fiction, short story, Story

The Neon Sign

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It was late night and I was rushing on the deserted pavements to home from a friend’s house when suddenly it started raining. I stopped and took shelter under the French canopy of a shop. As the wind grew harsher, I started getting wet. I looked at the shop behind me. There was a neon sign which read ‘open 24 hours’. I pushed the door open which had number 6174 written on it.

I stepped inside. The room was empty so I went further ahead. The next room was full of people. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. My jaw dropped to the ground when I saw what seemed like an initiation ceremony. It appeared to be a meeting of some secret society. The members or the disciples were sitting in a circle wearing red robes. A person in a purple robe, apparently the group leader, seemed to be solemnizing a person- the only one without a robe.

Some 20 people were sitting in a circle and chanting. I realized I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, something I had an expertise in. I was getting goosebumps after witnessing the sight. I couldn’t turn as I was stupefied. I retraced my steps, but it was too late. I heard a voice saying “stop!”. I froze on the spot.

“Come here,” the voice ordered.

But I was glued to the floor, and could not move an inch. By the time, a lady walked towards me, took my hand. “who are you? how did you get inside?”, she asked me.

“I’m Sana. I was…”, I started when the chief gestured for me to stop, “The gate is enchanted; it allows only those who are worthy. So what made you come inside is irrelevant, Sana”.

I was speechless. I had no idea who these people were, and which secret society they belonged to.

“We belong to Priory of Scion”, the chief said, as if reading my mind. “There are myths about the secretive and dark business. However, the truth is that we are seekers of knowledge and spirituality. We had Grand Masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michel de Nostredame, Victor Hugo.” He informed.

I finally said, “how am I worthy?”

“As I said the door opens only for the worthy. The universe has spoken. I understand it may not sound credulous. But it’s true”, the wise man said.

“Why is that sign- Open 24 hours? Can anyone walk through that door?”, I asked.

“Only those who have the ability can see the sign”, He had been patient with my questions.

“Does it mean that I have to join the cult?”, I asked.

“It’s not a cult. It’s a way of life”, he said sternly. ” If you are a seeker of knowledge, if you can impart your wisdom and if you desire to be one with the universal consciousness and eventually with the divine consciousness”.

“What if I don’t want to join?”, I was scared to ask but I did.

The chief smiled. “It’s up to you to join or not. How long you want to stay, It’s all up to you. However, there will be further tests to prove your alliance and vows given the nature of secrecy.

“What will I have to do?”, I asked though I was thinking what will they make me do.

“You don’t have to do anything that you don’t like. We don’t make you do anything”, he read my mind again. I was intrigued and scared at the same time. It was clear that they had powers. If I were to believe him, it was just exchange of knowledge. It all looks harmless and spiritual. I weighed my options. What if I decide to leave now?

“You can. You won’t be harmed. Just an oath to secrecy would suffice. You can take your time to decide. If you want, you can come back tomorrow. Somebody is always here. Remember it’s open 24 hours.” He said and gestured to leave.

I had one last question, which I didn’t need to verbalize.

He answered, “How and when it happens, you shall know. The initiation has already begun in your mind. You have already passed the first degree, that’s why you are here. Now, you have to decide how far you are willing to go”.

I came out of the place.

It had stopped raining, there wasn’t a drop of water anywhere to suggest it rained.  I turned to see the neon sign- it was gone. I wondered if it was gone forever or I was hallucinating.

(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai


 

fiction, short story, Story

Sunset or Sunrise

Ritika was holding the paintbrush and staring at the blank canvas on the easel. The picture was clear in her head, yet she could not paint.

She visualized painting of a man riding a horse with the Sun in the background- just over the horizon. She didn’t want to specify whether it was a sunset or a sunrise. Ritika looked out of the window- the Sun was setting. What if she looked at the painting of the Sun, how would she know? The optimist in her would say sunrise, but the romantic in her would dream about sunset. Rohan, her husband, would have joked ‘If the Sun is in West it’s sunset. If it is in the East it is sunrise’. She chuckled.

After few hours, she had a painting before her. However, it was far from what she had in her mind. The bright hues and the white horse, she hadn’t picturized them like that. The rider, who could put Greek gods to shame. Why a man? Why not a woman? Can’t a woman ride a horse? If it was a man, why did he have to be so good looking? Why can’t it be the regular guy-next-door? It would look real. Would it allow the viewer in? The only thing she was satisfied with was water and its reflection. It was symbolic of purity, fertility, life, renewal, and transformation. It gave the spectator freedom to interpret the way they liked.

She liked to draw the audience in. She believed it made them appreciate the art more. Let them bring in their world with them. Let them become one with the painting, let them invest their time, and bring their perspectives along with their prejudices. She acknowledged we all, no matter how much we try not be, were prejudiced. A painting remained exciting to look at, because of the manner in which it captures the imagination of the viewer.

An idea struck her, she put the ephemera aside. She started on a fresh canvas. She didn’t make a man or a woman. Instead, she chose to paint a silhouette of a rider sitting on a horse with the sun in the background and the water with the rider’s reflection. Finally, when she was done she felt calmness over herself like tranquil water in the painting.

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(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai


 

fiction, short story, Story

My Bucket-list

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Travel

 

Six months ago, I found out that I was dying. I experienced frequent and irregular palpitation and uneasiness. My preliminary medical tests showed abnormalities. When doctors conducted myriad of tests, I sensed something was wrong. Yet, I denied the reality till the day doctor in his sugar-coated language and in insignificant medical term informed me, ‘‘Reema, you are terminally ill. At the most, you have a year to live”.

I didn’t know what to do, who to tell. I had nobody. I was an orphan, single, had no relationship.

I had a sleepless night. The next day, I quit my job citing personal reasons. After all the formalities and discussion, I set myself free by the evening. I decided not to spend my numbered days in a hospital. I needed a plan about the rest of the days that I was left with. I thought about things I must do before I say goodbye to this world and move on to the next unknown one. So, I made my bucket-list-

  • Go on a solo trip
  • See Mona Lisa painting
  • Sing karaoke in a crowded pub

Same night, I booked my flight to France. Being an orphan, I didn’t owe answers to anybody. Next entire week, I sold off all I could- my investments and assets- to convert all my life-savings into travel-cards and cash for my trip. I packed my bag and informed my landlord that I was leaving for good. I decided to finish all my bucket list with this trip.

I reached Paris. From airport I took bus to my hostel accommodation. This choice helped me get a glimpse of the most beautiful city of the world. By the time I hit the bed I was tired and jet lagged, yet the sleep eluded me.

Next day, I visited Mona Lisa at Louvre museum. I learnt about the mysterious smile, sfumato technique and the history of this art marvel. More than the painting, I was in awe with Leonardo da Vinci. If God asked me which historical figure I would want to meet, my reply would be Mr. Vinci.

I spent the evening in watching the Eiffel Tower. I first reached Trocadero to get its best view. I saw the Iron Torre from different angles and levels- it mesmerized me. I didn’t need to click any pictures, so I enjoyed sight-seeing without any distractions. Finally, I settled at Café Constant on Musée d’Orsay to enjoy Quiche and enigmatic Eiffel.

At night, lying in my bunk bed I looked out of the small window of dormitory room. I wondered if it was good that I knew when I was going to die soon. Better me than anyone else. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to experience love. I didn’t know parents’ love, siblings’ love or romantic love. When people say, ‘I love chocolate’ or ‘I love place or thing’, I feel they take love for granted- they have too much of it. I would never know in this life.

The next evening, I went to the Karaoke club. I sang my heart out- ‘My heart will go on and on…’, ‘Shape of you…’ and all my favourite songs. I wasn’t drunk. I couldn’t afford to drink given my condition. You see my heart is too weak, and my pocket too light.

I noticed someone silently looking at me. I went to my seat at the pub. A few moments later he joined me-

“Hi! Is the seat taken?”, he asked, to which I didn’t respond.

“You sing very bad but in a good way”, he added.

I laughed, “Please elaborate”. I was amused.

“You sing with an ‘I don’t care attitude’, you should sing rock. It’ll suit your voice”

“I have never seen anybody turning an insult into a compliment. You have an art”.

‘I’m Arya”, he stretched his hand.

“I’m Reema”, I replied and took his hand.

“Reema, what a sweet name! I have a riddle for you. Why did the shellfish didn’t share its food?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Because it’s selfish”, he picked a morsel from my plate and ate. I laughed at his silly joke.

He was charming. I closed my eyes to compose myself, and I had a vision of our future together- We’ll spend the month together. I will learn what love really is. And one day I will leave his place with a note saying, “I’m sorry Arya! I didn’t want you to fall in love with me, but I really needed to feel and understand love. Please forgive me. If I have another life and I’m given a choice, I’ll choose you again and again, life after life- always you.”

I opened my eyes, Arya still looking at me, waiting for an answer to another riddle. I didn’t hear the question, but I answered “because, I’m not a Shellfish”. And though, I needed that love desperately, still I walked away.

(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai


 

fiction, short story, Story

The Blue Shoes

 

 

I’m Ron, a travel blogger. This is the story about the best picture I ever clicked.

I was at the Juvia beach in Miami, last month.  I was looking for a perfect shot for my travel blog. The azure sky was adorned with few clouds. The setting was perfect with natural light.  I didn’t want to waste another moment. I started clicking the sea, the sun, and the sand. But the wow was still missing. I roamed around, looking for something to pique my interest. A pair of blue shoes under a parasol caught my attention. I looked, but I didn’t see anyone around.

The shoes would match perfectly with the cerulean sea. I picked them stealthily and put them next to the waves. The blue color of the shoe made the landscape complete. It was symbolic of humanity’s presence in nature. The frame I was looking for. I clicked away. The waves kept coming and touching the shoes and slipping away. My happiness was soon washed away by an envious wave. Before I could blink, the shoes were seized by the wave. I couldn’t even move as if I was frozen in time.

As I was struggling to come to the terms of what happened, I saw a girl in a white dress standing under the same parasol where I picked the blue shoes from a few minutes ago. She was a twenty-some blonde, kind of girl who brightens your day. At that moment, I forgot everything else. I realized that it could be her shoes.

Actually, I liked her more than I liked her shoes. Once again, I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. So, I clicked a couple of pictures. She heard the shutter sound of my camera and leaped at me.

“How dare you?”, she yelled.

She came pouncing at me and snatched my camera to check what I just clicked.

“How dare you click my pic?”, she repeated angrily.

Oh, she was talking about her pic, she doesn’t know, yet. I thought and mumbled, “I’m sorry”. Lost in her beauty, my hand instinctively stretched to retrieve the camera. But she wasn’t done yet and pressed the previous pic button. And I am dead.

“You! You stole my shoes? ”

She looked aghast and still so pretty.  As she screamed, I stood silent hypnotized by her.

“Tell me, where are my shoes?”, she demanded.

I pointed at the sea- like a child blames the other kid for his own mischief.

“Tell me! Why would you do that? How will I go home?”

I mumbled another apology. She was still fuming with anger.

“You can take my slippers” I offered. She looked at my feet, which looked like they belonged to Big Foot.

“You go and get me a pair. I’ll wait here”, she ordered.

I turned to go when she stopped me. And said, “don’t you run away!”

“I promise I won’t.” I kept my camera on the book under the parasol and took an estimate of her shoe size.

I ran to the market- which was about half a mile from the beach. I wanted to put my best foot forward, so I looked for the best option. I picked a pair of blue colored slippers to match her dress, with colorful butterflies on the straps. I thought she would love them.

I came running back to the beach, with a smile on face and slippers in hand. Sun had already set, the beach deserted. I returned to the same spot and looked around. Only the book was there, with a note “now we are even”.

(c)2018 Priya U Bajpai


 

fiction, short story, Story

Kaleidoscopic World

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The first thing Tess noticed about the room was its pungent smell. It always made her feel nauseous. The only thing she liked in the room was the sun-bleached curtains- remnants of bright colored flowers which had turned pastels due to the sun. The curtains dramatically transformed the room with the faded flowers and butterflies.

Tess spotted a patchy couch next to the window. The couch and its location were just perfect, she thought. The only problem was that it was occupied. A lady, not a day older than lady gaga, was sitting on it with her mobile in her hands. What a waste! Tess decided to go and sit next to her. The lady wouldn’t care for her, Tess assumed. She sat next to the lady and murmured a hello, which the lady completely ignored. Let’s call her Aunt Grumpy, she giggled at her thought.

Her mother took a seat right opposite Tess and took a magazine from the desk nearby. Tess looked out of the window, there they are! A smile curved her lips again. That was when she felt the lick. A puppy appeared right next to her. It took her by surprise. She wasn’t expecting them inside the clinic. They don’t like the smell, they never come here.

“Sit still, Tess!”, mom shrieked. She looked at her mother, wondering what she had done to be shrieked at. “I am just sitting”, she mumbled. “No you are not”, mom said.

Tess nodded so that mom stayed calm. When mother went back to her magazine, Tess re-joined the dog. She had never witnessed a shape-shifter before. Her eyes popped up when she saw it changing the shapes. It grew a longer tail and a bigger face, like a hound. The big hound was almost ready to pounce at her. It showed its white sharp teeth. She wanted to run, when she heard again, “Tess, still! Now!”.

Tess looked up, she didn’t see the hound. She looked out of the window again. The fluorescent unicorns were prancing in the garden and flying in the open sky. On her last birthday when she met them for the first time, they told her that their magic lied in their horns. She wished to have a birthday party with them soon. Ah! Only if I could turn the time faster.

Just then a dragon manifested where the hound was standing a few moments ago. She was quick to name it ‘fire fury’. Giving a name should help to tame him, and then I should be able to stop him from being a fire-spitting monster. It worked. when she saw the dragon wagging the tail she knew she could tame him. She jumped up to stroke him. “Tess! Can you stay quiet for a moment?”, her mother said.

Tess always wanted her mother to see and experience the world the way she could. Every creature was unique and beautiful. They all had their stories and they loved to share with her, most of the time. She remembered how neon nightingale sang the most mellifluous song on her birthday. That was her best birthday as all the creatures she loved, lined up to meet her, to dance and frolic with her. They loved her as much as she loved them.

Tess kept shifting between the two worlds. Her world was like a kaleidoscope, always changing patterns. Tess gently stroked the amiable dragon, while mother waited at the psychiatrist’s clinic, hoping this doctor could cure Tess’s hallucinations soon.


(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai

fiction, short story, Story

Forever and Always

I feel the sand squish slowly through my toes as I walk down the pristine beach in Bali, I slide my fingers between hers. The fingers fit effortlessly as if these are meant to be together, forever and always. I met this wonderful woman barely a  month ago, now we are in love. She is the love of my life, Samhita.

“I want the lanterns. It’s Diwali after all”, she insists, “I want to buy all the sky lanterns I can, Rohit”, her enthusiasm matching a child’s.

“Really? What would you do with all the lanterns?”, I ask.

Her eyes glisten and she says, “Let me show you something’. She opens her red wallet and pulls out an old picture. It’s a picture of a man with a baby in his arm, sleeping peacefully. I guess that the baby in the pic is Samhita and the man, her father.

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“This is my favorite picture. I don’t look fat in it. Do I?”, Samhita chuckles, referring to my joke of calling her chubby, not because she’s fat- she is far from it. I like calling her chubby, out of affection.

“That’s my first pic with my dad. My mom clicked this picture. It was our first picture together, and probably my first picture ever”, Samhita says, her chuckles drown in her tears. “My dad used to tell this story every time we talked about my mother. I don’t remember her face. However, I remember her eyes. She had the most beautiful eyes. When I was 5 years old I used to call her eyes ‘sunflower eyes’. I always complained why I didn’t get her eyes. My dad thought I resented him for giving me his eyes. He always called me ‘Hitu’. I reminded him of my mom- Hetal. Once he used a vacuum cleaner to make my hair. He didn’t know how to make hair or use the vacuum cleaner for that matter. All the dust from the vacuum cleaner got in my hair. I sneezed for the longest time”, her musical chuckle reverberate through my soul again.

“Once I woke up in the middle of the night. My body was hot as if on fire but my feet were ice cold. As I opened my eyes, he was rubbing my feet to keep them warm. He had the most endearing smile on face, saying ‘I’m here, love. You sleep’. He loved me as a father and as a mother. With him around, I can’t say I never missed my mom, I missed her terribly. But I can’t complain that she wasn’t around. We lit the sky lanterns every Diwali. We sent them into the sky. He always maintained it would reach her. He passed away six month ago. Today I want to send the lanterns for both of them. They will together receive my prayers and love for the first time”.

We buy all the lanterns we can. We write messages on each of them, light them one by one, and let them go into the sky. As the lanterns rise together, they add colors to the dark sky and become one with the starstudded canvas. We once again hold each other’s hand praying that the two souls bless us with the kind of love they share, forever and always.


 

(c)2018 Priya U Bajpai

I’m participating in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – June 2018

fiction, friendship, short story, Story

They Hate My Guts

 

As I follow her footsteps, I can hear the autumn sounds. The rustling of the leaves under my feet, the whistling of the woods almost as if whispering an untold tale. I follow her steps, like I always did, ever since I remember.

She is Suzy, my cousin, and best friend, and I am Amber. When my parents passed away, I had to live with my maternal uncle- Suzy’s father. They were affluent like us. I was pampered to the hilt. I was treated just the way Suzy was treated. Her mother, Jane, loved me probably more than she loved Suzy. Destiny, however, had other plans. Aunt Jane passed away after two years of my parents’ passing. I felt lonely again. But then something happened that changed my life forever. My uncle remarried to a wicked witch ‘Tranny’. I always called her aunt Tyranny in my head. For some reasons she loved her stepdaughter but hated me to the core, she always told me “I hate your guts”. I don’t know what she meant by that. Gradually Suzy got close to Tyranny, I saw losing my friend. I couldn’t take another loss.

One day I spilled some oil on the steps and broke a vase next to it. I stood next to the vase, like a statue. Hearing the noise, Tyranny came running soon enough- “what have you done now? you little piece of shit?”. I looked at her and smiled. She yelled some more, “what are you smiling at? I hate your guts”. It used to hurt me whenever she said that, but not this time. She jumped to strike me. I didn’t move, I didn’t flinch, I just smiled. As she struck me for the last time, all I had to do was to nudge her a little. She went tumbling down the steps. I stood up and saw her down the stairs taking her last breath, that moment I knew what she meant when she said to me ‘I hate your guts’.

It’s been 20 years, we are trekking today. We reach the campsite and we start unwinding. We are tipsy, we decide to play the game truth and dare. Everybody is enjoying, taking truths and dares. I see Alex, Suzy’s husband going to a camp. When I hear everybody yelling ‘Amber, Amber’, I look ahead. The bottle had stopped right in front of me. Suzy chimes, “Only truth for Amber. I hate her guts too much to give her dare”. Something triggers in me at that moment. I quietly leave the place and follow Alex to his camp.

 

 

fiction, Murder in a Palace, Murder Mystery, Story

Z to A- Connecting the Dots

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Anna stood in the palace where it all began. Anna knew that the suspects would be reluctant to show up today, hence summoned them through City Sheriff office. Rob informed Anna about the arrival of the suspects. Barring two police officers inside the hall, a larger squad of police was waiting outside the palace, ready to apprehend the killer.

Anna started, “I am glad you all came, not coming would have clearly given it away. Tom, you looked very confident when I first met you. Not so confident today. Are you?  Amy, you pretended somebody you are not, apparently to hide your jealousy and treachery behind the madness.

Mr Clark- everyone suspected you. Mrs Smith changed her will to name you as the inheritor of her estate just few days before her murder. You are the biggest beneficiary, which you claimed you were unaware of. Your sock, which you thought drained out, was found in the drain. We identified it as yours from the pictures of the fateful evening”.

“Absurd, I did not do anything”, said David who was visibly perturbed by the accusation.

“How do you explain the DNA touch report which confirms the sock which had Susanne’s blood strains over it belongs to you? The will clearly is the biggest motive”, Anna charged.

“Arrest him officer, he is the murderer”, Anna screamed.

“No. He didn’t.” Olivia broke down.

“It was me. He was just trying to save me”, Olivia confessed.

Olivia spoke between the sobs, “It was my plan. I made him go after Susanne, sell her art at higher price. I used the money to help Alex in his business. Slowly Susanne and David fell for each other, I didn’t expect that. I asked David about him and Susanne, he skirted by telling me that he was doing only what I asked him to do. On that fateful evening, just before 12 o clock, I didn’t see Susanne or David around. I went to look for them and found them making out in the guest room, next to the living room. Seeing them together, something got over me. I got the meat knife from the dining table and went inside the room. They both sprang to their feet. Before either of them could react, I stabbed the knife right through her heart. While falling she held David’s foot. She wanted to say something but died on the spot.

David was shocked, and I also froze after that. Perhaps, he still loved me and didn’t want me to go to jail. He decided to help me. As luck would have it, just then the living room lights were turned off to usher the new year. While people were still dancing, I quickly washed the knife and placed it back at its place, that’s the reason the murder weapon wasn’t found. David washed himself and drained out the sock. When I came out, still nobody was around and then I shrieked in Susanne’s voice. The lights came back on in a few moments.

I didn’t want to kill her. I couldn’t see him stealing my husband. That note and the mail was sent by me to mislead you. He is innocent.”

Anna retorted, “I knew that you were the mastermind, but he isn’t innocent either. After arriving here on the murder night, incidentally I had to use Susanne’s jacket. In which, I found a crumpled paper. It was from Susanne’s diary. Something was scribbled on it, but not legible. Yet I learnt that she must be maintaining a diary. Next morning when I came to the palace, I looked for the diary and found it in a hidden drawer. I learnt from the diary what she thought about you all. She was remorseful that she took credit of Amy’s song and hence decided to name the other house in Amy’s name. In the Diary it was written how Olivia had confronted her after the Paris trip with David. Though when I asked Olivia, she lied that she never confronted Susanne, which was enough to doubt her. The new will which I found from the Sussane’s drawer and her diary made it clear to me that David should not be the culprit.

When the IP address revealed your address, it wasn’t difficult to find out who the culprit was. All the evidences were against David, and none against you Olivia. Left with no other options, I needed your public confession to accuse you. That’s why I called you all here to be witness to it. Your confession actually helped me to connect all the dots from Z to A.”

Immediately after, Olivia was taken in the police custody. David too was taken into custody as he was an accomplice to the crime.

The End. 

*This is the chapter # 9 of the series Murder in a Palace


 

(c) 2018 PRIYA BAJPAI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Picture Courtesy: Created on Canva

Read my previous posts for #BlogchatterA2Z

An Archaic worldBlueprintCrush, DazzledEyesFalling Teardrop…GeishaHorrific HolocaustI’m IIJigsaw PuzzleKiller , LoveMia of MayaNeil’s Shoe , Oseye- Archaic world IIParallel UniverseThe Quiet RoomRain starts to Pour…Shh.. Sleuth is HuntingTwists and TurnsUnicorn FriendsVestigial OrganWhodunitMx. XYou are Dead


if you go through the first chapter you would know. She was clearly the prime suspect.

 

yellow-notebook-guide-book-kindle-cover.jpg

fiction, Murder in a Palace, Murder Mystery

Mx. X

Gray and Blue Photo Fitness Facebook Post (1).jpg

She named the Killer Mx X. X as she didn’t know the name of the killer and Mx for Mix as she wasn’t sure about the killer’s sex either.

Anna got a call from Carl, the forensic expert. He informed about the traces of blood found in one of the wash rooms, which matched with Susanne’s. He also told her about a single yellow sock found in the washroom drain pipe, which had blood stains on it. Blood again matched with Susanne’s. He tried to extract DNA from the sock but no hair or skin was found for the analysis. She asked him to attempt touch DNA analysis, as a simple act of picking up an object or touching a surface can lead to the identification and apprehension of a criminal. Carl also informed her what she already had expected, there were fingerprints of so many people all over the place and didn’t pass as evidences.

Next, she called Rob and asked him to arrange the handwriting samples of all the suspects and get them to the handwriting expert along with the threat note that she had received. Rob informed Anna about the call records. No anomaly except some calls made to a public phone booth by one of the suspects.

She checked for the IP address from where the threat email had originated from. She tracked the email but she couldn’t get the real IP address as the user had masked it using VPN service.

She needed a break from all this. She went to take a shower. Warm water refreshed her and suddenly something struck her. She quickly wrapped a towel around herself and ran to her laptop. She typed an email to the sender of the email. Added a gif with the message I’m waiting for your next move.

 

She encoded the gif image. When clicked on, it could extract the correct IP address, in case the sender had turned off the VPN routing. She also called the cyber cell to help her extract the actual IP address.

Words are windows to mind, words represent thoughts. Anna also looked for word clues, apart from looking for the evidences. Word clues often reveal the behavioural characteristics of suspects. Words could also mislead you, many a times smart criminals might throw red-herrings and even lies. She knew it was important to give the suspects a chance to tell their stories with their truths and lies. This gave her an opportunity to understand the suspects and the reasons of lies. Anna sat with her files, documents, evidences, call records and pages from her diary scattered on her bed. She knew there were some red- herrings as well. Her head was throbbing due to so many dots and numerous unsuccessful attempts to connect those dots.

She stacked all the key evidences against each suspect.

There were several clues against Tom- 1) He was not mourning wife’s death, he even didn’t look sad. 2) His face colour drained, when he learnt about the new will. It appeared like his plan failed 2) He was collecting proofs of David and Susanne’s extra marital affair. Why? 3) He admitted that Susanne wanted divorce, in which case he would be a big loser.

Most of the evidences were against David -1) Everybody pointed towards David. 2) Anna had proofs that David was scamming Susanne in his art-dealings. 3) He had mafia-links, which raised suspicion for the crime 4) Latest legal will of Susanne named him as the sole beneficiary, incase something untowards happened to her.

Clues against Olivia- 1) She said that she forgave Susanne which Anna doubted 2) Anna couldn’t extract much reaction from Olivia about David and Susanne. It almost seemed that it didn’t matter to her.

Clue against Amy- 1) Her call records showed calls on a public booth exactly till the date Susanne died, which was suspicious. 2) Amy was jealous and crazy which was a dangerous combination.

Clue against Alex- 1) He gate-crashed the party and had no other source to corroborate that Susanne wanted him to stay for the party.  2) He pushed susanne to almost death, which he claimed to have no recollection of. 3) Anna’s guess was that the calls that were made to the public booth were for Alex.

to be continued…

*This is the chapter # 7 of the series Murder in a Palace


(c) 2018 PRIYA BAJPAI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Read my previous posts for #BlogchatterA2Z

An Archaic worldBlueprintCrush, DazzledEyesFalling Teardrop…GeishaHorrific HolocaustI’m IIJigsaw PuzzleKiller , LoveMia of MayaNeil’s Shoe , Oseye- Archaic world IIParallel UniverseThe Quiet RoomRain starts to Pour…Shh.. Sleuth is HuntingTwists and TurnsUnicorn FriendsVestigial OrganWhodunit

 

fiction, Murder in a Palace, Murder Mystery, Uncategorized

Whodunit

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The much-awaited meeting with the Olivia Clark since she wanted to talk to her alone. She called Mrs Olivia Clark to check if David was home. Olivia informed that David was out for some work. Anna told her that she was coming immediately.

Anna Roy reached Clark’s house.

The door was ajar, she peeped inside the door and called out, “Mrs Clark?”.
“Come inside”, Olivia announced.
Anna stepped inside the place, it was beautifully decorated. Anna was welcomed by Olivia.
Anna asked, “How are you?”.
“I have seen better days, but I am alright”, Olivia replied. “You can start with your questionnaire”, Olivia added.
“What happened at the party?”, Anna started.
“We all were having fun. Everybody started dancing on the song ‘I keep going on’. We made a temporary stage, put the spotlight, and played the song in loop. Susanne was the first one to start. She pulled me to dance next. It was one crazy night since there were all friends and family to celebrate a special occasion. David was hilarious in his adaptation of MJ- doing a moonwalk. We were in splits when the lights were turned off for the new year. Then we heard a shriek. After a few moments lights were back and we learnt about it”, Olivia recalled.
“How was your relationship with Susanne?” Anna asked.
“Susanne was my good friend since college days, despite being the cantankerous woman that everybody knew her to be. I saw it as her idiosyncrasy. I didn’t judge her for that. We were friends and I accepted this as a part of her”, Olivia answered.
“Despite her marriage getting sour with your brother, you were good friends?”, Anna interjected.
“It soured our relationship too for some time. Initially, I was upset with her after what she did to my brother Alex. I knew her longer and better than others. I knew that she was not bad at heart, however loyalty was not her best virtue. Anyway, since life moves on, I rather chose to help my brother in establishing his business. Over the years, I forgave her”, Olivia replied.
“How was it going between two of you in the recent past?”, Anna probed.
“Life was getting just normal, just as between two friends. That is when I heard from Alex about Susanne and David. I was not shocked since David himself had told me about meetings and some traveling with Susanne related to business. It was when others noticed their frequent meetings and told me, I was upset.”, Olivia answered.
“Why did you go to the party then?”, Anna questioned.
“I didn’t want to. David made me”, Olivia retorted.
“Hmmm… Did you ever confront Susanne about her affair with David?”, Anna interrogated.
“No, but I asked David. He assured me that it was nothing. I had nothing to worry about”, Olivia uttered.
“And you believed him?”, Anna queried.
“I didn’t have a choice or proof”, Olivia admitted.
Anna didn’t have any more questions for Olivia at that juncture. She thanked Olivia and left her place.

As she drove her car, she thought about all the suspects. She had interrogated all the prime suspects. Each one had a motive but gave plausible statements. However, after the statements from all the suspects she was confused- ‘whodunit’.

————–

to be continued…

*This is the chapter # 6 of the series Murder in a Palace


(c) 2018 PRIYA BAJPAI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Read my previous posts for #BlogchatterA2Z

An Archaic worldBlueprintCrush, DazzledEyesFalling Teardrop…Geisha,

Horrific HolocaustI’m IIJigsaw PuzzleKiller , LoveMia of MayaNeil’s Shoe , Oseye- Archaic world IIParallel UniverseThe Quiet RoomRain starts to Pour…Shh.. Sleuth is HuntingTwists and TurnsUnicorn FriendsVestigial Organ