“So before we indulge in dance and drinks, let me tell you that we have with us, today, the creator of Dr. North….

Any guesses? Yes! Dr. North, the psychopath……” announced the General with zeal in his voice. 

“Wow….Samuel Clooney” hooted some among the audience.

“You guessed it right! Let’s welcome the one and only one, charming and intelligent, Mr. Clooney with a big round of applause!”

Click the above image for more details

Samuel Clooney, the man with the Irish looks stepped up the altar and with a grin he was given a hand hug by the Army General. The brown haired man with red undertone and blonde eyes appeared quite elated with the way he was introduced. 

“You know Mr. Clooney, almost all of us enjoy reading and those who don’t, slowly pick up as this is the only thing we can do when we are alone in our camps, fronts or on a mission. So tell us about your brainchild Dr. North and the latest release – Without Emotions. The title is quite fascinating because as army officers we have to be emotionless too or suppress our emotions many times.”

As Samuel Clooney revealed his cover and started speaking about his protagonist, Dr. North, his obsession with his new lover and her betrayal and revelations, he created such imagery that the intrigued soldiers started surrounding him around the altar. 

He was enjoying every bit of attention and praise by the soldiers. It was not that this was the first time he was attending such an event, but the fact that it was an army function, made all the difference to him. His father was also army personnel and when he was hardly eight, his father passed away in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. His mind suddenly remembered how his father used to tell the stories of sacrifices of those in army.  

During the party, while he was talking about books with book lovers, he heard the General discussing with his peers in the adjacent table, “The next mission is Afghanistan. Time to turn off emotions, pack bags and put on the cap of a psychopath like Dr. North; more than hundred terrorist training camps have been identified. The recruits there are being taught to kill Americans. 9/11 is the latest example and because some are located in the inhabited villages, airstrike doesn’t seem possible. We might have to recruit more for this special task.”

“Dr. North can be inspiring too,” Sam mumbled to himself.

Soon the party came to an end and the General thanked Samuel Clooney, the guest of honor for gracing the occasion.

Samuel Clooney gazed the stars with a smile. He had been honored, that too by the Army General. He felt as if his father had given him the honor. As he slept that night, during the midnight, he saw his father in uniform taking his last breath and saluting the American flag. He woke up with a jerk. He couldn’t sleep for hours and as his eyes closed around the dawn, he saw the same dream again. He got up again with a jerk and couldn’t sleep the rest of the day. 

He recalled missing his father as a child. He reminisced how his mother got married after a year to her coworker and how his step father mistreated him; forced him to work in the stable for hours after the school. He recollected how the tortured and underfed boy turned into Dr. North at the age of sixteen and killed his stepfather along with his children David and Tim. 

He wrote a detailed account of this real life story as fiction which got published and became his first novel which was a thriller “Without traces”. With this bestselling novel he came to prominence merely at the age of 20.

By 21, he had one of the most beautiful girlfriends, Emily. But she wanted to take care of her parents,  have a great career and so hesitated accepting his proposal. So he killed her and when his own mother became a witness and had understood that her son was the serial killer, he killed her too. This gave birth to “The Serial Killer” when he was 23.

By 25, he was a known author along with his publisher. The story of ‘rag to riches’ was covered by many magazines. But later when the publisher tried to cheat, he was killed along with his team. Another thriller “Honesty Saves Life” was written! Another bestseller!

When he was 28, he fell in love again, this time with an airhostess, Natalia. Love was blooming but when he demanded sex in the flight and she denied, she was killed, along with every witness. Another bestseller! “Love, Sex and Murder in Air”.

Another love story happened when he was 32. Both of them were so much in love that everything appeared to fall in place but somehow she discovered his truth and told everything to a friend who was a police officer. Everyone who got to know about him had to be killed.  Thus another book! “Without Emotions”

It was already noon and he hadn’t realized. Mornings chores were never important when he was indulged in his thoughts or writing. But he was hungry so he just got up to make a club sandwich and a cup of strong coffee for himself.

“So Mr. Clooney, how much more?” said Dr. North in him.

“Is there a limit? Is it me who wants to do it? Situation North situation! Circumstances! I never want to kill the people I love,” Sam whispered.

“Yet you do!” said North loudly. “And since you have that urge to kill. Why not help General in his mission, this time?” 

“ What? You know, I might get killed.”

“Did death ever scare you?” 

“True, just being caught has been my greatest fear,” said Sam in a low note. “But how can I be good?”

“You don’t have to be good. Rather you have to be the same; it’s just that those people would be terrorists or perhaps might….resemble you,” North affirmed. “So even if you die, you would have done something good. You have not been able to understand this weird world. They are different. You’ve got the fame, success, money. What else do you need?”

“You’ve gone mad.”

“Nope! I think I’ve a point. What is the use of love when she will always be different from you? Neither you will understand her nor will she. You will end up writing hundreds of books on love, sex, betrayal and murder and after sometime, readers will predict everything you do,” said North trying to make him understand his point.

“Would you love dying this way?”

“But she can be like me too, “confronted Sam in a low voice.

“Isn’t it exciting to end up yourself in a different manner?” North was not ready to give up.

Sam got up made another cup of coffee for himself and sat on his desktop.

“Perhaps you have a point.”

He started working on his next manuscript. The plot thrilled him, much more than any of his previous works which were filled with pain and grief.

In the evening he wrote a letter to the General showing his interest in Afghan mission.

Within two months he had completed half of his manuscript. In the mean time, he also took the Aptitude Battery Test and medical test. He passed them easily as he was addicted to work outs at gym; 34 being the upper age limit, he was luckily eligible for the special task force. He finally received his appointment letter by the Special Operations Unit and was called for a rigorous army training.

He completed his manuscript along with his training. When the troop was ready for its mission to Afghanistan, he went to meet the General and handed over his manuscript. “General, please read and get it published in case I don’t return.”

With those words, he left for the mission. The flight to Kabul was long and tiring, the jet lag invoked a headache and so he took a painkiller to sleep. He woke up next morning with the sound of adhan (a call to prayer). He peeked through the curtain, it was still dark but he was fresh by then. So he finished his morning chores and prepared a cup of coffee. After the breakfast, an army vehicle was supposed to take them to their base at Kunar in the east. 

The journey from Kabul to Kunar was breathtaking for Sam; the houses were colourful on the hills in Kabul and aroma of fresh kababs was everywhere on the streets along with fresh juice corners. As the van moved out of Kabul everything appeared scattered; from stone houses in the outskirts to herders and farms; followed by no man’s land, thin desert vegetation with some green patches in between to green valley with scented Alpines in Kunar. 

“Though Kunar is one of the most beautiful provinces of Kabul, the people are very conservative here. Much more than those of Kabul and are against the Americans. They may get along with Jihadis but will never trust Westerners,” informed an expert Commando. “So be very careful in dealing with locals and while working on your assigned tasks, this is the last place foreigners think of touring. At the same time this has been a poor and war struck province for long. USAID is doing its best to earn the trust of locals. ”

The team was shifted to an army base near the capital of Kunar Asadabad. 

“Welcome Comrades! I understand that you cherry-picked the picket duty in Afghanistan. Please get fresh, have some drinks and then I’ll brief you with the situation here,” said the Commando with a smile.

Within an hour, the team was ready for discussion.

“We have a number of Villages with terrorist training camps here but some camps are surrounded by innocent people. We will have to siege and attack,” the commando gave the information.

As per the strategy, the team started the ambush. The first raid that started in midnight was a complete success, they successfully seized the camp. But this was just a start and the terrorists sensed their action. The second raid was somewhat difficult. The trainers and the trainees appeared prepared proving a link. It proved out to be a difficult encounter. Just because US army was more prepared and was in possession of more sophisticated arms and ammunition, they succeeded in this ambush too.

They should have waited, but the mission had a time period and so the third raid had to be carried out. Yes, US Army won again but lost two of its soldiers. Every single raid was proving out to be more difficult now. 

The fourth camp was at the far end of the lane, with market at the back and a school in the front. They used military tactics of flanking maneuver from two sides. Yet it appeared difficult, they were more prepared than the previous ones and even at midnight firing was intense. Amidst firing, a bullet hit Sam’s thigh. While one of his colleagues asked him to leave for medical help, Sam continued and another bullet pierced his left shoulder. He was bleeding profusely. He saluted the US flag on his shoulder which was crimsoned with his blood. He knew that situation was getting out of control. He had to do something, he ordered his colleagues to move out, “I am already injured! Let me kill them their way with a suicide bomb attack. Coup de grace!

Though no one was willing to leave but to gain the situation and complete the mission, they agreed to withdraw and rushed to the extraction point. US army won again but the special force task continued its mission but without Samuel Clooney.

General received the news and a special mourning minute was arranged in the army.

As he finished reading his last novel, The Final Mission, his eyes welled; he passed on the book to publisher with a special endorsement and the novel not only became a bestseller but also translated in almost all the major languages of the world.

*****

==>This is an entry for Artales-17, #DrNorth, an ArtoonsInn writing event.

Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/artales17/
Don’t forget to leave a comment and rate this story out of 10(either on the shared post on Facebook or by using the rating bar down below).

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Struggled and Soared “stories of courageous women of India”. A non-fiction that talks about the women that reflect the spirit of India – an invincible spirit to be free! Dr North till July 31stIt is the story of four Indian women who have one thing in common –courage to follow their heart and do what they felt right. Reading this book would be like taking a much needed break from the false propaganda and information that you are surrounded with on digital media. This is just the right book that will give your mind freedom to be yourself and an invaluable inspiration as well as meaning to life. The author has done full justice while accounting the life of all inspirational women from India’s past and present. We recommend this book for those who love to read well-researched works.

Link to buy this book:

Vipil Written by Vipin Chopal

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Rulfy Tracker:  https://1drv.ms/x/s!ApiLwn00sMcLgky1-v8whh2NOgh9 for the writer/author to share his/her reviews and ratings for the participants’ stories of this writing event who share their comments/reviews on this story.

Ritu Gulabani’s story’s cover pic courtesy: Richard Catabay

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