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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23. Chapter Twenty-Two: The 7 Mourners

 

 

Bikram watched as Suneep and Josha delightedly smothered Suneep's dinner in peanut butter.

            'It's too obvious!' Josha cried, rubbing the substance in a little more. 'Not so thick!' Suneep chuckled, but stopped.

            'Where's Braj?' Josha asked, looking round.

            'Over there.' Suneep pointed across the room. 'Let's go.' The two began making their way across the room, and nearly crashed into Dr. Ashwin. 'Doctor!' Suneep cried, becoming serious.

            The doctor frowned. 'Hello, Suneep. Nice to see you've cheered up.'

            'Doctor, I need to apologise to you. I am very upset at the moment, but should not have behaved so badly.'

            Dr. Ashwin eyed Suneep curiously and then checked behind him. Sure enough, he saw Arjun. The young man smiled nervously, and – sighing – Dr. Ashwin turned back to Suneep. 'Arjun eyed you sternly?'

            Suneep nodded, ashamed. 'Yes. But I do mean it.'

            'But unless Arjun glared at you, you would have said nothing?'

            Suneep looked at his feet, and Dr. Ashwin coolly walked off. Then, as soon as the man left, Suneep's face lit up. 'Let's go.'

            Josha and Suneep squeezed themselves on an already full table, pushing a person each out of their way so that they could sit on either side of Braj. As the man eyed them in shock, Suneep switched his meal with Braj's. The man didn't even notice.

            Suddenly, the room fell silent. Suneep looked up and saw Danny, standing on the bench-seat, in between four men. After a brief look around the room, the man began singing.

            'Climb, climb, sunshine mountain, let your heart go free! Climb, climb, sunshine mountain, let your heart go boom boom boom! Turn, turn, turn around. Who will come with me? Climb, climb sunshine mountain, you come too. You come too.'

            Suneep smiled, as he realised Danny was pointing at him, and stood up. The two sung well, and remembered all the actions Ardi had taught them. Surprisingly, though, Ardi had never been brave enough to start the epidemic at the BSI.

            When the song finally reached its best line, Danny pointed at Chandan, and Suneep pointed at Josha. Men were beginning to hide under the table, but Suneep knew in the end they'd be seen. The epidemic spread quickly, until it was harder to sit down than to join in. Those that still hadn't been pointed at were blatantly obvious.

            'Josha!' Braj shouted, one of the few that hadn't been pointed at. 'Is this peanut butter chicken?'

            Josha laughed. 'Yes, brother!'

            Braj's face fell. 'Brother! Did you put it on my meal?'

            'Yes!'

            'Josha!' Braj screamed, standing up. All fell silent, and everyone stared at the man. 'Did I never tell you?' Josha was worried now. Braj began to scratch his face, as he replied, 'I am allergic to peanut butter!'

            Vijay jumped up in a moment. 'What?!' He screamed. 'Who gave you peanut butter?'

            'No-one, dai, do not worry. It was a harmless joke.'

            'You are allergic, Braj!'

            Arjun's face had paled. 'How allergic, friend?'

            Braj began to leave the room, and left two words ringing in Josha's ears. 'Deathly allergic.'

It was as if everyone in the dining room had been slapped across the face.

            'Call an ambulance!' Chandan cried, putting his brain into gear.

            'Do not over-act!' Josha snapped. 'He has epi-pen of course. He will be fine!'

            Calvin held his phone uncertainly, and Josha ran to check on his friend, who was more like a brother or a father. He was surprised when Arjun followed him. They found Braj in his room, madly pulling things out of his drawers, and shifting things frantically.

            'Where is it?!' Vijay cried, watching his brother.

            'I don't remember!' Braj cried, panicking. A rash had developed on his face, and his cheeks were starting to swell. Josha's face paled, and Arjun ran off. 'I didn't think I'd need it.' Braj continued. 'But I still put it in a safe place. So safe even I don't remember where it is!' Josha began trembling in fear, and his outside the door.

            Meanwhile, in the dining room, everyone jumped as Arjun ran in screaming, 'call an ambulance!'             Calvin immediately began doing so.

            Suneep was pale. 'Does he not have epi-pen?'

            'He cannot find it.'

            Bikram looked sick too. 'This is all my fault.' He muttered.

            'No, it's mine.' Suneep objected.

            'It's nobody's fault.' Arjun helped. 'Just pray, okay?' With this, he ran off again.

            By the time he reached Braj, the man was breathing heavily Arjun's spirits sunk further as the man took a puff of Ventolin. 'You are asthmatic?' He asked.

            'Yes!' Vijay screamed, his eyes filled with terror and desperation. 'If he has an asthma attack he may die!'

            Arjun began to realise an ambulance would never make it on time. 'We must get him to the hospital.' He said, rushing to pick the man up. Braj seemed upset by all the attention he was getting, but would not object – he simply had to concentrate on breathing. Vijay was glad for Arjun's help, and the two carried his brother together. Josha curled up as they passed, hoping no-one would notice he was there. 'We need a scooter!' Arjun cried to the crowd that had gathered outside the dining room. 'And a driver!' Arjun had never dared to ride in Indian traffic before.

            'I have a scooter.' Mehmet offered, holding up his keys.

            'I'll drive.' Chandan decided, taking the keys.

            'No, dai.' Arjun objected, still rushing along. 'You are Nepali. If you are injured, you will be sent back to Nepal – even if you are very badly injured.'

            Chandan simply shrugged and strapped on Mehmet's helmet. 'I'll just have to risk it.' Vijay lowered his brother onto the scooter, and Chandan sped away.

            Chandan was a good driver, or at least he thought he was. He pulled onto the over-crowded main road in seconds, and easily made his way through the unpredictable traffic. 'I will not stop.' He muttered to himself.

            He swerved, as a car appeared out of no-where. He cringed as he pulled out and faced an oncoming truck. Carefully timed, right down to the last second, he pulled back in, avoiding the car on his left, and the massive truck. If Braj was concerned about Chandan's driving, he worked hard not to show it. The man simply took his Ventolin and tried to regulate his breathing. Chandan reached the hospital in minutes, and rushed into the emergency room.

            'I'm sorry.' The receptionist said almost immediately. 'You'll just have to wait a minute.'

            'But this is an emergency!' Chandan cried. 'He only needs an epi-pen!'

            'I'm sorry, sir, I'm not authorised to hand out medication.'

            'I'll buy it!'

            'If you want to purchase medication, you should have gone to the pharmacy.'

            'Of course! Why didn't I think of that?' Chandan was surprised when Vijay and Mehmet walked in. They had obviously taken Vijay's motorbike. 'They won't let him in!' Chandan cried frustratedly. 'I should have gone to the pharmacy!'

            'I'm on it!' Mehmet replied, rushing out again.

            Back in Braj's room, Suneep, Bikram Danny, and Arjun were turning the place upside down.

            'I don't even know what this will look like!' Danny cried frustratedly.

            'Just look for something you don't recognise.' Arjun shot back.

            Mehmet rode around the city, unable to believe how few pharmacies there were. Finally, though, he found one, and rushed to its doors. 'Closed!' He cried in worry. 'Missed it by ten minutes!'

            He rushed off, eventually finding several pharmacies, but they all seemed to be closed. 'Dear God, please help me!' He cried, as minutes passed. He saw another pharmacy and hoped for the best. As he approached the building, relief flooded him. 'It's open!' He shouted. 'Dear God, thank you!'

            Mehmet had a little difficulty explaining what he wanted to the pharmacist, and was annoyed at how long it took to purchase the medicine. But finally, after five minutes, he had it in his hands and fled.

            Arjun cried out in pain as he was hit in the face by a dictionary.

            'Sorry, bhai!' Suneep called, rushing to his friend. 'Are you all right?'

            Arjun's nose was bleeding, but he nodded anyway. 'I'm fine. Keep searching.'

            'I found it!' Danny suddenly screamed. He held up an unusual looking item and a box, which showed a picture of the item and the words 'epi-pen'.

            'Go, go, go, go, go!' The men screamed nearly in perfect unison.

            'Which hospital are they at?' Suneep asked as they ran.

            Arjun did not want to guess, and quickly texted Chandan. After a minute, he received a reply. 'Shiny one.' He stammered. 'Go!'

            Danny jumped on a bike – no-one knew whose it was – and began pedaling like mad. He was a strong man, and flew through the traffic. He only hoped they still had time. He reached the hospital within ten minutes, and nearly ran into Mehmet as he arrived.

            'Sorry.' The two said at once, immediately running into the building. Their faces immediately fell.

            Everything seemed to be moving in slow-motion.  Vijay screaming, weeping. Braj falling motionless to the floor. Chandan kneeling beside him and calling out for help.

            Mehmet ran, slowly it seemed, with the medicine in hand. He was beaten by several nurses. Things sped up again.

            'We just have to run some tests.' They insisted.

            'He just need epi-pen!' Vijay screamed, frustrated that no-one was listening.

            'I have it!' Mehmet shouted, bursting through the crowd. 'Let me use it!'

            The nurses objected. 'He must be checked by a doctor.'

            'Forget that!' He screamed. 'I can save his life!'

            Vijay snatched the medicine from Mehmet, and began preparing it for use. The nurses resigned themselves to watching the men, and did not offer any further assistance. After a couple of minutes, Vijay became concerned.

            'Nothing is happening.' He muttered..

            'Get him oxygen!' Chandan cried, as Braj's breathing became heavier. The nurses did so a little slowly, and returned five minutes later.

            Suddenly, Braj just stopped. The room seemed too silent, and Vijay's eyes filled with an almost insane terror. 'Braj?' He whispered, afraid of no reply.

            'Braj?' Chandan cried, his eyes filling with desperate tears. Danny ran over and began C.P.R. The nurses finally went to find a doctor, and came back with one fifteen minutes later.

            'Get out of the way!' The nurses cried, pushing Danny aside. The man tried to push them away and continue, but was overpowered by two male nurses.

            'No!' He screamed. 'He will die!'

            The doctor asked a few questions and felt Braj's pulse. Then he shook his head. 'I'm afraid it's just too late.'

            The words were all too familiar to Vijay's ears, and he fell into a stunned silence. The nurses walked off, and the doctor began arranging things. Finally, Braj's holy was moved onto a bed and wheeled away.

            'No!' Vijay screamed, snapping out of his shock. 'No! Do not take him from me!' He began to chase after the bed, and Mehmet held him back. 'No!' Vijay screamed again, beginning to weep. 'Do not take him from me! Not Braj! Not my good little brother!'

            The doors slammed shut, and the staff disappeared with Braj. Vijay fell silent, and Mehmet braced himself for the worst. Soon enough, the former began crying. Mehmet hugged the man tightly, and tried not to cry too much himself. He saw that Danny was also in tears, though he tried to keep a brave face. Chandan had curled up, and was sobbing like a baby. Danny managed to stop crying, and cradled his younger friend in his arms.

            Mehmet wondered how they were all going to get back to the BSI. Then he thought of all that had happened in the past few weeks and wondered if he really wanted to.

 

 

 

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