Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Chapter 15 - Change The Tides - Part 1

Hi guys! :P *ducks tomatoes and other rotten vegetables*. I am extremely sorry for such lag in updates but you see I was away most weeks, either back at uni or at this outward bound course thing where, yes it's hard believe, but there was no internet. And then now I am finally back home for summer and I seriously just felt like lying out in the sun doing frick all the whole time, because well it's been a difficult year, lots of personal problems and then uni and this time life just got in the way :P. Living away from home takes its toll on you sometime and you just really wanna sit their in the midst of family and do nothing sometimes. Plus, I need inspiration to write and although it was okay straight after IPK went off, now I have to go search for proper old IPK videos :( *sniffle*. But now that it's back over here, I am going to try and update on a regular basis from now on, let's hope I keep my promise this time round :P. 

Now P.S. This chapter is divided into two parts, the first is the transition into the turning point, it took a lot longer than I had imagine and I didn't want to leave you with no Arshi for another chapter. So next update will therefore will mean an overdose of Arshi to compensate. 
Plus, every chapter is written for a reason, so this whole warehouse sequence holds a huge clue too. I'm going to use a quote from the Hunger Games, "you just remember who the enemy is" ;)

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when, in your heart, you begin to understand that there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. 
- J.R.R Tolkein

Khushi wriggled through the last inch of the tiny space, her lungs now heaving for air, the base of her throat burning with desperation. She pushed on the panel at the end with all of her might, almost falling out as it swung open and the sunlight flooded in. She had to scrunch her eyes several times as the glaring rays assaulted her. She felt lost for a second or two before the roller coaster of events that had preceded finally came back to her.

Gulping down air and almost losing herself for a second in the shock of events that engulfed her she crawled her way out, then gripping a tree branch stood up. Her heart was stammering away in her chest, her palms sweaty, her body trembling. She needed to get away. She didn't know where she was and the world was swaying round around her. Her first few steps faltered, her feet slipping against the wet mud as her ankles grazed long weeds of grass. She was surrounded by a forrest, large trees that only looked foreboding, but she had to get away.


The other young men who had already been prepped by NK stood up as soon as Arnav entered the room. His stride was long and powerful, his jaw set in determination. A shipment with such little warning couldn't mean anything good. 

He went straight over to the small table at the very end of the room, making a mental note of the team available with a single sweep of his eyes.

Aman hurried on ahead of him and unfurled the blueprint of the warehouse with the most recent placement of the crates. 

"Right guys I expect NK has already updated you, so let me get straight to the mission at hand," he began, creating an instant hush within the room, his voice holding each and every single one of their attention.

He pointed to the wall behind him as Aman projected the blue print onto the wall, "Varun and I will be positioned here and here," he motioned to two ends of the room on the sheet, circling their spots, "we'll stay put with our rifles and all you have to do is give us aim," he explained. "If we take down the man in charge, his team will become easy targets. We're going to try the disarm and scatter technique this time."

Arnav finally looked up, letting his eyes rest on each and every single one of them as he began to explain to them each of their positions. He was not a man that liked to back down, especially not to Shyam Manohar Jha.


Khushi looked around quickly, as the large foreboding shrubs and trees around her began to thin out, paving their way into flatter ground and then the distant outline of small shacks that she took to be shops. If only she could get to a phone she could contact Payal and find a way out.

She heard the distant hum before she saw it, she was sure of it now, ahead of her was a market place. She looked backwards one final time before she fell into a run, she had to make sure that there was still no one behind her. She tried to put the thought of Arnav, his protective stance and those scorching caramel orbs that in a distant far corner of her mind she still though she recognised aside. He wasn't protecting her, no there could be no way he was protecting her. She'd heard it, seen it in films so many times, how young boys like Arnav had been are taken in by the exact people that ruin them, maybe that was what happened to Arnav.

Khushi's imagination was getting the better of her now, but she was in that vulnerable position where what else did she have left to come up with? Had he really left her any other option. "Okay calm down Khushi," she thought to herself, stopping for a second and taking deep breaths in, maybe she needed to try thinking through everything rationally one more time.

But then, even if for a second she imagined that Arnav was a good guy, what evidence did she have? "Khushi you can't prove even to yourself that he might be on the right side... I mean sure he saved you, sure he shot a man down so that you'd be safe, but he could have just done all of that to gain your trust," she was talking to herself now, battling out the argument between her fragile heart and her determined mind.

"And then he might not have," she finally sighed. "He might have genuinely wanted to save me and why would he kill one of his own men?" Her mind was whirring around in her head and her head was throbbing, she needed to get away and just think. "Devi Mayya now only you can show me the way," she sulked.


"Aman I need you to head back and lead us through all of this alright?" Arnav questioned as he checked his rifle then put on his bulletproof vest.

"Got it dude, don't worry I've got your back," he reassured Arnav, patting his back just as NK walked over, checking his own gun for bullets.

"This Shyam has ruined my sleep guys. What is wrong with him? How the fuck does one man have so much shit?! Like how is it possible to get a shipment in this quickly?" NK began to complain. "I mean look guys, I've even begun to get dark circles under my eyes," he continued to complain.

Arnav smirked, shaking his head whilst Aman trying as much as he could to stifle a laugh burst out into one anyway. "NK you're such a woman! I really wonder how your naasuk haath even manage to hold a gun," he chuckled as Arnav joined in.

"Laugh all you want guys, but I'm telling you, once we get this Shyam asshole, I'm going to be the first to drill holes in him. Like I'm losing sleep over this man," he finally finished off then walked away in another direction.


Khushi quickly jumped onto the pavement as a car raced past her, missing her only by inches. She had to put her hand to her heart as it continued to hammer away, even the slightest of noises putting her on edge. "Hai Devi Mayya! Help me!" She continued to chant as she finally caught sight of what she was looking for. 


"All eyes on target! I repeat all eyes on target," Arnav's voice echoed through all of the men's head sets commanding their absolute attention. 

"I don't want a single mistake, a single man down," he exclaimed into his mouth piece. "We shoot, we destroy and we get the hell out of here, is that understood?" He finished off as the rest of his team nodded silently, taking a final second to take up their positions. 

"Target approaching, I repeat target approaching," Aman's voice came through the ear piece causing Arnav to immediately jump into action. His practiced hands already tightening and aiming the rifle in the man's direction, his eyes immediately widening of their own accord. "Fuck what's happening?" He whispered to himself as Aakash quickly stepped into the premises with a number of Shyam's men obediently in front and behind him.

"What's that Arnav?" NK whispered back as Arnav gulped loudly, something was wrong. "Guys hold your fire, hold your fire," he requested, trying to gain time to think.

"What?" NK questioned back, clearly confused. "Arnav, we're going to run out of time," NK added, looking left and right still trying to decide on the best strategy forward, was Arnav going insane?

Aman however sensed Arnav's apprehension immediately, something was wrong. Zooming through the cameras inside of the warehouse he quickly began to type furiously on his keyboard, attempting to hack into the cameras positioned outside of the warehouse.

Arnav watched, lying on his stomach, his finger still tight on the rifle trigger as Aakash slowly approached the far end doorway, waiting for someone to approach him. He could feel it in his every bone, something was wrong.

"Got it!" Aman exclaimed to himself just as he witnessed what was coming and his heart sank in his chest.


"Please bhaiyya I don't have any money on me, please," Khushi begged the man at the phone box, "I only need a minute, she'll call me back, I'll pay you back," she continued to plead as the burly old man with the gentle face continue to watch her in confusion. She'd been there for near enough 10 minutes now, pleading him to let her talk, for a mere minute with her sister. She said she was in trouble, that she needed help.

He was used to this sort of thing, this was a daily ordeal that he had to deal with but there was something different about this young girl. He tried to find something, anything to hint him of her true motives but could only find sincerity in her eyes so he eventually gave in.

Nodding quickly he stopped her mid-conversation as she continued to blabber on rapidly. "Okay, okay fine, I'll give you five minutes, that's it," he finally told her.

Khushi's eyes widened and it took about a second for his words to actually reach her and she couldn't even stop herself from jumping up for joy. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" She continued to shout as she finally stepped into the phone box, pressing on the one number that was carved into her memory in a second.


Arnav peaked out from behind the large crate he was hiding behind suddenly, quick and subtle enough for only one man to notice, there eyes meeting and the message flitting between in a second. It was like lightening had struck, his whole team was here and he had brought them here. "Damn it!" He cursed to himself, his mind already miles ahead as it tried to process a route out of the godforsaken place.

"Abort mission! Abort mission!" He began to shout then.

"What?!" NK had to stop himself from shouting, he looked towards Arnav in frustration. What the hell was Arnav doing?

"Arnav," Aman's voice finally came through the ear pieces, Arnav's voice having jolted him out of the nightmare that he currently saw on screen.

"It's a trap," Arnav finished off for Aman. "We need to get out of here as quickly and quietly as possible," Arnav finally stated.

"But Arnav..." NK tried to reason but couldn't find the words within him, what exactly did he even mean by trap?

Aman let out a loud sigh, "Arnav this isn't going to be easy... They've... They've got us surrounded," he finally managed to get out as Arnav pinched his brows together. He'd suspected as much.

NK on the other hand took out his other gun, just as another two of the team joined him, "well then guys, we'll just have to fight it," he stated, "it's do or die!"


"Hello?" A tear trickled down Khushi's face, she couldn't even find the words to reply to Payal's hello. How long had it even been since she'd last heard her jiji's voice? Probably only a day or two but it still felt like centuries. So much had happened that she was sure she couldn't even remember the contours of Payal's face properly.

"Jiji..." She finally managed to choke out just before she broke down, the receiver hugged tightly to herself as her sobs loud and unrelenting continued.


"NK are you stupid?!" Arnav demanded, "our whole team is here, we are going to get slaughtered!" He exclaimed, letting his eyes meet NK's equally determined ones.

"Well what are we just going to let them have us without a fight?!" NK demanded back.

"Shut up NK!" Aman's voice came through the headpiece this time. "This isn't time for arguments or for you to come up with your hero wali antics. Everyones head is on the line!"

"You got a better plan then tech boy?" NK retorted back, he was clearly frustrated and if Arnav didn't come up with a better plan soon enough, NK would break off and do his own thing for definite.

"Enough!" Arnav growled finally, "we need to get out, not stupidly go off and try and shoot what could be the double of us, sure some of us would get out alive but not all of us. And the ones that would get out alive would probably end up injured, pushing us and this mission back by days, by which time Shyam will have had the opportunity to do what he had planned in the first place." He was speaking his mind now but it was having the desired effect, it was hitting home and no one could argue with the facts he was laying out in front of him.

"Now Aman, can you check the latest map, are there any other routes in barr the one we came through and the one Shyam's men came through?" Arnav questioned as Aman quickly began to tap away at his keyboard, scrolling his mouse in every direction in hopes of finding something, anything at all.


Shyam's eyes narrowed then widened as a slow wicked grin began to carve its way upon his lips. He clasped his hands together as he finally began to chuckle then grabbing onto the keyboard pounced forward towards his monitor.

"This my darling is what you call killing two birds with one stone," he remarked as he burst into a full throttle manic laugh  then began to trace his finger through the jagged spikes that appeared on his screen. Her voice was like a melody to his ears, exactly the same, maybe even a little bit sweeter than what rang through his ears every waking hour. But he would be complete with her nonetheless.

Not letting his eyes leave the screen even for a split second he dialled Aakash's number. "Aakash, send the men that we have outside to the address that I'll text you. I believe today is the day all of my worries end. And Aakash?"

"Yes sir?" Aakash's voice came back through the speaker, surprisingly devoid of any emotion. "Finish all of them off too. This time I don't want any mistakes."


Aman's head snapped up as soon as he heard Shyam's voice, a slow wave of calm spreading through him as it continued only to be replaced with panic the next second.

"Prioritise Aman, prioritise. What would Arnav want you to do?" He mumbled to himself, besides he didn't really know what was going on in Shyam's head and what problems he was talking about, he had to tackle the problem at hand before he began to brainstorm.

"Arnav, we've got leeway," Aman could hear the silence echoing through his own ears, every member of his team was counting on him.

"The men outside of the warehouse are leaving, if we can find a way to..."

"Why are they leaving?" Arnav cut him off, his curiosity getting the better of him.

"Erm... I don't actually know. I thought I'd..." Aman began to explain.

"Okay, never mind, I guess we'll have time to find out later. In that case we shoot," Arnav cut Aman off once again, taking over. "Varun and I will take lead. Varun you take the two in front, I'll take the two behind," he instructed.

"Affirmative," Varun confirmed from his position.

"NK I want you guys to shoot the remainder but keep Aakash alive," he finished off.

"What Arnav, why would we keep..." NK began, clearly not impressed nor able to comprehend that particular part of Arnav's instructions.

"NK do what I'm telling you for now, I'm sure there will be plenty of time for explanations if we get out alive," Arnav finally warned, already in preparation of assessing his targets.

"Done!" NK finally gave in, clicking his own gun back into the game.

"All teams on three," Aman finally joined back in, "the men outside are as good as gone, so just take these fuckers out," he added, attempting to encourage the team a bit more.

"Right let's do this," NK added, sighing then aiming.


The four men that stood at each side of Aakash seemed to fall all at once to the ground with loud thuds, each echoing through the expanse of the warehouse. He already knew what was going on, that Shyam had made a grave mistake on his part by sending the outside team away. But he didn't waste anytime and before anyone else in his team even had the chance to blink their eyes, he was gone, behind a crate, waiting for the coast to clear off.

What ensued next was less of a battle and more of a shower of bullets, Aakash hadn't gone to the liberty of prepping his team. They were all familiar to the art of killing but slightly on the thick side and so by the time they had time to aim, most of them were already crumpling down to the ground.

"Aakash is gone, the bastard!" NK growled under his breath as a knowing smirk spread over Arnav's face, he let it rest however only for a fraction of a second, regaining control of the situation rapidly.

"Right guys, starting with Varun at the very end position, start making your way out the same way we came in. NK and I will take care of whatever is left here. Good work!" Arnav finished off as he waved them all off. His mind already occupied with how exactly this whole mission failed. But it only made one thing clear, Shyam was onto them as much as they were onto him, it was time to fire up the game.

"Are you going to blow up the place or will I?" NK's voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he had to take a minute before he let himself reply. "It's been a long day, I'll do it, you go on ahead and make sure everyone's alright," he tried to be as subtle as possible and was glad when NK too began to move away without complaint.

With the small grenade already grasped within his hand he dialled the number, "well that went horribly wrong," he said into the phone as he began to put his rifle away.

"Saved by Shyam's idiocy," the man on the other end replied.

"You bring me up to date tomorrow," Arnav warned chuckling back in reply.

"And you and that idiot NK get yours arses back into Shyam's den, before this goes even more fucking wrong," the man on the other end warned back.

"Right I'm heading out... So if you want to err... Head out too?" Arnav hinted as the call ended and he looked to it smiling. Shyam would never be aware of the connections they actually had.


Khushi walked over slowly to an almost deserted Jalebi stand. Jalebis, they hit a chord somewhere. His face appeared before her eyes suddenly, and this time she was fighting very hard to erase his memories as tears began to involuntarily stream down her face. He had still remembered, she could remember that night now, when he had driven her to this secluded house and not hurt her, in fact she hadn't for once felt like he would actually hurt her, so was she doing the right thing?

The bus for Delhi would leave in half an hour and she would then return safely home, never to see him again? What if she actually didn't see him again? Was that what she really wanted. No she felt that thought tear a part of her off inside. How long had she waited to see his face again? Believed that he was still alive?

"Stop it Khushi! You can't go back even if you wanted to now!" She tried to console, explain to herself, because she couldn't. She had no idea where that house he'd kept her in was. And for the first time since leaving she had the very real, unnerving feeling of well and truly being in danger. What if the alternative was actually the truth? What if Arnav was actually trying to save her? Then was she really safe? Anywhere?

She gulped audibly, thinking about that, the very feeling causing the hairs on her arms to raise. And that's when she heard it, the first tell-tale shuffle of footsteps behind her, she didn't have to think twice to know it was for her.


"I don't even understand what the fuck that was," NK began to complain as soon as he was in the jeep, clearly enraged by the events that had just taken place.

"It was Shyam getting back at us," Arnav replied calmly.

NK looked to Arnav cocking up an eyebrow, the serenity in him pulling NK up short, "and what exactly makes you so calm about it? You do understand we could have had our fucking brains blown out in there?" NK exclaimed, clearly not impressed.

Arnav turned his head to meet NK's inquisitive eyes, a small smirk spreading across his lips, "I guess I'm just thankful we weren't," he tried to make it as believable as possible as he turned back to focus on the road.

"Yeh whatever," NK finally replied after watching him for a few seconds, something was not right.

And Arnav truly was thankful but more than anything else, he was so calm because he could tell of the storm that would ensue. That the enemy was onto them as much as they were, and somehow that only excited him more, because for the first time in this war, he felt he held the upper hand.

His phone ringing suddenly snapped him out of his thoughts, he looked to it raising an eyebrow, what the hell was it now?


Her foot slipped on the tarmac, as her next step blew up a cloud of dust, and she blindly began to run away, not even bothering to check back to see who was after her or if anyone was after her at all.

She was panicking, she shouldn't have run away, should have confronted him, she had to scrunch her eyes shut for a second to just force herself to focus.

But she knew she was too late as a rough hand made a grab for her arm, twisting it the next second behind her. She yelped in pain as she began to kick at her pursuer but to no avail as she felt a painful blow to the side of her head, causing her to scream out for help.

She blinked several times, gulping in large bouts of air, trying to stay in control but she was falling to her knees, the world around her quickly swaying and blurring out of view. She could feel the energy drain out of her, her resolve weaken as darkness ebbed into her already distorted view, vicious eyes and yellow corneas were the last things she remembered seeing.


Arnav's vehicle screeched to a halt, his heart pounding away in his chest as he slammed on the breaks. Panic overtook him completely. How did this even happen, she was supposed to be in his house, safe, away from all of this till he could have properly sorted everything out.

"I don't know how it happened, but Khushi is on the way here," the voice on the other end explained as the colour drained off of Arnav's face, his phone slipping from his grasp. This was all going so horribly wrong.

NK watched him in confusion as Arnav slumped back against his seat.