The roll of thunder was deafening! The skies lit up with the lightning as it struck huge streaks of flashes across the sky. The noise of the bullet fired was drowned in the fury of nature. Neha looked at the body in the silhouette as it slumped, by the letter box where the light was very dim. The drizzle had increased in the intensity. Neha turned on the ignition of her car and started the wiper, as the car slowly slid forward before vanishing in the darkness.A year ago, it was a hot summer evening when she had gone to meet Chander in the Hotel Lido. Chander had asked for an appointment at 7 PM to discuss a business proposition. Neha wore a cream color saree , a golden blouse with a white pearl necklace. She had applied mascara on her eyes and wore a Christian Dior perfume. The matching pearl earrings sparkled under the chandelier light as Neha settled down in the chair opposite. Chander was immediately struck with her persona and after a brief introduction of him outlined the business proposition. Neha, looked at Chander and could feel the discomfort of his eyes, that wandered while talking to her. She was intelligent and could read his thoughts. She asked a few questions and the meeting was concluded. They shook hands and left.
Chander was a typical loud mouth businessman who had several interests. He was into the real estate business. He had also opened a showroom dealing in readymade garments to offer legitimacy to his earnings even though footfalls were not enough to turn the business around. In the days that followed Neha became a business associate for Chander’s garment business.
One evening about a week before, when Neha was just getting ready to leave the office she heard a heated argument in the adjoining room. She peered through the crack in the glass partition of the window and saw two men arguing over some transaction and a stack of currency notes lying on the table. Chander had covered his mouth with a handkerchief and was telling someone to pay up the amount or else he would not see his brother alive. She stiffened and almost froze. It was call for ransom but she could not make out to whom he was talking. She quietly closed the door and slipped out of the office and waited outside. Her heart was still pounding as she tried to regain her composure. She hailed a taxi and left for her home. She turned around but could not see anyone coming out or going in the office. In a few minutes she was home. She prepared a cup of tea and closed her eyes and sipped the hot tea. Slowly the jigsaw puzzle appeared to be falling in place. She had heard the name Amit while Chander was speaking on the phone. Yes, Amit Mittal it must be with whom Chander had struck a property deal which had gone sour! But why should Chander threaten Amit? After some more brooding it struck Neha that Chander had got Amit’s brother kidnapped through the hired goons and was negotiating the ransom when she had overheard the conversation. Neha realized that if Chander learnt that she knew of his nefarious designs, it would spell more trouble for her.Amit opened the door to find a courier who had been ringing the bell. He collected the packet which had an address of Mumbai. He tore open the packet and was shocked to see a ring belonging to his brother Aman, tumble out from the packet on which there was a small note.
‘Your brother is with us. The proof (his ring) is sent to you. Leave the money at the letter box painted in Green at Gol Post Office . Wait till you see your brother coming towards you and leave the place. Do not inform the police or act smart’Amit was rattled and slumped on the sofa. His mind was racing. He was sure that it was doing of Chander with whom the deal of property had fallen.He had informed the police of the telephone call from an unknown number. A plain clothes policeman rang the bell after sometime and collected the packet and told him to wait for further instructions.
Next evening, Chander asked Neha to accompany her for a meeting in the evening. He asked her to get her car as he had to go for dinner after the meeting. Neha agreed but was still disturbed after the previous day’s episode and wanted to stop working with him. Halfhearted, she agreed as she did not want him to get suspicious!Aman was feeling suffocated with a cloth stuffed in his mouth and his wrists ached as they were tied with the nylon rope. He could barely stretch his legs on the back seat of the car where he was held captive. He heard the voice of two men on the front seat and they were planning to dump him. The effect of the drug was wearing off. Slowly, Aman managed to free his wrists from the bond. The car came to a sudden halt and the duo opened the window and locked the car and slipped in the dark. The leaden sky with lightning and thunder would serve a perfect escape, Aman thought. He reached his hand towards the front seat and was delighted to find a pistol which had been left behind by the occupant!
Neha drove through the rain till she came close to the Gol Post Office. Chander signaled her to stop and asked her to wait till he returned. She heaved a sigh of relief and saw him walk towards the letter box painted in green color, about a hundred yards away!Aman saw the two occupants of the car strolling nearby and also saw Chander standing on the edge of the letter box and recognized him instantly. He picked up the pistol and aimed at Chander who was picking up a briefcase! The sound of the shot was muffled in the nature’s thunder and lightning as the body slumped.
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