First and Second chapters of my novel. Kindly read them and give your valuable feedback.
Ahmednagar was a beautiful city. Apart from being modern, the natural spots surrounding it had added substantially to its beauty. It was the capital of the state; bureaucrats of the state lived there free from worries - worries in which an average guy remains stuck for all his life. But somebody has said very rightly - misfortune can happen anywhere, anytime.
It was 1 a.m. Residents of Ahmednagar would go to their beds by 10 p.m., and an hour later, owls would be hooting in the city. Such was the stillness about that place.
To connect the city with the highway, there was a road through the jungle that surrounded the city. Sifted moonlight through the trees was falling on the road, making the mysterious environment hypnotizing. Approximately a mile away from the road, deep in the woods, there was a small cottage built inside a clump of trees. It was hard for anyone moving through the jungle to spot it.
He seemed to be in great hurry. It seemed as if death was just inches away from him. Even though the night was cold, drops of sweat on his forehead were reflecting light from a table lamp, the only light source present. Sitting in the cottage, he was busy typing something fast on his laptop. From time to time he would glance at the main door of the cottage, as if he was expecting someone.
He had just hit the "send" button when there was a knock on the door. He stared at the door with a dreaded expression on his face, as if it was death knocking, and quickly looked back at the laptop's screen. The file was still being sent. His grip on the pistol tightened. Somebody knocked again. His anticipation and desperation had reached their limits. Less than a minute was remaining for the file to be completely sent. It seemed as if the life of that man was dependent on the transfer of that file. If anything happens before the transfer is complete, he could not think of anything further as his mind would start to go numb.
The door wasn’t knocked this time. Instead, it was hit with such force that it went free and came down on the floor with a loud thud. Apparently stunned, he stared at the figure standing in the doorway.
The stranger was a tall and well-built man. He wore a black overcoat, hat covering his head, and his face hidden behind a mask. He stepped in gracefully and stood on the lying door. In his right hand he held a 9 mm pistol. He calmly looked in the room with analyzing eyes that got fixed on the man sitting in front of the laptop.
"Hello Col. Ghauri" the stranger addressed the man sitting in the room, "It seems that you have been very busy lately. Although I admit that it’s a nice place you chose to hide but… ", the stranger smiled tauntingly as if making Ghauri realize that he now had nowhere to run.
Ghauri didn't reply. Instead, he glanced at the laptop’s screen with hope. The screen read:
He felt a wave of relief inside himself.
Ghauri looked straight into the eyes of the stranger while trying to smile. He finally spoke, "Whoever you are, you are very late and you will have to leave unsuccessful"
"Unsuccessful?", the stranger laughed out loud. “You people do your monkey business and think that you can defeat us - but all in vain. It's a shame how big a fool you have made out of yourself.”
After a brief pause he spoke again, “Anyhow, we will achieve what we want, as we always have. And you on the other hand haven't done yourself any good. But I believe I owe you one last chance at least. You have helped me a lot. So I ask you for the last time, where is that file and who have you shared the informa...”
The stranger had not yet completed his sentence when, suddenly, Ghauri's hand moved and he fired 2 shots quickly. Stranger's agility was amazing. Ghauri's and his pistol had fired at the same time. Stranger's bullet had hit Ghauri in the chest and with a groan, Colonel Ghauri fell onto the floor.
But it was at this moment that the stranger realized that Ghauri had done what he had wanted to. Ghauri’s shots were not aimed at him, instead he had fired at the laptop. The stranger lept towards the laptop which had been transformed into a piece of junk.
His face tightened as anger surged. But the very next moment he turned towards Ghauri in his calm and casual way and said, "Colonel Ghauri, you have wasted your last chance. Now you will die a miserable death. I will get what I want anyhow, even if I have to kill many Colonels like you. It's a pity that the story of your life ends this way. Suffer one more shock while you die", saying this, the stranger took off his mask.
Colonel Ghauri was lying on the floor in the pool of his own blood; his eyes were filled with pain, too tired to focus. Summoning all of his strength, he looked at the stranger. His eyes, that looked too tired to keep focus, widened with the sudden shock they had received. Then, an unforgiving hatred filled them.
He coughed up blood and said, "Whatever you do, you cannot stop the information from getting disclosed. You are finished. Filthy traitors like you..."
Colonel Ghauri’s last sentence was interrupted by two loud shots, aimed at his face by the stranger.
The stranger glanced at the Colonel's dead body with hatred. He put his mask back on, and dialed a number from his cell phone. When the call got connected, he spoke, "Come inside. only you." In just a few seconds, a man with a machine gun in his hands was standing dutifully beside the stranger, waiting for his commander’s next orders.
"I m leaving. Burn the body first. Throw the ashes into the river and burn the house. Nothing must be left. Return to base after finishing this up. There must not be any mistake, otherwise…”, ordered the Commander.
The masked stranger was now driving his black Mercedes S500, which was earlier hidden in the woods, not too far away from the cottage. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed a different number. “Yes Sir”, a thick voice answered.
"He is dead. I am hoping you are keeping a close watch on the second target. He's the only one now who can give us some concrete information. He must not die. If he dies, all of you will die", Commander's tone was very cold and strict. "Ok Sir", the person replied and then the call was disconnected.
The Commander glanced at his Mercedes SatNav system, it read:
Ahmednagar, 12 Miles North-east.
Farooq was arguing with the salesman at the counter.
"Enough is enough Mister. You have already cheated a lot. The egg I bought from your store was useless and fruitless. No chicken came out of that egg."
"Hey bro please…it's not the time to talk bullshit. Who told you these eggs would yield chickens?" Salesman asked in a heated tone.
"Do you think that I, Farooq Ahmed, PhD from USA, will ask others whether chicken will come out of egg or egg will come out of chicken? Listen Mister, don't argue with me. Just quit adulterating your eggs" Farooq advised him like an old man.
"Okay. Here's your money for that bloody egg. Grab it and be gone" salesman extended his hand to Farooq to pass him a 5 Rupee note.
"I don't want money. I want a fresh and pure egg. And I want it NOW! " Farooq was loud and stubborn as a willful kid
People had now gathered at the counter. Some of them were looking bewildered by the bold display of utter stupidity in public by Farooq, while others were trying in vain to control their laughter
Salesman was defenseless. He had no idea how to get out of the idiotic situation he was in. His eyes were moving from Farooq to the crowd of people, hoping that the man would somehow stop his tantrum and leave. Or that somebody from the crowd would help him.
"Hey, buddy. What's the matter? What are you fussing about? A man came forward from the crowd and asked Farooq politely
"Who are you now? Oh yes, I know. You are an ally of the cheat for sure. But I really don't give a damn. Even if all of your cheat gang comes up, you won't be able to scare me away" Farooq's line of fire sharply changed from the salesman to the polite man
“No No Mr. Farooq. What has happened to you? It's me, Jamal. We live on the same street…remember?” the man was still polite
"What? You live on my street? Your face doesn't seem familiar" Farooq said, staring at the man's face
"We cross and greet each other almost daily. Stop kidding, please" the man was becoming mortified
"Ok Ok…may be. But meeting daily doesn't mean that I should remember you"
Leaving the man in shock, Farooq left the superstore furiously.
With shopping bags in both the hands, he strode to the parking lot and looked. His bubblegum green Volkswagen Beetle appeared unique among all the other parked cars. His chest swelled with pride. He slowly walked to the car and placed the shoppers beside the car on the floor of the parking lot. After taking the key out of his pocket, he opened the door, sat on the driving seat, started the car and drove away. The shopping bags were still lying on the floor
It was his favorite hobby to look here and there while driving. Even then he was looking around and smiling happily like a kid who had just seen a shop full of toys. But if he saw any boy and girl talking to eachother, he would look at the boy with such a sad expression on his face as if the boy were just going to be sacrificed
He had reached home in 5 minutes. He hit the door bell button. The door opened, and he was welcomed by the swearing of his mom, Ammabi.
"I have been waiting for you for the last one and a half hour. Ten minutes work took so long ? Boy, I am asking. Where did you go trotting to?"
"No mom actually I went to the superstore. The salesman didn't give proper chicken. I mean he didn't give proper egg." Farooq was taken aback by this sudden attack.
"Proper chicken? Proper egg? What the hell are you talking about? And where is the stuff?" Ammabi yelled
Now Farooq's jaw dropped, and he looked at both of his hands one by one. Then it appeared as if his gentle mind had recalled that he had left the shopping bags in the parking lot.
It was with this thought that first, his facial expressions got deranged, and then tears started flowing out of his eyes.
Ammabi, by this time, had understood that once again, her son had done something marvelous. Grabbing her head with hands, she turned around, walked back, and fell on the sofa.
"This boy can do anything. ANYTHING. Oh, I say, PhD has made him a complete idiot. Everyday he creates some scene. Everyday he causes trouble--" Ammabi was continuously shouting.
Farooq's dad, Mr. Khalil, came out of his room when he heard the racket."Hey, what happened now, why are you shouting?"
"Ask your son. I had sent him to get some stuff from the store. He came back after one and a half hour, and forgot the things too. Oh I am so worried. Is he taking some kind of drugs or what? Ammabi's anger had now transformed into concern.
"Ok. Stop it now please. Son, you go to your room. I will get the things from the store" Mr. Khalil told Farooq with a slight tap on his back, and Farooq's tears stopped as automatically as they had started to flow. Like a very obedient kid, he walked towards his room with his head bent down.
"Wow. Great. But remember that you are spoiling your own son. If all this keeps up, I am pretty sure Farooq will be creating problems for himself at every step. I don't know when he will start behaving like a normal human being." Ammabi snapped at Mr. Khalil
" You don't need to worry that much my dear. If he had been that dumb, he wouldn't have been able to do PhD from Harvard. His laboratory job is also going fine. Petty things happen. You shouldn't worry about them" Mr. Khalil tried to calm her down.
Farooq came to his room quietly. After locking the door, he sat on the bed and started gazing in the air. The expressions on his face indicated that he was somewhere deep in his thoughts. After a short while, he took his cell phone and started dialing. Even after trying several times, he got no response from the other end. His lips contracted in whistling style, and he nodded thoughtfully.
Moments later, he was driving his beetle, looking here and there, displaying his perfect teeth. Soon, he was standing in front of a bungalow in a posh area. This area had been reserved for the residences of military personnel. He pressed the door bell button. In a few seconds, the voice of the security guard came from intercom speaker on the side of the gate "Who's there?"
"I am here" Farooq instantly replied.
“I who? Your name please--“Irritation in the voice was clear
"Farooq Ahmed. PhD from Harvard. Asad and I have shared underwear. That means I am his best friend" Farooq told him with a lot of pride
The gate opened and the guard came out. He appeared to be sick, sick of something.
"Hi Sher Khan. How are you ? how are your kids?" Farooq started without giving him any time.
"Sir, how many times do I have to tell you that I am not married and I don't have kids? Mr. Asad is not at home" Sher Khan replied.
"Oh… But today is Saturday. Asad doesn't go anywhere at this time" Farooq stared at Sher khan.
"Actually Sir Asad has gone out of country 3 days back because of some important work. Which country he has gone to and when will he return, he didn't tell us" Sher khan explained to him.
"Hmm. That means it's party time for you guys. Usually you guys don't do any work. And nowadays, your apathy and laziness must be at peak" Farooq snapped
"Sir please… What have we done to you? Why are you always ready to bite us? Sir Asad never complains about anything. It's just you who thinks that we are incapable and inefficient" Sher khan said unpleasantly.
"Just leave it. You people can fool a nice and simple man like Asad, but not me. If Asad comes, tell him that I visited" After saying this, Farooq gave a surveying look to the bungalow and walked back to his car.
Sher Khan took a big breath of relief as he saw Farooq leaving. Unexpectedly, he was let off in a shorter period of time.
His beetle was running towards hotel Paris Evening. Paris Evening was one of the most expensive hotels in Ahmednagar. Farooq and Asad would often come here. Farooq's financial condition wouldn't have allowed him to do so, but for Asad, no hotel in the world was expensive. He had inherited so much wealth from his father that he could have lived nine lives spending money generously. Farooq and Asad had been friends since childhood when Mr. Khalil and Mr. Zafar, Asad's dad, used to be in State Intelligence. Mr. Zafar had been very rich like his ancestors. But because of his adventurous and patriotic nature, he had served the country as a major in State Intelligence. After the sudden death of Mr. and Mrs. Zafar, Asad had been left alone in the world.
Mr. Khalil had not been as rich as Mr. Zafar, but his love for the country was not less than Mr. Zafar's by any means. His bravery and intelligence had been unparalleled in State Intelligence. He had solved many cases during his career, some of which had been very important and critical for the state. That's why he had got nationwide fame. But as he had flawless character, he had only been able to make a small house of 120 square yards.
Farooq had been extraordinarily sharp in studies and other activities since childhood. But when he had finished his college and expressed his intentions of joining the state intelligence like his father, his mother had got out of control.
"If you join intelligence services, I will make myself clear that my son is dead. I kept worrying about your father for my whole life. Now I will not let you put your life at risk !"
Mr. Khalil had tried a lot to convince Ammabi. But eventually he had to give up against her stubbornness. And Farooq had got so depressed, that he had quit all his talking and wit.
Asad had faced no difficulty in walking on the footprints of his father. After graduating from college, he had applied for the military and got selected.
And then Farooq had went to USA for studies. Ammabi had been satisfied thinking that he would have a bright future. But when he had come back after 8 years with his PhD degree, he had transformed into something amazing. It had appeared as if he had left all of his intelligence back in USA. He had become as stupid and absentminded as one could have been. He would keep arguing on petty and insignificant things and would cause even the politest of the people to get irritated and shout. Mr. Khalil had been confused. And Ammabi had been sure that somebody had cast black magic on her son. However, Asad had not been worried at the mental condition of Farooq. He had known that Farooq had been as bright and brilliant as ever. He had believed that breaking of Farooq's dream of serving the state intelligence and then his going for PhD in physics had created a weird imbalance in his personality.
These days, Farooq was working as assistant to his maternal uncle, Professor Shakeel, who was a renowned scientist of the country. He would spend his spare time with Asad. For the last few days, Asad neither gave response on phone nor did he come to Farooq's home. That was the reason Farooq went to his home to check. But what Sher khan told him was enough to trigger an alarm in his mind. Asad would never even go out of city without informing him. So now, he was on his way to hotel Paris Evening, which was their usual place for spending time.