“Get down Mrs. Virmani!” Jeremy shrieked as he crouched towards the old woman. Such a motherly figure she had become in the past twenty minutes that Jeremy couldn’t help but want to protect her. Karan found the situation had turned more in his favour now- he preferred bullets over staring old ladies any day. Taking his position behind the sofa he overturned only too easily, Karan observed for two seconds where the bullet had come from, looking at the shattered glass. He looked at the poor girl, who had toppled, and saw the blood spluttering out of her side. In the next two seconds, he had told Jeremy who now shielded Mrs. Virmani that the shot came from the opposite colony, BG- II, from height, and they couldn’t leave without coming under range.
The calm was testing. Even an amateur would know that the shooter was waiting for a move. So he had come after all. He was either tagging the two of them or was hunting down every possible lead and eliminating it, but why a hairdresser, it became strange. To complete the setting as they had planned, the police arrived too, and looking grim as they saw confirmation for the call they received earlier, set off to tackle the situation. Here was one incident that the press could be won over.
On the road, the vehicles were honking to get away, they had all heard the shot and more, the girl’s scream. They hadn’t moved an inch, but they provided perfect cover for anyone who needed to make noise but didn’t want to be noticed. Like little ants hurrying out of their hill, six uniformed officers ran out of the jeep; three towards the shooter, and three towards the house that displayed casually it’s fatally shattered front window.
Karan knew they had seconds. The had the information, they had their cover in place. All they needed to do was run away. They would get a head start before Mrs. Virmani told the officials everything but it would be too late. Karan and Jeremy would be ghosts.
But Jeremy had his own plans. He stuck to his shielding position, with his gun ready, and said, “We can’t leave her Karan!” Karan was getting agitated. How long would it take anyone to enter a house when no formalities were demanded?! They were going to get caught! “JEM! The police are here! They WILL protect her, dummy! It’s us they will not!”
Jeremy knew only too well Karan was right. This was a point Karan had relentlessly highlighted, specially if the house had been Anushka’s, for he knew Jeremy’s attitude towards girls. Jeremy had been unpardonably unethical this mission. He had missed an observation, and was fouling the plan terrible already. But then, it wasn’t remotely a normal op, and Karan couldn’t disagree. For no distinguished reason, the boys had developed feelings all of a sudden, after so many hard, cold missions. Strange, how Death could bring Love.
Karan was getting up to drag Jeremy off towards the opposite end of the house, where he had planned a balcony-escape, but could do nothing but drop back down. Bullets were being fired again, but this time they weren’t aimed at the Virmanis’ place, it seemed like crossfire in the opposite colony. From the short screams that came, they knew two policemen had been hit. Karan silently thanked the shooter. Nice diversion.
“Jeremy lets go!” And this time, Jeremy nodded strongly.
The three policemen outside the house were aiming their guns at any roofs they thought they say movement on, but achieved nothing, except cutting Karan and Jeremy some slack. Both zoomed off to the balcony, away from the chaos and jumped over the railing, landing with comfortable precision and setting off in a run into the colony. Unlike the last colony they had visited, where people were too eager to enter Varuna’s house, here the people sensibly hid in their safest corners, or whatever they thought would be safe since they had not the least idea of where the shots were coming from. It was convenient for the boys, they ran as far in as they could and then cut off towards the main road running parallel.
In another thirty minutes, this part of their lives would be insignificant, and they would be planning for something else.
On the road between the fiery colonies, the traffic had still not inched forward, but no one was paying the puppets in the vehicles any notice. All their job was, was to honk and create news that yes, something happened. Bullets were being fired, the heat was pinching. More police were scurrying towards the shooter’s location, blissfully passing the panicked drivers, and the three policemen outside Mrs. Virmani’s finally came to her aid. Had she come under a heart attack in all the rumble, they would have proved useless.
In all the tiresome action, a killer watched two men running out of the target’s house and quietly observed. New angle. Who were these guys? When he heard the police climbing the stairs to the roof he was on, he silently zipped the one bag he carried, for his rifle, and jumped the wall between the neighboring building’s roof. Three more easy jumps and he climbed down the stairs of the building last in the row, and turning right, he too joined the main road and walked away, leisurely.Both sides had left behind the remains of a good operation, and though the killer hadn’t got his actual target, he had something more important.
Jeremy whispered to Karan under their breath, as they walked down the road, “Smart shooter. Unfazed by police, good prompting with bullets, obviously great aim, and efficient. What the hell does he want with Sunny?”
“I think I know. I might just know, Jeremy.”