Read Part 1
Siddharth looked at the fuel gauge, and then at the armed guy in the back seat through the mirror.
“Boss, I need to fill this up, else we won’t be able go beyond the next town.”
He could feel the guy shift. “Keep..keep going..tell me when it reaches the red line, yeah?”
Siddharth shrugged and nodded. He looked at Priyanka who had her face to the window all this while. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.
She waved him off without turning. He pursed his lips and sighed. The rain had gotten heavier now, and the wipers went ballistic all over the windscreen. He rubbed the screen with the back of his hand every now and then.
The thick drops of water pelting on the asphalt now resembled spears in the bright headlights. Siddharth squinted his eyes. The traffic was lean, thankfully. He kept going. He could see the glint of the gun in the oncoming lights, through the rear view. The guy had it pointed at them alright.
They approached a petrol bunk, and Siddharth checked the fuel gauge again.
“Red line,” he said.
The man sat up straight, tightening his grip on the magazine. “Ok, turn slowly. And no smart ideas, ok? I’m watching you.”
Siddharth threw his hands up in the air. The attendant walked up to him with a smile. Siddharth lowered his window and asked the bunk guy to fill up the tank. The car-jacker reclined a little more in the backseat, away from the lights of the bunk, but the gun pointed squarely at Siddharth.
Priyanka turned to look behind her, and the man immediately pointed the piece at her. She shook her head and turned back.
They continued their journey. A while later, in the middle of nowhere, Siddharth turned to the guy, who looked puzzled.
“I need to take a leak, boss.”
“It’s raining,” the guy said.
“So? I need to go, man.”
The man hesitated and looked at Priyanka, who shrugged.
“Ok, I’ll come with you…and you,” he said looking at Priyanka. “No funny business, huh?”
Priyanka didn’t reply.
Siddharth parked the car off the road, a bit. Then the two men stepped out. Cars and buses sped by, spraying them. Still pointing the gun at Siddharth, the man nudged him to a side of the road. The headlights of the car were on, per instructions. Priyanka watched Siddharth step down a little towards the fields. The man kept looking over his shoulder, pointing the gun at her, and then back at Siddharth.
She was breathing a little faster now. Come on…do something, he is just one guy. Do something, come on, come on….
Siddharth returned and slowly started walking to the car. Priyanka sighed. Only in the movies, I guess.
Suddenly, a big vehicle approached, the lights blinding the two men for a moment. The car-jacker brought up his left hand to shield it. Seizing the moment, Siddharth struck him in his right ear. Crying out in pain, the man loosened his grip on the gun, and Siddharth snatched it from him. Roles reversed, Siddharth now held him at gun-point and quickly made his way back to the car. The man was taken aback.
“Fuck you, asshole, don't you move, ” Siddharth said and started the car, still pointing the gun at him.
“Give me my bag at least, man..please..I…,” he looked at the oncoming traffic and side-stepped, continuing, “My life is in danger. Please..I need that bag.”
Siddharth turned to Priyanka, who was quick on the uptake. She didn’t want anything to do with the bozo either. Give him what he wants and scoot. She bent to her right and pulled out the man’s bag. Siddharth, who’d turned to her for a moment, felt him move, and pointed the gun back at him.
“Hey, ok, ok…,” the man reflexively stepped back onto the road for a moment, and an approaching horn blared long and loud.
Too late. Metal met flesh a split second later.
Siddharth and Priyanka watched with dropped jaws, as the car-jacker’s body flew in the air, landed several feet ahead, and the skidding car, squealing tires and all, went over him once again, lost balance and cart-wheeled a few times before rolling off the road and landing on its roof. It didn’t end there – three subsequent cars came squealing as well, banged into one another in a pile-up and skidded in all possible directions, before stopping.
There was no traffic for a minute. Just silence. The smell of burning tire, smoke, combined with the grimy smell of the road, and security buzzers blaring in two of the cars.
Priyanka was gasping for air; she cupped her mouth and went , “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…”.
Siddharth just held his head for a few seconds, eyes transfixed on the mess in front of him.
To be continued...