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“I will let you play a game, a variation of Russian roulette. I will leave a revolver with only one bullet. You both can decide peacefully who will die. Else one of you will have to kill the other. The choice is yours.“ Arun Shah announced as if he was in a television game show.

“I will come back after an hour and if both of you are alive, then I will kill you both.”  He gave his verdict with an air of finality.

“But why are you doing this to us?” Mahesh Das was almost in tears.

He and Major (Retd) Diwakar had been kidnapped from their respective homes in the morning hours and then dumped in a room in this secluded cottage

Arun Shah rarely answered anyone, but this may be their last wish. As a devout, religious person, he found no harm in doing something good for ‘parlok’.

“Our EVM fixer goofed up. For this constituency, he fed 14 instead of 04. Now I can’t change my name from Arun to Tarun and take the 14th position. We have to countermand this election; and the only way is; if a candidate dies.”

He instructed his henchmen and left.

The small window opened and a revolver was thrown inside.

“We have to get out of here.” Mahesh Das said as he sat in front of the retired Major.

“We will get out; they can’t keep us here forever.” The veteran of a few wars assured him.

“Major Saab, your life is more precious than mine. You have served the country all your life. I have already lived my life. My sons are well-settled and my daughters are happily married and having sweet grandsons. In fact, I joined politics and filled up the nomination forms just to serve others and utilize my spare time. I am a retired person with no responsibility to anyone.” Mahesh Das was choked with emotions, “Why don’t you shoot me? There is no point in getting both of us killed.”

“Sir, do not worry;” the Major held his hands, “I have thought of something.”


The door opened after an hour. Arun Shah came in with a big smile plastered on his cruel face.

“Ha ha ha ha. You lucky bastards! The polls will have to be countermanded now. Last night, an old candidate died of heart attack. Ha ha ha …” He continued to laugh like a maniac.

In a swift fluid motion, Major Diwakar’s hand swooped over the revolver; picking it up like an eagle grabbing its prey in its talons. Before his hand would reach the apogee of his swinging arm, he squeezed the trigger.

The .38 caliber bullet flew at a speed which was seven times faster than a bullet train. It made a neat hole on the khadi jacket of Arun Shah, and passed through his heart; before he could even blink. Even after decades of retirement, the army man has not lost touch with his marksmanship.


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Categories: Five00-2, Short Stories