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An Incident In The Parking Lot

By Ashish Chawla


Now.


Ayesha is sitting on the floor in a parking lot near her car, her head resting on the door of the driver's seat. She looks numb, emotionless.


~~~


One hour before.


The sound of a car approaching the parking lot can be heard as Ayesha is sitting inside her car, her hands on the steering wheel. She is sweating profusely while looking toward the entrance of the lot. Her hands are trembling.

The car enters inside and halts at a parking spot, a few feet away from Ayesha's car. Ayesha's gaze is fixed over the vehicle that can be seen through the rear-view mirror. She is breathing heavily while sweating. She wipes off the sweat from her forehead and takes her left hand near the dashboard, trying to grab something.

No one gets out of the car for a few seconds. Ayesha is continuously looking at the car with fear in her eyes. Finally, the car door opens, and the driver steps out. He is wearing a mask that is covering his whole face, but not his eyes. He opens the door behind the driver's seat and forces a girl of around eight years to come out. Her hands are tied behind her back, and her eyes are blindfolded. She starts crying, but the man slaps her on her right cheek. He then takes the cloth around her neck, opens her mouth, and inserts the cloth back inside. The girl can be heard muffling. The guy holds her right arm and takes her to the center of the parking lot.

Unknown to Ayesha, her phone starts vibrating, which is kept in the front passenger seat. The time is 2:57 am. There is a duffle bag kept on the same seat.

“Pick up the damn phone, Ayesha!” Vicky murmurs to himself while trying to call her.

Vicky is roaming in the living room in random patterns, his left hand holding the phone to his ear and his right hand on his forehead. A photo frame of Vicky, Ayesha, and that little girl is hanging on the wall in front of the couch. All seem to be happy in the picture. Finally, Vicky hurriedly takes some keys kept on the table near the couch and leaves the apartment.

Back in the parking lot, Ayesha takes her phone and keeps it in the right pocket of her jeans. Next, she takes a gun kept on the dashboard and hides it behind her jacket. She then takes the bag and gets out of the car. The guy removes the blindfold from the girl's eyes. The girl looks at Ayesha and tries to free herself from the man's clutches.

Ayesha looks at the girl. She runs toward the girl, with tears in her eyes, but suddenly stops when she sees the man pointing a gun at her.

“If you want her back, give me the money!” said the man.

Ayesha keeps the bag down and opens it.

“Go back and stand near your car!” orders the man. Ayesha quietly follows his instructions. The man takes the girl near the bag. He sees the bag, which is full of money. He releases his grip on the girl, and she goes running to Ayesha and hugs her, tears rolling down her eyes. Ayesha loosens the rope on the girl's hands and gestures her to be quiet. She then takes out the gun hidden behind her jacket, and slowly approaches the man, pointing the gun toward him.

Vicky is driving at 120 kilometers while still trying to connect to Ayesha, but in vain because of connectivity issues. He looks at his watch. It's 3:13 am.

The guy, who was busy counting note bundles, is startled when he hears a clicking sound of the gun. He looks up to find Ayesha pointing a gun at his head. He slowly raises his hands. Ayesha's hands start trembling. The man smiles, and in a snap, he knocks the gun off her hands and bends it hard. He wraps his left arm around her neck and points his gun on her head from his right hand. Ayesha is struggling to free herself. Her hands are trying to loosen the man's grip. The man hits her on her head with his gun, knocking her unconscious. He loosens his grip, and Ayesha falls to the ground. The girl approaches her, but the man gives her a stern look, and she gets back near the car.




The man stretches his neck and bends down to zip the bag. He takes the zip and turns to approach his car when he finds Ayesha standing with her gun pointed toward him. Before the man can do anything, Ayesha shoots him in the head. The man gets a setback, and blood starts oozing out from his head. He falls on his back. Ayesha approaches him and pulls him by the collar.

“This was not the deal! You got what you deserved,” murmurs Ayesha.

She gets up and throws her gun away. She then bends down and takes the man's gun.

“Mom!” shouts the girl standing near the car.

Ayesha looks at the girl.

“Rhea!” sighs Ayesha.

Rhea wipes her tears and runs toward Ayesha. She is smiling. Another gunshot is heard, and Rhea gets a setback. Blood starts oozing out of her stomach region. Rhea looks at Ayesha approaching her.

“I! Am! Not! Your! Mom!” exclaims Ayesha, pressing hard on Rhea's wound. Rhea is shouting and crying in agony until a moment comes when her voice goes silent.


~~~


Now.


Ayesha is sitting on the floor in a parking lot near her car, her head resting on the door of the driver's seat. She looks numb, emotionless. A bike approaches the parking lot. It's Vicky. He stops the bike, gets down, and runs toward Ayesha, but his steps gradually slow down when he sees the area surrounding the car. Rhea is lying down on her stomach, the area surrounding her covered in blood. The man is lying on his back, blood still oozing out of his head.

Vicky covers his face with his palms. He gets down on his knees and holds Ayesha's face.

“What happened, Ayesha?”

There's no response.

“Ayesha, tell me what happened!” shouts Vicky.

Vicky crawls over to Rhea and turns her around. The innocent girl's eyes are now closed.

“Rhea! Wake up! Please!” cries Vicky.

“Tell me what happened, Ayesha!”

“You want to know what happened? That bloody kidnapper killed our daughter in front of my eyes! He approached her, pressed her stomach hard, and made her cry until she went silent! That is what happened here! You still want to know more?” Ayesha snaps back. She starts crying.

Vicky gets numb. Tears are rolling down his eyes. He kisses Rhea on her forehead and then sits down near Ayesha, his back resting on the car door.

After a few minutes, Vicky composes himself, wipes off his tears, and holds Ayesha's hand. Ayesha starts to cry. Vicky stops her from crying and wipes her tears.

“It's okay!” says Vicky.

Ayesha hugs him, rests her head on Vicky's chest, and looks with a devilish smile toward Rhea.


By Ashish Chawla





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