Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Under attack

Under Attack

“We have a situation at the government district hospital. There seems to be an unidentified individual who has taken over wards on the right wing of the building. The doctors say he headed towards the paediatrics ward, and that he had a handgun with him, You need to report there immediately. We will send backup as soon as possible. We have to sort it out before the situation escalates to national news.” The chief commissioner gave the order.
This was my first year as an inspector of this small town and this was a very delicate case to handle, in fact it required planning and a trained squad. I wasn’t ready for this but there was no other way. All the other officers were posted for security for the Minter of Energy who was visiting a Dam site for hydroelectricity opportunities.
This Dam was the only thing which provided some economical value for the town. There was nothing much here. Population was below ten thousand, all below par socio economic status. The only concrete architectural setting was the hospital which was now under attack, by a maniac on the loose.
I rushed to the scene.
The situation was worse than I thought.
As i reached the spot, spotted a couple of ambulances were waiting outside with the headlights bright and flickering.
The nurses and the doctors accumulated outside the hospital. The few patients who were admitted were being evacuated. Some in their roller beds, iv bags carried along by the ward boys. It was a disorganised, panic mediated rescue mission.
One of the senior Doctors came running to me.
“Please, you have to do something fast. Please help us" he looked very helpless.
 I had experienced a similar scenario just a month back when one of my colleagues was shot during an encounter with a Naxal and i rushed him to the doctor.
“Ok Ok, just stay back. Calm down” I said. I was in charge, and the doctors had to listen to me.
I could see the reporters at the scene. This case had to be resolved quick before it blew up tomorrow morning.
“Sir, a man…. he ……… a gun…….in the pediatric ward. The children…….” he was mumbling random words. But I understood him.
“Ok, where is this ward” I took out my small, six bullet pistol. I wasn’t very proud of the Indian police weaponry but there was progress.
“I will show it, I will come with you.” He started walking.
“Wait here, tell me where it is. I will handle it. You stay here” i asserted my command. I had to show my protective side as well.
“Sir, those kids, their mothers. They are my responsibility. I have to go in. They are my patients. I don’t mind risking my life for my patients. It is my duty” he really cared about his patient, unlike the rest of the doctors. Patients were treated like commodities elsewhere.
“Ok but just till outside the ward” I liked him.
“Yes Sir”
“Stay behind me”
Pointing the pistol to the entrance I took the lead.
“Here left” he said.
The entrance lead to three routes, right, straight and left. So left it was.
The pathway was narrow and long. The wards were parallel to the pathway. Spider webs stuck to the ceilings, I could see used needles, bandages thrown around.
Again we come to three ways, right.
We walked through a similar narrow corridor. 
The interior was quite haphazard and bringing the doctor was a good instinctive move.

He clung to me throughout, I could hear him breathing in my ear.
It was getting dark and the lights came on suddenly.
The lights were so dim that I felt it was better without them. 
“Here it is” he pointed to a small room.
“That is the Pediatric ward”
He nodded.
“Ok, Stay here”
I gripped my pistol firmly. My hands were numb from the continuous pressure.
I walked slowly into the room.
The room was a little bigger than expected. There were around five beds, all of them empty. There was no one.
Suddenly, my microphone spoke “Backup on the way, two minutes”
“There is no one here” I said to myself.
The lights swayed at the far end and i could see a shadow emerge.
There was somebody, a man.  
“Stay away from the kid” I said in a very calm voice.
He emerged from the shadows, not alone. He had a boy in pointblank.
He just stood there with his hands resting on the child’s head. The lamp light above him was swinging side to side, casting moving shadows on the wall.
“Let him go, or I will shoot you” I was hoping for a reaction this time.
Nothing still. The only noise was from the swinging lam light.
Finally, the lamp light slowed down and stopped directly above the man.
Now I could see him and the kid clearly.
He was a thin, dark man in his mid-thirties. He had thin mustache and a stubble. He wore a white shirt loosely hanging from his shoulders and dark pants.
He kept staring at me, his eyes red.
“Let the kid go”
He brushed the kid’s hair with his hand to a neat crop and gave him a kiss.
“This is my son, I will never let him go. You understand” he shouted, but a few seconds later started laughing like a maniac.
I saw the kid.
 The kid had his tongue hanging out, staring at he floor and didn't seem to understand whats going on.

“You have to let the kid go” he was continously rubbing the child but with the pistol.
He laughed again.
“Ok, listen backup is on the way. There is no way out. You understand. The only reasonable thing to do is let the kid go. No one is going to hurt you. Throw the pistol away.” I moved a little closer.
“I don't give a damn i police is on the way. I don't consider the police as the good guys.” He started laughing again.
“Please…. give me my child back” a woman emerged from the shadows.
Her forehead was bleeding and her lips were swollen up. She was crying as she approached him with folded hands.
It was the child’s mother.
“Your child?. Your child?.  He is our our child. My child and you took him away from him. You bitch………. he is not your child” he kicked the woman straight in the abdomen. She fell to the ground.
It was a heavy blow, but the pain wasn't her primary concern.
From the situation, I pretty much guessed what was going on.
There were married and they had a child together, but him being an alcoholic and criminal, the wife left the house. Years later he had found her and now he wanted the kid back.

“I will shoot you. Leave the kid alone.” I said.
“Don’t interfere with my family. If you don't move out my way I will kill both of them and then ill kill myself”
So I just stood there.
He kept beating his wife to a pulp and I just stood there watching it happen.
Then out of nowhere the doc sneaked behind me.
“Hey……. kill him” he told me.
“What…. I told you to wait outside. Get out” I told him. 
Now was my chance.
“Get out of here doc, let me do my duty”
“Yes, do your duty. Kill him” he was getting paranoid.
“I will. Just stay calm”
I took aim of the man and waited.
“Shoot him now” the doctor said.
I waited.
“Shoot him”
I wanted the perfect shot.
I could sense an opening.
And just like that, the doctor shoved me and snatched the pistol from my hand and pulled the trigger.
 The doctor took the shot.

Recovering from the ground, the doctor was trembling as he dropped the gum to the floor. 
He missed the target, as both the man and wife saw their dead son in a pool of blood in disbelief.
The backup had arrived now.


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