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Kartik Khandelwal

I was driving my black car and Radhika was sitting beside me. The atmosphere was light orange-like and the sun was setting on the right side of us. The road was wide and full of different colored cars. The footpath, in front of the big shops all beside us, was narrow, cemented and full of people enjoying the day. “It’s quite peaceful,” I commented. “… but not for long, unfortunately.”

“Yes,” She replied. “It’s been years since I’ve been into a car so peacefully and relaxed.”

“What do you mean?”

“In TES, we were only allowed to use cars during missions, so it was always a sense of tension because it was the time before the action.”

I laughed. “Good to hear that you like this scene. I used to come here a lot as a kid.”

“Why?”

“The atmosphere… It’s like London or any other country. I mean, it’s so developed that it doesn’t feel like India here. I used to come here, lay on a bench or something, and used to stare at the sky, dreaming about going to London. I still don’t know why, but I had a special place in my heart for London, and that’s why I once even cried in school when the teacher first taught about the British’s invasion of India.”

“Really?” She said with a smile. “London… Now that I think of it, you actually like England a lot, right? Whenever, in college days, we’d talk about going on a trip somewhere, you’d always come up with London.”

“It-It was my dream to get a ride on that big Ferris wheel. Erm, what was its name… Oh yeah, it’s named the ‘London Eye’.”

“At that age, I honestly used to be afraid of heights!”

I chuckled. “It was not that I was not afraid of heights. I used to piss at my pants. I bet I was more afraid of heights, but there was this… this feeling… of just experiencing it once, no matter what.”

“Did you experience it?”

I shook my head. “Nah. The passion died soon after, somehow. I started hating it, and even myself. Just don’t know why.”

“I start to guess that there is a back-story that you just won’t tell.”

I nodded, “You’re a fast guesser right from the beginning.” I looked at her, and she looked at me.

“At last, you’re kind of happy.”

At this, I just can’t control my laughter. “Pfft! Why do you make me feel like I’m some anime protagonist?”

“You wanna know why?” She seriously said. “Because whatever is going on… is no less than any anime.”

I was speechless. I didn’t reply, just continued driving the car. “It’s not. Cases like this do arrive.”

“But none is as strong as The Eye of Suicide.”

“Some people there are even handling Aatank-e-Khan. Don’t you think that is a bigger threat than TES?”

“Aatank-e-Khan sure is a bigger threat, but it’s not as radical as TES can be. Moreover, it’s not on the Indian soil, so we can drive them away anytime they enter the arena. But, TES is totally different. It’s so close to the population. They can destroy the city in literally no time.”

I nodded seriously and said, “Yep, that’s right. They got the whole city, have access to good resources and everything in here is literally in their control.”

“And after seeing you crying that night,” She said. “I’m sure you can’t handle this. Therefore, I’m here.”

“I-I can handle, Radhika. It’s just, I’m kinda--”

“Stop making excuses and console yourself by thinking that there’s no problem with you,” She scolded me. “Now, you’re gonna play with me by your side. Don’t worry about anything else now--I’m here to stop you whenever you feel angry, and I’m here to listen to your problems whenever you feel sad. Got it?”

 

Manish Murthy

I was walking down home by the cemented footpath. On right were the big bungalows which had large green lush grown in front of them, while the other side was the road. I had my backpack hung on my right shoulder and I had my head down on the stone which I was kicking continuously as I walked. I remembered Shekhar’s last words, “Keep your belongings protected, because if they find out about your sister, she’s sure to die. So, keep your phone and other important things safe so that you sister may live. You can even send her off to somewhere far away from the city.” I moved my hands inside my pocket and commented, “Yes, my phone’s still inside.”

Suddenly, I looked some homes away, at a house which had white-colored cotton sheets spread inside the ground outside the house and used as roof of the lawn upwards too. Everyone was wearing white clothes as they walked inside the house. “At some point, when Shekhar asked me if they deserved such a death, I thought that actually they did. At last, none of them noticed me. They only cared about their eldest son and daughter. I always felt insecure and lonely in front of them.” I looked at the people crying and giving their condolences as I thought, “I never lost my parents, I just never had them.”

 

Kartik Khandelwal

“Thanks a lot, Radhika,” I replied. “… for being with me.”

“It’s my duty, idiot!” She slapped me in my head. “Don’t make me feel like some Goddess here!”

“Argh! It hurts!” I scratched my head.

“By the way, best of luck.” I looked at her again. “I hope you do good in the discussion, and bring back some good news.”

I looked at the road and said, “I’ll do my best. At last, I can’t see more deaths in front of me.”

“Oh, they will die, and that’s for sure,” She said. “But we needa keep them alive until the final battle, at least.”

“The final battle?”

“There obviously would be a time when we’ll be standing face to face with the antagonist of the story, right?”

I nodded. “I just hope it to go as smooth as possible.”

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About the author

Dhruv Pabreja

Bio: Just a fifteen year-old trying to make it big in this world through his world of stories.

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