Journey of Teaching Lifelines #6

(contd..)S.I — “Principal Kiran? What the hell? She’s smiling as if she did the deed.”

Kiran — “Well! You got me.”

Sangeet — “Kiran! Where are the others?”

Kiran shrugged — “oops!”

I began venting out, ‘No, no no no no no! NO! This cannot be true.’

S.I — “Unfortunately, Kiran! You’re under arrest for the kidnapping of…” and he looked at Sangeet.

Sangeet — “Dude! 15.”

S.I continued, “Yeah, 15 people. You have the right to remain silent.”

Sangeet, “Chill! Hey, K! Why did you kidnap those 15 people? What’re your demands? Let’s make a deal.”

Kiran — “Hey! Listen here, low-budget Mysskin. I am here because I have heard that the dispute is cleared. The trust has asked me to have a look for reconstruction. I was waiting for the Engineer to arrive. I thought you guys caught me because I was trespassing. I should’ve waited for the court’s notice to come. Sorry! But why are you saying I kidnapped 15people?”

Me — ‘But where were you all these daysssss….. Wait! Oh Shit! Guys, we gotta go. Come on!’

We ran to the chapel where the others were standing to be deployed. I began to speak with heavy panting.

Master Jacob, “See! I tell you. Run every day so you don’t have to breathe like a rhinoceros.”

Me — ‘Jake, come on. We’re being distracted. The kidnapper turned this into a debacle. We gott….Wait!’

Sangeet — “You don’t even let me think. Now look there” and he pointed towards the entrance where Kiran stormed out in her car.

He continued, “Just let me do the talking. Kiran is, working with the kidnapper. What she said was true but another part is also true. She didn’t do it. But a perfect executor. See, I can unders….”

Avanthika exhaled and yelled, “This proves you’re both siblings. Always end the sentence without completing it.”

Sangeet — “Ray! Call that hacker kid. Ask her to track your other friend. She’s outta this equation.”

Avanthika — “Who, Pooja? Oh, my! She wasn’t there when we took off. I thought she’d have gone somewhere. I vaguely remember her mentioning not having classes on the first day. I asked her to volunteer to console Ray’s class.”

Francis — “Console what?”

I said with hesitation, “Uh, I’ll explain to you later man. Just don’t expel me.”

Francis — “You have some explaining to do, though. Avi?”

Avanthika continued, “Sangeet what do you think?”

Me — “Okay, Abhirami just messaged me. She’s not able to track Pooja’s phone. It is pinging from different cell regions. At a single point in time. We can’t discuss sitting here with a running suspect outside. Kiran is the key which we lost in a river.”

Sangeet stopped us while we were all running toward our cars.

Sangeet — “Let’s go to the school. Something doesn’t add up.”

At the school

As we arrived at the school, so many people were standing in the front and it felt like the missing person’s case had just become wide open.

Sangeet — “That’s what she said!” smiled and said, “I know how your mind works bro!”

We got down and ran, parking the car near the entrance gate.

Asked some of the students who were standing and they said people had gone missing and everyone was hauntingly scared. Master Jacob went to one of his coordinators and spoke for a while. The other set of teachers was consoling the younger students in the crowd.

Master Jacob ran to us, “Mr. Rahamat. We gotta a problem. Your entire class is now missing. The last they saw was them leaving for the lab.”

Sangeet — “They did not leave the school!”

S.I walked towards us saying — “Yes, that’s what I thought. The security team did not see anyone leave the campus. Mr. Jacob’s P.E assistant had been giving some athletic training to our football team since morning. Mr. Francis! Is there any place in the school that has been prohibited for public usage? Place where you think bats live.”

Francis — “Yes, It’s weird how every school has such a place. The old auditorium in primary school block 3rd floor. We had closed it down several years ago accumulating dust.”

Sangeet — “Now, we run.”

At the entrance of forbidden auditorium

Sangeet — “If you’re in charge of Infrastructure, why don’t you just ask someone to change these rusty gates.”

Francis — “It keeps people away from it. So we don’t. But I don’t think we need to break in. That lock!”

He pointed his fingers at the corner of the staircase where the old lock was lying. S.I shot open the lock of the gates. It was a rusty, noisy collapsible gate.

Sangeet was speaking out loud from his mind while we walked the stairs and through the corridor to the hall. It’s strange because he keeps the monologue to himself.

Sangeet, “The dust prints are heavily disturbed and the rails too. Almost 20 or so people might have walked through this based on the disturbance. Or just a couple of people back and forth continuously. If I’m right, they have already evacuated the building whilst the news spread like a forest fire through the entire school. That is the moment of truth. Considering the fact, that Kiran had already left while we were at the old school building, she might’ve reached the school and somehow spread this information as a distraction. This is a perfect plan that will not flaw. They will expect us to go to this auditorium to open and see there’s actu…”

As Sangeet broke open the door and stormed inside with the S.I, they were in shock to see that Meena was the only student who was lying on the floor unconscious with her mouth, hands, and legs tied. Woke her up and she was struggling to stand up. She was heavily drugged and kept falling. Made her sit on a chair and gave her some water. Jacob gave her an Epi tablet to kickstart her adrenaline.

Francis and S.I looked at Jacob with sharp eyes.

Jacob with a smiling face said — “Let’s not dwell on that tablet. The point is I saved the kid. Please don’t arrest me for this.”

Within moments her drowsiness subsided and saw me. She ran to me and hugged me. “Mr. Rahamat! Save us. Someone took all our friends. I saw Mr. Jeffrey! He was also there. But now you wake me up and nobody is here.”

Sangeet — “Any other familiar faces?”

Meena — “I saw Ms. Pooja sitting in a chair. Vaguely remember. I was heavily drugged. They put like a smoke bomb or something.”

S.I — “Was she tied to the chair?”

Meena — “I guess so! She wasn’t having so many restraints. It’s like she gave in when they kidnapped her.”

Sangeet — “So left you here on purpose. You are the intelligent one that Ray always talks about. They knew you can explain whatever you said. Don’t worry, everyone. Meena has been deceived. We’re being lied to. Not on purpose, Meena! But you were manipulated. Made to see this way. They were a step ahead. We just know that Pooja has been abducted too. And this Principal Kiran is on the run.”

S.I — “Mr. Francis! I am going to deploy an investigation. The department will launch a camp soon. I would like to request every one of the remaining strengths to stay exactly where they are. Let’s get into the field and pick the weeds off ourselves.”

As we walked to the front of the school where people were still standing and few students came running toward us with absolute fear.

One of the students spoke, “The other teachers have left. Someone got a call saying that they saw Mr. Rahamat’s students and they asked us not to leave the place because you people are here. Every one of the teachers has gone in their cars. Jacob’s P.E assistant was the last one to leave. And was kicking his bike to start.

Jacob ran to catch but since he was behind, the assistant did not notice and swiftly drove away.

S.I — “The hell are you doing? Call the guys.”

Sangeet — “The hell are YOU talking about? Don’t you get it? We ran to see Kiran and she ran away in front of our eyes. Now with another tip coming in, every single teacher has gone. Now, who are you gonna deploy? The army? Man, I wish you went missing. I’d least care.”

And just like Sangeet suspected, none of the teacher's phones was reachable. Every single call spoke that they were out of reach.

S.I — “Ok, here’s my walkie. Rahamat, you know very well to use it. Answer us if we radio in. Do not use your mobile phones. You 5 people are the only ones left to save all the students. Never let anyone leave your sight.”

Sangeet and S.I left for the police station.

~to be continued

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