Started at (K)nighted Men-Part 1

Contd from Time was moving- Part 12

Time was moving.

***

Four. Four days were well over. And Salim was clearly making no headway into the case. To add to his miseries there was no update on the surveillance teams as well.

Just then he received a short text.

“At the platform.”

He quickly picked his service gun and ran out of the police station. Parked outside was his regular gypsy and within minutes it was roaring to go.

***

Mala was stunned to notice the staggering figure of the man in front. It must be almost three years since she last met him.

“Suresh?” she still found her voice reflect a question rather statement at the sense of recognition she felt seeing him.

He smiled. Rather painfully.

“How long?” he asked.

She ignored the question as it is and spoke, ” did you hear?”

He nodded.

“It was so sudden. I still cannot believe it. Wasn’t it yesterday?” she almost found the ground too shaky to continue standing without any physical support. She walked over to the broken chair on the side and took rest.

He just stood there. Without as much as turning his head.

And into that abyss he was staring, he spoke, “but are you surprised?”

A look of guilt and remorse crossed her face instantly.

***

Salim had taken exactly twenty minutes to reach the platform. He met the sender of that cryptic text in another two.

“Where?” he quickly asked.

And he pointed in the direction of two rather feeble figures stooping at the end of the long stretch of concrete.

Mala. She looked very old. And something in her eyes spoke volumes of the pain any mother would be experiencing at the loss of her only one.

And here I am thinking of the impossible, no scratch that I am imagining the blasphemy. Could she have done this? Salim felt more afraid than relieved to doubt his own theory.

If not her then who?

***

Malini waited till she heard no other noise. The car had left and along with it the burly man with his threats and evil laughs.

She then gathered all her courage and walked up to the cupboard on the left of the room. She quietly turned the key and opened one half of its tightly shut door. Inside was a photograph. The one that shouldn’t be here. It lay there in peace, away from the eyes of the world.

Funny how invisible blood gets when it isn’t supposed to be.

***

Sudha simply sat and watched him suffer. What could she do? She had spent the last five hours asking him to drop the idea of making that dreaded call.

Zolpidem. They say it can put you to sleep.

When did she lose her cool? Maybe the last time he raised his voice with little authority.

Authority isn’t loud, she thought. Authority is confidence. Knowing what you do, how you do and owing it. Not chickening out at the last moment.

And he wasn’t much of a husband, anyways.

contd. at He left his plea open ended- Part 14

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