The girl with the pixie haircut had been dancing non-stop, her tight halter-top struggling to contain her sinewy, writhing body. Her painted-on jeans began far below her naval and ended far above her ankles. A casual observer at the SuperTrance Nightclub might wonder if she found it difficult to breathe with such tight clothes on, but she seemed to be handling them just fine. In fact, she was quite oblivious to the stares that were directed towards her. Her eyes were shut and her Ecstasy-induced smile seemed to be flashing a ‘come-hither’ to all the young men on the floor. Perhaps it was too early in the night or perhaps it was the fear of their girlfriends, or perhaps she looked a tad too hot to handle, but no guy had approached her yet.
In the darkness of the dance floor, Akhbir broke away from a knot of revellers and walked straight towards her. He swayed with the beat, waiting for her to come out of her self-induced trance. He didn’t have to wait too long; she opened her eyes, perhaps sensing his presence.
‘Remember me?’ he asked.
The girl’s voice was flat as she said, ‘No, should I?’
In the darkness, Akhbir couldn’t see her eyes. For a microsecond, he looked unsure as the girl continued to sway to the music as if nothing had happened. A beam of laser light travelled across her face and suddenly Akhbir was sure.
‘You’re right, I didn’t recognize you at first in your bold new clothes, but I remember your eyes.’
The girl let a sly smile curl around her lips, ‘You like my eyes?’
Akhbir smiled back. ‘Yes, even though you’ve changed your contact lenses, I can still see fear in them.’
The girl now broke into a full-throated laugh. ‘Oh, come on, dude, don’t be so filmy. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m feeling really sexy tonight. So get your body closer and dance with me.’
Akhbir stepped closer to the girl and she swayed against him, letting her body rub tantalizingly against his. He reached out and held her gently in his arms as he swayed with her. For a few minutes they danced as one, Akhbir playing with the girl’s hair as he manoeuvred her towards the darkest corner of the dance floor. As she smiled at him, he reached out and held her right hand in his; slowly, he guided her hand towards the lower part of his body. The girl’s smile turned mischievous but she played along. When her hand was just above Akhbir’s crotch, the girl whispered into his ear, ‘Do you want to go some place quiet?’
Akhbir nodded. ‘Yes, but I just want you to feel what I’m feeling.’ He pressed her hand to the crotch of his jeans. Suddenly, the girl’s expression changed to one of abject fear. Instead of what she had been expecting, she could feel something hard and metallic which, she had no doubt, was a gun.
Akhbir’s smile now turned malevolent. ‘At my building, you had asked me if I would like to sample some of your lipstick. Now I want to know, would you like to sample the bullets from my gun?’
The girl shuddered; her lithe body seemed to have lost all its spirit. Her free hand made a feeble attempt to punch Akhbir’s jaw, but he was too quick for her. He ducked and reached into his jeans.
Across the dance floor, Virkar raised his gun and waited for the right moment.
Ten minutes ago, he had arrived at the nightclub and sent Naina inside. It had taken her five minutes of peering in the dark to spot Akhbir. A few minutes later, Virkar was by her side and was now waiting for her to get the house lights switched on.
Two more seconds and all the lights in the nightclub came on at once. Virkar had prepared himself for this by staring into the laser lights so the sudden flash of light did not blind him. But Akhbir stood blinking, momentarily blinded, with his gun in his hand. Out of the corner of his eyes, Virkar noticed what seemed like another man standing with a gun aimed at Akhbir. Virkar made a mental note to take action in that direction too. But, right then, Virkar kept his eyes focused on his first target.
Using the distraction to her advantage, the girl shook off Akhbir’s hand and sprang away, crouching to avoid getting in the way of a bullet.
Across the floor, this was the moment Virkar was waiting for. He pulled the trigger, his bullet hitting Akhbir in the chest. As he fell, Akhbir shot a bullet in the direction of the crouching girl. His bullet grazed the girl’s skull and embedded itself a few feet away into the wall.
Virkar now swung his gun in the direction of what had seemed like another shooter, but saw that there was no one there. He turned around and dove into the panicked crowd that was now running helter-skelter and pushed his way towards the fallen Akhbir. He kicked Akhbir’s gun away from his body and checked for a pulse. Having quickly ascertained that Akhbir was well and truly dead, Virkar turned his attention to the girl.
Blood was pouring from the wound on her head but Virkar could see that she was still breathing. Cursing under his breath, he quickly took out his phone to call an ambulance but he was stopped short by Naina’s voice. ‘I’ve already called the ambulance and dialled 100 for the police.’ She then knelt next to the wounded girl, tore off the hemline of her soft top and used it to swab the girl’s wound in an attempt to slow down the blood flow.
Virkar’s voice was breathless, ‘Did you see the other man with the gun?’
Naina looked confused. ‘What other man?’
Virkar sighed and shook his head. ‘I guess these disco lights played a trick on my eyes.’ He sat down on the floor next to Naina. ‘Well, maybe you can do me another favour. Please tell me who this girl is? She’s definitely not Sagarika’.