Hello beautiful people, how are u all? So here is the next chapter, my fingers are crossed for this one pls do tell how it was. Once again i give my heartfelt thanks to u for so much love and support. Hugs and kisses to all u lovely people, have a great weekend and Enjoy ???
Chapter 15 – And Lightning Strikes
Mishra House – Rishikesh
Mala absent mindedly doing the dishes after dinner dropped a plate when she was putting it on the drying rack. Brijesh, Radhika’s grandpa came to the kitchen hearing the smashing sound. He found Mala picking up the pieces and dumping them in the dustbin. “Bahu…. this is the third time today…. did u wake up with the plan of finishing all the dishes?”
Mala sighed “I don’t know why Dad…. am so clumsy today…. and why choti’s phone switched off”
“Of course her phone is switched off…. she must be busy entertaining her boss” taunted Saral who had invited himself in. “She was able to pay my dad’s entire debt in such a short…. so….”
Brijesh:”I told Jiya bahu to not eat so much bitter gourd when she was pregnant with u…. see now u are so bitter…. that even your smile seems insulting” The old man gave him back failing his stupid mean attempts.
Saral:”I have seen your precious choti in the arms of her boss… I have seen her with my own eyes…. she acts all good here…. but she is just a b***c” No sooner had he finished saying that word he felt a tight slap on his cheek and Mala was as furious as a bull.
Mala:”dare u say one more word against my choti and I will pull your eyes out” she warned him.
Saral:”slap me as much as u want… but that won’t change a thing…. Radhu is her boss’s lover…. and he is the one who helped her pay the debt…your daughter is a sl*t”
Mala raised her hand to slap him again but like a coward that he was he quickly left the house. Mala broked down the pain was too much for her to bear “why dad… what have we done to them to deserve this… why so much pain… when will this all end”
Brijesh:”bahu… everything has an end… this will end too… I hope u don’t doubt choti based on that fool’s words”
Mala:”I trust my choti more than myself… but am scared for her… if she gets to learn about Saral’s accusation… she will be hurt”
Brijesh:”u are worrying for nothing bahu… Choti is strong… she is stronger than us all”
A week had passed without any news, they had seen from the building’s cctv footage that Radhika was abducted but the bad quality of the video hindered them in knowing the car number or the face of the men that took her. Aditya knew it was Malik, he personally talked to his informers but they hadn’t found any leads yet.They had on an exhaustive search for her and it hurt him that he was the one who exposed her to danger but what hurt him most was the lie he told to Radhika’s family. He told them that she was out of town for an office project and had forgotten her phone at home. Though not very convinced Mala had to agree bcoz she trusted him and that was eating him up inside. He waiting for a break, just one lead and he will turn the city upside down to rescue her.
Arjun was blaming himself for the mishap, why did he have to fight with her, why did he let her go alone, why did he take the stairs and not the elevator with her and why was he so stubborn that didn’t call and check on her on time. Aditya was helping find her but he had personally hired three different private directives to help on the search. Aditya suspected that she was kidnapped for the gold and that scared him immensely, it was the same gold that killed Jai and put Samrat into a coma what will they do to her. The mere thought made him shiver in fear, he had to find Radhika and find her safe and sound.
Neil had cancelled his trip back home to emotionally support his best friend and also because he cared for his Chashni. He walked step by step with Arjun and Aditya to help find Radhika and was ready to do anything to get his chashni back. Nandini looked on helplessly, Arjun refused any help from her and she knew there was no need to clarify her situation with Samrat bcoz Arjun had clearly seen her guilt for having cheated on her own best friend.
Aditya entered Mehra house along side Karthik, they already had someone to trace the call when the kidnapper calls. He had hope that if Malik had her he wouldn’t bring any harm to her until he gets what he wants and they just have to rescue her before that happens. Aditya’s phone rang he immediately answered seeing unknown number and signal the Farhan to start his work “hello…. hello… hello Radhika…. ” Karthik asked him to put the phone on speaker.
“hello officer… I got news that u are missing a head… may I help?… am always ready to help the gvt” the man on the other side spoke in a sarcastic tone.
Aditya:”Malik… I know it’s u… and I know what u want… but the girl is innocent… let her go and let’s settle this like men”
The man laughed out cynically “so now u admit am a man… then why did u underestimate me by creating your own fake Radhika… u thought I was stupid right… I took the girl to teach u a lesson… and she is so fragile that my one touch can crumbled her down into ashes”
Arjun screamed angrily “listen to me u bastard… if u lay a hand on her… I will skin u alive”
He again laughed irritating them all more “bachu… this is a men’s game… is not suitable for boys like u… and officer… since u know exactly what I want… give me what’s mine and take the girl with u… I will can again and I don’t think I have to remind u what I can do”
And with the call was ended Aditya asked Farhan if he was able to trace the call “give me a few minutes sir” he answered without raising his head.
Arjun glared at Aditya “what did u do… what is this about a fake Radhika…?” Karthik wanted to interfere but Arjun stopped him and turned his glare back on Aditya “answer me damn it… what did u do?”
Aditya had his head down “am sorry… I wanted to lay a trap for Malik but he played smarter than I thought… I literally handed over Radhika to him on a platter… am sorry”
Arjun clutched his collar in anger but before he could say anything Farhan interrupted “sir… I have the address” and handed Karthik a print out of the address. Karthik looked on in shock, he couldn’t believe what he read neither form a word. Arjun snatched the paper from him and he was shocked as well and whispered “Khanna Mansion?”
Samrat was discharged few days ago and was now at his home. The doctor said he was physically fine but they shouldn’t subject him to any emotional stress since he was still very weak and that was the reason no one informed him about Radhika nor asked him about the gold. Though Sam wanted to physically help in the search she had no other choice but stay with her dad for the mean time. Samrat was sitting in the dining hall with both Sam and Piyali having breakfast when a mad Arjun came storming in with Aditya, Karthik, Neil and Nandini behind. Samrat turned pale thinking Arjun knows about him and Nandini. He stood up worried Arjun leaped on him “where is she… where is Radhika….?”
Piyali and Sam were stunned by the accusation. Neil pulled Arjun off Samrat and Aditya explained the reason for Arjun’s reaction. “Radhika Dilip’s daughter is kidnapped?… why didn’t anybody tell me anything” asked Samrat
Piyali interrupted “I was with Samrat the whole time… he is not involved in any of this”
Aditya:”Radhika is kidnapped… and the kidnapper’s call was traced to this address…even u doubted Samrat” he turned to Samrat “we need the gold to save Radhika… where did u hide it”
Samrat denied ever having taken the gold for himself or involved in Dilip’s murder “Dilip was my friend… how can u think I can cheat him?” he asked stunned at the accusation.
Arjun:”oh… don’t try and act like a saint… when it was easy for u to cheat on your wife”
Silence befell Piyali stared at Samrat who had his head down in guilt. Sam stared at Arjun looking for answers and Nandini wished to magically disappear. Aditya stepped in and asked Samrat to recall what Dilip told him reminding all about the matter at hand.
Samrat:”Dilip told me that he found a large amount of gold… but didn’t tell me where he found it or who he suspected… he tried to go to the police… but feared the greed so much gold can evoke in people… and that’s why he came to me… bcoz he trusted me… I was supposed to call him when I was done with the arrangements…. to transfer the gold safely… but when I called him he didn’t answer…. that’s why I contacted u Aditya… and that’s all I know… I swear on Sam’s life… I neither have the gold nor did I kill Dilip”
Aditya felt like he was placed btn a rock and a hard place, he didn’t know which way to go or what to do. Where everyone seemed lost Neil chipped in “what’s important is Chashni’s life… If we don’t have that famous gold… we can atleast arrange money instead… how much does that gold worth”
Aditya:”there is no need for that I will take care of this mess”
Arjun glared at him “u are the one who started this on the first place… so don’t do us any more favours… I can take care of this”
Pain, intense pain she felt. Her eyelids felt heavy, she felt dizzy, she felt cold. Clammy hands, sweaty forehead, her throat dry. Her eyes were burning from the irritating smell of the thin old mattress that hurt her right ribs badly. Then the memory flashed, she was going home when suddenly a strong arm cramped her waist attaching her back firmly to a masculine front. Then a damped cloth covered her face and the pungent odour stang her nose and made her woozy and hearing became distorted. She tried to escape wiggling in the man’s hold but two more hands held her feet foiling her struggles. She felt her head lighten and body became woobly and everything turned black. It then dawned on her that she was kidnapped. She panicked struggling to get up but it was all useless for her feet and hands were tied and like a sack she laid helplessly. Her body was stagnant but mind raced, why would she be kidnapped? who did this to her? she wasn’t rich for anyone to demand ransom from her family. How long was she here? does her family know? are they looking for her? All these questions ran in her mind and then she realised Aditya was right about her being in danger. “whoever abducted me is the same man who killed my father” she thought. Tears started brimming from her eyes, fear took over her. Will she have the same fate as her father, will she die without saying goodbye to her loved ones.
Marks of dried tears covered her face as she laid curled up on the floor awaiting her fate. She felt too weak to fight, her fate is yet going to win another battle that she lost once again. She reminisced about her life, about Mumbai, about birdsong, about Arjun, her time in college, Rishikesh. Her mind was brought back to an incident in her childhood when she refused to learn cycling bcoz she was often falling off her bicycle. Dilip took a 5yrs old Radhika in his arms to pacify her but little Radhika was done with cycling. Dilip smiled and said “choti… whenever u fail… remember u have two options… go down… or like a phoenix rise from the ashes” Dilip flapped her hands like a bird making little Radhika laugh. She didn’t understand the words then but she did now. A new zeal filled her eyes “I will not go down like this…I will fight …am stronger than this” she chanted to herself.
The door opened, a man entered and pulled a chair besides her laying form observing her for some time. He made her sit still not averting his gaze on her. “what’s so special about u that the police are looking for u like crazy?” Radhika silently stared “do u know I had to transfer u to three different hideouts… that’s how crazy the police are for u… If I wasn’t paid so much money to keep u… I would have killed u long back”
As the words registered in her mind Radhika gained a little confidence knowing that he can’t kill her “ar.. are… are u… Malik”
Malik smirked “am I that famous… how do u know about me… ?”
Radhika:”I know u killed my father… and I know why u are keeping me here… but I swear to u… I know nothing about the gold… I don’t know where that gold is”
Malik stunned at the sudden revelation Radhika made to him, he went close and tightly held jaw “I don’t know who your father is… I have killed many and I don’t keep count… but tell me about this gold… what gold are u talking about?” Radhika mentally slapped herself for blabbering so much. This man had no idea about the gold but now he knows thanks to her. Malik kept asking her but she kept quiet and soon another man entered and called his boss aside. Once outside he told Malik that the police is still after them and they should move before they are captured. Malik asked his men to make arrangements for a new hideout and went back to room. Malik sensed something was fishy, things looked more messy than he thought. Malik for Saba’s prodigy many mistaken them to be brothers. Malik worshiped him like a God but 12yrs ago Saba threw him under the bus and Malik went to prison for 10yrs. He got out 2yrs ago and had only revenge in his mind but someone took care of it even before his release. Six months ago he got a contract to kill Jai Khanna and was paid a humongous amount for the job. Again he was paid to scare Samrat and later to kidnap Samaira Khanna which his men failed. Two weeks ago he got another task from th same man to kidnap Radhika Mishra. He was sent her photo a cheque and a note instructing him to keep the girl until further notice. But now this girl is talking about some gold and accusing him of killing her father. Clearly there was more money involved than he was paid. Initially he thought it was a revenge saga but now he realised it was about gold and by the looks of it, it must be a huge amount of gold. He straight went to Radhika planning to get the truth out of her.
Since Radhika’s disappearance Aditya had returned to his apartment, he was either out looking for Radhika or at the station. He hadn’t slept for a week but sleep won’t come until he finds Radhika. Karthik saw him watching the cctv footage looking for clues they might have missed and felt terrible for his friend. He tapped his shoulder to get his attention but then his phone rang. Karthik saw Aditya’s face glow and knew there was good news about Radhika. Aditya ended the call and said “we got a lead… it’s solid…Radhika may be there”
Aditya quickly treaded to the door but Karthik stopped him “u stay here Adi… don’t forget u are no longer in the force”
Aditya halted at the door and without turning he said “stop me if u can” Karthik followed him to the car still trying to convince him to stay back. He knew his friend well and the condition he was in scared him to even think of the outcome. Aditya turned to him “I lost my family once… am not going to go through the same pain again… I need to do this” Karthik sighed, gave him a service gun and they left to meet with the informer.
Aditya, Karthik and there other officers reached the said place, the informer who was in the vicinity gestured them through his eyes the exact house where a girl was kept captive. The officers studied the house and saw there men on the house front guarding the place. They drove off and parked their car a bit far from the place not wanting to alert them. Karthik told the there officers to surround the house from the back while Aditya and him attack from the front. Minutes later they were all in position ready to attack.
Radhika knew that his kidnapper won’t kill her and so she refused to utter a word even though she was hurting from his hands. Malik took a handful of her hair and was almost jarring it off her head when they heard gunshots. In a matter of a flash the door of the room there were in was broke open and two armed men entered. Radhika felt her life had returned seeing Aditya infront of her but soon she was forcefully pulled up and a gun digging on the right side of her head. “put your guns downs or I will blow her brains out” spitted Malik holding her by the neck.
Aditya didn’t hear a thing, all that reached his ears was her sobs, her painful sobs. All his eyes could catch was her pale face, her tied feet and redden spots on her skin that told him the bastard infront of him dared to lay a hand on her. Karthik glanced at Aditya, the look he saw in him was frightening “Adi… No… don’t do anything stupid… Adi listen to me and just put the gun down” he pleaded. Aditya turned his gaze to Karthik and saw him begging him to calm down.
Aditya again fixed his gaze on Radhika, her dangling form in Malik’s hands, he was unknowingly chocking her and she was out of breath. His eyes turned a shade darker, his jaw clenched, his hand holding the pistol was firm.
Malik’s left hand felt like a cold rod held in a deadly grip around Radhika’s neck that went tighter and tighter with each sec. She tried to fight back instinctively terrified of the outcome but her tied feet and her hands tied to her back didn’t help her in putting up much of a struggle. Soon her lungs burned due to the lack of air and her frantic wiggling slowly seized. She felt her body weakening, her breathing stopped. Black dots appear in her vision as her body limped in his unyielding grip. A lone painful tear escaped her eye as darkness slowly took over her sight and…….
Off went the gun.