Fatal Beauty

  • 03 Mar - 09 Mar, 2018
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

While I was sitting with Tanya in her car, she explained:

“Your part in this robbery is of deactivating.”

“Deactivating? Deactivating what?”

“The alarm systems and the CCTV cameras.”

I remained quiet, thinking for a while. She was waiting for me to respond. I spoke after a few seconds:

“I honestly don’t know how to get it done.”

She seemed irritated for a while and then spoke:

“Look, if you don’t want to play your part then just leave. I can get this job done without you.”

“All I’m trying to say is that I don’t have the capability to do this. If you’d give me some other role, I’d do it if it is possible for me.”

“You are a very demotivated person,” she spoke bluntly.

“Is there any other job I can do?”

“If you really want your revenge then this is my only offer. Otherwise just leave.”

“Ok, then at least give me some time to figure it out.”

“Now you’re talking,” she cheered up, “I’m giving you two days. Go home and think of a way. After two days, we’ll meet here at the same time.”

“All right.” I spoke after a moment.

I opened the door and almost stepped outside. But I stopped and looked back at her, saying:

“There is one more thing…I asked this before too but your answer didn’t satisfy me. So I’m asking again; what guarantee do I have that you won’t back out from your part of the deal?”

“You have my address, you’ve seen my house. Turn me to cops if I don’t cooperate.”

That sounded very convincing and reasonable. So I just stepped outside the car without arguing or speaking more.

Instead of two, I returned after three days. Tanya came out as I rang the doorbell.

“Well, you’re finally here,” she spoke. “And late.”

“I know but I took my time with the task you assigned.”

“Really?” she seemed delighted, “You mean the work’s done?”

“Yes, the CCTV cameras and the alarm bell deactivation are in my control now.”

“That’s good. Very Good. Come on in!”

The truth was that only the alarm deactivation was under my control and not the CCTV cameras. I lied to her because I couldn’t actually control the CCTV system. Besides, there was no way she could find out.

Sitting inside her house, I could now see a large white board and the design of the bank that I work for drawn with a black marker. I knew she was doing it to plan the bank’s heist.

Then something unexpected happened: three men came out of a room. I was a bit terrified looking at them. They were staring at me until Tanya came from the kitchen and spoke:

“All right boys! I’m going to revise the plan one last time.”

“Sure,” one of the men said.

I now understood that they were the guys who were to rob the bank. Tanya was explaining the plan on the board to them, while they nodded understandingly looking as if they had memorised it perfectly.

As they were done, Tanya asked them:

“Is everything clear?”

“Yes, except one thing,” one of them spoke, “While the three of us rob the bank, who would be in the van, waiting to drive us away?”

Tanya smiled and looked at me. The men also turned their heads towards me.

“Me?” I asked, pointing my hands towards myself.

“Yes dear, who else?” she said innocently.

Finally, the day of the robbery arrived. I had taken the day off from work to carry out our plan. As I stopped the white van outside the bank, those three men and Tanya stepped out of the vehicle and rushed inside, having their faces hidden with red handkerchiefs, black shades and skullcaps. One of the three men knocked down the two security guards at the same time with his AK 47 gun. When the guards fell, he picked up their guns and threw them in our van. Now, two of Tanya’s men held them and aimed their pistols at the guards’ foreheads.

The gang entered the bank with the security guards to see that there weren’t a lot of people. Tanya fired a gunshot. The staff women yelled. One of the three men who wasn’t holding any guard exclaimed:

“Everybody down! I don’t want to see any head up.”

Everyone immediately sat on the ground, leaving their chairs.

“You!” the same gun man exclaimed looking at the manager. “I want you to open the vault.”

“Look sir,” the shift manager tried to explain, “I don’t have the access.”

The other gun man who was holding the security guard instantly shot the guard dead. Everyone yelled, looking at the blood spilling out.

“Oh my God!” the manager exclaimed, closing his eyes out of guilt.

The same criminal who had shot the guard dead held the nearest woman now and aimed the gun at her forehead.

“I’m going to ask you the last time,” the criminal with AK 47 claimed, “Open the vault or…”

The manager didn’t argue this time and rushed to open the vault.

While I was waiting outside, I felt guilty for the crime I had gotten myself involved in just for the sake of some pointless revenge.

Back inside, the vault was open and the manager was helping Tanya in filling the bags with bundles of money. They had filled four bags so far and needed six more. The criminal with AK 47 was delivering the bags to the van.

I suddenly came up with a cunning idea. When I saw Tanya entering the vehicle with the second last bag, I turned the engine on and drove away before the three men could enter the van.

“What the hell are you doing?” Tanya yelled at me.

“I’m not responsible for your men,” I answered. “The deal was between you and me.”

“Stop the car!” she commanded, trying to control her temper, “I order you to stop the car right now!”

“Are you sure?”

She turned around to see her men being seized by the police at the bank.

“All right,” she finally agreed to continue driving reluctantly, “Drive faster.”

I drove as fast as I could but there was no sign of cops following us.

Instead of going to her house, I drove to mine as I wanted my demand fulfilled right away. As she realised what I was doing, she aimed her gun at my head and said:

“Stop, right now!”

“Shoot me if you want but you’ll die with me.” I answered bravely.

“Why are you doing this?”

“I want what I want first and only then you’ll get your money.”

She remained silent and didn’t answer. This surprised me a bit.

Minutes later, I stopped outside my house. To my surprise, she stepped out of the car nicely and cooperatively. Maybe she was going to give me the address of Adeel Khan. As I stepped outside and looked at her, she handed her gun to me. I took it feeling somewhat weird.

“Shall we go in?” she asked, referring to my house.

“Sure,” I said, leading the way.

“Can I stay till evening? I want to have a nap.”

I don’t know what was going on but something seemed really suspicious. I played along, letting her sleep in my house. As long as I have the gun, I thought.

Before she went to sleep, she handed me the van’s keys too. I was really surprised at her odd behaviour but remained quiet. When she finally went to sleep, I called my bank to find out their position:

“Hello?” One of my female colleagues answered my call.

“Hey, I heard there’s been a robbery?” I said trying to sound concerned.

“Yes Shahid, you won’t believe it! Three men and a woman came to rob our money. The woman escaped but the three men have been caught and taken away by the police.”

“The police?” I was shaken now.

“Yes…One of them was shot and two are under police custody.”

“I see… Anyway, I’ll call you later.”

I disconnected the call. Now I understood why Tanya was acting like this. She actually wanted to stay at my house as she knew that her men would confess everything before the police and then her own house won’t be safe for her to stay since the arrested men knew the location of her house. She was trying to hide at my house.

I was waiting in the main lounge for Tanya in the evening. As she appeared before me, I noticed the teasing smile on her face. She walked towards me, looking at the gun in my hand. I looked in her eyes and waited for her to speak first:

“Mr. Shahid Minhas,” she began, “All obsessed with Hina Khan.”

I felt really uncomfortable listening to this but still paid attention to her words.

“Today, you’ll finally get some answers.” she continued, “Unexpected answers.”

“I’m listening.”

“The gun is in your hand…You can kill me after listening to what I’m about to tell you.”

“Don’t beat around the bush,” I said standing up, “Tell me about Hina’s husband.”

“Remember I told you a few days back that Hina is dead? I lied. She’s still alive.”

“Oh God!” I was badly shaken, “Where is she?”

She didn’t speak for a whole minute and then broke the silence.

“She’s standing right in front of you.”

“What?” I got confused.

“Yes, I am Hina Khan, the woman you used to stare at with your binoculars.”

I had no words to describe how terribly shocked I was after listening to this new piece of information. My mind was having a hard time processing what I had just heard. It was just unbelievable!

“After the acid attack,” she continued, “My husband got arrested by the cops and is presently serving his 10 years sentence in jail.”

“Wait…So what you told me about Adeel being a strong and influential man was a lie?”

“Yes, I made up the entire story. I kept this attack incident hidden from the neighbours. However, after he was arrested and sentenced, I had a facial plastic surgery. My face was changed entirely, so I changed my personality too. I went from Hina to Tanya and started this new life as a criminal.”

“Why did you change your name?”

“Because my original identity was still with me and I was using this fake identity for situations like these to evade cops.”

I was about to respond but she spoke first:

“In one year Shahid, I went to a foreign country and had a facial surgery changing my face and skin and hair colour.”

“Oh God,” I uttered feeling betrayed.

“So this is it. You wanted Hina’s… I mean my husband’s address, right? He’s in central jail of…”

“Forget him” I interrupted, “Why did you use me? What did you want from me?”

“Mr. Shahid, you underestimate women, thinking they’re fools, but they’re not.”

“Excuse me?”

“You had constantly been watching me for several months and you think I never noticed? You think I never noticed your car?”

Oh God, she really was Hina Khan. All my doubts were removed.

“You still haven’t answered my question,” I interrupted.

“Do you remember the first time you came to inquire? The time when we talked on the intercom?”

I remembered.

“Yeah, so?”

“You told me that you work as a Senior Manager of some bank, remember?”

I nodded, avoiding eye contact.

“I didn’t come immediately to answer the gate,” she continued, “I came after a few minutes, remember?”

I waited for her to explain further.

“I was planning how to use the Senior Manager of a bank during that time. And then, when I saw that you wanted revenge, I lied to you about Adeel Khan’s location.”

Feeling provoked and angry, I loaded the gun and pointed it straight at her face.

to be continued...