A Hunch

He was sweating heavily. It was not normal.

He was traveling in a metro after all. The air-conditioning is as better as your car.

But still he was sweating profusely. He took out his handkerchief and swiped away his sweat. Some droplets have founded some space over his spectacles. This was a new pair. He had got it from a brand new Ray Ben’s showroom in Phoenix. He liked flashy things but for a spectacle he settled with a Ray Ben. It suited his purpose and satisfied his basic need plus his desire for affiliation. He looked at his watch. There is still time, he thought.

The metro was unusually crowded at that hour. He always traveled late. This is how he got home. Metro appeared a safe bet given the circumstances and of course the comfort of traveling is there, but the attachment is something more than comfort. He was just used to it. He stole a glance at the people around. There was an old lady, graciously sitting across him, in a white floral dress, with a beaded necklace around her neck. He remember what Joy had told him once about getting graciously old and not being subjected to a life full of diseases and other horrors of old age. He smiled. The guy can get to you even when he isn’t around you. He focused.

He observed a man, looking in his direction. His eyes focused on the young woman sitting next to him. He kept staring at him, indiscriminately. He figured something was wrong about his gaze. His eyes shifted to the woman sitting beside him.

She was young, a late twenties woman, petite but pale and yet she appeared beautiful. It is not very unusual. But there was something more striking and uncommon about her. Her body trembled. There was a young man comforting her. They both were terrified of the man, it seemed. Meanwhile, he figured a commotion had started around the man staring at them. Some ten more people joined him. All wore heavy moustaches and were built like they came out of a gymnasium, that very moment. He had to get down at the next stop. The crowd had already dissolved at the station before, there were very few people left. I had decided to ask them. He looked at the woman, who wore a yellow green t-shirt and a blue jeans. He am not really comfortable with identifying labels and brands. He asked,

“What’s the matter, young lady? Are these guys bothering you?”

She said,

“Please don’t interfere. They will kill you too. They don’t understand peace. They are animals in human skins. Please get out of here. They are going to kill us. Our time is near”

He was taken aback. In the time of need, when people in danger actually look for a dying breathe to hold onto, she and the man with her, had already surrendered to what lay ahead. They had made peace with it. He had decided. He would not let that happen to them. He stared at the man and then he stood up. He picked out his phone and dialed a number he had become tired of calling again and again. He said,

“Send a Gypsy to the Metro Station. I have arrested a missing couple. Check with the control room and ask for back up.”

He hung up. And looked back at the man, who by then have figured out that he was a policeman and decided to drop his pursuits. The commotion eased out soon after. But there was a twenty something youngster still standing close, and was looking at the woman with disgust. As the train reached the station and made an announcement, the lad came out of his place and walked towards her. He still watched. He came closer and grabbed the woman’s head with her hair and that’s when he moved. Effortless and swift. Like only he knew. He was trained to be silent. He now stood right between the woman and the man, hell-bent to harm her. He knew the intentions, he had read them before, many a times. The man let go off of woman’s hairs. He said,

“Stay there! Be wise! Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t make me harm you, boy!”

He clenched his teeth in disgust, arms tightened to reveal his chiseled body and then, he snapped. His mouth opened to some expletives, that I couldn’t hear and then his strong right leg moved from stagnation and next I saw was the man hitting the windows of the metro train and the next sound was the shattering of the windowpane. The strength of the hit was such that the noise produced dampened the man’s shrieks of pain. He did not move again and was rendered unconscious.

The train stopped at the station. The commuters were horrified. But nobody came forward to either help them or the man. They picked up pace as he took them out of the train towards the lift to exit. He saw a couple of guards coming towards the train. The train was under CCTV surveillance. He should have known. But he couldn’t have let that happen. The girl was still terrified, of him now, as her entered the gypsy sent for them and took the driving position. He left the driver behind to follow him. She asked,

“Who are you? Who sent you?”

He said,

“Nobody. And consider me a friend. You have no other option. Tell me why they are after you two”

And what he heard, shocked him. He looked at the woman in disgust, the next he saw that the man in the rear seat had a rope and he hurled it and locked it in his neck. The woman was no more terrified, as she looked at him, her prey. She took up a 3 inch long Kabar knife and jammed it right in this left thigh, rendering him immovable.  He pushed the accelerator and the steering wobbled. He saw a big tree on the wrong side of the road. He decided and went for it. In a flash of a second, the gypsy had rammed into the tree. There was one dead, one fatally injured. And only one alive. He moved out of his seat, checked the damage to his head. The airbag has opened. Funny thing about technology is that you can customize it. The only airbag in his car was at the driving wheel. It saved him. He kicked the door open and it fell after four kicks. The damage was complete. He fell to the floor. He had a concussion. Darkness was somewhere down the corridor, where his conscious stood. He saw a black figure approaching. He mumbled. Some undecipherable words. He crawled for two feet and then he found a pit and couldn’t help but fall into it. He felt somebody lift him up and put him up on a stretcher. His brain still worked. He could feel it. The stretcher was unusually comfy. Something that he had never experienced before. And his body was aching now. The right elbow specifically. But it should have been left that could be hurt and he couldn’t feel the face, as if there was no injury. And then it came to him. He opened his eyes a little, and saw his mother, standing close by, with anger, eyes and nose flared with it and when he rose from the bed, she snapped. And jammed a tight slap right in the middle of his right cheek.

She said,

You have fed yourself too many thrillers. It is time, I bring you back to life.”

And then she smiled and slapped again. This time playfully.

But instead of stopping me, she said,

“If you are dreaming, dream right. Dreams are what you want them to be. So be what you want to be. And yes, Dream big, dream right. And don’t fall off the bed, while dreaming, at least. I can’t pick you up like I used to.”

That’s when he found out what had transpired. He was on the floor, his bed-sheet and cover half covered his semi-naked body. He laughed. He had almost become a spy. And then the veil was lifted. Bubbles can do that to you. Build a cocoon rather. They last longer

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