Estern was driving the car, with Julia, his lieutenant, sitting right next to him. As soon as their car reached the cotton plant in the west, the fire brigade trucks were heading back to their stations. The fire was turned down, and a thick smell of burnt wood was permeating the air. The ashes of the burnt factory still hung in the air. Julia tied a long handkerchief around her mouth and nose. Estern looked at her, and with a voice filtering through the piece of cloth, she said “I have an extra one for you,” and before she could pick it out from her pocket, Estern was moving on his way. Estern knew what has happened here, but he couldn’t deny the truth about the leader.
Passing through the sealed area with photographers from the media capturing the smoking factory with their cameras, Estern and Julia reached inside the plant. Metal machines survived the fire. But the workers weren’t that fortunate. Lifeless corpses, burnt down with their blood spilled painted the ground. The smell that filled the air was unbearable, and the sight was even more horrible. Making way through the dead bodies, Mark moved forward.
“Sir,” said Julia, with her hand pressed on her mouth, “What are we doing here? There’s nothing left here than rubble. This place is making me sick.”
“We are here to seek some answers. You may come if you wish to, I don’t want you to get in the trouble. It might be dangerous, especially for a woman.” Said Mark, scanning the whole area, with his eyes rolling to every corner of the place.
“What do you mean “especially for a woman”?” the inner woman spirit woke up, “You think I can’t stand danger? Well, Mr. Mark Estern, you are forgetting that I have achieved this post after passing through even more dangerous circumstances than these…” and her inner woman spirit went on fighting.
Estern had already turned a deaf ear to her, for he knew her very well. He kept on walking with his footsteps echoing in the big hall. And suddenly, his foot landed on something, something hollow. He could tell by the sound it made. He stepped back, and whispered “Recludo” The tile on the ground shook and the next moment, it revealed a way, a passage. This is it!
Julia was not out of words to say, and finally her gaze fell upon the hole that Estern made in the ground. What is he doing? She walked to him and asked him “What are you trying to do?”
“You wait right here for me.” Estern said, looking at her.
“No way, you aren’t going there all alone. I won’t let you, I’m coming too.” said Julia, raising her voice.
“No, you aren’t. You will wait right here. I don’t know what lies in there, and I can’t put your life in danger, you know that.” said Estern.
“You are not going in there, not without me!” said Julia, in a final words style.
Even though Julia was Mark’s subordinate, but there were many instances when Mark has to follow her orders. Both of them jumped in the hole. Julia lit the torch and made the path visible. Drawing deep breath, Julia followed Estern. The passage that seemed to be endless was echoing with their footsteps. Soon they reached the centre of the web, nothing was here. Nothing!
Running after truth, fighting the lie,
As deep as the hell, as high as the sky.
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