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 3
Shirin got up and sat on a boulder near the edge of the mountain. Her face was showcasing the fury inside her.
“What do you know about me Rakesh? Do you know how it feels when your brother is dying in your arms, pleading with you to save him but you are too scared to even move. Do you know how it feels to see your parents’ dead right in front of your eyes but you can’t hold them, can’t hug them a last time? Do you know how helpless it feels?”
Rakesh was silent as he let Shirin cry out her tears of frustration.
When she was calm again he spoke. “No, I don’t understand your grief. Neither will I pretend to. But what I do know is, killing innocent people for no fault of theirs is not a right thing to do. Would you have felt satisfied if you had sacrificed the lives of those poor men and women or would you have gone killing others, till you feel that the murder of your family was vindicated?”
Shirin looked at him helplessly.
“What do you want Shirin? Do you want a hundred more young boys and girls like you, out on the streets, seeking revenge? Because when you kill innocent people, you are doing exactly what you had experienced, to the loved ones of those dead. Their children, brothers, sisters, wife, husband will seek revenge, just like you did. An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind but it will not ease your pain.”
Shirin started pacing, wringing her hands in frustration.
“I don’t know Rakesh. Few years back I was restless, every day I had dreams of my parents dying, of my hands bloodied with my brother’s blood. I hated myself for being helpless, for not avenging the death of my family. That’s when I met Rashid Ali, who goaded me on about how Indian Army killed innocent civilians in war. He held speeches, well attended by young men and women, on how Kashmir deserved to be independent and not a bone of contention between two countries. I met other victims of war, who were members of Azad Kashmir and they spoke of how they had suffered and how Rashid helped them to overcome their grief. We were taught how to handle arms and guns. We underwent rigorous physical training and learned how to survive in extreme conditions.
And then I met you Rakesh. You, with your soft words and gentle demeanor captured my heart. My resolve broke. Rashid knew that I was becoming weak in my purpose. And he gave me this mission, this mission to plant a bomb in the IT Capital of India. I knew that backing out would mean irking Rashid’s ire. And Rashid can be a dangerous adversary. In fact I’m sure once he realizes that his mission has been botched, a plan would be hatched to destroy me.” Shirin held Rakesh’s face in her hands.
“I’m scared, Rakesh. I want to know how life with you would be like. I want to know how our children would look like. I want to build a family with you. I want to grow old in your arms. I want to live with you.” The tears streamed down her face.
Rakesh wiped them and kissed her wet cheeks.
“Then you have nothing to be scared of. I’ll be with you every step of your way. I’ll never leave your side, and that’s a promise. Let’s go to the police and confess everything. Do you trust me?”
Rakesh extended his hand forward and Shirin placed her hand in his.
“I would trust you with my life, Rakesh”. Silently they walked away from the sun, setting below the horizon, hopeful of the future that lay ahead of them.