It was a chilly morning with the sun just peering through the hills,
its rays nascent. Cynthia sat at the porch ready for her sojourn to the bench
by the lake. It was strange but that bench, the view of the lake protected by
the hills, always had a calming effect on her. She could almost breathe in the
old forgotten scent of serenity; which she had once experienced with Sam by her
side. She, his pristine lake and he her mighty hill but now without him all she
had was an enormous void.
“It’s been a year now that you are gone. But I can still hear those
shots and feel the nudging silence that you left behind. But Sam I’ll avenge
your death even if it takes time. I promise.” she thought while turning her engagement ring
in circles around her finger.
It was a year to
the day since she had escaped death. Nobody knew who she was in this part of
the world and she intended to keep it that way. For them she was just Mili J. But how long could that be since
she needed to get out and do something about the people who pushed her to this
life. Absentmindedly she stroked the cover of the little red book in her hands.
It was the key to bringing her perpetrators down. She was ready to step out of
the house when her phone suddenly rang jolting her out of her reverie.
It was from the
only person in the world who knew that she was still alive. Banerjee Uncle, her
father’s friend and her guardian after his death, the only person she still trusted.
He called her once every month to know if she was well and also inform her
about the world she had left behind.
“Hello? Uncle? ”
she said. It was not every day that she spoke to anyone else other than
herself. The boy at the grocery store a few days a month perhaps; her maid too
and the teller at the bank but no one who actually knew her or what she had
“Cynthia. How are
you my dear?” he asked. Banerjee Uncle would take great care in calling her.
Since he was her legal guardian there were chances that he would be followed or
his phone traced to track her. So he made sure never to call from the same
place or same number twice. He made sure that he was not the one who gave away
“I’m doing alright
uncle. How are you? Any news?” she asked unable to tame her anxiety.
“Right to the
point as always Cynthia” he chuckled. “It’s nice to hear your voice you know.”
“Actually I …” was
all she managed before he spoke again.
still have no clue as to where you are but yes they have not given up yet. They
know you are behind the leaks leading to the arrests or the controversies.
Fear, that’s what driving them and that’s a strong emotion. Coming to the
point, your latest leak managed to get one of their men but the shark is still
“I had expected
atleast this leak to hit him hard!” she said as if dejected. But deep down she
knew it well that it wouldn’t be that easy to hit him.
Cynthia had been
sending details of dubious dealings by officials of the bank she used to work
for, Triage Bank Ltd, to Uncle Banerjee for a few months now. He with the help
of his contacts would plant anonymous tips or create media leaks with the aim
of causing trouble for the bank. But none had so far been effective to the
extent Cynthia had intended. She could have gone to the police but the last
time she had done that, Sam had lost his life and she had had to run for hers.
“As impossible as
it sounds your testimony is needed to hook that fish Cynthia.” he said as if he
had just read her thoughts.
“But they would
kill me the moment I come out of hiding Uncle. I don’t trust the system anymore,
you know that!”
Her uncle was
right though. What she had seen and the proof she had along with her testimony
could seal the fates of the ones responsible for her plight. But it was the
Indian Investigating agencies, Courts and on top of that the influence of a
powerful bank in question, while she was just a woman on the run. And this fear
stopped her from approaching the authorities for help again.
we’ll get there. By the way have you kept the book safely?” he said sensing the sadness in her voice.
“Yes! It’s always with
that is the key. I’ll wire you the money soon. With their sleuths all around it’s
getting difficult by the day. You take care and be safe.”
“I have emailed the
details you requested for” Cynthia said to Mr. Mortley, the Managing Director
of Triage Bank Ltd, as she sat down in his cabin with several other stake
holders for a weekly update meeting. Mr. Mortley was from the United States but
had settled in India for over seventeen years now. Being the head of one of the
largest banks in the country, he had a charismatic personality and looked
debonair in his Armani suits.
Cynthia had risen through
the ranks meteorically through her dedication. Though many attributed the rise
to her looks but she ignored them. She knew very well how hard she had worked
for everything. And there she was after 6 years with the company in a meeting
with the Managing Director. Fortune had truly favored her.
“Cynthia I want
you to travel to Delhi with me. We have a conference there and I want you to be
part of the delegation.” Mr. Mortley told her.
“Sure. When do we
fly?” One of the reasons for Cynthia’s success had been her never say never attitude and that included
never saying No as well.
“Sure. I’ll raise
the travel request.” she remarked as they got back to their meeting.
The next morning
they landed in Delhi and made their way straight to the hotel for the
conference. It was there while freshening up when she heard a commotion next
door. It caught her attention as Mr. Mortley was staying in that room. There
were two voices, one his but the other however she couldn’t recognize. It
wasn’t of one from the delegation though.
‘Should I go and check out?’ she thought.
After a few
moments of deliberation, she finally decided to knock at his door. But the
moment she stepped out of her room the door to Mr. Mortley’s room flung open
and a man rushed out. He seemed to have been in such a hurry that he almost ran
into her. He was tall, bearded and had a stone cold look in his eyes. He seemed
distant and violent. For a moment she kept staring at the man as he made his
way through the lobby to the lift. It was then that she turned back only to find
Mortley standing outside his door looking at her.
“Are you alright
Mr. Mortely?” she asked not sure if she should have in the first place.
“Yes. Why would
you ask that?” he shot back trying to conceal the visible anxiety in his voice.
“Uh.. Nothing I
just heard…” but before she could say anything further Mortley spoke.
“We are getting
late. Let’s go” and he began walking towards the elevator.
“What’s going on?” she thought as she
stepped into the elevator with him. As she watched her boss intently, he eyes
suddenly fell on an envelope in his suit, only half of which could be seen. There
was something written in an unintelligible handwriting on it but what caught
her attention was the symbol on it. It was two guns, crossed on a black and red
“I have seen that before but where” she
thought. It was as if she knew where she had seen it but just couldn’t put a
finger on it.
And then suddenly
when the elevator door opened it struck her. She had seen the symbol flashed
across new channels last month when there was a blast in the capital. Yes, it
was the symbol that had become synonymous with over 200 deaths and injuries. It
was the symbol of the dubious terrorist organization which called itself the Treeazej.
A sudden chill ran down her spine and she kept staring at it oblivious to the
fact that Mortely has noticed the change in her face color and also that she
had seen the symbol on the envelope in his pocket.
“Cynthia. Let’s go”
he called out almost in a threatening tone while holding the elevator open and
carefully pushing the envelope completely inside his pocket.
“Yes. Yes let’s
go” she said as she fumbled and tried to make sense of the presence of the
symbol of a terrorist organization in a letter in the pocket of the Managing
Director of one of the largest banks in the world.