Karan prepared himself. He eyed the cell phone once again. It lay open, as the shooter had left it, set to loudspeaker. Beyond that were the guns, lined against the wall, ready. The shooter sat behind them, still adjusting something in a pistol, and stuffing the few documents he was carrying on himself.
Karan waited for his chance. The shooter turned around. Karan pushed, but his leg was caught up in the sudden rubble. He sat back. The shooter had turned.
Ok, next time. He breathed, watching the shooter carefully. He was afraid the shooter would be done with the arrangements he was busy with.
A bullet rolled back. The shooter turned to reach for it. He turned, a little more… Karan knew it. It was now or never. Karan jerked forward. He had already crawled to just the right distance. His hands were now lose in the belt. He hit the green button on the phone. He tried to grab a gun but it was too far, just as he had estimated. As the shooter caught the rolling bullet, Karan came back.
He calmed his breath. Don’t show exertion, no signs of activity. But don’t be completely dumb either.
“What are you going to do?” Karan asked, though he knew exactly what the plan was. It was what he would have done.
The shooter looked up. He was a little shaken to hear Karan’s voice. He wasn’t planning on having a conversation, he had enough on his hands.
“Nothing much. Nothing for you to worry.” He added.
Karan didn’t care. The objective was to remove suspicion. He looked at the phone… connecting…
Karan waited for the next step.
The phone vibrated in his hand. Jeremy picked it up instantly.
Jeremy put his ear to the phone and was about to speak the line he had rehearsed, when suddenly-
“Why do you need all the guns?” It was Karan, and he wasn’t talking on the phone. Jeremy listened.
“Will you stop talking?!” The shooter… he sounded annoyed. What was going on?
“I have been sitting here for thirty minutes now, you idiot. What do you expect me to do?” What the hell was Karan saying? He could try to find a way out, was talking all he had in mind?!
And then Jeremy understood. The shooter hadn’t made this call. He listened.
“Oh, okay. You want to talk? Let’s have a talk. Rather, let’s have ME, talk at you! The thing is, you are going to be dead. And so is that girlfriend of yours. Were you hoping something different? Oh, too bad. Stop doing it.”
Jeremy breathed away from the receiver. He knew that already, but it did come as a blow. Since it was for certain, he could put all his energies on the new development. He didn’t know if more was coming so he put the phone on the table.
He had to warn Officer Yadav. Keeping his eye on the phone, he walked a little towards the inner corridor. As he got close, Officer Yadav came out.
“Mrs. Virmani isn’t responding. I think she’s asl-” Jeremy lunged forward. He pushed the Officer back in the corridor, and told him to keep quiet.
Officer Yadav looked at the mic on Jay’s shirt. He had covered it. So what was the problem?
Jeremy took the Officer to the drawing room, and motioned towards the open cell phone. Another dumb charade, of a person with a gun, and Officer Yadav nodded. He sat down to listen.
Jeremy scribbled at the paper. Officer Yadav read.
my friend made the call shooter doesn’t know
Officer Yadav nodded. These boys were brilliant. He made a mental note to award them once they were out of this rut. Some token or something, to keep them happy.
The cell phone buzzed. “Is that a long-range rifle?” Karan was speaking again.
“Would you like to die under it?” Officer Yadav heard the man he had to take down.
“It’s a good model, that’s all I am saying. Nice aim.” Officer Yadav looked over quizzically to Jeremy. ‘Movies’, he lip-synched.
So they were under a rifle. Good job Karan, thought Jeremy.
Officer Yadav thought he should alert base. He couldn’t have them coming over in jeeps now. He wrote so, to Jeremy.
Officer Yadav stood, taking out his own cell phone. He walked away from the table, towards the far window. At that distance, he made sure his voice wouldn’t carry. Officer Yadav punched in the numbers he was more used to answer to. The phone rang. It was ringing…..
“What the hell?!” The sound came from the phone. Officer Yadav whirled around. Jeremy was already on it.
“What the hell is that hag doing out there?! Is your boy playing games with me?”
Jeremy looked up. Officer Yadav ran to the bedroom. He pushed the door open.
The room was empty.
It was a ground floor house, and the window was open. What in the world?!
Officer Yadav rushed back, the air having left his face. Jeremy understood. DAMNIT LADY!!!
“That fool… he won’t like this.” They heard the shooter. He was closer to the phone. Jeremy was horrified. No. Don’t call. No!
The shooter came towards the cell phone. “That fool… he won’t like this.”
He picked up the device, looked down at Mrs. Virmani trying to hail an auto on the road, and turned to the phone. He was rooted to the spot.
And suddenly, the screen disappeared. End of call?
The shooter turned towards Karan. “You jerk!” He lunged forwards to hit him, not aware that Karan had got his hands free. They were in a deathly brawl.
The gun was knocked away. Both were unarmed, but ruthless still. They pulled each other away from the ready queue of armed guns… That would be the end of it.
Karan blew one punch after another into the shooter’s ribs. His anger was unsheathed. The shooter tried to block, but it was useless, Karan had found his way. Instead, the shooter tried to attack. One hit at the nape, and Karan staggered. Before he could regain his balance, a fist hit his jaw and Karan was down. No way. Not after all this. He rolled over, as the shooter’s leg came down near his stomach. He caught the leg and hit hard near the shin. It send a piercing streak of pain. Karan had got up by then, and brought his knee hard into the shooter’s back. He bent a little, and Karan twisted his arm, bringing the shooter in a crouching, uncomfortable position. The shooter cried out. Blood dripped from his own lip, but Karan pressed on the arm.
He hit his elbow on the shooter’s head, and the shooter fell.
Karan ran towards the guns….
But then… a loud crack sounded.
He touched his side. It was wet. He was hit.
Slowly, Karan turned. The shooter was getting up, breathless. He held one of the pistols in his hand… the one Karan had knocked away…. he didn’t realise when they had got so near….
Karan pulled himself forward. The shooter was getting up. Karan was almost there, he tried to touch it… the nearest one… he could almost scrape it…
Another crack! His leg….
The shooter had reached first. He kicked Karan away. The gun was out of reach.