Shadows

Preeti has come to spend the weekend with her cousin in the notorious 'Crime City' which is now even more dangerous because someone is killing people who step out of their homes at night like the people of the mafia. Who is he? What are his motives? Does he kill anyone who steps out at night?
Reading time: 32.88 minutes.


Chapter 1
Crime City

Shadows Crime City

Crime City. That’s what they called her. Even though she had a real name but nobody remembered it, not even the ones who’s ancestors founded the City. The name was the important part because the founders were all criminals, drug lords, and mafia. They wanted a place where they can camouflage their businesses and the name was the first step.

A few decades ago, some of the most notorious crime families of different cities came together at this place which was just a small town and a pier. There was no trace of any human habitat up to three hundred miles in any of the three directions, the fourth one was the sea. They set up their homes and fake businesses. The other drugs and weapons dealers caught the waft of a new city where they didn’t have to worry about law enforcement agencies. Soon everybody was migrating to this new city. Some realtors thought this was a fair chance to hide their corrupt money. Socially exiled people, ex-convicts, small-time thieves and con-men found this new city a paradise. Everybody was a criminal here. The city was thriving so well that some other innocent people, businessmen found this a great opportunity to invest. They set-up their businesses, manufacturing plants, and call centres. Some small scale businesses were attracted to this great opportunity too. These were the people who gave the city her name – Crime City. Within no time the real name was forgotten and by the time the government or law enforcement agencies got to know anything, Crime City had become a place like none other.

Life in Crime City was not like one in any other cities. There were some good and bad things about living in the city. The good things were that there was no poverty, hunger, or unemployment in the city. Everyone was wealthy, even the workers. One could live the life of one's dreams in Crime City. The best thing about Crime City was that there were absolutely zero crimes in the daytime which meant that the night belonged to the criminals. The government tried to establish a system, a judiciary and a police department but it was too late. Half of the department was already corrupt, rest were bought off, whoever left was killed. Since there were no crimes in the day anyway there was very little for the police to do. The nights, which were supposed to be spent patrolling the city were instead spent resting, eating and drinking. The criminals did their business meetings, dealings and killings freely. It was like the city was two different places, during the day and night.

It was still easy to manage one’s life in Crime City. Just do your job, finish everything and be home before the sunset. Though it was very weird. One couldn’t have too many friends. No one could tell who was a criminal and who was innocent. One day you're having a tea with your neighbour and the next day he's either missing or dead. Despite all this, the crime city was popular amongst the outsiders. Everybody wanted to spend a day in Crime City and leave before sunset, some were even crazier wanting to spend the night as well, witness the very soul of Crime City with their own eyes, and be the part of the weird. Anything that could happen had already happened in Crime City. Nobody thought that something even weirder could ever happen but,

it happened.

It started with dead bodies. One cheery morning, a dozen bodies were found on the pier. They all sustained knife or bullet wounds which, strangely, were fired from their guns. The police, for the first time, had something to do in the daytime. The whole department was on alert and so was the crime world. The criminals of Crime City had one rule – Get rid of the bodies before sunrise. The police had no idea what went on that night but the crime world did. It was supposed to be a drug deal. The men who were found dead belonged to the two parties. It wasn’t a disagreement because all of the men involved were dead. It was clear that the killer was an outsider. He didn’t belong to any of the crime families because he didn’t care about the one rule. Police couldn’t get anywhere. They couldn’t even link the deaths to the drugs because no trace of either drugs or money was found on the crime scene. There were no witnesses. The case was going to be a cold one but a few more bodies were found the next morning, this time in a warehouse. This shook the whole city. Even civilians. The criminals of the Crime City knew someone was onto them. They were being hunted. They put all the corrupt officers which they had working for them on the case. The police officials working the case had more pressure from the crime families than from their superiors. Some reporters stepped out from the safety of their houses, in the night, to find this mysterious murderer. It wasn’t until the third night, the culprit was seen.

On that night, two patrol officers heard gunshots. They followed the sound and they came upon, what they thought at first, a drug deal gone wrong but then they saw him. He was a hooded man wearing armour, not metallic and shiny like a knight but black which hid him in the dark. He was moving around, jumping up and about with the speed of a Ninja, killing everyone with a weapon they couldn't even see. If anyone tried to shoot him, it simply didn't work, maybe the armour was protecting him. He snatched the gun out of one's hand and shot him and the rest dead. The police officers shouted at the man, pointing their guns, which they knew wouldn’t help, to surrender himself but he ran and disappeared into the night. Though he left the drugs and the money this time. The police department still couldn’t link the killings to the drugs because the two officers cleaned up the crime scene and were paid heavily for the information they had on the murderer. Now the whole Crime City was looking for this hooded man.

A week after the first incident, a reporter finally got him on tape.

“Here we have the footage of the killer, we can’t see his face but we can see why we couldn’t get him earlier,” the Friday morning's news anchor was speaking on the television, “ look how fast he is. Our reporter barely got him but we were able to get a full shot. A student has peculiar views on the murderer here's what he has to say.”

A skinny teenage boy appeared on the news, he wore glasses which made his eyes look even bigger. He was stuttering but he got what he wanted to say out.

“It’s- it’s the assassin. He is- he is an assassin. From th- the game. He's just like him. I'm telling you he’s- he's the assassin.”

The news anchor was back.

“Though it looked like the young boy got it mixed up with a video game. But we looked into it and turns out he was right. The assailant's get up resembles the main character of a popular video game franchise called 'The Assassin’s Creed'-,” a poster of the video game appeared on the screen. It was not very similar to the picture from the footage but it showed what made the young boy think of that. The news anchor went on. “-which makes us conclude that our assailant could be a young adult obsessed with the video game and here’s what this elderly man has advised the murderer.”

“You seem like a good man killing the people of mafia and all,” an old man, wearing about the same glasses as the boy earlier, spoke, “but killing people is not good. You should find other ways to contribute to the greater good. Getting mixed-up with criminals is gonna get you seriously hurt son.”

The news channel now started showing the footage of the assassin on loop and news anchor spoke.

"But who he is? Why is he doing all this? Is he just a young boy obsessed with video games or is he here to clean the Crime City of the crimes? Has our Gotham finally got a Batman?”

The news anchor went on to speak about him and showing interviews of several other people but Preeti had no care in the world. She was taking pictures and posting them on Instagram announcing her arrival in Crime City. The hashtag CrimeCity was very popular. She was excited to spend the weekend in the city. Sneha, her cousin, on the other hand, was very concerned. She was giving Preeti instructions but Preeti was busy on Instagram.

“Are you even listening?” Sneha asked furiously.

"Yes, I am," Preeti replied without looking at Sneha.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get off from work today.”

“That’s fine. I can manage. No crimes in the daytime.”

“But still, take care. Be back before sunset and please keep your phone switched on.” Sneha said with concern.

“I didn’t turn it off. It ran out of juice.” Preeti replied rolling her eyes, looking at Sneha.

“Then maybe don’t keep browsing Instagram all the time.” Sneha looked at her wristwatch. “I’m getting late for work. You take care, ok? We'll go out tomorrow.” she picked up her handbag and started looking for her phone.

“I’d probably have seen everything by then. The only thing left would be meeting your boyfriend. When am I gonna meet him?”

“I’m meeting him today after work. I'll ask him if we can have lunch together tomorrow. Where is my phone? What are doing with my phone?” Sneha asked Preeti who was using Sneha's phone for the last half an hour.

"Mine is charging. You said to keep it switched on." She handed over her phone back and took her own out of charging.

"Okay, I'm leaving. Remember-“ She said with pointing her finger at Preeti, raising her eyebrows, “-back before sunset.” and she left.

Soon after Preeti got bored too. She turned off the television which was still showing the hooded assassin on the news channel. She took the keys and she left too. She was excited to explore Crime City.

Sneha had been living in the city for a few years. She was a very serious and mature girl. Maybe Crime City had toughened her. She always wore a paint suit and rarely smiled at anyone. Preeti, on the other hand, was never seen without a smile or more like a mischievous grin on her face. She was a butterfly, an exuberant girl. She was more like a 'Sundresses and skirts' kind of girl. She was always smiling and imparted positive energy. She wanted to see Crime City for a very long time and finally, she was out there in the City, wide open before her, screaming to fulfil her desire.

There were no specific tourist attractions in the city. The city herself was an attraction. Though there were a few theme restaurants which will treat you like the mafia. She had breakfast in ‘Corleone’s Cafe' and then wandered around the city, taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. Sneha called her to check up on her, she promised to come back home before sunset. After lunch, she went to the pier. Just to see the old town except it wasn’t a town anymore. Everything had changed so quickly in Crime City that there was nothing left from the town before. It was almost like the town never existed. She visited every place she could in a day. When the sun approached the horizon, she started to walk back towards the home.

She was walking on the sidewalk with her head buried in her smartphone and because of that, she missed the turn to the Sneha's apartment. She didn’t notice it until her phone gave a 'low battery' warning and switched off. She looked up and realized her mistake. She turned and started to walk back but the problem was that every street and turn looked very similar to her. She was trying to recognize the way when she saw that the sky was growing darker every slipping minute.

She was a little worried now. The smile had vanished and an expression of fear had taken its place. This was Crime City. She was alone and it was getting dark. It couldn’t have gone worse than that but it did.

She must've taken a wrong turn because as she turned she saw a loading truck parked in front of what looked like a garage and a few men unloading unnamed boxes. She gasped and stopped. The men noticed her. They stopped too. One of them pulled out a gun and shouted.

“HEY! WHO ARE YOU?”

“Don’t waste time you idiot, she could be the assassin, shoot her!”

Preeti didn’t think. Everything she did was impulsive. She screamed, turned, and ran as fast as she could. The men chased her. She had no idea where she was running to but she couldn’t have gone far because one of the men circled and cut her off. She was looking back so she bumped into him and fell on the ground. She started crying. The rest of the men caught up to her but they stopped a few feet away from her. They were hesitating to come forward. They looked alert. Preeti looked at them and she couldn’t understand the reaction. She looked up at the man. He wasn’t one of them.

He was the assassin.

Chapter 2
An Unusual Friendship

Shadows An Unusual Friendship

He looked exactly like in the news footage. Hooded and wearing black armour. Preeti was even more scared than before. If she was going to die, she would have preferred a gunshot over being brutally massacred by an assassin. The men, however, were not that scared. Probably because they thought he was alone and they were in numbers. They started blasting their guns at him but he didn't even try to dodge the bullets. He backflipped over Preeti who was curled up like a kitten on the road. She was watching him as he approached the men, started throwing his arms around, and the men started dropping one by one, bleeding. Preeti couldn’t even see any weapon until a knife glimmered in the street light. She then, saw two knives protruding out from below his wrists and he was thrashing the men with them. She heard gunshots, screams and groans of the men, swishing of the knives, the blood gushing from bodies and her own heart jumping out of her chest. She covered her ears and hid her face in the ground. The men tried everything- shooting, punching, kicking, lunging at him, grappling but he dodged almost every punch and kick, pushed away everyone who lunged, freed himself from every hold, and killed them. One of the last two men desperately tried to shoot him down but he snatched the gun out of his hand and shot him and the other one dead.

The chaos turned into silence just as quick as it had begun. For a second, there were no sounds, not even the wind. Preeti thought that she would hear another swish of the knife and would feel it pushing inside her body, any moment now but when none of what she expected happened, she slowly looked up.

That was a horrible sight. Dead bodies were lying everywhere. The road had been painted red with blood and there he was standing amongst the bodies, his knives were still dripping blood, his hood was pulled back during the fight and Preeti saw his face.

He still looked very angry, with a clenched jaw and fiery eyes. He was looking down and then he looked at Preeti with a jerk of his head. Preeti’s heart jumped but the assassin’s expressions changed. Now he looked curious and his eyes looked caring. He pushed his knives back under his wrists.

“Are you okay?” he asked in a voice Preeti never imagined. He had a kind but strong voice. He walked up to curled up Preeti and offered his hand. “Come on, get up.”

Preeti couldn’t think what to do so she took his hand and stoop up. She was still very scared and couldn’t look the assassin in the eye.

He must have sensed that because he said,

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna hurt you.”

And then Preeti dared to look at him. Most of his face was covered in the thick beard but he looked very young.

“You alright?” he asked again.

This time Preeti nodded.

“What are you doing out here after sunset? Are you lost?”

Preeti nodded again.

“Where do you live?”

Preeti gathered enough strength to stutter.

“Fou- forty-two- forty-two A, thir- third street.”

“That’s just a few blocks away from here, come on, I'll walk you there.” He stepped in the direction of third Street and Preeti followed.

“Yo- you are n- not gonna kill me?” Preeti stuttered.

“No, come on.” He smiled and that made Preeti feel a little less scared. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Preeti.” She said without stuttering this time. She almost added something but stopped. He noticed that.

“Go ahead. Ask.”

“Why d- why do you- kill th- those people?”

“Crime city is swarming with criminals. It is time to clean some of those dirtbags up.”

He put his hands on the back of his head and pulled out what looked like half of a helmet which protected his head, his long hair fluffed out on his shoulders. He stopped before a dark alley, threw his hand behind a dumpster, looking for something. Preeti saw him pull out a duffle bag and put his helmet into it. He then took off parts of his armour from his chest, legs and shoes and put them into the bag too. Preeti saw that he wore regular clothes, a grey hoodie, jeans and sneakers. He threw the bag on his shoulder and kept walking.

Preeti was not scared anymore and his positive, cheery, smiling self was slowly coming back.

“So you are just a guy.” She said shaking her head in disbelief.

“Who did you think I would be?”

"I don't know, maybe a hundred-year-old samurai or something.”

He chuckled.

“What you did was amazing. Scary, yes, but amazing. Thank you for saving my life.”

He nodded.

They walked in silence for a minute, he thought it would go like this but Preeti couldn't stay quiet for too long. She just had a near-death experience. She had got what she wanted from Crime City. Her spirit was now more charged with exuberance.

“Do you have a master who teaches you all this?”

“No. I trained myself. Why?”

“I wanna learn this too. I wanna be strong like you. Would you teach me?”

“You wanna hurt people?”

“No, but- just the ones who try to harm me.”

“You are already very strong. The way you managed yourself back there.”

“Oh come on,” she said rolling her eyes. “I folded up like a scared little puppy.”

“No that was a survivor back there. Puppies don’t curl up because of the fear, they do it to make themselves a smaller target.”

“So- so you see, I'm already halfway there. Will you teach me the rest?”

This time he chuckled a little louder. Preeti smiled too. He stopped at the turn and pointed towards the sign.

“Here it is. Third street. Stay safe. I've to go.”

Preeti looked at the sign with disappointment. She was very excited to talk to him. She wanted this to go longer but she turned to him and said,

“Thank you. Are we gonna meet again?”

He just smiled and walked away into the night.

The next morning Preeti woke up to a violent shaking and Sneha's loud voice calling out her name. She sat up on the bed, rubbing her eyes.

“Are you just coming in?” Preeti asked Sneha half asleep.

"Yeah," Sneha replied. She wore the same pantsuit and looked like she had not slept the last night. “Didn’t you get the text?”

“Yeah, I got your text. And voicemails.” Preeti waved her smartphone.

Last night when Preeti had come back, Sneha wasn’t home. Preeti was worried at first. She charged her phone, switched it on and then she received, back to back, a chain of voicemails and text messages, all from Sneha. The last one announced that she had got late and would stay at the office for the night. That’s when Preeti felt relieved. She texted back reaffirming her safety and went to bed.

"I told you to keep your phone switched on. Did you get back home at the time?"

Preeti was taken aback but she managed to lie.

“Huh? Yeah. Yeah. I got in before the dark.”

Sneha squinted her eyes. She was not convinced.

“Then why did you reply so late?”

“’Cause that’s when I switched on my phone.” Preeti made up another lie.

“You spent more than an hour without your phone?”

“Yeah. I was so tired I went straight to bed and then I got up to-“

“Preeti,” Sneha interrupted. “you know you cannot lie.”

Preeti gave up.

“Oh, you're right I can’t. I was out after sunset but not on purpose. I was lost. I'm sorry.”

“That’s what I was afraid of. That’s why I told you to-,” Sneha was both mad and worried. “But you never listen to me.”

“I’m sorry.” Preeti looked down and guilty for just a second and then burst with cheer. “But you know what? I met him.”

“Who?”

“Him. The assassin.”

“Yeah, right.” Sneha rolled her eyes.

"I'm serious. I met him."

Sneha didn’t pay much attention because she received a text message.

“Okay listen, I've gotta go meet Roy. You stay here. Okay?”

“Roy! That’s his name? Cool.” Preeti said. “Wait, you didn’t meet him yesterday?”

"No. I waited after work but he didn't show up. That's why I got late." Sneha picked up her handbag and left. “You stay here.”

Sneha had been dating Roy for a few weeks now. That was brave of her because in Crime City people don't just start dating. But then, sometimes they do and they either go missing or end up dead. She met him in a restaurant. The first day he held the door open for her and that’s how they met. They crossed paths with each other almost regularly, sometimes they would just nod at each other, other times they would smile. It wasn’t until after a month, they finally started talking. At first, it was just small talks, then they began sharing and one day Roy asked her out. It was working pretty well. They liked each other. Though there weren’t too many dates as they both were busy with their work they tried their best.

Sneha arrived at the restaurant. She sat at a table, ordered coffee and waited. There was a television behind the counter so she started watching the news that was on and obviously, it was about the assassin’s latest strike on the mafia. Sneha had got annoyed by that hooded man by now and it must’ve been visible on her face because as soon as Roy appeared, he asked,

“What’s the matter with you? ‘Dude’” he sat on a chair in front of Sneha who looked at the charming face and said,

"Oh, you've got some nerve, mister! Coming here after you stood me up-,” but then she noticed his pink eye, “-what happened to your face? Coach punched you?”

“Yeah, I missed, that's why he held me for more practice, and that's why I couldn't come," Roy said.

"Well, because of you and your coach, I had to stay at the office," Sneha said pointing her finger at him.

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s alright. I had a lot of work pending anyway.” She said ignorantly.

“See, it was good then, that I-“ Sneha stared at him and he surrendered, raising his palm and shutting up.

“I had lunch plans with my cousin and you. What are you doing tomorrow?

“Nothing. I'm free.”

"Great then, I and Preeti will meet you here at about um eleven?”

“You and who again?”

“My cousin. She is here for the weekend. She wants to meet you, remember?"

“Whic- which one is her again?” He asked curiously.

“Oh no, you haven’t seen her, I didn’t have any pictures of her- wait, I do now, she took a lot of pictures on my phone.” She chuckled and took out her smartphone, opened up a picture, and showed it to Roy.

“Oh, she- she's Pretty.” There was no change of expressions on his face but there was something in his eyes.

“So eleven it is.” She ordered.

“Anything you say, your highness.”

“Okay now I've gotta go, shower, sleep. I'll see you tomorrow.” She got up.

“Wait, that’s it. I just came here.” Roy said without getting out of his chair.

“I'm sorry. I'm exhausted.” She leaned in and kissed Roy.

“But I'm hungry.” Roy pleaded.

“Eat away. You need those calories.” Sneha waved at him and left.

Preeti was still home when Sneha came back, she didn’t go anywhere. The daytime Crime City didn’t attract her anymore. It was the other city which only existed when the sun went down that called her- full of danger, rigged with life-threatening situations. buffet of near-death experiences. Preeti waited while Sneha took a shower and went to bed. She waited all noon. Finally when the sun approached the horizon, when everyone else was going back in their houses, well, except for the criminals, Preeti stepped out.

Preeti went to the place where the events of last night had taken place. The perimeter was closed with yellow tape. Bodies were removed, blood was yet to be cleaned. She just stood there watching the scene, re-living the events. There was no one else around. Criminals wouldn’t dare to use the same place again and police, well they were never at the place where they should've been. She leaned back on the wall, chewing her nails, looking around, waiting. It probably was the first time she wasn’t on her smartphone when it wasn’t charging. She waited for a long time. She didn’t know exactly what would happen, what to expect, She just stood there. She realized Crime City was more beautiful in the night. It was a shame that nobody got to see that, no civilians at least. Then she thought about what the assassin had said last night. It was time.

She waited for hours but nobody showed up. She thought maybe she was expecting too much, maybe what she felt last night wasn’t there. She shrugged and started walking when,

“You give up too quickly.” A kind but strong voice came from the darkness across the street.

The biggest ever smile appeared on Preeti's face, she turned. He came out in the light, he was wearing the same clothes but without the armour. There was no duffle bag in sight either.

“Too quickly? Four hours is too quickly?” She asked raising her eyebrows.

“How did you know I'd come?” He asked walking towards her.

“I didn’t.” She just stood there when he stopped before her. She didn’t know whether to shake his hand, give him a hug or bow. She just looked at his bruised face. “How did YOU know I'd come here?”

“You said it.”

“When did I say that?”

“Well, you didn’t say it with words but you said it.”

She smiled. He smiled. They talked for almost an hour. Then he suggested walking her home. They started to walk when Preeti asked what she wanted to ask him ever since he showed up.

“Why’d you come anyway?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because I had never met anyone like you before. I wasn’t gonna come but then I thought I don’t have any friends and you've already seen my face so what’s the point in hiding”

“You don’t have any friends?”

“I can’t have friends.”

“Why?”

He ignored the question.

“So how long are you here?”

She looked at him and thought she shouldn’t push it so she answered.

“Oh, I'm leaving tomorrow evening. This is our last meeting, for now anyway.”

“Yeah. For now.”

“Wait, don’t you have to kill criminals tonight? What is it? Saturday night?”

“No, tonight is quiet. It’s the first time nothing's happening.”

“Looks like you scared them off, bravo!”

“No, They are planning something, something big. I'm gonna have to catch them off guard.”

They reached the third street. They both stopped.

"So that's it," Preeti said not knowing, again, whether to shake hands or bow.

“Yeah, take care.” He stretched out his hand.

Preeti smiled and shook his hand.

“Did you think about teaching me? We could be partners, you know like Batman and Robin.”

He just smiled and blended into the darkness.

The next day, Sneha and Preeti were at the restaurant, waiting for Roy. Preeti was not excited to meet him as she was when she had arrived in the city. Now it just seemed boring and usual to her. She was on her smartphone and Sneha was talking to someone from her office on the phone.

“-yeah -right -well that’s your problem -I just need it done -sorry what? -shadow? -whose shadow? -I'm with my cousin I'll take to you later.” She hung up. “He’s always late, you wanna start?” She asked Preeti.

“No, I'll wait. Give me your phone, I'll transfer my pictures.”

"Sure. Here." She handed her phone to Preeti and started watching the news on the television. Since there was nothing new on the assassin, they were just showing usual boring stuff. Sneha felt relaxed and calm when suddenly Preeti screamed on top of her lungs.

Everyone in the restaurant looked at her, then they assumed that there must a picture or a cute video of a dog or cat because she was looking at the phone. ‘Girls!’ They all shook their heads but Sneha looked at her with a face full of anger.

“What?” She asked trying to keep her voice calm.

Preeti couldn’t speak. Her eyes and mouth were wide open. She struggled for a second then she showed her the phone.

“How- howd- how do you- know him?” She asked.

Sneha looked at the screen then again at Preeti's shocked face.

“That's Roy.” She replied.

And then Preeti's eyes got even bigger, her mouth opened even wider and Sneha got more confused than angry.

“What?” She asked again.

“He- hes' it’s him- he's the- he's the assassin!” Preeti finally let it out.

Before Sneha could respond, before she could even grasp it, everyone at the restaurant gasped, some of them pointed towards the television. Sneha and Preeti looked too.

Large letters appeared on the screen which read 'The assassin in the daylight'. The screen showed several cars running fast on the highway and, on the roof of one of them was a hooded figure. The reporter's voice could be heard in the background.

“Breaking news! The infamous mafia killer, A.K.A. the assassin, has been seen during the day for the first time. It looks like he's chasing them”

Chapter 3
Shadows

Shadows

Sneha looked at the television for a second before turning back to Preeti.

“Are you serious? This is not a joke? You met him?"

“Yes!”

“Are you sure it’s him though?” She asked showing the picture on her smartphone.

“Yes.” Preeti looked at the pictures and then added. “I mean, without the beard and long hair but it’s him I'm sure.”

Sneha took a few seconds to register this new, shocking information. But Preeti, she just couldn’t hold her excitement. She started hopping on her toes.

“Oh my god! Your boyfriend is the assassin. He's so cool and I'm his friend.” She finished proudly.

Sneha couldn’t think. She looked worried more than anything. Suddenly the crowd watching the news made a noise. Sneha and Preeti looked at the screen, the assassin had jumped from the roof of one car onto the other. The reporter went on.

“Oh my god. It’s the first time in the whole history of Crime City. He's killing them one by one. The police are nowhere to be seen. It seems they were not ready to respond to a situation like this. Our reporters are just behind them, we are giving you live feed.”

The reporter kept going. Sneha and Preeti kept watching the news with everyone else. The whole Crime City was watching Roy who had just pushed his knife in the neck of the driver of the car he was on.

He grabbed him by the collar, pulled and threw him out. He then slid in so brilliantly that he kicked the other one out without any effort. He took the steering wheel, stepped on the accelerator and kept on chasing the car just in front of him. He caught up to it. Both cars were now side by side. Roy looked at a big beefy man who looked back at him, pulled out his gun and took aim at Roy, who simply just looked away. His helmet took all the bullets. The big man tried to reload his gun but it was impossible to keep driving at the same time, especially when a hooded man just jumped in his car through the window. Roy snatched the gun out of his hand, the man tried to fight back but it was in vain. They both then heard the police siren wailing, they had caught up to them. They were both struggling and they didn’t realize that during this skirmish, they had driven off the highway and now they were heading straight to the sea.

Sneha and Preeti were watching the news holding their breath. The reporters were far behind. Nobody could see now what was happening in the car. They had to stop at the turn but the car raced straight, breaking the barrier and off the cliff into the sea.

The police and search team would look for them but they wouldn’t find anything except for the car. The assassin would always be remembered as a symbol of resistance. Resistance from control and domination in Crime City. That evening when everyone was shaken to their core, everyone was discussing the recent events that had changed the history and the future of Crime City, Preeti was about to take the last bus of the day leaving Crime City. Sneha had come to see her off. They were not talking too much. They hadn’t said anything after the incident. They simply left the restaurant because they knew nobody would come. Preeti started packing as soon as they got home. Now they were just waiting by the bus, trying to find a way to say goodbye to each other. Even Preeti couldn’t find any words.

“He was changing so much,” she finally said with a low, un-cheered voice, “he was bringing so much good in the city. And now everything will go back to how it was. Nobody would ever be saved in the dark of the night. I can’t believe the city has lost him, you've lost him.”

“Don’t think about it.” Sneha tried to console her. She was really tough. That’s why she survived in that city.

The bus driver gave the signal. Preeti stepped on the bus and looked back at Sneha.

"See you soon," Sneha said waving at her.

Preeti smiled at last. She waved back and mouthed 'I'll miss you'. The bus started moving and within seconds it was away at the horizon and then after a turn, it disappeared.

























Sneha turned away and,

“Hey!” said Roy, more bruised than ever, wearing the same clothes, frayed and wrinkled, torn up at places. He was still wearing the fake beard and the wig but not the armour. Sneha was shocked to see him alive. She gasped, jumped back and put a hand on her mouth to stop herself from screaming.

“Wha- What?”

“I know. I'm- I'm sorry.” He looked straight in her eyes and said, “I couldn't come for lunch. Coach kept me occupied.” He tried to smile.

Sneha frowned.

“Is this supposed to be funny? I thought you were dead.” She said.

Roy realized it wasn’t going to work.

“I’m sorry. I believe I owe you some answers.”

Sneha took the queue.

“Who are you?”

“Well,” he stopped to think, “my name IS Roy and um-“ he was thinking if he should let the next information out or not, then he made a decision, “-and I work for a secret organisation called 'Shadows'.

Sneha was more worried than she was at the restaurant when Preeti had let out some information. Maybe this was how she responded to new shocking information.

“Wh- yo- oh, so you are a-“ she started and,

“Yeah, I’m a shadow. I was sent here to- well you know.” He finished. “ But you wanted me to meet your cousin, so I did. We got along nicely.” He smiled but,

“Yeah, I know that.” She didn’t.

Sneha looked at him for a second and thought about what troubled her the most. Then she decided to let it out but Roy perceived it before she could say anything.

"Yes. It was all real. It wasn't an act. I just bumped into you while I was gathering information about the mafia.” He started speaking without breaks. “I saw you daily and I just fell for you. You are so strong, and beautiful. I just forgot for a second why I was here whenever I saw you. It was all real.”

Sneha finally smiled. Roy saw her smile like that for the first time and he just kept looking at her. Then after a minute or two, they both realized something.

“So what now?” Sneha asked, “Your work is done? You're leaving?”

“No,” he said in a very serious tone, “I barely scratched the surface. It’s just a start. But yeah, I have to leave, for now. We got another case, a top priority. There's a serial killer on the loose."

“A serial killer?”

“Yeah, he's killed another serial killer in Metro City a few days ago.”

“But you'll come back?”

“Yes.” He smiled. “ And not because they'll send me. Even if they don’t, even if they send someone else, I'll come back, for you.”

“Okay.” She smiled again. “I’ll wait. I'll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too.”

They both stepped forward and kissed. The dusky, red sky stood witness. Roy then slowly took a few steps backwards, smiling, then he turned and walked away. Sneha was looking at her smiling for the longest time she had ever smiled. She kept looking at him until he disappeared into the approaching darkness and then,

























her smile vanished. Her eyebrows narrowed and her jaw clenched. She started pacing in the opposite direction. She took out her smartphone and speed-dialled a number.

“You were talking about those shadows?” she asked as soon as it was answered.

She looked serious and determined. She summoned rage and vigilance in her eyes. The person on the line must have asked something because she replied,

“Well, I found one of them.”




Read the story of the serial killer, Killer vs Killer.

Comments

  1. Loved it buddy ❤️❤️ Way to go man ... Kudos to your hard work. Love you buddy ❤️❤️ God bless you ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Thanks buddy. Didn't notice your comment, it was pending. Love you more. ❤️

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