Gabriel and Samrat…..Samrat and Gabriel…..Read on for the next part of the story
Chapter : 4
“I remember the entire meeting so clearly Sammy. The room was packed to the fullest. Saabji himself was present. But no Rana or that boy in sight.
Then the huge door opened. First entered Rana. You just can’t help feeling his presence and force of personality. He is someone who commands awe and respect. Then entered that boy.”
“No! Bhanu pratap paused.
“Calling him boy is uuummm !he paused again “wont be correct. He would be 21 at that time. Technically just a little above teenager. Not in the category of being termed as a Man. But when he entered all everyone could think of is that: How can someone grow so much in such a short time. By growing I don’t mean physical growth, which off course happened. From 5 feet 6 something inches he now stands at close to 5’11. He was not all muscles unlike lot many of our guys.
He was lean like a blade. A deadly blade I would say. Dark black hair. Not long; no parting just smart style. Slight stubble. Not scruffy. Nopes not scruffy at all. That stubble suited him. A slight cleft at the chin. And that smile; the smile which is always slight. Just a little twist. Black eyes. Not big in the sense big but intense eyes. The same eyes of that 17 years old who could look at you and see through you. The eyes that spoke. A face that won’t be called handsome or beautiful in traditional ‘in your face beauty’ sense but a face that would captivate you. A face that you wouldn’t forget in hurry.
But all this physical appearances aside what struck us all is that change in the ummm!!”
He paused again lost for the words.
He was lost for a couple of seconds and Samrat was waiting with barely disguised irritation. Irritated with the serenading of that man by his beloved uncle and irritated with himself for no real reason.
Finally Bhanu pratap shook his head and went on.
“For the lack of better word i would say what struck us all is that change in the aura around Him. There was a boy 4 years back, a cocky , confidant and fearless standing tall in front of men superior in age and experience. And now there is a Man still cocky, confidant and fearless standing tall among older and experienced men. The only change now is the sheer power that he was radiating. The force of personality, the raw power, that intensity of stare you have to see it to believe it.
There was only Rana before who could radiate such an aura of power. Not even your father!”
He suddenly stopped and stared at Samrat. Then he wagged his finger and said half jokingly and half sternly “Don’t you tell this to your father!”
Samrat gave an imitation of smile.
Bhanu Pratap smiled and continued.
“There was only Rana who had that sheer physical presence which dwarfed everything and everyone around him. But now looking at the Boy turned Man we felt that He won’t be dwarfed by anyone or anything. When he is around He will command your attention whether you like or you don’t. There are men who demand power and awe being loud and there was this Man who would command power and awe just by his physical presence with no word spoken.
That was the change which left us all wondering: How could anyone change so much in such a short time?”
Samrat’s handsome face was turning ugly due to the sheer hatred that he was feeling but Bhanu Pratap lost in the past failed to notice his nephew’s changing expressions.
He then suddenly looked at Samrat and said
“And that was the day when the boy earned his code name which stayed on as his only name.”
With Great difficulty Samrat arranged his facial expressions to show curiosity and asked in such a tight voice that hurt his throat.
“Really! How Uncle?!!”
Bhanu Pratap mistook his nephew’s expressions as eagerness to know the tale. He smiled broadly and ruffled Samrat’s hair again.Samrat bent his head down to hide his expressions from the kind but all knowing eyes of his uncle.
Bhanu pratap then said lovingly
“From a little handsome boy in pajamas who would go ‘Stories! Uncle’ and wont sleep till he heard all the stories of prince, dragons, monsters well past midnight to the Handsome young man sitting right in front of men listening to the old man rambling about past… you haven’t changed a bit Sammy. You are still that sweet, curious and beautiful child of mine”.
This time Samrat could manage a real smile. He looked at the man whom he loved and who reciprocated his love ten folds back and give a sweet and genuine smile.
“Uncle! Don’t call me sweet. It doesn’t go with the image that I maintain. My girlfriends prefer calling me Hot, Dude and all that.”
Bhanu Pratap grimaced.
“You and your girlfriends. I have never seen you going out with the same girl twice.”
“Nayy!!” disagreed Samrat.
“Twice i can manage. It is the third time that i give up.” and he gave that handsome and charming smile of his that he is well known for.
Bhanu Pratap shook his head in amusement. Try how hard; one could not get angry or disapproving looking at Samrat’s disarming smile. Charmer! His nephew is a born charmer. No wonder he is surrounded by all those girls. So many of them that he wonders if Samrat remembers the name of any of them. May be terms like Honey, Darling and all such nonsensical endearments invented by some one just like him.
He smiled again.
Both Uncle and nephew allowed that light moment to stay on for longer smiling at each other. Then Samrat brought himself back from the pleasant conversation to serious one to finish the unpleasant task of knowing about the Man, he would rather not know about but couldn’t help hearing about him more. So he asked the older man
“OK then! What happened in that meeting that day?”
Bhanu pratap took a moment to regather his thoughts, then took a deep breathe and continued.
“So that Boy turned Man entered right behind Rana and we were all dumbstruck to see that sheer presence of him which left us wondering that he looks so much like Rana himself. Same strength of character that shows, Same Aura of power around then, same command for respect from the people around. Actually we all started wondering that who is the better Titan among the two Titans standing in front of us. Rana has years of experience behind him. No One can stand up to him. But the younger Man standing next to Rana looked like he won’t stand down for anyone. He will take anything and anyone head-on.
There was a pin-drop silence around. No one could think of anything to say. Then Saabji broke the silence. He said in that booming voice of his.
“Welcome Rana! Long time ha! So you think your Boy is ready”
Rana gave a sideways look to the Man standing next to him who incidentally was looking supremely bored and gave his rare smile and said.
“So you think he is ready for claiming the kill?”
There was no hesitation in Rana’s voice. Actually I detected a hint of pride in it. His reply was.
Saabji smiled; a big smile. He looked straight at the Man standing next to Rana and asked directly.
“I am giving you a job. You think you can do It?”
That Man gave a nonchalant shrug and said
“Off course I can do it. But the question is Will I do it?! So tell me about the job first.”
That voice! As a boy we have not heard him speaking much but now hearing his voice is a shock. What a voice!! It resonates. A deep, rich voice.
And What an answer! We thought: Now that is a direct snub or challenge to Saabji. How will he take it? To our utter surprise his smile broadened. He looked at the Man with something akin to pride and said
“You will do it! No Doubt! Actually I think you may want to do it. It suits your style.”
The Man did not answer back instead he gave a look that said “Fine! Go ahead. Tell me about the job.”
Saabji took a file and slid it across the huge mahogany conference table in the room. It halted right in front of the Man. He reached for the file with his long fingers picked it up and turned it open. He then twisted his head slightly left side downwards and gave a smile.
No other word said.
We all were looking at him and Saabji they way we would watch a tennis match. Back and Forth.
Saabji smiled again and said
“I thought so.”
Then finally Saabji realized people around him have stopped breathing in anticipation and are barely able to handle the suspense. He then decided to enlighten us all.
“The Kill is ” Jogi”.
We all sucked our breaths in as one. You gotta be kidding me. JOGI!!!
“And who the hell is Jogi?” Samrat chipped in unable to sit silent for long.
“Jogi! Bhanu Pratap replied wide-eyed “is the arch Rival of Saabji himself. Equal Ranking in our underworld.”
“You mean this Jogi guy was equal to Dad. I mean someone was actually in the same footing as Virendra Thakur in underworld.”
“Yes!” agreed the older man “More or less equal”.
Samrat nodded his head in awe. Then suddenly struck by a thought he pipped up.
“But why did Dad give the contract on Jogi, his rival to a rank new comer. Why did he not try to finish the other guy off before? I thought Dad hates competition.”
Bhanu pratap gave an approving look to Samrat.
“Good Samrat! So you do know your dad. And i am glad you asked me why Saabji had not issued a contract on Jogi’s life earlier.
Now what makes you think that Saabji didn’t do that?” He raised his eyebrows and asked.
Samrat was confused.
“But i thought…” then he trailed off.
“Nayy!” explained his uncle.
“Saabji never looked upon any competition kindly. He is the God of our underworld and that’s exactly how he wants it to be. One God One Rule!
Yes he issued contract on the head of Jogi. But Jogi was not Saabji’s direct rival for nothing. He was powerful too. Strong, Smart and above all always prepared. He had more protection than the Royal family of England. Always surrounded by toughest and the meanest bodyguards. And his house put a fortress to shame. It was that strongly protected. To kill that guy you have to be a ghost or God himself. Many people accepted the contract. Our best shooters, assassins from other parts, contract killers. Some for money; some as a challenge. No one won. A lot were killed. Some guys who failed where shot by Saabji himself.
Samrat sucked his breathe in.
“And then there were stories, gory horrifying stories of what Jogi did to the killers who dared to accept contract against his head. Stories like he personally peeled a guy like onion, or beheaded a guy and kept his head as trophy in his conference room. Trust me Sammy after a point of time nobody would want to touch the money no matter how obscene the amount is to bring in the death of Jogi. No one! We all fear Saabji; off course we do. But we fear our death more. So Saabji waited. Waited for that someone who would not only take up the contract but honour it and finish it.
So entered the Man.”
“You mean dad actually trusted a nobody from nowhere, someone who never claimed a kill before to go ahead and finish off this Jogi guy. You gotta be kidding me uncle.”
Bhanu pratap’s expressions were stern.
“Sam! To till date Saabji can be accused of lot many things but error of judgement is not one of them. He a good judge of people and Rana!” he paused.
“Rana is the best one around. So if he says the Boy or rather i should the Man is ready that means he is more than capable of handling anything throw at him. Anything!”
Samrat didn’t bother to hide his sneer.
Bhanu pratap ignored his nephew’s expressions and went on with the story.
“So the Man smiled a slight smile of his and said ‘Done’ and Saabji accepted that He would carry out the contract on the head of Jogi. We all were sceptical. No one wanted to openly question Saabji or that Man but come’on we are talking about Jogi here. The man who is talked about as someone death fears. How could a Man of just 21 years of age with virtually no experience behind him think of actually killing Jogi. Preposterous! In the hindsight i think we all were in awe and may be a little jealous for the trust shown by Saabji on the Man, who as you rightly pointed out is a nobody from nowhere. And none of us wanted to think about the Man actually succeeding in this mission. We all failed and failed for years and now a Boy who just turned into a Man would succeed. Were would that leave us? Naahhh it was pretty shameful to imagine the situation. Being shown up isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. No one wanted to experience that. But then who would say it to Saabji ‘No sir I will take the job’. No-Win situation. So some of us tried to extract a little mileage from the situation for ourselves by trying to be helpful. So some of the members of the conference stared chipping in with their inputs.
You know Joshi, the pudgy guy who is thought to be The Brains of most of our operations.
Samrat nodded his head in affirmative.
“Yes the same guy. He tried to act all helpful. To be fair he has the knowledge of everything that goes around. He can tell you about anyone and anything. So he very brightly chipped in”.
Bhanu pratap imitated the whiny voice of Joshi.
‘I know exactly how to bring Jogi down.’
We all including the Man looked at Joshi. Seeing that everyone is paying attention on him he went on full flow.
‘You can not attack Jogi at his house. You would need a cavalry. His car is bullet proof and can’t even sustain damage by a small bomb. He body guards are the bloody best. He never uses the same route for his journey to any usual haunts of his. So…’ He paused for the effect ‘So the only option is school.’
We all were confused. Come again School! What school?
Joshi smiled broadly and said ‘Jogi parades as a philanthropist and donates to all charitable organisations. There is this school he is the trustee of. He will be attending some awards function for children there. Being a school we don’t think there would be his usual tight security around. Lot many children and their parents. More public much better for us. Our guy! He paused and looked at the Man and said barely hiding his pleasure and pride at himself ‘can blend in among public there. All he has to do is enter the auditorium, shoot the devil (he smiled) and shoot around, create general pandemonium and when the guards are busy can simply walk off from there.
Joshi finished his plan which incidentally we all thought was excellent and looked around in pride giving a broad smile.
Then he happened to notice the stare of the Man. A look which clearly showed the disgust and that too with such an intensity that Joshi’s smile faltered.
Saabji listened in to the idea of Joshi with total concentration. Then he looked at the Man and asked him calmly.
‘What do You think?’
The Man replied in a voice that was chilling
‘No! Jogi will not be killed in the school.’
Joshi added defensively ‘If not school were else do you plan to kill him. It is impossi…” His voice trailed off under the glare of the Man.
Shooting in front of hundred of kids, creating stampede, hurting bystanders unnecessarily…Nayyy!! I think i can do better than that.”
Joshi clammed up. He didn’t want to risk saying anything further.
But another man made the mistake of questioning the Man.”
“Who?” Samrat asked curiously.
“Apte!” Bhanu pratap smiled.
“Apte dada?” Samrat asked incredulously.
“Yes!” reiterated the older man. “Our Apte, the right hand of Saabji.
He asked the Man .
‘And How would you kill Jogi?’
And then the Man gave a reply which no of forgot to till date.
He said ‘You tell me whom to kill and I will do the job. I won’t ask you why should I kill and I would prefer if you don’t ask me how would I kill.
Why is none of my concern and How is none of your business!”
Samrat listened in wide-eyed.
Bhanu pratap chuckled.
“You should have seen Apte’s face there. Anger, smarting at insult, disbelief.. Pick any one one and you could see it on his face. All we could do is stare and Saabji just smiled.
Samrat had the nagging doubt that he had to clear up. So he asked.
“But Uncle! The shootout in school sounded good. Why would the Man reject it. Or” he added with a sneer “he wanted the credit of planning entirely for himself!”
Bhanu pratap looked down at his nephew.
“Sam you really don’t know much about the Man. So listen in. In our world some of us believe in Honour Sam. Rana and your Dad never did anything which wasn’t allowed by their conscience. Some follow the code of honour some don’t. But you look at that Man and you would be left in no doubt that this one would rather fail than give up on honour. Shooting in front of kids, in front of the family of the victim or hitting innocent bystanders are somethings that are not respected. Off course we don’t condemn anyone as long as the job is done but the way job is done speaks volumes about the one performing the job. That Man was and still is the one who followed these codes of honour.
To till date he never killed anyone other than the person he is supposed to kill. He would hurt without remorse or compassion if someone is unlucky enough cross his path but No! He never believed in indiscriminate killing. So you shouldn’t be surprise that he dismissed Joshi’s idea with such contempt.
Samrat flared his nostrils but didn’t reply. He could find nothing to say. He merely looked on and the older man continued.
“So then Saabji smiled and said ‘Alright! Your game! Your rules! I want the job done. I want that Jogi to die. Not hurt just dead. We clear!’
The Man merely inclined his head slightly and nodded.
‘You can get on the job whenever you are ready. No questions will be asked. You will be on your own.’
The Man smiled at that and then asked insolently.
“Can i leave?”
He probably would have walked off if Saabji said No!” chuckled Bhanu pratap.
But the very moment Rana spoke.
Have you heard Rana speak Sammy” he asked but before Samrat could reply he went on.
“Rana has this deep booming voice with with he said
The Man looked at Rana, all expressions of insolence gone from his face.
Rana then said
‘Before you leave for the kill you need a code name.’
Now that surprised the Man. He looked at Rana with a perplexed expression. I think being called Boy for so long he must have never felt the need of actually having his own name. So he looked on.
‘Hereby You will be called and recognized by one name’.
We all held our breaths again in suspense and anticipation.
And then the Man smiled. What a smile! It just lit up his eyes and transforms the face into fine looking innocent young lad. Illusion! Fine looking; yes. Innocent: No! He nodded again this time in what i think can be termed as joy and happiness or may be satisfaction.
I don’t think anyone else in the meeting, barring me, got the significance of that name. I guess everyone thought ‘Gabriel why Gabriel! Or may be Nice name’.But no more than that. I am sure about that.”
“Ok!” Samrat asked out of curiosity; he has always been curious about that name. “What is the significance of that name? Isn’t that the name of an angel? Why would be He(Samrat grated on that word) be termed as an angel?”.
Bhanu pratap gave a smile which hid a hint of pride in his knowledge and power of guessing and deduction.
“Gabriel is an angel. Actually he is an archangel meaning high ranking angel. Archangel Gabriel has a remarkable position as one of the few cultural figures who plays an important role in more than one major religion. He is referred to in the Old Testament as appearing to Daniel. In Christian tradition he appears to the Virgin and to Zachariah. In Islamic tradition he is renowned for dictating the Holy Koran to the Prophet Mohammad. In fact Gabriel defines most people’s idea of what an angel is. The most potent image of Angel Gabriel is that he announced the impending birth of the Messiah to Mary. He is thought of as an angel of mercy. Virtues like great, might, strength, power are associated with him.”
“Well! How sweet!” mocked Samrat. “Angel of mercy! What a perfect code name for a killer. This Rana guy sure had a wicked sense of humour”
“I am not finished yet Sam!” Bhanu pratap said severely in such a tone that Samrat flinched. His uncle used that tone rarely and only if he thought Samrat should pay attention to what he is saying. Samrat nodded his head.
Bhanu pratap continued.
“However in biblical tradition, he is sometimes regarded as the angel of death, the prince of fire and thunder, but more frequently as one of God’s chief messengers. He is termed as the angel of resurrection, mercy, vengeance, death and revelation. Judea-christian lore he is named as the angel of death”.
Samrat forgot that he has been holding his breathe for long. When his lungs screamed their protest he realized to breathe in.
“Angel of death!” he said in awe.
“Exactly!” Bhanu pratap said with a short wag of forefinger.
“That’s why Rana named that Man ‘Gabriel’ and I couldn’t think of any other name which would have suited him so perfectly.
Or maybe i could” he added after a short pause.
“And what is that!” Samrat snapped.
“And who is he?” Samrat asked curious despite himself.
“In Islam theology, Azreal is the Angel of Death who is forever writing in a large book and forever erasing what he writes; what he writes is the birth of the man and what he erases is the name of the man at death. It would have been a great name for that Man.
“No!” he paused and then corrected himself “No! I think Gabriel is more apt. Because he never bothered himself with the history of his kills or targets. He just goes ahead, finish the contract, claim the kill and that’s it. Chapter closed for him. So maybe we can say Saabji is the one who writes down the fate and the death of the victims. And Gabriel is the one who plays the part of angel of death.”
Bhanu pratap stopped narrating to allow Samrat to absorb the moment. The silence was so loud in that room that it could be heard.
After what seemed like ages the older man reverted back to the tale.
“Saabji then dismissed the meeting with hi usual waving of hand and we all dispersed. The Man walked off the room looking taller than the tallest person present there and Rana followed Saabji when he was signalled at by Saabji. ”
“That’s it! Samrat asked incredulously “Meeting dispersed?”
“Yes the meeting dispersed” asserted Bhanu pratap. “What else was there to discuss anyways? Contract was given and contract was accepted. Finish! End of the story.
“So this Man” Samrat struggled with the name “Gabriel finished the job?”
“Off course He did!” The older man shrugged and said that in a tone which clearly meant that he thought the question was stupid.
Samrat pursed his lips and tried not to glare at his uncle.
Bhanu pratap went on.
“It is a saying in our underworld. If Gabriel took the job, the job is done. So think before giving him a contract because once he accepted the contract he won’t give you the time to think again. He goes, hits, kills, and comes back. No fuss, no mess, and no bloodshed of innocents. Just a dead body left behind. In our language we call it a clean kill. If it is not clean rest assured it is not his handiwork. And name is synonymous with Cleans Kills.”
Samrat could taste the bitterness of bile rising in his throat. He wanted that name, fame and reputation for himself. Wanted it so badly. But one thing he never tried to understand that mere wanting is not enough. You need to EARN it.
“Uncle! Get on with the story” He snapped completely annoyed now.
Bhanu pratap was not offended at the tone used by his nephew. He always understood Samrat’s many and varying moods. So he raised his palm in a gesture of peace and said
“Ok Sammy lets get on with the story. So what i was saying is that the question is not whether the job was done. Off course it was done. The question should be how it was done. And that my boy is the story legends are made off.”
“So the meeting dispersed and we all went off back to our daily lives. Life went back to normal or as normal as it could be in our world. Then three says later our world was rocked. Equations were changed, myths shattered and announcement of arrival of the best among the bests Assassin was made and that was some arrival Sammy! What do you youngsters call it! Oh yes! ‘Arrived with a BANG!’ Yes that’s it. Arrived with a BANG! For three days later early morning we all looked at the headlines of the leading newspapers screaming that ‘High profile leading businessman Jogindar Singh dead!’
Bhanu pratap stopped the tale. He said nothing for a full minute.
It took a moment for Samrat to react then he said bemused
“That’s it! Just a newspaper news. Just an article announcing Jogi is dead and no idea about the killer. What the..?” He swallowed the expletive looking at his uncle and then choked out “That’s it. I mean no nothing how he died and how that that..” he struggled “Gabriel killed him?” then added nastily “if he managed to kill Jogi at the first place that is. You guys have no idea how the murder was done and by whom ha?Are you saying that you don’t know the story?”.
“And who says that we don’t know the story” Bhanu pratap replied calmly stressing each word. “Off course we know the story. Everybody knows. Stories like that are written in golden ink in the history of our underworld. So yes everyone knew the story. Heard, talked and wondered about it for years to come.”
“So would you be kind enough to TELL the story please!” Samrat voiced in thinly veiled sarcasm.
Bhanu pratap raised his eyebrows, then smiled lightly and started telling the story.
“Joshi was right. You would need a cavalry to attack Jogi at his house. He is surrounded by the best of the best security personnel and he is suspicious of everything and everyone with a good reason i must say so. He is always on guard. So where would one attack him and most importantly how should one attack him! You get only once chance in jobs like this. No errors and no corrections. Hit, Kill and Run. That was the only thing to do and that was the thing He did.
“He? It was Gabriel!” Samrat asked but it was not a question. He knew the answer.
“Yes!” affirmed Bhanu pratap “It was indeed Gabriel. Who else could be a ghost and devil rolled in one. So yes Sammy Gabriel is the guy who conquered the quest which left so many lesser mortals dead by the sideways. Now would you like to know how he did it?”
Samrat gave a short annoyed nod.
“Jogi always travelled in his armoured car with two jeeps covering him. One in front other at the tail end. Toughest and meanest guards in both the Jeeps and two best guards travelled in the car with Jogi himself. On guard was the driver of that car. Jogi at times travelled along a forest way to reach for the city. A road surrounded by thick forest on both sides. A dangerous forest. That fateful day he was travelling by the same road. I guess was eerie calm place that day. And then the mirage of calm and peace was shattered.
Unseen and unknown to all the poor souls present there; bang came a blast and the jeep in the front went flying in the air. Screaming, burning and exploding and crashed right in front of Jogi’s armoured car. That car being a toughest one survived with out a scratch. Bodyguards poured down from the remaining jeep and started to fan off.
The two guards with Jogi stayed back in the car. It was their job to protect him at any cost. Rest all can wait. So they said put. The others moved out. Generally when a bomb is planted, the bomber stays back to check out his handiwork and this bomb was a remote controlled one. So the bomber surely is around for he has to press the trigger when the target arrived. That was a good thinking but may I add proved unfortunate for all. They entered the forest area and there He was waiting. The devil or angel of death whatever you call him. Gabriel! A predator deadlier than all the predators of the jungle at that time. And he started hunting. Hunting the unsuspecting men searching for him; One by one.
Sometimes with gun, sometimes with knife and then with bare hands. By the time the deadly game of death reached its near end no one was left standing. Only he was left. Standing tall and dangerous as ever.
Those guys of Jogi are trained to take any man anytime but then who is trained to take on devil himself. Poor b*****ds! And when none of the guards came back the guards in the car started worrying. Best course would have been starting the car and running the hell out of there. But I think they were frightened and confused. They have never seen or heard such a silent and complete unknown danger anytime before.
So when they saw a man wearing a same all black gear as them his face smeared with blood they thought it is their own man coming. And so when he knocked on the window they rolled it down. Their last deed of the day. The man was Gabriel and he shot them point blank. They had no time to even register surprise. Jogi meanwhile in the backseat was reaching for his gun and then he made the mistake of looking into the eyes of the killer standing out and looking straight at him. And then all he could do is stare in horrified fascination too paralysed with fear to react. Then same way a deer would look into the eyes of a lion knowing that the death is near; death is coming. Then Gabriel fired. A bullet which took half the forehead of Jogi, his brain, blood and yes his life. A bullet which announced the arrival of the best of the best killer in our world. A bullet which wrote his name as the Angel of Death. Jogi died and Gabriel was born.”
Samrat was expressing myriad emotions none that he could define with clarity. So he said nothing. Just kept on looking mutely at his uncle.
The older man went on
“That was the day the man called Gabriel packed his bags and left the mansion. Saabji paid him handsomely. He even requested him to stay here or near by. But he choose to live on his own and away from this place. From that day he was on his own. He comes here when called for a job. He accepts it if he likes or throws it back on the face if he doesn’t. His game; His rules. One style: Clean kill. And the reputation that lived on: If you give a job to Gabriel; It Is Done.”
He now is the highest paid shooter not many can afford. And even if someone is able to afford him he may just refuse the job if he doesn’t like the look of it or if it is not challenging enough.
You know Sammy! In the underworld every shooter has a code name. Nothing unusual about it. Example Sasha, Victor, Atif, Krish they all are professional snipers and they go by their code names when on job. Say Victor is known as Viper. That’s how it is done. Code name on job and own name outside. But Gabriel is the unusual one here. He goes by only one name. Just one. Gabriel!”
He is the bloody best and he knows it. Our whole world knows it. It is that unwritten rule here; there is nothing he can’t beat. And there is no one who can beat him. When he comes just Give Him Way.”
And then Bhanu pratap stopped. The tale was finished.
Samrat was sitting holding his his whiskey glass so tight that his knuckles turned white. The fiery liquid untouched and sitting flat in the glass. There was a total silence in the room. Bhanu pratap said everything and Samrat could find nothing to say. The silence continued for what seemed like an eternity.
Then Bhanu pratap cleared his throat and exclaimed
“Oh my! Look at the time Sam. Didn’t realize it was so late.” Then he smiled “just like old times eh? Past midnights and our story telling sessions won’t end” he gave a laugh which sounded a little strained. Maybe marathon narration took toll or may be he found the silence of his nephew disturbing.
To break the oppressing silence he then said
“Right Sam bed time!”
Samrat looked up at the older man with blank eyes as if he is lost in some world of his own.
Bhanu pratap reiterated with a smile “It is late kid even by your standards. So off you go. Hit the bed and sleep well. See you in the morning”.
Samrat nodded and go up from bar stool and stared walking towards the door on automation when he was stopped by his uncle’s voice.
Samrat did not even try to smile. He just nodded and went off leaving the older man staring at his back in worry and concern. He walked off to his room as if he is sleepwalking. His legs took him to the room on their own. Samrat was way too lost in his thought to register the way. He entered his room. A huge room brightly coloured with the pictures of pop icons and cars and bikes adorning the wall. A room fit enough for a prince with a splendid view through its bay windows. The wall on one side of the room was completely covered with huge mirrors. Samrat sat down on the king size chair in the room and reached for fist sized crystal paper weight from the dressing table. He stared staring at the rainbow colours being reflected by the crystal’s facets as if he is mesmerized by the play of colours. He was not. He was just lost in his past. He remembered what his uncle asked him back downstairs near the bar.
“Sam! You ever met that Man or heard about him? I never asked you.”
And he remembered his own reply
“No! I never met him. Just heard about him in whispers”.
He met that Man.
He talked to him, he heard of him and he hated him.
Samrat kept gazing at the crystal as if he could see his past right in the reflective surface of the crystal in his hand. In a way he really was seeing his past, for today the past just wants to comes to the present and meet up with that 16 years old boy of yesterday who is now 26 years old young man gazing at the crystal and remembering that yesterday.
To be Continued….
— Candy Lemon [Nimmi] —