Rajat almost shrieked out with excitement. Somehow, restraining himself, he tiptoed to the door and looked through the peephole. They were here. How funny, he thought; politicians hardly ever turn up on time at any other event. He moved back towards the hall and hiding behind a pillar, he said, “The door is open. Come in and sit down on the floor.”
He heard the door open and the two brothers come in. They walked into the living room and sat down on the floor. Sweat was flowing down Rajat’s face. He tightened the grip on the gun.
“Have you brought the money?” he yelled. “Yes, we have,” came the reply, “come out, you bastard and get this over with. But mind you, tell whoever you are working for that we are not going to forget this in a hurry. We will hunt you down, you piece of slime!”
“Shut up!” Rajat yelled, as he charged out from behind the pillar, startling the two. “You think you two can get away with any crime that you commit. Justice may have been late, but you will get justice tonight.”
The sight of the gun seemed to have evaporated the sense of arrogance in their tone. “Li...Li.. Listen.. we don’t know who you are. Just take the money and let us go,” the bearded Bhairon said, as he made a move for his pocket.
“Don’t even think about it,” Rajat whispered in a menacing tone. “Take out your gun, slowly and slide it across towards me. Don’t try and act smart, coz if you do, my hands would be a lot quicker than yours.”
The two brothers took out their guns and now Rajat had three guns to fire with. But he will use only this, he said to himself.
“Who are you?” Beera asked with a clear tone of fear in his voice.
“It doesn’t matter who I am,” Rajat said, “what matters is that Vinay Gupta was my father..”
Four shots whizzed out of the gun, two into each of the bodies and in a couple of seconds, the two lay dead in a pool of blood, their faces still showing the realization of their killer’s identity.
Rajat, however, didn’t wait. He had other things to do. Although this had drained him, the harder part was still to come. He took the syringe in his hand.
It was time to go. It was time for peace. He thought of his family, his wife, his beautiful daughter, his mother. “I love you all,” he said and pushed the syringe in to his vein.
He had just a couple of minutes now before he would black out. Just one more thing, he reminded himself. He went to the wall and banged his head on it a couple of times. Blood started oozing out of his head. But he never got the chance to feel the pain. As the drug kicked in, he fell to the ground and blacked out.
Sunday: 9 AM
“So, what did you see?” the police inspector asked a short plump guy who was shivering. “I live across this hallway,” he stammered, “That flat is normally locked all the time. It belongs to a guy named Satish. He lives in Canada. This morning I was going out for my morning walk when I found the door ajar. When I opened it, I saw blood everywhere. That’s when I called you. One of these guys I recognize, his name is Rajat. He is a friend of Satish’s. He used to lease out the flat on behalf of Satish and when it was empty, he came here once in a while to clean up.”
“SIR!! SIR!!” a voice shrieked inside, “This guy is alive!!! He’s still breathing!! Call an ambulance!!”
Sunday: 11 AM
The phone was ringing. “I’ll get it ma,” Aarti said. “Hello??”
“Am I talking to Mrs. Aarti Gupta??”
“Madam, I am calling from the Metro hospital. You husband, Mr. Rajat Gupta is seriously hurt. Please come immediately.”
Monday: 10 AM
The doorbell rang.
“Babloo!! Go and get the door!!” the ACP yelled as he ate his morning breakfast. He was already dressed up to leave for office.
A few seconds later, Babloo cam running towards the ACP, “Saheb, people have come from your office. They are saying they have come to arrest you.”
“Have you gone mad or something?? I am an Assisstant Com...” the ACP broke off in between, as he saw almost half a dozen uniformed men coming into the dining room.
“Sagar Narayan,” the Senior Inspector spoke, “you are hereby under arrested for the murder of Bhairon Kumar and Beera Kumar, and for the attempted murder of Rajat Gupta.”
“What??” the ACP yelled, “Have you gone insane?? How dare you talk to your boss like that?”
“You are no longer my boss, ‘sir’! You have been suspended from the Police department till the time this investigation is complete” the inspector replied.
“But.. but I didn’t do anything!! And moreover, you have no evidence against me!! So don’t even try and touch with your rotten hands!! And once I get to my office, you are gonna repent what you are doing!!” the ACP barked.
“Ahh..evidence..” the inspector smiled, “the evidence so strong that you can forget about going to your ‘office’ ever again! You murdered the two guys with your service gun! How naive can you be??”
“What?? My gun?? My gun is right here with me, you liar!” the ACP opened his holster and took out his gun and showed it to the inspector.
A wide smile broke out on the inspector’s face. “You think I am a fool, do you? Every service gun has a registration ID carved into it on the base. I don’t see that here. And do you know why?? It’s because this is a fake. You gun was at the scene of the crime. And it has been registered in your name..”
The ACP had gone pale. He had never noticed the number recently. Somebody must have swapped his gun for this fake.
“Just one more thing to do,” the inspector said. “Take off your shoes please”
Still in a state of shock, the ACP hardly resisted as thre men pushed him onto the chair and took off his shoes. The inspector took out a sheet of paper from a file; a picture of the shoeprints from the crime scene, then looked at the ACP’s shoe. He smiled at showed it to the ACP.
“Perfect match,” he said, holding the picture and the shoe side by side for the ACP to see. “So, you are in big trouble, ‘SIR’.”
Babloo could only watch in disbelief as the ACP was handcuffed and shoved into the back of the police van..
Monday: 3.30 PM
Aarti was sitting outside the ICU. Her heart was pounding out of the love towards her husband, while her brain was still trying to gather and assess everything that the doctors and the police had poured out during the short time that she had talked to them. They said something about a double homicide, Satish’s flat, a gun. It was too much to take in all at once.
Even greater than that was the desperation to see her husband healthy again.
“Mrs. Gupta,” a nurse called out her name, bringing her back into the present, “The Doctor will see you now.”
Hoping and praying that she hears good news, Aarti followed the nurse to the Doctor’s room. She sat down and braced herself for the worst.
“Mrs. Gupta, I understand that the last couple of days have been very draining for you,” the doctor said, “but I need to clear a few things out with you regarding your husband.”
“Well, you must understand that your husband was a target for murder. He has suffered a critical head injury and has lost a lot of blood. He bled for almost eight hours before he was brought to the hospital. We have stabilised his pulse at the moment and blood has been given to him. But we will have to put him under observation for 48 hours. We always need to take maximum precautions with head injuries.”
“Ok,” Aarti said. “But he will be fine right?”
“We can only tell after 2 days. But initial signs are all positive. We are quite optimistic about his recovery,” the doctor said with a reassuring smile. “But actually what follows is the more crucial part that I wanted to talk to you about.”
“What is it?” Aarti queried.
“Well, we did a scan of Mr. Gupta’s head. The area around the temporal lobe is badly swollen. What amazes me is that the temporal lobe, which is actually at the back side of the head, is swollen but the injury to him has happened on the forehead. The skull has cracked a little on the forehead but the shock was not so large that it could affect the temporal lobe.
“Anyway, the point that I want to make is that temporal lobe controls memory. We can only tell after he regains consciousness, but Mr. Rajat might have suffered some memory loss”
“What??” Aarti stood up with a start. “This can’t be. How severe? Will he forget all of us? How..”
“Mrs. Gupta, please calm down. We are hoping it’s not that severe but there is no way of finding out...”
Tuesday: 1 PM
The ACP sat in small jail room. For 3 days he had been crying out to the prison guards to let him out because he was innocent but no one listened. Now he had stopped, resigned to his fate. Senior officials had come to see him. He requested them to release him. Some of them agreed to try and bail him out. But even that would take at least a week.
The prison guard opened his door. “You have a visitor,” he said. It was Babloo, his servant.
“Saheb, this came for you today,” he said. It was an envelope. The ACP ripped it open and took out a letter from inside. He started reading..
How does it feel to get a taste of your own medicine?? Is this jail life suiting you, you bastard!! Twenty years ago, you sold yourself to a couple of thugs and helped them kill an honest police officer. His blood is on your hands. And what you are suffering now is repayment for that sin.
I know you have contacts. I know you will soon get yourself out. But every single second that you spend in this cell will remind you of the countless bodies you killed or stepped on to get yourself some money and fame. And this thought will eat you inside. Today I have completed my revenge..
That day the ACP did not speak to anyone. At night the other inmates heard loud cries. In the morning, the ACP was found hanging dead from the ceiling of his cell with his bed sheet.
The next day, Rajat regained consciousness. He woke up with a start as if he had a bad dream. He tried to remember what the dream was. He was standing in the rain with someone. He gave the other guy some money and in return he had got a package. The other guy had asked him to be careful with the package. Half of the bottle would be enough to erase 6 months of memories, he had said. But Rajat was somehow sure that he had used the full bottle....
Rajat stared at the small hospital room. He wondered how he had got here. The doctors had come; the police had come to ask him something; some murders; some guys named Beera and Bhairon, but he had no idea what they were talking about. His head started aching every time he tried to remember anything about which these people were asking questions.
Once his room was empty he opened the newspaper. “ACP accused in double homicide commits suicide”, said the headline. Poor guy, Rajat thought and moved on to the next headline.
As he had wanted, he had ended it for himself too. He was at peace with himself once again...