This post is part of an interesting exercise by Blogadda. Different teams compete in a fiction writing competition . Each team member continues the story from where the earlier one left off.
This is the 27th episode of this story. Read the previous part of this story here “One mystery is solved but it carries another mystery,” Aryan said on the phone when Tara narrated him the entire incident. “What is that asked Tara?” Why does Lallan want to kidnap you? It obviously has something to do with Shekhar? What is it that Lallan still wants from Shekhar? He has already promised Lallan the house. He has also ensured Lalllan that he will no longer be involved in drug dealing. So what is it that Shekhar is still holding? It has to be something big that can be a threat to Lallan? Tara had no answer to that question. Aryan was not saying it, but Tara understood what he was implying. No matter how much she wanted to forgive Shekhar and move on it was obvious that there was still something more that he was hiding. He hadn’t come completely clean. Tara could bear this no longer. “Aryan, I am going to speak to Shekhar right now. I deserve to know everything. That’s the only way we can win this war” “No Tara, wait for me. Let me reach the house. We will speak with Shekhar together.” Tara conceded that it may be a good idea to wait for Aryan. He would be in a better position to analyze what Shekar told them than herself. She was too emotionally involved with Shekhar to listen to him objectively. She decided to wait for Aryan. Cyrus left the house to drop Jennifer to her hotel. Shekhar and Roohi went to the bedroom to sleep. Tara sat alone waiting for Aryan to reach. Tara’s mind drifted to the ten years of her marriage with Shekhar. He had always been a very devoted husband. Maybe, too devoted. He brought her expensive gifts for her birthdays. They always went on a fancy holiday for their anniversaries. While Tara enjoyed all the attention she often reprimanded Shekhar on his expensive tastes. Usually he ignored her comments on the matter. A few times she had even demanded to be told where he found so much money from? He always attributed it to some publisher. At that time Tara never gave much thought to the matter. She just thought that Shekhar was indeed lucky to get the kind of deals that he managed to get from publishing houses. “My love for Shekhar had blinded me! How could I a journalist myself believe that all that money just came out of nowhere. That this house in Chuna mandi was a ‘gift’ from a heirless uncle! Bullshit!” —————————————————————————————————————– Jennifer and Cyrus reached the hotel. As Cyrus was turning to leave Jennifer asked him if he would stay with her that night. “I am a bit scared Cyrus. Having you with me will give me strength.” Cyrus thought about it. “And I also need to tell you what really happened. The diary was a fake but the real story needs to be revealed. And I want to tell it to you. No matter what you think about me after knowing. I want to be honest with you. Completely honest.” Said Jennifer Cyrus agreed. Once in the room Jennifer went into the bathroom to freshen up. Her phone was lying on the bed. Cyrus could not resist picking it up. As he scrolled through the call details he saw that the last few calls were from Lallan. Just then Jennifer stepped out. She took the phone from Cyrus and said “ No calls tonight. No distractions. Tonight let’s just devote to listening to each other.” Saying this she switched off her phone and reaching out to Cyrus’s phone switched it off too.”
When Aryan reached the Chuna Mandi house he found Tara in deep thought. On seeing Aryan she sprang up. “Shekhar is sleeping in the room with Roohi. Aryan, you wait here I will go and wake him up and we can talk right here. That way Roohi will not be disturbed.” Aryan nodded in agreement. No sooner had Tara left the room that she came back distraught. “Shekhar is not in the room! Where could he have gone? ” “Have you checked for a note?” Asked Aryan.
Meanwhile Samantha and lallan were having a heated argument. “No he will not be harmed.” Said Samantha “But he is our weakest link now. He knows too much about everything. Keeping him alive is not wise.” Said lallan “There are other ways of buying his silence. Cyrus, Tara or even Roohi!” said Samantha “The minute we harm Tara or Roohi, Shekhar will become a wild bull. And wild bulls are difficult to control. No it is better that Shekhar goes. His time has come.” Saying this he left the room. Samantha slumped in the couch. She had seen the determination in lallan’s eyes and there was a truth to what he said. She was filled with apprehension. She knew what Lallan was capable of. Hadn’t she seen him operate closely for last so many years? Lallan was a devil. “When one partners with the devil one has to pay the price of it!” She had payed her price. She had lost her innocence. She had become a monster. A monster who had chosen power and money over love. And she had been content with the choice she had made. Until Shekhar came back! Shekhar’s return to Delhi, being in touch with him again, seeing him regularly had made her start wondering if her decision had been so correct. She looked at the room around her. The plush couches, the silk bedspreads, the large portrait on her wall – symbols of her achievements did not seem to provide her the same comfort anymore. She looked at the large solitaire on her ring finger. The stone that had given her the power to rule. But in her eyes today it’s white glow was tinged with red.
Back at the hotel Jennifer was telling Cyrus her story. Her true story. “As I had told you earlier I lived in the naval camp with my parents. I used to go cycling in the colony. There was a lonely road in our colony that ran along the coastline. I used to love watching the sea and would often stop there to gaze at the waves. Once when I was sitting there, my cycle leaning against a tree, a young officer approached me. He was handsome and smart and soon we started meeting at the same point almost every day. I fell in love with him and being in love I…” She did not know how to say the words. Knowing Cyrus’s feeling for her. “You made love?” completed Cyrus “Yes!” said Jennifer hesitantly. “I was young and I thought we were in love. And it seemed right back then. I only realized later that I had fallen into a trap. My photographs were clicked and circulated in the camp. When I got to know I demanded that they be deleted. He called me to his house saying that he wanted to show me that he had deleted everything from his mobile and apologize. When I went to his home he was not alone. There were two other men. I tried my best to get away but I was no match for those men. From then on I became a puppet in their hands. These men were into drugs and often forced me to accompany them to rave parties. It was at one such party that I met Lallan.” “As I had told you earlier Lallan approached me as a fashion photographer. I was going through hell and had nobody to lean on. Lallan gained my confidence. When I told him about the three men he said he would help me get rid of them. I was desperate. Their abuse was increasing and so was my anger and frustration. So when Lallan gave me the razor and told me to kill them I thought he was helping me to escape. But how wrong I was!!!” “Lallan drove me to the officers house that night. I was very nervous. He said he would wait outside in the car for me and would help me to escape after the murder. It seemed foolproof to me. All I had to do was to slit the throats of my three tormentors take their mobiles and run away with Lallan to Kochi. Lallan told me that Kochi was his birthplace. Once there we could marry and live happily ever after.” “But ‘happily ever after’ was not in god’s plans for me. I killed my three tormenters to fall into the clutches of an even bigger devil. From that day onwards Lallan became my master. I had handed over the men’s mobiles to him trusting him to destroy them. But he kept them ‘safe’ as evidence against me. He had also managed to get a video of me entering the house of that officer on the night of the murder. I was completely trapped.” “ Lallan made me kill 5 more people. He would introduce me to the ‘target’. Once I had gained the target’s confidence I had to sleep with him. And then kill him. Lallan would be waiting outside to ‘help me escape’ or rather to ensure that I did not escape” “It had become a nightmare. I was losing my sanity. When Lallan gave me the sixth target I was unable to complete the job. Instead of killing the ‘target’ I slashed my own wrist. As the blood oozed out of my veins I felt peace. At last I was going to be free. But luck has never been on my side. Lallan had peeped in from the window to see if I was doing my job. He killed the ‘target’ and brought me out.” “I did not want to be saved. I did not want to live anymore. But Lallan was determined to keep me alive. I had become his hen who lay golden eggs. And my death would be a major loss.” “But I too had reached my limit. I refused to kill anyone anymore. Lallan may have realized too that I had reached breaking point. He agreed to let me go.” Cyrus had been quiet during the whole narration. His heart went out to Jenny. How much she had suffered. Yes she had committed murders eight murders actually but was she a killer? His heart said no! She was a victim herself. A victim of unscrupulous men, who had no qualms about using her weakness for their advantage. Now Cyrus spoke up “But why would Lallan leave you? Wouldn’t it be better to let you die?” Jennifer sighed, “Men like Lallan are shrewd. He kept me alive so he could use me if and when needed. He said if I killed myself he would release all the evidence he held. I would be branded a murderer. Death would release me from Lallan’s trap but it would bring shame on my parents and family. I have a younger sister, what kind of life she would have if the world got to know that her elder sister was a cold-blooded murderer.” Jennifer fell quiet. Even her sobbing had subsided. A gloom fell over the room Cyrus wondered “Was there a way of saving his Jennifer? Could he still love Jennifer after knowing her gory past? Could he live with someone who had taken lives?” Life has a way of throwing questions at you that you can not answer
The next part of the story will be available Here