The 7 Innocents

John 7:24
'Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.'



Isaiah 64:6
'But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;'


It was when their problems seemed to wane that they escalated. The Australians all disappeared, and the seminary shut down. They were told to run for their lives. Told if they didn’t, their families would die. Told if they did, their families would still die.
They endeavoured to solve the mystery – one that threatened to destroy them and their families – but soon realised that to end it all, they must first find the Australians. But the closer they came to finding them, the more they began to see they should run and never come back.
The question, of course, is why they didn’t call the police.
The answer is simple.
You can’t avoid being condemned unless you’re innocent.
And these men are not.

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7. Chapter Six: The 7 Argue

 

‘The attack.’ Gopi began, pacing the room confidently. ‘Probably the easiest feat to accomplish. Please do note at which time this attack was prompted.’

          The supposed boss read the paper he had been given and frowned. ‘Ah, yes. This was right when we had nearly cut off aid from America. India was on the path towards freedom.’

          ‘Yes.’ Gopi affirmed. ‘And IndAid was not happy. They acted, remember?, causing problems that they could use as a means of asking for aid.’

          The workers nodded.

          ‘Right.’ Gopi continued. ‘So, finally, I decided we had to retaliate. Please, do note that they started it. Our little feud was all words and papers until they went dramatic.’

          ‘Yes.’ The boss cut in. ‘But your reaction was hardly reasonable.’

          ‘Our reaction.’ Gopi corrected. ‘You followed willingly.’

          An uncomfortable silence fell over the room, though it pleased Gopi. He was about to continue boldly when the boss suddenly spoke up yet again.

          ‘I understand that they deliberately had our best workers killed.’ He began. ‘And I understand that we had cause to be angry. But we should have simply exposed them while we were still innocent rather than charging in and making things worse for ourselves. Blowing up their offices? That was unwise. Shutting down their banking websites, in some cases even stealing the money? That was incredibly foolish. But shutting those websites down – that was probably the worst action of all. That showed them we were scared. That set the scene for the next crime.’

          Gopi had nothing to say in reply to this. After all, the boss had been the only man against him when he had proposed doing such things. Perhaps… he should have listened.

          ‘I am sorry.’ He said for the first time ever. ‘But please do let me explain my foolish behavior.’

          The boss nodded, finally satisfied. ‘You have my permission.’

      Nodding humbly, Gopi began again.          

 

Fixing the car wasn't difficult for Josha, and the seven wondered how he had managed to achieve such a thing. He interrupted their quiet musings by opening the van door and screaming, 'everyone push the car!' His friends jumped, but slowly began filing out of the car.

                Suneep stayed put.

                'Suneep!' Josha barked. 'Out!'

                But Suneep still would not move.

                'Come on,' Mehmet tried to encourage him. 'You said you were all right, and the car is heavy. You are one of the strongest in our group.'

                Bikram walked up and helpfully distracted Josha. 'How did you work out to fix the car?'

                'When you were fussing over Suneep.' Josha replied.

                'What was that about?' Mehmet asked, suddenly distracted.

                'Do not start that again!' Arjun pleaded.

                Suneep smiled, and finally said something. 'I was not expecting such a strong reaction.' Then, solemnly, he added, 'but I am glad.'

                Josha turned to Suneep and shook his head. 'You are such a sick-o.'

                Arjun was about to ask why Suneep was glad, when Josha suddenly screamed, 'out! Now!'

                Arjun and Mehmet turned desperately to Suneep and cried in perfect unison, 'come on, brother!'

                Suneep shook his head.

                'But you said you were fine!' Josha growled, trying hard not to lose his temper. 'Were you lying?'

                'No.' Suneep replied. 'I just don't want to help.'

                'You'll help!' Josha screamed, and Arjun panicked.

                'Dai!' He shouted, trying to sound authoritative. 'Get out and help right now, unless you are sick!' Josha rolled his eyes and walked off, so Mehmet and Arjun were content to do the same.

                The six men pushed the car and attempted to move it while Suneep sat inside and the driver pretended to drive. It was hard work, and Arjun put more effort into the task than anyone. He sunk lower and lower, until the car finally moved. The men cried out in triumph and copied his move.

                The road was not as flat as it first appeared, and there as actually a steep hill. This worried the men, as the car began slipping backwards.

                'We're going to get run over!' Chandan pointed out, perspiring heavily.

                Arjun desperately tried to shift his weight to stop the car rolling. 'Suneep!' He cried. 'We could really use your help right now!'

                'No!' Was all that came in reply.

                Arjun sighed, rolled his eyes (which was unusual for him) and threw himself against the very edge of the car. There was a sudden burst of force, and the car began inching forward. The engine roared, and the driver shouted, 'it's working now!'

                The men cheered, and Bikram generously hugged everyone.

                'Haan!' Danny screamed at the top of his lungs. 'We did it!'

                The men scrambled back into the car and, as Arjun closed the door, Mehmet noticed blood seeping through Arjun's jeans.

                'Bhai, what happened?'

                Arjun shook his head. 'Nothing. I think there was just something sharp where I was.'

                Mehmet frowned, as he recalled the sharp piece of metal Arjun was referring to. 'You cut yourself on that?' He suddenly cried.

                Arjun chuckled. 'I am fine.' He assured his friend.

                Mehmet glared at Suneep, but, seeing Arjun was not attacking, said nothing.

                Eventually, a tree over the road came into view.

                'There is a car on the other side!' Bikram cried. Then, slowly, his face fell. 'Oh no. It is my family's car.'

                The rest of the group (with the exception of Suneep) cheered, as the car came to a standstill, having finally died again. The men eagerly piled out of the car and ran up to Bikram's family.

                'How did you beat us?!' Bikram cried, obviously awkward.

                His mother smiled, a false sweetness coming through. 'Alternative route.' She answered. 'You are lucky.'

                Bikram shook his head in the funniest way imaginable, and folded his arms. He began chuckling for no apparent reason, and turned quite red.

                'We have to talk later.' His father said, to which Bikram giggled. 'But for now, every-one get in the car.'

                The group excitedly piled into the car, with the exception of Suneep, who climbed in quietly. The men chose to ignore him, and chattered happily amongst themselves.

 

When the group finally reached Arjun's home, it was late in the afternoon. Every-one (or at least nearly every-one) was excited to be back, and jumped out of the car excitedly.

                'Where were you?' Sara cried, to which Mehmet replied, 'the car broke down!'

                Bikram tried to sneak away, but was soon caught by his parents, who pulled him aside.

                Soon, only Suneep and Arjun were left in the car, as well as the poor driver. The man began calling various people, trying to explain his situation. Eventually, he left Bikram's family van and began pacing the driveway.

                Arjun sat in the car glaring at Suneep in a peculiar way.  'Are you hurt?' He finally asked.

                Suneep shook his head. 'Don't make me say it again, dai.'

                Arjun's eyes flashed. 'Then why did you not help?'

                Suneep's eyes also flashed, and he spoke hotly. 'So. You have not yelled at me all this time so that you can now rip me to shreds.'

                Arjun shook his head. 'No, dai.'

                'Just yell at me already.' Suneep muttered.

                Arjun shook his head again. 'No. Because that is exactly what you want, and I think I know why. You must take responsibility for yourself, Suneep. I will not yell at you.'

                Suneep turned angrily to Arjun. 'What are you talking about?' He cried. 'Just yell at me already!'

                Arjun shook his head for the last time. 'No.'

                'Come on, bhai! Look! Because of me, you are wounded. Bleeding!'

                'You wanted trouble, and you got it. You dressed that way for many reasons, though really, it all comes down to one reason. But I am confused. Why did you want to be hurt? What have you done?'

                Suneep was furious now. 'Are you trying to be a psychiatrist or read my mind?!'

                Arjun smiled a little. 'You are easy to read, Suneep. It is just funny that I did not believe her for so long.'

                Suneep was intrigued. 'Wait... who? Believe who?'

                Arjun's face fell, and the colour drained from his face. 'No-one.' He stammered.

                'Who have you been talking to?!' Suneep cried. 'What has she told you!?'

                Arjun sighed, and climbed out of the car. 'You get off topic easily.'

                'Wait!' Suneep cried, following him. 'I have not finished with you yet!'

                Arjun ignored Suneep and continued walking. He was worried now – he had let something very important slip. Something he should not have brought up.

                'Nor I you!' Josha suddenly screamed, stalking up to his friend. 'What were you doing back there!? Oh wait, that's right: nothing! You were doing nothing! What is with you today?!'

                Arjun paused and sighed deeply. Wasn’t there anyone else who could keep these unruly children in order? But no, they were all dysfunctional, incapable adults. So he grudgingly stepped in.

                'What is with you today, Josha? Just leave Suneep alone. You know he is trouble maker.'

                'Not always.' Suneep muttered. 'Sometimes I am victim.'

                'You could have killed us all!' Josha cried. 'Or at least those of us behind the car!'

                Suneep shrugged. 'But I did not.'

                Arjun heard laughter, and turned distractedly around. What he saw he found less than pleasing. 'Mehmet!' He hissed, stalking over.

                Danny saw Arjun coming, and whispered something to Cammie. Laughing, the two scrambled up onto the roof of the house. Sara was left looking up at them. Chandan sensed and argument, and quickly ushered Arjun's family inside.

                'I want ask you question about Nepal these days.' He persuaded them. Almost as soon as his family entered the house, Arjun began shouting.

                'I told you to leave her alone!' Arjun cried. 'From the very beginning! Why are you such a fool that you speak to her anyway!?'

                'Because I am not fool.' Mehmet replied. 'She is nice girl. I like her, and it is fun annoying you.'

                'Why?' Arjun cried, greatly distressed.

                'Because,' Mehmet answered.

                Danny explained for him. 'You don't get annoyed by anything else. Only annoyed when we're running for our lives and no-one's being serious.'

                'Running for your lives?' Bikram's mother repeated. 'What are you talking about?'

                Josha unknowingly saved the situation as he screamed, 'you could have killed us all!'

                Bikram's mother turned back to her son, unaware that Josha and Suneep were discussing a separate problem.

                'You lied to us.' His father said. 'Why?'

                Bikram looked deathly pale, and stuttered violently. 'I – I... you... you're. You're just. Dai is... he's a – doctor. Bhainee is... will be... a great wife. Is a good sister... daughter. I – my... well.' He stopped talking, took a deep breath, and looked up at the sky. He blinked; holding back tears. 'I failed you. I failed you because I was such a fool. I did not care until the moment I failed.'

                'Bikram, you should have just told us!' His mother replied. 'Not five years later!'

                Bikram nodded. 'I know. I am so sorry.'

                'Idiot!' Josha screamed dramatically.

                Bikram laughed, and used the word as part of his conversation. 'I am.' Then, he excused his friend's outrageous behaviour. 'You must ignore them, they are all stressed.'

                His parents nodded, and hugged their son.

                'Mehmet!' Arjun was screaming. 'Get down off that roof, or I'll...!'

                Out came Arjun's father.

                Everything fell silent, with the exception of Bikram and his parents, who were cooing happily.

                'What is going on?' Arjun's father shouted.

                'He could have killed us!' Josha screamed, pointing at Suneep.

                'I will kill you, if you don't stop screaming and go inside!' Arjun's father retorted. The two fell silent, and slunk silently inside. Then, the man turned to his son. 'And what are you screaming about?' Arjun stood frozen to the spot. 'Oh, you're quiet now are you?' His father pushed.

                Arjun flinched, but then spoke quickly, in Nepali. Mehmet and Danny understood nothing, but Arjun's father did not seem happy.

                'Sara is my daughter.' He began. 'Mine! I can take care of her, just like I have for the past how many years! You should just worry about taking care of yourself, okay? Honestly, ever since... well, you've been like this for three years now. What's your problem?'

                Arjun seemed crushed. 'Like what?' He asked.

                'Stressed and stressful.' His father replied.

                Arjun fell silent. Then, slowly, he replied, with a determination that surprised even his father. 'I am sorry.' He said, looking his father calmly in the eyes. 'But I still think you should listen to me. I don't say things for no reason.' With this, he walked placidly into the house.

                His father stood still for a moment, wondering what on earth his son could mean. Then he looked up at the two clowns on the roof and shouted, 'get down now!'

 

 

 

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