A masked man brought Suman into the room dragging her by her hair. “Looking for her?” he asked Rishi. With this he threw Suman next to his chair. Suman’s hands and legs were bound behind her by ropes. Luckily she was not blindfolded. But then, he did not want Suman’s involvement into whatever he was doing. It was not what he had planned to tell her, but then it was one of the hard facts of his life which she would have come to know of sooner or later. Better for her to know his reality on her own. Saved him the trouble of explaining, saved him the trouble of finding out if she still wanted to be with him after this.
Suman fell on her back and was writhing in pain. They had not inflicted any injury to her but then she was hurt due to their being slightly rough with her. Rishi had always shied away from relationships because he never liked being in the sticky situations like the one he was in today. No point crying over spilt milk now. He had to face it come what may now.
He had known the masked man and the other together as the Dragon team. The two had worked together since time immemorial. It was said that the Mask did not take his mask off even when he slept. Rumours were that his face was so horrendously damaged by his father that it was not possible even for his mother to recognise him. He had run away from home that day wearing a paper bag as his first mask. He never took it off after that day. He had met the Dragon Boss as a co-traveller on a trawler on his way while running away from home. This is when he had been introduced to the world of crime. He had taken to it like a fish takes to water.
The Mask came around and gave a heavy blow on Rishi’s face. The two were here to exact their revenge. Revenge for being sent to jail. They had been invincible and unstoppable in the world of crime until Rishi came along. After that Rishi had successfully tailed the two and had ensured that the two were behind bars. They had been tried in the court of law where they had both been awarded life sentences. They had both been moved to separate jails in different locations. They had vowed their revenge in full public view.
Dragon asked Rishi, “Wondering how we got out?” and roared with a resounding laughter. “There never were jails built that were strong enough to hold us in for more than a few weeks! So what if there were thousands of police personnel deployed.”
Unknown to them while they were raining blows on Rishi, Suman had eyed a broken bottle of Black Dog thrown a little behind her. She quietly slid behind and started cutting her ropes apart. She wanted to get out of this hell hole fast. Rishi was the key to take her out, she somehow knew this.
The Dragon received a phone call and went out to answer it. He indicated the Mask to leave Rishi alone and follow him a little far away from ear shot. This was Suman’s chance. She quickly untied hers as well as Rishi’s ropes. The two managed to free themself successfully before the Dragon team got back. Rishi had pulled out one of his Beretta 21A Bobcat and had hidden it safely within his palm.
The Team got back. Rishi was not sure how many were with them but he had been left with no choice. The Mask came closer to him with the knife. Rishi had no wonder in what awaited him next. He wanted to catch the Mask by surprise. When he was close enough to Rishi, he got a heavy blow in his groin and collapsed on the ground in pain.

Rishi reached Suman’s Office to find it closed. There was nobody around as expected. He however found a dazed and sleepy watchman who had been woken up from his slumber by Rishi’s arrival. The watchman would not answer any of his questions. It was obvious. He was still sleepy. There was no point shaking him up. No, money would not work on a drunken and sleepy watchman either. He had to use other methods. Before he did anything, somebody walked down from the office. Fortunately for him, this colleague of Suman’s knew her. In fact, he knew too much about her to his liking. He introduced himself as Rohan.
Rohan told Rishi that Suman took the metro to get home. Even today she had left on time with Rekha to go home. Rekha and Suman always left work together and lived nearby. He offered to take Rishi to the metro by the route that Suman took everyday. Once there, he left the place without a trace or a goodbye. This astonished Rishi. He was not used to such disappearances from the folks who helped him or offered help.
At the station, Rishi could do nothing but look around. He found Suman’s bag lying thrown on one side of the road. It was lying strewn and the contents of the bag emptied. Nothing in it seemed to be in order. The money was missing. Nothing that remained was valuable. It was clear that someone had taken all the valuables from it. Was it still possible in that case that the phone really was with Suman and not with this person who had emptied the bag. He rummaged through the bag once again. He found the bracelet that he had gifted her hidden in a corner.
He was now not sure if what he had was a bread crumb trail or a real one. He was not sure what to be done now. He started looking around at the surroundings once again. May be some clues may have been left behind. He found pieces of paper that looked like they had been torn only a while ago. Next to it lay a bottle of Black Dog and two broken glasses. He picked up the pieces of paper. They were pieces of a torn photograph. He quickly got around to placing them together. A few pieces had flown away with the wind, but the face could be reconstructed partially. Only the upper half of the face remained. The face was known. It was Suman. He quickly pulled out his smartphone and clicked a photograph of all the evidences.

He flipped the pieces. It had random numbers scribbled. It did not look like a phone number. But then he was not able to understand what it could be. He pulled his phone out and tried to see if it was a location co-ordinate. He quickly punched the numbers on his screen. It was a location.

Rishi was calling Suman since the last four hours. Her phone was ringing continuously since the last four hours. He was very worried now. He called her office up a few hours back but then the watchman there confirmed she had signed out at around seven in the evening. She had not come back since then, neither had any one heard back from her. He even visited her house but found it locked. Her neighbours had not seen her come home. There was no point calling Sneha since she was not even in the country. He did not have her parents’ number, but then she would have definitely told him if she was going back home or there was some problem back then.
He was stuck with no leads in this case. He took a swig of his Black Dog. He had told Suman to keep her data connection on all the time so that they could Skype whenever they felt like. He had not thought about checking her online yet. She wasn’t there. This could only mean that her Location reporting would not be available either. Nonetheless he tried checking her last known location. It was a warehouse ten miles away from her office. What could she be doing there? Was her phone stolen? But if that was the case, why hadn’t she come back home?
There were a lot of unanswered questions, none of them seemed to have any leads. He was frustrated. He felt like a novice. He felt he had hit a dead end. He could not tell the cops. They would not even file a missing complaint before 24 hours. But then it may be too late by then. For whatever you know, her life may be in danger. He did not know where to start from. He had not visited her office yet. He should start from there. He had advised Suman to keep a pepper spray in her purse for her safety. If she was in danger, had she remembered to use it?
He fiddled with his laptop keys while he thought what to do. The TV roared at full volume. His fiddling with the keys changed the map view from last known location to location trail. She had travelled from the office to the Metro station and from there to the warehouse. It was an unmarked warehouse. He finished a full glass of his Scotch in one swig and got up from his chair. He had to do something and that something had to be done fast, really fast.
Rishi changed into his tuxedo and put on his hat. He had to work in style of the private detective that he was. He had to save her at any cost.

Suman and Rishi had been having a great time with each other. Life was going really smooth. Suman had even started imagining what colours the new curtains in their new house would be. Rishi and she had been spending a lot of time with each other. For a change Suman’s work at office had also been going very smooth. Unknown to her, however, a danger had been lurking in her own backyard.
One of her colleagues, Rohan, had proposed to her a few months back during the Black Dog Evening with Rob Schneider. She had declined it. This had not gone down too well with him. He had ended up spoiling the evening for her. She had so very longingly looked forward to the day. She had even planned to end it with style by hitting the discotheque later. But now all that had been put off! Her mood had been completely put off. All thanks to this once known as a sweet guy, Rohan.
Rohan had tried persuading her many times in the past. He had once again attempted it a few days back. This time Suman had had enough and she had given him a strong dressing down in front of the entire office. This had hurt his ego too much. He had vowed revenge. His humiliation had been too much. He had not been thrown out of the office but he had received a stern warning.
Suman was walking down from her office to the Metro Station with Rekha, her associate producer. Just then Rekha’s boy friend came by and she left with him. Suman was left alone. She was close to the station when suddenly a car skidded to a halt next to her and she was pulled inside. She was caught totally unawares. She tried resisting but it was futile. The person was a lot more powerful than her. Her pepper spray was in her purse which she had dropped in the melee when she was dragged in. Thankfully her phone was still in her pocket. She still had hope. She tried to scream, but a hand was cupping her mouth hard. It was impossible to scream. Suddenly something was pressed against her nose and she started feeling dizzy. She lost consciousness.
When Suman awoke, she found herself at a place she did not know. Her hands, legs and eyes were all tied. She had a cloth tied across her mouth as well. It was effortless to struggle. All her efforts to free herself were getting futile. She could hear a few voices coming from a little away. The sounds were muffled. She could not make out who the voices belonged to. She strained her ears to listen closer but it bore no fruit.