Chapter 10

Written by: Abhimanyu

Pride is a double edged sword. Those who wield it will bleed too. Honour is of paramount importance to some; they would rather burn the world to protect this illusory honour. If they fail to create a big fire, there’s always enough rage-filled fuel to self-immolate.

Engulfed in unruly flames, the pyre crackled. A swarm of mourners waited in files, to pay their condolences to those who sat closest to the pyre - the ones who stared at the flames not in dismay but relief.

Principal Secretary Swaminathan commits suicide…

read the front page news today.

People held Lakshmi’s or Shweta’s hands and cried their hearts out. He was a great leader, they said. A few well-wishers of the deceased looked at Salim, Ahmed and Rahul with contemptuous eyes. They smelled foul play, for the headline had ended with:

in a hotel room, full of people.

Sure there was fear of inquiry, a possible trial and even dire-retaliation from the aforementioned well-wishers but Rahul couldn’t get the memory out of his head that eventually led to this funeral.


Separated by the secret door, Hemant and his men tightened the velcro straps of their Kevlar vests and stealthily loaded their Glock 19s.

Swaminathan’s overfed goons were no match for these tactical killers, yet Rahul got haunted by what if. After all, his best friend would be in the line of fire.

“Intimidate and control. Any one acts funny, take’em out. Rahul you stay here.” Hemant’s voice was so calm it unsettled Rahul.

A threatening voice resonated…

You destroyed our family honour and sullied the name of our ancestors…I cannot forgive you.

“Go!” Hemant commanded and kicked the door.

With trigger discipline on their sidearm they stormed into the room, leaving a shaky Rahul behind with the audio experience.

“Drop your weapons now.” Hemant sounded dangerous.

Rahul flinched as he heard furniture getting kicked.

“Do you even know who I am, you fools?”

“Walk to us Salim, slowly.”

“Kill them.” Swami roared. “I said kill them. NOW!”

“Drop your weapons! HEY!”

What Rahul did next must have been the most stupid yet bold thing an unarmed man could do amidst killers.

“It’s all over Swami!” Rahul entered the room, pointing his cellphone at Swami who had pointed his handgun at Salim’s temple.

“You are LIVE Swami…,” Rahul lied. It was just a regular recording.

“People are hearing you, seeing you. Oh look! They have even started commenting. Game over!

“Down…” Hemant regained his calm as he gesticulated at Swaminathan.

Swami looked at Hemant, then at Salim and slowly, with shock and defeat in his eyes, at Rahul’s cellphone.

When Swami pressed the barrel under his chin, everyone, except Hemant and his men, tightly shut their eyes to endure the unknown, only to open them back to scattered brains.


Rahul found Lakshmi, Shweta, Ahmed, Salim and Munira looking at him. He bowed his head and they followed. The flames crackled at the pyre as a deep calm settled over them.


What a great job Abhimanyu!. In this chapter you have put a logical end to a story that took us through a stormy journey of two weddings, a terror attack, a kidnapping, and finally a funeral. You have an unusual knack of conveying a lot of emotion in just a few words. Not many writers can say so much in a limited number of words. I always look forward to reading your work because I know you will always come up with a twist in the story. With so much happening in the serial, one wondered how the title could be justified within a span of 10 chapters. But you not only did it beautifully, but also very believably.
I agree with Hemali. You have done a tremendous job of bringing everything together. But I was most impressed by the way you handled the back story, taking the story back to the time before the pyre and then bringing the reader back to the present in your final line. Beautifully crafted.