(The time is near)
(Mini web series)
Have you read the last episode yet? Read it here, if not...!
Episode 16: Now we know
‘Here’s the deal,’ Akshat was visibly off. ‘Tell me at least something! I feel like I’m in love with a stranger! I love you and I am living with you – hell, I’m practically sharing my entire life with you! And yet, I feel like you’re just a whole new person every new day!’
Some might see it as a whiny possessive typical Indian boyfriend rant, but where the things stood between them, Akshat was being fairly modest in his complaints. With all her secretive past and her heroic activities, Ritika had always been a very private and hard person. And that might be just fine for a short fling or a one night stand. But that wasn’t the case with them, and things were beginning to get nasty now.
‘Releax honey,’ she said as she smooched him hard, suddenly. How else are you supposed to shut a man up? Ritika didn’t know any better in any case and so she resorted to the oldest trick in the book. She kept it real intimate and the passion was evident in how Akshat responded to the kiss.
‘Whoa,’ he said, after what could easily be the longest and the most intimate kiss he ever had. ‘What was that for?’
‘Nothing,’ Rtika lied, staring him in the eyes and looking as innocent as a white little kitten. Sensing that thing might soon slip out of her control, Ritika tried to balance things once again. ‘What is that you need to know?’ she said.
‘How about a little tip on our new guest and your apparent cousin – Mr Abhay?’ Akshat made sure to stress on “apparent”. ‘What’s with him? Who’s he?’
Ritika was dreading this very moment from the beginning itself. Only if I could tell you the truth!
‘I told you he is my first cousin who is based in the USA and is here on a business trip Akshat,’ Ritika said, dramatizing her voice so as to gain control again. ‘How could you forget that?’
‘I’ve lived with you for 19 months now and all of a sudden you’ve a cousin that you never cared to mention, all this while?’ Akshat was in no mood to give up now. ‘Huh?’
‘There are a lot of things that I don’t care to mention ‘cz they aren’t important Akshat!’
Shit!Sometimes in defending yourself, you end up digging up your own grave and Ritika had just dug up hers.
‘That’s the whole goddamned point!! DON’T YOU GET THAT??? There are a LOT of things that you don’t share or feel like sharing!!!! That’s –’ for the life of her, that one phone call saved her back then. ‘This isn’t over,’ Akshat glared at her, his eyes glistening with tears as he picked up the phone. Turns out, his colleague had reached at the parking and was waiting for him.
Akshat picked up his travel bags and the laptop as he got ready to leave. He put down the call looked at Ritika, and there was clear hurt in his eyes.
‘Look,’ he said, fighting the urge to let it all out at once, ‘Ritika, you are the love of my life, and I don’t want to lose you ever! I beg you, to save us!’ He kissed her like she had never been kissed before and there was an eerie feel about it – like it was the last time that she was seeing him. He hugged her tightly and as he stepped out of the main door, he looked at her, and said, ‘I hope we’ll have a lot to talk when I come back next month, dear. Take care!’
And that was it, he just went away like that. And with that, maybe her happiness too, forever but Ritika couldn’t be sure. The journey so far had taken a lot from her and she couldn’t be certain what would be next. She had responsibilities to look after nonetheless, and so she got ready to reach the Polo Forestwhere the camp was. Emotions couldn’t dictate her, she should get back – after all it was never easy being the Guardian Angel!
‘Hit him harder Douche! Pandit Shastri barked at the top of his voice. ‘Harder I said, you moron! This isn’t your mother’s cocktail party you idiot! This is a goddamned war!!’
They were at the polo forest – an isolated and brutally dense forest at the outskirts of the town, way beyond the reach and interests of normal civilians. And they were training for – as Pandit Shastri put it – the D day. The training insistently was meant for Abhay to regain and then master his combat skills – the hell he knew what any of it meant. Basically it involved Simons attacking the poor soul that Abhay was and him defending the attacks, or taking a tight beating to me more precise.
‘Oh c’mon for the lord’s sakes!’ Pandit Shastri yelled again at Simons. ‘Hit him numbskull, hit him! You get that?’
Simons was helpless as he was still not over Abhay’s sudden resurrection and it was more than difficult to face Abhay with a straight face, let alone train him. He had been avoiding him for quite some time now, but guess what? That’s the beautiful thing about a battle, you can’t avoid your enemy. Battles bring you to the closest intimacy possible. So Simons tried again – as he had been trying for past 2 hours, to direct a heavy blow at Abhay – when he missed again. And Ritika reached the venue just in time to witness Pandit Shastri’s outburst at that.
‘YOU FUCKING MORON!!!!’ Pandit Shastri thundered. ‘Is this all a fucking JOKE to you?!!’ He got up and directed his palms at a wooden log lying nearby and with a swish of his palms – possibly a certain kind of telekinesis – threw the log at an unsuspecting Abhay, without touching it.
‘NOOOO!’ Ritika yelled at this sudden stupidity on Pandit Shastri’s part as she glared at the flying wooden log and somehow managed to crush it into pieces, just inches before it could hit a startled Abhay.
Abhay was so startled at everything that had happened around him in a span of few minutes that he almost passed out. But oddly enough, that didn’t surprise him completely. Maybe the few years that he spent in Timothy’s captivity had taught him a thing or two about their mysterious world.
‘ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND???’ Ritika yelled again at Pandit Shastri, when the now crushed sawdust of the log hit the floor. ‘What the hell was that? What’s wrong with you?’
‘YOU little bitch!’ Pandit Shastri was furious. ‘WHAT… THE HELL…. IS… WRONG WITH… YOU??? HOW dare you, Battleaxe!’
He twisted his palms and fingers, pointing them at Ritika without touching her, in a certain fashion and she began to choke. ‘You still don’t know how to behave, do you?’ He kept twisting his fingers and she kept chocking, when Simons lost it.
‘Enough with your assholery already!’ he yelled. ‘You seem to have lost the remaining sanity too, asshohle!!’
‘Oh yeah?’ Pandit Shashtri hissed again. ‘Guess every one of you is a freaking rebel now? How’s this then?’ He twisted his fingers again and that threw Ritika up a certain distance as if somebody had given her strong thrust, as Simons and Abhay ran to her side. ‘Poor Battleaxe now wouldn’t be able to use her powers or abilities for at least a month now. Beat that huh, can you?’
Ritika seemed dazzled by the sudden attack and her forehead began bleeding a little. ‘Why the hell would you do that to Abhay you moron???’ she yelled, as soon as she gained her energy.
‘Because the war is coming!’ Pandit Shastri shot back. ‘And there, they won’t treat your precious little sidekick with hugs and kisses, you idiotic woman! Lord help the pour souls who still consider this bumbling piece of awkwardness as their first warrior!’
You know how suddenly, sometimes you just lose it all? Like you’ve been taking shit from the people for some time and then suddenly it all snaps, in a fraction of seconds? That, there was the moment for Abhay, who had been silently witnessing all the drama unfold for years now!
‘ENOUGH!!!!!’ he yelled in a voice that was loud enough to shock himself for a while. ‘ENOUGH, ALL OF YOU!!! What the hell is happening here??? I deserve to know this shit as much you all! And believe me, now is the time that you all speak!! Tell me for god’s sake about the rut that’s been brewing here all along!!’
It took some time for all of them to reel from the sudden outburst, but when they finally did, it was Pandit Shahstri’s turn to bark. ‘Oh well,’ he hissed like a typical melancholic monster, ‘look, the first warrior is hurt! Tchhh… Tchhh…Tchhh…. so sad, oh my poor soul!’
‘Poor baby needs to know about the rut now, right?’ he said, imitating a motherly affection. ‘OK, let’s discuss it. The rut, you see, that we are in, is all because of one stupid asshole. Any guesses who that asshole is? Just look at your nasty self in the mirror, your highness!’ Abhay tried to comprehend everything while Ritika was about to interrupt Pandit Shastri when Simons held her back. ‘You see, our legendry first warrior here, Mr Abhay the douchebag Singhaniya, had been sleeping with a slut called Sanjana for some time, before some other asshole, murdered her! Oooh la la!’ Abhay flinched back a step or two, with the mention of Sanjana.
‘Now, nobody would’ve given a rat’s fat ass if the slut were any normal human being like any of us, but guess was? Your highness is of the royal taste! Turns out that of all the millions and millions of sluts out there, Your Highness could only bang Mustafa Shergil’s daughter, guys! Yeah, you heard that right – Mustafa Shergil!’ The last sentence shocked even Ritika and Simons, who were as surprised as Abhay.
‘Mustafa Shergil – the commander in chief of the lord’s army and one of the very few combat specialist, that even the dark lord dreads! What does he think, happened with his daughter? Ah, that’s the climax!! He thinks, our Royal Douchebag murdered her! And what does that mean? Well, if you only had little brains to make out two and two into four, you’d realise, that ever since the apparent tragedy that hit him hard, he has gone rogue! Amazing what a blind love for your daughter can make you do! And then, the team decides to protect our royal douchebag here, against all forces. So, yeah, that makes all of us, the enemies of Mustafa!’
‘But –’ Simons tried to interject when Pandit Shastri shut him up. ‘Oh shut up for once in your life Douche!’ he barked. ‘Hear me out. Turns out, Mustafa has gone nuts and has declared war on all of us, so as to get through Your Highness here! And just when we were close to getting a perfect ammunition against him –Prof. Murthy had been working on a serum to neutralize the likes of us – it all fell apart! In some unforeseen circumstances, as the team describes it, Prof. Murthy was killed and with that, was destroyed our only chance against Mustafa! So you see, shitheads, when I tell you, we are at war, we are at a fucking goddamned war!! And now do you, Sir Abhay, get the whole picture?’
Abhay was too shocked to respond when an alarm rang. Pandit Shastri took out a device from his pocket and killed the alarm sound. ‘And there we go,’ he looked at all of them with such bloodshot eyes, that would make anyone scream. ‘Thanks for wasting my precious time again without learning a single ounce of new skills! I’ll have to go and run some other errands now, but you three better be prepared now! We’ll meet again tomorrow ‘Cz it’s fucking Diwali soon!!’
He picked up his stuff and left, leaving them all startled. After a few minutes that he left, Abhay tried to speak. ‘But –’ somehow the words didn’t leave him as he began to tremble again and Ritika hugged him tightly. ‘Let’s go home.’ She said, hiding her own fears, and clutching Simons arms to control her shivers, who in turn was shivering himself.
Far away in an underground facility of an abandoned industrial site, a monstrous figure, covered in overcoat and a hood, entered a dimly lit corridor. His huge frame at 7’1” swayed like a dragon let lose. He opened the door to a door nearby marked, ‘Prof. Murthy’ and found a man in his mid-50s, working on a table full of scientific equipment.
It was the thunder of his monstrous voice that reverberated so strongly as to shack the foundations of the entire room, and give a heart attack to an unsuspecting individual when he said, ‘Hello Professor!’**** **** **** ****