Chapter 9 — Dark Days
Ali Abbas kept looking out of the window of his room. It was raining. Rain drops were tapping on the window with a kind of harmonic rhythm. He could see the passing traffic on the road, people walking on the footpaths and dogs sniffing around in dustbins. He knew that Sepitus Wood had got a small victory here.
He had tried to keep himself away from being found by Sepitus men for the past three years. He had disguised himself and kept changing cities so that he would not be found. He did not want to be found because he did not want to start a war. Enough blood had been spilt already.
The common citizens had seen enough misery. For the past three years, the people had begun to accept that some peace and stability had come in their lives, but now things would change.
Ali Abbas turned away from the window and found Ali Akbar looking at him. It had been ten minutes since Ali Akbar had told him about the orange box and given him the slip of paper. Akbar kept looking at him with a look of anger on his face.
“You haven’t said anything. Now what?” asked Ali Akbar.
“War again. Fight again. Destruction again. He wants the fight. He will get the fight,” replied Ali Abbas.
“I am mailing Ali Mohammad now. I’ll tell him that we will be there at ‘Hedusha’ by the day after tomorrow. They should get ready,” said Akbar. He opened his laptop and began drafting the mail.
Ali Abbas went and sat on the sofa with a serious look on his face. He kept turning the iron ring on his left hand finger. He wanted his real ring back on that finger. He had to think deeply again why Ali Brothers had got into the fight with Sepitus Wood five years back. After defeating Sepitus and his men, there had been relative calm. But Sepitus was not the one to lose easily. He kept making aggressive small strikes even after being defeated. His sole objective was to hurt him. He, Ali Akbar had killed the brother of Sepitus.
This had lead to unrest and discomfort in the public that Sepitus was organising himself once again. Ali Abbas had then decided that he would live incognito, away from Ali Brothers so that Sepitus would stop his attacks. Now, after three years Sepitus had found him again.
The knock on the door was the pre-decided one — one knock…then two knocks in two repetitions. Ali Akbar knew they had come. He was ready too and just had to wake up Ali Abbas who was sleeping in the next room.
Akbar went to the door and opened it. There were five men there wearing raincoats. The person who had knocked on the door gave him a piece of blue silk cloth with the golden tiger emblazoned on it. Akbar saw it, nodded his head and signalled them to come inside.
Each of them had a backpack with them which they placed in a corner of the room and took off their raincoats. After placing their respecting raincoats on their backpacks, they came and sat down on the sofa. Akbar went to get Ali Abbas who was awake by now. He was closing his suitcase. He looked at Akbar and understood that Omair’s men were here.
He didn’t really need them, but Ali Mohammad had insisted, so he had relented. He went out of his room and came into the room where the men were sitting. He shook hands with everyone and took a seat. The men looked strong and capable.
Omair had good men with him, thought Abbas. “We are ready to go. But I still feel it was unnecessary for you people to come. As you know, we can take care of our self,” said Abbas with a slight smile.
“We know sir. We know very well. But it is an honour for us if we can be of any service to Ali Brothers,” said Amru Yamin. He was the trusted right hand of Omair Tahir whose men were guarding the ‘Medusha’ which was the headquarters of Ali Brothers.
‘Medusha’ had been the place where Ali Brothers had found mental and physical refuge from the all the ups and downs going on around them. Located in the Nest Hills district, ‘Medusha’ was under the watchful eye of Omair’s men.
“As soon as the rain stops, we’ll move. Till then we have to wait,” said Ali Abbas. He went to the kitchen to arrange for some coffee and cakes for the new arrivals.
Ali Abbas talked with Amru and his men and asked how were things back in the headquarter. It had been a long time since he had been there. He was told about the developments there by Amru, including the arrival of General Jazlaan and Aazeen.
Abbas raised his eyebrows when the heard the General was also there in ‘Medusha’. He was surprised that Ali Mohammad had allowed him to be there. But he mentally accepted that Mohammad would have some good reason for it.
Ali Akbar came over from the kitchen soon enough with coffee and cakes on a tray. There were also some oranges on the side of the tray. Ali Abbas looked at the oranges and then at Ali Akbar. He picked up one and began peeling it. This was what Ali Brothers had to do again to Sepitus ‘Orange’ Wood. Peel away his strengths so that he would be left with nothing, but the fear of failure once again.
There was a loud sound of thunder outside. Abbas also saw flashes of lightning from the window. The dark clouds had finally come, signalling dark days ahead.