We all know about this game called Chinese Whispers in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. We at Write Tribe are doing just that but with stories on our blog. One person tells a short story on his/her blog, the next Blogger will continue the story, till it finishes on Blogger no. 9.
Chapter 5 – First stroke of luck
Ankitha kept staring at the man who sat in front of her. As much as he looked like Shishir, his behavior and mannerisms were totally different. The Shishir she knew carried himself with a sense of certainty, and confidence. The man in front of her was a bumbling man, who was reduced to stammers on being confronted by whom he thought was a stranger. She ignored the phone call she received and kept her attention on him. He was not taking it well. While he was just stammering before, he seemed a nervous wreck now. Sweat was trickling profusely from his temple, trickling slowly down by his ear and onto his neck. At this pace, he would begin to draw attention from those who sat in the café.
“Why don’t you visit the washroom?”
“I d-d-d-don’t have to.”
“Look at yourself, you’re sweating heavily. Go wash your face.”
Whatever protest he wanted to make, went down in a whimper when he saw the look on her face. He nodded and slowly walked towards the washroom, with his gaze on the floor all this while. She took this window of time to run through the back pack he had on him. There was a laptop and a hard disk in one of the compartments. While the contents of the hard disk interested her, she didn’t have the time to copy the data from it on to the memory cards she carried in her purse. There were some print outs of a project report, of which she quickly took photographs. There was a bunch of pen and pencils in the other along with a few bars of dark chocolate.
He hates dark chocolate, she thought. Why was he carrying a bunch of it then? It could all be part of his cover. That didn’t make any sense to carry so many of them, though. She quickly put a bar in her purse as well. She could hear him fumbling with the door lock to open it. She quickly zipped the bag, and kept it back on the floor. He came back looking refreshed, but still nervous. If this was an undercover mission, it didn’t seem that he was going to tell her about it in public. If he wanted to, he would contact her through the means they had already had in place for times like this.
“What, what d-d-d-oo you want from me?”
“I am sorry, you look a lot like my friend Shishir. He had disappeared six months ago. We are all worried about him.”
“I am sorry, I d-d-d-ont recognize you. My name may b-b-bee Shishir, b-b-but you have mistaken me with someone else.”
“I understand, sorry to have taken your time.”
He got up and walked out of the café, with his gaze down all the time. She didn’t want to follow him now, and arouse suspicion from whoever might be keeping an eye on him. She knew where he worked at , and would trace him from there. All she had were the photographs she had taken and the single bar of dark chocolate. It did not bear the name of any brand or have any distinguishing packaging or logo. Just the words ‘Dark chocolate 3’ were written on the wrapper. She tore open an edge of the wrapping and took a bite. It didn’t taste very different, just had a slightly pleasant after taste. She would get it checked in one of her trusted labs.
She got up and ordered a coffee for herself, and then began to read whatever she had captured in the photographs.
I now hand over to Ayush Chauhan to take the story ahead.