Destination: The dimly-lit lamp of Indian Army post across the river[This story wins the consolation prize for the creative writing contest 'Me, a lamp']
[I have used the synonym of 'brightness' ( earlier used by Mr. Jagdish Patro) in the first sentence of the story. The synonym used is 'brilliance']
The harsh command was immediately followed by dazzling brilliance of flares, which temporarily illuminated the night sky and blinded my vision. I thought that death was imminent. After successfully completing my mission at Muridke, Derra Adam Khel and Derra Ismail Khan, was I going to die or get captured at the border while returning? How could I save and deliver my information and documents kept in the microfilms? All these thoughts came to my mind within seconds. Silently I brought out my trusted Heckler & Koch. I would not go down without fighting. She appeared unperturbed and hissed: "Start crawling to the other side of the field. Don't bother about snakes; it is winter."
The Long-Range Patrol (LRP) of Sutlej Rangers obviously suspected something. However, the patrolling party did not make any attempt to enter the paddy field. But the Rangers remained on the road. Fortunately they didn't bring any dog. We started crawling towards east. After sometime, she said: 'You remain here. Let me check." She silently left. Returning later, she announced: "Change of plan! They are covering the fencing. You have to cross the river."
The original plan was to enter India through the barbed-wire fencing. Indian Army had earlier been informed about my return, and it was decided to stop the electricity (high-voltage current passes through the barbed-wire to prevent infiltration) from 0000 Hour to 0400 Hour to facilitate my return. But the plan went heywire. Ultimately we reached the bank of Kishenganga River. It was 0330 Hour.
She gave last instruction. "Take off your boots. Jump to the river silently. Cross the river, other bank is India. But don't forget the patrolling-party at that side also. Beware of friendly fire because the Indian Army unit doesn't know the change of plan. Note the dimly-lit lamp of the Indian Army post. That is your destination. Khuda Hafeez!"
Anisa, an important member of the band of smugglers operating in that area, had been my contact in Pakistan throughout my entire stay. Without her help my mission would not be successful. Even at last stage, she was providing invaluable support. I took off my boots, checked the microfilms kept in water-tight container, bid farewell to Anisa and jumped into the ice-cold water.
The sound reached the patrolling-party. Speculative firing started. Suddenly a random bullet struck my left thigh. Despite severe pain, I continued swimming and reached other bank. Back to India!
I saw the dimly-lit lamp of the camp. It was almost at a distance of one kilometer. Entering the Sarkanda grass jungle, I started limping towards the post. I wondered why such dim light of a lamp was used. Later I remembered that electricity had been stopped.
After an hour, I, half-conscious due to loss of blood, reached the perimeter- defence of the post. By the grace of Almighty, I reached my destination- the dimly-lit 17 Garhwal Rifles post. Mission successful!
(Competition entry: Me, a lamp......Part 3)