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The Deception

I glanced at my watch.

8.00 p.m. The guests will be here soon.

It has been a spectacular day. I woke up to a bouquet of orchids lying on my bedside. When I stepped out, Rohan was cooking breakfast. After a delicious breakfast of man and eggs, Rohan and I went on a long drive. We were back by noon, and we headed to our favorite restaurant for lunch. Rohan had booked the entire floor. A live band played soft sensual music while a celebrity chef dished out the most exotic dishes. We spent the afternoon in coital bliss. And now this party. Rohan ensured I had no time to think of my past.

On this day, three years ago, my life changed forever.


“We are tracking a contract killer. He has outwitted intelligence agencies across the world. We don’t know anything about him, no fingerprints, no photographs. However, we know for sure that he has a weakness for women in red. After every assassination, a woman in red is found dead with a photograph of his target on her,” the Director of the secret intelligence unit (SIU) briefed me.

“He is here for a deal which will be closed at a private party. As an invitee, you will go there alone, identify the man, use your charms, and get him to the backyard to enable the backup team to capture him. The background check on all the invitees is clear. We don’t have any suspects. Be careful. Trust your instincts. You know the policy; if you are hurt or caught, you are on your own. You will not reveal anything about SIU,  even at the cost of your life. All the best.”

I went to the party in a figure-hugging red dress, hoping to draw the man to me. My vigilant eyes scanned the room.  A few minutes later, two men headed towards the restroom. Something about them was not right; I followed them. Suddenly, without any warning, I was struck on my head with a heavy object. I fell unconscious.

I woke up in a hospital ten days later.

My head? My head feels better. Oh! The pain in my right leg is unbearable. What happened that night? Who brought me to the hospital? It can’t be the SIU.

A few minutes later, the doctor walked in. He checked my vitals.

“You are out of danger now. The bruise on your head will heal, but we had to amputate your leg.  The police will meet you now.”

 My right leg is gone! My life as an agent is over!

I couldn’t speak; my voice choked in my throat.  Just then, the police entered the room to take my statement. A handsome man accompanied them.

“Do you recollect anything?”

“I stepped out to use the washroom. I felt something heavy on my head. I fell unconscious.”

“We found you slumped outside the washroom when we reached the hotel. You lost a lot of blood.

Do you know this man? He was the one who informed us. According to him, you are strangers, and he was only trying to help. We need to confirm it with you.”

“He is right. I don’t know him.”

“If only everyone were this helpful. Rohan donated blood for your operation, apart from getting you here just in time. You need rest,” said the doctor.

They left me alone with my thoughts.

I will get my answers from the SIU. I will wait for an opportune time to talk to them.

Rohan visited me every day after that on some pretext or the other.

Fifteen days later, I got my chance.

“Hello! Boss. What happened that night?”

“Ria! We got alerted only when the police arrived. We saw Rohan wheeling you into the ambulance. We followed him to confirm that there was no foul play. We took over the case from the local police. The CCTV camera at the hotel captured a man hitting you on your head first and later aiming for your legs. Five minutes later, Rohan walked out of the washroom; you know the rest. A background check on Rohan revealed that he is a photographer with an International wildlife magazine. He was clear.

We tracked the assailant. Before we could capture him, he consumed cyanide. We believe that he was the criminal we were after.

You know the rules. Destroy this burner phone and start your life afresh. Goodbye and good luck.”

My career with the SIU was over. I focussed on rehabilitation. With Rohan around, I never felt lonely. Nine months later, I took my first step with my prosthetic leg. Rohan proposed to me a month later. I was madly in love with him; I had no reason to say no. Two months later, on that same date, we were married in a small private ceremony.

That date remained etched in my memory for two reasons now, loss of my leg and my wedding.

I started an NGO to help disabled children. It kept me occupied when Rohan was away on his assignments.

I am happy; however, a nagging thought never leaves my mind. Why did that criminal break my leg after I fell unconscious?


“Wow! You look gorgeous. I am a lucky man,” Rohan said as we walked hand in hand to welcome our guests.

“Happy second anniversary!” they wished as we cut a cake and the celebrations began.


Sipping champagne, Rohan recollected that night three years ago.

I was here to conclude a deal. My informant alerted me of Ria. I fell in love the moment I saw her picture. She was brilliant; she got a whiff of me. She followed the men to the washroom. Killing her was easy, but she had my heart.  So I destroyed her leg, thus ensuring she couldn’t get back to sleuthing. I found my way into her heart; I hope to stay there forever. I always get what I want.

“To many more anniversaries! Cheers!”


This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Now, now!! The twist was on expected lines, but still the ending was not I had in mind. I thought R would kill her later, or Ria would come to know later.
    Superbly written.

  2. Avatar
    Natasha Sequeira

    Wow that’s a lovely second Anniversary tale. Superb twist at the end. 7 on 10.

  3. Avatar
    Sudha Viswanath

    Too many things happened in thousand words
    I thought Ria was supposed to attract the accused with her red dress, but instead she followed two people to the washroom.
    Rohan’s character and the twist was fairly predictable.
    I am sure as a writer of this piece you must have cross checked the authenticity of the policy of SIU to tell it’s agent to fend for herself if found in a tight spot.
    And after this incident what happened to the SIU pursuing the matter about the killer of red dressed females?
    Hope Rohan and Ria have many more anniversaries together after this second one.

  4. Avatar

    Quite an intriguing tale, I had an inkling that R was not who he seemed, since it was just too convenient that he would turn up on the spot. The pace was tight and the narration was slick. A few typos // man and eggs and the phrase ‘career is over’ was repeated a few times.
    One question on plot, weren’t there any more killings after that ? Did the police close their file in this case ? 7.5/10

  5. Avatar

    Red dresses, pacy narration, food, money,booze. Now this is a typical Abbas Mastaan thriller script isnt it? Since those are my guilty pleasures, 7/10 from me. Just a teeny tiny issues. Ria was a trained sleuth, yet she never doubted Rohan and his sporadic dissappearances? That aparr, this was an entertaining read.

  6. Avatar
    Ramanjaneya Sharaph

    Very good set up. Smooth langauge and narration. Liked the way the second anniversary is incorporated without mentioning it in as many words.
    The line, “After a delicious breakfast of man and eggs…” I hope it was not a typo. LIke the naughty suggestion in that.
    Could not wrap my head around a few plot points: a trained SIU agent will be sufficiently aware of her surroundings to be taken by surprise. Also, she would have noticed her husband’s “other” activities and smelt a rat? And the typical MO in such cases would be to let the quarry approach the “bait”, if I may call her that, not the other way around. The story was a bit predictable, but I am guessing a lot of this has to do with the limit on word count, which makes it challeinging for a story in this genre to be developed satisfactorily and loose ends tied up. Rate this at 6.5/10.

  7. Avatar
    Amrita Sarkar

    This was a fast paced gripping read and I was sucked in right from the beginning. The prompt has been used well and the characters were rivetting. This is like one of those edge of the seat thrillers we read. Kudos for that. I cannot think of any con except for the ending. It was predictable. I had an inkling that Rohan was the guy who destroyed her legs and career. I think if she would have outsmarted him somehow it would have been divine justice. But nonetheless, it made for ab exciting read! My rating : 6.5/10

  8. Avatar
    Moonmoon Chowdhury

    Enjoyed the fluid, fast-paced narration. I could predict the ending but I loved the way you have told the story. Also, I loved how the prompt features as the center piece in this story.

    My rating : 8.2/10

  9. Avatar
    Urmi Chakravorty

    I liked the premises and the way the story unfolded. I did have an inkling of who R actually was but the events and the build-up kept me hooked!
    The anniversary celebrations sounded very special and romantic but I’m left wondering why this trip down memory lane had to happen on the second anniversary and not the first. Besides, was a different man purposely assigned the task of assaulting her in the rest room? Coz the CVTV footage gives a clean chit to R.
    On the whole, this made for an entertaining read and I attribute the plot pointers to the word crunch.
    My rating – 7/10.

  10. Avatar
    Ramya Srinivasan

    Sorry, but I couldn’t quite relate to this story and its characters at all. The world of spying and intelligence doesn’t come through as a genuine setup. It’s a good choice of story for the theme but the suspense could have been built in a better way.
    My rating: 5/10.

  11. Avatar
    Sangeetha Vallat

    A thriller in the garb of an anniversary story followed predictable lines but left the reader in me unsatisfied. It was too convenient for Rohan, Ria being a dud operative. But I like the idea behind this, perhaps the writer could flesh it out later into a bigger piece.

  12. Avatar

    An edit to my original Comment.
    Going through comments and Just realised that man and eggs wasn’t a typo but a naughty reference – my bad . nicely done !

  13. Avatar
    Luvv A Sanwal

    loved the twist. I guessed it right when you mentioned Rohan is photographer. but again, I guessed it wrong as I thought he will kill her but he didn’t. Loved the story. well written. very nice…

  14. Avatar

    I enjoyed the ending. It was unexpected. While reading the story, Rohan gets my sympathy, and then ..bam he didn’t deserve it. As an agent, I would have expected her to be a bit more clever, persistent, and curious. It seemed she just gave up. The ending seemed really fast compared to the beginning. Overall Rating 7.5/10

  15. Avatar

    A secret agent, a killer on the loose… fascination of red dress… all the ingredients of a nice thriller!‍♀️although I always thought Rohan to be the killer but then the story would have been very predictive isn’t it?… my rating 8/10

  16. Avatar

    Fast paced and interesting. However, it would have been more interesting if somehiw Rhea could discover Rohan’s acts, instead of him reminiscing about them. Seems like you needed to wrap up things in a hurry. Would have put Rhea in a better light too as a trained operative.


  17. Avatar
    Vaijayanti Panchal

    An expected twist and an unexpected one! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Great plot and a crisp narrative. I loved how the anniversary celebrations were described. My rating is 8/10

  18. Avatar

    A thriller in 1000 words is awesome. And, it kept me hooked till the end. I did suspect Rohan to be the culprit. But, Ria being an agent is incapable of finding more on the background of Rohan and trusted him without knowing who is he – that’s quite absurd. Heard and read that such agents literally thrive on suspicions.
    For that, my rating is 8.5 otherwise would have been a 9 🙂 good luck!

  19. Avatar

    An entertaining thriller but too far-fetched, I think. An agent of the SIU can’t be so naive that after two years neither she nor her colleagues suspect anything. 6.5

  20. Avatar
    Ashvani Sachdev

    I have two points about this story. Firstly, to do justice to the idea, it should have been a novella or at least a long, long short story. Secondly, the shift of point of view from one to the other main character was a bit of a put off. There is more than one mention of three years ago and then there is use of the second anniversary prompt; the latter appears a bit contrived. Interesting read though. 7/10

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