She was walking on the road, with her head in the clouds, as usual. Cyclists dodged her, and autos honked their anger, but, all this didn’t even register. The only thing that did register, was the insistent squawk of her phone, the special ringtone for the security system of their safe-house. The fact that it was pinging her at all, meant that someone was trying to break into the house.
Like three other girls who had got the same ping, Milli broke into a run. After all, in Col. Singh’s absence, the four of them were responsible for the house. As Milli ran into their compound, she looked around. There wasn’t anyone around, apart from that new security guard who was walking out of the side gate. He was too far to hear her, so, she didn’t bother calling him, and ran up the stairs to their second floor apartment. Their lock seemed intact. Maybe, the intruder hadn’t managed to break in. She unlocked the door, stepped inside and froze. She could smell a gas leak, a very strong one. Before she could move, Tina rushed past her, into the kitchen. The regulator of the gas cylinder had been taken off, and LPG was merrily filling the room. Tina forced the regulator on, and turned the gas off, as Milli threw open the window. If they hadn’t turned it off in time, even turning on the light would have sparked an explosion.
This was no accident. Someone had tried to hunt some Blackbirds.
Col. Singh caught the next flight to Mumbai, and was back home in three hours. He had the security footage pulled up. To their surprise, it was wiped clean, and the new security guard had disappeared.
Milli couldn’t sleep all night. Ever since that guy had come on duty, his face had been nagging at her mind. She had seen him somewhere. She had ignored that niggling feeling, and it had almost got them killed. She had to place him, before he tried to kill them again. She knew, for sure, that she had never spoken to him, but, she had seen him before.
She woke up heavy eyed, and the girls kept trying to jog her memory. It just made her feel worse, and she got really cranky.
The next morning, they had a visitor.
“Girls, meet Dr. Snehal Shah. She’s a clinical hypnotherapist, and she will help Milli.”
“Don’t look so anxious, Milli,” said Dr. Shah. “I won’t hurt you. The thing is, we see so many people every day. You might have seen that man anywhere. If it wasn’t significant, you wouldn’t have had that niggling feeling, that’s been troubling you, ever since he came to work here. That is a sign that your subconscious mind was trying to warn you about something.
Think of your subconscious mind as a storage device. To access the file that you need, you have to be in a state of deep relaxation. I will help you get there. You just have to do as I say. Are you ready to begin the journey?”
Milli had to lie down on her bed, and take three deep breaths. Then, Dr. Shah told her to progressively relax each part of her body. When she was completely relaxed, she was told to visualise herself, standing at the top of a staircase with twenty steps. Each step that she took, down that staircase, was going to take her deeper and deeper into her subconscious mind. When, she reached the last step, she was asked to visualise a closed door.
“Behind that door, are all your memories associated with that guard. Milli, on the count of three, you have to open that door, and enter.
1, 2, 3… Milli, are you in the room?”
“What do you see?”
“There are photographs, on the floor, and a blackboard.”
“Please describe those photos.”
“They are photos of the guard, in different situations. There is a date on every photo. The latest photo is of him leaving the compound, by the side gate.”
“You have to pin those photos on that blackboard, in reverse order of date, last to first. Like a puzzle.”
Milli saw herself sifting through the photos. One by one, she started pinning photos to the board, and remembering those memories…
when she saw him leaving the compound
when she saw him lurking outside their flat
the day she saw him in the security booth, by the gate, for the first time
a glimpse of him walking by her, on the road, a week before he joined
the image of him, staring at her across a railway platform
and finally, her first memory of that security guard…
Dr. Shah gently brought her out of her subconscious mind. After she left, the others gathered around Milli, and she started talking.
“Col. Singh , do you remember that surveillance test you made us do, last month? We had to follow that builder with underworld connections, for a week, without getting caught.”
“Yes, you aced that test.”
“Yeah, not so much,” she said, with a sheepish grin.
“That security guard, was the builder’s personal bodyguard. He obviously spotted me, and followed me home, and then tried to kill us.”
“Milli! You put us all, in danger! Not only did you break the first rule of surveillance – be invisible, but, you also forgot all the counter-surveillance measures, that I taught you. You are going to repeat all the surveillance tests, young lady, and no access to your lab, till you get it right.”
Col. Singh sighed. His birds had a long way to go, before they could fly.
For today’s prompt, I was supposed to feature a map, and talk about a place, real or virtual.
However, there is no way to pinpoint the exact location of the subconscious mind. But, there are a few steps that are supposed to take you deep into your subconscious. I have depicted those steps, in this pictorial map.
The map to Milli’s memory:
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6
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