La Femme Fatale
La Femme Fatale22 mins 199 22 mins 199
Returning monsoon rain was inevitable; but it was at its best in the late December. My rental cabin was just three km away from my work place, 'City Automobiles,' where I was working as a car mechanic. I felt the permanent engine oil odor emitting out of my body, which was somehow beneficial for me; an escaped prisoner of Raj Nagar jail. My Sikh disguise and my engine oil stained face was a perfect hideout for me.
It was late evening, I had taken my dinner and a daily quota of booze. My intoxicated eyes could only see the street lights not the overcast sky. It started raining suddenly and I took shelter under the over hanged slab of a ruined house as I wanted to save my turban from getting wet. My cabin was still two km away so I had no option but to wait for the rain to stop. Shower of pouring rain has slackened my hangover, and I pondered over my present situation. I was running from the law, city to city, garage to garage; being an automobile engineer I knew nothing to push my days. But the garage owners don't need engineers, they need only cheap mechanics to run their garages. In my present situation it was better to live a mechanic life to be in low profile.
Sound of screeching car brakes brought me back from my reveries and a fast running car left the road and entered in a muddy pond adjacent to the road. A few seconds car floated but soon it started going deep down the mud. I knew nothing about the depth of the pound and it was likely that the car might drown in a few minutes. I thought for a while and ran towards the pond to save the passengers of the car. The moment I entered the pond the car was half-drowned. I also felt sticking myself in the thick mud, I hurriedly opened the passenger door but there was none. There was only a woman in the car at the driver seat, she was out of her senses. I thought for a moment and dragged the woman out of the sinking car and took her limp body in my arms. The woman has regained a little sense and tried to push me away and I let her go because I was going down with her added weight. Now I was concentrating on my own survival and strode out of the mud fast. By that time the woman was badly stuck in the mud and her car had been devoured by the pond.
It was raining dog and cat and we both were badly stuck in the mud and every effort to take ourselves out was taking us more deep down the mud. In fact I was going down faster because of my manly bulk.
"Help me............ please!" screamed the woman in panic.
I looked at her, she was chest-deep in the mud and throwing her hands to save herself.
Instead of going towards her I extended my hands towards her and she held my hand in her very soft hand. I knew we'll have to divide our body bulk instead of standing at the same place to save our self from drowning to death. I dragged her towards me but the rain was making all my efforts vain. Soon I was able to pull her out of the mud and she was floating on the mud now. She made a little commotion out of the panic, but I forbade her to move and start pushing her towards the bank of the pond. But during all these efforts I was also chest deep in the mud and going down faster.
Now the woman knew how to save herself and she started floating on the mud and moving towards the bank of the pond. Soon I freed my legs from the mud and was in floating position but I had no energy to move now and I went on lying in the same position under the heavy rain. Now I was going down in this position also because the rainwater had changed the density of the mud and it was rather thin and dangerous now.
"Hey mister, look at this......!" woman's voice fell in my ears. I raised my head and saw the woman was out of the mud and holding a plastic rope, she threw the rope towards me but it was at least three feet short. I knew it was my chance and with all efforts I grabbed the rope and the woman started pulling me out of the mud. Within five minutes I was out of the mud.
"Are you crazy mister?" asked the woman controlling her breath.
"Why?" I asked.
"Do you know swimming?"
"Then why did you jump in this swamp?"
"I didn't know it was so deep," I replied washing my face with the freezing rainwater.
"Thank you, for saving my life." said the woman.
"You also saved mine so we are equal now; thanks anyway."
"My husband Janki Das (JD) was the bullion trader of Will City but recently he was killed in a gang war, his sons have snatched everything from me and I'm left penniless now. All I have is this ruin bungalow which was given to me by JD, but his sons have filled a case against me claiming that I was his mistress and I have no right in his property." explained Sarita Singh, whom I met last night at the deadly swamp. She again met me at my work place while her drowned car was brought at my work place and she invited me for tea.
Since I escaped from Raj Nagar, I've avoided any acquaintances and meeting people. So fist I refused her tea invitation but later when she insisted forcefully I accepted her invitation and now I was sitting in front of her in her bungalow lawn in my formal cloths drinking tea. She was looking at my face stealthily which was hidden behind thick Sikh beard. I felt awkward when she started telling me her tale of woe.
I had no interest in this 29 years old beautiful widow, last night I saved her life because I was at that swamp, I was in a hurry to end this rendezvous and get out of her bungalow.
"Mr Harjeet Singh your face seems familiar, have we ever met?" asked Sarita Singh.
"I don't think so; I met you only last at the swamp. Anyway thanks for the tea, I want to go now."
"Sure Harry, you are a good man. Thanks for coming," said Sarita and got up.
"Tera naam Harjeet Singh hai? (Is your name Harjeet Singh?) Asked the constable who was sitting with garage owner Dharampal Malhotra.
"Yes, what do you want?" I asked.
"Tere naam court ka summon hai, parso peshi hai teri." (There is a court summon in your name where you have to appear on day after tomorrow.) said the constable and handed over me the summon.
I was surprised to read the summon there was a case number, court number and date of appearing before the court.
"Sun city se bhag mat jaana, nahi to tere arrest warrant nilkal jayenge." (Don't try to runaway otherwise arrest warrant will be issued against you) warned the policeman.
"Kya kar diya be tune, mujhe police ka aana pasand nahi hai, iss mamle se nipat le nahi to teri chutti." (What have you done? I don't like police coming here, sort this thing out soon otherwise I'll fire you) said Dharapal looking at me.
It was time to run from Will City, I've survived so far and I have to intentions to go into the talons of police hawks.
I reached late at my cabin and gathered all my utilities which were not much and stuffed them in a bag and left my cabin unlocked towards an unknown destination.
"Kha ja raha hai be?" (Where are you going?) A coarse voice made me halt.
Soon a bulky police sub inspector came out of the dark with a club in his hand.
"Tujhe bhagne ko to mana kiya tha na maine, chal ab thane me parso tak wait kar." (You were forbidden to go away, now you'll spend your time in the police station till the day after tomorrow) said the policeman and took my wrist in his heavy palm.
Again Behind The Bars
Police lock up was a dirty place; they gave me two ragged blankets to spend a December chilly night. I spread the blanket on the rough floor of the lock up and tried to sleep but sleep was scarce tonight. This was second time when i was behind the bars and both times for the crimes I knew nothing about.
A Narrow Escape
Three years ago when I was arrested from my office and brought to police headquarter Raj Nagar's lock up and informed that Neha has taken her life and her parents held you responsible.
I was shocked to know that Neha; a colleague and close friend was no more. Why she took her life is still unknown but all I knew her rich father hired the best criminal lawyers of Rajnagar and fought the case with his tooth and nails. He was rich and influential on the other hand my bank clerk father had not enough money to hire a good lawyer for me. Case didn't run long, within six months I was proved guilty and awarded life term.
Within one month of my imprisonment my parents lost their hopes and found dead in our house. Now nothing much was left for me and I had no option but to go along with punishment.
I've accepted my fate and tried to be in peace with my internal turmoil until Ghouri entered the jail. He was a hardened criminal and a regular jail inmate. All the inmates were afraid of him including me. One day he told me that this time he came to jail only to serve the justice. The girl father wanted the judge to punish you with death penalty but the judge awarded you life imprisonment, and he was in the jail to cut me alive to fulfil Neha father's revenge.
He further told me that after seeing my face he was not interested in killing me instead of it he proposed me a settlement. The proposal was that Neha's father gave him fifty lakh to kill me but if I give him one crore, he would kill Neha's father instead and end his menace forever.
I was surprised at this proposal but the man was serious and my life was in danger, I had no money to pay him to save myself. The only way to escape this inevitable death was to break into this maximum security jail and escape which was next to impossible. But to buy some time for him I asked one month time to arrange for the money which he accepted.
Twenty five days went by but I found no way to escape from the prison. I was working in jail hospital those days as the jail compounder's assistant. One day a prisoner died after a long illness and no one came to claim his body, it was decided that his cadaver will be sent to medical college for the medical students experiments. I thought it was my chance. I along with another prisoner wrapped his body in a white seat and sewed it well. Later the jailer came to verify the cadaver and we unstitched the sheet for him. Later he ordered us to go away from the body and locked the hospital until people from medical college come to collect the cadaver. I left the jail hospital but my brain was working very fast I know that jail hospital was less secured area and there was a window which could be used to enter the jail hospital. I stealthily entered the jail hospital through that window and took the body out of the sheet and locked it in the jail store. Soon I was under the sheet and stitching myself. I hardly finished the stitching when the door opened and people came in, I stopped breathing for a while and my body was being carried on a stretcher, soon I was placed in the van and after a little commotion the van was driven out of the jail. My heart was beating very fast, I was afraid if someone tried to look at the cadaver face but van was being driven continually. Soon I heard the clinking sound which jail main gate make when opened to let a vehicle go in or out of the jail.
Soon the van was running freely and that very moment I heard the shrill sound of jail hooter which they normally use at the time of a jail escape. I used all my strength to tear open the sheet and soon I was face to face with the van people who were afraid to see me. I wasted no time and opened the van door and jumped. I fell on the road badly but managed to get up and merged in the daily crow. I was in my shorts and people took me for a lunatic and turned their faces in disgust. Soon I managed to find some rags to cover my body and I had successfully escaped from the most secured jail of country. Soon there was police all over the city to find the fugitive but I managed to hide in a cargo truck and left Rajnagar peacefully, perhaps police was looking for me on the railway and bus station.
Face Of Doom
On the third day I was brought to the court and presented before the judge.
"My lord this man is consoling our dear widow now a days. She is young and beautiful and this man is also young and strong to console a grieving widow." said a lawyer in his hoarse voice.
"What is your point?" asked the judge.
"My lord, the so called mother of my clients is a woman of questionable character, she knows how to hook men to satisfy her desires. She did this to my clients' father Janki Das as his mistress not as wife I emphasize. She cannot live without men any longer. Janki Das died only six months ago and she has another man in her life."
"Evidence?" asked the judge.
"Here are some pictures taken by a licensed private detective." said the lawyer and gave some pictures to the judge.
Judge went through the pictures and looked at me.
"My lord this woman is claiming her part in my clients’ hard earned money to spend on people like this man." said the lawyer raising his index finger towards me.
"Despite it all my clients are ready to give her fifteen thousand per month as long as she doesn't marry another man but not a part in their hard earned money." said the advocate and concluded his argument.
"Record this man's statement and let him go." said the judge and adjourned the court till next date.
"Mr. Harry you saved me from that swamp on that night but now I'm in the swamp of poverty because of you. The degenerate judge has deprived me from everything which was legally mine as the widow of JD but now you my false lover, I've ended up with rupees twenty thousand alimony per month until I marry someone." said Sarita Singh who has lost the case in the court because someone took my pictures with her in the swamp and in her former bungalow lawn having tea with her and the lawyer used them to prove her a wanton woman. After losing the case and bungalow she came to pay me a visit, why? I had no idea.
"I'm so sorry ma'am.........I don't know wha......!"
"I don't need your sorry; I came here because now you'll help me getting back which is legally mine." said Sarita looking into my eyes.
"I didn't understand?"
"You will......." said Sarita and took out some newspapers cutting from her hand bag, spread them on the table, which were my mug shots taken at the time of my arrest in Rajnagar.
"Do you know this man Mr. Harry alias Sidharth Singh?" she asked looking at my face with her mocking eyes.
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about you and your escape from Rajnagar jail, you are amongst most wanted criminals of India. Have a fifty lakh price tag on your head."
"Then go to the police and earn your prize!"
"The man who dragged me out of the swamp couldn't be a criminal, you have earned abundant of my respect and love that day; I recognized you the next day while you had tea with me but it never occurred to me to get you arrested and earn prize."
"What do you want?"
"First of all please don't take me otherwise, I have nothing to do with your past. Forget about these pictures, you are free to go anywhere you wish. I'll never tell anybody if I ever met you."
I kept quiet.
"But how long will you go on running from the law, they shall catch you someday and God only knows what shall they do with you because the award is on your head no matter dead or alive. Why don't you look for a permanent solution?"
"What is that?"
"Migrate from this country."
"I have no money to do it."
"I know......and I'm offering you an opportunity to earn a lot of money and escape with me from this blasted country, don't forget that money is legally mine; I'll split that money with you in equal ratio."
I was in a difficult situation, she has brought my past back to do something illegal for her. She was killing me softly with her sweet but poisonous words.
"What do you want me to do?"
"First of all I want to be assured that you are not under any pressure."
"I'm under pressure; of course I'm but besides I want to migrate from this country as well. Please count me in......"
"Then have rest for a few days, I'm working on a plan and let you know when I'm fully prepared. And meanwhile you are free to run away. I'll come after ten days, if I still find you here, I'll tell you something which will change your life forever." said she and left my cabin.
A Devious Plan
"At the age of twenty one I eloped with a boy next door. But that boy raped and sold me to a pimp in Will City; who immediately put me in flesh trade. Fortunately, fifty years old JD was my first client and he bought me from the pimp and took me in his house as his mistress. He had fully grown children and wife as well but he behaved well with me. I went on going along with JD until the blasted gang war took his life and put me on the road again." said Sarita with her moist eyes.
During last few days I thought of leaving Will City but I knew there will be another person who could recognize me, and perhaps that person will not be generous like Sarita.
"I'm so sorry, you really had a very bad time." I said with a deep breath.
"So you had no plan to escape from me?"
"So now let's come to the point and do something for our betterment."
"JD was one of the captions of Moosa, the current underworld don here; he made a lot of money in his illegal errands. He was in Hawala trade as well and used to have millions of dollars in his anonymous bank lockers. Most of his lockers have been emptied by his sons with the help of bank personals. But there is still one locker which has fifty million dollars and they know nothing about. We need to open that locker and acquire that money. Open that locker and you'll have half of the money and I'll get our genuine passports ready in a few weeks to escape from this country."
"Where is that locker?"
"Urban Cooperative Bank, Tilak Nagar branch in the outskirt of Will City."
"Not much, just a security guard outside the bank and strong vault inside."
"How do you know?"
"JD used to tell me."
"And he was keeping his millions of dollars in such an insecure bank."
"What do you mean by that?
"Nothing......we need and inside help."
"Wanna earn some good money?"
"Yes, but give me some money as token right now."
I looked at him and placed fifty thousand on his opened palm.
"Not enough but will do for now, what do you want?"
"Give me some security information of the bank."
"Want to break into the bank."
"No you cannot break into the bank vault. This bank is under the observation and security of underworld don Moosa. He is the biggest client and custodian of the bank. Air pressure alarm secured vault was his idea, once the alarm set in the evening it won't go off until next morning at 09:30 when the bank is opened and manager open the vault. During night if someone forcefully entered the vault the air pressure will change and the alarm will go off. The sound of alarm is enough to wake half the Will City and the nearby armed police petrol rushes to bank to kill the intruders." said the bank cashier Sunil Sanga; who was somehow related to Sarita and brought into the scene by her.
"Is it possible that I could stay in the bank hidden somewhere whole night." I asked.
"Renovation of first floor is going on and there is a lot of stuff on the first floor that a man could easily hide inside that stuff." replied the cashier.
"Can you take some stuff inside the vault at the time of it closer?"
"Tough job, but I can try."
During the week the bank alarm went off several times and the police scolded bank manager for the malfunction. The dry ice which was being placed inside the vault by the cashier was changing the temperature of the vault which was causing the change of air presser inside the vault.
"Moosa is irritated and he has called the vault maker from Mumbai, they shall come tomorrow. And he has instructed the bank manager to keep the vault air pressure lock free just for one night, so if you want to do something, do it tonight." informed Sanga.
As a plan I was on the first floor of the bank hidden in the useless debris. The bank was closed at eight in the evening and it was empty when I came down putting on a ski mask on my face and rubber gloves on my hands.
I took my toolkit and within fifteen minutes I drilled inside the thick wall of the vault and wait for a moment, nothing happened —— the alarm was really deactivated. My next target was destroying the lock system. I did it as well within seven minutes. I pushed open the door of the vault and went inside to open the locker number 2056 owned by late JD. I used the same toolkit to open the locker, as the lid of the locker was opened I was surprised to see the locker was full of gold biscuits and dollars. I stuffed that all in a thick canvas bag and ran towards the main door of the bank which could be burst open anytime by Sarita and her hired men.
My heart was beating very fast; I felt like vomiting because I've committed a crime intentionally and now I was not innocent victim at all. I thought for a while and put a handful of gold biscuits in my shirt’s pocket. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard a bullet fire outside the bank and a powerful blast opened the main door of the bank, I saved myself from the falling debris and ran outside.
Sarita's car was outside the bank and she was on the driver seat and a man was sitting on the passenger seat.
"Come inside we got to get out of this place before the police come." screamed Sarita.
I entered her car and the car rushed forward leaving the crime scene behind. After a few km Sarita asked, "How much?"
"No idea but there is enough." I said controlling my breath.
She said nothing, Soon the area of Kali valley begun and as the plan we were rushing inside the valley to catch the waiting hired chopper.
The chopper was on a temporary helipad and ready to leave.
As soon as we got out of the car ran towards the chopper, Sarita said to her companion, "Get rid of this fool now."
"Whatever I heard was unbelievable, the man took out his gun and that very moment I threw the heavy bag at him. He couldn’t bore the impact and lost his balance for a while and that was enough for me kicked him. His gun has fallen from his hand and I took him on my kicks. Meanwhile Sartia took the bag and entered the chopper. I ran towards her but a hit bullet hit my chest and I fell on the ground.
When I regained senses I found myself alone on the sand mound and my chest was aching badly. I put my hand inside my shirt's pocket, there were fifteen gold biscuits which took the bullet and saved my life.
Port Louis, Mauritius
I was relieved when the airplane landed on Port Louis airport of Mauritius. Now I was clean shaven because I was most sought after bank robber as Harjeet Singh in India, police and Moosa's goons were looking for Harjeet Singh. I got a false passport and air ticket to Mauritius in another name with the help of the money which I obtained by selling the gold biscuits. I choose Mauritius because Indian inhabitants don't need a visa to enter Mauritius and her inhabitants were also long migrated Indian and it was easy to mingle with them. After all the expenses I had enough money to live peacefully in Mauritius for a long time.
As I walked out of the airport I put on my sun glass and suddenly bumped into a woman. I said sorry and looked at her, her face was familiar, Neha, yes she was Neha.
A tall and well built man took her arm and said, "Let's go darling."
She turned her face and walked with that man towards the airport terminal.
What I saw was, next to impossible. I just saw a woman for whom I was serving life term in jail. I escaped from the jail. I came across a dangerous woman Sarita, who made me a bank robber. I escaped from India.
I took a deep breath and said to myself—
You never know with a woman, don't worry darlings we'll meet someday.