For a second Abhi got confused if they were running in the correct direction, but then as he caught the first glimpse of his bike he was taken aback. There were two middle aged men in discussion standing near the bike and they had weapons. Abhi and Smita got immediately noticed as their frantic running on the dry leaves announced them coming. The two men coursed towards them as if they were waiting for the owners to come back. Abhi realized that they were in double trouble or maybe the two were related. He changed his direction and headed towards the other end of the forest which faced the highway.
“Stop. Just Stop.” The chasers shouted. But Abhi and Smita won’t stop.
Abhi was already cursing himself for this self inflicted misadventure and that too on his birthday. It was already mid afternoon. He had to be back home before 5 for the family celebrations before he took his friends out. He still had some time, but managing out safely from this place was getting questionable now. Smita had bunked her college to be here and soon she would be expected to be home. But here she was struggling with Abhi to ejaculate from this place. They were frantically running, but the end did not seem to be nearing. The number of the chasers had increased. They might have been joined by the earlier gang, Abhi thought.
“Stop. Don’t run in that direction.” One of them screamed. He had a horrifying tone in his shrieking voice. Smita was totally exhausted by now and pulling her, even Abhi was losing on the speed. He knew if they don’t hit the highway in another 2-3 minutes, it will be too late. The trees grew in no particular array which made Abhi run crisscross at times to make his way out and with roots peeping out of the ground in between, the hurdles increased. And in one of such roots, Smita’s foot got entangled.
“Oh Shit!” cried Abhi.
“Aah!” moaned Smita as she tried to stand. She had twisted her leg badly. And while their attempts fizzled out, they were soon joined by their pursuers.
“Hey, you! What are you doing here in this jungle?” asked one of the men who was standing near Abhi’s bike. There were four of them. Two of them carried guns while the one of other possessed an axe who was shabbily dressed and looked like a labourer. The other two clad in jeans and shirt appeared to be in dominance of the act.
“Don’t you know it is illegal to be here?” screamed the other one, still catching up on his breath.
“If it is illegal what are you doing here? You are wood thieves right? Cutting trees here illegally.” Abhi somehow gathered strength to speak.
“Thieves? We are not thieves you stupid boy. We are from forest department, but right now, we all don’t have much time. We will have to finish the work fast and move out so that we all are out of trouble. And we already wasted enough time chasing you.” Said one of them in a disgusted tone.
“Trouble? What trouble” Smita’s cheek got wet with a fresh flow of tears.
“Yes, trouble. Don’t you read the newspaper? This forest has witnessed 5 horrendous deaths in the past one week. There has been...”
“Help! Raju, Ramya” there was a loud wailing sound which echoed the forest and interrupted the men.
Please return to this space on Day 27 for the concluding part of Love Blues.