Monday, February 28, 2011

The Final Adieu - Part 4



Day 1, 06:20 pm


Sagar was euphoric. He was sitting in his room, replaying the conversation he had with Asheeta over and over in his mind. He recalled the incident when one of his dates complained he did not give her the undivided attention. Now he knew what it meant.

He had called his mother earlier and had told her about the new angel in his life. Vani had always dreaded the possibility of Sagar never finding his soul mate. But now she was relieved. She asked him to bring Asheeta home. Sagar said he would bring Asheeta provided she accepted his proposal. Vani had laughed out loud saying who would ever deny him. His mother was just like any other mother; she thought her son was the world's most eligible bachelor. Sagar smiled to himself. He wanted to make Asheeta echo his mother's thoughts. But before all that, there was something else he had to take care of.

Sagar always believed in his instincts. It never failed him. It all started when he was 6 years old. He was in his house backyard with his pet Julie, a dark brown German Shepard dog. It was the usual game he always played with Julie. He would throw the ball somewhere far and Julie would fetch it and give it to him. And the cycle continued. Both never got tired playing the same game.

On that particular day, he was playing with Julie, when suddenly he sensed danger. He felt he should not stay there any more. He dragged Julie into the house and tied her to a door. He then ran to his mother. and told her that something bad was going to happen. His mother dismissed him saying she was not ready for his pranks. The next second they heard a blast, like some bomb exploded. His mom ran out to check what happened. The tree, under which seconds earlier Sagar was playing, had uprooted itself and fell on the ground.

From then on, many times he had had that feeling, which had saved one or more lives. Now it was the same feeling. Though he tried to divert his attention by concentrating on his work, he could not stop worrying. His feelings had always been right. He wondered what might have happened to the man in Asheeta's story; if he died or was he saved. He decided he could not ignore it any more.

He opened the WonderWoman site on his laptop and started reading the morning episode.


********************


Day 1, 06:55 pm


Sabitha stood staring at the sea oblivious to the surrounding. She saw the waves rise and advance towards her as if to fill her with a tight embrace. Cool breeze crept on her every now and then making her shiver. She had been waiting for 5 minutes, but to her it felt like 5 hours.

She suddenly felt a strong pricking sensation pierce at her back. She immediately turned back and found a short and stout man staring at her. He was dark skinned and half bald. He was wearing a dirty lungi and he looked like he never took bath. Sabitha turned away from him but could not remove his image from her mind. She was used to stares pierce right through her body. Those were the times she felt she was naked and thousand blood thirsty eyes mercilessly relishing on her nudity. She felt the same now. She wanted to get away from there immediately. She glanced the beach once to check if her friend had come. There was no sign of her. She heaved sigh and continued waiting for her friend.

After a while she again felt something strange. The man who was staring at her had now moved closer to her. He was breathing on her neck. She felt sick to her stomach. She thought of moving away when a voice startled her

"What is your rate?"

Sabitha tried to ignore him but the man seemed persistent. He came closer and repeated the same question. Sabitha could not control herself any longer. She turned and glared at him for one long minute. She thought of so many things to yell at him. She wanted to call him names. She wanted to slap him. She wanted to beat him to death. She wanted to strangulate him. She wanted to kill him. But she could do nothing. She was overwhelmed with anger that her mouth failed her. Her body did not coordinate with her thought process. With great deal of effort she managed to raise her hand and warned him to get lost. He saw the look on her face and was gone.

Sabitha tried hard to catch her breath. It took her several minutes to come back to normal. She turned back to check if the man was gone. He was nowhere to be seen. She checked the time. It was 15 minutes past 7. She thought it was no use waiting for her friend any more. She could meet her next time. She turned back to move when something caught her attention.

She saw someone walk past her towards the sea. He looked like he was in his late 20s. At first look he seemed normal. But the closer she saw, she found an unmistakable streak of despair on his face. Without her realization, she was staring at him open mouthed. He went near the sea and removed his shoes. He stood still for an instant and started walking towards the sea.

The look on his face professed he had not come for fun. The man did not care about the huge waves splashing all over him. He did not bother to stop for anything. He just went on and on. Sabitha wondered what the man was about to do. And then the reality struck her. This was a suicide attempt.

Sabitha turned her head fiercely towards all sides of the beach. There was not a single soul nearby. All she saw was a couple with a kid and a group of young boys playing far away from her. She tried shouting for help. The wind took care to divert her voice anywhere but them. Only then she realized the situation she was in. There was a man's life at stake and she was the only possible one who could save him.

Sabitha went a little further into the beach. She called him to return. She did not know if he heard her or not. He had stopped in the middle as if waiting for some big wave to gobble him to the vast depth of the ocean. She was scared to go any further. She had learned swimming due to her father's persistence. But that was in a pool. Swimming in a sea was not the same. She may also become a victim.

She had read several stories about rescuers drowning along with the victims. When someone is drowning, their first instinct would be to breathe. So if they felt anyone move close to them, they would put their entire weight on the rescuer trying to come out, involuntarily drowning the rescuer along with them. So the first basic rule was to keep a safe distance from them and pull them with their hair.

Sabitha shook herself. She knew that applied only for people who wanted to live. But this man had gone into the sea to die. She shuddered thinking what would happen if he pulled her too along with him. But she knew her conscience would prick her all her life, if she stood there watching him die. She took one last breath and sprang into the sea.

It took enormous amount of her strength to walk past the waves. All the while she kept calling him, but he did not care to respond. She knew he would resist coming back with her. She thought she would plead with him to come back and if it did not work she would slap him. But even then what would a single slap mean to him? He was already distressed for God-only-knows-why.

This should have never happened
, she thought. I should have stayed at my office. I should have gone home directly. I should have never come to the beach.


Suddenly she found herself directly behind the man.

She touched his shoulder and made herself ready to face his protest. But to her surprise, he did not. He held her hands tight and walked back with her. Sabitha did not expect this type of a reaction. She decided the man was too scared to die. She remembered reading somewhere that out of all who try to commit suicide, only few succeed. She was glad the man fell under the majority category.

After coming out of the sea, she made him sit on the ground. He kept looking down not daring to look at her eyes. He looked very scared. Sabitha felt sorry for him. He did not even have the courage to die. She patted his back. She remained silent for a while allowing him to come out of the initial shock.

"What is your name?"

There was no response.

She held his hands tightly and whispered

"Everything is alright now, don’t worry"

There was still no response.

"Where is your house? Do you want me to drop you?"

Not a muscle moved in him. His eyes simply stared back at her. She could not deduce anything from his eyes. It was cold and blank, expressionless. She knew there was some deep pain inside him. But she did not know what. She felt his hand tighten his grip.

First positive sign she thought happily. She looked around searching for someone whom she might know, who could help her carry him. She suddenly felt the grip tighten very much that it almost hurt. She tried to withdraw her hand but could not.

He is scared she told herself.

"It is OK, I will take care of you" she said and again tried to withdraw her hand. But he did not seem to give in. He looked deep into her eyes and said "I am sorry".

For a moment Sabitha did not understand what he meant. And then she knew. Her body secreted a rush of adrenaline demanding her to flee from the scene immediately. She tried to rise on her feet but stopped mid way when she saw him clutching a knife on his other hand. She started to call for help but he placed the knife on her neck and said

"One word and you die"


********************


Sagar was driving his bike like a mad animal. He had finished reading the morning episode of Asheeta's story. He had learned that the man was not planning to die, but to kidnap an unsuspecting woman.

One part of his brain was blaming Asheeta for not warning him. Another part was blaming him for not reading the episode earlier. Somehow he knew that the man was real and he was going to kidnap some woman. Asheeta had mentioned in her story that the kidnap was going to happen in a beach. Sagar concluded that Thiruvanmyur beach was one of the most remote beaches and he decided to check there.

Sagar reached the beach in a few minutes. He did not bother to park his bike. He just pushed the bike down and searched frantically for any sign of abduction. At a distance he saw a man usher a woman towards a car.

Sagar lunged towards them. He saw the woman almost being pushed into the car. He did not want to let them go. If he missed them, he may never catch up with them. He shouted at them to stop.

The man turned and looked at Sagar for a second. Then he quickly moved to the driver seat and started his car.

Sagar immediately pulled his gun. He did not have any other choice. He fired a shot close to the car. The man immediately stopped the car engine. By now Sagar had moved close to the car.

"Put both your hands out where I can see them" Sagar shouted.

"Look, you don't understand. She..."

"Do as I say" Sagar roared.

The man obeyed.

"Now open your door using your right hand from the outside"

The man again obliged.

"On your kneels and hands on your head, now"

"I...I was just..."

"Shut up"

He then opened the car and pulled the woman out.


"You are safe now ma'am" Sagar assured her

"Oh please, don't hurt my brother"

Sagar looked up at her shocked.

"What did you say ma'am?"

"It was my fault. I fought with my husband and came here. My brother..."

Sagar was not standing there any more.

He ran throughout the beach. He searched everywhere. But there was no one he found guilty. He thought if he was mistaken. He debated if he was too late or was it all his imagination.

The woman and her brother were still staring at Sagar clueless of what was happening. Sagar went to them and apologized. They did not seem convinced. But since they already had their own set of problems, they did not proceed with any argument. They left the scene immediately.

Sagar suddenly remembered how tired he felt. He decided he needed some rest. He made a call to one of his junior officers.

"Hello" a voice answered.

"Hello, Sagar speaking. Will it be too much if I ask you a small favor?"

"Definitely no sir. Please go ahead"

"Thank you. If there is any missing woman report, I would like to be notified immediately."

"Sure Sir. Any other specifics?"

Sagar thought for a while.

"Nothing, this is sufficient"

Sagar disconnected the call and went to his bike. He would have to wait to know if his hunch was correct.


********************


Sabitha was sitting in the car shell shocked. She was so close to getting rescued yet she could not. She looked at the man who was now keen on driving. Sensing she was staring at him, he stopped the car and put it on neutral. There was not a soul in the street, it was totally deserted. He turned and moved towards her face. Sabitha tried to block him with her hands, but he was too strong for her. He pressed his lips hard on her ears and whispered.

"Good job done my dear. Continue your cooperation and I will let you go soon". He paused and added "I promise, you are going to have a great time with me"

He then smiled and resumed driving.

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