Saturday, January 17, 2009

"I Have Been Poisoned"-Chapter 10

And I was brought back into action for inspecting another body. It feels strange sometimes that all I do is to tear up some already torn, mutilated or rotting bodies for a living. But that’s what people do; some kill for a living, some bury them. Me; I just inspect them to ascertain reasons of death.
I was looking through this body, which was relatively neater than the others, when my second assistant came in to say that Maher had come in. I was perplexed; Maher had not met me for several months now. What could he possibly have to do with me now?
I instructed him to ask Maher to wait, while I washed my hands at the sink, and moved out of the room that should also be called “The Museum of Death”.
Maher was there, waiting for me besides the lonely window that was the only source of natural light for my room, and seemed a bit lost, when I entered in. “So,” I spoke directly, “what’s up? What brought you here?”
He turned around to look at me. Those piercing eyes conveyed a sense of frustration that meant something, but I could not understand that. “Is everything alright?” I asked, curious about this strange turn of events that was playing itself out like a c-grade suspense thriller.
He sat down in the chair, while I sat in mine, and what followed was perhaps the longest pause, the longest moment of silence that could have ever been possible. They say something about the theory of relativity, and how time is relative. Well, in our case, the relative frame was perhaps stretched to infinity, for the momentary silence became unbearable, as the smoke rose in whirls from his burning cigarette, which he did not take all the way to his mouth for some time, perhaps trying to figure out what he should say to me, or perhaps how he should say something important to me. Eventually, he gathered some nerve to say it.
“Do you remember Stanley?”
I was stunned into a moment of contemplation. What was the point of asking about someone who is already dead? A whole set of ugly scenes began to roll in my mind, slowly like a movie projector slowly unwinding a reel, only that this reel was not wanted. I was recalling some scenes that I did not want to. “Well,” I said finally,” what about him? He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Maher made an expression that could never have been positive in spirit. I began to feel weird. What did he mean with that?
“I am afraid he is not. He is very much alive, and has committed two murders.”
My head began to spin for a second. How could that have been? He had been washed away in that horrifying flood, as if nature wanted to remove the filth that crawls about on its surface forever. And yet, even nature did not manage to beat this insect’s resilience. Why? I began to think, while fidgeting with my pen, and stared outside with so many questions racing in my mind. Maher looked at me with a bit of concern. It was obvious, for there was a lot of history between me and Stanley. And this was nothing but a matter of concern for a police officer past his prime, and an autopsy woman who did not want to carry on.
“I fear that he will target you, very soon. I do not know how, but he will do that, sooner or later. I think we should build a safety net around you, so that nothing happens to you,” spoke Maher, who was crushing the cigarette that he had not smoked at all. “That’s the best we can do for you right now.”
“That is the best you can do, Maher,” I spoke in an absent-minded way, for I was far, far away from the entire scene, and was recalling what had happened so many years ago, which had the power to make me sleepless on some nights still. How can I forget that night, when he had tried to kill me, and had it not been for Maher, I would have been dead?
You may be surprised at all that is happening here, but let me tell you; there is a history between me and that killer. He almost had me the last time, and somehow the thought of that night is making my stomach churn. Or is it something else, I began to wonder, as I experienced a searing pain rise in my stomach. I was surprised. My periods were far away; then what was this?
Suddenly, the horror dawned on me, as I fell out of my chair, to the shock of Maher, and began to writhe. “What happened?” he asked me, agitated with all that was happening here.
“Call the ambulance. I have been administered poison,” I managed to speak, and was soon losing consciousness, while sounds kept drifting around me, of Maher calling the ambulance, and of that night I want to forget.
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I am hiding behind the bed, while Stanley is moving around in the house, plodding his heavy feet on the wooden flooring of my house. My breathing is getting heavier by the minute, which I am trying to relax, but how can we relax in such a tense moment, with the rush of adrenalin in my system taking me on a nervous high, while I hear his footsteps get closer with each passing moment?
Suddenly, I hear the door of my bedroom clicking. I scamper to hide myself under the bed, while Stanley’s feet keep moving around, right within my sight, much that I do not want to see it. He is toying around with me, I know that; and there is nothing that I can do in turn to save myself; I can only bide my time.
Just then, someone stormed into my house, and then, a medley of footsteps march in, while I can still see nothing more than feet, and hear the voice of Maher, seeing whom perhaps Stanley is now trying to find a way out of the room….
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I opened my eyes, to see myself on a ventilator to allow easy breathing. Maher was there, along with some woman I had seen somewhere…ah, that journalist, whose photo came in the paper. I look at them, while Maher spoke to me very quietly,
“You had been given arsenic.”
Hearing this, I just began to drift out of consciousness again, much to the chagrin of several unknown faces and voices that I managed to notice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Confessions of The Murderer-Chapter 9

Am I crazy? Maybe. Can you call me lunatic? Probably. Can you say that I killed her? Most certainly.
Does it matter to you why I killed her? It does, though you were in no way related to that woman. That scum was rightly killed. She was aware of her beauty, and was ruthless in taking advantage of it. The woman was a blot on how society should be. How can anybody use something advantageous about them to create havoc like that?
What about the editor, you may ask. What wrong was he doing? I’ll tell you what wrong he was doing. But how can you understand what wrong he was doing. You people are the same ones who were complicit in his crime. You are the same people who were reading that salacious gossip that the newspaper “The Daily Star” was belting out. The trash was absolutely unacceptable; it was crass and vulgar, just like that woman (what was her name? Yeah, Dawn Jones) How could he have done that?
I still remember that night and the rising waters, as me and Maher were struggling to stay afloat. And that son of a bitch was not even to let go of me, even if it were to mean the death of both of us. I was running out of air, and my lungs were filling up with water, as I felt its pressure on the walls of my lungs. Damn him, I was thinking, and was almost ready to die there, when all of a sudden I realized that Maher’s grip was loosening. I was stunned, and almost motionless for a while, even as Maher completely let go of me, and the current carried me away to which place, I cannot recall, for I woke up after a long time, not knowing where I was. But now, I am back.
Do you want to know my name? Does it really matter? Anyways, since you are curious like all other human beings, that human nature is, my name is Stanley. You can just call me Stanley. There is no need for you to go all crazy. Where am I hiding; that would be your next question. I would not like to reveal that to you, else my mission would not be fulfilled. Don’t worry, mon cher. All of you would be impressed to know that I am closer than all of you think. I have already made my appearance, and have also made my presence felt; it’s for you to figure out where. I am trying to hide around, but keeping a track on what Maher and that journalist bitch of his are up to. She is helpful, that Young. She is made of sterner stuff, or knows how to hide her emotions well, for I did not hear any shrieks or gasps when I told her about her beloved boss’ murder. Only silence greeted from me, followed by that oh-so-journalist spirit, which starts to question you even before you realize it. I did not give her time though, just like I gave no time to her editor, who could not even scream when I shot him through his head; somehow screams do not gel well with the daytime, and so I decided that this death should be instant. And so I went into his office, and pumped bullets into his body. How come no one came to know about it? Because no one was around; it was lunch break, you see. People love it whenever they get an excuse to get out of their seats, and disappear, only to appear at a time that they find convenient. This guy was gorging on something he had ordered. What was it? How does it matter, anyway? What matters is that he is dead now, and that I have committed yet another murder.
How come Maher did not recognize me, if I am so close to him? Isn’t that question burning up your souls, you curious cats? I do not look the same. That flood had left me so disfigured that I had to go for a new face. But let me tell you, it was not a happy experience, and this is not some cheap third-grade soap going on here, where the villains get to torment the protagonists. It was a painful experience, all thanks to Maher, for which he will pay in many ways.
Who am I going to murder next? How long will I keep doing this? What will I achieve? Patience, my friends; be patient, for the roots of patience are bitter, but the fruits are sweet. How can I do something like this, without letting Maher know, without giving him any hints whatsoever about what I am up to next? It would be unfair to him, for try as much as he did not to, he did go of me, to give me freedom once again, and as a good human being I have to repay that debt as well. It is just that there is that woman, that Sam Young, who is putting in a spanner in the works, and creating a mess that I do not want. The matter is between me and Maher; why the hell is she dawdling around here? Anyways, we will soon find a use for her, won’t we, dear readers? But Maher has to be careful, for I hold the cards once again, and have the winning hand, so he better play well. All the best, Maher.
I am a crazy lunatic, that’s what your impressions about me, isn’t it? Maybe you are wrong; maybe you are right. Even I am not sure why I am killing people here; its just that I like to see blood stream out of dead bodies.

The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

The Buck Stops With the Duo (Courtesy: Bloombergquint) The fracas in Maharashtra notwithstanding, things are at a critical juncture ...