Fennels: Chapter 9) Quellung.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Onion Sequel.

Submitted: August 01, 2020

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Submitted: August 01, 2020

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Chapter 9

Utqiagvik (Alaska), USA

Saturday; 10:30 PM (CST)

The grim faced man lay over the snowy ground beside the frosted tree. He was covered with cold protective gear. One of his eyes was fixed behind the cross hairs of the silenced SR 25 rifle. His finger touching the trigger lightly. The gun held up over the bipedal, covered lightly by snow. The task was very specific: Retrieve the old man.

The street lamps around the cottage had frosted circuits. The light inside was very dim. He missed the thermals. The supplier had failed to provide him one. He lay with ten rounds of the rifle and twenty four rounds of the pistol. He was told that it would be sufficient. There weren’t more than five or six people inside, including the target. The backup team would require atleast an hour to reach them in this weather.

His breath was misty, and his head heavy. The cold was intolerable, and his wait, unbearable. A speck of candle light appeared inside the kitchen door.  His heart began to beat faster. Whatever slight drowsiness he felt moments earlier had vanished. He saw someone opening shelves and searching for something. He didn’t shoot. He wanted to assess the situation further. The man disappeared from the view leaving the room in semi darkness. He looked at the phone again. A picture of a beautiful woman smiled at him from the display screen. He scrolled through the messages to read the specific instructions when suddenly, from out of the corner of his eye, he noticed something.

He looked back through the cross hair and recoiled in shock. A silhouette of a woman was staring directly at the spot where he was. He swiftly pushed the display towards the ground and tried to slowly drag it back into his pockets. The woman refused to budge from the kitchen door. He almost felt as if she knew where he was. Doubts of conspiracy bubbled inside his head. He managed to pocket back the phone and just then more light appeared inside.

Withing few minutes, he was sure that there were no more than three people. The man and woman were lost in embrace. He wished to finish them off in a single strike and waited for their bodies to come in line of sight. She was lying on top of the counter, he was on top of her. Snow fell like soft wool, the wind started to blow again creating an uncomfortable chill. His patience was running short.

Brad pulled Emily up from the counter in an ecstatic embrace. He fired. He slid her towards the chair nearby. The bullet missed by a millimeter from where their heads had been seconds ago. The candle broke. The light went out. He cursed in frustration, and fired again. Missed again. A short burst of light accompanied a gun shot, the glass broke, and the bullet hit the tree. He grabbed the gun and crawled swiftly forward.

Inside the cottage, Brad and Emily dressed up swiftly lying on the floor. Chilly winds gushed inside through the broken door glass. Vasikaran came to the sight calling Emily and Brad. Brad screamed for him to get back to his room. Vasikaran disappeared behind the door. Brad told Emily that he needed to get his gun. She nodded and crouched up with her gun. Brad crawled towards the other room.

He now lay on the edge of the road that led down to the small frozen pier below. The kitchen door was a short distance away. His rifle was too big to conceal his position. He had to let go of it. He stretched out his hand and aimed through the Desert Eagle’s iron sight. He expected someone to come out of the door soon.

Emily raised the empty rum bottle over the door window and pinched her eyes to look for a reflection in the lighthouse’s minute illumination. A deafening siren of an ice breaker pierced the silence. She dropped the bottle in reflex. It broke.

 The sudden siren unnerved him. He instantly covered his ears in reflex. Precisely then, Brad rushed out into the balcony and jumped over the railing, into the front porch. He was slow to catch the motion. By the time he pointed back the gun and fired, Brad had already jumped down. He shot few more shots into the wooden fence of the porch when a couple of shots missed him by few centimeters.

Emily cursed. She saw a faint silhouette jump back into darkness. She ran inside to check on Vasikaran. She found him sitting on his bed. She stared at the window, it was closed. She mentally praised the old man’s presence of mind and handed him the bottle of bourbon. “It will help” she said before helping him up and turning back. They didn’t take the door to the kitchen, instead turned sideways to the other end where the staircase led upward and turned again near it, towards the backdoor, into the garage.

Brad felt a bullet pierce his neck, but it was just the protruded iron bolt of the tray that hanged on the low wall balancing a couple of potted plants on the outer side. He doubled back over into the wooden steps that led down into the snow filled ground below. The night was dark. The lighthouse illuminated it minimally. He lay over the steps and looked at the direction of the frosted tree.

He didn’t dare move. He watched the front porch and then the kitchen door. Any movement might reveal his position. He was covered in darkness but so were the two person. His bullets were numbered. The rifle was far from where he lay. Then suddenly, the sounds of an ignition, and a roaring car engine rang out. He cursed himself. The picture of the woman in his phone flashed in his mind. He forced himself up and ran towards the cottage.

Brad was about to move down when he saw someone getting up. He quickly pointed his gun at him, but the man was running fast, even in the snow. He got up quickly and ran down the steps.

He was running towards the kitchen door. He hoped the darkness would hamper anyone aiming. The shot came from the other side of the cottage. It pierced his triceps and lodged itself into the scapular head. He groaned and swung midair before landing hard on the snow bleeding from his arm.

“Drive here if someone other than us waltz out of the door” she said to Vasikaran handing him a small card and exited the whirring car. She bolted outside through the smaller door of the garage. Vasikaran stared at the card in dilemma. The stone statue was left inside.

Brad moved towards the bleeding man as fast as he could. He looked around to check if there was anyone else with him. But no shot came out. He reached the man who was lying still. The ground below was red. Brad bent low to remove the cover from his face when suddenly he grabbed Brad’s arm that was holding the gun.

He had caught Brad unawares, and kicked him at his face. Brad staggered backwards and slipped on the snow. He lifted his legs and pushed himself over his back backward and landed on his leg. He tried to push himself up but his right arm gave away. Brad jumped over him and tried to wrap the arm around his neck but he moved in a circle keeping his head in the centre and came about on the other side of Brad and hit him on the head with his elbow of the uninjured arm.

The blow unsettled Brad and he dropped on the ground but immediately turned in a short angle and kicked him hard on his chest which flung him back on the snow. Brad tried to shake the feeling of pain and crouched up. His opponent tried to stand up shifting his weight into the uninjured arm. Brad stood up and blocked the punch that came from him and hit back with a punch of his own. He pushed him slightly as he reeled from the punch at his face, and jumped on the spot, kicking him at his chest. He fell back. Brad landed on his shoulders over the snow and got back up quickly. He ran forwards and kicked him on the face, forcing him down. He sat on top of his chest, trapped his good arm under the knee, and punched him on his jaw twice. He waited for him to look him in the eye. Then punched him few more times.

Brad pulled out the insulating mask from his face and found a badly bruised face. “Who sent you?” Brad asked.  He swung his injured arm wildly and hit Brad just below the chest. Brad shifted his weight over the knee and tried to trap the other arm under his boot but just then, he made a huge verbal effort and picked his body up shifting his weight on his legs and head. Brad was momentarily unbalanced and moved sideways trying to move away but he let his body drop swiftly along with Brad and punched Brad’s face with his injured arm. Brad rolled back and hit the snowy floor on his face. Brad wanted to move but he didn’t let him. He wrapped his legs around him from behind, and grabbed his neck with his uninjured arm. As the choking intensified in seconds, Brad made an enormous effort and crouched up with the heavy man on his back. Then, he swung to the ground forcefully on his back.

He hit the ground hard with Brad on top of him. But instead of releasing him, he wound up his injured arm over the uninjured one to increase the pressure on Brad’s neck. The fight was getting tremendously exhaustive for Brad as he was slowly losing the ability to breathe in. Then came the sound of running footsteps.

He released Brad and hit him at the back of the head with his elbows. He straightened up very quickly as Brad gasped for breath in the ground. He moved towards his gun that was lying nearby over red snow. He picked it up and shot straight at Emily who was running towards them from the back of the cottage. He missed. He was out of breath and his arm and face hurt like hell in the cold air. Emily jumped sideways into the snow avoiding the next few shots and shot back.

She missed too as right then, Brad had crept up on him from the ground and took him down. Brad picked up the weapon and pointed straight at his face. “No…” Emily shouted. Brad stopped his finger moving the trigger. “Don’t kill him” She shouted getting up.

Gauhati (Assam), India

Wednesday; 5:00 PM(IST)

“Who killed him?” ACP Joshi asked. “One of our Crime Branch Officer, Pritish Debnath” JCP Fernandez replied. “Isn’t he the one who….” Joshi said. “Hmm” Fernandez nodded. “He was at the hospital?” Joshi asked. “Yes but we don’t think it was he they wanted to kill” Kriti said. She was standing infront of the photograph of dead Asif Jamal on the screen.“Not him? Who then?” Joshi asked in surprise.“Uh…it’s a speculation, but a substantial one” Kriti said .  “Go on” Joshi said. “We think the attack was intended for Mister Aiden Kettleborough” She said.  “The industrialist?” Joshi asked, even more surprised now. “We believe so” DCP Bhuyan said. “Didn’t he buy a diam….” Joshi began. “Diamond mine two years back yes, he also owns several other mines, here and in China, Africa, Russia. Has his businesses all over the world” Bhuyan said.

“Were they blackmailing him too?” Joshi asked. “No. There are no records of any communication between them. Revenue Intelligence is looking at the company’s stocks for any links but we doubt any trace would be left” Bhuyan said. “But then why go all guns blazing? They could have quietly slipped in a hired killer” Joshi said. “I think they tried to hide the fact that he was the intended target by orchestrating a mass shootout. But when they failed, they sent out a killer to finish the job” Kriti said. “What killer?” Joshi asked. She switched the slide and a picture of  a dead ward help flashed on the screen. “This man’s identity is still a mystery. We don’t know whether he is an Indian citizen or not. He was trying to inject a poisoned catheter into Kettleborough” She said. “How the hell did he die?” Joshi asked in surprise. “Poison. His own doing” Kriti replied. Joshi sat back taking God’s name.

“What was the poison?” Major Jai asked. “Arsenic and Hydrogen peroxide” Dr. Biswas replied. “More than one?” Jai asked. “Yes. He uh…. coated the Foley’s catheter with toxic doses of Arsenic, and wanted to inject a heavy industrial dose of hydrogen peroxide inside it, which would have perforated his bladder leading to a massive internal haemorrhage” Dr Biswas said. Everyone exchanged curious glances. The presenter offered Kriti his seat but she refused wordlessly.

“Why take so much trouble? He could have ended it with a bullet” Jai said. “Maybe he didn’t want us to guess that he was being targeted. I mean, several people had died yesterday, so he knew that the security cameras were fully active” Dr Biswas said. “Still then, the cameras would have caught him once the doctors found Mr. Kettleborough dead?” Jai asked. “You see Major, that is exactly why he used these agents instead of something quicker. With everything going on, the bladder perforation would have been probably overlooked, Mr. Kettleborough was in induced sleep, and the death would have been implicated on the surgeon’s negligence” Dr Biswas said. “But what if the bleeding came out of the catheter, and corrected?” Jai asked. “That’s exactly why arsenic was there, as a back up. Diffuses along the mucosa, lodges into the internal organs and in the din of the larger, overt symptom, which is bleeding and bladder perforation, it would have gone unnoticed and killed definitely” Dr Biswas said. “That sounds like the job of a damn professional, well beyond the capabilities of a drug mafia” Jai said in awe.

“Which is exactly why we are here” Kriti said. “You know who’s behind this?” Jai asked edging forward.  “I have been chasing this person for over a year now, who’s taken over this gang” She said pointing towards the screen. “Hold on. What about Mr. Kettleborough’s security?” Joshi asked. “We’ve informed the ex-bodyguard who worked for him a few months back before leaving. He should arrive at the hospital soon” Fernandez said. “Tell us more about this person you are chasing” Jai asked. “Well what we know we already told you. After Devendra’s arrest, the person had just vanished. But seeing the incidents of day before yesterday and the attack at the flyover today ,confirms the fact that, our leviathan is here, in the city” She finished.

Ross Island (Andaman Islands), India

Friday; 4:00 PM

The air felt moist and cool. The ocean breezed up an air of stagnancy and calm in the mind as the waves crashed against the shore. The graveyard was very still, like any other. Pritish’s eyes were fixed at the grave stone which read ‘Only Good can overcome Evil.’

Sir Walter Kettleborough’s tomb was made of fine graystone. Time had eroded the furnishing and grandeur of it.The fresh stalks of flowers over the grave, below the orange sky of an exotic dusk, interwove a feeling of great sadness with respect. Debnath had bought those flowers just below the hill, from the aged woman who sold to whoever visited the graveyard.

A sound of footsteps reached him. He turned to see Mr. Chetty walking towards him slowly. He took a last glance at the grave and prayed wordlessly before walking back.

“Any luck?” Pritish asked. Mr. Chetty smiled. “We found Roberto Jimenez” He said.

Gauhati (Assam), India

Thursday; 1:46 AM

He turned the key and walked inside slowly. The room smelled of stale rum. A booming voice of the television echoed across the room. He closed the room and found himself in a dark room illuminated partially by the light of the television screen. The news was about a report from the confrontation sites. Pavan was unconcerned and didn’t bat an eye. He looked around for the painting and found it leaning against a chair. A very fervent smile crept up his lips as he moved towards it. Suddenly the television switched off. Pavan stopped in his tracks, slightly bewildered. A shadow shifted in the dark. An intense light from a flashlight hurt his pupils. Pavan closed hi eyes and shifted his face sideways raising his arm. “Well well well…” a familiar voice said sounding dangerously smug. “what a surprise….I must say I wasn’t expecting you Yam” The voice said.  


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