Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Rescue

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

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

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