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The unknown warrior! 3 The final odyssey!

This part is the final part of the story The unknown warrior. The first part can be read by clicking here. The second part can be found here. I request you all to read the first two parts before continuing to the third part. 

A wave of curiosity mixed with fear took over on the face of Pratap.  He was already trying hard to trust his instincts of that call being a hoax, but all his efforts were in vain. He didn't want to take any chances. Any small mistake could lead to havoc.  He directed Raman to bring Yusuf in. Raman had already called Yusuf for the meeting, but he got bit late as he was offering Namaz at a nearby mosque. It was the month of Ramadan. Pratap was preoccupied with the memories of the call trying to decipher the message. Vibhishana helped Ram kill Raavan in Ramayana. That means... He was about to solve the puzzle when he heard a knock at the door. Yusuf was standing out waiting for the permission from Pratap to come in. "March in!" He ordered.

Raman, who was waiting for Yusuf before taking the discussion forward, was feeling content now on seeing him. They had a brief discussion which was a matter of only a few minutes. Yusuf told Pratap about the terrorists’ plan of attacking Boulevard Road somewhere near the periphery of the Dal Lake. The most important part he told Pratap was that the attack could be within forty eight hours. Pratap signaled him to march out but ordered Raman to stay for further discussion. Maybe this was the right time to discuss his intuition with him. Some plan could then be thought of to avoid the turmoil that had already left city aghast.

The time went by. The realization when the darkness took over the abandoned skies was not to be felt by any one. All of them waited for only one thing, strike of the evil. They were prepared to take it down by whatever means, either by weapons or by bare hands. One thing which was imbibed in every soldier was to protect the motherland at any cost. Larger forces were imposed for protecting the Boulevard road. Police forces were removed as per Pratap's orders. Raman had planned the positioning of the respective teams. They were ready for one of the most gruesome combats of all time. Raman had requested all the Jawans to inform their family members or friends just in case. After all, forty eight hours of time was all they had.

The soldiers were alert to an extent that even a sting of a bee could bring it to its worst fate ever. A team of twelve was placed at Boulevard road. It was midnight. Two of them started a chat just to make the surroundings lighter, a joke to lighten the mood of all. When they were just busy in sharing banter, one of them noticed some movement at the backside of one of the shops. Without delay, he alerted all to stay quiet. He took one of his friend soldiers with him. Crouching, they moved slowly towards the edge, being extra careful not to make any noise. As reached at the edge, he directed his friend to stay behind in cover, not knowing the fact that at the other side were assassins waiting to attack like eagle attacks its prey with utmost precision.

Within no time, they opened fire and the two soldiers lay dead on the barren ground. The remaining ten prepared themselves for the combat. The assassins were quick though. It took a mere five minutes to blow entire team off their way. It was a suicide attack. At the Lal Chowk, Raman along with his team waited eagerly for something to happen. Within no time, he caught a glimpse of a woman who wore a burka. He directed one of the soldiers to follow the person. What in the name of god that woman is doing at this time of night? Several questions clouded his mind. The soldier followed her but she disappeared out of his sight. All were waiting for him to come along with the woman. He came back but alone. Raman watched him closely. Something was wrong. As he neared, he fell down. A knife pierced deep in his vertebrate, almost cutting his supply of blood to the central nervous system. They were just about to wake up from sight of horror that they were attacked by open fire from the assassins. Few were injured, few died. Others ran behind some building or the other to take cover behind the edifice.

The combat lasted about one hour. They were many. They also came loaded with explosives, hand grenades. The intention was to drive a wave of fear across all. Raman took cover of a tall building. He took down five of them. In the shootout, his left arm was injured severely. After all went silent, he slowly came out of the cover when he saw the same woman in Burka struggling hard to run with one leg severely injured. His blood boiled in anger as he grabbed her from her left hand. To his surprise, he made a blow of a knife on his arm, just a few inches away from his bullet injury. But there was no stopping for Raman.

Without losing his grip on her left arm, he was able to tear off the face cover. To his astonishment he was none other than his very own friend, Yusuf.  The moment he could think of the next step, Yusuf got rid of his grip by giving a hard blow on his head. Yusuf ran on one leg for his life when he faced Pratap in front of him standing few meters away. He was pointing his pistol on him. Pratap could see Raman lying helpless. Yusuf tried to divert his mind "You all are going to die." His voice was hoarse because of tiredness, with this tore off his Burka to reveal a belt full of explosives. He was just on the verge of blowing himself along with Pratap that he was hit by at a stray bullet straight in the head. Blood oozed out in small fountain as he lay dead on the ground. Pratap slowly closed his eyes thanking the almighty and all his fellow soldiers for accomplishing win over evil. Up somewhere on one of the buildings, stood Arun Kaul with whose bullet Yusuf was killed and Pratap was standing on his feet.

Pratap lost many of his best men in the battle for the mother land. But battles are to be fought and won was his philosophy. After two days, he went to see Raman. Doctors had already informed him about him being gaining consciousness. He entered his room where Raman sat on bed, propped up. His arm covered with plasters still. "Good job, soldier!"  He said smiling. "Your plan worked sir. In fact your intuition worked!" he smiled back. "If your intuition hadn't guided us, we would not have accomplished this, never!" he continued. "But sir, did you find out, who was that caller?" Pratap raised his eyebrows. "No, but we are trying our best to find it and thank the heavenly soul to guide us on the right path."

With that they both smiled at saluted the unknown soldier for his invaluable contribution.  


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