She kept looking at him and carried on laughing. Her mouth was gagged and there were bruise marks on her face. Her hands were tied at the back. She knelt in the corner of the old store room. And she laughed and laughed.
“Stop it!!! What the hell is wrong with you,” he asked her, taken aback by her behaviour. “You’ve been kidnapped and a ransom demand has been made to your father. And here you are, laughing away hysterically.” He just couldn’t believe her.
“What can I do,” she said, trying to control her laughter, but failing miserably. “This whole thing is so funny. I just can’t help it.” She burst out into heavy laughter all over again. “I am trying to visualise my dad’s face when he gets this video. I wish someone recorded his expression as he saw this video,” she laughed.
He stood there watching her laugh despite her situation. It was then he realised how much she hated her father. Four months ago they were strangers to one another. They had met in an online group on Beat Literature and had gotten close to one another. He loved her knowledge and passion about all things Beat. And she loved his spontaneity, wit and style of writing. They soon began to communicate with each other even outside the group. It was just over a month since their introduction in the group, that they met in person.
He found her attractive and was drawn to her almost instantly. She too seemed eager and keen to be with him and to get to know him even better. It was an instant and intense attraction between them. Gradually as time went by, she opened up to him. He found out that her mother had passed on. And that she blamed her father for her death. That accident had created a rift between her father and her and that she was pulling herself more and more away from her father. Sometimes she would tell him about her outbursts at home and he felt she was deliberately making things tough for her father. It seemed to him, that she would do anything to antagonise her father.
It was her plan.
At first he was shocked. Too stunned to even react. But she kept on pressurising him. He knew how convincing she could be and ultimately gave in and agreed.
He would “kidnap” her from her yoga class one evening and keep her locked in a far off desolate place. He would film her being roughed up and tied and gagged and send the video to her father from an untraceable number. And then ask for a fancy sum as random. “Naturally we will split the money” she told him. “After all I want my share too,” she said with a smirk on her face. “And your share will be useful to you too. Dont tell me that you don’t need the money,” she looked at him in the eyes with a smile that sent shivers down his spine. Sometimes her coldness, her ruthlessness, scared him. He agreed.
As per her plan , he fake-kidnapped her on a Wednesday. They had earlier selected a desolate bungalow, a couple of hours drive outside the city. They went there and then he tied her up gagged her gave her fake injury scars on her face and then shot the video. She put up a fantastic performance as the hapless victim. He promptly sent the video to her father from his phone, after successfully ensuring the call could not be traced back to him. It was all working like a dream.
As they sat together waiting for her father to respond, he suddenly got worried. “What if your father refuses to put the ransom? Then what?” From what all he had heard from her about their relation he couldn’t be absolutely sure that he’d agree to pay.”Oh he will surely pay,” she reassured him. “He has to show the whole world how much he cares for me, although I know secretly he’d wish I was dead,” she added with a deadpan face.
It was a Friday.
Finally her father responded. He was willing to pay the sum as demanded by the kidnapper. They both saw his message and were elated. “At long last,” she exclaimed !!! “My worries will be over. With half that amount I don’t have to be with him any more. I can live on my own.” He too was happy that her father had agreed. But this was the toughest part of the whole plan, he realised that.
“I will make it really tough for him before he gives the money,” he thought out aloud. The day for payment was decided as Monday. It will be a weekday and nice and crowded in most places.
He hatched an elaborate and complicated plan to get the money. He kept sending instructions via text messages to her father making him run from one end of the city to the other, never giving him a clue what the next step would be. Finally after making him run for more than a couple of hours he asked him to step on a local train and throw the bag from the train near a bridge. Her father did exactly as he was instructed.
It was evening when he came back to the storeroom where she still was “kidnapped” and kept. He had a gleam in his eyes as he dangled the bag containing the ransom amount in front of her. Her expression mirrored his, as they excitedly emptied the contents of the bag and began to make two separate piles. That’s when he noticed she had a revolver in her bag. For the first time he’d seen that. “What’s this for,” he asked with a surprised look on his face. “Oh it’s always there with me, for protection,” she replied calmly. “Is it real?” he was worried as he asked her. “I wonder what else I don’t know about you,” he looked at her with an uncertain smile.
She smiled and fired a shot from her gun in the air. A chunk of the ceiling cement fell near both of them, startling him. She laughed out loud again.
And then there was another shot.
He turned around to see her father standing at the door of the storeroom with a gun in his hand. He was pointing it at his daughter and she pointed her gun back at her father.
As he stood perplexed in the middle of all this, she quietly got up and went closer to her father, her gun still pointed at him. Her father’s gun too remained pointed at her. Their cool and calm demeanour was enough to unnerve him. “What the hell is happening here,” he screamed at her!!!
“Nothing my darling, just settling a few old scores,” she smiled as both she and her father stood next to each other and turned their guns simultaneously on him. She and her dad looked at each other and smiled.
4 years ago…
It was a busy Monday when they left the city. “Hopefully the highway wont have much traffic,” he said looking directly at his wife. Their 19 year old daughter was seated at the back seat excited about going for a short break out of the city in their new car.
“Please look at the road and drive,” his wife admonished him lightly, a tad embarrassed at his show of affection. He looked straight towards the road and smiled knowingly. They were all happy that day.
Out of nowhere a speeding car came from the wrong wide of the road and crashed straight into them. Before he could steer the car away the crash happened, loud and hard, making the car turn turtle. The sounds of screeching breaks and shattering glass all around buried their screams and shrieks.
It was nine hours later that she opened her eyes. She found herself in a hospital with bandages and drips all around her. Her father too was injured but less than her. When she gingerly asked about her mother, all he did was to shake his head, unable to stop his tears from flowing out.
It took father and daughter some time to recover from the physical shock of the accident. About eight months later he finally spoke to her about it.
“I got the number of the other car. I will find out who was driving it. His car didn’t suffer much. Neither did he. He waited for sometime but didn’t budge an inch to help us. I cried out to him to help us out of the car but he didn’t. He looked at me and sat back in his car and drove off. Your mother would have survived had he…” her father’s voice trailed off as his eyes swelled up again.
She held his hands tightly and looked at him. “We will find him papa, we will,” she said as she squeezed his hands tightly.
Flies hovered around his dead body. There were two bullet marks on his forehead. One each fired from the two revolvers. The revolvers were thrown in the lake 23 miles from the region of the storeroom. He lay there stripped of all his identity and belongings.
She made two cups of black coffee and put them on the tray containing the almond cookies. She carried the tray to the balcony where her father was sitting, watching the evening sun set. She sat next to him and rested her head on his shoulders. Neither said a word. But their silence that evening spoke louder than anyone else.
Copyright (c) Pratik Majumdar