Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Faster

His breathing became haggard and his eyes expanded at the scene in front of him. She was already there.

“How?” Aarush said in a croaked voice.

In reply, she winked.

“You’re too slow puppy.” She said and gave him a peck on the lips. Only she could manage to make a kiss sarcastic.

Aarush ran back the whole way to see the footmarks but couldn’t find anything. She didn’t cross him. She simply started beside him and ended before him.

“5 km. And all I can see are my footmarks. You didn’t run, did you?” Aarush finally asked. The two had run the race for some time now. Aarush was a lot faster and while she had improved her speed, it would have taken her a long time to come closer to Aarush’s records.

“Well, to be honest, 15 seconds was a little too slow for my taste.” Anandini said with a mirth in her voice.

15 seconds! That was Aarush’s best record in 5 kms. The fastest man on the planet and the only person not allowed in any competitive sports despite not taking any drugs ever.

“You discovered it! YOU DID IT!” Aarush screamed all his confusion forgotten.

Anandini nodded.

“Oh my God! This is amazing.” Aarush said.

“Not yet. I need your help to perfect it. Right now, it’s 50–50 for me.”

“Show it to me.”

In reply she took a few steps from Aarush and ran towards him. She was fast! In a blink of an eye, she was just in front of Aarush running towards him like a bull towards a red cloth. Aarush braced himself for the impact and good thing too.

“OWW.” She screamed as she toppled into Aarush.

“Sorry.. Told you that I have to perfect it yet.”

“It’s alright. Do it again. I don’t mind bumping into you anyways.” Aarush said grinning.

Anandini again went a few steps back. This time increasing the distance to almost half a km and ran towards Aarush. Just as she was an inch away from Aarush, she vanished.

Aarush turned and saw her standing a few metres behind him.

“Damn that accuracy.” Aarush said laughing.

“No accuracy. I almost wasn’t able to do it this time as well.” Anandini said sheepishly.

“No problem. I will help you get better at it. But how did you discover it?” Aarush asked.

“I was going through your notes on quantum tunnelling. While the theory mostly pertains to molecular objects, it says that it is possible for any kind of object. So, I decided to give it a try. Honestly, I was just learning to be able to defeat you.” Anandini said grinning.

“No worries. This is the best outcome that could have come from your zeal to beat me. I am just glad that you didn’t get hurt.” Aarush said.

“Yeah. Somehow, quantum tunneling is a zero-one thing. Either you do it all well or you don’t do it at all. It doesn’t hurt you.”

“As far as we know till now. It would take time to find out all the repercussions. Let’s go.” Aarush said and kissed Anandini with all his love.

Aarush kept sitting looking through the notes. This was an almost abandoned project of his. He had realised that teleportation solution can be created through quantum tunnelling. He worked on creating a model but it didn’t work for him. Unluckily it worked for Anandini.

All his results led to the conclusion that the person doing the quantum tunnelling would suffer from a loss of life force. By how much margin, he wasn’t sure. This meant that he wasn’t sure when Anandini’s life force would end.

“You are worrying too much.” Anandini said smiling unconcerned.

“Well, I have to worry for the both of us.”

“Everything we do takes our life force. And if it was taking too much of it, I would have felt something.”

“Hmm.” Aarush just made a grunting noise and continued his investigation. He put a few monitoring devices on Anandini and started looking for a vein on her hand.

Anandini looked at her intently. He looked up at her and saw immense love.

“You knew.” Aarush immediately said.

“What?”

“You knew it’s repercussions. You did it anyways. You are feeling it, aren’t you?” Aarush said sharply.

“What if I am dying?” Anandini said without any change in tone.

“Then why did you do this. Just to beat me!” Aarush said exasperated.

“Silly boy! What if I was already dying?” Anandini whispered.

Aarush opened his mouth and then closed it. His hand remained frozen with the needle in his hand filled with Anandini’s blood. Then he moved to do tests on the samples without saying any word.

Anandini waited for a couple of hours saying nothing as Aarush did a plethora of tests on her samples.

He shoved her in all the machines he had.

“Why do you have so many machines?” Anandini exclaimed.

Aarush didn’t speak a single word. Anandini shut her mouth again. In his quest to become fast, he had accidentally become a doctor as well. He had extensively studied the human body and most of the machines were latest tech. Anandini had known all of it but still hoped to get some reaction.

“When did you find out? Aarush finally said holding a test tube and a scan in his hands.

“Last month.”

Aarush’s face was ashen. He sat down, kept looking at her and sniffed.

Anandini sat beside him and gave him a hug. Aarush didn’t say anything and just lay his head on her shoulder. Anandini could feel her top getting moist.

“Hey. On the bright side, you have a guinea pig to test the effects of quantum tunnelling.” Anandini said patting Aarush on his back.