Rudra’s body shook with violent tremors as the images shifted through his mind. He couldn’t do anything but to lay back and bear the torture that the demons of his past inflicted on him.
Shock rippled through Veera as he watched his mother being stripped. He shifted his gaze to his father instantly and saw him still struggling with the men holding him captive.
His eyes widened with disbelief as suddenly his father sprung to life. Kicking and shoving with everything in him, his father managed to push the men holding him. As soon as he was loose, he rushed towards his mother and covered her writhing body with his own.
Veera’s senses became obscure as he watched his mother and father struggling with the men beating them. His brain refused to process the bloodied shirt on his father’s back and his mother’s semi-naked body. He wanted to look away and shut down everything inside him, but couldn’t.
You can, suddenly a small voice in his head said.
Give them the deed and everything will be over.
Sidelining the voice, he tried to think of other ways. But that one thought just pushed through everything.
As blow after blow fell on his father’s back, his decision was made.
He has to stop this.
Giving up and surrendering, he let go his body and instantly fell down on the floor. He knew Thakur Virendra was watching him and as his knees hit the floor, Veera looked up at him pleading.
“Take the cloth out,” Thakur Virendra ordered.
Veera coughed and gulped a little trying to get his voice.
“I know where the deed is,” he said in small voice.
Vikranveer’s voice pierced the deep sinews of his ears and Veera winced.
But before his father could utter anything else, Thakur Ratan struck his back with the stick in his hand.
“Please!” Veera cried out loud pleading.
“Where is it?” Thakur Baldev asked coming near him.
Gulping down the lump in his throat, Veera looked up at him.
“Let them go and I’ll give you the deed.”
Thakur Baldev grabbed his collar and pulled him up on his feet.
“Your boy is much saner than you are Vikramveer,” he said gesturing his henchmen to let go of Veera.
The henchmen started undoing the ropes and within minutes he was free of them.
Veera struggled to stand on his feet but he somehow managed to.
“Where is it?”
“First let them go,” he said looking straight at Thakur Baldev.
Thakur Baldev snickered and then gestured his men to release Vikramveer, Uma and Gera.
Veera watched and the moment they were free, he stepped forward.
“The deed is kept upstairs,” he said and heard Thakur Baldev telling Thakur Virendra to go with him.
Veera limped towards the staircase and started mounting the stairs one by one. He wanted to look at his father but couldn’t for there was no way he could face his eyes.
He reached the corridor door and placed his hand to open it but was stopped by Thakur Virendra, who ordered his men to do it. They opened the door and Veera entered the corridor and started walking to his room.
The moment he reached it, he waited for the men to open the door and then limped to the bag lying on the floor. Opening it, he started pulling out the clothes. Knowing his father, he knew where he would have kept the deed. Once the bag was empty, he ripped the underlining and shoved his hand into the scrapped lining.
The moment his hand touched the paper, he almost let out a sigh of relief. Stifling it down, he pulled out the deed and raised it in the air.
Veera watched as Thakur Virendra’s eyes lighted up and then darkened.
“Give it!” he commanded extending his hand.
But Veera shook his head and then stood up.
He opened the deed and showed him the contents, making sure he believed that it was indeed the deed of the Haveli.
Thakur Virendra’s eyes widened and then an evil smile spread on his face.
He started nearing Veera, who started to back up towards the window. The moment he collided with the window sill, he halted and then looked behind. The window was open and he could easily jump out and run to the police check post.
Or he could use this as a threat to save his family.
Veera looked straight into Thakur Virendra’s eyes and said, “One more step and I will jump out. And you know you can’t stop me. I know the forest pathways better than you do. I will reach the check post within minutes and once I am there I’ll give them the deed. And you know well enough what will happen if they find the deed and see me in this state.”
He knew he had hit home when Thakur Virendra’s face cringed.
Thakur Virendra grunted with anger and then gestured his men to clear the way.
Veera walked to the front and started running through the corridor. The fear in his blood had taken the better of him. He didn’t trust them; they could kill him from behind and take the deed, and then……
No don’t think about it, his mind said to him.
He could hear the henchmen shouting and running behind him but he didn’t stop until he reached the main hall where his parents were with his sister. Just as he halted, the henchmen caught with him; and were about to beat him when Thakur Baldev stopped them.
“The deed,” he said extending his hand to him.
Veera looked at his hand and shook his head.
“First let my parents and sister go.”
Thakur Baldev looked at him angrily but still gave in. He gestured his men to let them go.
For the first time, he had told them about the deed, Veera looked up at his father. Vikramveer’s eyes were burning with rage but amidst it, he could see an ounce of understanding.
Veera bit his lip and said, “Baba, please leave.”
He knew his father was about to argue and reprimand him but Veera’s pleading eyes stopped him. He saw his father pulling a curtain from nearby and giving it to his mother. Once she was covered, he let go and then they started walking out.
Veera saw them reach the gate. As they stepped out, he handed the deed to Thakur Baldev.
But just as he did, his vision caught a glint of steel going inside his father’s body.