Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Am Going Crazy-Chapter 11

I am going crazy. Nothing seems to make sense now to me. The killer is on loose again, and all I can do is while away, poring over clues on his target next. Will it be Sam, or will it be the forensic scientist again? What were his patterns; what were his trademarks? With age, I have also lost my ability to recall. But he is around us, or was. But is it enough to catch hold of him, and make him pay for what he has done?
Destiny is on his side once again. And here stand I, licking at my wounded pride that still exists after missing him on so may occasions. What is Stanley up to right now? Frankly, I don’t know. I don’t care as well, strangely. Once, I would have been all fired up, but today, I am totally distant with all that is happening around me? Is it my old age? Or has this line made me like this? Impassionate, distant, lost?
I was standing outside, watching an unconscious woman on ventilator, who had been administered a lethal dose of thallium. How could this have been done, without anyone even realizing what happened? And where did he get the poison from? Is he really hiding amongst us, or did he come and go in such a short time that we could not even realize till it was too late? How could I have allowed such a slip?
“How is she now?” asked Sam, as she walked in. “I heard the forensics woman was poisoned. Is it Stanley again?”
She was dressed in her usual manner. But something seemed different about her. The journalistic instinct was overshadowed by a sense of circumspection. What had prompted this change? Was it the threats given by Stanley that were shaping into horrifying realities?
“She’s critical for sure. The antidote worked, but not before the poison caused serious damage. If she passes through this time, she will manage well, or else we will lose one more person to this battle against hope,” I spoke, trying hard to hide the bitterness which was squirming inside me like a hydra, waiting to burst my chest and come out, spewing venom on everyone. I wanted to admit defeat; let me be honest to one and all, for I do not know how to play the diplomatic games.
She kept staring at me for some time, before she shifted her gaze across the door, wherein lay that poisoned victim. I, on the other hand, could not make any sense: there were no patterns unlike the last time, when he left for us a trail of evidence. This time…
“Don’t you think he is throwing a challenge to you? Is it as if he wants to meet you, and is leaving behind a pattern?”
Challenge? This was more than a challenge; it was pure mockery of me, my will, my frustration at having let go of him that night, and all that anger that had been piling within me for so many years now, it was waiting to burst forth on the next person I saw. But would it be worth it? I walked out of the building, with Sam following me. I lit a cigarette, while Sam lit hers, and we were smoking outside.
“When he killed her, she was alone at night time. She was killed with a knife. Then the editor,” she flinched with the recall of his body’s sight, “with a gun; and now with poison. What will be next? A noose?”
“Might be,” I finally replied, much to her relief, “but then when does he strike? This is something I do not know. Moreover, you are the next target for sure.”
She stared at me, with a look that meant to say “Tell me something I do not know,” but she still spoke up, “And what do you intend to do about that?”
“We need to give you a security cordon. But I am going to quit from this case. Clearly, I failed to catch him.”
She stared at me, and this time a sense of surprise clouded her face. “You mean to say you will not be there on this case anymore? But you are the only person who can catch him.”
“No I am not, else I would not have let him try and kill at least this woman in the first place,” I replied, with a tone of irritation tinging my voice, which took her off-guard, as she stared at me, while I began to walk towards my car. “Follow up on the victim. I want a report every hour,” I said, and stepped into the car, when she barged in deliberately.
I began to drive away, trying hard not to think, and instead concentrate on the road, which was unusually empty for this time of the day. But nothing was unusual nowadays; at least, not for me. I kept driving, and finally reached the headquarters, and soon stormed into the office of my superior, who was talking to someone.
“Can I talk to you alone?” I asked, and looking at my face, he asked the guy to leave, while motioning me to sit down.
“Yes, Maher, what do you want now?” he asked in a tone of total lack of interest, as though he was expecting me to storm in anytime now.
“I want you to relieve me of this case sir.”
The mug in which he was pouring his coffee nearly fell out of his hand, while he nearly choked himself on the doughnut he was eating. “What did you say?” he replied, having regained himself from the jaws of death in that instant.
“Precisely what you heard sir,” I replied with a measured composure in my voice.
“But what about Stanley?”
“What about him sir?” I asked him indifferently, trying to avoid any eye contact while staring outside the window behind him.
“You very well know what I mean Maher. You are the only one who can get him; you bloody well know that. Stop acting in such a sissy manner,” he spoke to me, trying to sound tough. “Plus, I am not willing to relieve you.”
“If I am so capable sir, then how in the name of Lucifer could he have poisoned the forensic scientist right under our noses?” I spoke, anger clouding my low tone, as I tried hard to hide my anger.
“You have lost it Maher. Do you even know what you mean right now? Since when did you feel so defeated?”
“Right after this poison was given to my soul by someone who mocked me so loudly. I failed totally to prevent the killer from attacking another person. He has killed so many, and what have we learnt so far about him? That his name is Stanley; that he has come back from the dead, and that . This is my achievement on this case,” I fumed loudly, creating quit ea storm in the office, which was now crowded at the door with people curious to know more about something that was of no concern to them.
“Calm down, Maher. If you think your screaming is going to get you relieved, then forget it; you are not going to be let off the case; not until you get me Stanley for sure,” scoffed my superior, and stormed out of the room, leaving behind a host of people who were now ogling at me, while I gnashed my teeth in anger.

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