By Pranav Lal also known as Praanav R Lal
The title is A prompt from one of my writing groups. It originated thanks to a spelling error and inspired the below story.
Pandey, king pin of the Maha-Maya drug cartel rushed into his basement leaving the door open. It was stuffy and the dust of ages lay on the floor. He sneezed and dropped the stash of rubber bands on the floor. He had become used to the smell of rotting corpses that permeated the basement. After all, most of his dealings these days were in cryptocurrencies but today, he needed cash to bribe the agents. The tip off had been expensive but valuable. The central bureau of investigation was going to arrest him. He lifted the heavy trunk from its place on top of a pile of similar trunks and placed it on the floor, disturbing the bone fragments of Nisha, his fifth wife and hundredth victim. There were no pangs of remembrance, no tears. Pandey was focused on the stashes of notes in the trunk.
Nisha however had not died. Yes, Pandey had pulverized her body with a jackhammer but her spirit remained. It cried for revenge but until now, had been unable to do anything.
She moved over Pandey but it was like moving over a block of wood, actually verse. At least the wood was warm to the touch and had some expression. Pandey was cold and dead. She shied away from him and landed on the rubber bands. Here was fun, the rubber was yielding and quite excited. She began to move the bands slowly and then as the rubber became more excited about being stretched, faster and faster.
Pandey drew the first stack of notes and counted Rs. 50000. He rifled through them with practiced ease. He kept them aside and began on the next stack. He needed at least Rs. 10000000.
Nisha searched for more rubber bands and soon found 5 more stacks which she moved out of the basement.
Pandy finished with the next stack and kept it aside.
If he had practiced yohga as his grandfather has frequently urged him to do before Pandey killed him over Rs. 10000, he would have sensed the wind god, Pawan sneeze. No one including the god himself was sure of the cause. The best guess was a discarded rocket booster from a space mission from earth.
Back on earth, the wind picked up as a storm began.
Pandey continued oblivious for several more stacks and then his sixth sense kicked in as he felt the breeze freshen. He looked for his money and was just in time to see the notes fly through the open door of the basement.
He sprang up with a wordless shout and ran up the stairs right in to the arms of special agents Manish and Gopinath.
Nisha flew over head and sighed with relief as Pandey was taken into a windowless building. She let go of her earthly coil and sored into the great beyond.
The room was cold and had no furniture. Pandey shook his chains at the tiny speaker grill.
“Where is the money” the disembodied voice asked for the hundredth time.
“I do not know. I was keeping it for you and it flew away.”
The screen over his head flashed with a stack of notes.
“Your earlier money has always been bound. We recovered only a 100 rupees.”
“Sir, I do not know there were no rubber bands.”
Agent Gopinath turned to agent Manish.
“Is he right?”
“Yes, as far as forensics have been able to determine, there is no rubber band in the basement.”
“Oh well, we still have enough with the bone fragments and other things.”
“Yes, and I am done with this case, let us handed over to Harish sir and take a vacation.”
The agents completed their report, filed it and left.
Pandey lay in his cell and wondered what could have gone so wrong. Where did the rubber bands go? Where was his money?
The migrants trudged through the heat towards Bihar. Sita staggered as her quadruplets kicked inside her. She knew they were thirsty. Her husband Arjun waved the water seller over but the man shook his head.
“100 rupees” he mouthed.
The wind picked up and the people sat down on the road. There was no shelter. The storm blew, bringing cool air. Sita gasped as the wind strengthened almost blowing her sari away. Suddenly, she was showered with papers. She wrapped her sari tightly around her and waited for the wind to drop which it did.
She drew the stacks of notes from her bosom and passed them over to her husband who quickly waved at the water seller with a 500 rupee note. The man rushed over and dropped several bottles on to the road as he grabbed the money.
Sita grabbed a bottle and took her first sip of water in 48 hours.
About the author in his own words…
I write non-fiction and short stories which are hard to classify but tend towards fantasy and science fiction.
I do not give my characters any breathers and enjoy keeping the action sharp and continuous.
I use a visual prosthesis thanks to which I am a photographer.
I enjoy technology particularly cyber security which is what pays the bills.
I love interacting so feel free to comment or say hello.