#Shorts: Illusions

The empty garden was made more beautiful with the presence of his friends. Separation had made them fonder in his eyes, and not that they were here, they couldn’t stop talking. Back and forth; it was like a dance.

A minute later, he was reminded he was alone in the room, hoping for what had already been lost. He stopped staring at the wall and switched on the television.

Continue reading “#Shorts: Illusions”

Not a Lot of Words

CHAOS

“Chaos. When you can’t wake up before 9 but college starts at 7. When you want Coke but get Pepsi. When there’s no Maggi. When you run out of [characters]”

BLISS

“The wife’s skull cracked open. Brains everywhere. He felt bliss.”


Continue reading “Not a Lot of Words”

Burning Bridges – Chapter One

 

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Jason Fernandes rung the slightly rusty bell on his bike before turning right into the old brick building. The old guard, smoking a cigarette to drive away the early morning chill, stood up, startled, as the 25-year old whooshed by on his bike.

“One of these days I’m going to stick out my cane when you waltz in like that on your rattle-y old bike and you’re going to get a good ol’ smacking in the head.”

“You can’t!” Jason shouted back. “They’ll fire you!” he said, beaming a smile as he took another right, heading to the parking lots.

“Smartass. Pfft.”

The brick building housed the newspaper agency that Jason Fernandes worked for. It may have looked old and dreary from the outside, but the building was very well-furnished, spacious and airy on the inside. It was very old, though. Close to 150 years old, some said. Built when the English still had an iron fist over India, it stood there, evidence to having sustained the test of time. That’s how a lot of South Mumbai is; historic, memorial. You step out of Churchgate Railway Station, have a walk around and look at how different this part of the city is from the rest and you get a vibe of just how majestic it is. A Mumbaikar knows this vibe.

Jason wasn’t even six months into the job, but people liked him. He was enthusiastic, curious, smart, good with words, and tried hard at the job. Came in early, stayed a little long most evenings, and looked for new stories with vigour. Barely six months in, so he was still low down on the pecking order and hadn’t really worked on a lot of big stories but he had been sniffing close to the action. He’d made friends on the news circuit, friends that were fairly well-connected themselves. Influential, reliable. Well, most of them. There were at least three dudes who were compulsive stoners. And, he figured his boss was beginning to develop a liking for him. That’s always a huge plus.

The air-conditioners hadn’t been turned on when he got into the big office full of cubicles, and surrounded by glass offices of the superiors, all smelling a lot of coffee and paper. Among all the identical cubicles was one that didn’t quite conform. It had a little white handmade sticker stuck on the wall that stood in the aisle. ‘J. Fernandes’ proclaimed the sticker. Jason was quite certain there weren’t any other J. Fernandeses in the same room. The sticker would have more written on it, but Jason didn’t quite have a title. Yet. He walked over to his distinctive corner in the office, placed his bag under the desk, switched on the computer and went to help himself to a cup of coffee until the machine came to life. Put quite simply, the coffee tasted like catpiss, not that any sane man’s ever tasted catpiss, but Jason tolerated it. Frankly, the caffeine and the metaphorical early-morning-kick-in-the-balls is all he needed.

The cursor was dragged to the little red, yellow and green circle in the bottom left corner of the screen. Google Chrome opened up. It suggested ‘gmail.com’ as soon as Jason had typed in ‘g’ in the search/address bar. He typed in his account details and was scanning his inbox by 8 A.M. Scam, scam, scam, newsletter, scam, family photos, and then finally something useful on a morning such as this. An email from Wayne Polk, titled ‘Important. Or Maybe Not.

Polk was a newsman himself, much like Jason, but five years older and much more senior at the foreign news agency he worked at. The two had met at a conference – cum – seminar a few months back and Jason’s boss had introduced the two. They shared a sort of weird love for the job they did. “Youthful curiosity. Wait till you see some blood, some of the corruption going around, that’ll all die down. Trust me,” Jason’s boss said. Either way, Wayne and Jason got to know each other and stayed in touch, trading knowledge, with Wayne almost always learning as much as he taught Jason himself. Occasionally Polk dropped a nugget here or a tidbit there of some story he’d picked up somewhere.

Jason opened up the email.

“Yo, Fernandes.

Got back to Manchester from Beijing a day back. Got to be the press for the China – Pakistan deal that went down. It was pretty textbook. Boring, tbh. 

Sidenote: Do not got to China. The pollution is crazy as fuck. When I say crazy, I mean crazy. I mean, yeah, sure it ain’t everywhere but most of the big cities, well, they’re screwed.

So, yeah, the Pakistani PM arrived, Chinese showed him around and stuff. The usual stuff. Went in the room to get down to business the next day. Sat there for 4 and a half hours straight. When the PM left, it seemed more like he was storming out, because it took the Chinese a minute to follow. That was all that was unusual. Of course, we press are obliged to make a big deal of it, but the PM and all really made it seem like it was all rosy. They did get back in the room and as it seems, came to terms.

Ask me, though, I heard whispers about some real shady shit going down in those talks. And it should draw your attention. I don’t know anything for sure but there’s been rumours something went down, and wasn’t exactly revealed. My best bet would be to say it is somehow related to the tensions between China, Pakistan and you guys. Nice little three-way you got going there. Tense shit. Keep your ears up, something about this is got to trickle out on your end as well. 

Be in touch.

W. Polk.”

Jason was immediately intrigued. He realised he hadn’t had a sip of coffee while going through that email. He took a deep sip, felt the heavenly feeling of the warm liquid at the back of his throat, and proceeded to Google all he could about the China Pakistan deal.

***

The two bikes swerved this way and that, trying to weave their way through the horde of cars between them and the toll booths and subsequent entry to the huge, white bridge in front of them. Its slight arch to the left, and its tall and elegant pylons accentuated its already flamboyant figure in front of the majestic city of Bombay.

Both bikes were occupied by two members each, both wearing black jackets and blue trousers with black helmets. Their jackets concealed the handgun tucked underneath. The passengers on both bikes had big black duffel bags slung over their shoulders, which housed all sorts of equipment required for the effort underway.

As they got closer to the toll booths, two more bikes joined them from a narrow entrance to the highway, on their left. They were all similarly dressed and each rode the bike as recklessly as the next.

Then suddenly, all four split up and each went to one of the four functioning toll booths and patiently waited in line. People in cars around them cast curious glances at them, but they looked straight ahead. None of the toll booth attendants knew anything about them and it was essential that it stayed that way. Each rider co-ordinated their approach to the toll booth with that of the others’. It was apparent that they all intended to reach the toll booths simultaneously. If one was left behind, the others dropped behind by a vehicle or two to make up for it.

It was close to 9 in the morning and traffic was starting to roll in. As the bikes approached the booths in their queue, the four passengers moved their duffel bags to their front, and opened up the zip in such a way that it was convenient to get out whatever was inside, while concealing it from onlookers until it was outside. They were very casual with the whole movement.

At 8:49 AM, all four bikes rolled into the four toll booths and the attendant held out and open palm in which they were supposed to place the toll money. The riders turned off their bikes.

In a swift motion, the drivers of the bikes pulled out the guns out of their holsters and four distinct gunshots were heard and four toll booth attendants held out their hands to motorists for the last time. Commotion ensued. Some cars tried going around the toll booths and escaped onto the bridge but did not know of the existence of three similar riders in the middle of the bridge and four more at the other end. Others tried reversing out of the toll lanes and what resulted was a frenzy of hitting the reverse gear, and lots of screeching tires.

Three policemen stood by the toll booths, leaning on their armoured cars. As soon as they heard gunshots, they all threw the doors open and scampered inside. The roof hatch was thrown open and one police officer immediately positioned himself to use the submachine gun if necessary. One police officer slowly drove the giant vehicle towards the booths while the third one contacted other patrolmen.

“Shots fired at BWSL toll booths! Shots fired! Assistance requested!”


Whew, this was the first chapter to the story I’ve been working on for many a month. It took me this long because there’ve been a lot of roadblocks. My preliminary exams came up, then my Boards and then I’d been away on holiday for a couple of weeks, but now its finally here.

I’d published a prologue of sorts to this, which you can check out by clicking here.

I’ve thought quite ahead on this story, unlike the Traitor series on my blog which I started and then it sort of just faded away because I didn’t really plan ahead on it and made stuff up as I went along. This is different. So, there are going to be more chapters. At least another four chapters. Yeah, a total of five chapters sounds good enough.

I hope you guys liked what you read, because I had a lot of fun writing it, and I’m sure its going to be a lot of fun writing this story. Let me know what you think down in the comments!

I’ll see you next time.

Untitled Fiction Piece – Preview

I’ve been working on a new piece of fiction for a while now. It may seem pretty mainstream at first (maybe it is) but I believe I put my own twist on things so, anyways, hope you have fun reading this one. This is actually just a preview of sorts to see how it fares with the audience. I’ve got more on the way, having already written enough for another chapter or two.


The two bikes swerved this way and that, trying to weave their way through the horde of cars between them and the toll booths and subsequent entry to the huge, white bridge in front of them. Its slight arch to the left, and its tall and elegant pylons accentuated its already flamboyant figure in front of the majestic city of Bombay.

Both bikes were occupied by two members each, both wearing black jackets and blue trousers with black helmets. Their jackets concealed the handgun tucked underneath. The passengers on both bikes had big black duffel bags slung over their shoulders, which housed all sorts of equipment required for the effort underway.

As they got closer to the toll booths, two more bikes joined them from a narrow entrance to the highway, on their left. They were all similarly dressed and each rode the bike as recklessly as the next.

Then suddenly, all four split up and each went to one of the four functioning toll booths and patiently waited in line. People in cars around them cast curious glances at them, but they looked straight ahead. None of the toll booth attendants knew anything about them and it was essential that it stayed that way. Each rider co-ordinated their approach to the toll booth with that of the others’. It was apparent that they all intended to reach the toll booths simultaneously. If one was left behind, the others dropped behind by a vehicle or two to make up for it.

It was close to 9 in the morning and traffic was starting to roll in. As the bikes approached the booths in their queue, the four passengers moved their duffel bags to their front, and opened up the zip in such a way that it was convenient to get out whatever was inside, while concealing it from onlookers until it was outside. They were very casual with the whole movement.

At 8:49 AM, all four bikes rolled into the four toll booths and the attendant held out and open palm in which they were supposed to place the toll money. The riders turned off their bikes.

In a swift motion, the drivers of the bikes pulled out the guns out of their holsters and four distinct gunshots were heard and four toll booth attendants held out their hands to motorists for the last time. Commotion ensued. Some cars tried going around the toll booths and escaped onto the bridge but did not know of the existence of three similar riders in the middle of the bridge and four more at the other end. Others tried reversing out of the toll lanes and what resulted was a frenzy of hitting the reverse gear, and lots of screeching tires.

Three policemen stood by the toll booths, leaning on their armoured cars. As soon as they heard gunshots, they all threw the doors open and scampered inside. The roof hatch was thrown open and one police officer immediately positioned himself to use the submachine gun if necessary. One police officer slowly drove the giant vehicle towards the booths while the third one contacted other patrolmen.

“Shots fired at BWSL toll booths! Shots fired! Assistance requested!”


So, that was a sort of first chapter or a prologue kind of thing to the new piece of fiction I’m working on. Its got crime written all over it with a potential terrorist angle round the corner (probably, maybe). I still haven’t managed to come up with a name for this story. Believe it or not, this story has been lying in my drafts folder for over two months now, and I’ve admittedly been just too slow with this one.

I’m going to need your help in coming up with a name for this one! Maybe its a little premature for you guys now, having read only this preview so I’m going to publish a second chapter in the near future, so look out for that and then we’ll get to the naming ceremony. However, if any of you already have a potential name in mind please drop it in the comments!

I’ve got more written, I wanted to split it up into chapters, build it up, create suspense (it’s fun!) and before I do that, get some opinions. How did you people like this so far? Should I describe the situation a little more before getting to the actual toll booth shootout part? Or is it fine as it is? All opinions welcome! 😀

Thanks a lot for reading! 🙂

See you on the other side.

What’s in a Surname?

He wiped the sweat on his forehead with his leather – enclosed hand and placed it back on the trigger. His eyes flickered. Thoughts running faster than his heartbeats.

“Anything?” he asked dryly.

“No,” answered the man next to him. Max, was his name. Maximilian actually, Maximilian Hurst. Everybody called him Max, not because they liked it, but because he despised Maximilian. For some reason he never spoke of. He was the eyes, squatting by the guy with the sniper rifle, his right eye squinting into the scope, occasionally monitoring the wind speed and direction.

The man on the gun took a swig of water from a bottle to his right. A couple more sips and it would be empty, although they didn’t expect to stay much longer.

“Travis, what’s up with you?” Max inquired.

“Huh? Nothing. I’m fine.”

Max had noticed his ‘partner’ had been sweating much more than himself and had been having much more water too. Max’s bottle was still half full.

“Just make sure you’re in the game when it matters. We ain’t got much time here.” Max could see Travis was shifty and nervous, had been that way all morning. He looked at him once again and then quickly looked back into the scope.

Four minutes later, Max perked up. “He’s here,” he announced. Travis quickly positioned himself correctly, looked into the scope and placed his finger ever so lightly on the trigger. “Second bench from that big tree on the left,” Max directed. “Yeah, yeah I got him.” Travis assured.

“Have you?”

A pause.

“Yeah.”

“Be cool, now. Dude’s gonna be here for ten minutes at least,” Max tried to calm Travis’s nerves a bit.

The sweating intensified. “Wind?” he asked. “10 k’s towards the west,” Max informed. Travis adjusted his rifle accordingly.

Seen through the scope, a certain gentleman by the name Gerry Barton sat on a bench by the river. It was an early summer morning and nobody was in sight yet. The music of an ice-cream cart could be heard in the distance. The vendor had been bribed to stay away from this area for an hour. Suddenly a child came running from the other end, clearly running towards Gerry.

“Who the hell is that?” asked Max as the kid got closer to Gerry.

“Some kid.”

“Yeah, well, I can see that. Who the hell is he, Travis?” Max was clearly mad.

“Its his grandson. David. 8 years old.”

“He isn’t supposed to be here.”

“Yeah, no shit Max! Look, I went over everything, everybody. Trust me. I know he isn’t supposed to be here. I kept checking on everybody up until we left the room an hour back.”

“You know, if you’re lying, I could shoot you right here.”

The kid was now sitting in Gerry’s lap. The two were smiling and chatting away, oblivious to the two eyes looking at them through scopes that had seen lots of bad things. David was blocking almost all of Gerry’s torso from the view of the two men and aiming for the head was risky too.

“Take the shot, Travis. We can’t know how much longer he’s going to stay here,” Max said.

“There is no shot, Max!”

“You see his head? Because I sure as hell do.”

“There’s an 8 year old kid in his lap that’s moving about too much. I can’t do it!”

“Take the goddamn shot Travis, while you still have one, or I’m gonna have to take it for you. And you don’t want it to get to that.”

Travis swore under his breath and adjusted something in his left pant pocket, before looking back into the scope. He switched off the safety with shaking fingers. His hands shook relentlessly. “What are you waiting for?!” Max said.

Travis moved his rifle ever so slightly to the right, steadied himself and pressed the trigger. The bullet whizzed by David, scraped some t-shirt and skin off Gerry’s left shoulder and went right through the bench behind. Travis turned the safety back on. David and Gerry were both very understandably dazed and the ice-cream guy could be seen running towards them, worried, but the two of them got to their feet quickly and started running.

“What the…,” before Max could complete his sentence, Travis had let go of the rifle, pulled out a knife from his left side and swung it in Max’s direction. It landed in his right arm and rendered it unusable.

“You fucking asshole!” Max exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet and punched out at Travis with his weaker left arm. Travis easily dodged it and then took another swing of his knife at Max, which was aimed at his chest but could only tear a piece out of his t-shirt. Max reached for the holster on his right but before he could take the gun out, Travis kicked his hand away and snatched the gun from its holster and in one swift motion, put the knife back, turned off the safety on the smaller gun and pointed it at Max.

“Why the fuck are you doing this Travis? You really want to go down this road?”

“Yeah, I don’t care.” Travis was sweating profusely.

“You look nervous, Travis,” Max taunted him.

“You know I’m going to have to kill you now, Max.”

“Either way, you’re dead too. Our people will find you. One way or another. Today or tomorrow. And off you pop,” Max had a weird concoction of anger, passion and loyalty in his eyes.

“You don’t know anything about me, Max. You never have.” Travis put on a camo-coloured cap on his head, with the initials, T.B. printed on one side.

“Yeah, you know what, it doesn’t matter because our people do. They know what you look like, they know your name, they know you, Travis. Speaking of, what does that ‘B’ stand for? ‘Travis .B.’?”

“Barton,” Travis replied grimly. Max’s eyes widened.

A bullet shot resounded in the area and Maximilian Hurst’s body fell to the floor with a soft thud. Travis Barton looked around, gathered his equipment, put the shell of the bullet he had just fired in his bag, looked around again and walked away.

The Incidental Phone Call

His phone rang noisily through the quiet apartment. Sunlight streamed through the windows. He’d been too dazed last night to remember drawing the curtains. He grunted as he kicked the covers off. His phone rang noisily.

“Get your ass out of bed.”

“Did you call me just to say that? Besides, I’m not even in bed anymore.”

“Nice try, big guy. I called to say you’ve got work to do and you’d better get down here as fast as you can ’cause I’ve got you twenty minutes with that lady at the hot-shot law firm downtown.”

“Whoa, whoa, slow down there. My head’s all fuzzy.” It was very fuzzy and it had really bad timing.

“Well, that’s usually the case when I have to call to wake you up at nine thirty on New Year’s morning. I’ll bet your pants are hanging from the ceiling fan and you’re looking at them right now.”

“That was a one time thing, Frank,” he said, staring at the mess that his room was.

Continue reading “The Incidental Phone Call”

The Traitor: Chapter Five

The Traitor

This is Chapter Five in the Traitor Series. Haven’t read Chapter Four yet? Check it out by clicking here. Reading The Traitor for the first time? Start from the beginning here.

Enjoy Chapter Five!


 

Puerto Rico, about a week ago…

The man cut the last link of chain and then pushed the links at the border of the hole a little apart to make the hole as big as it could possibly be. He did so very slowly and made almost no noise. The grounds were completely silent, apart from the deep grumbles of the engines of a couple of army jeeps in the distance. His forehead and neck glistened with sweat. He kept wiping it off with his glove-enclosed hand and as a result the glove was dripping wet by now. He kept blinking rapidly, partly because of the insects in the air but mostly out of nervousness.

He clutched his long rifle in both his hands as he stealthily walked through the chain and pushed his back to a large shipping container just as a mechanic came into view after fixing a circuit board near the large water tank in the south-east corner of the grounds.

The man with the gun signaled to the rest of his small army and they started jogging over to the container in the same way he had. All of their rifles glimmered in the light given off by the tall, powerful lamp a dozen containers away.

The mechanic got onto a bike and rode off, and almost immediately, the small platoon resumed their muted jog until they came to a huge building with multiple floors and lots of white tent-like structures around it. The building had two tall chimneys at the far end which were coughing up white smoke. The grounds were also for the most part covered in a foggy cover of white smoke. The troop squatted behind two small, deserted cabins and looked at their leader, who signaled them to look at the door of the structure, one that pointed right at them. When they looked at it closely, they found that it was latched and the only way the occupants were coming out, was from a door on the opposite side of the building. He then pointed at a big tent on the other side of this big building; its lights were out. The leader counted down from three to one and then the whole platoon began sprinting to the tent in a linear formation and the last soldier looked out for any surprises from the back.

As the troop sprinted to their next shield from the control building, Mr. Jacobsen settled down in his seat on the third floor of the control building, a seat that had a clear view, through the window in front of him, of the entire north-eastern part of the facility. He had a long look out the window, then one at his computer screen and then had a long sip from the cup of coffee that sat on his desk. Suddenly his eyes drifted to a part of the screen that housed the feeds from the nine security cameras on the borders of the premises, a part that was flashing yellow. He clicked on it and he realised it was flashing because the feeds from cameras four and five were blacked.

A checkup by a security guard would reveal that the cameras had been shot and ten seconds after that the alarm would go off and red lights would flash in all rooms in the facility and gunfire would erupt near a white dome-like structure near the control building. Fourteen minutes and thirty seven seconds later, the armed soldiers that guarded the facility would have shot all the members of the brigade and the Squadron Commander would be forced to come out, hands above his head, and be taken into custody by the soldiers. A call would then be made to the CIA Headquarters by a female official, obviously shaken up, saying: “This… this is the Puerto Rico Nuclear Facility. We’ve had an attack.”

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Five”

The Traitor: Chapter Four

The Traitor

This is Chapter Four in ‘The Traitor Series’. Haven’t read Chapter Three? Want to refresh your memory? Click here to go read it again!


 

Marco Poole flicked the cigarette butt out of the window of his dark blue Subaru Forester XT which was hurtling towards Houston on I-10. He picked up the black Houston Rockets cap that was frying on the dashboard from the heat and he tossed it into the backseat. A man sat distractedly in the passenger seat beside him. He kept fidgeting with the sunglasses in his hands, repeatedly opening and closing the temples. His eyes would drift to the rear-view mirror every now and again and they would thoroughly scan the road behind before settling on the road in front again. Occasionally he took a sip or two from the water bottle in the bottle stand in the door.
“Are you sure they don’t see us?” He finally asked Marco Poole, with a tinge of concern in his voice.

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Four”

The Traitor: Chapter Three

The Traitor

This is Chapter Three in ‘The Traitor Series’. Haven’t read Chapter Two? Forgot what happened? Read it again by clicking here!


 

As Cross and Ellis approached the Intelligence Room, a man approached the two. He donned a similar suit as Cross’s and only differed in the choice of tie.

“Michael Weiss, sir,” he introduced himself holding out his right hand to the SAC. The SAC shook his hand and walked into the room. Cross and Weiss followed him.

“Jacob Cross,” Cross introduced himself to Weiss. They shook hands and Weiss gently nodded his head in respect.

The trio was getting to a huge desk in the middle of the room. The desk looked like it was made of premium quality wood, though it didn’t look like one of those ancient pieces. It was roughly a square and easily four feet on both sides. There were two telephones in the middle of the table and four large television screens hung from the ceiling directly above the table. The screens were at ninety degree angles to one another and therefore allowed people from every corner of the room to see what was being shown without having to come over to one screen. Cross noticed there was a medium sized pen stand in the middle of the table with pens and pencils of all sorts. Other than the telephones and the pen stand, the table was relatively empty, with a few sheets of paper stacked in four arguably neat piles. The table had two seats on each side for a total of eight occupants. Cross noticed the grey carpeting on the floor and it reminded him of those corporate offices and law firms with authoritative surnames on their calling cards, slickly dressed individuals shuffling busily in their corridors, having the least amount of concern for the carpets their firm had probably spent thousands of dollars on.

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Three”

The Unexpected

There was an open writing competition at the college of a friend of mine. She told me about it and it sounded fun to me. I needed a little push to write since I’ve been writing less lately. Maybe this was it. So the basic requirement for a fiction piece was for it to be under 2000 words. Here’s what I managed to cough up. Its not my best, I agree but I hope you like it. And just btw, the comment section could use some activity 😀 Thanks!


Derek presented his boarding pass to the woman at the gate. She flashed a warm and lively smile at him and took the ticket from him and having checked it, handed it back to him with a cheerful “Have a nice flight!” Derek thanked her and walked down to the plane.

Derek studied Physics at the city’s university and though he hadn’t exactly been a star student through school or early college, he came through when it mattered. He was headed to Cape Town to see his parents who lived there. His family was of South African descent. He had a seat in Economy and as he walked towards his seat he noticed how empty the plane was. He walked past three seats, which were all occupied by conspicuously well-dressed individuals, all in perfectly tailored suits.

***

Walter had just settled down in his seat in Economy Seat 52(G) in the 74-row plane. The aisle seat allowed him easy access to the aisle whenever he felt the need to stretch his legs a bit. He was pretty used to long flights now, but that need still hadn’t perished.

Walter was plugging in his phone into his laptop when he saw a kid walk by him. He looked like he was in his early twenties and he had a backpack on his shoulders. He held a book in his hands. ‘A Clash of Kings’. He wore thick-rimmed black spectacles and had a faint hunch in his gait.

Walter kept looking at him till he could no longer see him. He just wondered how many other youngsters and kids must be on the flight and what would happen to them if this all went south.

He switched on his mobile phone and pressed 7.

“You got something Bradley? There’s ten minutes to gate-closing time.” He asked to the man on the other side of the line.

“Negative. No network activity, no suspicions on the passenger list yet. Nothing much on the airport cameras either. I’ll keep you posted.”

Walter sighed and put his phone into his pocket. He decided to take a stroll and just have a look at the passengers. He buttoned up his jacket and corrected the dimple in his tie as he stood up.

***

Derek was sitting in his window seat and playing a game on his iPad. He had the urge to continue reading his book but he decided to keep it off till he was airborne. The airhostess came by to ask him if he needed anything, and he said he could use some water.

He heard the footsteps of somebody approaching from behind at a relaxed pace. He put his iPad aside just as the loud-footed, dark-skinned individual came into view. Derek looked at him and he looked back. They both smiled at each other. Derek noticed he was one of those guys in the back who he noticed earlier – the ones with the expensive-looking suits.

Walter noticed that the kid put away his tablet away just before he walked into view. He looked back at the kid when he had walked to four seat rows ahead of him. He had his tablet in his hands again. Almost suspicious, Walter thought.

***

The plane was four hours into its journey. Walter had finished his observational tour of the plane but hadn’t really caught anybody suspicious. He didn’t expect he would either. His phone screen suddenly lit up.

Continue reading “The Unexpected”