Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Survivors

The clock chimed, and at that precise moment, the crowd stood up as one. Knowing this little ritual perfectly, the two old men stood up on the first chime. Sitting next to each other on the first wooden bench of the congregation, the men had followed this routine for the last 10 years. On this day, they walked in with their canes, looking a lot older than the year before; their years pronounced by the wrinkles and the ever thinning white crop of hair. They closed their eyes intently and prayed in their mind, for peace. And they thanked the Lord for whatever he had done for them. Even after 10 long years, this is what they did.

As the crowd started thinning, the men started walking as well- slowly shuffling towards the warm welcome sun of September. Plodding towards the nearby lake, they sat down, their breaths heavy and the sound of their breath treacherously loud.

"It’s a decade Gad. I don’t know what made me run that day and I wasn’t even gunning for a medal."

"You should be thankful Shaul. It’s just us now. All the rest are gone."

"I’m ever thankful to the mice which allowed me to survive that ghastly night."

Shaul started coughing terribly, and continued," I guess even I won’t make it till next year."

"I’ll be damned if I will."

An evil silence ensued as the men pondered in the present. Cracking the ice, Shaul said," I can’t believe it’s so long. It feels like it was just yesterday. I can still feel the pain in my legs as the gravel on the path tore the skin, and let my body fluids slip out, red and slow. I can hear the soft echo of the guns chirping, and the cries of our colleagues, as they were slowly consumed by the flames in the Sikorsky. It still feels so similar to me."

"I agree with you Gad. But we survived. I don’t know how, and nor do you." Stopping for breath, he went on," I can now agree to whatever the press said about us in those days. You remember the title they had used for us?"

"The Survivors. I think we did that name justice."

The silence enlarged as the men dissolved deep into their thought, and reminisced those moments again. It was so clear in their weak eyes, that they could have argued it was real. And the reel of real life came on, as time rolled back and transferred them to that niche of their past. That gargoyle which had made them value signs, and had made them respect an entity we called God. And along with this, they remembered the fear of the moment. The guns blazing, and the cracks and the blasts and the booms and the screams and the screeches. There had been nothing they could do to help their friends out, but they had escaped, and they had survived.

From the distance, a shriveled figure approached them. Walking with a metal cane, the man looked completely fit, and not in any pain as well. Surprised with this, the pair started to get up, and to leave the place unnoticed.

“I’d not do that if I were you Ali. You will agree with me if you see the glints at 9 o’clock, and 3 o’clock,” the old man said in an American accent, and tipped his hat to show off his shock of brown hair under the inconspicuous white wig.

“I did notice them briefly but I ignored them. Now will you say who you are,” said ‘Gad’. His voice had changed from the feeble, wavering voice to one with a husky young drawl to it. Along with this, the pronounced German accent had changed to a weird accent, lined with the undertone of the Middle East.

“Stop moving or I’ll blow your intestines over the place. Just tell us your name and your business with us. And if I’d be you, I wouldn’t delay in that. You can check things out at 12’o clock and 6’o clock,” said Shaul, his tone changed drastically as well.

“Well well. I wouldn’t make too much of your empty threats, as its 10 years since you both left the field. And Sheikh, remove your hand from under you tweed jacket.  These snipers I’ve brought with me do not like their subjects twitching and moving.

“We have some secret business with you regarding that day. I hope you remember what I’m talking about. And it’s too big a secret to talk about in a park on a park bench. I’m now going to walk to a waiting car, and I expect you to do the same. I don’t want you both dying under weird circumstances, eh?”

He got up and nodded. A car pulled up to the sidewalk, just opposite the bench. Before leaving, he continued.

“Regarding what you did a decade earlier, in Munich, I’d have thought your names would be a bit different. Nice thought to take on the identities of the wrestler and the runner, who were probably killed by you. And regarding the job, it’s something you both are very good at- survival. But this time, you will be stealing someone’s life to survive.”

With this mysterious dialogue, the ‘young’ old man started walking to the car. Ali and Sheikh looked at each other with a grim expression and started following. Reaching into his pocket, Ali removed a handkerchief to wipe a bead of sweat trickling down his brow, as the sniper in the distance fingered his trigger hungrily.


  1. Oh Even I was feeling the Tension reading this all the way Karan...Nice Composition

  2. Wow Karan! Very gripping narration, though I liked the first part better (words, syntax) Was this result of a writing prompt? or a part of a thriller novel you are writing?
    What happens next?
    *Too many questions :D

    1. This was a topic I had in my English paper. I previously had no plans on continuing it, but now I think I should be taking the story ahead...:D
      Glad you liked it Ma'am..:)

  3. well, you have a great command over vocab...