In a Minute (a short story)


Fiction written in July 2011 by,
…shabab khan
* * *
There never seemed to be a
minute to spare. Even on
Sunday. The Aryan family had been to hospital to see their suffering relative, they came back to home to change into jeans and head off to a birthday party for one of their kids’ friends.
*
* *
They had slightly more than 15 minutes to make it. The party was 30 minutes away. Annie Aryan quickly finished wrapping the presents. Annie’s husband, Avi, whose warm, open smile made him younger than his 36 years, pulled up the address on the GPS unit of his new luxury sports car, while Annie buckled the boys into the backseat.
*
* *
Lucky, four, with short dark hair and dimples was a minature version of his brother, Andy, three years older. Avi put the key into ignation and about to start the car, when Annie asked him if he had kept his cell phone.

He hadn’t.

‘Go get it’, Annie said. And Avi opened the driver’s door and through the linking door,
connecting garage with rest of the home disappeard. She and the boys would wait in the idling car. But when Avi didn’t return immediatly, Annie realized he must have been rummaging around upstairs in the bed room, not knowing the fone was in kitchen for she plugged it in charging into the kitchen point.
*
* *
The 35 years old Mom decides to dash in and get the mobile. … “Sit tightly”, she told the boys.
*
The kitchen was just inside the connecting entrance from the garage to the house, so she didn’t take her purse or bother to shut the car door, she’d be back in seconds.
*
* *

She was wrong.

Andy, the elder kid, holding
his Stars War toy gun, asked
his mother to bring one for his younger bro.
*
* *

No time, she told him, “We’re
running late.”
*
* *
It was 1:45pm. A pleasent cool, bright February afternoon in a posh locality of new homes, nice lawns and friendly neighbours.
*
* *

“Got it,” Annie called upstairs
to Avi as she picked up the
mobile fone of Avi from kitchen and turned to go back outside.
* *
*
They were exiting through the garage and approching toward the car in which their kids were bukled into the backseat.
*
* *
When they heard the car’s door slam shut and its engine rev up. . .
*
* *
Had Andy climbed into the
driver seat and somehow
managed to step on the
accelerator? Annie’s black
Honda CRV, a big utility vehicle, parked in the garage, blocked their view.
*
* *

But as they stepped around it, the Aryans saw the car backing out of the driveway.
*
* *
*
. . . A young man, a complete stranger was behind the steering wheel. He stared right at them– but didn’t stop.

“. . .Oh, my God,” Annie
screamed. .

“No, no, the kids. The kids!” Avi Aryan sprinted toward the car, which was wheeling onto the lane outside. “Stop! Stop,” he yelled, trying to block the way with his body.

He couldn’t open the doors — once in gear, the car’s child-safe doors locked. The stranger in his car swung it around and raced away. Annie Aryan was frozen with fright, but Avi charged back into the house to get the keys to their another vehicle– a SUV.
*
* *

By the time he got outside, the car was out of sight. But as he started the SUV, the car came roaring back down the street. The car theif must not have known the way out of locality.
*
* *

“Call the Police,” Avi shouted
to Annie, and then took off
after the carjacker.
*
* *

It was a race between a
hardcore criminal equipped
with ruthless killer instinct and a desperate father with can-do-anything factor.

The game had begun… and
stake were the life and death.

Avi’s black Honda CRV shooted like a bullet, he reached the intersection at the end of the lane in record time.
*
Even Avi was panic-striken, horrified, …yet, he managed to keep his nerves in this nerve-rattling situation for which elite
Aryans have no game plan.
*
* *

He glanced right. No sign of car. He looked left. There they were, almost a kilometer away and disappearing fast.
*
* *
Dialling the police on his cell, he gave the details. “My car’s been stolen,” he yelled. “My kids are in the back seat. I’m chasing after them.”
*
* *
Avi’s car was equipped with Bluetooth, a wireless phone
system designed for hands-
free use set to Avi’s cell
number. He didn’t know it, but his call from the persuing SUV was somehow within range and activatated the system in the stolen car. Strapped into his booster chair behind the bad man. Andy suddenly heard a recording on the speakers:
*
* *

“Dialling 100,” it said. Then a police emergency operator came on.
*
* *

“Delhi PCR, what do u need?”

Next, he heard his dad’s voice telling the operato what was happening. The driver heard it too and said a bad word.

Frightened, but brave enough to fight back, the little boy raised his plastic gun as high over his head as he could inside the car. But the thief glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the child with the make- believe weapon.

“If you hit me with that thing, kid, I’ll shoot you,” he said.

Pulling the SUV to its limit. Avi kept the car, at times going 150 kmph or more, in sight. As it reached a sharp bend, Avi heard the screech of brakes. The car had encircled the bend and come to a stop.
*
* *

For a minute or two car
became disappear as the bend was sharp enuf to keep the steering moving.

When Avi’s SUV reached the point from where he could see the car, he saw, to his surprise, that the thief leapt out and ran toward a green Toyota idling by the side of the road. The driver of Toyota, Avi realized, must be an accomplice. For the first time, he got a good look at the person who’d taken his children. He was tall and gangly, no more than a teenager.
*
* *

The desperate father tore across the road to position the SUV between his stolen car and the Toyota. He’d blocked them, he thought. If they tried to get back to the car where his kids were, they’d have to go through him. But he hadn’t counted on what happened next.
*

The carjacker, a teenager
reached into the waistband of his pants and pulled a black handgun. He shot three round in rapid succession. The first shot tore through the SUV’s passenger door, and kept
going, boring thru the centre
console, cutting the corner off a tin of breath mints, then exploding out the other side.
*
* *

The slug struck Avi’s in the right side just above the seat of his pants and exited on the left, several inches below his waist.
*
* *

The shock of the bullet tearing thru his flesh felt almost like a punch. Or may be he was so pumped with adrenaline that the pain simply didn’t register.
*
* *

The second shot pierce the
SUV’s rear passenger door
panel.. ‘ The third shot blew out a tyre. Avi’s hit the accelerator hard, squelling down a side road to the left about 10 meters past shooter.
*
* *
*
He watched in the reviewing mirror. Would they come after me?
*
* *

A split second later on the main road was the green Toyota. Speeding up.

Avi threw his vehicle in
reverse and wheeled back to
his boys. Though Avi was bleeding profusely he ran desperatly toward his car. He opened the car door to take his kids into his arms.

The backseat of car has
nothing. There were no Andy
and Lucky, his heart sunk… he felt his legs are bending. . . due to blood lose and extreme mental stress he fell on the ground. . . realizing the crook has won . . . made him unconscious.
*
* *

But. . . before melting within
the black darkness. . .he heard the sound of siren, police vehicles were approching fast. . .
*
* *
Annie receives a call from
Police, “this is PCR, we found your car along with a SUV. Your husband has recieved bullet injury and has been sent to hospital for medical attention. And, there is no sign of your kids,” and the phone was dead.
*
* *

How was it possible?

Terrifying images collided in her mind, one after another. Had they thief hurt them too?

Or, was it a plan to extact
ranson? Or, was there an old business rival who wants
indulgances seeing Aryans in
worst condition. .
*

There was complete silence.

No news, whether good or bad, about kids. Two days had passed like two decades. Avi had been discharged from hospital. Both were at home, but they were suddenly became stranger, both Avi and Annie were living in past,
with their kids… and no one
wanted to be disturbed.

A father had lost the game.

A mother stunned; knowing not why God is doing all these odds.

Third day of incident… at 09:20 AM, phone rang. Annie rushed to pick up the fone. It was PCR, it said, “Police… we found two bodies of kids, your given descriptions almost match the bodies. Badly burnt… in deserted Arawali hills around Main road.. do you wanna come up for identification…” the line was on and the Police operator was still speaking but Annie– a mother had no courage to listen anything about her kids brutal murders.
*
* *
All the newspaper, magazines, news channels gave full coverage to the heart- shattering incident happened to Aryans. Media was raising fingures toward Police, imposing irresponsibility on Police. . . and praising bravery of Avi.
*
* *
People were coming in for condolence. . .
**
*
And elderly woman came up
that day, her face was saying all that… she was feeling pity for everything. She sat next to Annie…
“You know God loves your kids thats why. . .”

Annie lost control and burst
into tears…”thats why He kept the souls of our kids. . .we all had listened all these thing since our childhood. Why does God take His loved ones… We love our kids more than God…

Yes, I know I love my kids much more than God. . .

God, u listening. Can you send my kids back to me. . . You can’t..” Annie was crying as though God is standing before of her…

Avi was trying to soothe her . . .but, a mother’s rage over someone, who snatched her sons was genuine. And, no logic, no cause could clear her heart. The reality was that her kids were brutally murdered and nothing else.
*
* *

Nobody could soothe her, not even God.

The woman rose to her feet, came closer to Annie and said, “Annie, we must respect the order of God, He loves . . .”

“O Shut up…,” Annie was
sobbing.

“Mom,” Annie heard.
And, in a jiffy, miracle occoured.
*
She looked toward the entrance, both of them were
standing, smile on their faces.
*
* *
*
“I had been driving and seen
what happened there, when I saw inside the car I found both kids in unconscious state… Car was producing monodioxide, I brought them home and gave treatment, I wanted the Police to be punished for what happened to you should not happen to somebody else thats why I waited till date,” woman rose to her feet and stepped out.

Avi was so overwhelmed, that he wanted to say thanks to that woman …he ran out of doorway to stop the lady. Avi, too, stepped out behind the lady …to his surprise mixed horror… the small garden where door was opened had no sign of lady. The maingate was still locked from inside…

A spell bound father felt his cheeks wet as tears uncontrollably rolled down from his cheeks. His kness bent down and he heard himself, saying… “Thank God !”
*
* *
Annie. . .was wrong.
God knows. . . that a mother
loves her children much more than Himself.
*
Later in an interview Annie
told the press that. . . “you
can’t leave ur kids alone in a
car- even in ur own driveway– for just a minute.”

The minute could turn out to be a nightmare. She was not told a thing about the lady for Avi never ever shared with anybody.
*

Now Police is sweatening to find out whose bodies were actually burnt. . .
*
feedback requested. . .
* * *

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About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media house. Twitter: @khantastix khansworld@rediffmail.com
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