Monday, 18 December 2017

Part 17 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

Shilpa walked out of the caf book store at the end of her shift and started towards her apartment. She was halfway through when her new cell rang one she had bought herself startling her. Without even looking at the display name she knew who the caller was and she answered accordingly.
Shilpa: Where are you?
Armaan: I'm still at the hospital (scribbling something in a file) where are you?
Shilpa: my way back home! (crossing the road) and don't start I'm almost there so you don't have to worry.

Armaan sighed: ask something else! Ok! But talk to me till you get there!
Shilpa smiling: well! That's going to be a hardship! So tell me! when are you getting off duty?
Armaan gesturing to the nurse to take the file: half an hour or an hour tops! We still on for the movie!
Shilpa rounding the last corner to her apartment building: definitely! I'm so looking forward to it!(quickly walking up the steps to the building) and now I've reached home.
Armaan: wait! Are you inside in your apartment?
Shilpa was about to climb up the stairs to her third floor apartment: no! I'm climbing the stairs!
Armaan leaning against the nurse's counter: so talk to me till you get in the apartment. So what are you going to do till I come to get you
Shilpa running up the stairs: primp up for you!(slyly) have a bubble bath! Paint my toes! You know girl stuff!
Armaan smiling: I like you the way you are! So what are you wearing right now!
Shilpa reaching the landing to her floor, looked down at herself: my favorite yellow dress with sandals!
Armaan: which ends couple of inches above your knees?
Shilpa getting her keys out of her bag: yes! Why?
Armaan's voice dropping to a husky whisper: b'coz your legs look sexy as hell in that dress. They are all smooth and silky and go on forever. I want those legs wrapped around me or better yet I want to nibble my way up your legs starting from your painted toes. I specially want to nibble at the back of your knees …
Shilpa laughing breathlessly and stopping at her apartment door: Dr. Armaan it seems the heat has gotten to your head! I have a good mind to call of our date tonight!
Armaan: don't you dare! Otherwise I'll come over right now!
Shilpa was about to insert the key in the lock when she realized that the door was unlocked: hey it seems rittu is home early today
Armaan: how do you know?
Shilpa: she leaves the door unlocked as it is now!(walking in the apartment she heard movement inside rittu's room) I'm just going to tell her I'm home. (shilpa called out to rittu) hey rittu! I'm home! I'll be in my room if you need anything! (not waiting for a response she turned and walked to her room eeven though, thr rustling had stopped the moment she had called)
Armaan who had been on the other end listening to shilpa call out was looking around at the hospital absently froze when his gaze lighted on a figure. He could feel his heart rate accelerate and terror seize his heart as he saw rittu walk towards him. Armaan was running before he realized it while he shouted at shilpa: shilpa! its not rittu! Get out of there!
Shilpa had finally entered her room and shut the door whe she heard armaan's words. Shilpa initially couldnot comprehend what armaan was saying, when she heard a door open in the apartment she jumped towards her door. She quickly locked her door and propped a chair under the door knob.
Armaan: shilpa! (armaan was running outside to the parking lot trying to get to his car) talk to me! where are you?
Shilpa tried to calm herself: armaan! I'm in my room! I don't know what to do?(she gasped as she saw the doorknob jiggle but could not turn properly b'coz of the chair) armaan! Someone is at the door!
Armaan, who was backing out of the parking lot cursed: don't open that door! Hide shilpa! wait for me! I'm coming!( he pressed his foot on the accelerator and the car jumped forward)
Shilpa looked around wildly for a place to hide but there was no where to hide just then something rammed into the door jarring it. Shilpa froze just for a second then jumped towards the window and looked outside firstly down and then up. She backed up in the room and got a pair of jeans out of her closet and quickly wore them. Whoever was on the otherside of the door had not given up with every ram the wood of the door was splintering.
Armaan stuck in traffic: whats happening?
Shilpa breathlessly: they are trying to get in! but I'm not going to wait for them!(she picked up her sandles and threw them in her bag, she grabbed what little money she had saved over the months along with the picture of armaan, rahul and muskaan and threw it all in her bag.)
Armaan terrified: where are you going? Shilpa!(while horns blared around him, people sharing angry curses at one another)shilpa!
Shilpa's breath puffing with  exertion as she opened the window and climbed out on the ledge: I'm going out the window!
Armaan got out of the car and started running: don't disconnect the call! The police is on the way! I'm coming shilpa!
Shilpa breathlessly: armaan! I love you! But I can't talk right now! So if I don't answer don't panic but you can talk ok!
Armaan couldn't run fast enough he was dodging cars and bikes: just be careful! I'll be with you in no time.
Shilpa stood on the ledge and looked down: not a good idea!(she started to shuffle across the ledge slowly)
Shilpa had to turn the corner on the ledge her hands were slick with sweat as she groped with her outstretched hand something to hold on to. Armaan was drenched with sweat as he ran up the block every hitch in shilpa's breath, every curse made him want to curse out loud but he didn't want to startle her. He heard shilpa murmur at herself: couple more steps.
Shilpa knew she had no choice but to go back in the apartment. The window leading to the lounge was open she stood on the side and peeked in and saw the apartment empty. The door to the apartment stood open while her bedroom door was splintered. Out of breath and out of ideas shilpa whispered to armaan: I'm going in armaan! I don't see any one there.
Armaan: shilpa! just wait for me! where are you?
Shilpa: standing outside the window on the ledge three stories above the ground. I'm out of options! Tell me what to do armaan(she whispered into the blue tooth)
Armaan: ok! I'm just a block away! (panting, sweat stinging his eyes, armaan slowed and stopped, closing his eyes just for a second) ok! Go in! then leave! Don't linger!
Shilpa nodding then realized he couldn't see: ok! But armaan! Hurry!
As shilpa edged closer to the window armaan put in a last spurt of speed in his run to her apartment. Shilpa went through the window placing her foot lightly on the table. Shilpa managed to get in the apartment and jumped lightly to the ground and whispered to armaan: I'm in!
Armaan: now get out!
Shilpa already moving towards the door: I'm almost out (shilpa was giddy with relief her eyes lighted as the her steps grew nearer the open door her hand closed around the door frame as she was about place her foot outside the door and the next moment had the breath knocked out of her. A hand had wrapped around her hair and yanked her back in the apartment throwing her on the ground.)
Shilpa on her stomach started to crawl away only to have her pinned to the ground by a foot placed in he middle of her back. Shilpa was pulled by her hair in a standing position an then a voice straight out of her nightmares: you are not going to get away this time(he punctuated his words with a vicious pull to her hair making shilpa whimper in pain.) 
Shilpa tried to think ast the pain and panic that threatened to overwhelm her. All she could think was that armaan was coming for her and she was not going to give in easily. Without a further thought she rammed her head backwards aiming at the nose of her captor, he howled in pain as his hold on her slackened. Shilpa pushed and tried to make a run for the door only to crash to the ground with the weight of the man. She struggled to free herself and was finally face to face with the man trying to kill her. She had a moments satisfaction seeing his nose bleeding obviously broken and then he had his hands around her throat strangling her.
Shilpa knew she had very little time her hands reached out for something and latched on to a vase which she bashed on the man's head. The man fell back giving shilpa a chance to get away, shilpa managed to get to her feet when a hand wrapped around her ankle and yanked her. Shilpa fell hard but managed to avoid hitting her head, she rolled on to her back kicking at her attacker with both her feet.
She grabbed on to the book shelf to pull herself from the floor but the man was not letting go so easily. Shilpa knew she had hurt him but not enough, she looked around wildly with something to hit him with again. But the only thing there were the books she latched on to them and started throwing them at him. Suddenly she heard a voice call out her name: SHILPA! SHILPA!
Shilpa hardly believing her ears: Armaan! ARMAAN!(she tried again to get away from her attacker, the book shelf she was holding on to was no match for the guys strength and shilpa could feel her hand slipping. She landed with a thud on the floor but shilpa was not about to give up she bit, scratched, kicked at the assailant to put some distance between them. All of a sudden she was free from the restraining hands, hands that had been trying to kill her.)
When armaan had entered the apartment he saw shilpa on the floor her clothes a mess, a cut marring the perfection of her face near the cheek bone, a bruise near her chin. She was trying to get away from the man who also looked a little worse for wear. Armaan saw the man grab shilpa's ankle and pull her towards him, armaan flew across the room and threw the guy across the room to land against a table with a crash. Armaan wanted the man's blood as he saw shilpa struggling to get up from the floor, he grabbed the man by the collar and punched him in stomach.
Armaan crashed back into the book shelf as the man rushed him knocking him backwards. Shilpa who had managed to steady herself and stand up and saw armaan grapple with the man. Armaan felt his bones jarred as he fell on the floor with the weight of the man holding him down, he managed to land a couple of blows to the man's middle and face but had the wind knockd out of himself. Armaan lay on the ground stunned trying to get his bearings while the man managed to stand on his feet. Shilpa didn't know when but she grabbed the small statue lying on the table and hit the man on head with all her might. He fell with a thud forward crashing into the table head first then lying still.
Armaan managed to stand up straight and walked towards shilpa who stood frozen with the statue clenched between her fingers. Armaan pried the statue out of her fingers and wrapped his arms around her frozen form. Shilpa was in a shock she kept looking at the still body of her attacker and thought: I've killed him.
True to armaan's words the police arrived but as usual late. Their statements were recorded and the police questioned them further, all through this shilpa was as if on an automate. Finally all the questioning was done and the police were ready to leave when armaan asked them a question: Inspector! Any idea as to who this man was and what he wanted?
Inspector: its probably just a thief who was surprised when you came back home.
Armaan angrily: after every thing we've told you about shilpa's history you still assuming this to be a simple case of robbery…
Shilpa looked at the scene unfolding in front of her and felt herself fade. She heard the words robbery gone wrong, thief surprised by your return and she felt a click in her head. She moved across the room to where the inspector with his back towards her was talking to armaan. She place her hand on his shoulder nad spun him around.
Shilpa: What do you mean robbery gone wrong? Is that the best you can do? Is that the explanation I'm suppose to live with all my life. No! do you hear me!
Inspector: madam! We understand you've gone through an ordeal…
Shilpa: you understand?(disbelievingly) how can you possibly understand? Do you have any idea what that man meant to me? do you have a clue as to what I have lost today?
Armaan who had seen shilpa blast into the inspector and was standing quietly letting shilpa blow off steam but felt surprise and shock at shilpa's last couple of senstences. His head turned sharply in her direction to see shilpa clearly upset, her breathing labored, her face a mask of anguish and grief.
Shilpa: so don't tell me you understand! B'coz you don't have a clue (her voice trembling her very body shaking with the control she was trying to exert over her body to control her emotions) I have lost everything today! Everything that has ever mattered to me and you give me platitudes. I want justice!
Armaan realised that shilpa was again lost in a memory flash, he walked to her : shilpa! calm down!
Shilpa looked at him with eyes which held no hint of recognition. She looked at him with eyes which held pain and sorrow: don't tell me to calm down whoever the hell you are!
Armaan felt as if someone had punched him in the gut: shilpa!(trying to calm her) its me armaan!(he placed a hand on her shoulder only to have it slapped away)
Shilpa: don't touch me! I don't know you!
Armaan felt the blood leave his face and panic settle in his stomach still he tried: shilpa! stop listen to me! (he grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her towards him only for her to jerk back and struggle to get free from his hold) shilpa! hold still! I'm not going to hurt you!shilpa!
Suddenly shilpa went limp in armaan's hold, her head rolled back as her body slumped in his arms. Armaan looked down at her face which had lost all the color making armaan call out her name in panic: Shilpa! (he shook her) Shilpa! SHILPA! (but shilpa was beyond responding)
Armaan swung her limp body in his arms and ignoring the police in the apartment left the building to get shilpa to the hospital.


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