“I’ll be there in a minute.” The young man slurred into his phone as he sprinted away from the humdrum of the gleaming London street, turned right and entered a dark, dingy alleyway; which gave way to an even darker, dingier cobblestone pavement. Tipsy from the amount of alcohol coursing through his system, the man cursed loudly when his feet hit a jutted rock, and with conscious efforts, ended the call.
“Fuck.” The man muttered in annoyance, assessing the damage done to his newest pair of Bolvaints and the excruciating pain flowing through his big toe.
The man swept his gaze around the street, and let out a frustrated sigh noticing the lack of illumination and hygiene of the inhabiting community. The dilapidated tenements, stood tall, on either side of the street, further aiding in congesting the place with their intimidating structures and hooded windows.
For the young man it was a new side of the city. His life was majorly spent in air-conditioned offices and five-star hotels in the Tropics; and now while threading into the street, he couldn’t help but blame the business ventures of his father.
Diversification is the key, my boy.
His father’s precept echoed in his mind. The old man was stubborn and firm, but when it came to business, his acumen was unparalleled; The Jakoda hotel chain on six continents of earth served as a pragmatic testament to his father’s settlements.
The young Jakoda had half-heartedly acceded to his father’s decision to partake in today’s deal, as after all, he was the natural-heir to the billion-dollar empire. A reflexive smile broke on the young man’s face, imagining the vista of possibilities that today’s deal could yield, hoping it all went according to the plan; and maybe then his father would regard him with the sense of admiration and respect he deserves.
Treading northward, further into the heart of the street, the man noticed an orange neon sign reading the word- ‘Bar.’
“Finally.” The Jakoda murmured in immense joy as his feet involuntarily led him towards the glowing sign, as if the place had a magnetic attraction of its own.
Disregarding the ‘CLOSED’ sign nailed on the door, the Jakoda flung open the door with a loud thud. Spontaneously, the stench of cheap alcohol, tobacco and mould engulfed his senses and he inadvertently scrunched his nose in disgust.
Instinctively, he looked around the inside of the bar. A flickering LED served as the sole means of luminosity, rendering the corners of the room dark and obscure. The walls had turned a nauseating shade of grey as he noticed the persistent mildew devouring the place to dust. The wooden floor creaked with each steady step Jakoda took, signalling his arrival.
Sitting in the centre of it all, oblivious to his surroundings sat the man of interest, all alone in the grimy room, sipping what Jakoda considered to be a cheap substitute of a martini. The man sat on a low wooden stool with his back facing the young man, forlorn and in deep thought, so much so, that the mysterious man completely ignored his arrival.
The young Jakoda, undoubtedly skilled, had a grievous flaw in his personality- pride and impatience. Mix these faults together in a definite proportion and one gets a recipe for a brute; which unfortunately the young Jakoda was slowly nearing to.
Angered by the mysterious man’s audacity for not acknowledging the presence of the soon-to-be richest European, Jakoda loudly cleared his throat, waking the mysterious man up from his mental slumber and making him turn around to greet the Jakoda.
“Where’s the money?” The mysterious man jumped straight to the point, noticing the empty- handed Jakoda trotting inside the bar.
Ignoring the snark in his tone, Jakoda walked across the room, towards the man and sat on a nearby stool facing the shelf. 700 million pounds seemed to have been quite a risky investment, so the young Jakoda, against his father’s better judgement had decided to take matters into his own hands and come up with a favourable deal.
“It’s a nice place.” Jakoda lied through his teeth, scrutinising the flickering light and the dust-covered shelf in disdain. It was a mystery to the rich man that how come the place hadn’t been shut down by the health department. But as much as he hated pretence, right now it was his mightiest arrow in the quiver and he was not humble in utilizing it.
“Where’s my damn money!” The mysterious man’s shout reverberated through the small room, painfully piercing through the deathly silence. His bloodshot eyes were wide in anger and his trembling hand pushed away the empty wine glass onto the floor, shattering it into a million pieces.
Jakoda nearly stumbled out of his seat, but quickly recuperated himself and again harboured his serious, business-man persona.
“Look we can do this the easy way or my way.” The mysterious man spoke again, but this time with an eerie calmness that sent shivers down his spine. The mysterious man smiled slyly and stared at Jakoda for an answer.
By now the young Jakoda was fuming with anger, alcohol had shrouded his sense of reasoning and the idea of a successful deal was no longer the objective. With his remaining consciousness, all that he wanted to do was- beat the living lights out of the man for disrespecting him and to show him the dangers of messing with the Jakoda family.
Careful not to surprise the mysterious man, Jakoda inconspicuously felt his waist pocket for his chrome-bodied friend. In times of danger, it had loyally proved effective and this time too it would help him get out of the mess with just the slightest pull of a trigger.
At that instant, the flickering LED decided to go out and engulf him in a frightening darkness. Jakoda went still, barely moving, and tried to perceive any movement from the man’s side.
In a matter of seconds, the diode came back to life, colouring the room with a snow-white hue. Not wasting time, Jakoda again searched his waist- pocket; but colour drained from his face, when his eyes lifted up to see the cold, metal barrel pressed against his forehead and the man staring at his sorry state in amusement.
His head throbbed at the mere touch of the metal and his heartbeat began resonating with flicker of the light.
On-Off, On-Off, On-Off….
The mysterious man cocked the gun and the sound sent the young boy into an unimaginable state of terror. “Please leave me, let me go, I’ll give you your money- 700 million in cash, not a penny less.” Jakoda begged for his life, his ragged breathing filling the silence of the room. Tears were welling up in his eyes and he was violently shaking in fear of the inevitable.
The man did not say anything, but looked at his trembling body in satisfaction, a contented smile softening his features. He pushed the gun further into Jakoda’s shaking form watching him flinch at the pain.
Smiling widely at Jakoda, the man brought his index finger on the trigger and slowly began pulling it with a tantalizing agony. The young Jakoda caught on this little movement and violently let out a loud shriek in the hope that some unfortunate passer-by might hear him and rush to the scene.
“Fuck you! You won’t be left unharmed you motherfucker! The police will find you and you will then rot in the darkest place in hell, my father will make sure of it.” The young Jakoda vehemently spat at the man, who responded with a smug smirk.
“You will be punished you son of a bitch! And when that happ-”
Jakoda felt an agonizing throb in the centre of his head. He began losing focus and fell down his chair, face up staring into the flickering light.
Slowly the pain in his head started abating and it was becoming difficult for him to even breathe. From the corner of his eyes, he noticed the man throw Jakoda’s gun at him, which hit his chest with a tremendous thud.
The world around him started revolving and a thick blur was beginning to surround him. He could barely make the difference between light and dark.
“Sweet dreams to you too.” The man muttered looking down at the sprawled figure of the young Jakoda on the dusty floor.
“Why yo-” Jakoda murmured, but at that instant, felt a sharp pain coursing throughout his body, he flinched at the intensity and the flickering light ultimately died out on him.