An excerpt from the book, Laundry Girl 2.o by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao.

Two men shot through the front seat windows and unlocked the back doors. Two men dragged them out and forced them to squat on their knees, with their hands raised up. The back door of the SUV in front of them swung open and a man like none they had seen before, lazily got out.

This man’s face had no nose. Just two gaping holes in place of nostrils. The corner of his mouth on the left side was missing an ovular chunk of muscle and skin. She could see his canine peek at her through the orifice. He was missing a part of his left ear and a patch of hair and skin above it. His hands had scabs of tough pale skin all over, and he held an AK-47 in them. His blood shot eyes were dripping with menace. This guy was the ring master of the circus around them. He barked some orders to the guy from whom they had snatched the gun, who came by his side, with a smirk on his face. Then he took out his phone and snapped their pictures. And then everybody stood waiting. Probably for a confirmation on identity from their boss. There was no guessing on who might have sent them. But this was their chance to get out alive.

All of them had guns. One had AK-47, while others had semi-automatic Russian handguns, just like the one Indira was carrying right now. None of them looked like trained shooters, Christoph had told her in the car.

‘Look at the way they are holding their guns. Trained shooters don’t hold it like that. Street gangsters are all about looking cool and mean with a gun in hand. It’s more about visual impact for them.’

So exactly three seconds after they had been snapped, Christoph had looked sideways at her and hissed. ‘Now’.

They both shifted their weight from their heels to their toes and then propelled their bodies in forward direction. Christoph darted towards Yegor, and got his left hand firmly clasped on the barrel of his AK-47, deflecting its aim, while his right hand delivered a solid blow into his solar plexus. At that very moment, Indira sprung towards the guy from whom they had snatched the gun. She wrung his weapon out of his hand and planted a knee in between his legs.

Christoph, who was now standing erect with his feet fixed firmly to the ground, head butted Yegor and drove up his right hand into the elbow joint of the hand he was holding the gun with, on its outer side. By now the rest of the gang, which had been casually holding their guns, and standing relaxed, got into shooting positions. They were untrained, and the lighting from the SUV’s was all they had to aim with. But at such close range, it would have taken only two good shots to put both of them down. Christoph knew that they would fire in the next five seconds. So he quickly drew out his own gun and placed it on Yegor’s temple.

While all this was happening around her, Indira was paying the price of being out of touch. The guy who had dragged her out of the car, had crept up on her from behind. But instead of shooting her, he threw away his gun and attacked her with his bare hands. As she was regaining her balance, he caught hold of her right hand and wrung it around and then punched her face with brutal force. Indira let out a scream in pain. But that pain woke up the ex-convict in her, who had fought tooth and nail in jail for survival.

Indira jumped high in the air, with her right hand flexed and firm, and drove her right elbow in the soft of his neck. The guy dropped to floor unconscious.

There was no time. Christoph had just placed his gun to Yegor’s temple. She drove a kick into the guy’s abdomen, on the right side, right above where his kidney was supposed to be. The guy yelped and bent sideways to clutch the injured side of his abdomen. This exposed the left side of his neck. Indira jumped high in the air, with her right hand flexed and firm, and drove her right elbow in the soft of his neck. The guy dropped to floor unconscious. None of the remaining men came forward, as there was a gun at their boss’ head.

Indira ran to the driving seat of Yegor’s SUV. The keys were still in the ignition. She started the car and opened the back door from which Yegor had stepped out barely five minutes ago. Christoph stepped inside the SUV and dragged Yegor on the seat’s edge. Without wasting time, Indira stepped on the accelerator and turned the car around to continue in the direction in which the driver had been taking them. Christoph pushed Yegor out of the running car and slammed the door shut. Even before it closed, he could hear a volley of bullets head into their direction. He ducked his head in time, but one bullet still grazed the top of his right shoulder blade, ripping through his muscles and letting the crushed arteries spew blood all over the car. The bullet created a clean hole through passenger side seat which was right in front of Christoph, and then lodged itself into the dashboard at an angle.

‘They will be on us in ten seconds,’ he said to Indira.

‘I don’t even know where we are headed. Any more clever ideas that I can f**k up?’

Picture Credit: Juggernaut Books/ Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

Excerpted with permission from Laundry Girl 2.0 by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao, Juggernaut Books.

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