The Scribbler’s Orchard: PART 19

Read the previous part of this story here

Everything was set ready for the rituals to start. Acharya sat before the fire, he being a worshipper of fire believed that human sacrifice would get him all he wished. Mr Ahuja was there with Archarya and they were waiting for the clock to strike twelve.

Acharya said, ‘The time has come. Bring him now.’

Ahuja’s men brought a hooded man, hands tied on back, and both the legs were locked with an iron chain. He was made to sit into a pit next to the fire and his hood was removed.

‘Ismail Abdullah…’ Acharya laughed loudly and then continued, ‘The face of the nation, now to be sacrificed to fire, for the good of the bad.’
Ismail Abdullah lifted his hand up, raised his head and prayed to God, ‘Allah, let the peace prevail in this world!’ He looked into Acharya eyes first and then Ahuja and the goons there and said, ‘I promise on Allah that none of you will escape from the eyes of people. They’re watching you.’ He laughed pointing Ahuja’s men.

Acharya and Ahuja confusingly looked at the men standing before, shouted in unison, ‘Who’s the black sheep?’

Abdullah laughed again and said, ‘Before you find him, he will kill both of you.’ Irritated Acharya ordered the goons to set the pit on fire. They heard a gunshot outside, followed by one more and many more, which created confusion amongst them. Ahuja ordered his men to take away Abdullah. Acharya ordered to set him on fire. The goons just stood there confused. Ahuja kicked the ritual powder into the fire in frustration, which let out heavy smoke and the whole area became invisible to naked eyes.

Arjun and his team, entering the ritual area, ordered all of them to hands up, but because of the heavy smoke, they were unable to see anyone there. He heard someone shouting for help. He fired a shot to the rooftop and said, ‘Do not move. Stay, wherever you are. Otherwise, I’ll shoot all of you.’

They heard one more gunshot. It was not from Arjun. He stood puzzled waiting for the smoke to be cleared.

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Shekhar and Jennifer, who were waiting for Arjun outside of Ahuja’s residence, spotted people dragging Roohi into a van. They saw Cyrus on a stretcher lying half-conscious inside the van. Quickly they locked the door and the van started.

Shekhar started to run towards the van shouting his daugther’s name, but a passing car did not allow him to do that. Jennifer luckily clicked photographs of the van, the goons, Roohi and Cyrus.

Shekhar broke down into tears. Jennifer tried to pacify him. And they heard a gunshot from inside, which terrified them.

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