The voice shook her. The man turned and faced her. The dim light, made his face look ghostly. She let out a sob, and pushed herself back, till she hit the door. From the shadows, to the light, he came. Her uncle, Chinmay Tripathy, a former Major in the army, believed to have been killed in combat with terrorists’ way before she was born. She was named after him, and she had always liked the stories about his valor, bravery and cunningness. His voice, her father had told, was just like his. Now she could know.
“Are you surprised, to know that I am alive? It wasn’t surprising to me, that you could recognize my voice, I was sure Adi would have told you. It has been a shame that I couldn’t be there to help raise my niece. But I have been watching you grow, be it from a distance. I came to your mother’s funeral, but watched from far away. I thought, you would protect Adi, but because of you, he ended up dead. You, the light of my brother’s life, were becoming a problem. So I took measures to stop you. I thought you would have sense to stop, when Neel was attacked. You didn’t. I put your editor on crutches. Still you didn’t stop. I kidnapped my grandchild attacking my own daughter, praying you had sense to withdraw and resign. You did. But I will make you don’t continue. “
Cat was lost for words. Her heart was pounding quickly. Finally she managed to get to her feet. She spoke.
“Uncle Chinmay, are you crazy? Surely you are. You pretended to be dead, to join the terrorists? What on earth made you do that? You almost killed 2 innocent souls, to stop me. You should have known, it’s the same blood that runs through me, that runs through your veins too. The niece of Major Tripathy gives up that easily… never. You think you can kill me that easily… you are having hallucinations. I won’t die Uncle. You can’t kill me without a fight.”
She was in no position to make threats, but her voice didn’t falter. Her uncle stared at her for a minute, and then to her shock, started laughing derisively. He spoke again.
“Cat, did you really think I was going to kill you? I don’t like spilling blood of my loved ones. No dear, I am not killing you. Not yet anyways. I am sure you know where you are. The place is guarded tightly. No one has seen you being brought here, to our family mansion in Delhi. You will be locked in this room, day and night. Guarded like no other prisoner here. Not even your fiancé can find you here Cat. I leave you now. We will meet soon. Bye dear. “
And before Cat could protest, he walked out, closing the door and locking it. She looked around. The room was hers itself. The last time she was there, was nearly 3 years ago. Her dad also never came here either. The wardrobe was open, but she saw it was empty. A small mirror hung on a nail in the wall. She looked and saw herself, sweating, and her face with dried mud here and there. She realized it must be from when she fell from the blow to her knee. It rattled her. There was only one window, a large French window that led to a small balcony. She went out for some air. Her family mansion in Delhi was far from other houses, the gate leading to the road was itself a kilometer away. She couldn’t scream and she couldn’t jump either, the room being on the 4th floor. She realized that she was trapped…for now anyway.
She saw her uncle leave in a black Esteem two days after she was brought there. The two days, had passed very slowly to her, with her being locked in the room and given food only once a day. She wasn’t given any new clothes, so she was still in the same white shirt and jeans, even though she had showered. She wanted to get out so badly. Morning whiled away, and slowly turned into night. The Esteem returned, but her uncle was not there. She wondered who was protecting her. She knew there were more than five people.
It was 9pm when she heard something. She didn’t realize at first what it was. But then she heard it again, and realized with a pang, that it was a gunshot. Now the sounds were getting louder, and she could here the cries of pain. There was a war going on in her mansion. And she was a sitting duck, with no weapon, and no energy to fight either. She waited for the sounds to subside, hiding in the small bathroom.
The war had been on for half an hour and now the sounds had stopped. She came out of the bathroom. The door opened, and two people came in. She saw them, recognized them, and without further adieu, she fainted. When she regained consciousness, the first face she saw was her niece’s. Neetu was sleeping beside her, on the bed, hugging her tightly. She was in the same room, in her family mansion itself. She wanted to get up, but didn’t do so, not wanting to wake her niece. Ten minutes later, the door opened and Anita walked in, with a plate of sandwiches. Cat pinched herself. She was sure she was dreaming. Then Atul walked in too, and came straight to her and kissed her. Behind him, in the doorway stood two men… She gestured and they came inside. They had saved her. She wished if this was a dream, she had dreams like these more often. Tall, lanky Nadir Mohammed stood to the right, and beside him, his ally the short and stout Ali Shah. Once terrorists, now her rescuers… They had decided to go on a different path in life, and when they saw her being put in an ambulance they now drove, and asked to be taken here, they sensed trouble and decided to help her out.
After taking out her captors one by one, they had called the Chronicle’s office, and spoken with Atul. They had rushed over to Delhi to be by her side. Neel was fine, and was also in the mansion in the next room. Vipin was still in Calcutta, but had sent her a letter, taking back her resignation. She smiled as she saw her niece sleeping calmly beside her, but realized that sorrows weren’t at an end. Her uncle was still alive, and she was sure he would return soon.
For now, Cat was happy. She was safe, and her loved ones were with her. She had new friends too. A life like no other…She was back to who she was…
Cat, the chief journalist of the Chronicle, with danger always lurking behind…