“Mrs. Rinaya?”
“It’s Miss Rinaya, may I know who yo…”
“Oh, sorry ma’am, I’m detective Harish from fourth town police. May I come in?”
“Police? Well, yes, yes. Please do come in. Here have a seat. Do you want some water?”
“I’d like a glass ma’am. The lift wasn’t working and I had to climb all the way up!”
A sudden flash of lightning engulfed the retinas with blinding white light. A moment later a bold of thunder rocked the house on the 16th floor. Nature’s suddenly contrived efforts to weave mysticism and horror into the visual pallet of the people of the dreamy factory city succeeded.

“Gosh! The rain, lucky I reported to duty on time, otherwise I’d been soggier than bread in water”
Miss Rinaya didn’t respond. She quietly set the glass of water before Harish and sat down on a chair opposite to him.
“Thanks for that Miss Rinaya, I…” 
“Mr. Harish, what brings you here?”
The apartment had a small divan set with a pair of cane chairs flanked on either side. There was a small stool opposite to one of the chairs on which Miss Rinaya sat on. Behind her there was a kitchen with a part of the stove visible. A pressure cooker sat on the burner and it let out some steam. The marble floor was spotless and there was something about the apartment which made it look empty and dusty even though it was not. Detective Harish, made a mental note of the architecture of the house.
“I think ma’am you’ve to put a weight on that cooker”

Rinaya gave a stern look to Harish but she had to succumb to the calls of the cooker. She turned around and put the weight and returned back.
“Detective, you didn’t tell me the purpose of your visit”
“Well, I guess there’s no use hiding that fact ma’am. Your brother has lodged a complaint stating that his child has been missing since the yesterday. And he has stated that you were the last person to leave his house yesterday. And frankly, I’m here today because I’ve taken up the case. Do you have the kid ma’am?”
“Wha.. My…y brother’s c…child?”
A small line of liquid zoomed on her cheeks.
“Yes, ma’am. I’ve a few questions for you ma’am. You need to answer them correctly to help us find them.”
Rinaya sat there shell shocked. She sat on the little teak stool and sobbed quietly.
“Ma’am. This doesn’t mean that you’re a suspect. This is just a customary procedure. May I know your full name?”

“Rinaya. Rinaya Prakash.”
“How old are you ma’am?”
“I’m 32”
“I’m widowed”
“Oh!.. I’m sorry… I di…”
“How are you supposed to know?”
Little tear drops feel down on her dupatta.
 “I’m sorry I’ve to ask this ma’am. How long since your husband die…”
“Three years”
“How did it happen?”

“He fell down into a 40 foot gorge while he was working on that Sarovar dam construction”
Rinaya wiped out a tear and brushed her palm dry on the sides of her blue chudidar.
“How..how did this happen? My nep…nephew?”

“Yesterday ma’am. After you left your brothers place at nine, his wife thought that the kid was sleeping upstairs. Your brother came back at around midnight and when he went to check out his child, he was missing. He thought that his wife must’ve taken him to her room and so went to check in. When he realized that the kid wasn’t there too he raised alarm.”

“M..y. I…I”

“Ma’am. You just need to be composed. I assure you that we’ll find him. If you please, we need to do off with the questioning”
“Su…sure. Go on”
“When did you go to your brother’s place yesterday?”
“In the evening around six”
“What means did you use to go to his house?”
“I used the metro while going, bus 216 B I think and while coming back I took a cab”
“What was your purpose of visit?”
“Wha…? Well, I went babysit my nephew while as my brother was working on a night shift and his wife was going out to some party”
“Was the kid there when you went to the house?”
“Oh! He was! He was playful and we both played a lot. He slept around 8 o’clock after I fed him some Cerelac.”

“When did you leave the house ma’am?”
“At around 9. It was when Avantika came home. I had to leave then because it was getting late and getting a cab would be difficult then”
“Did Mrs. Avantika bring anyone with her ma’am? A friend possibly?”
“No. Not when I was there”
“What did you do in the time between eight and nine?”
“I did some reading, and had my dinner there”
“So, all this time you were beside the baby?”
“No, I came downstairs to eat.”
“So you didn’t see anything fishy then? Any noises, anything unusual?”
“Not that I know of, no”
“Was the maid at home at that time?”
“No. She left when Avantika did, I was alone all the time”
“Did anyone call you or ring the doorbell?”
“I was alone the whole evening detective. I remember closing the door after Avantika left and I went upstairs to play with Aman. I didn’t come down till eight”
“Ma’am is there anything unusual that happened yesterday which might help us in our investigation?”

“Nothing detective. None I can remember of”
The pressure cooker started whistling. The eerie silence in the room resonated with the shrill whistle let out by the steam.
“And then from there did you come home or?”
“I came home inspector, at around ten thirty.”
“When you last left, what was Aman wearing?”
“He was wearing a blue cotton shirt and a diaper if I remember well”
“Does your brother have any ri…”
“Detective, I think it’d be better if you leave now. My brother is a good man, and it’s my responsibility to take care of him in situations like this. If you think I’ve taken Aman you’re mistaken. You’re free to search the house and do anything you want, whatever it is, I want you to leave now. Please…”

Rinaya Prakash put her face into her hands and started crying. The heavy thuds of rain drops falling on the sunshade cause a metallic eerie noise inside the room. The cooker started whistling again, it sounded like a wolf howl. Somewhere a transformer boomed out, leaving the apartment in darkness. The daylight outside wasn’t enough. Detective Harish could barely see Rinaya’s silhouette as he stood up.
“I’m sorry ma’am. I didn’t want it to end like this. I might want you to come to…”
“Please leave”
“Here’s my card in case…”
Detective Harish let out his hand to give Rinaya a handshake which she ignored. A flash of lightning lit up the room for a second showing Harish the way out in the stone cold marble. Detective Harish walked up to the door and looked back. He saw nothing, and then he went out closing the door behind him. The smell of rain encroached the breathing space in the buildings. Thick, dark, delirious, loony clouds drifted lazily in the sky bringing down the wrath of the Gods.  Palls of thunder coupled with the wind brought down old windows and shattered weak ear drums. Detective Harish started descending from the 16th floor with utmost caution, as the shadows ate the remaining light. As he got down the 13th floor, his phone started belting out a loud Bihari item song. Detective Harish stopped for a second and fished his phone out.

“Detective Harish?”
“This is Prakash sir, did you find my Aman?”
“No sir we didn’t. There’s no reason to panic we’ll get your Aman back at the earliest”
“Please Sir, please. We’ll give a h…”
“We’ll do our job with care sir don’t you…”
“Detective, we’ve also lost our dog, it’s a black Scott terrier named Mars, it’s not at home, so…”
“We’ll find him Mr. Prakash, when did you last see him?”
“In the evening, my wife saw him in the evening which she left for the party”
“I’ll look into the matter Sir, now if you…”

The call ended. Detective Harish stood there and thought for a second. He had to climb three storeys again or he could leave the dog in peace. He had the urge to leave but the sudden disappearance of the dog intrigued him to climb up the stairs again. Like a whiff of fresh air, the building suddenly brightened up as the backup generator sprang to life. He stood opposite to Miss Rinaya’s house and rang the doorbell. There was no answer for more than a minute after which the door opened suddenly.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry to disturb you again, but the dog…”
“What dog?”
“Your brother had a dog, a Scott terrier, you didn’t mention anything about him. Was he…”
“My brother didn’t have any dog, nothing I know of..”
A loud metallic clang came in from the dining hall, which was a mere extension of the hall. Detective Harish looked in, he could see the pressure cooker on the floor, with its lid propped half open.
“The cooker Mrs. Rinaya, looks like you ne…”

The lid moved. Simmering hot liquid came out of the cooker. Lighting struck again, showing a trail of scarlet on the marble floor. Wait. Is it blood? Detective Harish looked in and Miss. Rinaya panicked, and tried to close the door. Detective Harish blocked her action and pushed the door wide open and he sprinted inside. He took out his small pen light and focused it into the cooker.

A small ghoulish figure moved inside. Steam billowed out of the cooker releasing a nasty pungent smell into the air. Harish pushed the lid aside, only to find him face to face with something he’d never wanted to see. A pale, blistered animal lay dead inside. Pieces of its skin tore open revealing bones, and its gut came from the bottom. The skin looked boiled and sinews of raw flesh held pieces of muscle close together. Tufts of wet hair stood in places where the skin didn’t open up. A bone jutted out of nowhere from the front. He focused the light onto the dead animal, all the way up to its head. Suddenly, the eyelid of the animal sprang up, with half of it cooked with the eye inside. The thing moved, let out a shudder and became stationary. The skin looked shiny and glossy, and with an abrupt movement, it burst open, bringing in more blood and some indistinguishable organs. They slowly slid down the walls of the cooker onto the floor.
Detective Harish stood rooted to the floor flummoxed with the sudden change in events. Never before did he se a dog being cooked alive. The poor thing still was steamy, and the light in the hall went out. Rinaya! He looked back in reflex and there was an endless stream of darkness across.

“No!, I…I hav… have a g…”
Lightning struck for the umpteenth time that morning, illuminating a woman with her arms raised up high in the air, with a machete between them.


"The greatest anomaly of crime is in the act itself. As for the sane it's the sane and for the insane it's the sane."

Note: This post has been published by me for Blogeshwar 3.0. You can know more about Blogeshwar by clicking here.