I, Rahul Bhatia, walked out of class after the last session. I was boasting to some of my classmates about how rich I was and how I had triple the luxuries of all their fathers combined. They looked at me with an expression which I gave when I glanced at broccoli, the worst vegetable invented. Was I looking like a broccoli? No, I was wearing blue today, not green and my hair was certainly not styled like bushes; they had been put to the side with the best gel in town. Wait… did they hate me? The richest kid in the state? They weren’t in awe of my wealth? Oh… my God, I must box out their remaining incisors!
“Oh, you didn’t like my bragging, did you?” I asked angrily. “I thought you had learnt your lesson when I took out one of your incisors each, but looks like I will have to do that again.” And I started punching them in the mouth hard enough to break a wooden table. I was a strong kid.
When the teachers came to check what all the noise was about, I told them that these guys had been fighting again. I acted like I was a good kid in front of teachers; they always believed me over anyone else.
I put my hands in my pockets and walked out of the school whistling. I stood their waiting for the luxurious Mercedes to arrive but it never came. I was FURIOUS! Then a teacher told me that my home was so close so I could walk down to it and she would inform my mother. I was really annoyed. I hated walking. So, as soon as I was out of the school campus, I took out my IPhone 11 Pro by the way, and started playing my favourite game on it. I never understood why people like games such as Need for speed, Minecraft and such types of games which are not even one percent violent. I mean, why doesn’t everyone play games such as Fortnight, PUBG and all types of shooting games. People say Fortnight will be banned from India such as PUBG was but I say who cares if it’s banned or not, I still play PUBG and force other kids to play it. So I was playing Fortnight on my phone not looking right or left and walking down the middle of the road. Screech! Crash! Screech! Flip-thump! Slam! Slam! Boom! What was that? Oh, must be the other team I was against in my video game. I kept on going.
I had just seen the boy walking in the middle of the road while playing a video game. A car which was speeding towards him screeched to a halt and crashed its gas tank into an electricity pole. Another car tried to stop right before a speed breaker but that caused the car to flip over and somehow it landed straight. Both car drivers ran out of their cars and slammed the doors behind them. The car that had crashed its gas tank into the electricity pole caught fire in a small explosion. I watched all of this speechlessly and looked at the boy. It seemed like a Hollywood scene when the hero steps out of a wreckage. He seemed totally unaffected. Seriously, these phones are monsters in the form of microchips.. It made a boy so distracted that he nearly killed two people. Well, he would deserve what he would get. Operation Kapind Hular activated.
I had only walked thirty meters when I heard a voice ask “Are you Rahul?”
“What is it?” I said in an annoyed tone and looked up to see a man in a blueish-grey hoodie.
“Your mother has told me to bring you to the place where she had to go for a wedding. She found the card only an hour ago. It was delivered late. The place is not far so we can go walking.” Said the man.
“Yeah, yeah whatever.” I went back to my video game while the man walked behind me.
I walked down the road, the man occasionally giving my directions where to go and all blah, blah, blah. I didn’t notice when we reached an uninhabited part of the colony where old broken houses stood. I had been told never to go there but I didn’t care. Like I said, I am a strong kid, what could harm me?
The man ushered me into a house. Just as I realised where we were and was going to ask him about it, I felt a cold metal touch the back of my head and I immediately knew what it was. It felt as if someone had cut my soul and I was hanging by a thread. There was a person holding that thread and my life depended on him. He could kill me or save. My fate now depended on someone moving their finger half an inch. Pull the trigger only half a inch, and a high velocity object would fire into my brain.
“Slowly move around and keep your phone on the ground. If you do anything else, consider yourself a body with no life.” The man behind me said and I did as I was told.
“Now listen to me.” The man continued. “You are now my slave. You will work for me. From now on you are Rai. Change your clothes and wear those rags on the chair over there.” He pointed to a chair with some torn clothes.
“Why would I wear ragged clothes? Do you know how strong I am? I will beat you up!” I said.
“Oh yeah? Then see this!” He said and showed me his six pack and bulging muscles. I cowered at the sight.
“Get ready for a totally new life.”
My heart was full of pain. Who would take away such a simple and good kid, who had never hurt a fly! I couldn’t stop crying. I just couldn’t. I hadn’t seen my son for a day now.
My husband was crying too, as he meekly acknowledged Mrs Kumar. who had come to help us get through this and had dragged her son, Sanjay, along. The woman’s son was a friend of Rahul. Right now, all of us, including the boy, were going to the police station to find out if there was any report on Rahul.
“These people are demons disguised as humans!” I cried. “Who kidnaps children?”
“They are devils.” Mrs kumar agreed.
I was happy that someone agreed with me, but it was nothing to make all my pain and sadness go away. Something had broken inside me, something that couldn’t be repaired. And partially it was because of me that Rahul got kidnapped.
“It’s partially my fault. I got a message from the car company, though now I think it must have been the kidnapper, saying that the car needed service so I took it there. But the car service people said that the service was due three months later, and I knew then and there that I was tricked.” I sobbed.
“It’s not your fault dear, not your fault.” My husband rubbed my back.
I looked at my mother. She did not know that Rahul had been hitting me.The school only reported that I had picked up the fights. I thought that it was time to reveal the truth.
“Actually auntie, Rahul was the DEVIL in disguise for us.”
“Stop lying Sanjay! I am ashamed of you! They have just lost their child, your friend, and you are telling tales about him!” My mother scolded me.
“No. I am not telling tales. I am telling the truth.” I replied calmly. “Rahul acted like a good boy in front of adults and that’s why the teachers believed his lies. Maybe, the CCTV got it?”
The adults looked at me. “All right. Let’s go to the school.” Mr Bhatia said. “I want to know if my son was a bully or not.”
We reached the school soon and asked permission to see the CCTV footage. I showed them all that had happened. I showed yesterday’s footage when he boxed out more of my incisors. I winced remembering the pain. They saw a couple of more incidents as well, like when he punched every boy who wouldn’t give him their chocolates, etc. The Bhatias watched the footages in disbelief
When. we were back on the way to the police station, we reached a red light. Mr Bhatia looked out the window sadly. Even though Rahul was a bully, I feel sorry for his parents. They really loved him.
I saw the Bhatias in their Mercedes at the red light. Little did they know that their son was just a hundred meters away at another traffic light, selling balloons.
So who really was the devil?
Looks like their disguises are working.
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