Five Times

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Chapter 24

James came running to the spot where Lara was. “Lara……” James called out a little louder the second time. Even then, she stood motionless.

Some unknown fear clutched to everyone’s heart the moment they spotted Lara in that darkness. Abi felt an uncomfortable churning sensation in her stomach. Everyone’s heart raced.

The waves were pushing them back but they were moving forward towards Lara, clasping each other’s hands tightly.

If it was some other day, the slashing waves and the cool breeze could have bought the eternal peace to everyone. But now, they were far away from thinking about peace.

They were there at the beach, in the dark, risking their lives, to protect Lara. Protect Lara from Whales.

She was now five feet away from James. He stepped forward when Abi hushed to stop him.

“What now?” James asked in a hushed tone like they were talking in a library.

“Am hearing some sound,” said Abi mostly in sign language. The next second Ahana too agreed to Abi and nodded her head affirmatively, at the same time cautious enough to not let out a sound.

Only then all other keenly observed the sound. First, it felt like some unnecessary sound. But then, it turned out to be moaning.

Was Lara crying? Thought James.

Without wasting another second, James and Adhi moved forward.

Come on… come and kill me now… I can’t take it anymore. Come right now and take my life. Please… Lara was sobbing to herself.

She was repeating the same thing again and again and tried to move a little forward towards the sea. Instantly Adhi and James ran towards Lara, grabbed her hand and tried to pull her out of water.

“Leave me,” Lara snapped even without turning her head. “I want to die now. Leave me,” Lara shouted and jerked out of their control.

Adhi and James’ grip was too strong on Lara that she couldn’t compete. Finally, she gave up. Both of them dragged Lara out of the sea. All the way she was crying and cursing her fate.

“Why did you come here? I could have died now. My pain would have gone. Please leave me. I have to die,” Lara sobbed uncontrollably.

James, Abi, and Ahana tried a lot to control her. James hugged her sideways and cupped her face to console her.

“Lara, please don’t cry baby. I am here for you,” He too sobbed.

Seconds passed on. Being in the water for long made Lara sick and because of continuous weeping, she lost all her energy. As a result, she fainted in James’ shoulders.

“Lara….Lara… what happened?” James panicked, so was the others and looked at Adhi.

“Nothing James, except Lara was scared. Long hours of good sleep will help her get back to normal,” Adhi said in a calm tone.

James looked at Adhi confused and wanted to ask more. But Adhi’s dad interrupted.

“First, let’s get back to the room and do her first aid,”

Everyone accepted the suggestion and departed hiring a taxi. All the way to the room, Lara still mumbled about whales, the attack she had witnessed, and much more.

Inside the room, Lara was peacefully sleeping with the help of sedative. James couldn’t tolerate seeing his wife like this.

With his hands covering his face, James sat with head hung low. She came to Andaman only for me but, I gave her just pain, immense pain.

“Tomorrow, she will be okay, James,” said Adhi tapping on his shoulder.

James looked up, meeting Adhi’s eyes and asked, “Why did Lara behave like that? Like going out uninformed, crying to herself, getting inside the sea, etc, etc,”

“As I said, she was scared and she is still scared,” Adhi replied.

“Adhi, I can’t understand. Even I am scared about this Whale attack. Everyone is scared. But why is Lara going through the hell?” James’s tone broke.

The moment James talked about the whales; the main thing did strike Abi. She gazed at the shining green ring fixed in Lara’s finger.

In the chaos of searching Lara, everyone forgot about the ring. Shit…I could have thrown it in the sea there itself if it occurred to my mind. Abi wanted to tell Adhi about the ring right now, but Adhi didn’t give a break.

“I agree. All are scared. But we didn’t see anything for real. We just happened to hear about whales. But it’s different in your case. You saw the whales, eye to eye and that made Lara weak,”

Imagination is different from reality, thought James.

After a pause, Adhi continued, “Everyone doesn’t have the courage to face the truth and Lara is one among them. Whales having a human head, and its attack, everything was beyond imagination in this 20th century and that made her very fragile.”

James listened to everything and asked, “If she sleeps for long, will she be fine? Or will she again try to kill herself?”

“Sleep will control the situation as of now. But for the permanent solution, we need to get rid of these whales forever,”

Abi, till now who was silent, intruded. “Adhi, in search of Lara, we totally forgot her ring. If we had thrown the ring back in the sea there itself, the problem would have been over by now. But it was late,”

Adhi, Ahana, James, and others at once looked at the ring that was shining brightly. Adhi thought for a while and cursed himself for failing to remember the most important thing.

After thinking for a while, Adhi said, “That’s okay, Abi. We can do that now,” He said and looked at James.

“Do what?” James questioned.

“James, I told you everything right? About the queen and her ring…the attack of whales, mystery behind the ring, etc. So, the only solution to this issue is this ring. We need to throw it back into the sea,” Adhi answered.

“What will happen next?” James asked.

Adhi hesitated for a while. Actually, he didn’t know what will happen after that. He recalled Diya’s words. “We are in danger. The queen will protect us and she needs the ring for that,”

“Once we throw the ring into the sea, I hope the queen may get it and protect us,” his answer sounded stupid even to himself. But he had no other way.

After a long silence, James said, “Sorry Adhi, I can’t give you the ring,”

“What?” Everyone shouted promptly at James giving him a death look.

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