Being a Saturday, the mall was filled with people. John looked around to comprehend the intensity of the damage if the bomb did burst before he could evacuate the crowd.
"Jawaan, take the entire troop and start searching the nook and corner of the mall for any bomb. I want two of you to start checking the crowd if you find anyone suspicious”, he ordered his troop of officers.
John was busy searching for the reception of the mall when heard an announcement.
“WE ARE SORRY TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS PLACE IS UNDER BOMB THREAT. WE REQUEST YOU ALL TO KINDLY EVACUATE THE PLACE IMMEDIATELY"
John couldn't believe what he heard. The crowd started to run helter skelter. He had no time to loose he had to see to it that the entire crowd was out of the mall. The walkie-talkie beeped and he picked it up to answer, “Sir the bomb is near the lift in the first floor. There is hardly any time to defuse it.” His junior spoke in a hasty fashion.
John kept the walkie-talkie and realized that he was near the lift. Before he could think of his next move he felt someone push him off the window and he was flying against the pull of gravity. His eyes closed and body light, he heard a devastating noise behind him and fell to the ground. He tried to open his eyes that had turned moist.
Dirt particles were filled in his eyes while he tried to scratch them.
He was still in some kind of illusion when he heard someone familiar.“Are you ok John?”
John struggled to open his eyes. His vision initially blurred finally settled down and he could see Arvind fallen down next to him. “Dude..... Oh Man, was that you who pushed me down?” John asked him excitedly. He tried to get up and see if he was really safe. Turning around he saw that the mall was on fire but everyone was evacuated and he was happy that his mission was a success.
He went ahead to thank Arvind when he heard his mobile ring, it flashed Alina. “John, where are you?” Alina screamed crying on the phone. “Baby, what is it? Are you fine?” John was worried.
“John I am waiting at the restaurant near our house. Please come soon”, She spoke hurriedly and hung the call.
Arvind agreed to accompany John. They reached the restaurant and found Alina sitting in a corner with the face covered. Seeing John she ran to his arms and hugged him.
“Alina, What is it?”
Alina was shivering when she began to speak, “John, where have you been? I was alone in the house....” She continued to cry as she spoke in fear. “I ran to pick your call when the power supply went off. I suddenly heard a noise from the bedroom and went to see who it was when I realized that it was the stalker”
John’s eyes became wide open when he realized what Alina had been through. He made her sit on the chair close by and then she continued.
“John, I couldn’t see his face clearly as he had a hat on his head. He came close John…. Very close….to… to kiss me.”, She crushed her fingers on her clothes as she spoke.
“At that moment my hands grabbed the vase on the table and I hit him on his head and ran out of the bedroom. I am scared if I killed him John. I ran with no clue of what to do next. I immediately took my mobile and called you”, she continued crying and held him tightly.
Arvind who had been hearing the entire story suggested that they should go home and check if the stalker was still there. John held Alina’s hands and went with Arvind to their house.
He stealthily entered the house and switched on the lights to see that the supply was still cut. Arvind put his hand into his pocket and removed a lighter. Heled the way and John followed with Alina beside him. They slowly walked to the bedroom making as much less noise as possible. In the shadow of the light from the lighter he turned around to see Alina. She still had drops of tears left in her chin. But, her eyes looked a little fresh. He stared at her for a second and realized the fear she must have been through. Alina who was busy looking around to see if the stalker was anywhere stopped wandering when her gaze fell on John who had been noticing her. She gave him a slight smile and held his hands even tighter.
Arvind hid his lighter and opened the door of the bedroom slowly so that no one could see them entering. He slowly looked around the room with John following him. They looked at every corner of the room but no one was to be found. Alina heaved a sigh of relief that no one was there. Arvind left the two of them in the bedroom and ran to check the fuse. John made Alina sit on the bed and searched the room again. Within a few minutes the power supply was back and John found that the entire room was in a mess.
“Thanks Bro. Thanks for all the help”, He thanked Arvind.
Arvind left and John couldn’t sleep the whole night. Alina’s safety had become very critical. He had to shift her to a safer place where the stalker could not reach her and he could get enough time to search for the stalker.
He woke up by 5.00 am the next morning and packed Alina’s clothes in a small suitcase. He made breakfast and woke her up. “Alina, take bath and get ready soon. We are going to your father’s house”, He spoke in a flow as he was tying his watch on his wrist.
In an hour’s time they were outside “Varghese Villa”. Alina’s father who was in his 70’s stood outside to welcome them. John had called him early in the morning and informed him that he would be leaving Alina for a day at his place as he had to go on an urgent trip to Darjeeling. John had taken care not to inform him about anything that happened the previous night.
“Alina, you are going to be ok. Don’t let dad know about anything. I don’t want him to be worried. I will solve this case by evening” He assured Alina. She trusted him and hugged him saying she would be fine and brave.
John got into the car and waved her “Bye” when Alina ran to him. She stood near the car and whispered, “I will wait for you John. Come soon”
Alina sat speaking to her dad. She made sure that she didn't give him a hint about the stalker. She realized that it had been quite some time since she had sat and spoken her heart out to her Dad. They enjoyed the yummy Keralite lunch and Mr. Varghese left to his bedroom for his afternoon nap. Alina walked to her bedroom to see if it was still the same as she had left it 2 years back.
The bedroom door was open and she found the fan running inside.
“Hello, Ms. Beautiful”, came a voice from behind.
Alina turned behind to see the stalker stand in front of her. She could feel her blood race through her veins. She knew she couldn’t escape today.
“You hit me hard yesterday, dear. But I made my way out of your house just when you’re so called courageous husband came in alongwith you.”
She couldn’t bear the smell as he came closer to you.
“Alina, my sweetheart. Who is going to help you today? You husband is on some mission and your dad. He can hardly walk.” He laughed out loud as he spoke. He came close to her and held her tightly on her shoulders. He began to hurt her. Today he was not empty handed. He had a knife in his tucked inside his vest.
Alina was shivering, she started praying her last wish when she realized that she wasn’t going to make it. He pushed her to the wall and held out the knife in the direction to strike her. She screamed as he came close enough to hurt her and exactly at that minute the bedroom door flung open.
“Ravi Verma, drop your knife and turn around”, John stood at the door. He was accompanied by five officers who made their way inside the room and caught hold of the stalker. Alina let herself loose and ran to John.
“John...... John......(crying) I thought it was all over.” She wiped her tears.
“I thought I wouldn’t see you again, You made it John. You made it. You came to save me......... My last wish (sobbing)...John...”
She hugged him and continued., “My last wish was to see you …..” She continued to cry when John spoke.
“Alina, it’s not me whom you should thank. Thank my friend.” John summoned the man behind the door to come out.
Arvind walked from behind the door wearing a police uniform and a gun in his hand.
“Oh John!!! Don’t give me the credit. It was my duty”. Arvind spoke and turned around to Alina.
“Mrs. Mathews, we just saved you from the criminal who was on his run out of the prison.” Arvind spoke much to her amazement.
“Ravi Verma was caught in a drug smuggling case a year ago. And the person who had arrested him was none other than your intelligent husband, John”, Alina who was still standing close to John turned to look at him
“Ravi, the stalker was involved in a major drug racket. It had taken the department a hell lot of time and loss of civilary to arrest him. It so happened that Ravi’s wife was a kind woman. She had no clue about his wrong doings. She couldn’t digest the shock that her husband was a rogue.”
“ Ravi was arrested on charges of smuggling on the 16th of June, 2011. She was completely devastated and his truth brought her shame. Unable to bear this humiliation, she committed suicide leaving her 5 year old son in the care of a nanny." Alina continued to give a kind ear to Arvind.
"In spite of Ravi being a criminal, he loved his wife very dearly and it was his love that had caused him to hide all this from her.” Arvind waved to the junior officers to take Ravi to the nearest police station.
Alina heard Ravi's past but she was confused as to why he was stalking her. “Arvind, I don’t understand why should he come behind me? What harm have I done to him?”
“It is not you Alina, it is John whom he wanted to take revenge off. He spent a year in jail and took sometime to plan the correct hour of his escape. His advocate, a criminal lawyer helped him in this plan." Alina who was still in a state of shock sat on the bed close to her.
"Now you must be wondering how do i know the entire story of Ravi?" Alina shook her head in acceptance.
"I was kept on a mission to search for him. I opened his case file and found that John had arrested him. On furthur investigation it was revealed that his wife had committed suicide on the day he was arrested. We knew that he couldn't have escaped without somebody's help. That was when we tracked his lawyer. On gun's point his lawyer accepted the truth and left us with a huge clue." Arvind had lost his breath and drank a glass of water.
"The clue was John. The advocate had blurted out that Ravi was in search of John. I concluded that he was going to harm John and since then I had been following John to catch Ravi red handed. I saved John a couple of times,from the truck accident and the bomb blast. This was the only way I could gain his trust. I was on a mission and I couldn’t have given John any clue about my identity.”
“On the day of the blast I revealed my identity to John when you had called to the restaurant. I led you both to the bedroom to find no one there. I went to turn on the fuse and noticed a photo lying near the switchboard. On seeing closely I realized that it was Ravi’s wife. That was when I confirmed that the person stalking you was Ravi Verma. I informed John about Ravi’s case in your absence and we planned to bring you here.”
Alina’s question was still unanswered. “Alina I am coming to you. Ravi knew that killing John would give him a temporary suffering. He wanted to punish him for his entire life. He wanted him to endure all the pain similar to what he had endured when he saw his wife lay motionless before him. And hence he decided to kill you. You are John’s priceless possession and what could ”
“We knew that he would come after you here and we caught him red handed”. Arvind heaved a sigh of relieaf as he finished.
Alina felt hard to digest what she had heard. She was happy that John was safe.
Ravi was put behind bars and held in charges of “Attempt to murder”. Arvind went back to Darjeeling after completing his mission successfully. Arvind continues to be John’s best companion.
“Jaan, come home soon today. I have a surprise planned for you” Alina walked outside the cake shop, speaking to John on the phone.
“I am sorry sweetheart. I have to rush to Darjeeling tonight. A drug peddlar is on his run.......”