CHAPTER 11:THE TRUTH.

For a moment, we couldn’t believe what we heard.

Ashok?

Like really!?

The man that had gone missing years ago mysteriously is here in front of us.

KING ASHOK.

We were disturbed by the ongoings ,and we made it clear by struggling against the armed tribals who were holding us tight.

“Calm my boy. Calm!”,Ashok spoke for the first time.

Man! How can we keep calm after seeing all these!

“You three seems lost. Totally confused eh?”, Raghav laughed in a wicked manner like those typical villains.

Better I keep quiet. I can’t take another slap from these guys.

I signalled Madhav with my eyes to speak something. But he didn’t.

Clever.

“Let’s clear their confusion then Raghav. Right?”

“Yeah!”, Raghav answered him with an evil smile.

“Ohk then.. Let’s start back from the day I murdered my wife..”

He had no regret or agony about killing his own wife.
Anger welled up in my eyes.

“Chief Raghav had said to you guys that my business was set up in Trivandrum. Right? ”

We didn’t respond.
A strong punch behind our backs resulted in us nodding in approval.

Never ever misbehave with the King.

“Good. But did he tell what business? ”, Ashok smiled.

“No..”, we responded before we were gifted another punch.

“Well..I started my work here in this very village..doing odd jobs..but that never gave me enough money to fulfill MY dreams. I wanted to be rich. Very rich. So I travelled south to the capital-Trivandrum,hoping I might get some job..and I did get a  fair job too, in an office as a clerk with a good pay..but I was still unsatisfied. You can call me greedy or over ambitious,but ya..I just had one thing in my mind. BE VERY RICH. FAST! BY HOOK OR CROOK.”

Where’s he heading to..?

“..and one late night,on my way back home,I saw a huge crowd, encircling a person. He was selling some stuff..some packets. I had a closer look only to find it was drugs! The way he was selling it like hot cakes made it evident that it’s a very good way to earn quick bucks. But what if the police catches him doing this illegal stuff? It’s a non-bailable offence! And coincidentally, the next moment, a batch of around 4-5 police officials came seeing the crowd. The drug peddlar will be arrested I thought..but I was shocked to see even the police officials being his customers! ”

“After all his ‘packets’ were sold out in about 15 minutes, everyone except me and the drug peddlar left the place. He asked me to come the next day at the same place same time since all the packets had been sold out. Seeing his hands full of hard cash,I couldn’t help but ask him whether I could join him in his business, in any possible way. He denied at first, but later when he understood that I was determined to such an extent that I met him for about 2 weeks continuously,that he agreed at last.”

“One year later, new partners joined us and slowly it was spreading out.
But the main people involved where me and him. Together, we amassed a good fortune. Still,I was keen on expanding our drug empire and gaining more profits. I started living in a rented house at Trivandrum. Once a month,I visited my house to meet my family whom I almost forgot during this money making business. They were under the impression that I was still working in an office and the constant travelling led to my decision to shift to the capital alone. Poor they!
Above that,my fortune attracted lots of pretty women too. Life was its best.”

“And in this process, one day those honest anti-corrupt police officials who were against us raided our store house and that incurred huge loses for us. We both were lucky that we weren’t present on the spot, or else it would have been a different story altogether. That’s when we decided to find a new place for hiding our ‘packets’. After a lot of brainstorming, we zeroed in on my home here. But there can be an easy raid here too. That’s when my mind stumbled upon an evil plan.”

“On one of the visits back to my house, I met my most trustworthy and old friend Raghav,and explained him the plan.”

“That night,I killed my wife under the fake reason of being in an affair with the house help Stephen, but in the process, I lost my daughter too. Stephen saw this and he started fleeing,but I shot him and stuffed his body inside my car. ”

“After all this blood game, I headed to Raghav’s house,told him what to do next and left the place as soon as possible. The next day investigations and the mad search for me started as expected. Raghav was questioned since he was the closest friend of mine. But he played well as I ordered him to. The main commissioner was determined to solve this case but a bit of bribery fuzzled out all his determination. The pace of the proceedings slowed down and after 2 years or so,the case was closed. ”

“Now you will ask why didn’t they find me. The main reason would be the fact that I changed my appearance and location every month. In those 2 years, I travelled about 7 states in all. Hence,chances of me being caught were down to nil.”

“There was a bit of nuisance from Raghav’s son who had come from abroad for a small vacay here. Apparently, he saw Raghav and me talking about the murder that night. When the nuisance increased too much, Raghav made sure that his mad son was sent above with honours.”

“After the case was closed, I met Raghav and Akbar-the drug peddlar kingpin, at Kochi, to discuss the next plans. The house here was taken care of the team of around 20 well built guys whom Raghav had deployed to make sure no one enters inside. By using all the technology that we had at our disposal, they created an illusion that the house is haunted by the spirits of the mother and daughter who were brutally murdered that night. But the question that arose was how could we transfer tonnes of ‘packets’ there? We can’t take the road route for sure. There should be an alternative way. ”

“The hill route was the only option. Our team managed to talk to the chief of these tribals here and promised that if they help us they’ll be rewarded with anything they want. The foolish chief just demanded food and some clothes. We agreed on the deal. In turn they’ll dig up an underground tunnel from the hill that will connect my house and then the ‘packets’ can be safely transported to my house. It was decided there would be two openings- one inside the house, at kitchen and the other inside the well-where a secret chamber would be built too.”

“It took almost six months for all the setup to complete. Once done, all our ‘needed things’ were shifted to the house. No one even attempted to come near the house except some 3-4 idiots. They were taken good care by the guys inside the house. They were laid to rest inside the well where no one would ever find them.”

“After an year so, it all became boring for me. I wanted to expand the business more. Another idea flashed across my mind. I travelled with a fake passport to Cape Town  where my son was ‘studying’ that time. I knew he isn’t a disciplined student as such. I got to know he rarely attends his college and most of the time just hangouts with his friends. Like me,he too had this ambition of becoming super rich.
I mentioned about what all happened here back in India.
He was shocked as expected. He pushed me aside and ran away. After some weeks I met him again and made him understand why I did that and my current financial status. I gave him an offer to join us. After lot of thinking, he agreed. ”

“The next day we went to Nigeria where the drug business is rampant and trending. We made new biz partners there. Apart from drugs, weapons were also sold illegally. We decided to enter this field as well. We struck a deal with the locals that we’ll send them drugs and in return they’ll provide us arms and ammunitions via the waterway to India. I managed to bribe the marine police at the Calicut coast to allow them without any issues.”

“After setting up the business there,I returned here. The ‘packets’ were gaining prominence with each passing day. The college students were our regular loyal customers. In another month, we started smuggling weapons to different parts of India. Business grew enormously and we earned crores in a month.”

“Even though we were going good, I never took risks. I still changed my location every month in disguise and visited the hill to check if everything is going fine regularly.
This went on smoothly until you three came here and created a ruckus. I came here some 20 days before, after Raghav and his team mentioned about your increasing activity to expose us. ”

“I ordered them to use the usual tricks to break down your plans,but they didn’t work as such. You three returned back everytime. This time, I came here with a plan to end your stupid efforts forever. And as destiny would have it, you guys yourself have come towards your end.”

We were dumbfounded at what Ashok revealed.

What next?

“Now,without taking any more time,tell me boys..have you seen Sholay?”, Ashok guffawed taking his revolver.

“Err..yes..”,I replied.

“There are 6 slots, 3 bullets. Let’s see who survives.”,Ashok laughed hysterically and pointed the revolver towards me.

THWAKK!

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