Note: To read the previous chapter, please click here.
He was burned, so he ran into the bamboo grove, but the grove caught fire.
-a Punjabi proverb
~The Burning Bamboo Grove~
A lone figure sits in the dark office cubicle, with only his lamp desk turned on as his guide in the dark. He rummages through old newspaper clippings and mug shots of various criminals.
Detective Terry sips on coffee and smokes a cigarette, occasionally muttering something to himself. His cubicle is cluttered and opposite him is a poster of Maradona lifting the World Cup.
He flips through pages and photos. He seems indecisive. He seems astounded.
The he picks the phone receiver and rings a number.
“John? John you there?” A few seconds pass as the person on the other end of the line replies.
“Listen. It’s not over yet.” Terry puffs, sips on his coffee and flips a page or two and then continues, “The Mafia got themselves a successor”
It rained as a figure ran across the street toward a black car waiting at the side of the road. The wet figure then stops running and starts walking briskly as the passenger at the back seat winds down the window.
“Boss.” the wet figure pants as he approaches the car. He stops for a moment or two to catch his breath. “We’ve found him.”
“Good” the back seat passenger replies. He lights a cigarette, takes a puff and then continues, “Do what’s necessary.”
The figure nods and runs across the street, followed by another figure who was waiting for him across the street. The both of them climbed up the staircase of the apartment that was adjacent with the sidewalk that they were on.
Two gunshots are heard.
A few quick moments later, the figures run down and crossed the street again. They run toward the black car, towards their boss bearing good news.
“We’ve killed him boss” the both of them said.
“Well done.” the back seat passenger replies and waves them off. The both of them nod and run off to their respective cars at the other end of the block. The back seat passenger waits for a moment or two and then taps the shoulder of his driver.
The driver steps out from his car, brings out a rifle and kills both o the running figures.
The heavy rain deafened the gun shots. No one knew that someone has just been shot in their neighborhood.
The back seat passenger then steps out from the car slowly and makes his way towards the apartment. His driver keeping a close watch of him from a safe distant.
The passenger walks up the staircase and knocks on the first door on his right.
A Punjabi lady opens the door.
There was a moment of silence as the backseat passenger observed the lady and the lady observed him. Then he breaks the silence, “How come you’re not crying?”
The lady stammers and tries to reply something when a voice is heard from the kitchen.
“Who’s that Rani?” It was a sound of a man.
The lady froze. The backseat passenger smiles. “Who the fuck is that Rani?” the voice shouts again.
A fat man appears at the door, shirtless with only his shorts on. He’s munching on his sandwich. The moment he comes face to face with the backseat passenger, he too froze. The sandwich drops from his hands.
“Hello Balbir” the backseat passenger grins.
Balbir moves back, he doesn’t realise there’s a table behind him, he falls over it.
The driver breaks open the door to let death into Balbir’s home.
Jet walks casually but slowly, finds a nearby stool and sits on it. He wipes his wet head and brandishes a gun which he tucked in his coat.
The lady starts sobbing. Balbir sat on the floor, dazed.
“I know they would never kill you” Jet says. “You guys worked as a team to kill my father. It was so obvious.”
Balbir stammers and tries to reply.
Jet raises his hand. “Tonight.” He gets up from the stool, points the gun at Balbir’s face and says, “Tonight, you listen. I talk.” Jet fires a shot.
Balbir’s wife looks away horrified as blood splatters on the wall. Seconds later, another shot is heard.
Moments later, as the faint sound of fire crackling above could grew louder, Jet walked along with the driver casually towards his car. He leans over the door, puffs a cigarette as he watched Balbir’s house on fire.
Crackling of fire. The fury of revenge. The crackling of fire burning through the woods, tiles and ceiling. And that’s when he heard. He thought his ears were playing tricks on him. But as he listened carefully, his doubts were answered. It was a cry of a baby.
Jet puts out his cigarette and runs towards the burning apartment.
Neighbors could be seen running out from the building now. Some screaming. Some confused as they have been awoken from their sweet slumber to a nightmare.
Jet runs up the staircase, turns to the door on his right. He forgot, he had locked it from inside. He could hear the baby wailing from inside of it.
He kicked the door. It didn’t budge. He kicked it again. And again.
Finally the door gave in and Jet poured into the house like a typhoon, his eyes searching for the source of the sound. He walked pass the body of Balbir and his wife. He walked to the first room to his left and there she was, crying in her cradle.
Jetinder stood over her, observed her.
How did he not know that Balbir had a baby? Should he just let her remain where she is?
Without thinking twice, Jet picks up the baby and rushes out from the house.
“Boss you okay?” the driver asks Jet.
“Yeah” Jet lies. He observes the baby. She had fallen asleep on his arms. Such a sweet thing… She didn’t deserve any of this. Every ounce of hatred Jet had for Balbir, vanished into thin air and a wave of distress filled his heart. He hated himself for killing the parents of this innocent baby.
Had he knew Balbir had a baby, he would have spared his wife.
He looked down at the baby girl. She gurgled in her sleep. Jet knew from then on, he had become a father.