Monday, 24 March 2014

Enigma - a tale of mystery

About 'Enigma - a tale of mystery'
About a couple of months ago, I was having a conversation with my blogging friend, Meera, from A Rat's Nibble, and she came up with an idea of a murder mystery but she was at a lack of words to pen it down. I got completely smitten by the concept and I decided to pen it in my style. When I talked about this to Meera, she was quite excited about it and gave a go ahead. I finished the first draft of the story in just 18 hours and shared it with Meera. She was impressed with the first draft and we together began to make some changes to it. The final draft was ready within a week and Meera began to publish the story as a short series in her blog from 20th January, 2014. 

The series comes to an end today, i.e., on March 24, 2014, and I'm sharing the entire story here in my blog. Those who missed reading the series can now enjoy reading it here as a full length story. Do have patience to read it and I assure you that you're gonna have a blast solving this murder mystery. 

Note: The is purely a team work. Both of us equally put our efforts in shaping this story. So, the credits should go to Meera as well for excellently grooming the first draft written by me and also for adding few scenes to make the read interesting.

Click here to get the link to download the free E-book of 'Enigma: A tale of mystery'.

GenreMystery / Thriller

ENIGMA - A TALE OF MYSTERY

A loud thud from the next door shook Meera up from sleep. She turned on the lights and softly rubbing her eyes, she looked at the timepiece that lay on the bedside table, which displayed the time as 3:07 AM. She sensed something unusual and decided to check with the neighbors just to make sure that everything was normal. She searched for the torchlight and finally found it in her dresser. Carrying it in her hand, she stepped out in the darkness and marched towards her neighbor’s house... unaware of what’s in store for her there...

The howling wind sent chills down her spine. As she stepped out of her house, a lightning hit the road and then the entire place was completely engulfed in darkness. Her heart was thumping loud as she moved towards her neighbor’s house located few meters away from hers. The distant doleful cry of wolf made her shiver even more in fear. She turned on the flash light and walked at a hurried pace. When she reached their entrance, she found that the door was left ajar.

‘Hello, anybody there?’, she raised her voice a bit just to be audible due to the heavy wailing sound of the wind. Not getting any response, she pushed the door slowly and stepped inside. She glanced through the room holding the torch. There she found a lady, in her mid thirties, sitting in the corner of the room staring at the window that lay opposite to her. She touched her shoulders, ‘Is everything okay, Leela?’ That woman looked horrified as Meera could sense it the moment she looked at her pale face under the flash light. With a fixed gaze, Leela lifted her right hand and pointed to the window that lay in front of her.

Meera went closer to the window. Through the glass window, she could hardly see anything as it was pitch black outside. Then a lightning spark produced adequate amount of light for her to take a glimpse of the beautiful garden which only lasted a fraction of second. The next lightning spark made her to witness a red eyed creature standing at the garden staring blankly at her and smiling wide. She stood frozen at the sight of it. She had a weird feeling that someone was out there watching them. Seconds later, she heard a long guttural sound as she witnessed those eyes disappearing in the dark. She turned around and looked at Leela who was still sitting in fear, drenched in sweat. Being scared herself, Meera wondered what made Leela frightened when she couldn't even have noticed that creature behind the window as she was blind. Once again, when she turned back to look at the garden, she saw nothing but the darkness.

The crows’ unusual cawing sound from the garden and the murmurs from outside stirred Meera from her sleep who stayed back with Leela that night. She got up from the couch and found Leela still sleeping. Without disturbing her, Meera slowly walked to the window and saw some huge crows perching on the branches and a group of people standing near the lake which was located adjacent to the house. Among the crowd, couple of them appeared to be police officers with a huge German Shepherd sniffing around the lake. She jerked and turned around as the doorbell rang. She looked at Leela and the buzzing sound did not seem to wake her up from her sound sleep. Meera quickly reached the door and opened it. It was her friend Ayesha standing out there talking to someone over the phone.
‘Meera,’ Ayesha was surprised to see her coming out of Leela’s house, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’
Meera explained the whole scene that took place the night before. Looking at the situation at the lake, she asked curiously, ‘what’s going on?’
‘We have been reported a murder. We are in search of the dead body. That’s why I am here to ask if they have seen or heard anything.’ Ayesha, staring at the lake side, asked ‘Did you notice anything unusual at the lake last night?’
Meera thought for a second and said, ‘No, I mean, it was completely dark. I couldn't see anything other than what I just told you’

Ayesha heard someone calling her name. It was the chief detective Jennifer signaling her to come there. Meera accompanied Ayesha as she walked towards the murder scene. They saw the cops retrieving a dead body from the lake. It was a woman and the dark purple marks around her neck showed easily that she was strangled to death. And Meera could recognize her.
‘Ayesha, I have seen her before,’ Meera said in a lower tone, ‘She worked with Leela’s husband at the hospital.’
‘What?’ Ayesha turned to the chief detective and said, ‘We have a positive identification of the victim,’ and then signaled Meera to walk with her. ‘This is my friend, Meera’, Ayesha introduced to the chief detective, ‘and she stays nearby. She identifies the victim as the colleague of Leela’s husband.’
‘Er.. Leela.. who?’
‘Yeah.. that blind lady...um..’
‘Ah.. well, that made my job easier. So where is that woman now?’ the chief detective Jennifer asked before even she completed it.
Ayesha stared at her for a moment and then said, pointing to the house located adjacent to the lake, ‘She lives there’.

It was already 9 AM passed, when the post-mortem report of the dead woman reached the office. Collecting the report, Ayesha along with the chief detective Jennifer arrived at Leela’s house for a formal inquiry. Meera who was already there with Leela whispered on her ears, 'They are here..'
‘Mrs. Ravi, we are here to ask you a few questions,’ said Jennifer as she sat down.
‘Yeah sure... How can I help you? Meera, would you mind offering them a drink?’, said Leela.
‘No, it’s okay’ Jennifer stopped Meera who was about to get up, ‘We are fine. We don’t have time for that.’
Ayesha took a quick glance at the house and then asked Leela, ‘Are you and your husband living alone here?’
Leela replied, ‘We have our house maid but she is on leave now and has gone to her native 3 days back’
‘Okay.. So where is your husband?’
‘He must be on his way back home from the hospital,’ answered Leela.
‘Oh.. really? um.. but how come his vehicle is right there in your garage, huh?’ Ayesha shot out her question.
Keeping her calm, Leela replied, ‘He went by cab cos he was telling something about the punctured car tyre last night.’
Jennifer instructed something to her subordinate officer about calling the forensic department and turned to Leela, ‘Mrs. Ravi, we got the post mortem report and I am sorry to say that your husband, Dr. Ravi, is possibly behind this murder.’
Leela got tensed on hearing this, ‘What?? No way.. He is a doctor. He only saves life. I don’t believe you...’
Ayesha stood next to the glass window, staring outside thoughtfully. She sensed something odd as she was trying to solve the puzzle.
Jennifer then continued, ‘Well, the dead body had traces of his finger prints. So we need to inquire Dr. Ravi as a part of the investigation process.’ Jennifer said holding a paper in her hand, ‘We have a warrant to arrest your husband, Ma’m. Please cooperate with us and don’t hide anything. We are only trying to help you.’
Leela stood up and felt unbalanced after hearing that. Meera held her trembling hands and made her sit again. She asked Meera for a glass of water.
Ayesha now turned away from the window and asked, ‘When was the last time you were with your husband?’

Leela and her husband, Dr. Ravi, were having a conversation over their dinner.
‘You remember Dr. Alex?’ asked Ravi as he gulped down his food.
‘Yeah,’ Leela took her food close to her mouth and said, ‘your friend from Ukraine.’
Ravi noticed Leela slipping her spoon spilling the food all over her, ‘Uh-oh, you slipped it again Leela,’, as he got up from his seat to clean it.
‘I’m sorry,’ Leela moved away a little so that Ravi could clean the mess. She then asked him, ‘How is he doing?’
‘Who?’
‘Alex.’
‘Ah yeah he is doing great. We have a good news dear..' he smiled happily, 'He is in town and we are going to meet him tomorrow.’
‘Er.. Tomorrow?’
‘Yeah, you heard me right.’ He frowned at Leela's hesitant reply.
‘But why... this Yoga therapy seems just fine to me after all.’
‘It’s been more than 6 months you are getting treated there. In fact I accepted that only for the sake of your happiness. But no slight improvement yet. We can’t simply go on like this, Leela. Now that we know Alex is a renowned eye surgeon. Last time when I talked to him, he said that he has a solution for your problem and he will let me know once he gets back from Ukraine. And he is here now.’
‘Uh.. No, I don’t want to meet him,’ Leela muttered.
Out of his irritation, Ravi spoke, ‘Are you mad? You’re going to get your sight back, you idiot! Can’t you hear what I’m saying? Are you experiencing temporary deafness along with your blindness, huh? We are going tomorrow, that’s it.’
‘No Ravi, I’m not coming.’ She sounded strong this time.
Ravi pushed the table aside and all the utensils that were on the table fell on the floor making clanking sound. He then asked in a louder tone, ‘Give me one convincing reason.’
‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to get my sight back. The world is filled with lies and I don’t want to see it again. I’m better this way. In fact, I’m starting to like the way I am right now. I don’t want things to get back to normal once again. Please understand me, Ravi. I want to live like this for few more days. Maybe if my thoughts change at a later stage I’ll let you know. But as for now I’ve made up my mind and this is final. We are not going tomorrow. So don’t force me. ’
Ravi walked to the door and opened it. The wailing sound of the wind made him to raise his tone, ‘I’m not convinced and I’m least concerned with what you have decided. We are going tomorrow. I have kept your dress on the bed. I’ll be back from the hospital by morning and I want you to be ready by the time I arrive. I don’t want to hear any excuses.’

‘He left the house last night. I was worried. It was not because he yelled at me. It was because I didn’t want to meet Alex,’ Leela sobbed as she explained things happened that night to chief detective Jennifer and Ayesha.
Without speaking a word, they both got up and walked to the door. Ayesha signaled Meera to meet her outside.
‘Meera,’ said Ayesha hesitantly, ‘Dr. Ravi has gone missing since last night. We have run a thorough check at the hospital. It seems that he did not even visit there and so did that dead woman. They both took their day off. Something fishy going around here.’
‘We assume he must have murdered this girl, er, whats her name..’, Jennifer looked at the papers for the name of the dead woman and continued, ‘um.. Arianna and he is gone hiding from the police. Looks like we need to trace him down soon. Only he can solve this mystery. We would need your help for the same. So don’t leave the town for next two days.’
‘But in what way I can be helpful?’ asked Meera.
Jennifer gave her a cold look, ‘We will get back to you, lady’ and left the place, without listening to Meera’s words, ‘I have nothing to do with this case...’
Ayesha followed the detective in a hurry. Jennifer said, ‘We should check with this Dr. Alex. I want his details on my table in an hour.’
Meera watched them discussing something from where she was standing. Jennifer seemed to be annoyed with her assistant while Ayesha kept her mouth sealed.
After a minute or two, Jennifer drove the car leaving Ayesha behind.
‘What’s wrong with her?’ Meera asked her as she saw Jennifer leaving the place.
‘She has got her own problems. Ignore her, Meera. Anyways, we need you to stay in town for a couple of days till we arrest Dr. Ravi’ said Ayesha.
‘Are you kidding? What if you don’t find him in two days? You know, I am supposed to vacate the town tomorrow. I’ve been assigned to be a part of the Food Programme that is going to take place in the nearby village for a period of five days. And then I will be leaving to Mauritius to attend a seminar on biodiversity for food and agriculture. Ugh.. I have hectic days ahead. Am I being held here just because I helped that poor lady? C’mon you know me. It’s not that easy, Ayesha, not to leave town just for the sake of solving an unknown murder mystery.’
Ayesha pacified her and said, ‘It's been sometime we catch up. I am so hungry now. Let's go grab a bite’. She literally dragged her and then they both drove to the nearby restaurant.
They ordered sandwiches and ate their breakfast in silence. After a few minutes, holding her steaming cup of hot coffee, Meera broke that awkward silence looking into Ayesha’s eyes and asked ‘Do I look like a murderer?’

It was already afternoon when Jennifer and Ayesha were at the hospital inquiring the hospital staff. From the staff’s words they collected some information about the hospital manager Joshua.
'Joshua was deeply in love with Arianna. When he proposed his love to her she turned him down. Still he was continuously persuading her. Everyone in the hospital knows about him and his obsessive nature. He may be cynical but I don't think he would go this extreme to kill Arianna.'
'We have to go by the doubts. That's our job,' said Ayesha after hearing it from Arianna's friend.
'Yeah right! We cannot have any loose ends,' said Jennifer. 'You may go.'
Ayesha called in Joshua. The guy who walked in seemed to be in his late 20s, well-built and looked quite weary. His eyes were blood shot. Ayesha asked some basic information about him and then asked, ‘So tell me about your connection with Arianna.'
Joshua was filled with tears, ‘I loved her so much but I was not aware why she refused me. Only later I found out she was having an affair with that doctor, f** Ravi.’ He tightened his knuckles at the mention of Ravi’s name. ‘I even warned her that he is married and not to go after him but she did not listen to me. I lost my temper and screamed at her couple of days back. That was the last time I saw her here. And yesterday she took her day off and today...’ his voice broken and couldn't continue.
An image of those mysterious red eyes which Meera was talking about flashed in front of Ayesha. She then said, ‘okay Joshua. Now you may go. But we will call you again anytime for the inquiry. So don’t leave the town’
Ayesha had a doubt if there could be any possibility of him involved in this murder. After he left the room,
Jennifer scribbled down in her notepad: Suspect 1 - Dr. Ravi. Suspect 2 – Joshua.
‘I think we should keep him under surveillance..’ Ayesha said as she closed the files and got ready to leave.
‘Ah.. Now this case is even more tangled’, sighed Jennifer.

That evening Jennifer and Ayesha were having a conversation over a cup of tea. ‘After a holiday, this case brings me back in business. I think I arrived at the right time, isn't it?’, Ayesha said blowing on her hot tea. But Jennifer did not reply. ‘So how is your son, Jenny?’ asked Ayesha as she saw Jennifer lost in her own thoughts.
‘Er.. Yeah, he is doing better now’, Jennifer paused a moment and then asked, ‘What do you think about this case?’
‘Well, I’m just trying to figure out possible clues about the whereabouts of Dr. Ravi.’
‘Hmm.. If only we trace him down, we can solve this case quickly. By the way, how do you know Meera?’
‘She is my friend from school days.’
‘Oh.. Um..  What is she doing here?’
‘She is an Agricultural Engineer and she is here on behalf of the government to conduct a research on certain crops. She has nothing to do with this, Jenny. Let her go.’
‘Ayesha, have you lost your mind? We can’t let anyone go until we get the murderer. After all she was the one who stayed with Leela last night and I feel something is not right with her’. She sipped her tea and then asked, ‘And what about that maid? Did you run a background check on her?’
Ayesha didn't expect that kind of comment on her friend, ‘Yeah.. erm.. I asked to make a call to her village police station and it’s been confirmed that she is there. So I guess its better not to waste our time on her. She now stays miles away and it is not possible that she would've done it’.
‘Still we couldn't take risks, can we?’ Jennifer thoughtfully asked her.
‘Well I think we better just concentrate on what we have with us instead of sidetracking with her.’ Ayesha said that sipping her hot tea. ‘Ah.. This is so refreshing...’
Their conversation paused as Jennifer got a call and her face expression changed as she listened to the other end...... ‘What..?’ ‘Ok.. don’t touch anything... We will be there in 10 minutes.’
‘What happened, Jenny? Is everything alright?’
‘No.’ She sipped her last drop of tea and stood up. ‘We have to go. Mr. Sharma called and reported another murder in town. And this time, the victim is none other than the one we are looking for, Dr. Ravi’.
‘WHAT??’ Ayesha was shocked with this news. They both left the cafeteria immediately and hurried to the murder scene.
The dead body was found in the woods and the lake from where they retrieved Arianna’s body earlier that morning was clearly visible from the murder site. The police could not find any evidence for the cause of death and also did not find any traces of blood on the dead body of Dr. Ravi. While Ayesha was answering to the media, she noticed Joshua, at a distance, coming out of Leela's house.
Jennifer was busy searching for clues in the crime scene and instructing her team of officers to send the body for post-mortem. She then turned to Officer Sharma, ‘Who saw the body first?’

Later that evening
Jennifer was sitting inside the interrogation room rubbing her forehead and going through the post mortem report of Dr. Ravi. She glanced at her watch and then looked at the door. She was waiting for them to arrive.
Suddenly she heard a loud bang on the door. Two cops were dragging someone into the investigation room and made that person to sit on the chair. Ayesha, preoccupied in her thoughts, was viewing them in the monitor from the next room along with Officer Sharma. Jennifer began her interrogation.
‘Welcome Meera. I’ve been waiting for you,’ said Jennifer.
‘Do you realize what you’re doing, Jennifer? You’re surely gonna pay for this.’
‘Shut up. You are accused of first degree murder in double homicide. And I want you to confess your crimes.’
‘This is ridiculous. What are you, a cop or a clown?’
‘Watch your words, Meera.’
‘Oh really?’ she snorted, ‘On what basis did you arrest me?’
‘Ah, now you have come to the point... I guess you know that we have a record of your possession of Methyl Parathion. Don’t you?’
‘So what? I have a legal clearance to use it for my research.’
‘And you have it safely with you, huh?’
‘Yes of course, none other than me and the police department know about it here.’ Meera said it with confidence.
‘Mm.. Hmm.. But how come Dr. Ravi’s dead body had the traces of Methyl Parathion?’ Jennifer leaned back on her chair, ‘Things are getting complex for you, isn’t it?’
‘What?’ She was shocked on hearing that. ‘No way... That’s impossible.’
‘It’s not possible for someone to sneak into your lab and steal it. Am I right, Meera? Moreover no one out here possibly knows what Methyl Parathion is and how it works. Only those who have the exact knowledge about it could use it and.... there are only two people in this town who knows about it - Dr. Ravi and you. Dr. Ravi is now dead leaving you as a possible suspect in this case. Fair play, isn’t it?’
Meera was confused about all this and she was staring at the wall in silence.
Jennifer continued, ‘And do you think you can flee the town that easily after committing two murders in my jurisdiction, huh?’
‘Ôh no... Please.. Just because you found some traces of chemical on his body, you can’t accuse me.’
Jennifer took out a plastic pouch with a sample chemical sprayer inside, ‘Recognize this?’
Meera did not expect this at all. She could clearly see all the evidence was against her now. Feeling trapped, she was filled with so many thoughts running inside her head.
‘It’s yours, right?’
Meera nodded silently. ‘I don’t know ho-’
‘Your finger prints all over this and I think you forgot to collect this after spraying that toxic chemical on Ravi.’ Jennifer gave a big smile as she caught her attention.
While Meera was sitting there with a fixed gaze, Jennifer was waiting for her to talk.

Jennifer was looking at Meera’s eyes as she was sitting confused trying to figure out what exactly was happening with her.
With so many questions posing in front of her, finally Meera started to talk, ‘Why don’t you inquire Leela?’
‘Leela? Of all people huh...’ Jennifer chuckled and then said, ‘It’s highly impossible that she could have done it. Don’t try to divert me’. She pointed at that empty sprayer and said, ‘We have a clear proof sitting in front of us.’
‘How can you be so sure about Leela after all you don’t even know her before?’
‘Because as we all know, she cannot see. And how could a blind woman commit a murder, huh?’
‘Do you have any latest medical report suggesting that she is blind?’ Meera questioned calmly.
‘No.’
‘Do you have any proof that she couldn’t have executed this murder?’
‘What are you getting at?’
‘I am only asking you if you are sure that Leela is blind?’
Jennifer got confused now but still without showing it to her, she said with a straight face, ‘Yes, I am’.
‘Are you sure?’ Meera demanded a clear answer.
‘Yes, everyone knows that she is blind and so am I. But why do you keep firing me questions when I’m supposed to ask you, darn it?’ Jennifer got tensed and stood up from her chair.
‘Your assumptions have gone wrong, Jennifer. Leela is not blind.’ Meera smirked at her.
That left Jennifer in a state of shock. She did not want to believe her but at the same time she couldn't refrain from listening to her. Ayesha, who was seeing all this from the other room, grinned in relief as she finally found out the missing piece in her puzzle. She dialed a number, ‘Hello Commissioner..’.

A couple of hours earlier
Meera was at Leela’s house after they got the news of Dr. Ravi’s death. Leela was in a shock and sitting unmoved in the swing at the garden. Meera prepared some tea and then went to the garden to guide Leela get back home. After taking couple of steps, Leela halted all of a sudden while Meera startled as she noticed a vicious rattle snake crawling near the doorstep. But she did not utter a word as she sensed something suspicious after seeing her immediate change of expression. Leela refrained from walking as if she saw it coming all the way towards her.
Pretending she did not see the snake, ‘What happened, Leela?’ Meera asked in a comforting tone.
‘Uh nothing.. Just a slight head swing...’
‘Come, let’s go in and have some tea. You’ll feel better’.
But Leela dared to make a move. The snake then crawled back on its way into the bushes, thus relieving them both. Even though she was not so sure, that particular incident left her to suspect on Leela’s eye sight.
After few minutes, she received a call. She then turned to Leela, ‘I’m sorry I have to go now. I have something urgent to attend.’
Leela nodded silently. Meera then walked back to her house and started packing her things. She was getting ready to leave the town. That’s when she heard a screeching sound of a vehicle halting in front of her house. She was stunned as the police officers barged in with an arrest warrant for her.

Back at the interrogation room
‘Do you really want me to believe your story?’ Jennifer asked after listening to Meera.
‘Believe it or not, that’s the truth.’ she then said to Jennifer, ‘I can prove it. After all I have no motive in this case. Can’t you just see? Give me a chance.’
Jennifer was not happy with this encounter while she was holding perfect allegations against Meera and so she remained determined not to accept this story. She could clearly see that she was trying to divert her.
‘No. I can’t let you walk out of this room that easily.’
Meera then stubbornly said, ‘Okay.. Then I need to talk to my lawyer.’
Jennifer gave a long stare at her and then finally uttered, ‘Alright, come with me.’
She then handcuffed Meera and decided to take her alone while leaving her subordinates behind in the station and instructed Officer Sharma to make some arrangements when they return. Ayesha walked to her friend and held her hands and assured her. ‘This is just a usual procedure. I will take care of it. Don’t worry. I trust you.’ Meera gazed at Ayesha thoughtfully and nodded.

At Leela's Residence
Meera and Jennifer sat facing Leela, who was sitting opposite in the couch. Meera cleared her throat and before she could utter anything, Jennifer spoke out, ‘She knows that you aren’t blind, Leela.’
Meera was taken aback by this. She continued to stare at them while she heard Leela speaking, ‘ah! I knew it back then when that snake tried to crawl into my house. Damn.’
She turned to Leela and looked into her eyes. Leela smiled, ‘What are you looking at, Meera?’
‘She is looking at your eyes, Leela. And still trying to figure out what is happening here,’ said Jennifer.
Meera landed in a totally confused state. She couldn’t believe what was happening with her at that moment. Everything around her appeared to be fake. All she heard and saw were now seemed to be mere true lies. She couldn’t figure out who’s innocent and who’s the culprit nor if at all were these really happening. She wanted to hear nothing but the truth, only the truth.
Jennifer looked at Meera, ‘You really want to know what exactly happened, don’t you?’

Flashback
It was a sunny afternoon when Leela met a nice lady, who frequently visited the same center for the yoga therapy for her young son who had the same retinal problem like hers that caused a temporary blindness. Being a single parent, raising a son with his sudden illness and pressure from her work place, that lady was in need of a good friend with whom she could talk freely out of her heart and mind. That’s when Leela walked into her life. As Leela was fond of children, she became quite attached with that little boy. As weeks passed by, the two ladies got acquainted. They became real good friends and known well enough to share their personal.

One day, Leela was feeling extremely happy to get back her vision. Six months of rigorous yoga therapy gave back her lost sight and she wanted badly to share it with her husband first. She was waiting for Ravi’s arrival from the hospital. It was around 7 at night when she saw her husband’s car nearing the house. She rushed out to confront him but she hold back as she saw someone else getting out of the car along with Ravi.

She was a young woman and Leela witnessed Ravi kissing her after they got out of the car. The lady then noticed Leela standing outside staring at them. She then stepped away from Ravi but he pulled her back close and whispered in her ears, ‘Ssh, don’t panic. She can’t see us. She is blind.’ Leela could easily sense what he was whispering to her and stood there heartbroken. Meanwhile Ravi asked Arianna to wait at the woods and then he walked to Leela.
‘Why are you waiting here?’

Ravi hugged Leela and pecked on her cheeks. He also signaled Arianna to walk faster to the woods and Leela noticed the same. She felt disgusting and did not speak a word. *How could he do this to me? How could he pretend to be nicer while stabbing behind my back?* She couldn’t withstand that betrayal of her loving husband. Her heart was heavy and her eyes were filled with anger. She was in a rage to kill him that very moment for cheating her, but she couldn’t do so as she loved him.

She did not reveal anything about her vision to him. Instead she decided to continue to stay blind to him and to the rest of the world. She kept the truth to herself not letting anyone know about it, except her best friend, Jennifer. She went to the Yoga Center the next day as per her schedule. There she met Jennifer and explained her situation. Jennifer was her well-wisher and the only person whom she could rely on now.

She hugged and consoled Leela as she burst out with tears and in anger. She could not withstand that heartbreak experienced by Leela after all she knew how it would feel. It reminded of her past when her husband left her for another woman. So she wanted to help her and teach him a lesson. Hence she came up with a perfect murder plan.
‘What? Murder?’ Leela was shocked when she heard her speaking of her plan.
Jennifer tightened her grip, ‘Don’t panic. I will take care of it. Somebody has to teach a lesson to such perverts.’
‘What if we get caught?’ Leela asked in a shivering voice.
‘Let us make the plan such that we kill them both and at the same time stay away from getting caught. For that we have to leave no evidence that would trace back to us. But first we should get rid of your maid.’ said Jennifer.
‘About the maid, I can send her away when the time is right. But how can we do that without tracing back to us? Is it possible?’

Jennifer lost in her own thoughts thinking of how to make it possible. That’s when she came to know through her department about an agricultural engineer, carrying a toxic pesticide, entered the village. She was curious to know about the pesticide and why it was only legally allowed for use. She found some staggering truth about the chemical. When exposed for a short time it could damage the entire nervous system of human beings leaving them dead in seconds.

Jennifer then realized Meera’s trip was a short one. So before she leaves the town she needed to get the right moment to execute her plan, that too before her snoopy assistant Ayesha returns back from her week long holiday.

For almost a week, she followed the agricultural engineer, Meera. She studied about her completely. She noted everything – when she wakes up, where she goes, what she does, and whom she meets. She made sure that she knew each and every move of hers. She found out from the Police records that Meera stored the toxic material at her lab inside her house in a most protective way. She even managed to gather the details of the Code to enter into her lab. She gave all the details to Leela.

That day Leela was watching Meera's house from her window. Once Meera drove away, Leela sneaked in and stole few grams of the pesticide and a sample sprayer from the lab. Now they were all set to execute their plan.

The wind blew heavily that night. With darkness engulfing the area, Jennifer, wearing a mask and gloves, hid in the woods without getting noticed by anyone. Ravi arrived early and he brought Arianna along with him as expected. Getting off from the car, he asked her to wait at the woods while he walked into the house. Jennifer saw Arianna entering the woods. She hid behind a tree and was waiting for her to get closer. As she walked closer to the tree, Jennifer confronted her. Arianna was shocked to see someone at that hour and before she could yell, Jennifer closed her mouth and wrapped her arms around her neck tightly. She then twisted her neck and strangled her to death. Arianna spluttered and coughed as she couldn’t fight back. She then fell on the ground motionless. Removing her mask, she took a deep breath and sat there next to the dead body, waiting for Ravi.

At home, Ravi walked to the door and opened it. The wailing sound of the wind made him to raise his tone against Leela, ‘I’m not convinced and I’m least concerned with what you have decided. We are going tomorrow. I have kept your dress on the bed. I’ll be back from the hospital by morning and I want you to be ready by the time I arrive. I don’t want to hear any excuses.’

After he shut the door behind, Leela got up and slightly moved the curtain. She saw him walking in the direction of the woods lighting a smoke. Jennifer watched his entire move from where she was hiding along with Arianna’s dead body. Leela followed him into the woods. Jennifer wore her face mask again and took the diluted Methyl Parathion from her pocket ready to spray at him.

When he came closer, Jennifer tried to hit him with a heavy twig from behind but he managed to get away from the attack as he stumbled on the ground. Without wasting a moment, she then sprayed the chemical generously on his face. Leela halted where she was standing and did not move until she saw him fell down. Ravi tried to get up and that's when he saw Leela standing there behind him. ‘Leel...?’ Before realizing what was going on, he began to lose his consciousness. He fainted in the next few seconds. After few minutes, Leela and Jennifer went near and confirmed his death.

Leela helped Jennifer in moving the dead bodies. They carried Arianna’s lifeless body and threw it in the lake while leaving Ravi’s dead body behind the bushes. They both quickly walked back to Leela’s house before anybody noticed them. Leela acted exactly the way as she was instructed while Jennifer hid in the garden and pulled off the plug from the car tyre. Before entering the house, Leela slammed the door harder in turn producing a loud thud that woke Meera up from sleep. Leaving the door unlocked, she rushed inside removing her gloves and kept hidden in her cupboard. She then sat in the corner of the room wiping away her sweat. Everything went as per their plan.

There was a power cut due to the bad weather and that helped them both to carry out their plan with ease. Later she heard a voice, ‘Hello, anybody there?’ She knew it was Meera and she managed to bear that frightened look on her face even though she was trembling inside. She then saw her stepping inside the house. Meera walked to her and asked, ‘Is everything okay, Leela?’  Meera could sense something not so right, the moment she looked at her pale face under the flash light. With a fixed gaze, Leela lifted her right hand and pointed to the window that lay in front of her.

Meera glanced through that window and found a pair of eyes staring back at her.

‘I’m sure that you’re stunned with what you’ve just heard. But too bad it is such a story that you never going to prove’, said Jennifer after she narrated the whole incident.
Meera got up with a smile on her face. ‘I really didn’t see this coming. Interesting, isn’t it? Leela and Jennifer; both of you being the answers for everything behind this mystery. But what happens when both of you gets caught? I mean, you both could share the same prison cell. You could even sit there and plot a plan to murder me.’ She then looked at Jennifer and said, ‘but this time, make sure that you leave no clues. Because your perfect murder plan is not that perfect, Jenny’
Jennifer and Leela sat looking at each other as both of them were confused about what Meera was talking. Suddenly the door broke open and Ayesha entered inside holding a gun in her hand.
Jennifer was surprised, ‘What are you doing here, Ayesha?’
‘I have heard everything Jenny. Now don’t pretend. Good that you made your own confession. You made my job easier.’
Jennifer smirked at her. ‘You are a smart ass Ayesha. Trying to help your buddy huh? Tsk. Tsk. but too bad you have no proof for this’
Ayesha grinned back at her and said, ‘Whatever you talked in here has been recorded with the microphone I gave to Meera just before you brought her here all by yourself.’

The scene where Ayesha assured Meera holding her hands flashed before Jennifer’s eyes.

A few minutes ago
Ayesha, who was seeing the interrogation between Jennifer and Meera from the other room, grinned in relief as she finally found out the missing piece in her puzzle. She dialed a number, ‘Hello Commissioner...’
‘Hey kid, what’s going on? I haven’t heard from you for days. How are you?’ asked the Police Commissioner.
‘I’m good, Sir. I need your help,’ said Ayesha.
‘I’m all ears.’
‘I’m in the middle of a murder investigation and I think I am just this close to crack the case.’
‘Which case are you talking about?’
‘Dr.Ravi and Arianna’s murder case. I think our Detective Jennifer has arrested the wrong person.’
‘But she had all the evidence to prove it right.’
‘That’s true, but I have collected some other information which is quite important to this case without her knowledge.’
‘Uh.. What are you saying?’
‘Yes, sir. From the beginning, I sensed something wrong with Jennifer herself. I need your authority to go ahead with my plans.’
‘You mean Jennifer is the one behind the murder?’
‘Possibly, but I need a solid proof to confirm it. Perhaps her confession. And for that I need your cooperation.’

After getting a nod from the Police Commissioner, Ayesha walked to her friend and held her hands and assured her, ‘This is just a usual procedure. I will take care of it. Don’t worry. I trust you.’ Meera found something in her hand. It looked like a wireless voice transmitter. Meera gazed at Ayesha thoughtfully and nodded.

After they left the station, Ayesha immediately assembled a team of 4 members and a minivan, few meters away from Leela’s house. Ayesha sat there inside the van hearing everything that was happening at Leela’s house through the voice transmitter. The team was recording the conversation and was relaying it to the Commissioner through live feed. After Jennifer’s confession, Ayesha stepped out of the van, alerting the backup team and entered into the house.

Ayesha now pointing her gun straight at Jennifer’s face and said, ‘The moment you both pretended to be strangers, I sensed there’s something not right, Jenny. Perhaps you were not aware that I once noticed a picture of you and your son with Leela framed in your living room. And to sum it up, I also inquired the Yoga therapist and confirmed that Leela’s vision has improved.’

Ayesha released Meera’s handcuff. Meera then handed over the voice transmitter to her and then turned to Jennifer and Leela, ‘I’m sure that you’re now stunned with what you are seeing, aren’t you?’
‘I’m gonna kill you’ Jennifer hissed as she pushed Meera aside and tried to grab her gun from the holder.
‘Don’t you dare move,’ Ayesha lifted her gun.

Jennifer tried to run out of the house. Ayesha pulled the trigger and injured her knee. She was down with a bleeding wound and could barely move. Leela was sitting unmoved not knowing what to do. The cops rushed in and handcuffed both Jennifer and Leela, and escorted them to the vehicle. Ayesha then walked to Meera, who was pushed down on the floor, and gave her a hand.
‘Are you hurt?’ asked Ayesha.
‘A little, but I can manage,’ smiled Meera as she got up.
They both stood there watching as the police van faded off from the street as the sun rose above spreading its early morning rays giving them a fresh start.
‘You are free to fly to Mauritius now.’ Ayesha winked and hugged Meera. ‘Enjoy your work alongside a holiday with your Valentine.’
‘Thanks but if not you, the case wouldn’t have cracked this soon.’ Meera then looked at the empty street and said plainly, ‘I never expected this from Leela. But still I pity her...’

Written by Ashwin & Meera

6 comments:

  1. Hi Ashwin! I enjoyed the series. Nice twist at the end. I had my suspicions about Leela, but Jennifer took me completely by surprise.

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  2. I read the whole story at one go, now, Ashwin, though I had read the initial chapters :) Good plot and nice narration. Keep it up :)

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    1. Thanks Sreeja. Glad you liked it :) Do keep visiting my blog for more stories :)

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