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.
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
was machine gun 'rat-tat-tat' at least a kilometer away and the man
and his people were looking very watchfully, fearfully.
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.
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.
was once a city....
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.
the woman replied quietly.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
woman was finding it difficult to see the others, because suddenly
things were becoming too bright.
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.
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.
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
had one minute..
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.
IT'' The voice was a whiplash. The man who was about to hit her
stopped as he looked back angrily.
her in with the others,'' the voice which had spoken first said
on....,'' the man said angrily pulling up the woman angrily. ''She is
not even part....''
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
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?''
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.
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.
ok, kid,'' the man told her in a gentle voice, as he was coming
towards her. ''Don't be afraid.''
were eight bad people inside the room and six hostages. And, none of
the hostages were near the windows.
watch chimed quietly and even before she knew it, she yelled pulling
out the gun from her shoe.
She shouted, as the building opposite to them exploded in a loud
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.
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
left just one of them, who was very close to the woman and he was
closing in on the woman.
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.
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.
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
out!,'' she said looking around and that was when she saw the grey
haired man, close up.
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
as always the heart won. Because the woman knew that the man was
always like that, it was always the heart which won.
the man asked stumbling. The other hostages were out.
go, dad!,'' the woman said as she smiled after what seemed like a
really long time.