“Switched off!!” A chill ran through Arjun’s spin. He gulped & again dialed Samaira’s number & again the mechanic female voice gave him the same answer. Arjun looked tensed. He rubbed his forehead & dialed Neil’s number. After three rings, Neil picked up the phone.
Neil- Hey Arjun!
Arjun- Is Samaira with you Neil? Are you guys still in office?
Neil- What are you saying Arjun? I am at my home now & Samaira left almost an hour ago. She should reach home till now. Arjun don’t you dare to cancel the date, she is very much excited. In fact, our team postponed our celebration party.
Arjun cut the call & frustratingly raked his fingers through his hair. His phone started ringing. He saw Neil calling him back. Arjun sighed & received the call.
Neil- What the hell Arjun!! Why…..
Arjun ( cutting his words in between)- Neil, Samaira till now not reached home. Her phone is also switched off.
Arjun- I think you heard it Neil.
Neil (in an angry tone)- I am coming. Where are you now?
Arjun ( totally pissed off)- Neil, I have to search Samaira & you are wasting my time in talking.
Neil- f**k off Arjun. You are irresponsible. Only because of you Samaira is missing. Don’t you dare to throw attitude in front of me & listen, I want my best friend back.
Neil cut the call. Arjun closed his eyes & took deep breaths to calm himself down. He dialed Vineet Kashyap number who is an officer from Electronic Interception team.
Arjun- IPS Arjun Mehra speaking. Vineet 98302***** this is Samaira’s cell number. The number is now switched off but I want it’s last cell location & also put the number in tracking list. It’s an Emergency. So, I want record as soon as possible.
Vineet- Yes Sir.
Arjun took out spare key of house from his bag & opened the door. He went inside the bedroom & put his laptop bag inside the cupboard & locked it. Then, he went out locking the main door. He dialed Rajat’s number.
Rajat- Yes Arjun?
Arjun- Rajat, where are you now?
Rajat- I am in office. We are able to track the NGO owner Dorothy Faria’s sister. Our team is close enough to reach her.
Arjun- Rajat, Samaira is missing. I need your help.
Rajat ( totally shocked)- What? I am coming. Where are you now?
Arjun- On the way to Birdsong.
Rajat disconnected the call & rushed outside. Arjun started his bike. He was carefully checking the road between Birdsong & their way home but he didn’t find anything suspicious. He reached Birdsong & rushed towards the security guard.
Arjun- Do you know Samaira? She works here. ( He also showed him Samaira’s picture which is his mobile’s wallpaper)
The Security Guard- Yes Sir. I know her.
Arjun- Is she still in office?
The Security Guard- No Sir, she is not in office, in fact, no one is in office now. I clearly remember I saw her leaving.
Arjun- ohh okay.
Arjun came down on the street & carefully looked here & there. It’s a busy street. Rajat parked his car in a side & rushed towards Arjun.
Arjun- Rajat, it’s confirmed Samaira is not in office. So, definitely, she took any cab or auto from here to reach home. See, there is a Jewellery shop & they surely have installed CCTV camera for safety purpose. Get the footage & check it.
Rajat looked at Arjun. The hollow look on Arjun’s face is enough to describe his situation. He can understand him. Rajat put his hand on Arjun’s shoulder.
Rajat- Don’t worry, everything will be all right. The whole team is with you.
Arjun only nodded his head & slowly murmured, “Thanks”.
Suddenly Arjun’s phone started ringing. He rubbed his eyes with his finger where a tear drop was threatening to fall & received the call. “Yes Vineet”
After talking for few minutes, he cut the call.
Rajat- What Vineet said?
Arjun ( in a panicked tone)- Samaira’s phone was switched off in jungle area. The place is not on the way to reach home. She is kidnapped! Last time, Dev took her that way. I am sure this time also him. But what is the reason? I will kill him if something happens with Samaira. You check the CCTV footages & inform me Rajat.
Arjun hurried towards his bike.
Arjun checked the jungle road carefully. He even enquired in the roadside “dhaba” showing both Samaira & Dev’s pictures. Only few trucks use the road at night.
“How the hell I am going to scan the whole jungle that too in night? Where the kidnappers took her & what are their motive? Samrat is dead! Khanna Industries is seized! So? What are they going to do to her? Are they already harmed her in any way? “
Shut up! Shut Up! He tried to silence his inner voice. But an unsettling feeling began welling inside him. His heart stared pounding at an increasingly rapid pace. Suddenly, he noticed Rajat’s car approaching towards him. It’s stopped near him. Rajat & Neil both came down from the car. Rajat was shocked to look at his friend. Arjun has a look in his eyes that Rajat never seen before. He is looking totally helpless. Neil rushed towards Arjun & grabbed his collar.
Neil- Where is Samaira? Where is She?
Arjun remained silent & stood there lowering his eyes.
Neil- now, why the hell are you silent? Speak out IPS Arjun Mehra. You are her husband. She is your responsibility. You should keep her safe from all trouble but see, only because of you & your damn profession, your wife is in danger. You are a selfish man. You..
Rajat cut his words & looked directly in Neil’s eyes.
Rajat- Neil, if Arjun is selfish then I don’t think he will be able to work in Intelligence Bureau. You will never ever understand, neither we expect you to.
Neil angrily looked at Arjun but before he say anything, Arjun spoke in a faint tone.
Arjun (totally lost, mumbled in a faint tone)- Samaira needs me & I am not with her. I lost her somewhere in dark. I want to hold her hand. May be, she is hurt….
Rajat- What are you saying Arjun? Control yourself. We need to find Samaira.
Neil jerked Arjun’s shoulder. “Just shut up. Don’t you dare to blabber & waste time. Find out Samaira. Are you listening to me?”
Neil almost pushed Arjun. Rajat handed Arjun a bottle of water. Arjun gulped down the water & also splashed on his face. He closed his eyes & took some deep breaths to calm himself down.
Arjun- Rajat, what about the CCTV footage of that Jewellery shop?
Rajat- After Samaira came out from Birdsong, a taxi came & stopped in front of her. The taxi driver face is not at all visible in the footage. So, we checked the car’s number, it’s MH 08 P2431.
Arjun- MH 08?? Ratnagiri Registration!
Rajat- Yes, I sent the car number in police control room to track down the car & RTO ( Regional Transport Office) for further details.
Arjun ( in an impatient tone)- Do you get any information?
Rajat- No Arjun. It’s impossible to get any details this early. You know it better.
Arjun- Then?? What am I going to do now??
There is no clue. Fear took over him like shadows take over the night & Arjun felt trapped.
Arjun- Rajat, we need to search the jungle. Call the team with sniffer dogs.
Rajat nodded his head & dialed a number. Arjun took out a cigarette & lit it with his sweaty hands.
Rajat- What are you thinking now?
Arjun- We have two possibilities. One thing is sure that Samaira is kidnapped. Samaira’s phone last location was this jungle road. So, we are assuming that they took Samaira from this road but if it is just a trap?
Rajat- What is your point?
Arjun- The kidnappers very well know that I will track Samaira’s cell locations to reach them. So, why the hell they will give us the clue? May be, they are trying to confuse us. Like, they took Samaira in some other way but planted the phone here.
Rajat- so, now?
He looked at Arjun whose face was blank & twisted.
Rajat- Relax Arjun, don’t take stress.
Arjun looked towards Neil who was staring at him accusingly standing in a distance. Rajat’s phone rang & he received it.
Rajat- Arjun, Police traced the car MH 08 P2431 from a No Parking zone near Lake Mall.
Arjun ( his eyes lit up)- Samaira?
Rajat shook his head in negative. Arjun lowered his head.
Arjun- Samaira’s cell last location was this jungle road, car found near Lake Mall, totally opposite direction. So, it’s a trap to confuse us. Whatever, need to go there, may be, I get some clue from the car.
Samaira slowly opened her eyes. Her vision was blurred. She felt disoriented & her head is aching. She remembered she was happily coming out from Birdsong & stood on the side of road waiting for any auto or taxi to go home. She don’t have to wait much, a taxi stopped in front of her. She told address to the driver & the driver nodded his head. She sat on the back seat & the driver started the car. She noticed both the glass windows are closed, she put her hand on the switch to open the car window but suddenly a hand from behind covered her mouth. She tried to struggle but a sweet smell hit on her nose & she passed out.
She is kidnapped!! Cold shiver ran down her spine. She looked around the place, it’s looks old & abandoned & dimply lit. Then, she tried to move but realized with horror that her feet & hands were bound with a rope. What these people want from her? Samrat Khanna is dead!! Then? Arjun will definitely save her. She just have the trust on him, but how he going to know that she is here? What place is this? Or the kidnappers actually want to harm Arjun? No. No. No. She can’t sit idle surrender to fate. She struggled with the ropes, trying to get free & started screaming for help. Few moments later, she heard the opening of the door & a shadowy figure appeared. A man came closer to her & sat in front of her. He looks scary. Samaira gulped & stopped screaming.
The Man- Good girl. Why are you wasting your energy in shouting? No one can hear you, no one will come to rescue you, not even IPS Arjun Mehra. So, relax lady.
The Man smirked & stood up.
Samaira- Who are you? Why you kidnapped me?
The Man- There is no need for you to know the answers but don’t worry IPS Arjun Mehra will surely going to know.
Samaira (cried out)- Leave me.
The Man gave her an icy cold stare & she immediately shut up.
The Man- Smart girl.
He then tried to put his hand on her cheek but Samaira rolled back.
Samaira- Don’t you dare to touch me.
Samaira noticed his eyes roamed over her body. Then, she saw him stood up & started leaving the room.
Thinking something, Samaira called out the man.
Samaira- Excuse me!
She hesitated for a moment as the man stopped & looked at her.
Samaira (looking downwards)- I need to use the washroom.
The Man ignored her & again started walking.
Samaira- Don’t you heard what I said. I need to use the washroom. Are you deaf? Or you are too afraid of me that I may flee from here.
The Man rushed towards her & caught hold of her throat.
Samaira’s eyes full with tears. She tried to struggle but the man is more stronger than her & her hands & legs are also bound.
Samaira ( in a faint tone)- Please, I need to use the washroom, Please….
She started crying. The Man left her & then after few moments started removing the ropes from her legs. Soon, he free her hands from the ropes. Then, he grabbed her arm to pull her up, he was so close, this is the chance. Samaira lifted her knees & rammed it into his groin. Letting her go, the man sank on his knees, clutching himself, groaning in pain. Samaira pushed him on the ground. She tried to twist his ear to knock him out, the trick she heard from Arjun but she failed because she cannot able to press the exact nerve. The Man also started struggling now, Samaira punched hard on his nose. The Man caught off guard but soon he regained his composure. He again pushed her down & Samaira also struggled, this time Samaira noticed a gun on his back which was till now hidden by his shirt. She bite the man’s hand hard & pushed him & at the same time caught hold of his gun & hit hard on his head with it. The Man fell unconscious. Samaira gulped & started searching his pockets, she found his phone. It’s an old model small keypad phone. With trembling hand, she dialed Arjun’s number but a hand slapped her hard. She crumpled on the ground & the phone also dropped from her hand. Her vision got hazy, after few moments black boots came into her view & the sound of thrashing the phone.
Arjun disconnected the call after talking with Rajat. He is still in darkness, without any proper clue. He felt like pulling out his hair in frustration. He noticed there is a missed call on his phone while he was talking with Rajat. He dialed the number, but the number is switched off. Strange! Few seconds ago, the number was active, but now, switched off? He rubbed his forehead. His sixth sense is saying that he should not ignore the number, most probably, this is a clue to reach Samaira. He dialed Vineet.
“Arjun speaking. Vineet, find out the last location of this number 85967***** now. It’s urgent.”
“You??” Samaira was shocked because Dev Arora is standing in front of her & looking at her & his eyes were cold as ice. Samaira shivered.
Samaira- You here? But Arjun arrested you!!
She looked visibly confused. Dev looked over her from head to toe & Samaira started to slide back.
Dev- But see, now I am free & it’s time to teach your husband a lesson. So, Mrs Mehra, that’s why, you are here.
He now started to move closer & leaned on her.
“Don’t touch me”, Samaira yelled angrily.
Dev- What will you do if I touch you?
Samaira- Arjun will not spare you.
Dev- But Arjun is not here now. You called him & gave the clue of your location & I know he will definitely reach here, but in the meantime, let’s finish the unfinished business of that day when Arjun arrested me.
Samaira- You are a bastard & not even a man.
Dev gritted his teeth & moved forward. Samaira took the gun of that Man & pointed it towards Dev with shivering hand. Dev halted.
Samaira- Don’t you dare to come near me else I will shoot you.
Her shivering finger is on trigger. Dev carefully looked at her & soon smirked.
Dev- Okay, okay. So, you will shoot! But lady, in order to shoot, you need to unlock the gun.
Samaira became distracted & Dev jumped on her. She fell down on ground & the gun also fall & Dev kicked it out in reach of her. Dev pulled her up by her hair & she winced in pain.
Dev- If you want to see your husband alive, convince him to leave the case. Else, you know very well.
Dev violently pulled the mangalsutra from Samaira’s neck. The chain broke & the black beads scattered on the ground. Then, he kicked her on the stomach. Samaira cried out in pain. Dev brutally kicked her few more times. Samaira curled up in a ball. Her nose is bleeding & she is nearly unconscious.
Arjun parked his bike & got down. Vineet informed him that the last location of that unknown number was this abandoned place. This place is a factory’s Godown which got closed many years ago. Arjun checked the lock on the main gate, it’s new, so, definitely the place is not totally deserted. He climbed up the gate & jumped down inside. He crossed the open passage & now standing in front of the building. The Godown door was also locked, Arjun pulled out his gun & directly shot on the lock. It’s totally dark inside. He took out a small torch from his pocket & started searching holding the gun in other hand. Suddenly, Arjun noticed a door on the corner. He rushed there but again the door was locked. This time also Arjun shot the lock & went inside. He carefully looked in the room in the light of the torch & then he saw the figure lying on the ground.
“Samaira”!!! Arjun dashed towards her & took her in his arms & held her close. He shook her but she is not in her sense & covered with cut & bruises. His eyes glistened with emotion, pulling his eyebrows down, wilting like flowers in the autumn. His lips trembling as if he were to let out a sob but he never did. He bites his lower lips. He took out his mobile & dialed Rajat’s number. “ Rajat, call the ambulance”.