I am writing fiction after a long, long break and ‘Love in Times of Terror’ is a short story that I have decided to publish in 4 parts over the next few days. I hope you’ll like it and do leave comments and feedback J
You can read the previous chapter here- Part 1
Inspector Rana listened to the voice on the tape umpteenth time.
“…please don’t take this lightly”. He replayed the whole conversation again but he couldn’t guess if the voice belonged to a male or a female. The person seemed to have intentionally muffled his/her voice. But why would the person refuse to come to the station and talk? Was he or she involved in the attack?
Geetha who was standing next to Rana was nervously swaying from one foot to another.
“Sir, I think we should take some action. I have a gut feeling that this call is not a prank”, she said adding her two cents of wisdom.
Rana scowled at her. The last thing he needed was a bomb threat in his precinct. He looked at his watch. It was already 8. The parking area of the IT Park was spread over several square feet of land. Combing the area for the bomb would be like searching for a needle in a hay stack. A tough task but definitely not impossible. Rana decided to act swiftly.
He placed a call to his senior officers and soon there was a meeting conducted in the station.
Rana barked out instructions to the men surrounding him, after bringing them up to date of the bomb threat.
“Inform the bomb squad to be ready and get the sniffer dogs to start searching the area. We have limited time, since we don’t know where the bomb could have been placed. Check for vehicles. Check for underground drainage running through the parking area. Check for pipes. Check for everything that you lay your eyes on. I don’t need to tell you that this is a major disaster. If the bomb is for real, it has the potential to kill thousands. So be alert and act smart.”
An officer asked him if they could shut down the IT Park and send the employees home.
The same thought had crossed Rana’s mind too, but the calls put to intelligence agencies confirmed that they had not received any terror alerts. So it was only this call that had put the officers on high alert. If this news became public and the threat turned out to be a false alert then they would become the laughing stock. He had to handle this carefully.
“No, we don’t make this news available to public yet and that means no talking to the media. For now, we are just closing down the parking area in guise of maintenance work. Let’s just hope that we get the bomb or this alert turns out to be a joke.”
Rana quickly dismissed the men and took out a cigarette. He had cut down to a pack a day, but this case was already getting on his nerves. He knew that he was walking a tight rope. If the threat was indeed real and he couldn’t locate the bomb then he wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt. He walked inside his office to speak to his seniors again.
Rakesh and Shirin met during their tea break. Although they worked on different floors they always had tea together. Today, some of their colleagues had joined them too.
Rakesh kept glancing at Shirin. He couldn’t believe that a beautiful girl like Shirin had fallen in love with him. The day Shirin had accepted his proposal he had been on cloud nine. He knew that she was lonely and had no one in this world except for him. It made him more protective about her. They had met a year before and last week Rakesh decided that he would propose to Shirin.
He was an orphan too, like Shirin. They acted like anchors in other’s life providing support and comfort. He knew that those beautiful eyes belied the pain and suffering that her heart felt. He wanted to take care of Shirin, he wanted to make her happy, he wanted to wipe the tears off her face forever and put the smile back on her lips.
Shirin caught Rakesh staring at her and smiled a thousand watt grin. Only Rakesh could make her smile like that and it made her love him even more. If that was possible!
As they were heading back to their desk, Rakesh caught Shirin’s hand.
“Hey, so that movie date is still on, right?” quipped Rakesh holding onto her hand.
“Of course, have I ever said no to you”, Shirin said with a slight smile.Both headed back to their desk, happy and content of the future that lay ahead of them.
***You can read the next chapter here- Part 3