Joined: 13 January 2006
Joined: 13 January 2006
Joined: 13 January 2006
Joined: 13 January 2006
The following 1 member(s) liked the above post:
Joined: 13 January 2006
The following 1 member(s) liked the above post:
Joined: 13 January 2006
So before I start ... This chapter will offer the reason into why Khushi thought Arnav was a monster and also more of a revelation into their past ;). Arnav has given up because he thinks it's for the best.. Remember he didn't want her to be involved with what he does in the first place anyway.
This will be one hell of a chapter with revelations left right and center... And here comes the bit where I increase the pace yet again ;)
P.S. This is a very very long chapter! It's my way of making up for such a late update! Enjoy! xx
P.S.S This chapter is dedicated to Swatim318 for her pestering
Note: all paragraphs in the chapter in italics are flashbacks ;)
Chapter 14 - Captured
Everytime I close my eyes,
It's like a dark paradise,
No one compares to you,
I'm scared that you won't be
waiting on the other side.
- Paradise, Lana Del Rey
"Wait what? Avinaash Mallik was your father?" Aman questioned, skeptical. He took a step closer, almost peering into Arnav's face, "but that means ..."
"That I'm the son of the man that made all of this happen," he cut in, admitting reluctantly to the truth that he wouldn't otherwise dare even whisper in the confines of his own mind.
Aman stared back, his eyes wide, his mouth open, he simply did not know how to react. "Arnav, I just... Oh my God Arnav, I don't know... I don't know what to say. I mean... He was the reason..."
"Khushi's whole family was wiped out, my whole family was wiped out," Arnav finished off for him again, his eyes focused on the distance, his features grim.
"I've heard so much about the Mallik case, about Mr Nayak, all those talks and how he even sacrificed his own family... I oh God Arnav..." Aman was unable to form coherent sentences let alone put his thoughts and feelings into words.
Arnav nodded back, his expression still grim, "and about Avinaash Mallik who betrayed not only his country, but his dearest friend, his whole family, well barr me and Di...I know, it's a lot for anyone to grasp, it was a lot for me to grasp when I finally found out and maybe that's why me and my sister ran away," Arnav stated calmly, not realising that he'd let onto something else that he'd kept hidden for too long.
Aman's head snapped up, "ran away?" He questioned suddenly, "from who?"
Arnav's eyes widened as what he'd said suddenly dawned upon him and he had to blink several times to prepare himself to think straight, but in the end decided to just let it all out, there was no point in hiding anything from Aman.
"From our Nani. Before this all happened my father had told our Nani. She was the one who helped us escape, in the middle of the night, unbeknown to anyone else, without so much as a final farewell... Without so much as a last look at Khushi," Arnav continued to look down at his hands as he spoke, he was ashamed of his cowardly past, of thinking that escaping had been right, of leaving her.
He couldn't stop now, he needed to let everything out and he knew that his words would just continue to flow.
He felt something tapping on his shoulder, no it was someone, he scrunched his eyes further shut, he'd already been awake for so long. Tomorrow is Di's wedding, he thought to himself and quite clearly irritated with the person trying to awake him, tossed around.
The hand grasped his shoulder then and shook him, his eyes snapped open and he jolted upright, his hand knocking off the small silver glass on the nightstand in his haste to turn the light on.
A hand grasped his outstretched arm and he opened his mouth to scream only for the other hand to cover his mouth. His eyes widened and his legs thrashed under the cover as he tried to figure out who it was and what was happening.
"Shhh! Chote it's me, Nani!" He heard his nani's whisper, the jolting beats of his heart slowing immediately as his body slumped back into a relaxed position.
She watched him for a few minutes, in the darkness only alighted through a thin slit of moonlight that dipped in through the slight parting of the curtains. She removed her hand, but hesitantly, making sure to let it hover in front of his face, in case he began to scream again.
"Na.." He began only for her to place her finger on his lips, "shh," she warned once again.
"Nani what's going on?" He whispered this time.
He watched as she took a deep breath in then begin to speak, "I don't have time to tell you much now Chote but we need to leave," she told him as his brows furrowed in return.
"What now?" He whispered back.
"But nani, Di, Di's wedding..." He began, not understanding anything that was being said to him.
"Chote we don't have time to discuss that, your Di's wedding, everything is on a standstill right now. What's important is that I get you and Anjali out of here, right now." She spoke to him with that air of finality of hers and Arnav didn't know what to make of it.
"But mamma? Pappa? Chutki?" He questioned, skeptical and scared now.
"Yes, yes of course, but we can't all go at the one time. So I'm taking you two first and your parents and the Nayak's will join us later, she attempted a smile and he accepted those whispered words and his Nani's smile that he did not notice of not reaching her eyes.
Khushi paced around in her room, she couldn't take this anymore. All of this. Arnav, that woman Angelica, these men that seemed to be after her. Everything.
She fell onto the bed, her head in her hands. She didn't have any tears left or the will to cry anymore, she was exhausted and sick and tired of everything. She tried not to think of it, to put those thoughts out of her mind. She tightened her fingers around her temples, as if squeezing harder would make her forget.
She couldn't believe it, if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes, would never have accepted it, but this was the truth, the unbearable truth. Arnav, her Arnav was a cold-blooded killer, he was not the rescuer of her nightmares. No, he was one of them, he had become them. She brought her knees to her chest, hugging them to her, no wonder he had never attempted to make contact, no wonder he had never attempted to find her.
Her eyes widened as that thought that she'd been stifling for so long finally entered her mind, what if he was in with the men that were after her. She stood up suddenly, adrenaline rushing into her veins as she pondered that thought. It was too much of a coincidence, he had been everywhere that she had been pursued. Sure he had helped her, but for what? Was he working for them? Was he protecting her so that they could finally have her? Was this all a farce?
No! She couldn't believe that. This was her Arnav, her Arnav, the boy that she'd grown up with, the one that had defended her when people had made fun of her, the boy whose feelings she had understood without the need for words. He wouldn't do that to her, would he?
She had to hold onto the lone window in her room for support, her fingers grazing over the smooth cold glass and sliding down to the frame. She tried to take a deep breath in, calm herself but she couldn't. Her memories continued to assault her, pulling and dragging her back into that dark abyss that she badly wanted escape from.
"Chutki! Chutki! Chutki wake up! Wake up!" She heard her mother scream as if from a distance, the severity and loudness of her voice dampened down by sleep.
She put her hand out and tried to push her mother away, she was exhausted. She had spent the whole day over at the Mallik's, helping them prepare for Di's wedding. "Amma let me sleep," she muttered sleepily, trying to turn over to the other side.
"Chutki!" Her mother grabbed both her shoulders then and pulled her upright.
"Amma?!" Khushi questioned in return, quite clearly taken aback, her brows furrowing further as she noticed the tear tracks on her mother's face, "Amma?" She questioned again, placing her small palm on her mother's cheek.
Manyati ran her hand over her daughters, cupping it in her grasp as she tried to prevent further tears from escaping her, her eyes pooling with unshed tears. "Chutki, I'm going to need you to be strong okay?"
Khushi didn't understand, she got out of her bed and kneeled next to her Amma, trying to grasp the situation but failing miserably. "Amma, I don't understand..." She began to mumble when Manyati suddenly placed her palm over Khushi's mouth, "shhh Chutki," she whispered and turned her head around, it was almost as if she was listening for something else that Khushi just could not figure out through the haze of her confused thoughts.
Hugging Khushi closer to her body Manyati took a few more deep breaths in then looking both ways let her go. "Chutki I want you to help me push your bed a little," she instructed her daughter.
"But why?" Khushi questioned suddenly, she didn't want to let on that she and Arnav had both figured out the small chamber underneath her room, hidden under the rug and locked shut. She didn't want to admit to her mother that they had already broken the lock and explored the place.
"Chutki!" She shouted, then calmed herself down, now was not the time for an outburst. "Chutki, just do as I say, I'll explain later," she tried to reassure her. As much as she didn't want to, she recognised the uneasy desperation in her mothers eyes and sighing stood up to push the large bed over.
"Nani where are we going? Di why don't you say something?!" Arnav exclaimed as his nani held onto his hand and ran in front of him and his sister held onto his other, following them.
"Chote, I did! She won't tell me!" She shouted from behind slightly out of breath.
His half tied shoes tripped over a stone and he stumbled, but even before he could regain his balance his Nani yanked him further forward. Anjali's hands went around him, breaking his fall as Nani looked back for the slightest of seconds.
"Chote watch out will you! We don't have time!" She screamed then turned back around, attempting to accustom her ageing eyes with the darkness.
"Nani!" He tried to complain when he felt a soft squeeze on his hand, he looked back quickly, catching the slightest of smiles on his sisters face.
"It'll be fine Chote, just give it time and we'll figure something out," she attempted to reassure him but he knew that her words were only a mask to hide the fear that she was nurturing inside, the fear that he shared. There was something very wrong and he could feel it in the pits of his heart, flowing through his every vein. Why was Nani taking them away on the night before his Di's wedding? His fingers involuntarily loosened and Devyani had to grip tighter in order to not lose him. Suddenly, he just wanted to break free and run back, he had this unnerving feeling that he would never see any of this again.
He turned around quickly, to see the high window of Sheeh Mahel looming behind, then in front of it, its ajar, black gate, both inviting, yet foreboding at the same time. He squinted at the small light coming through his parents window; that meant that they were still up and before he could stray his eyes further to the right, to the house that he was all too fond of, he heard the very first gun shot of that night.
Khushi felt her heart stop for a minute then stutter back into life, she was sure she had heard it. She recognised that sound, her eyes were wide and terrified now, her fingers shaking against the soft skin of her mother's shoulders as Manyati tried to push her into the little chamber.
Khushi protested against her mothers hold, trying to run away, back out of her room and onto the inner balcony but her mother's hold was too tight.
"Amma! Amma! What was that? That was a gun!" She screamed, flailing her arms and legs about in her attempts to break free but Manyati was equally as adamant.
She shook Khushi, grasping her by the shoulders, her fingers burning bruises on her fragile little daughters skin. She shook her until she looked up.
Khushi remembered looking into the depths of those vivid hazel eyes for the last time, they had been the same colour as hers; hazel with tinges of brown. She closed her eyes, trying to block the next memories off but Arnav's actions had given them a new life and she was sure she would not be able to shut them out this time.
"Chutki! Listen to me! You are staying in there! You are to stay in there till someone comes and gets you!" She explained. "Do you understand?"
Khushi furrowed her brows, none of this was making sense and she wasn't able to process her thoughts over the hammering of her heart in her chest, "till someone, but what about you?" She had tears in her throat now, what were her parents doing and who had been shot?
Manyati closed her eyes for a second, gulping down her tears, she brushed her little girls stray hairs back, looking at her innocent face one last time, "Chutki, I want you to know that no matter what happens, what anyone says, your Babuji and I have and will always love you," she murmured, taking a moment to kiss her forehead, let her tears seep into her skin. "Now I need you to be strong, always, never give up and keep fighting, because you are my little fighter." Tears sprang into Khushi's own eyes and she looked on unable to fathom a thing.
"Now I want you to hide in here, I want you to not come out until someone comes and gets you, please Chutki promise me, tumhein meri kasam."
Khushi nodded slowly, large, wet tears streaming down her face and her large hazel spheres were the last thing Manyati saw before she closed the latch.
Arnav tried to pull away and break free. He had to go back, he had to save his family, save Chutki, from whatever tragedy was occurring right now in his house, he needed to go! Something was wrong, his Chutki was in trouble and he had to save her.
"No! No! Let me go! Let me go!" He cried, fighting his Nani who now held him, kicking his legs about in an attempt to get back.
"Chote stop it! Stop it! We must keep going!" His Nani shouted, but he wasn't willing to listen! "Let me go Nani! Otherwise something will happen to Chutki!" He screamed but to no avail.
The blood curdling cry rang through her ears, her head shot up and she clambered up the ladder.
"Promise you won't open this," she didn't have time for promises! She pushed against the wood, her strength not enough to open it completely. She tried to watch through the little slit of an opening, her eyes widening instantly.
Manyati struggled against the two men as one grabbed her neck and the other her hair. Another man entered then and Khushi tried with all her might to open the latched door.
"Where are the children?!" The man exclaimed, his voice gruff and hoarse.
Manyati shook her head, trying to back away from him.
He took a hold of her neck and brought her face closer to his, "I asked you a question! Where are the children?!" He exclaimed, causing her to wince back in pain.
"I don't know," she mumbled back almost incoherently.
He tightened his hold further, "I'm only going to ask you one last time," he warned, "WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?!"
"I DON'T KNOW!" She screamed back using up every ounce of courage she had.
Khushi struggled harder, pushing and shoving against the wood.
The man brought a gun out from his pocket as one of the other men forced Manyati's mouth open. He stuck it inside.
Khushi closed her ears, tears streaming down her face, hiding her face in her lap, she could to this day, still hear that bullet echo in the confines of her mind.
"So let me get this straight, you guys hid? In an underground chamber? For three days?" Aman questioned, jumping down from the table top and walking towards Arnav.
Arnav nodded slowly, "and that's when I figured out that this had all be pre-planned," he looked up, for the first time since he had started and it only took Aman a second to notice his bloodshot eyes. "It may have been planned in a hurry, but it was all ready and clearly evident that Di and I were the only ones supposed to be saved."
"But then... Khushi?" Aman questioned, placing his hand on Arnav's shoulder.
He looked up towards Aman, unshed tears glistening on the brims of his eyes and shook his head slowly, "I don't know, I didn't get a chance to go back there till very later on," he admitted, his voice dry and cracked in places.
Aman watched him for a few seconds longer, he was sure that he did not know how to react. Arnav knew everything about Aman but Aman had never known the true story to Arnav's past and now he knew. His story was haunting and he didn't know how people survived a tragedy like that or even how they got over it, if they ever did.
"Man, I wish I could say I understand..." He began.
Arnav nodded slowly then patted Aman's shoulder, "Aman I don't expect you to understand, in fact even I don't," he concluded finally, standing up then walking away towards the far corner of the room.
"But Arnav..." Aman hated to ask, but he needed to know, he wouldn't be able to help his friend otherwise. "How did all of this happen in the first place... Did you ever find out?"
Arnav turned back around, formulating his thoughts once more when his mobile began to ring, frowning he picked up what seemed to be a blocked number.
"Hawk! We have a situation! Warehouse 22 in twenty minutes!" The voice at the other end was urgent and a wave of panic ran down Arnav's spine.
"What? Now?" He questioned, already checking the cartilage oh his gun and signalling Aman to do the same.
"Yes Hawk, Shyam wants the plan to go ahead as soon as possible. He has an emergency shipment coming in and it will be there in twenty minutes," Arnav couldn't believe his ears.
"Get NK!" He mouthed then went over to collect his rifle.
"How is he getting the supplies in twenty minutes, why was I not made aware?" Arnav demanded, clearly pissed off by this new turn of events.
"I don't know!" The man on the other end exclaimed then quietened his voice again, "just get here before he gets his hands on the stuff and expect a call soon! He's recruiting again," the man at the other end warned then ended the call.
"What guys? What the hell is happening?!" NK exclaimed, sliding into the chamber then reaching for his own guns.
"We have a situation! NK! You and I are heading over to Warehouse 22! Aman get the other guys ready and over ASAP! We have an alpha 1 situation!" He shouted instructions as he collected the things he needed.
Aman rushed over and collected his external hardrive and laptop. "f**k Arnav! I did not see this coming!" He exclaimed, slightly ashamed that he had not been able to foresee this.
"It doesn't matter! No one saw it coming! Now hurry up we have twenty minutes!" Arnav exclaimed then walked out with NK in tow.
He stopped at the door before leaving, "Hari Prakash, lock the door to Khushi's room and leave it locked until I get back," he instructed then ran out.
Khushi paced her room, she could still remember the splatters of blood on the walls, the erruption of gunshots, some simultaneously, some at different intervals, they all still rang through her, echoed through her mind as if it was still happening. She knocked her back into the wall and felt her back hit something. She turned around suddenly, her eyes wide as she explored the surface of the wall.
Her fingers scratched across the edges, along what seemed to be a thicker coating of paint, she bent down, bringing her eyes level to the paint, noticing the small cracks at the edges. She ran her nail through a crack, then along what seemed to be a ridge, watching the paint flake off onto her fingers.
She scrambled back for a second, surprised, then went and touched the paint again. She ran her nail through the top ridge. It seemed to be large enough to let a person in. She began scratching at the paint then, till a layer of it scraped off, revealing a wooden opening, as if to a cupboard then a little wooden button on the right side; embedded into the wood.
She pushed it, all of her previous thoughts fleeing out of her mind as her mind occupied itself onto the situation on hand. She jumped back suddenly as the door swung open, revealing what looked like a human sized tunnel within it.
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