did hear the sound of shots and had come running. The assailant must have hidden behind the bushes and had joined the crowd later. That is where we found the gun. And few minutes later we saw Mr.Singh shocked and his face pale and worried. "Sir? You? Here?"I had asked.

"We were supposed to meet here to talk something important.....he was waiting for me...the Major had said. Now what was so important that couldn't be discussed on the phone ...or wait till the next day to be discussed in office...that a senior officer had to meet a training officer late in the night in a park? The junior officer is shot dead before he could arrive and two weeks later, the Major was found dead in his car alleged to have committed suicide, but curiously the marks are there in his back as well. Is there a connection to all these murders? Or are they random incidents. "

PRESENT - DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

Preeti opened her eyes and welcomed the bright light through the gaps in the screens covering the windows. She sat up. She didn't feel dizzy. But things were still a blur  but slightly better than the day before and the pain had reduced to dull nabbing head ache. She looked at her watch. It was nearly ten in the morning. She got up from the bed and looked around. She was alone. She was relieved. She went to the bathroom, used the toilet and then brushed her teeth with her finger washed her face and looked at the mirror. The mirror was way up and she just could see a part of her forehead that also a blur. She didn't bother to look. If she had tried she would have been shocked to see her puffed up bloated face, skin pale and dark circles around her eyes, hair all dry and frizzy standing out in all directions. She touched her wound and felt the thick dried upper crust and the soft swollen part around it. Her eyes fell on a box above the mirror. She raised to her toes and stretched her hands and her fingers just managed to touch the box. She slowly moved it forward and carefully took it down. Her leg was screaming in pain. She bit her lip and leaned on the wash basin for a minute. Then she slowly opened the box, her heart stopped as she starred at the contents. There were bullets of all sizes, neatly compartmentalized and segregated size wise. Her hands began to shiver as she quickly closed it and kept it back. She breathed deeply to calm herself. Who is he? Why the hell should he be carrying these bullets? It's been more than twenty four hours in his captivity, surely somebody must be looking out for her. Raghu would have gone to the police. They'll surely send out a search party and they will find her here. 

With growing confidence within her, she came out and moved the screen and looked around,  no trace of him, the bike keys were gone. For the past two days she saw it hanging on the nail on the wooden plank. Where did he go? He could have taken her. Well she would not be his prisoner here. She checked her clothes, they were still damp. She pulled a chair near the fireplace and put her clothes on the chair. She then went near the door and tried opening it. She smiled. It opened. She stepped out and breathed the fresh mountain air, especially after rains the air was crystal clear. She saw his bike standing outside with a plastic sheet over it. She looked around and her smile vanished. All she could see was a thick grey blanket on the mountains. She was hardly able to see twenty feet from her. She slowly moved forward and went down the narrow steps that led to a small pathway. She tentatively placed her left foot not straining her injured right leg. It was slippery and small rivulets of water was running down from the upper reaches. She climbed down the ten steps and walked the narrow pathway, red clayey soil was caking on her shoes making it more slippery. She returned to the cabin disappointed. She couldn't walk like this  stumbling and finding her way all the way down without knowing the way and without being able to see the path forward. She was sure to slip and roll down the side of the hill. She cleaned her shoes in the pool of water collected outside and entered the cabin, closed the door and sat on the chair thinking about her next move.

If he had bullets he is sure to have a gun. She stopped short. What will she do with a gun? She had seen those only in movies. She wouldn't even know to hold one less shoot somebody. But he doesn't know that, she could threaten to shoot. Confidence soaring in her heart she went to his cupboard, opened it. She saw neatly stacked shirts and a couple of pants and jeans. Jackets, mufflers, woolen caps on one side, his under wears and kerchiefs on one side. She checked each shelf under the clothes. Other shelves had woolen blankets and sheets, in the last shelf were  his shoes  and slippers and sandals,neatly arranged. She checked for secret compartment. Nothing. She bent and checked under each shelf if it was taped under the plank. Nothing. Frustrated she banged it shut and sat on the bed. She would not give up hope. She went to the table and checked it's drawers. Nothing. No bills, no letters, no photos nothing for her to know anything about him. There were some tools, a spanner, pliers, tester. She looked around, she sighed with relief when she saw the light above the kitchen on. "Amma...thaaye..thank you...thank you!"she almost ran to her bag and took out her phone then she realised that she didn't have her charger. She began to check again. She kneeled on the floor and looked under the bed. There was  metal box, painted in black looking quite heavy and solid. She tried with all her might to pull it out. After fifteen minutes of her incessant trying, the box was out , enough for her to open the lid a little , just enough for her to see inside. Nothing....the box was empty, except for a laptop and a charger. She put her hand inside and brought it out anger rising within her. She would be ready for him she thought.

Jul 4, 2016

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 25 times)

THE STREAK OF DESTINY. CHAPTER-10

FIVE YEARS AGO- BANGALORE.

Jana joined them when they were discussing about the gun. 

"Anything from your side, Jana." Mohan asked.

Jana sat down wearily on the chair opposite Mohan's table and drank a glass of water and wiped his face with his kerchief. He looked tired. "I do have something but do not know if it has any bearing on this case or if it is even going to help this case."

"What is it?"

"There was one ...room service boy..."he took out his notes and checked the name, "Rajaram...he saw the Major walk out of his room .....at around eleven thirty....and take the service elevator."

"Did he see to which floor the Major went? Did he notice anything unusual?"Mohan asked.

Jana nodded, "He says, "This is a star hotel Saab, all kinds of HiFi people come here....it is very common sight for us to see, men and women sneak out from their rooms to other rooms...always in a hurry....all flustered and anxious to get to their rooms without being seen....how many times we've seen men have their wives on one floor... and their concubines on the next...and they never use the normal elvators for obvious reasons....we just close our ears and eyes and walk away...."exactly his words Sir." Jana smiled.

"Okay...what else?"asked Mohan.

"We checked the tapes....nothing we didn't know earlier.... Indi-go, taxi stops behind his car, Major gives the key to the valet and walks off, and the director walks in after him. They shake hands and talk for exactly two minutes and the Major walks away."

"Did you talk to the director?"

"No...he has given his phone number and address and has told the police he would cooperate anytime...as he couldn't stay there...because of his work commitments..."

"Okay...let me talk to him later..."

"There was one other resident living in the apartments on the left side of the hotel, across the street... he is on the seventh floor and had come out to his balcony to remove the dried clothes when he happened to see a man in his orange overalls climbing the water pipe...."

"What time was that?"

"At about ten thirty...he had said..."

"Was he climbing to the ninth floor...did that guy see him?" Asked Mohan sitting up.

"No...that is the catch ....he saw him at the fifth floor...seeing the overalls and a safety helmet... he assumed that some repair was going on and he didn't concentrate and went inside."

"We did check his phone records for last month, both his land line and his mobile.....all known numbers except the last few calls on his mobile. One strange fact to be noticed here is..."he placed a printed page holding the call history, "he had been continuously in contact with Aashish Sood  before the training officer was killed in the park."Jana said.

"You are right...that's what the Major told us when we asked about his presence that day in the park...did you know that Aashish had been a physical trainer for Shashank Singh?"Mohan asked. Jana looked surprised, first at Tarun then at Mohan.

"No...when was that?"he asked.

"For the past few months before his death..."said Tarun, "it's come as a surprise to all of us. Nobody has spoken a word about it till now." 

"Tarun I want you to talk to this taxi driver, find out if he had seen anybody following them, anything strange... Jana let's meet Anwar and get all the details about the dealings between the Minister and Mayor."



PRESENT- KOTAGIRI, OOTY

Raghu was furious and the active volcano within him was ready to erupt any moment and spew lava and fire. He had to cancel important meetings with bank managers and financiers, and he was answerable to a number of people for his actions. And his anger was all turned towards Preeti for her irresponsible behaviour, and her obsession for training for that stupid fund raising marathon.  He hated her more now for putting him in that situation. It was Monday morning and still she hadn't contacted him. He once again made a round of calls to all the known friends. Leela kept reiterating that she might have got wind about their affair. He once again convinced her that it was all an attention gaining tactics. But as hours passed by, he began to feel that if he didn't do something about this even now he would look like a cad in front of others, for even Leela with whom he was having an extra marital affair, began to question him as to how long he was going sit doing nothing. After hours of pondering as to what to do he made a decision.

DODDAPETTA-OOTY.



The door opened and the next instant she hurled herself on him, punching him with her fists with all her might, wherever her hands could reach his massive body. "What...the...?"he stumbled back losing control. But it was just for a moment, then in one swift movement he caught hold of her hands, pulling her towards him. She managed to wriggle free from his grip and dug her fingers and tore his cheeks with her nails. "Awww...."he screamed, and once again caught her wrists in a vice like grip and pulled her closer and lifted her high off the ground with ease. "Damn you....!" She screamed.

"Are you done?" he snarled, gritting his teeth. She shuddered, looking at the blind fury in his eyes.  "Now cut this madness.....so that I can let you down."

A moment later he let her go and before he could even move a step away, she bent and drew out a butcher knife and made a wide swing at him. He jumped back barely escaping the sharp end of the knife, but the pointed end of the knife got caught in his sweater and the muffler, before she pulled it back. She once again came back at him.  He caught her and rammed her on the wall, holding both her hands above her shoulders with such speed and ease that she felt defeated and humiliated. He kept tightening the wrist holding the knife, and finally her grip loosened and the knife clattered to the ground. Tears sprang up in her eyes, more out of fear than in pain. She realised she could never overcome him. It was like David and Goliath. And now she feared his anger and what he might do to her. 

"Now ....are....you....done?"he asked in a dangerously quiet voice, that sent shivers down her spine. 

"You...go to hell...."she shouted. 

"In due time ....doc, I sure know that..." he said and she kept looking at him, her chest heaving.

He stared at her for a minute, then asked, "What brought about this sudden change?"he asked.

She looked towards the laptop which was lying on the table, then at him. He looked at her surprised, then let go of her hands and bent down to pick up the knife. "You lied..."she accused him.

"I did not lie."he said.

"The laptop has a charger...you lied you didn't have one ..."

"I said I did not have a phone...." She moved away from him. He began to remove his muffler then the sweater. "My phone has been charging for an hour.....still it is not working...what have you done to my phone?"she asked.

"I've removed the battery.."he said calmly. "Why???"she shouted.

"So that they would not trace your location....."he said calmly, rubbing his face off the trickling blood.

She went pale hearing that. If she had believed that her fantacies about tortured women and girls, had been due to seeing too many serials and reading too many horror stories and that this man had been nothing like what she had imagined....well .....that belief was short lived. 

"That was some rain last night....it's really bad out there. Many land slides and Doddapetta is completely cut off...."his hands that were about to remove his muffler stopped when he heard her caustic voice saying, "How convenient for you!! You can have me cooped up here for some more days... then.."

Without blinking his eye he replied smiling, " But think of it this way...I've stacked up enough food for both of us to last for many days." He calmly walked to the sink washed his hands and began to take out the bread packet and the eggs from the cupboard. His audacity made her furious. She now knew that only way out for her was not the use of her physical strength  or weapons but to talk her way out. She walked to him and slammed the doors of the cupboard shut so hard that all the things in the cabin rattled. He glared at her angrily but she was not to be intimidated by his glare.

"My husband will be frantic with worry....he would have sought the help of the police..."she said.

"Sure he'll do....but they'll not be able to find you today....not in these circumstances."he said.

"I can use your laptop, but I have to know your pass word"she said.

"No...you can't..." he said still smiling.

"I just have to send a mail...to my husband...its been two days he'll really be worried."

"I don't use email...."

"Okay I'll send it through Facebook...if he doesn't access one of my..

"No....."he said. "I'll just send a message that I'm safe....." "No....you can't...."

"But.."

"No...."

"Just one mail...I'll not say anything about you...."

"No..." He pushed her aside with his butt and began to take out the vessels. 

"Anyway I don't know anything about you... to write anything ...so what's the problem?"she asked irritated, then she calmed down, "You can check...if you want..."

"No..." he didn't even look at her.

"I'll let you edit the mail and you can send it yourself...I have no problem..."

"Nothing doing...."he said calmly.

"It is a crime you are committing..."she said.

"I haven't laid my hand on you...."he said.

"You are keeping me here against my wishes...."she insisted.

"The incriminating circumstances are keeping you in...."

"You can change the circumstances...."

"I can't change the weather..."

"I didn't mean the weather....you could allow me to use your laptop..."

"No...it is out of your limits...doc..."

"Why don't you want them to find me....are you planning to keep me in forever?"she asked wide eyed, her lips quivering,  fear writ large on her face. 

He came near her and bent low looking straight into her eyes, "You don't understand doc..."he smiled, "I'm not trying to keep you in....I'm trying to keep... "He jerked his thumb towards the door, "them ...out."he said calmly.

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