Every Step

Submitted into Contest #27 in response to: Write a short story that ends with a twist.... view prompt



The lady was sweating profusely. She was trying to wipe off her face but both her hands were engaged in dragging the big suitcase and the handkerchief in right hand had fell down somewhere. As soon as she had got down from the hired taxi, a swarm of coolies had surrounded her but she plainly refused-

“Thank You bhaiyaji , I will manage.”

The train was supposed to arrive at Platform 11 and covering every step seemed difficult. But she did not want to stop or leave the suitcase even for a second and bravely managed to reach the platform. The platform was unusually crowded and all eyes were set on the track as train may arrive any moment. She was feeling thirsty but was clutching the suitcase between both her hands and was muttering something. People were busy milling around, laughing or lying silent but two pair of eyes were set on the lady and the heavy suitcase.

Chandu and Charan got busy in planning as soon as they saw the lady dragging the suitcase. The suitcase must have jewellery must be worth 2-3 lacs.

” What do you say”- Chandu said rolling his eyes.

“I guess so as the lady did not even take risk of hiring a coolie and brought such a heavy suitcase all on her own”- Charan supported and chuckled.

“This small act will take care of our expenses for next 2-3 months”- both said in a relaxed way.

This thief duo had come back after serving a term for 3 months in the prison but what to do, they all knew this act alone and were not willing to start something honest.

“But don’t you feel this middle-aged lady is overly plainly dressed” – Chandu questioned in a skeptical tone.

“The suitcase is decked with expensive jewellery and that what we are interested in” – Charan moved towards the lady clicking his tongue.

They bought general tickets and stood beside the lady as most uninterested souls. As soon as the train reached the platform, crowd jumped towards it in haste. The lady dragged the suitcase to the compartment door but it was too heavy for her to lift and take it inside. This was the perfect moment which Chandu and Charan were waiting for.

“Didi May We help you” – Chandu asked in an innocent tone.

“What a ridiculous question” – Charan roared querulously and lifted the suitcase even before the lady could utter a word.

The suitcase was really heavy and he would have tripped if Chandu did not give a hand. Their hearts were leaping with joy and were waiting for the dark moving night in the train. They placed the luggage properly and sat beside their just met sister.

Soon she became comfortable and narrated them the complete schedule of the marriage. Albeit, they were listening, but their complete focus was on the suitcase.

“Didi keep this small bag properly” – Chandu interrupted in between pointing towards the smaller suitcase the lady was carrying which was now lying unattended at the corner of the berth.

“Bhaiya as you say, though it is all empty” – she said and continued her talk.

The train had reached some station and it had turned dark outside. The fragrance of food from all sides had filled the compartment. Aloo Poori, Aloo Poori– vendors were screaming loudly.

“Didi let me bring something to eat”- Charan offered and got down on platform when the lady shouted from behind-

“bring a bottle of water as well.”

“Have a nice meal and water lady as your bad time is about to set in” – Charan murmured and his wicked smile flashed on.

Bhaiya this is not fair. Why are you not taking money” – the lady uttered while keeping the money back which she had taken out to pay for food and water.

“Not many people are lucky to get such helping hands like you” – she continued after a pause.

Both of them smiled briefly as they were now waiting for her to go off to sleep. The fate was in their favor as the lady told them that she is feeling sleepy and got on to the upper berth and was snoring in no time. The time was ideal as the train had halted at some station and most of the lights were turned off, both of them got into action and picked up the luggage and flee in the dark alleys.

They could not wait now and zipped off the cover blanketed over the suitcase. Their eyes were already beaming with mere thought of gold, silver and might be diamond stuffed inside. The lamppost under which they were sitting was emitting enough light to see the valuables inside.

Suddenly they fell silent. The facial expressions had changed to morbid and both were only staring at the suitcase. The suitcase had large patches all around and was just stitched to carry the load. Inside there were only small hands-me-down clothes, some old newspapers, some old edition magazines and a big note- For Annapurna Orphanage.

“But the lady told us that she is going to attend a high profile wedding” – Charan was hardly able to speak.

“Oh God- All the valuables were inside that small suitcase and this suitcase she was carrying for the NGO she mentioned about but to which we did not pay any heed” – Chandu wailed.

They both ran towards the station and it was too late. The train was crawling away from the station and there was dead silence all around except for a few dogs barking at a distance.

January 31, 2020 15:44

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