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Thriller Suspense Fiction

“What a pleasant day!” Neil Jaitely exclaimed soaking in the sight of his surroundings as he walked to the Library.


 As he neared an intersection, out of nowhere, somebody bumped into him. As he turned to apologize - he was aghast! The man who he had bumped into was severely injured in his right leg and could barely walk. Neil held on tightly to him and told “Sir, hold on, I will call the ambulance. You shouldn’t be moving around so much!” 


“Don’t worry about me. Here. Take these documents and scoot from here. Now! Don’t linger around. Please go…please!! ” as he handed out a file to Neil, the man collapsed down on the street.


Following instructions, Neil retracted his steps, turned left, and hid behind a wall. As he tried to catch his breath and make sense of what just happened, he heard some footsteps approaching. He peeped from the wall, looking at the place where the man had collapsed. There were 2 masked men with guns in their hands. Neil leaned in a little closer to hear - “Where are the documents, Professor Srivastav?!! Hand it over to us!!.” The masked men demanded.


“The documents have reached their destination.” The Prof responded.


Firing shots resonated in the city causing Neil to look away in sheer astonishment. When Neil peeped again, he saw the masked men were no longer there. He was devastated and in complete shock. There was no evidence of the murder too. Neither was there a surveillance camera, nor pedestrians. The police were influenced by politicians and were deemed corrupt. Reporting the murder to them was useless. The man seemed helpless. He looked like he was wronged and Neil vowed to do justice. The document would be a substantial clue. 


He looked around to ensure no one was in sight, before swiftly turning through the pages. It was filled with legal jargon and Neil thought of approaching his roommate and soon-to-be lawyer Krish Sengupta. 


The moment he reached home, he shut the door behind him and took a deep breath. 


“Man, do you look miserable! What happened?”


“I need your help - I found this file on the road. I think it has some highly confidential documents that can create havoc if it goes into the wrong hands. Please help me with it.”


“I could. But whose file is it? How ethical is it to get our nose into others’ file?”


“Bro, please! Just look.”


Neil handed over the file to Krish and paced about the room waiting for Krish to get to the details. He was sure Krish would figure it out.


On carefully analyzing the file, Krish said “It is about the empty, unclaimed property on Bhagoji Road. The Centre for Special Angels, an NGO for differently-abled children intends to construct a hospital there that helps the needy. But someone wants to illegally take that property and construct a factory. Where did you find this?”  


“On the road, are there any signatures - specifically by the name of Srivastav?”


“Yes, he objects to the factory. He seems to be a volunteer for the NGO.”


“But, the circumstances I’ve found the file… I’m starting to think he is dead. What’s our next step then? Does it mention who is trying to take the property ?”


“Unfortunately, no. But if Srivastav is dead, then the organization chief is in charge. Let’s lookup on Google and also go see the property, we may find some clues there!”


As they reached the property - they were awed by its enormity! The city they live in could definitely benefit from a hospital. Right now people have to walk miles bearing the sun and wind to be told “Come later.” Inside the plot, they saw a board that read “This land belongs to Lalit Hassan. Trespassers will be prosecuted. For queries contact: lhassan1968@live.com”


Lalit Hassan. The name is sure to ring a bell. He was also the name that Google told when queried “Chief of Centre for Special Angles”. It was justified too. Why? He’s the one who’d done some great deeds in this city. A blood donation camp? It was chaired by Lalit. Giving free stationery to underprivileged school children? Lalit again. Raising awareness about Polio drops? Lalit took it on him again. Any ordinary man would confide in Lalit. Neil and Krish would follow suit. 


“Where can we find Lalit? He will be in this city as the elections are approaching. I know he’s a candidate.” Neil said.


“Well, we can go to the construction agency. A little faded Text can be seen on the board it says ‘HSR Builders’. Let’s look up their address and go.” Krish replied.


Google directed them to an office on Navghar Street. It was a small office as opposed to what they had imagined. There were 2 cabins and 1 common space with a receptionist.


“Excuse me, ma’am. I’d like to speak to Lalit Hassan. Is he here?” Neil asked.


“You’re in luck, sir! Mr. Hassan is in a meeting, he’s expected to be done in 15 minutes, please have a seat. Would you like some tea, coffee, or juice in the meantime?”.


“Can we just have water, please?” 


As they sat down and sipped on water, Neil wondered what the meeting was about. He tried to remain silent and eavesdrop on meetings happening in different cabins. Could any of them be linked to death? Alas! All he heard was muffled voices. 


A man in his 40s came out of the cabin. He was short with average build and had an amiable aura.


“Sir, there is someone to talk to you.” said the receptionist as she signaled to Neil.


“Hello Sir, I am a student of Civil engineering. I’m in my fourth year and I’d like to get an internship. I heard from my teachers that there will soon be work on the plot at Navghar. I’d like to be involved in it, Sir. I will be greatly benefited from this.”


“Er… Umm… sure. It might take too long for you to be a full-time employee. We’ll reach out. Leave your name with the receptionist.” Lalit said.


Neil quickly scribbled some things on the scratchpad and went outside.


As Neil went out of sight, Lalit took out his phone, dialed someone’s number, and ordered “Somebody knows & has figured a suspicion!!! Meet me at The Social Cafe at 7 PM tonight.” and went to his car.


Krish was still sitting in the office. He had taken a seat as he was uncertain what Neil would say. But based on Lalit’s call, something was fishy. They had to head to Social Café to find out - but he had to go alone as Lalit could easily identify Neil. 


“Thanks, Krish. I owe you but I recommend going in disguise just in case.” Neil was impressed.


“I will go as a nerd and pretend I was ghosted by my date.”


“I don’t think there will be a different outcome if you go as you are, Krish,” Neil smirked.


***


Krish came dressed in a tucked-in shirt, jeans, oily hair combed in one direction. To top it all he wore thick-framed glasses. He waited patiently in his car for Lalit to arrive to ensure a seating arrangement in his vicinity. 


As soon as Lalit reached the Cafe and got down from his car, Krish followed him, maintaining distance. Lalit briefly looked through the restaurant and sat with a man who seemed to be in his 30s. Krish was lucky to get a seat beside them - he even ordered fruit juice to avoid suspicion. 


Lalit said, “What happened this morning?”


“We followed your instruction, Sir. We killed the Professor but he didn’t have the file with him. I don’t understand the sorcery. I could swear he had the files when we started chasing him.”


“Damn! Did anyone see you?”


“I don’t think so, Sir.”


“Are you sure? We can’t allow room for mistakes.”


“Yes, Sir!’


“Then how did the word spread???!!” Lalit uttered this loud enough to gain a couple of stares. 


“I’m sorry” he embarrassingly apologized. He toned his voice down and said “A boy knows!! He said his teachers were gossiping in the staff room!”  


“So, now what?”


“Nothing but to kill the one who knows.”


“Where can I find them?”


“I’ll hand you the details. But we might have to wait for 4months because the Elections are coming up. I don’t want to create havoc until then.”


As Lalit revealed this he looked around to assure that they weren’t being spied on. He found a rather oddly dressed boy beside his table. His face had gone pale as if he had seen a ghost. 


“Hey, are you okay?” He asked, shaking the boy a little.


“Huh? Me? Yes, I …no...I mean... I got ghosted by my date. He... She isn’t replying to my texts...or ca..calls. I lied home and came on this date. It’s… I feel sad...” Krish tried to process words as he spoke.


Lalit laughed as he got up and commented “Kids these days!” before patting his associate to follow him outside the hotel.


***

“Lalit is not a god-sent man, Neil! We shouldn’t have approached him. He’s behind the murder of Prof! He’s even going to kill us after Elections. This is slipping out of our hands now. We should approach the police.” Krish spoke in utter panic, as soon as he reached home. "He even has your name, right? You wrote it for internship purpose."


"I wrote a random name - John Mathews or something and a random class in Engineering College. I just wanted to get details of the plot and I did."


"Smart move! But we don't live in a big city. We will easily get caught."


“I know! Looking at how things are unfolding, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lalit has ties with the police. If we complained to the police, we could end up in prison too. Do you have anyone else in mind? I’m trying to think....”


“Neil, your uncle? You said he’s a retired police officer. He might know some good inspectors in the department and then we can .”


“You spoke my mind! I was thinking the exact same thing! He stays 80 Kilometers away. Let’s get behind the steering wheel - it’s gonna be a hell of a trip!”


***


 “Oh my god!! Neil! It’s been so long - how are you?” Said his uncle opening the door and extending a hug. 


“I'm good, uncle. I can’t recollect the last time I saw you. Also, this is my friend Krish. Krish, this is my uncle - Parth.”


“Nice to meet you, Krish. Now, come inside boys. Let’s talk over supper - you guys must be hungry after a long drive.”


As they freshened up and sat for dinner, Neil and Krish told everything to Uncle Parth and even showed him the files.


“Lalit was never a benevolent man.” Uncle Parth told in response.


“Was never? That means you were previously acquainted with Lalit?” Krish asked.


“Yes. You both were extremely courageous this far. And Neil - there’s something you need to know. The time has come now. Neil - your father was an undercover cop for a drug case that was linked to Lalit. But, evil won, and Lalit is responsible for your parents’ death.”


Neil was at a loss for words. “But, Uncle... How? I mean.… you... You said my father was an officer and he died in a car accident. Please tell me the entire story” 


***


“20 years ago, news surfaced that teenagers boasted of special powers. They ranged from walking like a crab to singing flawlessly with mouth closed, or extreme pen/pencil spinning to limb skating. It was impressive at first and today's generation would make this a viral phenomenon on social media. But when EVERY teenager discovers these talents out of nowhere, there’s every reason to be suspicious. Soon it turned out that college students were subject to drug abuse. Suppliers were set up in various colleges and your father was appointed to infiltrate and get to the root of this. Turned out it was all led by someone in the name of Lord Knockout. No one knew his whereabouts. Nearly a year passed and there were still no clues until Lalit came to the city in search of a job. He set up a tea stall opposite your father’s station. He built friendships with all the staff at the police station. He saw every side of theirs - ruthlessness to prisoners, sympathizers of the people who were wronged, watchful eyes at night, and servants of the city. They talked to him over how exhausting it was, yet how they loved the job. He had good business from the tea stall. Then, all of a sudden, the tea seller Lalit had an update on Lord Knockout. He informed your father that it was not the name of a certain individual, but it was the name of a group. That made sense is given that no one could pinpoint Lord Knockout as one single person. So, some people were arrested from different parts of the city. Your father gave due credits to Lalit and the government rewarded Lalit handsomely and his deed spread like wildfire to the city. Lalit became a rich man overnight. However, the drug victims couldn’t recover completely. There were drastic side-effects and the need for NGO came up. So the Centre for Special Angels was established. Lalit volunteered time and again for their events and respect for him increased around the city. And that’s why he’s the chief there today.”


“But, my dad?” Neil asked. 


“While he was glad the case was solved, he couldn’t come to terms with how a tea seller cracked the case and he didn’t. It was not a matter of ego, but you understand right? A tea seller, by mere gossip and chatting, solved the case, whereas on the other hand a police officer with a degree and countless interviews with the students couldn’t solve it. As he thought over it time and again, he retraced the conversations, and soon, it was crystal clear. The mere thought of Lalit's financial situation was a give away. With tea-stall profits and the reward combined, no one could have a farm house, unless Lalit had a secret-side hustle. Drugs. Lalit was Lord Knockout. The people that were arrested were Lalit's men. The tea-stall was a move to divert police from the case.”


“So, did my father arrest Lalit?” 


“He was about to, but.." Uncle Parth trailed off, and started weeping.


Neil and Krish were in tears too, but they had to know what happened to Neil's father. So, Uncle Parth continued... "Your father was getting the arrest warrant ready when Lalit invited your parents to his farmhouse for dinner to thank them. He even sent them a car. You were a 5-month baby, so your parents left you with me. But the car was attached with a bomb and it went off. Lalit had an informer in the police department and he came to know his time was up, so he plotted the murder. I was certain they would come looking after you so I shifted the city and sent you to a boarding school in another city. With time, the NGO grew as did Lalit’s reputation. He got what he wanted when they appointed him as a chief and now as the chair of all decisions, he won’t let the noble deed of the NGO continue. He will build industries on that plot for his greed. That’s why he’s contesting in the elections and he is sure he’s going to win...”


“We cannot let that happen!!!!” Neil shouted furiously. He was in tears - he was deprived of his family, a happy childhood. Lalit was entirely responsible. 


“I have to do something. He will repent and pay for his sins… We will have to come up with something. And only a hospital will be built on the property.” He vowed.

November 12, 2020 01:32

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12 comments

Loved this story! :)

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Nilay Jha
02:57 Nov 12, 2020

Thank you. :)

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Yolanda Wu
04:15 Nov 12, 2020

Wow, what an intense story! You kept up the tension and the suspense - the pacing was also well done. I was hooked from the beginning, and the intensity just kept seeming to rise until the very end. My only piece of criticism would be the Neil's physical description at the very start. Physical descriptions can be tricky to weave into a story naturally, so my advice would be either cut it out completely, or if you are insistent about keeping it, here's how you can possibly reword it. "He was 5 '10, pear-shaped face with pale-white skin. H...

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Nilay Jha
04:29 Nov 12, 2020

Thank you so much! I will cut out the description. Thanks for taking time off to read it.

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Yolanda Wu
06:04 Nov 12, 2020

You're welcome!

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03:34 Nov 12, 2020

It was filled with suspense and kept me on the edge of my seat... Looking forward to the next installments.

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Nilay Jha
04:30 Nov 12, 2020

Thank you. :)

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Lourenço Amorim
11:20 Nov 12, 2020

Great story. I feel a little hush to deliver the action, can be just my impression. Waiting for part two.

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Nilay Jha
18:22 Nov 16, 2020

Thank you!

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Pratheeksha R
03:46 Nov 12, 2020

I was expecting so many indifference in the co-writing process, lol. Glad we got along fine. :p

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Nilay Jha
04:30 Nov 12, 2020

Hahaha. Yes.

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Nilay Jha
01:34 Nov 12, 2020

Co-written with Pratheeksha R. Check her stories here: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/pratheeksha-r/

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