New Day New Fight
Ravi jumped when a cockroach flew out from the dirty can of coke and dumped the tin can on his floor.
He was trying to clean the kitchen that morning and looked for the grocery stuff. The fridge was almost empty and the pantry looked like it was newly set up. Everything was a mess in the house so Ravi decided to go through the cleaning and restocking process.
So far, cleaning had been the biggest chore he had done. They didn’t have a maid as his wife liked to do things on her own. Ravi and Sara used to help her when they could but it was Sabrina’s department. Sabrina was the expert there.
Ravi sighed as he got another reminder of his daughter and a missing wife. This gave him all the motivation to move fast. Ravi cleaned the kitchen as best as he could.
After he was done refilled the water filter and took a notepad to make a list of the grocery stuff he needed to buy. He smiled when he made sure he added all the necessary things on the list.
He made a quick run to upstairs to change into pale blue jeans and a white shirt. He rolled the sleeves and unbuttoned the first two buttons before standing in front of the mirror.
For a man in his fifty, he could sure pass the look of a thirty-year-old. If only he didn’t have those dark circles under his eyes and frown lines on his forehead. Thankfully, he had no wrinkles yet and his skin looked healthy, a bit pale nowadays but still healthy.
Ravi smiled a bit which didn’t reach his eyes and ran fingers through his dark brown hair. When he looked presentable, Ravi took a deep breath before wearing his black Rolex watch, a gift from Sara. He checked the time. It was 9:15 in the morning. He grabbed the wallet and went out the door.
Ravi frowned as soon as he was out the elevator and saw his silver Volkswagen. Somebody smashed the windows and flattened front tires. Sara’s car was not in a state of approval as well. If anything, her car had taken the worst beating. The windows were broken, ugly scratches ruined the blue texture of the car and all four flat tires. They didn’t even spare the leather seats inside the car.
Ravi closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He was finding himself lose the last bit of his sanity. This was insane. He knew the people around this building and community area, hated him and his family. They were always throwing glares and spit shit out of their mouth about Sara when they could. Going out of the building and facing them was tormenting for Ravi. Even the word torment was an understatement.
But, it seemed the verbal vomit wasn’t enough for them. So, they had to come down to this level. This was beyond acceptable. They had no right to violate other people’s privacy and harm their property. This was freaking torture!
Ravi made a mental note to have a word with the security officer when he came back. With a deep breath, he finally found the strength to open his eyes and face the world.
He would walk today and he had every intention to keep his posture straight. If they thought breaking the cars and throwing words would make him crumble, they had yet to know the real Ravi Hussain.
It took Ravi almost thirty minutes to walk down the fifteen minutes distance by car. He was sweating off, the shirt was clinging to his body with sweat in the excessive heat of the sun. But, it was those people who made Ravi look more worn out than he was.
He had seen people glaring at him when he passed the community gate. Ravi had sent a taunting smirk at their direction which made most of them frown. His aura had radiated with confidence even though on the inside he was getting tired. But, he refused to bent in front of them. He had always taught his daughter to never tolerate violence and face them with a smile. Why would he not follow his own rule now?
Thankfully, at the shop, he didn’t face any haters. He brought his things and got out. While walking, he came across the line of the zebra crossing. He had to cross the road to get on the other side. The community area was one block away from him.
Ravi waited for the signal to turn red. He stepped forward as soon as the right light was on. The streets were busy today as it was the office hour. People were rushing through the road. Vehicles there jammed the road almost blocking the way for other cars to pass. The city traffic was always the worst, especially in a metropolitan city like Dhaka.
Ravi was just about to step on the footpath when the light turned green and a car drove fast toward his direction. Ravi noticed the car and quickly moved to go up. He made it safely but groaned when he felt a searing pain on his left leg.
He dropped the bags on the floor and stumbled to reach the nearest wall. He was struggling with breathing when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to a frowned Arup looking at him up and down.
“Are you okay, Mr. Hussain?” His voice held warmth and concern.
Ravi managed to nod as Arup took the bags from the floor and held them in one arm. Arup used his other hand to hold Ravi’s elbow, helping him walk.
“Let’s go for a check-up. This looks bad.”
Ravi shook his head. “I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.”
“What if it’s a fracture?” Arup argued. “I’m not risking with you, Mr. Hussain. That car was too fast for my liking. I’m sorry I couldn’t run fast to catch you.”
Ravi let out a soft chuckle as he kept stumbling on the road. “I’m soon going to be a senior citizen. I don’t need you to babysit me.”
Arup smirked. “That’s more than enough reason I should look out for you. Come on, my car’s down there.”
Ravi shook his head but followed Arup’s lead. Arup helped him settled on the passenger seat and placed the bags in the back. He came around the car to take his driver’s seat and started the car.
Ravi sighed as the cool air inside the car made him lean back. His shoulders relaxed.
“The sun is burning down the earth.” Ravi sighed as he looked out.
Arup chuckled. “You’re humble, Mr. Hussain. It’s frying us without any seasoning. At least, we deserve to be delicious when cooked.”
Ravi smirked and looked at him. “Why? We got all this salt running down our bodies. It should be enough.”
Arup scrunched his nose. “Gross, Mr. Hussain, real gross!”
Ravi couldn’t help let out a belly laugh. It had been, what, ages since he expressed any genuine positive expression. Even if it was for a few seconds, Ravi felt alive and he was grateful it was Arup who made him feel better. That young man was a real gentleman. Ravi was glad he could make a friend out of him.
“So, what are you doing here?” Ravi asked as the laughter died down.
Arup stopped a red light.
“I was coming to meet you. Thought, we could discuss some plan to track down Mrs. Hussain. But, saw you on the road. I was about to call you when I noticed the car. I have a bad feeling about it Mr. Hussain.”
Ravi saw Arup frown.
“What do you think? It was an accident.”
“It could be an attempt to murder.”
Those words sent a chill down Ravi’s bones. Murder! Who would want to murder him? Was it the enemy of Sara?
“Arup, take us to the Green Life hospital.”
Arup frowned. “That’s an hour away, Mr. Hussain. How about Alpha Marine? It’s just fifteen minutes from here.”
“We’re meeting someone there. I had an appointment with her today anyway.”
“Someone who could lead us to a clue about Sabrina’s kidnap.”
“All good!” Tia smiled as she finished checking Ravi up. “Just some scratches and a bit peeled-off skin. You’re lucky, Ravi. No need for stitches, although, I would suggest some ointment for your rough skin.” She spoke as she wrote down on a white paper.
Tia put down the pen and tore the paper before handing it to him.
“You should be thanking this young man,” Tia nodded toward Arup who sat beside Ravi. “If he didn’t drag you here, I doubt you’d have ever told me about your accident.”
“What should I tell? It was unexpected and sudden.”
“Of course, you didn’t know. What? Did you expect them to give you a pink note saying they are gonna finish you off today?” Tia shook her head.
Arup couldn’t help but chuckle before trying to cough it up. Ravi sent him a glare only for Arup to shrug it off.
Ravi cleared his throat. “So, now that we are here, can we discuss the other matter if you have time?”
Tia scoffed. “Keep those formalities out the door, Ravi. I’m here and I can spare a few minutes for you, okay?”
Ravi paled. “I-I didn’t-”
Tia raised her hand. “Okay, I got it. So...”
Now, it was her who was fidgeting her fingers. She continued nonetheless.
“I don’t know if I should be giving you guys the footage here or not. It’s extremely confidential, I tell you. No one can breathe a single word out this door, got it?”
Ravi rolled his eyes. “Where’s the footage?”
Tia gulped as she opened the drawer of her desk and put a thin brown file on the white desk. Ravi frowned and touched the file only for Tia to put a hand on it. Ravi looked up to see her brows furrowed.
“Don’t. Not here. You have to be out of this place first.”
Ravi sighed and looked at Arup who gave him a nod. He finally caved in.
“Alright, Doctor. Here some treaties for your hard work.”
Ravi pushed some money toward her which she pushed back to him with a scowl on her face.
“Don’t you dare, Mr. Hussain! I’m doing this for my friend and I’m not going to be broke if I don’t earn some from my friend’s husband.”
To say Ravi was flushed would be an understatement.
“I-I was just trying to... Uh, forget it. You’re right! I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have disregarded your feelings.”
Tia nodded stiffly. She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath before opening them with a bright smile to her face.
“Now, shoo! You’re wasting my time.”
Ravi nodded before standing up. Arup followed him and stretched his hand forward.
“Thank you, Dr. Mahlin.”
Tia shook his hand. “Yeah, yeah. It’s my job and stuff. Just lookout for this old man.”
Arup smiled as Ravi rolled his eyes before walking toward the door.
“Oh, and Ravi,” Ravi turned back to a somber-looking Tia. “Please bring back Sabrina safe and soon.”
All he could do was nod before walking out of the door with Arup.
“Who’s that?” Arup pointed at the blurry image of a woman in the photo.
Some of the images were clear, some were blurry. But, in most of them, they found Sabrina out of the Hospital gate with her front facing the camera as she was talking to, what looked to be, a woman. Most of her body was hidden behind the wall as if she was purposely trying to stay out of the camera sight. The only indication of her being a female was her long braided hair that reached past her waist. She was wearing black jeans and a white quarter-sleeved top.
Ravi sighed. "I don't know. We can't see her face."
Arup frowned. "She must be the one who knows something about Mrs. Hussain's kidnap. What if she's the one who kidnapped her?"
Ravi snapped his eyes back to him. "What do you mean? Sabrina is not a child who wouldn't scream if that woman tried to take her somewhere she didn't want to go."
Arup leaned forward as he pondered over his words. It was true. Sabrina should have struggled if that lady wanted to kidnap her. But then, she was the last woman Sabrina had talked before disappearing. What was she even talking to her?
"What if she persuaded Mrs. Hussain?"
Ravi frowned. "For what?"
Arup closed his eyes before letting out a frustrated breath.
"I don't know. I just... Why would Mrs. Hussain talk to that woman when she was supposedly mad at Sara? Don't you think, Mr. Hussain, that Mrs. Hussain should have tried to contact Sara at the moment?"
The frown on Ravi's face deepened. He hummed. "Besides, the woman decided to come exactly the moment when Sabrina was out of the hospital. This looks like a pre-planned move."
Arup's eyes widened at the realization. "Do you mean-"
"Yes, she was the kidnapper who somehow managed to take Sabrina with her willingly. I wonder what could be the matter?"
Arup smirked. "What else? It's obviously about Sara. Why do you think Mrs. Hussain would have gone with her without thinking? That cunning woman surely took advantage of Mrs. Hussain's frenzy mind and used Sara's information to cave her in. At least, that's what I think."
Ravi crossed his arms as his eyes looked at the images on the table.
"You may be right, Arup. If she's the kidnapper and one of Sara's enemy, then we don't have much time to waste."
Arup slapped his knees. "Let's hunt her down!"