Archive for February, 2013

Number 21 – Part 1

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Short story
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21 new

Chapter 1

The fire alarm was ringing deafeningly. He needed to get up and drag himself out of the house before the heat and smoke could knock him out. But he could not move. He tried again, but couldn’t move a muscle. He thought he was going to die here. With a last super-human effort he opened his eyes and collected his scattered senses. He realized that the phone was ringing. Whew! The fire alarm was only a dream. He looked at the table clock by his bedside. It was just 2 AM.  He picked up the phone and answered with a dreary “hello?”. Someone talked about some murder that happened in some place. He was unable to process the information, being still groggy from sleep. He responded saying he will call back in sometime. He washed his face and switched the coffee machine on and called the number back. It’s Fred, the deputy. He informed about the murder again and asked him to come right away to the parking lot of 4th Avenue block 6. He made a note of it, hanged up the phone and got his coffee. He checked for messages on his phone, checked his FB updates while sipping the coffee, then dressed, picked up the car keys and left.

Alan Clarke was 5 feet 10 inches tall and athletically build. He had dark, short hair, intelligent, ocean green eyes, powerful hawk like nose and full lips. He looked tall for his height and dressed casually most of the time. That he was an attractive guy, any girl would concede, but he looked morose, sullen and off-limits while solving a crime.

Alan had always wanted to be a detective. He grew up on the stories of Sir Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie and the likes. He wanted to be a consultant detective like Sherlock Holmes, whom people would approach when all other avenues were closed. As he grew up, he realized he doesn’t have the talent to be Sherlock Holmes. In fact, no one does. And probably that is why Sherlock Holmes is more famous in spite of being fictional than any of the scores of real detectives. And he also realized that real detective work required a lot of hard work,  patience and intuition. He decided to join police as a detective where he could work on real cases. Cases involving murder, kidnapping and robbery.

Alan drove slowly towards the murder scene. He wasn’t too enthusiastic. While driving, he realized this was his 21st case. He went on a flash back on the previous cases as a detective on the police force. He had cracked all 20 of those. He hoped this one wouldn’t be too stale. Most of the cases were murders of revenge, or love or something involving the people close to the victims. He was yet to get a case which was bizarre or was a case of serial killing. He was 28 years old and he already felt 40, feeling as if he had seen it all. He felt bored with his job and hoped this case would turn out interesting.

He reached the scene at quarter past three. The area was already cordoned off and Crime Scene Unit was on scene. The deputy on duty, Fred, ran up to him.

Alan: Do we know anything about the victim?

Fred: We got her driving licence. She is Mary Newton, from New Jersey. 23 years old. This red Jaguar is registered to her.

Alan went near the victim. He took out his voice recorder and started recording his observations.

Alan: The woman is a brunette. She is in her pajamas. The clothes bear marks of soil scrapings and is torn in places, as if she has been dragged across the ground. Her ears have been cut off by a sharp instrument. Her hair has also been cut off in bunches in a haphazard way. There are a total of 16 stab wounds on her chest and abdomen and a few cuts on the thighs. There is very little blood inside the car, implying that the murder was committed someplace else and the body brought here post-mortem. Rigor mortis has started to set in, so probable time of death can be put around 3-4 hours from now. Window of murder around 11 PM to 1 AM. There are blood stains on the car door, on the steering wheels and on the passenger side sun shade mirror. No fingerprints discovered yet. More details after autopsy and CSU results.

Alan walked around the car to check for tyre marks and footprints but he could find none. He took a look at the tiny crowd that gathered there. He addressed the crowd asking if anyone had seen anything, but most replied that they had come after hearing the police sirens and cars. Finally he spoke to the person who had discovered the body at the scene, the night watchman, Patrick Steele.

Alan: Can you describe how you found the body?

Patrick: I was doing my normal round at 1:30 PM. I came to check the parking lot and saw that the Jaguar’s door was open. I thought someone either forgot to lock the door or passed out being too drunk. When I came closer to check, I saw that girl, sitting there, dead. I called 911 immediately.

Alan: Did you see anyone moving or a car leaving at the time you came into the parking lot?

Patrick: No. Everything was very quiet. I am usually very alert during my rounds. If anyone would have been moving, I would have noticed.

Alan asked if there were any cctv cameras in the parking lot but got a negative. So he noted Patrick’s address and phone number and let him go, informing him that he might be summoned to the police station anytime. He also sent a CSU team to the girl’s house.

There was nothing else to do. He would have to await the autopsy and CSU reports and that wouldn’t be until afternoon tomorrow. He went back home after giving some instructions to Fred about moving the body for autopsy and informing her close relatives.

*******************End of Chapter 1************************

Continued to chapter 2…..


Unrealised Ambitions!!

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Short story
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She had been sitting on the reclining chair in the porch for quite some time now. From here, it was a narrow path of about 20 metres to the small iron gate. There were some big birch trees around the house and untamed grass on either side of the path. The garden showed signs of neglect, the flowering plants wilting and dead leaves rustling in the ground. There was an empty bird’s nest on the branch of a tree close to the porch. Though which bird it was, she couldn’t be sure. There were eggshells at the feet of the tree, bearing testimony to the fact that tiny birds had been born here and had flown away in search of their destinies. She thought about her destiny and her dreams and all the passion she had in an earlier life…..

She was an enthusiast, with passion and energy flowing through all her pores. She was a dreamer, but also a go-getter. She had big plans for her life from the time she could spell ‘life’. She pursued her interests with dogged determination, with ambitions of becoming an architect someday and change the way people lived. She wanted to design entire cities and be proud in her achievements. After she completed her studies, she joined a reputed architectural company. This was the first step towards achieving her dreams and she was full of excitement and joy. Her parents were proud of her, and her brother had already taken her autographed crafts to sell them for millions when she would become famous. How naughty he was! And funny too!

Her first week at the office was hectic. Mostly to do with bringing coffee for her boss and attending brain-storming sessions for the clients and taking notes while watching the masters at play. Sometimes it was humiliating the way they treated her, but she didn’t mind. This was just one step towards the journey of fulfilling her ambitions. Time passed and weeks turned into months. Her boss resigned, and a new guy came in his place. Edmund was his name. She was scared that she might be fired and the new guy might get his own team, but thank god she was retained. Edmund was such a smooth talker. He made her feel as if everything in life was easy. He inspired her to share her ideas with him and she felt emboldened when he praised her originality. There was a new project proposal coming up and she enquired Edmund if she could venture her ideas in the brainstorming session with the clients? He looked blue, but he replied in a hearty affirmative. She didn’t understand his look. She liked him. Oh! stow that! She loved him. Did he love her too? Maybe that’s why he looked so blue. Maybe he is thinking she would leave once she succeeds. But she wouldn’t. She would tell him that she loved him. After the BS session.

The session was to start at 11AM on Monday. She woke up early, did her 4 mile run, showered, made breakfast and ate it. Then she stood in front of the mirror rehearsing her speech, her walk around the board room, her gestures and expressions. At 10AM, she left for office. It took her 45 mins to reach at that peak rush hour. Once there, she found her entire team to be missing from their seats. She peeked into Edmund’s cabin. He wasn’t there too. She ran into the board room, thinking they might be doing some preparatory discussions. She opened the door to join in. But wait! What’s going on! Edmund was explaining stuff to the clients with sketches and diagrams. Her sketches and diagrams! He rebuffed her for being late and asked her to get out. Why wasn’t she informed of the change in schedule? Did she miss a text message? No, she didn’t. What’s happening? She waited for 45 more minutes. Finally everyone came out, and from the looks of joy and excitement on everyone’s face, she realised they had won the deal. She decided she is going to ask Edmund why she wasn’t informed of the change in timings. Afterall, he had her to thank as it was her idea and sketches which got them the deal. Edmund gestured her to appear in his cabin. She came and started asking about the timings, when he cut her off saying that she was fired. Fired?? How could she be fired for no fault of her’s? She screamed and cried and told him that this was her only chance when he said that he didn’t want lazy people either in his company or in the industry. He told her he was going to bar her from any architecture company. Her world was crumbling around her. He called security and she was led out of the office.

She didn’t talk to anybody that night. Just cried herself to sleep. Next day she called her brother and told him what had happened. He said he was going to come to her right away. It was a one hour drive. She was waiting to hear the bell ring to open the door to her brother. 2 hours passed away. No ring. Finally she picked up the phone and called her brother’s number. After several rings, a stranger picked up the phone and said that there had been an accident and the guy whose car and mobile phone it was, had died. She let the phone drop on the floor.

It has been four years since the accident. She is back at the house where she grew up. Her mother had passed away a year ago pining her son’s death. Her father disappears for weeks or months. She doesn’t know where to. She just sits in the porch most of the time, looking at the trees and the iron gate and the remaining twigs of a once beautiful nest!