The Dragon

  • 19 Jan - 25 Jan, 2019
  • Nadeem Alam
  • Fiction

After breakfast, I lied down on one of the beds to straighten my back but I fell asleep. I was having the same old bad dream when I was awaken by Bilal. He was shaking my shoulder. I had gone to sleep after almost two days. I felt like I was falling from sky and was suddenly pulled up by some hand before hitting the ground. I opened my eyes and looked blankly at Bilal who was standing near me. I took a few seconds to come back to my senses and then looked at the watch. It was 1:30 p.m. I had slept for over 5 hours. Bilal was still standing beside my bed.

“Is everything alright?” I asked him.

He looked at me puzzlingly and said, “I was about to ask you the same question.”

I got up from bed and checked my phone.

“Why, what did I do?” I asked him further.

“I had been watching you while you were asleep. You were talking some gibberish and then you started breathing very heavily.”

I told Bilal to bring some tea and sat to check

my emails. I had received details from both my sources.


Location chart of the number that had sent a text message to Resham matched with the location pattern of the abductees. This number had also turned off in the vicinity of my hide out where Naheed Khan had shot himself. The important thing that I discovered was that this number was registered in the name of same person who has discretely following Ghulam Rasul when he left the Mangi hotel to go to his village but never returned back. Address of the person received from NADRA source and the one received from the cell phone company was the same. He was the linchpin. I decided to pay a visit to this man at his house. Bilal was a little apprehensive. He advised me to wait till night but I did not want to waste my time.

We came out of Bilal’s home and went past the place where I had shot the robber last night. The place was stained with his blood. While passing from there, I remembered about my missing credit cards. As we touched the main road, I made calls to my banks’ helplines and told them to block my cards. I also told Bilal to make his best efforts to get these cards when this thing is over. He promised me to do that. He then stopped a rickshaw and told the driver to go to the place where the kidnapper lived. It was not far off and we reached there in twenty minutes. Bilal paid the driver and we went into a maze of streets in that area. After searching rigorously for half an hour, we were finally standing in front of a small house. I told Bilal to just follow my lead. He did not know my plan otherwise he would have stopped me. I was desperate and hence had decided to hit the bull. I looked in the street. There was a small boy passing near us. He watched us with some interest. I ignored him and knocked on the door. After a while, a woman opened the door.

“Who is there?”

“Is this Jameel’s place?”

“Yes, but he is not at home.”

“When will he come?”

She hesitantly replied, “He usually comes after 9 but who are you?”

I looked again in the street. There was nobody on either side. The woman was still standing inside probably waiting for my answer. Without wasting another second, I pushed the door with force and went inside. The woman holding the door fell on ground and before she could produce any sound or get up, I grabbed her and put a hand on her mouth. Bilal followed me and locked the door. We then picked up the woman who was now clearly traumatised and took her in the only room of the house. I looked around in search of some rope. Instead, I found a dupatta which I used to tie her hands. I also stuffed her mouth with a piece of clothe. Her eyes were spread wide. She was terrified and expected something bad to happen to her. I told her to calm down as we are not here to harm her. I then removed clothe from her mouth and allowed her to take some deep breathes. Bilal was now on a look out and was sitting outside the room. I found out from the woman that Jameel is her husband. He was some sort of criminal and was a regular visitor to the jail. She did not know anything more than that. I told her that Jameel is a partner to someone who has kidnapped my friends. She told me that she knows nothing about it.

It was now 3 p.m. and I could not wait another six hours for Jameel to return. So I told the woman to call her husband and tell him that she is very sick and needs to go to some doctor. She was fully cooperating with us so I did not feel anything wrong with this line of action. She did exactly as I told her to do. Then we sat tightly and started waiting for Jameel to return.

It was after about an hour that we heard a small knock on the front door. I took out the pistol and told the woman to open the door. I warned her that if she tried anything then I will shoot her and Jameel. I opened her hands. Bilal hid inside the small kitchen and I stood behind a cupboard in the veranda just couple of yards from the door. She looked at me before opening the door. I watched in disbelief as she unlocked the door and disappeared. I ran behind her holding the gun and grabbed her from her shirt before she could escape. The man who knocked on the door had already run off. I dragged her back inside the house. She started to make some noise but I shut her mouth with my hand. Before entering in the house, I looked back in the street. I saw someone running and disappearing around the corner. I turned my head to other side and saw two men standing at a distance and watching the drama unfolding in the street. I held her in my one arm with my hand on her mouth and I closed the door with the other hand. By that time, Bilal also came out of the kitchen and helped me in controlling the woman. We brought her back in the room. I was now furious. She was not as innocent as she seemed. I had to apply some force to make her realize that we were not some soft hearted people whom she and her husband can fool around. She was still making noise when I slapped her hard. She got stunned first then started sobbing with pain. I removed clothe from her mouth only after she made a promise to cooperate. I told her to call her husband again and make him talk to us.

Jameel picked up the phone on the first bell. She told him that she is alright and that he should talk to us if he wants to see her alive again. I took the phone from her hand and signaled Bilal to keep an eye on her. I knew there would be concerned neighbors gathering outside. I had to act fast. I put the phone with my left ear and said in a cold voice, “Listen Jameel, meet us at the Ghotki railway station in half an hour or you will not see your wife again.”

Without listening to any reply, I hung up the phone. I now told Jameel’s wife to come with us willingly or I will break her teeth and then drag her outside. Her mouth had started bleeding with one hard slap only. She spit the blood and picked up her shawl. She covered her face and led us out of the house. There were few people now standing in the street. She told them that we are her brothers and everything is alright. As we came on the road, I gave my gun to Bilal and told him to take her to some place and wait for my call. I then went straight to the railway station and started waiting earnestly for Jameel. After about ten minutes, I saw him entering from the gate. He looked around and spotted me. He might have never seen me before but at that time of the day, I was one of the few people roaming in the railway station parking area. He came straight to me and very annoyingly asked, “Where is my wife? You don’t know me. I will not leave you if anything happened to her.”

I listened to him patiently and then walked to a lonely corner. There was a skeleton of an old city bus parked there. It did not have any seats or tires. It only had an iron frame but certainly it provided me a good cover for what I was about to do with this man. I went behind the bus and he followed me there. Before I stopped, he tried to hold my shoulder from the backside. I turned around and punched him hard at his nose. He did not expect any such thing. Before he could understand as to what had happened, I threw couple of more punches at his face. He started kicking and punching in retaliation but did not touch me even once. I hit him hard yet another time and he fell on ground. I sat down and put my right knee on his chest. He was totally out of breath and bleeding heavily. I put both my hands on his throat and asked, “Where are you keeping them? Tell me now or I swear I will kill you. Then I will kill your wife and I will kill your unborn child.”

I had known by now that his wife was pregnant and it proved to be his weakest point. He had started choking on his own blood. I could see fear in his eyes. I made him sit up and wrapped my arm around his neck. He started coughing. I tightened up my grip and he raised his arm as he wants to say something. I released my grip a bit.

“Promise me, you will not harm my family.”

He was a small city thug but he had seen the underworld people in his jail time. In last few minutes, he realized that he has messed with a wrong person. The lunacy of my reaction proved a little too much for him.

I did not answer him. Instead, I tightened my arm lock and he raised his hand again.

“They are in basement of the same house where Naheed Khan shot himself.”

A smile appeared on my face. Naheed Khan had made a fool of me. He had kept them at a place where I had betrayed him. But I knew he loved me from core of his heart. I was his only family in his forsaken world. He had not killed them. He was rather keeping them alive. He knew I will find them eventually. I felt sorry for Naheed Khan and for what I did to him, and then I jerked my arm on one side freeing the thug from his miserable life.

to be continued...