Shackles of Desire - The IR Quartet - Book 2

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Chapter 18

Rudra’s strangled scream went through Shekher Sangawat’s heart like a bullet. He closed his eyes and leant against the headboard of the sofa. All these years he had dreaded the day when Rudra would come face-to-face with those monsters, not because he had feared the outcome, but because he had wanted Rudra to forget everything.

Rudra!

That name had somehow become synonym with his character, something which had been shaped in one night.

As if on cue, the events of that night started to play in his head.

It was almost midnight when one of the guards came and informed him that some villagers had come to talk to him. At first, he had asked him to tell them to come in the morning but he said that he had told them the same thing but they insisted on meeting him.

He, along with some guards and Pravin stepped outside to meet them but was amazed to see Keshari Basnag’s sarpanch Bhairav Singh Deo and Bheem Baori’s sarpanch Kripal Singh standing together along with a couple of villagers. In front of them was a woman who he had never expected to see.

Gayatri Raijdas!

Something in her determined eyes and ashen face had stopped him from reprimanding her.

“I know you don’t want me here. But I’m here because I want to save innocent lives. Shekher you have to save your brother and his family. I just got to know that my husband has planned to kill them all tonight. Please do something,” she pleaded.

At first, he had just stared at her in disbelief. But then as the villagers supported her, he somehow knew she was telling the truth.

Instantly the guards had made small groups and had gone in different directions. Hearing everything, Amar and Viman had run off towards the forest followed by one of the groups and he along with Pravin had rushed towards the haveli.

Shekher buried his face in his palms as he remembered that sight that had greeted him at the haveli. He and Pravin had faltered at every single step seeing the blood splatter.

But nothing could have prepared him for what had been the state of the main hall.

He shivered as the visible impact grew in his head. Not able to take it anymore, he got up from the sofa and strode out to the balcony.

As they had rushed outside after seeing the hall, they had seen Chandrapal strewn on the ground unconscious. When Pravin had confirmed that he was still alive, Shekher had instantly asked a couple of the villagers to rush him to the hospital.

And they had gone in search of the others but with minimum hope of finding anyone alive.

When one of the villagers had alerted them that he had seen bright lights in the forest, their search party had rushed towards that.

And there in the middle of the forest, he had seen Viman cradling a heavily injured and burnt Shanker in his arms while Amar was leaning on his chest.

The moment he had raised his head and nodded at Shekher, everything in him had given up. He had collapsed on the forest floor and taken Shanker in his arms as if clutching his nephew’s life in his palms.

But taking him to the hospital hadn’t been an option as that would have been too dangerous for he knew Thakur Baldev would have a watch on them.

That was when Gayatri Raijdas had again helped them. She had made arrangements with some trusted villagers to make everybody escape. She had even contacted her brother, Damodar Solanki in Jaipur to make them stay at his house.

He still couldn’t forget the way the Solanki family had helped them to conceal Rudra in their house for days.

The next morning when the crime had been discovered by the villagers he had been there to report it to the police. But some days later, the police and administration had told him that it had been a robbery attack and that Ram along with Rudra had been the ones who had let the robbers in.

They had cooked up a story as to how Rudra had been angry at his father for agreeing to the panchayat’s decision of expelling him from the village. While he couldn’t kill them with his own hands, he and Ram had concocted the plan of letting the robbery gang operative in their area do the dirty work for them.

Ram had been convicted and Shekher had watched helplessly while he had been sentenced to 14 years in jail. Chandrapal’s verdict in court had not been taken into account as the prosecuting lawyer had argued that he being the father of the accused would definitely take his son’s side.

Thakur Baldev and his sons had made sure that Rudra’s name had been tarnished with the crime that he hadn’t even committed.

But thankfully Veera aka Shankerveer Sangawat had been declared dead.

He still didn’t know how Gayatri Raijdas and Damodar Solanki had pulled that off.

And they had kept their promise. Both had taken the truth to their grave.

And Gayatri Raijdas had made sure both Bhairav Singh Deo and Kripal Singh along with the villagers had been sworn to secrecy about Veera.

Shekher shook his head trying to blank out the memories that surfaced in his head.

Veera’s nightmares had started the moment he had woken up months after the attack. Although more than two months had passed, for him it had been only minutes.

Nothing had been the same after that.

He would scream, wake up trembling and then would try to harm himself. At first, they had tried to talk to him but he had totally closed himself, not interacting with anybody.

That’s when they had decided to leave Jaipur and settle down in Delhi. With the help of Damodar and Dhiren Ambubhai Shah, an old-time business associate of the Sangawat’s, they had created a new identity for him.

And that’s when Shanker had become Rudra.

Being a diamond merchant, Dhiren Ambubhai Shah had bought the Sangawat jewellery business but only on papers. In fact, it hadn’t even been sold; it had been given to Dhiren on a lease. And till now it was on the lease.

The Shahs and Solankis had helped them a lot and Shekher couldn’t really think what they would have done without them.

And they were still helping.

From what he had heard from Ram if Viren, Dhiren Ambubhai Shah’s son hadn’t been there, then ruining the Raijdas’ wouldn’t have been possible.

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