The Heist

“So, let’s get through the plan one last time” hoarse words coming out of chief’s elongated mouth reverberated in the damp and dingy hideout. All the three accomplices stopped their current engagements and paid full attention to chief.

Whatever community say, one has to admire one aspect of the Chief; His towering presence. He can make you squirm just by his penetrating look. He can make you cower in the dark recesses just by twitching his bushy whiskers; no need to utter any words. Other three members of the gang comprises of conniving Toothy; got her name when she lost her teeth in brawl, heavily built Tank; nothing can outmatched him in carrying heavy load and little Timmy; most naïve but most agile of the lot.

Once confirmed to have all attention, Chief growled in usual coarse voice,” Look, we had our practice run from last few nights. And we know that we can easily make out to the vault without raising any suspicions, but this time we have to be extra careful. This is not our usual day-to-day steal…..”

“Night-to-night, you mean” Toothy sniggered.

“… Don’t interrupt. Yes, so where was I? ”

“On our night-to-night steal” Toothy sniggered more profoundly showing the gapping smile.

“Yes. No usual stuff this is. Once we open the vault, there must be security measures we need to pacify. Like, stubbing out the halogen source connected with the vault door which send the signal of open door to everyone.” Chief explained.

“Are there any alarm or security personnel?” Timmy asked timidly.

“Yes. We don’t want to miss any compromising factors. Timmy, now you should go on watch and report every movement now on wards, so that we are always prepared for last minute contingencies.” Ordered Chief. Timmy quickly put down the food he was eating in between and ran towards exit.

“Why so paranoid, Chief?” Asked Tank who was lazily comforted himself between makeshift rag-bed.

“Have you forgotten the last time you were caught in the neighborhood? Once these people sniffed that stealing is happening than we are doomed. So after this big heist we have to move on.” Declared the Chief ominously.

“It was so much fun to break in and get the Tank out of the bars” Toothy was still in high-spirit considering tonight’s risky heist. But Tank was offended with his weaknesses discussed openly. He chirped vengefully,” And why don’t you also narrate how you lost your precious tooth.”

“Ok let me show you practically, how I lost.”

“Let’s see if you able to save the other one also.”

Both came face –to-face for one more brawl when Chief shouted,” Enough……”

“That’s why we never grow. We keep fighting internally like humans. We are rats and we should act like ones. Stop fighting over silly matters and let’s concentrate on our humongous task on hand. I’ll summaries as follow: At the first strike of midnight, we move out of our rat-holes. Timmy must be there maintaining the watch. Toothy will provide the distraction in case of emergency. Meanwhile I and tank will enter the refrigerator i.e. the vault via back panel hole which will take us right inside it and……….”

Suddenly Timmy appeared in the doorway, running quickly towards the milieu, “Chief, Chief…….”

“What Happened?” All asked in unison.

“All plan is fine but there only remains one difficulty……….” Uttered Timmy panting.

“Are you going to spit out or should I spank you like rotten child,” Toothy muttered.

“Only difficulty is that Cheese is moved out.” Revealed Timmy.

Love-Struck: Part 4

You know what is the most lethal weapon of all?  It’s human brain. And knowledge it possesses.  

Rahul felt completely foggy and out of his senses. He just laid there on recliner with no strength left to move his limbs; let alone speak. He couldn’t make out what was going on. His consciousness barely there, about to lose battle against strong urge to sleep.

Suddenly, lithe form of Priya hovered in front of his eyes who was brandishing the same knife with which they had cut cake in her gloved hands.

“Let me explain you the rules in your last ecstatic moments” She said.

Rule 1: Information and Knowledge

Get as much information as you can of your target.

Rahul was always on my radar since I joined the college. In fact, I was not meant to be here in same college but I knew I have to find him. So easy to scrap through all the bullshit Rahul spread about himself if you already knew the person well in advance. I was relying on your approach-studied so well-that once presented as beautiful, vulnerable and simple girl; he himself will dig his grave. Revenge is sweet.

With that, Priya removed the “I LOVE YOU” message card from flowers and kept it safely in her bag for later discard.

Rule 2: Deception

Never reveal your true personality. Take as much care as you can to hide the track of the past. You need to create a false aura which is visible to all.

Rahul needed easy bait, also not that much easy that he would smell the fish cooking. I had provided ample information of my background so that Rahul would catch the bait. Background which was carefully constructed to suit his need. Though never do it overtly. Its fact that my parents are there at my home town. It is also fact that I had one elder sister. But she never worked in IT. Though I could afford a car to drive daily, I had to opt vulnerability; something like middle-classed choice: Scooty. Smoke screen has to be transparent to see beyond but not that much that everything is clear. And last but not least, you have to spend time in preparation of proper cyber persona.

Priya took out other paper from her bag and crushed it under her fist. Then again let the paper unfurled on the table. Rahul blankly staring to all the deeds without having any clue with his eye-lids getting heavier by the second.

Rule 3: Preparation

You have to be careful, very careful in laying out all with utmost precision. Go through your plan as many times as time permits. There must not be any plot-hole which will compromise everything and have critical consequences. At any point if something goes wrong, make sure that nothing leads to you.

I knew what your plan was from start when you invited me for such secluded celebration. In fact, the best chance you have given me to plot my revenge. What do you think; only bad boys like you could only get hold of narcotics like Rohypnol? I have my own means. I already sedated the piece of cake which I romantically guided you to cut and eat it too. Sedative is powerful. And also untraceable. And by the way, once people see the loner losing out the romantic battle in this secluded flat with denial note crumpled besides, delivered through flowers, they would not like to investigate further on murder angle. I, poor girl, will confirm severing relationships due to personal reasons. Though I had courtesy to end it with flowers. And yes you also have your fingerprints on knife. By the way, body spray was purposefully manly as not to trace any female presence.   

Priya arranged everything as if Rahul just got depressed with denial note from Priya. She arranged his body face down on recliner with one of his hand dangling.

Rule 4: Strike

Wait for opportune moment. It will come. It must come if you have prepared well. And that is the time when you must complete what you seek for since such a long time.

Let me ease agony of dying person’s confusion. You knew Seema? A simple girl fall for you in the first year of college and you played your love-card on her, the way you done with me. She was soft and weak. It was not break-up which proved unbearable for her but shattering of her ideal sense of true love. You didn’t even thought of sympathizing with her and choose to flag her as cheater, saving your gentleman image. You do remember that she left study in between after such incident and returned home; just to hang herself and die in the close vicinity of her family. And there was her younger sister shocked and traumatized for whole of her life. I am not Seema. This is nothing but little payback from my elder sister.

With such last words Priya slashed the dangling wrist of the Rahul, carefully put the knife around his second hand, dumped cake into garbage bag to dispose far away and arranged champagne glasses to reduce suspicion of second drinker.

With tearful eyes she threw last glance at unconscious Rahul bleeding away to death and slammed the door shut behind her.

The End.

Previously…..

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Love-struck: Part 3

Rahul had just finished arranging champagne bottle in steel tumbler, filled with ice cubes along with slender champagne glasses for the occasion when doorbell rang with a loud and continuous clang; showing the anticipation of the person other side to enter the house. It was Priya dressed simple but with lots of elegance. Rahul was just stood there with his mouth open, completely blown apart to see the transformation of Priya from simple college girl to modelling fashionista.

“Are you not going to invite me to house?” Priya gently put forward in soft tone.

“What!!! Oh…. Yaaa, sorry….You look so gorgeous that for a while I felt absolutely numb.” Rahul getting back to his own replied with charm, “Please, come in”.

Priya settled down on recliner admiring the surroundings. Drawing hall was sparsely filled with expensive furniture. A large recliner was covering most of the space along with glass top tripod. Priya noticed antique mantelpiece made of sandalwood adorning one of the wall with tall tower clock. Kind of shown in horror movies all the time. But here it was looking beautiful and, for sure, expensive.

“Have a look around and I will prepare something to drink and then we can talk and decide about dinner.” Rahul knew that he had to make Priya comfortable before making any advance. With that he popped open champagne and poured out two glasses.

“Rahul, I don’t drink.” Priya protested on seeing what Rahul meant for drinking.

“Oh… Come on. This is just champagne. One glass; for me. For our……Love??!!!”

“No please. I have to drive home.”

“I will call you cab or arrange something. Don’t spoil the ambience. Ok. Take one sip and if you really don’t like than I will not force you.” As Rahul was saying it in mild “lover’s tone”, Priya was not aware that he was putting a pill of Rohypnol, infamously known as Date Rape drug with his back towards Priya. Rahul knew that even though girls resist, they always had enjoyed his “company”. He had just provided means or in other words “courage” to initiate “the relationship”. Like other girls in the past, Priya will also feel foggy next day but he would blame it on first time drinking. Priya will never go against Rahul as she wittingly had chosen to accept his invitation in name of Love. In most cases girls themselves moved away after “the incident” leaving Rahul as “heart-broken victim”. Otherwise Rahul always had some other means to severe the ties. He was not meant to be with single girl.

Priya saw Rahul approaching with two champagne filled glasses. He offered one to Priya like offering a cold-drink bottle in very casual manner. Priya hesitated. She was not sure if this could be the correct step.

“C’mmon. What are you waiting for? OK, I promise I will not lose my mind and never let you be in harm’s way also.” Rahul knew from nervous biting on the lips of Priya that she was contemplating. She was in dilemma whether to forget about whole world and not letting these moments sleep away or rather not slipping to the temptation in these fickle moments.

At last with palpitation, Priya accepted the glass,” Ok. As you wish. How could a girl resist an offer “you can’t refuse”? But let’s celebrate this first with cake I specially order for us.” With that, Priya took out the cake she brought all along with her from decorative wrapper box. She fumbled in her purse for something.

“What are you searching? Candles?” Rahul couldn’t wait to get it done with and carry on with his purpose.

“No silly, I think I forgot the cutting knife.”

“Ok. Wait I will bring the chopping knife from kitchen.”  Rahul hurriedly went to kitchen while uttering those words.

He quickly picked up one knife from brand new set, still unused, wondering why on the earth they had furnished kitchen if no one was going to be there for using it for long while.

“Here it is.”

“Cut the cake with your own hand” exclaimed Priya.

“Let’s do it together”. Rahul was ever ready to impress.

While Priya softly holding Rahul’s hand, guiding the cutting of the cake, Rahul leaned bit closer to Priya and strong scent of her perfume showered the nostrils of Rahul. “uuhgggg…. What kind of perfume is this?”

“You didn’t like this!!!! Oh…. I thought these expensive ones must be good. It’s new body spray I tried.”

“It’s bit manly. Don’t you think so? Anyway, Forget it. Let’s proceed with cake cutting”

Priya cut a large piece and offered it to Rahul with most loving smile she could conjure up after that “body-spray” fiasco, “This is for you.”

As soon as Rahul opened his mouth she stuffed it up with whole piece lovingly, giggling all the time.

She cut one more piece for herself which Rahul made sure that Priya ate with his hands, reducing the physicality as much as possible.

“Let’s celebrate now.”

Previously……….

Part 1

Part 2

Love-struck: Part 2

Rahul was pacing eagerly in the drawing-room which was sparsely furnished due to still ongoing interior work. Not all the flats were occupied due to still construction work around; precisely because of which Rahul invited Priya to his secluded flat. Not sure why he felt such eagerness when he was very much aware of the future outcomes. He couldn’t believe his luck that girl like Priya got trapped so easily. Rahul went into trans-stat, talking to himself; musing on his “achievements”.

“She looks clever to me. In fact she is much cleverer and well above those other girls of the past. But I know how to tread on risky waters. People think that this is easy considering my stature and personality but it’s not. You need to strictly follow some rules.”

Rule 1: Information and Knowledge

Get as much information as you can of your target. Knowledge about your prey is much important to avoid critical situations to occur. I searched and gather as much as I can about Priya before advancing. What she like, what she dislike, what’s her routine, what could be out of routine, what’s her vulnerabilities, what’s her strength….. Everything. As much as you can.

Considering Priya joined as fresher and being emotional type, she will be vulnerable enough to fall for “Love-thingy” on first place. She is having parents at her home-town. I also heard about her elder sister working in IT firm. Good, at least she will have emotional support once I finished toying with her and execute my most famous emotional break-up “ploy”.

Rule 2: Deception

Never reveal your true personality. Take as much care as you can to hide the track of the past. You need to create a false aura which is visible to all. It must be impressive enough from Priya’s points of view and at the same time must look authentic. Spread you fallacy before any truth spilling out from somewhere else which eventually going to be the case. Especially take care of your cyber persona.

Already I have spread my image in this college as down-to-earth idealistic guy. I know Priya will not fall for someone who is much higher above her social class as she will not approach the first step out of inferiority. I need to put her on ease. I need to present myself as someone who can be so good that I can pay no heed to other classy girls and fall for simplicity.

Rule 3: Preparation

You have to be careful, very careful in laying out all with utmost precision. Go through your plan as many times as time permits. There must not be any plot-hole which will compromise everything and have critical consequences. At any point if something goes wrong, make sure that nothing leads to you.

Most difficult task was to get noticed. Luckily I have few advantage, due to my false propaganda but important part is you need to get your first strike at conversation. Don’t try to rush through it. It’s like cooking. You need to time it perfectly with heat. I observed for few days when she left alone and I found out that best time was at parking lot while leaving. One day I tweaked little bit of her spark-plug and made myself present at right moment. Need I have to say that I was well aware of her late labs on that day?

Rule 4: Strike

Wait for opportune moment. It will come. It must come if you have prepared well. And that is the time when you must complete what you seek for since such a long time.

Once past formalities of the budding love relationship, you need to forward slowly and steadily like a spider preying its bug. Wait for Valentine’s Day and propose what Priya always desired the most: promise of lifelong true love. I can sense that Priya is completely charmed by me and she is about to reach to my lair of sins.”

At the same moment, doorbell rang and Rahul found himself be presented with flower bouquet full of red roses. But why she sent a delivery boy? Was she not coming? After delivery boy went away, Rahul picked out the message on scrap of paper hidden among roses.

“I LOVE YOU.

Can’t wait to meet you.

Will soon reach to your home.

  • Yours Priya “.

Rahul was greedily smiling with comfort that his “hard work” has not been in vain.

Previously…….

Part 1

Love-struck : Part 1

“Priya, I fall for you when I first saw you. I was waiting for Valentine’s Day since our first meeting. Would you like to come and celebrate with me?”

Priya was never so much happy before. It was that exceptionally odd feeling never experienced before. Why shouldn’t she? After all, her desires were coming true. She couldn’t believe her luck. How easy all things falling into pieces. She never intended to follow the path of love and all that movie propagated feel-good factors; especially after “that” horrible incident which left her and whole of her family in grief-stricken state for so many days. She still knew that all is not well with her family. They will never going to accept her after this. She herself started to hate the word “Love”. But she knew deep within her heart that love itself could be the only path which will provide soothing effect to their grief. Love is the way. And she was the key. To relieve out of “that” trauma.

And how could you not fall in love with Rahul. Yes, Rahul whose inviting words were continuously ringing in her ears. Heart-throbbing and sensational. Charming and handsome. He was always favorite of the girls. Priya never knew that whatever shown in the movie could really be happened in real life. But Rahul was such persona who can turn your dreams into reality. He was in the final year of Arts, while Priya just started her college career in Science stream in the same college.

Currently heading towards Rahul’s new flat residing on outskirts of city, Priya was feeling anticipation mixed with excitement. She was dressed in elegant turquoise Salwar which was perfectly doing its job of alleviating her curves and at the same time not giving too much away. With thick of black hair, curls at the end falling to shoulders, big brown eyes accompanying long slender nose and full lips forming the natural pout, she could definitely compete in beauty contests. But she felt nervous today. Valentine’s Day was not helping her out to ease the feeling. Strawberry-pineapple fruit cake lying beside her for upcoming “special” celebration. Nowadays, it is easy to fix date on this special day but ridiculously hard to secure flowers and cake. Also she was not prepared when suddenly Rahul asked her to meet her at his new flat on this special day. Both aware that what was going to come was inevitable.

They say Love needs time but that was the only factor which was left out in Rahul and Priya’s love relationship. It was fast and quick matching the pace and necessity of fast digital life. It has been only 6 months when first they met on college campus. Priya had recently joined the college and was getting popularity in terms of her looks and brevity as “new batch arrivals”. Everyone knew that seniors had their keen surveillance over new girls. Boys from entire last year class of art were aware of Rahul’s influence. So they had already settled down to wait for his approaches and then picked out other girls to escape from heart-break afterwards. Everyone knew that Rahul’s charm was irresistible. He is handsome and rich. Soft-spoken and down-to-earth though. He chose not to mingle in any kind of so-called “amoral” practices. He could be the very embodiment of prince who is the sole objective of dreams of every girl. But Rahul had never taken advantage of the situation or so people say. Even though envy had its way of spreading rumors.

Anyhow Priya was never affected by rumors from the very first day when they met. It was the day after late evening lab that Priya was struggling to start her Scooty. Rahul was about to leave when he saw Priya in parking. He approached and offered help. After bit of spark-plug cleaning and mechanical knowledge showdown, he accompanied her to main road. They met a couple of times after that in parking area while leaving the college and exchanged numbers and IDs; voluntarily agreeing that it’s better to accidentally meet in cyber-space rather than bland parking area all the time.

“What do you want, madam?”

Priya suddenly realized that vendor was awaiting her answer. She got off at the florist at the corner. She bought few more roses. She was feeling a fluttering buterflies in the stomach. Her heart was beating like drum. She had to send the message to Rahul and she was going to do it in old-fashioned way. She was planning to send letter to Rahul with whole of her heart poured out with flowers, but she resisted herself to put that in flower bouquet. What if delivery boy lose it in haste?  What if delivery got delayed?  No!!! She could not afford to take risk. So she just slipped “Love you” card and asked the florist to deliver the flower bouquet on time on Rahul’s new flat address. She knew even though there will be no one living there as flat was not completely furnished, Rahul will be there on time waiting for her. For that special moment for which he invited Priya alone to such remote location. And Priya also couldn’t wait to see her emotions come to fruition.

Metro Chronicles: Short Novella Chapter 4

Chapter 4: The Findings
Oleg, known as “The Captain” was leading the group of four when Dmitri voluntarily joined the expedition. “New world order” medic team had found a small tunnel padlocked since time no one could fathom. Dmitri had called upon his best recon team to check out and clear the tunnel, if required. As per the Metro norms, it was foolish move to invite trouble without any specific gain as evaluated against the risk taken. But Dmitri had intuition that this would turn out good for them. Also there was an element of surprise on why such feeble “padlocked” door had been shut for such a long time without any intrusion. Metro was known for their heavy steel sluice gate designed doors barricading stations and as a result cutting them off from outside world. This “cut-off” was necessity as “Surface world” was bursting with fierce power to get poured into the Metro whenever opportunity presents itself. So this “exception” in the rule was hard to understand for Dmitri. And hence he donned his heavy protective army gear along with his trusted SVDK to join the recon team to get to the roots.
As the door opened, stale air prisoned inside the tunnel hissed out to shower the team. Already everyone had their gas masks on with respirator system working in full flow. According to Oleg, two sets of air filters were enough to check out the things. If the tunnel led to surface, more than two sets were never required as one would run out of ammunition to fight with monstrosities rather than running out of air supply. They entered the tunnel in a single file with Dmitri first and Oleg “The Captain” at last. It was strange battle formation employed for Metro expedition where leader had to be at last as “anomalies” found to fry the brain of any battle hardened soldier, once encountered. No particular effects in order and hence leader had chance to gather his wits for better command and control once he identified attack pattern to first poor victim. It didn’t mean Dmitri was on lower rung of rank ladder. He knew very well that if attack was such that he himself was compromised than there was minimal chance for his team’s survival.
With night vision on, claustrophobic darkness turned into grainy radiated green. On few occasions, Dmitri had stopped the party with silent army gesture of raised fist on encountering sharp green laser reflection of scurrying tunnel rodents’ eyes. It was not long tunnel but careful penetration had taken few precious hours out of their digitized wrist band watch. Dmitri had checked Geiger-counter on regular basis for any sudden radiation spike. At last Dmitri observed faint light filtering through what seemed to be tunnel exit boarded up with wooden planks. In sudden anticipation Dmitri moved forward quickly and tripped. He fell facedown into small pit covered in slime. For a while, Dmitri saw someone standing near the exit with his arms spread wide covering the blockage. A dark shadow in green, writhing in pain and agony, stitched to the wooden planks. It was bad omen warning against entering the world humankind choose to destroy long time back. Someone supported Dmitri to get up. Swiping out the slime from mask visor, Dmitri found vision also swept sideways giving view to dark green reality again.
“You, all right?” First echo thundered after their inception.
“Yaa, I’m fine.” Replied Dmitri.
As soon as Dmitri with help of two others, tore through blockage and door, they were greeted with blinding sunlight overpowering their Rod cells to imprint bright ghostly vision to linger on for a while even after quick shutting down of their night vision. They found themselves in a caved in basement of large destroyed building.
From the wreckage of shelves, Dmitri immediately realized that they were in one of the most famous and revered hotspot of the city; center point of all the learning and knowledge; temple of the intellectuals; The Great Library. Even after so many years passed, lot many books were in good condition to read. It was lost knowledge, humankind never cared for while fleeting away to Metros. Team spread out with keen eye to spot any abrupt movement while Dmitri rifled through few of the large volumes scattered on the floor.
During the military sweep of the Library, Dmitri surprisingly observed human footprints on dust covered floors intermingled with multi mutant-prints. It could not be STALKERs as they would have large armor boot prints. These were relatively small as someone had taken a stroll in regular floaters. Before he could alert the team about the findings, communication radio cackled with raspy voice of Oleg with clear intent of warning,” Attention team, it seems we are not the only ones occupying the Library right now.”
Without making any noise Dmitri swiftly swiped the surroundings through telescopic sight to provide backup to the team and identifying the danger. As a long range specialist he took the higher position on upper foyer looming over the large reception area where team had made their lookout. Suddenly there was blur to right corner of the hall, a faint voice erupted on communication channel of the radio and then Dmitri sensed something lobbed in the air almost to the height of foyer 50ft above the ground. In an instance, he captured the object in telescopic sight to fire and froze solid with the horror it represented. Dmitri could clearly identify severed head of Oleg with trailing crimson mist in its wake from the ground. With all the force he could muster, Dmitri screamed like madman,
“RUN…………They are already in the Library.”
The great hall was amalgamation of various sounds playing the orchestra where every sound was out of tune; continuous screaming wrapped in noise riddled radio voice, chatter of AK74 supported by echo of .45 caliber empty shells resounding to the tile floor, ominous growling punctuated by blood curdling tissue slashing and bone crunching. Within few minutes, show was over with no spectator left except Dmitri.
Dmitri ran towards adjacent corridor blindly once massacre started. He took refuge in one small study room covered with moss and lichen. Surprisingly “creatures” ran past the room without giving any attention. One stopped right at the threshold of room, looked towards Dmitri as if evaluating its prey for quality. Took one step in the direction of Dmitri and then stopped as if sensing some trap. It growled and flew back again with herd without entering the room.
After Dmitri got his senses back, he examined the room for his mysterious escape from death. There must be something with the room which had stopped the monster from entering the room. He found a rumpled but in good reading condition diary lying on the center study table. With curiosity sky high, Dmitri opened the diary. It was kind of a personal log. Dmitri would have not paid any attention if first page monolog had not been titled as ‘Day 1: After nuclear wipe out’.
To Be Continued…..

CHAPTER 3 : The Revelation

Metro Chronicles: Short Novella – Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2: The Proposal 

“You are the chosen one to restore balance to the world.”

Blurted out Dmitri with grim face to back up the seriousness behind the proposal.

“But How!!!! This seems highly unlikely…..”Mia barely managed to reply.

“You don’t have to worry about particulars. I have thought it out everything. I already worked on my plan since last few years. Only thing I need from you is your cooperation to carry out the execution with perfection. “Interjected Dmitri without allowing Mia to raise any more concerns.

Mia realized during frequent ventures to various Metro stations that somehow Dmitri was attracted towards her; not the usual cruel interest like other men but keen interest in something else which Mia skilled to perfection by now. She was extremely good at avoiding attention which was rare considering Mia was young girl and also beautiful one by any standards considering the low-life of Metro women. Mia also got accustomed to Dmitri, observing him from the corner of her eyes whenever opportunities present themselves during their excursions with other group of people.

Dmitri was soft-spoken person who also not liked to converse with others; same as Mia. And hence they got together easily. Once she was creating catapult which can be armed with rotating wheel mechanism of the motor sledge and throw Molotov through feeder belt without need of two persons to man the back side observation post for mutant attacks while traveling through tunnels; Damitri had helped her out with exact dimensions to carve for maximum torque. He also made her learn formulas to carry out calculations. Mia was impressed and then it became norm to learn something each time they conversed. Damitri was considered by many as born genius. He was immensely knowledgeable and experienced, apparent through greying hair and taut chiseled face.

On the other hand, others considered Damitri a freak. Sometimes he could be seen spending months on single metro station, doing what could be described by him as “Research” and sometimes roaming around various metros. He could don the role of any particular as and when required; some day he would be mechanic, someday medic, someday biologist, someday statistician, someday advisor, someday researcher and many more and Mia knew that whatever role he was playing, he practiced excellence in everything. People also believed that he had pact with “The Dark” during so-called research expeditions where his entire party was diminished over black corner of the tunnel nearby surface except him. His brain “short-circuited” in result. But Mia knew that metro harshness has reduced the sharpness of human mind to concentrate on survival more than to spend grey matter to betterment of humankind or for just sake of knowledge like Dmitri.

Once spending time together on one of the trade stations for further journey, Dmitri asked Mia to join him on his research expedition, although not giving away what it could be. Mia was looking for such opportunity as she was also keen to explore the world she believed barely knew. She tagged along with Dmitri wherever he went, experiencing the Metro universe first-hand, before that she always had to rely on spoken words. For Mia, it was strange and incomprehensible. Even though she saw interconnected Metro network map, she could not think of anything beyond that map boundary. She heard about “outside world” but didn’t have a slightest idea of the size and scale of that world as compared to her Metro-world. She couldn’t comprehend why people are so hell-bent on killing out of fear and at the same time mass producing like sewer rats.

“These pockets of Metro stations are nothing but like countries on themselves with their own governing bodies and laws, you know!!!” Once Dmitri explained to Mia while passing through border guard posts through one of the main stations.

“But who will control them.” asked Mia.

“That’s the point. No one. Those lucky ones or should I say unlucky ones who survived nuclear blast due to timely entry to Metros started this Metro civilization. There was no central authority and no one was in condition to think of that. And what do you think they start concerning about once they settled down?”

“Food!! Home!! Clothes!! ….No idea…..”

“Guns. Can you believe that? Ammunition was the first mass produced thing again after humankind’s exile to this god-forbidden place. I can understand the need for protection against outer forces and mutants, but once you put AK74 to someone’s hand and sooner or later they get twitchy fingers.” Dmitri answered with disdain.

“To add fuel to the fire, once people got their bearings and control over metros they started grouping up. Not for supporting each other but based on similar political propagandas and interests. Even after the end of world, lust for power never vanquished. Now you also have borders in Metro also.” Continued Dmitri.

“But this situation is not going to last. I have a thought or rather idea. And you need to help me out with that.” Said Dmitri leading Mia to small opening in the wall of Metro station.

“Help!! With what?”

“With this…..”

Dmitri opened small creaky door to some kind of large underground opening. Mia was not sure what it could be used for in pre-war era. Damitri flicked the lights on and entire room was bathed with warm yellow glow to highlight each object with feverish sharpness. Mia gasped with surprise. This was not she expected.

To Be Continued…..

Chapter 1: The Extinction