Exclaimed Tara, as she prayed for her child's well-being.
A blanket of silence settled over as soon as Shekhar and Tara entered Roohi's room.
In all that had been going on so far, Roohi had never been targeted so harshly.
That Was Until Now.
The sight Roohi's parents witnessed was bone - chilling to say the least.
There were muddy footprints leading into and out of the room, and a trail of blood too.
Also, a note with one of those gory rhymes.
Not once | nor twice | nine times | we’ll kill
A bitch | always | but ninth | will fill
You with a dread that’ll make you still!
No more running away from me,
I have come so far to thee
Once a Drug dealer,
Now calls himself a Writer
Your past is no more a secret
Your time has come to regret
Not one, each Monday night a scar,
Beware, the ninth you are
"Yes, Mr. Literary Adept
The ground beneath your feet has been swept
Sure you'll be the ninth one this Monday
But, why not, while the Sun shines, make hay?
Your Daughter, for one...
Your wife comes next...
And, that irritant Cop!
Will their attacks, he prevent?"
Tara's worst fears had turned to life.
Her little angel had been victimized by one of those sick - minded people.
Roohi's life was in danger!
Just when they'd thought, the state of affairs was improving at last, the final lap of tragedy presented itself before them.
Shekhar sent word for Aryan, who was at that time, busy investigating Percival's house for clues.
Nevertheless, knowing that his team was efficient at task, he left for Shekhar's place.
Tara, meanwhile, was inconsolable.
The very thought of Roohi being in distress, shook Tara.
Well of course, Shekhar was in shock too.
But he tried keeping his calm.
If it were not for him, who would care for Tara?
There had already been enough loggerheads their relationship had bumped into.
There was a knock on the door.
Shekhar heaved a sigh of relief on discovering Aryan.
He showed him the horrifying rhyme that had been purposely left for them to reflect on.
They were the same rhymes Aryan had discovered, albeit one more, to add to his impulsiveness to solve the mystery.
But, they also stated, very clearly, that Shekhar was the ninth TARGET.
Somehow, Aryan's gut instinct shouted out loud.
Somehow, he felt, that the kidnapping was a hoax.
Somehow, he wasn't ready to believe that Roohi could be harmed, only that she could be used as a shield.
Nevertheless, they couldn't risk her life.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Cyrus couldn't stop reminiscing over the Jenny he'd discovered last evening.
The Jenny who was guilt - stricken.
The Jenny who wished to repent her mistakes.
The Jenny, Cy had loved, had sprung back to life. :)
And Cy was most thankful to Almighty for the entire sequence of events.
Had it not been for all that had happened, Jenny's conscience would have never been stirred.
For Cy's sake. :)
Cyrus planned to surprise Jenny by proposing to her to travel back to Kochi, in order to escape from all the mess they'd been in, for a few days.
It'd help them relax their strained minds, and hearts too, he opined.
Jenny, though unsure of what the future would present them with, once they returned, hesitantly agreed.
The same flight number.
They were together today. :)
As soon as they landed, Cyrus was quick to recall Jenny's address word by word.
And that awed her.
They made way for her abode, which was a sea facing flat, and pristine palms adorned its view.
After having freshened up, Cyrus preferred to divert Jenny's mind to something pleasant.
He started searching for her diary.
The one she'd been maintaining since long.
He'd finally found it, from one of those drawers in her wardrobe.
In the hope of finding some treasured memoirs among the pages lined with ink...
The ones that would cheer Jenny up...
Cyrus was just about to open her diary, when Jenny entered the room.
And let out a loud 'NO!'.
Not wanting to disturb Jenny further, without questioning her reaction, Cy put the diary back into the drawer.
Of course, deciding to open it again, when she was not around.
For his curiosity did question Jenny's weird NO, if not his maturity.
His gut feeling did say, there were more than just pages and ink, to that old Diary of hers.
Leaving all aside, Cy and Jenny went for stroll along the beach in the evening. :)
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Back at Shekhar's place, somebody banged the door.
Not once, not twice.
Tara was scared, and cautioned Shekhar against opening the door.
Aryan took cover, with his licensed arms.
He cautiously proceeded towards the door, when Tara heard Roohi.
Or so it seemed to her.
"Shekhar, can you hear Roohi's voice?", Tara exclaimed.
"Indeed I can, Tara.", Shekhar smiled.
Tara opened the door to an ever smiling angel.
Roohi was back home! :)
Their joy knew no bounds...
And, Roohi's tales too.
She had a lot to tell to Dear Mom and Dad.
Perhaps, she'd never truly understood the gravity of a planned kidnapping.
But, Aryan was quick to comprehend that Roohi had safely escaped and would've learnt of some important pointers, which could even lead them to the kidnapper.
"Roohi, why had you screamed, Dear?", Tara asked, caressing Roohi.
"Mumma, you know, an Uncle had come into my room, from the Balcony.
And he had a big mask on his face, Mumma!
And he put his hand on my face and jumped from there.", Roohi told her mother, pointing to the balcony, from where they'd jumped.
"But why was there blood in your room, Roohi?
Did he try to attack you? Did you get hurt, Dear?", Shekhar inquired.
"No Papa. I did not get hurt anywhere.
I was drawing in my sketch book.
And, that Uncle, he had a Hanky in his hand.
I pierced him with my color - pencils, on his hand.
That was his blood, not mine.
You taught me to be brave, na!
That Uncle got hurt instead!" :D
Aryan then asked Roohi how she'd managed to come home, safe and sound.
"That was easy, Aryan Uncle...
I've learnt the way to home, na!
I know all the nearby places, now.
I am a big girl now. :)
That Uncle had brought an SUV along.
He forced me to sit in the car.
And drove to the market.
Then, he started talking to some Ma'am on phone.
And he got down near the Dry-cleaner's shop.
There, another Uncle had come to meet him.
I was in the car all the time.
And when he was not looking, I came running back home! :D"
Roohi took pride in how she'd indeed escaped and it was with great elan that she narrated her little adventure.
Also, she'd remembered two vital clues from the SUV, she'd been inside all this while.
The SUV's number!
Yes, whoever it was, that Uncle was dumb enough to get the number plate removed or covered up altogether.
A key-chain design hanging from the back - view mirror.
The artist in Roohi always loved designs, and painting too.
And, her memory was her strength.
She told them the Number.
And drew the design, on her sketch book.
Astonishingly, the SUV was registered to Kerala.
And, the design - it matched that of Jenny's tattoo! - as far as Tara could remember.
But, Cy and Jenny were in Kochi.
And, Jenny's phone was switched off, since morning.
So, Tara was sure that Jenny hadn't received any call for the day.
But, could the SUV and the design, relate to Jenny in any way?
Or, was she being framed?
Who was it, behind their fate?
And, why was Jenny being targeted, amid all the confusion?
Leaving all aside, Aryan's phone rang.
It was his Junior.
And, the call was from R.K. Puram...
Before leaving, Aryan called for protection for Tara, citing the threat in the rhyme they'd received.
Read the twenty - fourth part of the story here : The Past Revealed....
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