Seven Days

“The denominations need to be small. No large notes remember”, the gruff voice sounded even more menacing in its ice cold avatar. 

She heard it and it registered it in her brain. She knew she couldn’t afford to forget this one. 

She came home and looked at her husband. He was busy on his laptop trying to locate the origin of the call. “I can’t seem to understand why it shows our store room. I’ve traced every inch of it and there’s nothing or no one there. He must be using one hell of a software to fool us”. 

She looked at him confused. She didn’t understand any of this computer business and was all at sea. She simply nodded in meek affirmation when he said this looking at her. 

Two weeks ago their life seemed perfect. At least outwardly. Happily married for 5 years they were both successful in their respective careers. He, as the Marketing Vice President of a leading IT company and she a fast emerging author. They seemed to have it all. 

He loved to take short naps in the evening. He was snoring away on the couch when his phone bleeped a numerous times waking him up from his peaceful slumber. What he saw then, woke him up for good. 

There were a number of pics of his wife lying in bed in a strange hotel room with a man with a rose tattoo on his exposed back lying on top of her. Of the 17 pictures he was sent each and everyone had her face clearly visible whilst that of the guy remained unseen. 

“Pay up 25crores or these pics go up on social media to all your friends. And yes this time with the face you so desperately want to see”, the message taunted. 

He got up from his couch and walked out of the door. She was in the lawn watering some plants. He thrust the mobile in front of her face. “What the hell is this”, he demanded, in a tone that really startled her. 

She dropped the water tube and began to see the pictures on his phone. Her expression changed from that of disbelief and shock to that of being confused. 

“I swear I swear I can’t remember what this is. When this was or who this is. I swear Raghav I don’t know anything about this”. She sounded very genuine indeed but the pictures didn’t lie. “Are you sure these are not morphed”, she asked, almost echoing his doubts about them. 

He looked at the pictures closely again. They definitely didn’t look morphed. “I will try and find out if they’ve been photo-shopped”, he said wearily. His mind was totally confused. On one hand he knew that she could never do something like this. And yet on the other, the pictures !!!. Such strong evidence. He didn’t know how to react. 

He came inside the living room and collapsed on the sofa. She came and sat next to him too. She put her head on his shoulders and started to weep. He instinctively put his arms around her pulling her closer to him. But his mind was still racing away with a thousand thoughts. Who? Why? How? 

They spent the rest of the day in silence. She didn’t do anything but just sat on the sofa, listless and mindless. He kept on working on his computer attempting to figure out where the call had originated from. For the life in him he could not prove that the photos were morphed. They passed every test to prove they were authentic. 

He kept asking her over and over again the next couple of days but she had no different answer to give him. She just could not remember any incident which would have even initiated such a situation as the photographs suggested. It all seemed so unreal to her. At times it felt like her worst nightmare coming true. 

The call came again on the fourth day. “So have you guys decided what you want to do? I am not going to wait forever you know”. 

“Just give us some time. We will pay you. But it takes time to arrange for such a large amount”, Raghav tried to reason with his blackmailer. “And what guarantee is there that you won’t put up the photos once we give you the money”, he asked knowing very well the answer he would get in return. 

“Well there are no guarantees of that you know”, he laughed. “Except for my word. And at this stage unfortunately Mr Mehra you don’t have a better choice, do you”, he smirked just before hanging up. 

“We don’t have a choice Pooja. We have to give him the money”, Raghav looked like a broken man as he spoke to his wife. Pooja looked at him in utter disbelief. 

“Are you saying there is nothing we can do but to bow down before these threats for something that is totally false and untrue? No fault of mine and we have to pay”? Her eyes filled with tears as she spoke. She knew how hopeless the situation was for Raghav to agree to pay. She had no strength to fight after seeing him like this.

“What about the flat”, she asked, as her last shred of hope seemed to be tearing off. 

“We have to sell it. We have to sell everything and move to my company apartment. There is no other way of arranging such a huge sum”, he sounded in a total surrender mode as he spoke. His voice barely audible even though she was sitting next to him. 

He begged his blackmailer to give them two more days. “It takes time to arrange such amount. At least give me two days”, he reasoned. The blackmailer agreed. 

And then came Friday. The day the money was to be delivered. He had the travel bag  ready. It was to be dropped off a bridge the blackmailer specified. He did as he was told and drove off alone, empty and shattered, after dropping the bag off. 

He drove a few kilometres away and opened his laptop. The chip he’d placed in between the notes seemed to moving in a direction towards the city. He slowly began to drive towards that direction. He wasn’t going to let it all go so easily. He had spent his entire life building his life up and he wouldn’t go down without a fight. 

Following the red light he came up to an apartment. He was shocked to see the location. It was Maaya’s. “How did the blackmailer know Maaya”? He wondered as he raced up the stairs to reach her apartment. 

Maaya, the beautiful sensuous new trainee who had joined his organisation and for whom he’d started off as a mentor. Neither of them realised when the mentor-disciple role transformed into a full fledged affair. The passion he felt for Maaya, made him feel years younger than what he actually was. She invigorated him, made him feel alive. Maaya made him want to enjoy life again. A life that he had lost in the race of the corporate world and numbing boredom of married life. 

He had the keys to her apartment, so he didn’t think twice before opening the door and entering the apartment. The living room seemed fine. He was shocked when he went to the bedroom! 

On the queen sized bed Maaya lay lifeless. She had been strangled by a tie, which he recognised as being his own. In fact it was gifted to him by her. As he looked at Maaya’s beautiful eyes which were still open, his gaze turned to the small chip that was placed next to the bed. There was hand written note next to it. 

“You may think you’re very clever. But know this…YOU ARE NOT” !!!

His eyes were blood shot with rage as he read the note, his hands trembling as he held it. He felt kicked in the guts socked in his teeth. His mobile flashed. 

“I have brought this on to you. To us. I have unwittingly led you to this stage. I don’t think I have the will to carry on any more. Am ending my life. I am sorry for everything. Pooja”. 

He could not believe what he was reading. He read it a couple of times more before dialling her number. It was unreachable. He drove like a maniac to reach his house hoping  to stop her before she took any drastic step. 

As he approached his apartment he saw a small crowd had gathered near the bridge close to his home. He stopped there and asked what had happened. 

“Some lady jumped off the bridge just a few minutes ago”, a street vendor said. He kept looking down to see if anything could be seen. He saw a blue dupatta stuck to the corner of the bridge. He instantly recognised it !

He sat down at that moment, holding the dupatta close to his face. He was now sobbing uncontrollably. From a perfect life he had lost everything in a matter of seven days. His wife, his money, his love. Everything was gone. 

The man with the rose tattoo opened the bag and smiled. “I don’t have to count this do I”, he winked as he looked towards her. The lady had her back to him. 

“Oh no darling you don’t have to. Raghav is an honourable man”, Pooja winked as she turned around and hugged him. “Our plan worked liked a dream honey”, she said just before she kissed him on his mouth. 

“He should have known before he cheated on me with that trainee slut”, Pooja said as she zipped the bag filled with cash once more. Their bags were packed and they were ready to leave. 

“You cheated on him too didn’t you”, he laughed. 

“And look where it got me Manav”, she winked at him. 

“You drive first, I need to rest. The last few days have been super hectic”, she smiled as she sat on the passenger’s seat. She knew the drive to the private airspace was only a couple of hours. A private jet ready to take them to a new destination. For a new start. 

Manav sat in the driver’s seat and turned the ignition on. He looked at her and smiled. “Shall we”, he asked. She winked at him and went back to sleep. 

Copyright (c) Pratik Majumdar

Published by Patmaj

Hi this is me, Pratik. I love to read, write, listen to music, watch movies, travel and enjoy great food. Like a whole lot of us I guess. Will keep posting my short stories and other writings out here on a regular basis (hopefully) and (hopefully again) all of you will enjoy them writings...

13 thoughts on “Seven Days

  1. Fabulous…hv read this before but nonetheless loved re-reading it…enjoyed the plot, the setting & loved the intricacies in the story…perfect tale 👌❤

    Liked by 1 person

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