Steve is 22 and working in a private company as PRO. He is a bachelor and he lives on fifth floor of 55555. It is super five (fine) building with five floors and each floor occupied by some family. The fifth floor is alone, except Steve and Steve is also alone like fifth floor.
There is a girl in the first floor. She lives with her father, mother and a brother. The Girl’s name is Deborah. All in her family call her Debbie. Steve knew her name and her fame as budding writer. Her brother Nick comes to Steve with a request for looking some job for him in his company. Steve really likes Nick, so he promised him that he will get a job.
One day Nick joined in the company where Steve is working. After that Nick’s family turned showering love and affection on Steve. Debby has become close to Steve and her stories are special interest for Steve
One Day Debby wrote a story about LOC.
“What is really this LOC is Debby?” Steve asked.
“You are kidding. Don’t you know about LOC and LAC?” Debby asked.
While she is asking this, Steve looks at her lips. He thought that some line of control is between them. If not, why he will leave those rosy lips not-kissed, Steve’s thoughts are running like this.
“LAC is the Line of Actual Control- a demarcation line that separates Indian-ruled lands from Chinese-controlled territory. It is the effective border between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” Debby explained. Steve is getting the half knowledge as he said something out some thing in.
“I see, it is like” Steve stopped in between, he thought, it is like the distance between your lips and my lips and it is making us separate from kissing.
“Yes, this is the LAC and it is about 4,056-km long. You know, it traverses four Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttara khand, Himachal and Sikkim.” Debby again explained about LAC, but which did not go straight in to Steve’s brain as he is busy observing Debby’s Lip movements as if like some dancing red dressed row of girls with great talent.
“It is okay. What is this LOC Debby?” Steve asked as a innocent boy.
Debby took the class as the intelligent teacher and started explaining about LOC.
“Steve, don’t mistake LOC as Love of Control or Love of Console… it is…” Debby smiled.
Steve, as if was alerted, sat motion less in his place. He stopped concentrating Debby’s lips.
“This Line of Control or LOC is also known as the Asia’s Berlin wall. It refers to the military control line between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is a line which, to this day, does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary, but you know Steve, it is the de facto border.” Debby explained and Kissed him who is looking at her lips.
“Your story is wonderful, I like it Debby.” Steve said.
“Stupid. I have to start my story. How you can say this, without hearing this?” Debby got up and gave a slap on his cheek and ran out.
Steve smiled. He knew that Debby is not foolish girl. She is beautiful from in and outside. He thought that she will be very nice girl and spending time with her will be of value.
Now, Deborah is frequently coming to Steve’s room and Steve is frequently hearing her stories with great interest. Hearing stories from her has become a habit for Steve as if he can not sleep without hearing her stories.
Their intimacy is growing day by day and LOC is being observed strictly. Deborah saw that Steve is getting dreamy day by day about her. She smiled for this.
“Your Love of Control is inhuman. Try to be human baby” One day Steve exposed his love fever.
“Steve, It may be love of console, if we are not accepted by our parents. So LOC is what we have to respect.” Debby said with sweet love.
She is gone. But she is not gone. Her memories are with him.
‘Steve loves me’ Deborah thought number of times.
‘Debby loves me.’ Steve too thought number of times.
Deborah is out of station for few days. Steve is out of Debby for those few days. Those few days appeared as if VERY DRY days in his life.
Steve is waiting for Deborah. Every day, before going to office he peeps in to Deborah’s house. It is closed. Nick is also not coming to office. He did not apply for leave. What happened? Steve is very uneasy and he is trying to know what happened.
Deborah’s grandfather lives in a remote village in a remote agency area. There is no proper communication channel with the village. They go by a train, then they have travel by a launch (diesel motor cruise) to cross the river and then they have to go by a forest route. There are no phones. No communication medium is there.
Steve heard about the village of Deborah’s grandfather. He wanted to go there. He cannot sleep without seeing Deborah. Steve believes that Debby could have contacted him by phone, if she has any possibility. Steve has applied for a long leave and started in search of Deborah.
He took train. He got down in that small village. He took Launch for a journey on a river. From there, he has made journey to Blue Mountains. Then he reached the forest route. He found this journey very tedious one. He has to reach the village called Burley and it will take another two to three hours to reach there.
Steve got a friend in the journey by name Burnt. He looks like a thief. But he is good at heart. Burnt thought to kill Steve and loot his money. He accompanied him with this intention. But Steve treats him like his own brother and meets all his expenses. By this, Burnt changed his intention and took a oath not to do any harm to him.
“We will take some food in that Cottage Canteen,” Burnt said showing a cottage in the forest.
Steve is also feeling hungry and continuous walking made him a patient. So he followed Burnt.
“We want food. Hot food will be good,” Brunt said to the inn keeper.
“We have no food. We have no water,” the inn keeper said.
He saw that the inn keeper is a new one.
“Where is the old owner? He is a very nice man greeting customers. He is not like you.” Burnt said with a grin
But the owner is not in a good mood.
“Get out and run if you can!” he said and went inside.
Burnt saw that the CC is like an abandoned place and there is no one.
Steve and Burnt came out of the cottage, when some militants entered there. They looked at the two people and took the guns against the two.
“Who are you?” one militant asked Steve. He has thick mustaches and he looks very powerful.
“I am a traveler. I have to go to see my family members.” Steve said. Steve explained him that they are his family friends and they are out of contact from few days. There is smile under the thick moustaches. He looked at Burnt. Burnt has tried to say to him something.
“Don’t talk. I know you are a thief. You followed this man to loot him and I know, you will murder him if needed.” Two mustaches man said with a grin.
“No, No, That is not right. He is like my brother and I follow him to help him,” Burnt said.
Militants took the two into the deep woods. After a walk of few hours they reached on a hill. There is dim light coming from the cave. Two gunmen are at the mouth of the cave and They saluted seeing the two thick moustaches.
We went into the cave. There are Deborah’s family plus a old man. All are tied with ropes. Steve and Burnt are also tied with ropes.
“Ram sing, that boy has come for the girl.” Old man said looking at Steve.
“I know that. That girl is your granddaughter Deb..” Ram sing said with a grin.
“Why you are so much angry on our family?” Old man asked with tears in his eyes.
“I know you are the informer. Why can’t I be your enemy? Why don’t I wait to see you finish.” Ram Sing said with the same grin which is unbearable to see.
Steve looked at Deborah. Her dress is like rags. His father, mother and brother are also in bad condition. They look like patients to die. Burnt is angry on Ram Sing.
“You are savage and barbaric. You don’t know the value of life,” Burnt said with lot of anger.
The gun in Ram Sing’s hand is fired and Burnt is wounded. Steve saw how much Ram Sing is savage and barbaric. He knew that Ram Sing’s gun can be fired at any time. He is not human. Steve is seriously thinking to save Deborah, but he knows no way to save her. He is unable to save his own life.
Few days passed. Burnt is on his death bed. When the militants are out and they got some privacy, he said to Steve to be bold to attack the two gunmen outside. As Burnt is wounded, he is left in a corner on floor and he is not tied. He slowly crawled to Steve and he untied him. Steve untied all the rest.
“Snake.. Snake..” Burnt has cried with alarm.
One Sentry came in to the cave. All have attacked on him and seized the gun in his hand. But the sentry is alert and fired it and the bullet went in to Deborah’s head. Blood is oozing. Burnt took the gun and he killed the sentry. The other guard who is outside also entered the cave hearing gun fire and Burnt fired the gun and killed that sentry too.
Steve took Deborah in his hands and all are running outside of the cave. The old man is showing the way.
“Debby, Wait, Live for me,” Steve said wit tears. His voice is filled with sorrow.
But Deborah is about to die.
“Ste..ve… I’m… so… rry.. ou..r.. Fa…te… L..O…C … ”
These are the last words. Steve could not save Deborah.
The old man also came to city with his son. Nick tried to console Steve in many ways. But he could not bear this wound.
He resigned his job. He left his house. He is gone. Nobody knows where Steve has gone. Nobody knows he is somewhere in the forest where Deborah’s dead body is buried.