Anshuman was hysterical asd he ran from stall to stall looking for Manpreet as if the boy would muraculosly emerge. He drew a blank and his astute business sense was down to nil… his brain was fudge and he was clueless as to where to begin. Kaders and Simrat’s phones were switched off. The crowd increasing with graded intensity only added to his woes. He went to Passion but no one there had a clue about their boss. As he exited passion a blast of air hit his face and in the chill he realized he was crying. He wiped his cheeks agitatingly and looked around to see if he could find Simrat. He knew something was amiss… she wouldn’t stay away for so long withgout informing. Since Manpreet was supposed to be with him. Oh God… the boy had slipped away like grains of sand in his fist… He had promised to protect the boy and he had failed.
He should have seen the redflags… Kader’s tattoo and him addressing Manpreet by his name even though Anshuman had never revealed the boy’s anme to him… Why didn’t he have the sense to act fast…? As he turned around he saw a harried looking Inspector D’Lama rush towards the beach. He intercepted him. “…Inspector… sir… Manpreet is missing…”
He almost expected to be struck or yelled at but the inspector siged rubbing his face. “….Jesus…what on Earth just happened… Simrat is dragged away in braod daylight and you say… Manpreet too is gone…? Oh God no… No… this cant be happening…”
“…Wait…” Anshuman’s heart stopped. Clenching his chest he barely managed to speak. “…Simrat… is taken…? Oh no… Why… why is all this happening…I will never forgive myself… Wait… lets hunt for them… can police help…?” he looked expectantly at the veteran Inspector.
“…Its…its of no use son… I am ex Army and was a trainer with SOP… I am sure you know who they are… I know these guys wont be waiting around anywhere close where we can find them…”
“…so what… what can we do…?” Anshuman wailed.
“…I will… contact the SOP… Simrat is one of theirs… the police here will try but I know its not our cup of tea…” The man rubed his face again and suddenly Anshuman felt the guy had aged several years.
Later that evening Anshuman sat across the Inspector in the lattre’s cabin after pacing for almost hours. The police had launched a manhunt for Kader, simrat and Manpreet but as expected there was no lead and as the hours passed Anshuman’s anxiety and fear soared. Would Kader harm them…? No he hoped not…. The man didn’t need money that was for sure. Then what was it…? His head was splitting. Inspector D’lama placed a cup of tea before him.
“…look Anshuman… we have no option but to wait… Somethimng tells me that Kader will call us…”
Right then Anshuman’s phone rang. It was Amandeep. Suddenly he felt confident and answered it.
“…Hey Anshuman… I am on my way along with Rewa… we are at the charted airplane terminal… should takje us another hour to reach where you are… hang in there buddy… we will get them… that’s a promise…”
Anshuman was choked with grief and could only nod before he disconnected. But he felt better than the last six hours after Simrat’s and Manpreet’s disappearance.
Soon they were joined by Rewa and Amandeep. Rewa immediately too control and Inspector D’Lama gave her an independent room to set up her systems. The group of SOP guys rushed in and out setting up their equipment. The computer panel was set they were joined by the burly receptioninst from that dilapidate hotel Manpreet had taken him few days ago to meet Simrat. It seemed like a lifetime ago to Anshuman. The Stern looking receptionist was their Tech lady and she immediately got hitting the keys. Among the other men he recognized the man who had questioned him on the beach that day after his randezvous with a gun trotting Simrat.
Rewa walked into the cabin where Aman now sat with Anshuman and took a seat in the additional chair. She thought for a while and spoke. “…Don’t worry…we will soon get the location… just so you know… all our operatives have a tracker installed subcutaneously which is slow but still something. She is currently at a place with electronic jammers so its tough but not impossible…”
“…but Rewa…why… why did they pick them…? What did little Manpreet ever do…?” Anshuman spoke his voice chocking at the thought of the boy being harmed.
“…Don’t worry Anshuman… that man wont harm either of them…” Rewa declared.
Anshuman must have looked confused. Amandeep patted his back and said. “…Anshuman, it’s because Manpreet is Kader’s… son… biological son… he probably wanted to claim rights over him…Simrat was taken as a caretaker because otherwise Manpreet would be scared…”
Anshuman sat upright in his chair. “…Oh goodness… that means … that attack in the mall… were they Kader’s men…? Oh God I actually walked into the Lion’s den… Wait… his son…? Goddamn son…? Why didn’t Simrat ever tell….”
“…Don’t jump the gun Anshuman…” Amandeep spoke. “…After you left Mumbai we had been frantically digging information… Mainly about Kader because eof the kind of people he had been meeting off late… he met a couple of guys who arranged easy transmission to other countries via cargo ships for a big fat fee… that got us alert… and we probed him… it turns out… Kader is no one else but… Wajid-Ul-Rehman’s older elusive son… Kasim…”
Anshuman would have fallen off if not for the chaior where he was glued to. The information overload was too much to bear. “…. So that terrorist… will he take Manpreet away…?”
Aman stood up and paced with an agility, no one would ever doubt he was normal and not an amputee. He turned back to Anshuman and with determined look in his eyes, he spoke. “…Not on my watch… the army is alerted a swe talk and they have offered complete support… the Navy is also on standby so escape from sea is next to impossible…”
Just then an orderly walked in and spoke something into the Inspectors ears who looked as of he had seen a ghost. He rubbed his face , this time way too slowly…
Aman looked back at Anshuman. “…Our priority is to bring back both of them safely…”
Anshuman nodded but Inspector D’Lama spoke. “…Not both… bring back all three of them…”
All pairs of eyes turned to D’Lama.
“…Excuse me… three…?” Anshuman asked puzzled.
D’Lama nodded and looking into Anshuman’s eyes he spoke “…yes… Simrat, Manpreet and … Meera…”
©priyagole. No part of the story can be copied or shared anywhere without the consent of the writer.