“The God Giveth and The God Taketh Away.” A board with this sentence, was the 1st thing I saw, through the lean light, coming from a distant window, as soon as I opened my eyes with a great difficulty. I was tied up to a chair. My head was bleeding while I still felt a bit dizzy. I couldn’t bear the pain I had, as if all my bones were crushed at once. Wherever I saw, it was darkness except for that light from the window. I could hear some distant noises which weren’t much clear. My mouth was stuffed with a cloth, so that I couldn’t shout. My whole life began to appear in front of my eyes. Two hours ago, I was just an accountant who was appointed newly to the private company named S.P. Constructions (pvt) Ltd. After passing my Charted Exams with flying colours, I applied for this job opportunity through the internet, so that I could help my father with the economic burden, which was carried for a long time. My father was just a clerk at a private firm, while my mother was a house wife. I was in my mid-twenties, and being the only child of my family, I received a lot of affection from my parents.
I received a letter from the company, and I was being called for an interview there. So, I went there on the due date and was able to impress the interview board with my personality and my qualifications. I was appointed as the assistant accountant there, so that I can work under an experienced accountant and gather some experience. Our Chief Accountant Mr. Perera was quite a friendly person. Not only I could gather many experience, but also I could learn some valuable life lessons from him. I was very happy with my life and I always tried to imitate Mr. Perera to be a better person and a better colleague to my staff. My work was going very well with the company. Two or three weeks later, I mastered all the work including accounting, maintaining and updating pay ledgers, updating and controlling store books etc. One day, Mr. Perera came to me and said, “A.A, could you come to my office and update the remaining payroll programme? I have to go out for an important work and this might take a while.” To which I replied, “Of course sir. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” Everyone in the office called me A.A. which was the abbreviation for Assistant Accountant. Mr. Perera thanked me and left me with the work in his office. Short while later, while I was in his office, updating the payroll programme, someone knocked at the door. “Excuse me father, may I come in?” A beautiful voice of a female came from the other side of the door. Never had I heard such a mellifluous voice.
I was so eager to see the face of the owner, of this beautiful voice. I said, “Come in.” The door was opened slowly and there she was. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen, was standing in front of me, looking at me with her blue eyes filled with amazement. For a moment both of us were speechless, staring at each other’s eyes. Her brunette hair, fair complexion, rose lips, and her beautiful cheeks made her look like a goddess from the heaven. Gaining consciousness, I asked her, “Yes, how can I help you miss?” With a beautiful blushing smile, she replied, “I’m sorry, I was looking for my father,
Mr. Perera.” In my mind, I soliloquized, “Oh my god, this is Mr. Perera’s daughter. What an angel she is. I wish I could marry her.” Many mental pictures of us together, started flowing inside my mind within a few seconds. I stopped my idolatry of her, in my mind for a while and told her, “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Perera’s just left a few minutes ago. You could have caught him, if you had come a little bit earlier. I was told to complete this work in his office.” “Oh, I came here to meet him, because he said, he would be here. Now he has left. He always does that.” She replied in a heartbroken sound. I did not know what to say at once. Then I asked her whether I should give any message to him. For which she replied, “I would rather stayed and waited for him to return. This is important. Did he mention you the time of his arrival? Will he be late?” I replied, “He said that it would take some time. Actually, he might be late. I cannot be sure of the time of his arrival.”
She asked me if it was okay to await him in the office. I said to her that it was okay and to make herself comfortable and to have a seat. I continued my work again while she was sitting in front of me. But, whenever our eyes met, we exchanged pleasant smiles. She was adorable. Though my eyes were on the computer, my mind was on her. I could not focus on my work. Then I asked her whether she wanted to have some tea or coffee or anything which interested her. She refused first, but after the strong insistence of mine, she agreed to have some tea. I called the office canteen and ordered a cup of tea. While she was having her tea we shared some pleasantries. Her name was Shamini and she just had finished her degree in university. After some time, I finished my work. Then we kept chatting for a while, and suddenly she got a call. She answered the phone. I got up as I wanted to use the wash room. She smiled while I was going. I replied her with a smile.
When I got back, she said that she had to go to an important meeting with a friend of hers and asked me if, I could tell her father that she came here to meet him. I said, “Okay, sure thing. Pleasure meeting you Miss Shamini. See you around.” She said that it was a pleasure to meet me too. With that, she left the room. My heart was filled with a strange happiness. I could not explain the feeling. But it was beautiful. I started thinking about what happened short while ago. I could not wipe the smile off my face. After some time, Mr. Perera returned and entered the room. I stood up and said, “Sir I have finished the work.” Then he said, “Thank you A.A., you may leave now.” “Sir, your daughter came by to meet you.” I said to him. He laughed and said, “My daughter? Huh huh haa..Are you joking A.A.? My daughter is in school. She is 12 years old.” I was shocked with his statement. A strange fear started running all over my mind. “B..but sir, a girl claimed to be your daughter came here and said th..that she wanted t..to meet you.” I stammered. Mr. Perera was as shocked as I was. But then he said that it might have been a misunderstanding and not to worry about it.
I said, “Yes sir, it might have. I will leave you with your work.” I left the room with thousands of questions in my head. I was so curious about this mysterious girl. Who was that girl? Why did she come to Mr. Perera’s office? Why did she claim to be his daughter? I was trying to find answers to these questions in my head. I went to my table and sat on my chair. I could not stop thinking about this strange incident. While I was sitting, I got a call from Mr. Perera asking me to come to his office at that instant. I rushed to his office. Mr. Perera was infuriated and his face was red with anger. I asked him what had happened. “What happened? I will tell you what happened. The money I had received from the company management, to buy new computers to the accounts department, is missing. I had kept the money in my top desk drawer and locked it. But now, the lock is broken and the money is gone.” He yelled at me in a furious tone. I have never seen him this much angrier. “Well, you better answer me Mr. I will be the one who is going to lose the job because of this. Answer me. Where is the money?” he shouted. Office staff had already gathered near the door.
I was scared and embarrassed. I told him that I had not taken his money. I suddenly realized what might have happened. The girl must have stolen the money while I was in the bathroom. “Oh God! How could I be so stupid? Sir, that girl claimed to be your daughter must have taken it. I am extremely sorry sir. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have left the room. But I thought it was really your daughter.” I said. “You idiot! You left the room with a stranger in it. What an irresponsible man you are! How can I afford to pay this money now?” Mr. Perera uttered in a disappointed tone. I felt bad for him and angry with myself. I blamed my ignorance in my mind. Then I realized that there are cctv cameras in our office and we may be able to see where the girl might have headed. I told Mr. Perera about my idea. He ordered the security to check the footage with me and called the police. Then he called the authorities of the company and informed them about the theft. Later the police came into our office and took statements from us. We checked the footage, but we were unable to identify the girl, as she was hiding her face near cameras.
Police interrogated the office staff. They asked me whether I could recognize the thief and about her external appearance. I told everything I remembered about her. I was told to come to the police station whenever they needed me and took my telephone number and asked me not to leave the country without their permission. They took all the evidence including, finger prints and the video footage. Police left the office. I could not bear the disappointment in me and I could not face Mr. Perera. I apologized him again for my mistake and then I took a day off and headed home because, my mind was not in a state of working. I always thought me as a man of pure intellect, but I was another pathetic guy, deceived by my own human emotions and urges. Well, I felt miserable about me. Usually, I travel by bus, but that day I travelled on foot. While walking, I felt so ashamed of myself. My parents had so many expectations about me. I had let them down, including Mr. Perera. I was given a simple task, to take care of his office and complete his work. I could not do it.
“Why God? Why? I have never wronged anyone in my life. I always helped everyone.” I just wanted to go home and sleep and forget what happened today. But, the destiny had planned some other thing for me, than sleeping. While I walk a few miles, suddenly I saw that girl. She was running in the other side of the road, while she was chased by two people. My hormones started flowing and I forgot everything around me. I just wanted to catch her and have my revenge for making me so miserable.
At once I heard a creepy sound of an opening door and I was distracted from my train of thoughts. I was still in pain and my eyes were blur. I heard some foot steps towards me. A man started talking to me. “Oh you idiot! You just could not go home, could you? Now look what happened to you. You wanted to be a hero and save the girl. See where it has led you to. I feel sorry for you, you pathetic fool.” It was a very familiar voice. Although I could not recognize it, may be because I was hit on my head. The man walked away and with the same sound “creee…k”, the door was closed. I could not understand what was happening. I did want to think about those. I just wanted to solve problem at hand, to get the hell out of this place. I tried to loosen my hands. But I had lost all my body strength and I was unable to do so. So, I started thinking again about what happened two hours ago.
As soon as I saw the girl, I ran towards her. While running, I even had a narrow escape from an accident with a car. I ran across the road. I even forgot my office bag. I ran towards her. I could see those two men but, I did not know why they were chasing her. The girl turned to a small lane and I ran behind her very fast and captured her. My adrenaline level which, helped me to catch her, was high. Even before I speak anything, she said, “Please save me from them. I will explain this to you later. They are trying to kill me. Please, please, please” She begged me. Those men shouted, “There she is! Stop there, or we will shoot you.” Oh my god! They had guns. I did not think twice and took her hand and ran with her while they were shooting at us. But they missed and we ran for a couple of miles. We found a broken house in a nearby slum and hid near a wall, so that we could lost the chasing people. They could not find us. We lost them. I was so angry with her. As soon as I could catch my breath after all running, I spoke to her in a furious tone. “Where the hell is our money? What did you do with the money? Why are these people chasing you? I am going to take you to the police. You better tell me the truth, you bitch!” I shouted.
She started crying. “I am sorry. I do not know where your money is. I was forced to steal your money. They came into my house with masks and held captive of my old and sick father. They pointed a gun on him and told me to go into that office and steal the money. I had no choice. They told me how to steal it. All the things I should say to you and deceive you and put chloroform on you. But I did not need to do it as you went out. Then, they brought me to your office in a van and you know the rest.” She said. “Yes I know the rest. Now, why are they chasing you?” I asked. “After stealing money I was brought back home. Then, they took the money and said my service is needed no longer and so is my father’s. Then, they shot my father.” She started crying again. I embraced her and gave her a shoulder to cry. “Then they pointed a gun at me and tried to kill me. I pushed them away and escaped from there. They chased me. You came and saved me.” She said while crying.
I felt sorry for her and I felt bad for yelling at her. I brushed my fingers through her hair and told, “Do not worry Shamini. Everything is going to be alright. Let’s go to the police station and tell them everyth….” Even before I finish my sentence, at a glance I felt a hard hit on my head with a cudgel. I fell on my knees as I could not bear the pain. I put my hands behind my head while it was bleeding and shouted “Ahh……” My vision became blur and I could barely see they were dragging her. I became unconscious. When I open my eyes, I was here tied up. I heard some of those people talking in a distant. “Boss, what shall we do to this girl? Should we finish her up like her old man?” a man asked. He was replied by the familiar voice, which I heard earlier, “No, do not kill her. I might need her in the future.” “What about the lad?” another man asked. “Do not worry about him. He will not make it. He will be dead in no time.” said the boss. I was kind of relieved hearing that the girl was still alive.
Again I felt a bit dizzy and I passed out for a while.
Regaining my consciousness, I tried to loosen my hands again. God had given me a chance to be saved. The ropes became loosen after a few minutes of struggling. I was able to free my right hand. Then I took the piece of cloth out from my mouth and threw it away. Then, I loosened my other hand and later my legs. I was still feeling the pain on my head. But I gathered some courage and tried to stand up. But I could not do it. I fell on the chair. I waited for another couple of minutes. I tried again to stand on my feet. This time I could get up, but with a great difficulty. I dragged my leg slowly to the front and tried to walk towards the small window. I went to the window slowly and looked outside through it. I recognized a building outside. I knew the place where I was locked. Suddenly everything began to make sense. I wanted to find a way out without them knowing and save the girl from this disaster.
I heard some foot steps towards the door. By the time, my eyes were familiar with the darkness and I could barely see the door. I walked silently near the door and stood up aside it. A man opened the door and entered the room. He realized that I was not in the chair. I gave him no time and incontinently hit him on the back of his head with my arms, gathering all my energy left in my body. He was a bit heavily built person with the beard all over his face. He fell down on the floor but my shot was not strong enough to make him unconscious. So, without any thoughts, I hit his face with my knee before he get his gun from his back. With that shot he was knocked out and was on his back. I checked his pockets and found a packet of cigarettes some money. I took the gun and walked towards the door. I had never even seen a real gun earlier in my life. I was carrying it, even though I had no idea, how to use it. I looked out the door and none could be seen. It was a big hall with three dim lights. Some closed doors could be seen. But, I had no idea which was the exit. All of them seemed alike. I could not open them either because those rooms may have filled with guys with guns. I was unable to decide what I should do. I was in complete and utter confusion.
Then, I heard someone opening a door. As soon as possible, I went near that door and waited him to come out. As soon as he opened the door and came out I hit him also on his head with the gun. This man was a bit skinny compared to the earlier one. With a slight cry he fell down with his bleeding head. I took his gun and checked his pockets while he was passed out. Luckily I found a mobile phone which was the most precious thing at that time. Then I saw inside the room and there she was, tied up to a chair like me. I rushed into the room and loosened the cloth tied around her mouth. Tear drops were rolling down her cheeks. She was so happy to see me. I let out her ropes and helped her to get on her feet. I asked whether she was okay. She replied me with a nod.
Then I called 911, the emergency number and told them where we were being kept. I was told that some rescue teams would be sent to save us. Then, I checked the mobile phone to find the number of the master mind of this genius plan because, I wanted the police to catch him red handed. I found the contact named “Boss”.
I gave a call to this number. The boss asked, “Why are you calling at this time, you fool? I told you not to call me when I am dealing this case with the police.” “I answered in a different deep voice “I know boss, but we have a situation here.
That lad is not in his room. He must have escaped the premise.” “I cannot believe you freaking idiots. Can’t you take care of a simple task? Wait there! I will come soon.” With that reply, boss finished the call. “My parents must have worried been about me and they may be searching for me. They might have complained the police.” I told Shamini. We waited for about fifteen minutes. While waiting, Shamini told me that there were only two guards and she did not see the boss. Then, I dragged both men and tied their arms and legs. I checked every door but all of them were locked from outside. I heard a door being opened. I knew that had to be the boss who I already identified for sure. I took the gun and waited him to come to our room. As soon as he entered the room I pointed the gun at him. I was right. The man I expected, had come. “Well, well, well..look who is here. Welcome Mr. Perera. When I freed out from the chair, I looked out from that small window and I saw the front building. I recollected that, your house is in front of the T.R.S. paint company and I have been shown by yourself while, we were passing this road in your car. That made me realize you are the master mind of this plan.” I said to him in a triumphant tone.
He was speechless. Then, I said, “You sent this poor girl to steal the money. Why did you do this? I always admired you and thought you as a good guy and a role model. But you are a cold hearted killer. You stole the money of your work place. I would rather die in hunger than stealing.” He laughed and said, “You do not understand A.A. This world is so evil. I am sorry about your father honey, nothing personal, it is all business.” He turned to Shamini and said. I replied, “Now your games are over Mr. Perera, soon the police will be here. You will have to spend the rest of your days in a jail cell.” Then he said, “Do you know something A.A.? Why do you think I chose this girl only for this work? I worked under her father in a company. Same as you. As an assistant accountant. I learned many things about him. I always admired him as my superior like you do. But one day he betrayed my trust. There was a pile of money separated by the company to buy office equipment. He stole the money and hid it. Then he put some money in my bag, so that I would be caught for theft. Because of his act I lost my dignity. I was imprisoned for years. I lost my job, my love, and five years of my youth. You have no idea of that feeling which you get when you come out of a prison. When you are being disgusted and thrown away from the society and from your own, it makes you want to suicide. You will always be considered a convict by the society, even you are not.”
“I worked hard to come to this state. I wanted to get my revenge and I got a chance. Eye for an eye. Youth for the youth. I searched for his whereabouts and found him in the same area. Destiny, thou art an amazing thing. I met my sole enemy and to take revenge from him, he had a nice beautiful daughter. He destroyed my youth and I wanted to destroy the youth of his daughter. I planned for this for months.” Mr. Perera said. I actually felt bad for him. But what he was doing was evil and unfair. He was blinded by the vengeance. “You did a great job son. But I am afraid I will have to kill you both.” he said to me, and at once jumped at me and took the gun from me. I was helpless.
He pointed the gun at me and Shamini. I stood up in front of Shamini and said, “Sir, please listen to me. You do not have to do this. Your revenge was with her father. Now he is gone. Everyone has suffered a lot. I know, what happened with you, was unfair. But you cannot gain what you lost by killing someone.” But he was not in a state of listening to me. His mind compelled him to have his revenge. His eyes were filled with anger. He laughed and said, “Step aside A.A. I will spare your life.” I said, “You will have to kill me first.” “Of course my friend! With pleasure. You have any last words?” he said.
I told Shamini, without turning towards her, “Shamini, do you believe in love at first sight? I never believed it, until I met you. I am sorry I shouted at you and sorry I could not save you from this. We could not spend more time together. But the last few hours I spent with you, were the best hours in my life. I love you.” She started crying and said, “I love you too.” “Mother, father I love you both and Mr. Perera, I am not at all angry with you.” With the end of my sentence, a bullet came out of Mr. Perera’s gun and penetrated my chest and I fell down. Everything around me, was fading and I heard some gun shots and saw the police taking Mr. Perera into custody. I was partially conscious and I saw Shamini crying near me. It was like a dream. I wanted to talk but I couldn’t. Some medical officers came and put an oxygen mask on me. I closed my eyes. Then I had a sudden shock and got up breathing heavily. I was at the hospital, in the operation theatre. Doctors quickly, injected me with some medicine and put the oxygen mask. I had come back from the death. I fell asleep few minutes later. When I opened my eyes again, I could see my mother and father smiling next to me with eyes filled with tears. I looked at them and smiled. I asked them, “Where is Shamini? Is she okay?” She entered the room and hugged me and said, “I love you too.” Then, she kissed me on my forehead.
Later I came to know that Mr. Perera had died from the gun shots by the police. Everything turned out well. The police took statements from me. Then some journalists came from television and radio channels and newspapers. They asked me about the adventure I had. I described every single detail which happened that day. “This is an adventure which will last in my memory till I die. I gained some rare experiences. I could touch and hold a gun. I hit two people. I had a deadly gun shot on my chest. Luckily bullet hit on the right side of my chest, away from my heart. I could save a girl. Actually, I feel like a hero in movies. But this time it was real. I still cannot believe it happened. It is just like a dream for me. But I felt bad about what happened to Mr. Perera. He was like a father to me. He was a good man.” Then a journalist asked me a question. “Sir, we have a burning question to ask from you. Could you tell us your name please?” I smiled and replied “It really did not come up throughout the story, did it? My name is Aruna S. Yapa.”
Next day, my name was written all over the local news. I was admired by everybody for my heroism. I was happy that I could save Shamini. I received so many compliments from around the country. Few days later, I was promoted as the chief accountant at the company and a big cheque was given to me as a present. I married Shamini and started my new life with happiness. I remembered the sentence I saw that day. “The God giveth and the God taketh away.” It was true and valid statement. Mr. Perera could not keep the happy life given by the God. His thirst for revenge, made him an animal. He destroyed his life by himself. So the God had to take it away.
By Pasindu Senarath Paranayapa from Sri Lanka