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The Ticking Clock

 

The Ticking Clock

Vijay Kumar Kerji

Copyright 2013 by Vijay Kumar Kerji

Shakespir Edition

 

The sixth day of the month almost ended without a second threatening phone call from Mugembo. I hope the intelligence department will find his whereabouts soon before he plants the next time bomb and challenge us again to trace it.

I finished my coffee, heaved a sigh and placed the cup on the table. The caffeine rejuvenated me. I longed to walk out of my high rise office after a hectic workday. My secretary Simi would bring the case file soon, and I would leave after signing it. I had promised my wife a movie date and I didn’t want to disappoint her.

The previous month was tense for me and Inspector Prakash. If it weren’t for Prakash’s heroic act, we wouldn’t have saved the schoolchildren from the terrifying act of Mugembo. I won’t rest until the intelligence officials traced the place from where Mugembo called me. The ugly bastard gave so little time to crack the secret code and locate the bomb. The job performed by both Prakash and the bomb disposal expert Robert was commendable.

I picked up the paperweight and twirled it in my hand. My phone rang with an unknown number. I observed the last four digits – 6666. Didn’t Mugembo’s phone number last month ended with 4444? I grabbed my phone from the table and tapped on the answer key. “ACP Satish here.”

“Mugembo Kush Hua,” Mugembo said.

Damn it! I didn’t expect his call so soon. What had he planned now? “Mugembo, do you think you’ll escape this time?” I straightened in my seat. “Start counting your days. You are hitting the dead end very soon.”

“ACP Sahib, before I count my days, you better save your nation from turning into a pile of ash.”

My adrenaline rushed through my veins. Mugembo might take everything for granted if I become soft on him. “Do you think you can defeat us by such cowardly acts? Never ever think you can get away with your crimes.”

“Commissioner, it’s time for you to worry about your citizens. If not, you’ll see your nation perish in no time.”

I pounded a fist on my table and leaned forward in my chair. I needed to be patient and unearth Mugembo’s plot without taking chances. “Spill your dirty code. We will get there and see what you are up to.”

“Mugembo Kush Hua. You’ve just half an hour to save your nation after you receive my SMS. Crack the code and get there. Good luck, ACP Sahib.” The line went dead.

“Hey, listen.” Damn it! I looked at my phone once then tossed it back on the table. Should I call Prakash? Mugembo gave only thirty minutes and I needed to hurry. I took my phone back and called Prakash.

“Good evening, Sir.”

“Prakash, Mugembo has struck again.”

“Damn it!” Prakash said. “What has he planned now?”

“I need you in my office. Now.”

“Right away, Sir.”

The phone jingled with a new text message. My heart pounding in my ribcage, I read the message – ‘COBRA’. The time stamp was 6:15 PM. COBRA? The code was much shorter than the previous one.

I summoned Simi with the intercom.

A moment later both Prakash and Simi walked in. I waved them to seats in front of me. I showed my phone to Prakash. “What do you make of this?”

Prakash frowned, a deep furrow growing across his brow as he handed the phone to Simi.

“We have less than thirty minutes, Prakash,” I said. “We need to do something fast.”

“Mugembo usually targets the major Indian cities,” Prakash said. “The last time it was Bangalore. I suppose it is again a metropolitan city.”

“But what the hell is COBRA?” Simi asked.

***

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The Ticking Clock

  • ISBN: 9781310621116
  • Author: Vijay K Kerji
  • Published: 2016-07-28 09:05:06
  • Words: 1936
The Ticking Clock The Ticking Clock