- 12 Jan - 18 Jan, 2019
- 29 Dec - 04 Jan, 2019
I knew there are was no such thing as coincidence in real life. The presence of Ghulam Rasul, Resham and her brother in the same location where I poisoned curly haired man was making my head spin. Although I did not want to involve my source in this ruckus, it was almost impossible to hide anything as it was evident from my condition that something was not unusual. He paid the driver, made me sit on his bike and then drove me to a nearby house. I did not utter a word till he made me sit in a small room with an old sofa set and two beds arranged in line with the wall.
“Why did you bring me to your home?” I asked him.
He saw me in the eyes and spoke with a concerned voice. “I have been working with you for over twenty years now. You were not safe in the hotel so I brought you here.”
“I do not feel any threat here. Someone wanted me back so here I am. You should let me face my sins,” I said in a drained voice.
“I have double-checked from few sources and have got a news for you,” he informed me ignoring my disturbed state of mind. “The curly haired man is alive.”
I jumped up from my seat and looked at him in disbelief.
“What are you saying Bilal? You told me 15 years ago that he died in a hospital,” I nearly shouted at him.
My source now looked embarrassed. He put hands on my shoulders and forced me to sit down.
“How did you find out that he is still alive?” I asked impatiently.
I had now regained my composure.
“When I found out that both Ghulam Rasul and Resham are missing, it made me suspicious. It, in fact, made me nervous. Initially, I also thought that Ghulam Rasul might have abducted Resham but then I ruled out this idea as Resham had disappeared even before Ghulam Rasul reached the village,” he replied in a very meek voice.
“I knew I had not followed up the murder case of Hashim Khan as I assumed it will go in the files. Ghulam Rasul was the prime suspect and he had left the country. I had even stopped checking about the curly haired man who was recovered from your hide out. He was not dead but was in comma. He was declared clinically dead after few days by the local doctors here and was shifted to Jamshoro Medical Research facility. That was the time when I was assured by a hospital attendant that he is dead,” he was making my condition more deplorable with every word. It was like the day of unbelievable discoveries.
“What happed then?” I spoke as soon as he paused.
“After I returned from your village this morning, I went to the courthouse and met the concerned clerk. After bribing him I found out that the case is closed. I was surprised as to how the case of the murder of Hashim Khan can be closed when the prime suspect had not yet been arrested. I had to bribe more and got a copy of the court decision which held the curly haired man responsible for the murder of Hashim Khan. His confessional statement was also attached in the case file.”
“What are you talking about? Was not he supposed to be dead?” I blurted out.
My source now seemed petrified. In a shaky voice, he said, “He was declared clinically dead and transferred to a medical research facility where he regained conscious after about two months. Police had already taken his finger prints in Ghotki to find out about his identification but they failed to fetch his data. After failing to identify the individual, the new Superintendent of Police asked the concerned IO to start matching his finger prints with all the unresolved cases in and around Ghotki. This was how his finger prints got matched with the finger prints found on the murder weapon of Hashim Khan. As soon as the curly haired man regained consciousness, he was arrested and brought to justice. He confessed his crime and exonerated Ghulam Rasul from the case. There was no one from Ghulam Rasul’s side pleading or following up the case hence they do not even know that Ghulam Rasul was not a suspect anymore.”
“Will you please tell me as to what happened to curly haired man and where is he now?” I asked in an angry voice.
“I got some of this information from the court clerk and some I read in the file. The curly haired man was sentenced to seventeen years of rigorous imprisonment,” he informed me.
I interrupted, “So he must still be in the prison?”
“No! A friend of mine is a prison guard in Sukkur jail where the curly haired man was locked. My friend checked the record and told me that the curly haired man was released last week.”
“But, how come? Wasn’t he supposed to complete his sentence?” I was reluctant to believe in his story.
“The government keeps announcing reduction in sentence of prisoners on various occasions like Eid etc. In last 15 years, the accumulated reduction in his sentence was almost two years. So, he got out few days ago.”
I was now sure that it was the curly haired man behind all this. I had to act fast. I asked Bilal to give me his pistol which he did so quietly. He also handed me over keys of his bike and wished me good luck. I thanked him for all his support despite his big slip which can cost me my life. He looked embarrassed but I could not rely on him now.
I reached in the field behind the same old house. I left the bike there and walked very carefully through the field and reached to the back side the house. I stopped there and tried to listen if there was any sound coming from inside. It was almost midday and the air was echoing with birds making noise. I could not hear anything else so decided to cross the wall. It was a small wall and I scaled it easily. Rear door of the kitchen was ajar. I took out my pistol and pushed the kitchen door. It made a screeching noise. I glanced into the kitchen and found it empty. Very carefully I entered the kitchen. The house seemed deserted. I peeked inside and there was no one. There was not even any furniture in the house. The sound of air breezing through the empty rooms was creating a haunting noise. It was now 1 pm. The sun was shining bright outside. There were no signs of anybody in the house. And then I smelled something. It was a cheap cigarette brand I could recognise in millions and I knew that the curly haired man smoke this particular brand. He was in the house waiting for me.
I was worried about Resham and Ghulam Hussain. If they were not here then where were they? Suddenly, I realised that the curly haired man was not a fool to keep them here and then wait for me. He was probably keeping them at some other place. He must have brought their mobile phones and switched them off at this place for me to trace them and come over here. I had no other option but to face him and beg him to leave them unharmed. The cigarette smell was getting strong as I was approaching the room where we had our last supper together some 15 years ago. Surprisingly, I was now relaxed. I had made up my decision. I will let him kill me and release my loved ones. I then put my gun back into the pocket and walked straight into the room. He was sitting there on the only seat present in the room. He looked very old and fragile. He had spent last 15 years in the prison because of me. I even had tried to kill him. I was a real bad man in front of him. I just stood there.
“You are early. I did not expect you before sun set,” he said in a tone that I could not understand.
“Naheed Khan, you want to take your revenge, then do it fast, I said in a cold voice. “But before that, release Resham and Ghulam Rasul. They have nothing to do with our fight,” I literally begged him.
He looked at me with his head bent on a side.
“You want me to kill you and put you out of your misery?”
“Then, what do you want?” I asked helplessly.
He started laughing like a mad man. I was now scared.
“I want you to suffer like I suffered for 15 years for your sins. I want you to feel the pain. I want you to taste the betrayal.”
I was now getting unnerved. “Naheed Khan, I told you that I am ready to suffer any punishment you decide for me. Just release them. I am on your disposal,” I said not knowing his revenge plans.
I took out my gun and placed it on floor. I then pushed it with my foot towards him. He did not even look at it. He was still holding his gun pointing at me. He was now quiet.
“Where are they? Where have you kept them?” I shouted.
He looked a little surprised at my bold reaction and then smiled.
“I will not kill you. I want you to live rest of your life with the guilt that you got your own friends killed.”
He then started laughing again. I was now furious.
“You did not kill them? I know you just want to torture me psychologically killing me.”
He kept laughing. I was now sitting on my knees with my hands folded, begging him. “Please kill me Naheed, and let them go.”
I was now crying out loud and begging him in a stuttering voice with closed eyes and clinched hands.
“Please Naheed, let them go. Please Naheed, Please.”
I continued begging till I heard a loud thundering sound of a gunshot. My heart stopped. He had shot himself in his head without telling me the whereabouts of Ghulam Rasul, Resham and her brother. I forgot to breathe. The slayer was dead and the dragon was lifeless.
to be continued...