Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by Tamrakshar, Jan 25, 2020.
Thanks Mistt for your feedback. Episode number 21 is coming tonight.
In the 2 minutes Archana got, she prayed to the God for saving her. Since the Joker hadn't talked about taking her life, Archana was slightly relaxed. The Joker had told that if she failed, she would be beaten by a whip. Archana didn't want that either.
"I have to pass this test. I have to beat the pain." Archana uttered these sentences 20 times silently. Her jaw stiffened in determination. She knew she had to remain fit in order to escape from this place and save her husband from the clutches of these monsters.
For the last time she folded both her hands in the mould of "namaskaram", and she placed her left foot on the singeing coal. Immediately, she wanted to withdraw her left leg and pull back, as she felt extremely hot under her foot. But, she knew about the consequences, and she moved forward ignoring the pain as fast as possible.
"I can do it. I can do it. Jai Shiva, Jai Shiva! Please give me enough power to withstand the pain." She was uttering these words, this time in a soft voice. As soon as she crossed 7 feet, almost half the distance she was assigned to cross, the sensation of burning started to increase exponentially.
She could clearly understand that her skin under her both feet had started to singe. The pain became unbearable. Her bravado vanished very quickly in thin air, and she started to scream at full throttle. But, she didn't stop, and moved forward as fast as she could. The Joker had told her not to run, lest she should have to appear at the test afresh.
When she reached around 10 feet, the skin under her feet started to burn. She could smell the burning of flesh. The pain had crossed the threshold of her limit. She remembered the consequences. But, she could not take the pain any more. So, she spot jumped the remaining distance with her full might.
Archana had never practiced long jump in her entire life. But, she herself was astonished to note that she could jump out of the platform at a single go. Her screams might not have stopped, the tears form her eyes might not have stopped running down her cheeks like a stream, but at last, she felt something good. The frigging burning sensation had lessened.
The rude sound of boos quickly drained away her momentary sense of relief. She craned her neck to see who were laughing and making catcalls. Her jaw dropped to see everyone was laughing but the lady, who was around 5' 6" tall, having a taut body, was jumping up and down like a naughty imp.
"She failed! She failed!" She screamed in shrill voice.
Like a prowling tiger, she jumped from her position to come in front of Archana. Archana's jaw dropped one more time to note that the lady had jumped almost 12 feet at a go. The 8 Ft black leather bull whip in her hand sent shivers down her spine.
"You know what? This is Joker's house. He is a man of words. You should have taken his words seriously. This was not at all a difficult task. You should have done it easily. Anyway, I am very happy, as I will have the pleasure of beating you, and most importantly you will have to do it again with your burnt feet." She chortled.
This lady was also masked. She was wearing the mask of Ursula. But, for a change, Archana was herself surprised to note that her trepidation had vanished. She looked straight into the eyes of the lady in black.
"Tell me how I failed?" Archana shot back with such a voice that clearly showed that she was not lacking in confidence.
"You silly girl! You jumped. You had to cross the distance only by walking." The lady in black shouted.
"No! I was not allowed to run, and I didn't run. The Joker never told me that I could not jump."
The pindrop silence gave Archana enough encouragement to drive home her point further. She looked at the Joker, and said,
"Sir, you are a man of words, as you claimed several times earlier. I also know that you record every thing. Please show me the recordings of the conditions that you uttered a few minutes ago."
There was clearly an environment of disbelief and discontent among the 5 other people. They began to chatter, which the Joker tolerated for 90 seconds, and he imposed his authority by raising his right hand. That move silenced everyone, and everyone turned their attention on him. It appeared to Archana that she was in a court and the Joker was the judge. Archana knew that she had made a solid case. But, this being an unholy place, Archana could not have been sure of the outcome. There was every possibility that the Joker could be biased. Archana's feet were burnt, the pain was unbearable. She did not cry loudly, but there was continuous flow of tears running down her cheeks. If she had to do it again, Archana was not sure, whether she would make it or not.
"My bad! Sorry folks! Archana is right! Indeed, there is no restriction in jumping in the condition. I will incorporate this henceforth. But, well, congratulations Archana! You have passesd the third test, the last one of the easy tests. You can enjoy the rest of the night at your room. But, you will have to appear at two more tests to get freedom from here in the next few days, and those two will be not like these 3. Now, you will be taken to our medical centre. Don't worry about your wounds. We have got the world's bestest medical care unit with the bestest doctors in the universe. I promise you your feet will be healed very quickly.
The time of 30 second seemed too little to Rajan, but he composed himself and restarted his job despite tremendous pain in his legs and groin. He again prayed to the God for saving him, as he knew his sore body could not take any more kicks. Fortunately for Rajan, this time there was no more hiccups, and he finished the remaining job.
The success made Rajan extremely happy. He would have liked to punch the air in joy, but the presence of the nefarious guy prevented him from doing so. But still, there was a hint of satisfaction in his voice when he said,
"So at last, I passed the test Sir!" There was clearly a tone of confidence in his voice, and it appeared that Rajan wanted to hear some kind of congratulatory messages from the evil Bengali.
"You think so? Really? I am sorry, the condition was that you have to run without stopping. But, you failed miserably man. You are very fortunate that the first 3 tests are very easy, and this second test is the easiest. You will get 2 more chances to pass this test in the next two days."
"What? Oh no! You can't do this injustice to me Sir."
To be continued
Going good @Tamrakshar. Archana's episode reminded one of my childhood incidents which held in my Grandma's village. I watched Devotees(regardless religion) walk on burning coals without feeling any pain on last day of Muharram month.
Archana succeeded her third test with the determination of getting freedom from that hell and her logic helped too. Another 2 more tests in front of her and she will pass those 2 tests with same will power.
Looking forward to read what is going to happen to Rajan.
Very good observations Mistt! Yes, the Shiaites do perform this kind of acts during Ashura. In village areas some religious Babas can also do this, but they always employ tricks. Anyway, episode number 22 will be published tonight.
"Injustice? Really? This is the Joker's house: the most powerful man in the universe. He is more powerful than your prime minister, or even the President of the US. The concept of justice and injustice as per your belief system may not be in congruence with his system. What injustice you are whining about? You should be lucky that you are still surviving. Anyway, don't argue with me. Let's go back. See you tomorrow same place same time, and don't fail that time."
"What is my fault? Why has the Joker captivated me?" Rajan was desperate this time.
"Oh, you have many questions for the Joker? I know the answers, but I don't have the authority to answer them. I will inform him about your queries. I am sure the next time you see him, you will clear all the doubts.
"I have already paid you 20000 dollars, and I will pay whatever it takes to find my buddy. But, please tell me the updates about your investigation."
Suresh Rao had to try extremely hard to suppress the unrest of his mind. Rajan was his best friend in the college days, and without Rajan he would have never made such big leap in his life.
"Sir, we have covered all the known crime syndicates across the world. But, he has been nowhere to be found. The last time I rang you, we had a clue that a middle-aged Indian having similar features of Rajan was taken hostage in Syria by terrorists. We thought that it could be him. But, yesterday the family of Mr Sundaran, an engineer working in the gulf, got a phone call for ransom. They paid the hefty sum, and the terrorists returned him unscathed."
"Why are you telling me this. I want to know about my friend."
Mr Rao heaved a long sigh of frustration. He had heard a lot about the efficiency of this detective organisation "Ravenous Eagles" from his business friends across the world. An ex-CIA top brass, Mr Saunders, had found this organisation, and it had presence in all the nations in the world. As it employed many ex-cops across the world, it could get all the helps from the police and military fraternity.
Bikash Datta, a reired brigadier in the Indian army, had been recruited as the head of the Indian wing of the "Ravenous Eagles". Somnath, who himself was a top cop in West Bengal police, and retired early to join this organisation, was the head of southern zone of this organisation in India.
"Patience, Sir, patience. I am not done yet."
"Okay, I am sorry! Please carry on." Suresh got a faint sense of hope.
"Sir, we have come the conclusion that this must be a new gang, and getting ransom is not the motive behind their kidnapping. Now, the big question is what is their motive? Is this an organ racket, who sells the organs of their victims for a huge profit? The answer is a big no. We have checked almost all such organisations. Is it a human trafficking organisation, who sells innocent victims for slave trade or prostitution? We have checked all of them Sir. No, Rajan or Archana, his wife, who has also been abducted, could not be found."
"What, his wife also has been abducted? What are you saying man! Rajan had told me that he had no relationship with his wife any more, and he was preparing to divorce her." Suresh Rao had enough of patience, and he had to interject at this point.
"That's true Sir! Rajan would have signed the mutual divorce petition within few days. He was happy to do that. But, strangely, his wife, too, was abducted on the same day from Tirupathi. Since she is related to him, we have to search for her too. That's the professionalism of our agency."
"That's great! But could you make any breakthrough?"
"Not yet Sir! Now, we have zeroed to the ameture crime agencies operating across the world. You must have heard about dark net! These agencies invariably make their presence there. But, as you should know, breaking into the dark net is not a child's job. It takes a lot of time. We are doing out best, but I have a suggestion for you to open an alternate way and expedite things."
"Pray tell me. I am willing to do whatever it takes to find my best friend, without whose help I would have been no where."
"Sir, I think you should give advertisements decalring rewards of 50 million dollar to anybody who gives the whereabouts of Rajan in the leading 20 newspapers across the world, whose list I will give you in case you agree."
"50 million dollars!?" Suresh Rao's jaw dropped, as the amount sounded way beyond his imagination.
"Don't worry Sir! You don't have to shell out even a single dollar as reward. This is a ploy to nab the culprits. The astronomical sum can lure some them to come up with valuable information. We shall take care of everything. All you have to do is to pay the advertising price."
"Oh sure! Tell me the amount, I will transfer the amount into your account." At last, Suresh smiled.
To be continued
Not for ransom / human trafficking then it is hard to think why they had abducted.
SP Srinivas and Ravenous Eagles are in the queue and let's see who will crack this mystery.
Thanks Mistt for your nice comment. Episode 23 is coming tonight.
"Leave me, otherwise I will report to the Dean." Rajan screamed as he was forcibly held from behind by Ranjan, while Ranjan's crotch firmly pressed against Rajan's buttocks. Rajan tried his best to wiggle out of the grip, but his short physique was not strong enough to overpower a taller and muscular guy like Ranjan. Ranjan, hailing from West Bengal, was his batch mate, sharing the same room with Rajan. Ranjan was notorious in the campus for having homosexual tendencies, and even at that time when it was considered as crime, he was proud to boast about his sexuality openly.
Rajan was completely opposite: he considered homosexuals as queer animals who needed to be culled to save the world. However, unlike Ranjan, he never expressed his opinion in public, as he was fearful. Rajan was shaken to the core in the third year, when he got Ranjan as his roommate. He hated homosexuals so much that he immediately went to the Dean to change his partner. But, the Dean laughed off his fears telling him to report to him immediately if Ranjan tried anything wrong.
From the very first day, Rajan warned Ranjan that if he tried anything silly, he would immediately report to the Dean. He also made him aware of his conversations with the Dean. Ranjan simply snapped at Rajan saying,
"Don't be afraid my friend. I may be homosexual, but I am not a rapist. You might think that homosexuality is a disease, and homosexuals are the worst people in the world. But, I am afraid my friend, the reality is not like that. Homosexuals are also created by the God, and homosexuality is as old as our civilization. As long as the two partners are willing, you have no right to tell what is right and what is wrong. But yes, homosexuals have no right to force anybody who is unwilling or who is a minor. That's crime, and I will be the first one to flag that."
Ranjan, indeed, kept his promise, and never disturbed Rajan for his entire stay as his roommate. "But, why is he doing this today?" Rajan could not understand this, and as he tried harder to wiggle, the grip became stronger. Rajan fell short of breath, and he was panting. At that moment, his nightmare was broken, and he woke up hurriedly. Indeed, he was sweating in the comfortable temperature and humidity controlled room. Rajan realized that his hands resting on his heart might have been the immediate cause of his uneasiness, but he could not understand why he saw that queer dream! He could not sleep for the rest of time alotted for sleeping.
Rajan started thinking about his predicament. Rajan had cleared his second test of running 4 km distance without stopping in the next attempt. But, for the reason, which was hard for Rajan to comprehend, he had been taken to the same place in the morning for the next 5 days. He was ordered to run fast. The length gradually became shorter, and the target time to complete became steeper. In the last 2 days he was asked to run only 100 meters as fast as possible.
Rajan asked several times why he was doing that. The Bengali remained tight-lipped citing the reason that he was not authorised to speak. During the last run, when Rajan cleared the 16 second barrier for the 100 m run, the guy said, "Congratulations Sweetie! You have got a chance!"
At that moment Rajan was so tired that he could not pay much attention to the cryptic words of the Bengali. But, now when he again thought of the words, suddenly an old incident flashed through his mind. Didn't the Bengali addresses him Sweetie?
"Sweetie? Oh my God!" The words spontaneously came out of his mind, as Rajan remembered vividly that Ranjan used to address him this way during his one year sharing of the room. Did that mean that the ruthless Bengali was Ranjan? Yes, it had to be him. No one else in the entire universe had ever called him like that. Now, everything became clear to Rajan.
Rajan knew very well that Ranjan had every reason to take revenge against him. Though, Ranjan had never touched Rajan, Rajan's hatred towards the homosexuals was so deep that at the end of the third year, he falsely complained against Ranjan. Rajan being the blue-eyed boy in the eyes of the faculty for his merit, the Dean hadn't acted judiciously. As Ranjan had already been infamous for his open boasting in favour of homosexuality, the board of investigation, too, had been biased in its verdict. Ranjan, who, too, was a very good student, was expelled from the IIT because of the false complain of Rajan.
Now, Rajan understood everything. It had to be Ranjan, who was taking revenge against him. Rajan, from the experience of one year of sharing room with Ranjan knew that Ranjan was like a coconut: hard at the exterior, but soft in interior. Rajan got a glimmer of hope. If he admitted his guilt, and prayed for his mercy, he was sure, Ranjan would exonerate him from his sin. Rajan again fell asleep, this time with a hint of relief on his face.
The skin under the both feet of Archana was so badly burnt that Archana thought that she would never be able to walk on her feet. But, she was amazed to see that she was operated on the same night of that incident. She didn't know what exactly had happened, as she was anesthetized during the operation. But, next morning, she was astonished to the core to note that her feet were absolutely normal. But, the masked doctor told her to take 3 days of rest.
Archana was shocked to the core after 3 days, when she was shifted to her room, to see the disgusting face of Joker appearing on the television monitor in her room. In a condescending voice he said,
"I told you Honey! My doctors are wizards! No less than your God, I vouch! They can revitalise even a dead person. Curing your mildly-burnt skin was a cakewalk for them."
The Joker paused for complete 1 minute. For a brief moment, Archana doubted was it Atal Behari Vajpayee, who used to take a lot of time between his bites! But, Archana knew that the pious soul had left the world long ago. The sense of happiness had vanished from his voice as he continued,
"I am rather sorry to give the information that all the previous participants had passed the first 3 tests. The first 3 tests had been rather easy. These were preparatory tests. You know what? People accuse of me being a very ruthless, cruel man. But, in reality, I am a very kind man. I prepare you, and give you plenty of time to pass all the tests."
To be continued
So, Ranjan had joined with joker to take revenge against Rajan. Interesting and may be Joker also had past links with Rajan And Archana.
Yes Mistt, the mystery is unfolding. Check out episode 24 tonight.