It wasn’t that day and night were of the same duration. The fact was that where day ended and night began (or vice-versa) had ceased to be of any relevance. It was equinox.
Life didn’t matter anymore, neither did death. Which was why he was where he was. He lit a cigarette, dragging it in slowly. He had to wait. He could wait. Time didn’t matter anymore. There was nothing to go back to.
He was aware of day and night and what each meant. But they had ceased to be of any relevance to him in a personal way. Day meant that the sun would be out and there would be light. Night meant that you had to arrange your own light- that’s it. He couldn’t remember when he’d last slept so there was no way his body clock could react to the rotations of the earth.
Hiding behind a rock he took out his binoculars and scanned the sea. He noticed a light flashing. It was morse code. He smiled to himself- it was the right place. He then scanned the beach. Up about a distance of a kilometer he could notice a boat with two men replying back in code by means of a torch light.
The two men slowly guided their boat in to the sea and made out towards their target. The rendezvous would be at sea. It would take time. He waited and while he did that the mind began to ponder.
He had wanted to surprise her. He remembered walking in to the house without making a sound and tip-toeing his way across all the rooms looking for her. Finally, he’d moved upstairs in to the bedroom and that is when his life had come crumbling down.
He realized it was trauma that kept bringing back that scene in to his memory. His heart was cold and he no longer had any emotion when he played the scene in his head. It came back to him out of sheer habit. It had numbed him.
He moved closer to the landing point. From a suitable distance he took out his rifle and took aim. He had a clear view. He then placed the rifle by his side and took out the binoculars to once more scan the horizon. It had taken 6 months of work to get to this point. Now it was within his grasp.
But, did it matter? Was he going to be happy once he’d accomplished his mission? What next? Was all this worth anything? How long was he going to go on like this? These thoughts kept playing in the back of his head while his eyes remained focused on the horizon.
Finally the boat came again in to view. There were 3 men on the boat this time. There also seemed to be some crates on board. The sea was getting rough and the men were having a tough time trying to negotiate their way back to coast.
He needed to confirm what was in the crates and therefore waited for the boat to land before he took aim. The boat hit ground and the 3 men got off. They beached the boat on the shore and were about to unload their cargo when one of the men fell down flat on his face much to the surprise of his mates. The other two were looking at each other when one of them found a small bindi type dot forming on the others forehead and suddenly that same man had fallen flat on his face too.
Aleem had been too surprised to react when suddenly he felt a searing pain in his neck. He fell on to the sand and grasped at the wound with both his hand and felt himself suffocating.
“You move and I will kill you” -came a voice from behind Aleem.
Aleem strained to make out the features. He could feel his vision blurring. With a determined effort to focus he took a good look at the man. He was shocked.
“I want to know where the consignment came from”- said the man.
“You deceiving son of a pig! How could you?”
“Let’s not get in to too many details. You are dying. You are going to die. If you cooperate I will make it easier for you. Else you may wish yourself dead and hope that it happens sooner rather than later.”
“I treated you like my brother. I had even spoken to Ummi about giving you Sana’s hand in marriage. You ate and slept at my home for so many months. And all the while you were double-crossing us.”
The man smiled and said- “The truth can be a bitch.”
“Son of a pig! You will go to hell for this!”
“I’m guessing that the stuff came from the Norwegian ship- ‘The Queen’. From there it was on-loaded to a smaller vessel called- ‘The Katgi’. In fact my guess is that it was the Katgi that signaled you guys from sea.”
Aleem remained silent and defiant. With an effort he spat in the direction of the man. What came out was more blood than sputum.
He was sorry for Aleem. He had fooled him completely. Aleem was a nice man but in the wrong profession. The man took out his pistol and took aim. Aleem’s forehead was pierced in an instant. He could have waited and prolonged Aleem’s agony. But it was not in his nature to do so. He wasn’t evil. It was the only kind of mercy that he was capable of.
He climbed on board the little boat and opened the crates. It was quality A-1 heroin. He removed the packets one by one and made a huge fire to destroy them. Once that was done he dug a huge pit and dumped the 3 bodies in to it. He then covered it up. He had with him a few sticks of dynamite. He placed them on the boat attached to a timer. He then pushed the boat out to sea. In ten minutes the boat exploded comfortably away from coast. He’d gotten rid of all evidence.
The B-gang would be confounded. This was the biggest operation they’d been planning for over a year. They would have no way of finding out what exactly had happened to their consignment. There was no trace at all. They’d be going around in circles trying to figure exactly what had happened.
It had all gone perfectly according to plan. He was supposed to be happy and so he smiled. But it didn’t come from within. Suddenly he felt weary. He hated himself. Aleem was right- he did deserve to go to hell.
Maybe this was hell he thought to himself. The never ending equinox.