I was nervous than ever before, as I had received a threatening call. I was there for a purpose. I let myself into the lift. I sensed someone was standing behind; I pressed the button ‘20’ without uttering any word to the other person. I verified the blank cheque again that I had been safeguarding in my pocket!
The lift started to move to my destination with no stops. The numbers were arithmetically incrementing in the display. But, as soon as the lift crossed the floor number ‘10’, the lift stopped – and electric signals were disrupted. I started to scream, shout and cry, as I had a strong emotional reason to reach my destination.
The person who accompanied me became restless to my sudden screams than to the lift’s unexpected break off. ‘Sir, why you are shouting like this, the service people will come and repair in some time’. ‘I have to be there in two minutes, otherwise he will kill my son’, I didn’t like to extend my conversation to a stranger. I cried and shouted for help. Then, I again received a call from the anonymous number.
‘If you didn’t come and give the money in time, I will kill your son’
I fainted and trembled. My throat got dried up. I was not able to withstand the mental agony. I closed my eyes, as that was only choice I had. After three hours, the lift was repaired and brought back to its initial position. I opened my eyes on hearing the clamor of service men. I came out of the lift, but I didn’t know when the other person had left!
Then, I stepped into the new lift carrier along with a service member. It was difficult to harness my mind, when my mind was actively visualizing the bad things that would have happen to my son. All my rationales and analytics were crumbled. I started to become a theist.
After sometime, I finally reached the 20th floor. It was a cafeteria, where understandably many people had gathered for leisure. I knew it was difficult to spot him among the crowd. But, I started to search the kidnapper through the identification he gave- black trouser and red t-shirt. I searched him breathlessly. I placed my fingers on my chest to sense the beats of my heart, but I came to know that my cheque slip was missing!
Within a few minutes of inquisitive searching, I spotted, not the kidnapper, but my wife and my son. I went closer to them, and said, ‘Where you have been, someone has been threatening from the morning’; I was not able to speak properly as I was dehydrated. I hugged my two year old son with deep sense of relief. After those dramatic events happened, I sat peacefully, when my wife went to get coffee. I began to recollect the entire episode. I received a call from my wife. I looked around to know why she was calling. Unexpectedly, she didn’t call me. I attended the call with utmost anxiety.
‘Hey Kailash, where are you… Our son has been missing from the morning… I was not able to reach you from then’
Confused, I started to console her,’ don’t worry, I will come to the home now’, I disconnected the call.
‘Kailash, Have cappuccino, and relax’
‘Thought of asking you, where is your mobile?’
‘Forgot to tell you, I lost my phone when I was coming here’.
I remained silent for some time as all the events happening around continued to befuddle me. I needed some fresh air. I looked around for distractions that could snap off my mind for some time. I started to read the newspaper lying nearby. But my mind didn’t linger on anything. It continued to wander. At that juncture, one of the headlines caught my attention – ‘The Lipstick lady – A modern kidnapper’.
The article said that the lady of thirties was very proficient in kidnapping. She had used new ways to deceive, kidnap and kill people. She could able to mimic many voices of both genders. Though I didn’t read the article fully and it didn’t contain any pictures of the kidnapper, I realized that I should save my son from the lady who sat opposite to me!
‘What are you reading’, the voice came from the lady who pretended as my wife.
‘Nothing, it is a trivial sports issue’, I timidly replied.
‘Kailash, I need fifty thousand before this weekend. It is not for me, for my friend who has a little financial issue.’
Her plea fortified my suspect, as the plea was uncharacteristic of my wife. I started to think of ways to take my son and go out of her vicinity.
At that critical moment, a police officer came and started to interrogate the lady. He confirmed, ‘She was infamous for kidnapping and murdering people. We took years to nail down her, and we got an information that she was about to kidnap your son!’
I thanked God for the fortunate thing that happened timely. The police authorities arrested the lady, and I didn’t listen to her forged words. I loosened up myself and took my son and moved to my home, a few miles away from there.
I reached my apartment, which coincidentally was in the 20th floor.
‘Where you have found him’, ‘my dear, where you have been’, she took our son and kissed with motherly affection. I narrated the entire episode to my wife. She cried yet eagerly listened to my ordeal.
Then, she went inside to take care of her chores and prepare a coffee.
I was glad that I was able to safeguard my son, even though I lost the blank cheque.
I smiled at my son, who was playing with his mother’s bag. It was nice to see him play. He took out all the things one by one from the bag. During that childish play, I was shocked to see the blank cheque dwelling in my wife’s bag. Unaware of my shock, my son smiled and clapped. In his smile, I not only felt his innocence, but also noticed the traces of lipstick in his milky cheek!!!