Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The midnight knock


(This story was written as a guest post for a blogger friend more than a year ago.Since this remained unpublished,I am posting it in my blog.)

The clock struck eleven somewhere. I kept aside the case file I was reading, took a glass of water and pulled the bed sheet over me. I heard then a knock at the door. Wondering who it could be at this  hour, I rushed to open the door. I saw a young woman in her late twenties with a bag standing in a distraught condition breathing heavily as if she had run a hundred metre race.
“What do you want at this late hour? Who are you?” I asked
“Please save me, Sir. Someone was stalking me and when I reached this lonely stretch, he increased the pace and shouted asking me to stop. When I started running, he too came running behind,” she stopped to catch her breath.
“What happened then?”
“When I saw the gap between us reducing, I took a boulder from near the postbox, hurled at him and ran without looking back. I am afraid he might have been seriously hurt.
“The post box is hardly a furlong away. Stay here in the hall. Let me check.” I said
When I went near the postbox, I saw a boulder on the middle of the road but there was none there at the spot. I looked carefully at the boulder for any sign of blood. There was none. I looked around and saw no one. I presumed she missed her target, and he must have run away.
“No one is there. There is no stain of blood on the boulder. You must have missed him. You can relax now. Have a glass of water before you tell me more about you,” I said
She drank the water slowly before replying.”I am Nandini.I came from Kumbakonam by bus for an interview tomorrow with a BPO. The bus got delayed en route. Someone told me there is a decent hotel at the end of this road and it was just walking distance. The rest you know,” she said.
From her appearance and the way she spoke, it looked she was from a decent family. I took pity on her and did not want to send her away at that late hour.
“I live with my mother here. But she has gone to village and is expected tomorrow. It is already past 12 midnight. If you are okay with it, you can sleep in the visitor’s room on the sofa and leave in the morning.”
“Thank you, Sir. That would be a great help as I am afraid to go out in the dark at this hour”
As I had some cases to argue early morning in the court, I retired to my bedroom.
It was around 1 am I heard a vehicle screech to a halt and there was a loud knock on the door. When I opened, I was shocked to see someone in police uniform. He pushed me in and entered the drawing hall.
“I am Sudhakar, Inspector of police. There was a frantic call from a young lady complaining of attempted rape and seeking immediate help. She had given this address. Is there any woman here? I want to look around?” he said.
Shaken and confused, I started perspiring.”I think you have come to a wrong house. There is nothing like that here. In fact a lady had come two hours back seeking help from a stalker and is sleeping in the front room. You can ask her. There is no one else in the house,” I said
Just then a sobbing Nandini entered the hall in a salwar suit torn at many places, with a disheveled hair, smudged bindi and scratches on her hand indicating a struggle.
 “No, he is lying. It is a fact I sought his help from a stalker. Finding him a helpful man, I trusted him and accepted his offer for shelter during night. That was a blunder as the wretch came in a little while and started misbehaving. Luckily I escaped to the toilet and rang for help,” she lied looking at me accusingly.
The inspector ordered both of us to come with him to the police station for giving statements and for filing FIR.
It was then Nandini pleaded with the inspector that she had an interview the next day morning and that she would not like to file a case but desired to be taken out of the house.
“Are you suggesting that you wish to drop the charges and go for a settlement?”asked the Inspector. I wondered what settlement he was talking about.
“Yes, Otherwise I will miss my interview. A police case will also damage my reputation. He made only an unsuccessful attempt to molest me. You may decide whatever you think is reasonable. I wish to get out of this place with you at the earliest,” she pleaded.
“I cannot get involved in this if you are not pursuing the matter. You settle between you two” said the inspector.
“What she tells is an utter lie. I have no idea how she got the clothes torn and the bruises on her hand. I have not seen the woman after I went to my room. I have important cases in court tomorrow morning and I wish she gets out immediately. I don’t know what settlement you both are talking about. I made a mistake in letting her in. Anyway give me a minute. Let me check what I have,” I said
As I was lingering in my bed room after contacting police, a police patrol car screeched to halt outside. I rushed to open the door. Two policemen entered. The lady and the ’inspector’ were stunned at the turn of events.
“Thank you for coming so quickly after I rang up. I suspect these two are accomplices in crime and good in concocting accusations. I am a lawyer. I vividly remember that she came in a neat blue salwar suit.She is in torn clothes now. Please check her bag. I think she must have changed clothes and inflicted the scratches on herself before ringing up her accomplice to come in uniform to fleece me. He is no inspector, but a fake, I think”
Soon the cat was out of the bag, and the fake guy and the trembling woman were led into the waiting police car. I could see the seething anger and malice in her eyes, as she looked at me while departing.

***

9 comments:

  1. The crooks got outwitted. Like that !

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  2. your usual surprise element at the end :) nice :)
    wonder y this remain unpublished. it's a nice story

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  3. Really Nice! A typical KP story which keeps the reader absorbed with an unexpected twist. Missing all the intriguing twists, please resume, looking forward for more.

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  4. I always love your narration of the story. It is intriguing. Loved this one! Keep writing, Partha Sir!

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  5. O Henry relived through this brilliantly narrated story ...I believe this is just a teaser for the grand release of fresh stories from KP sir's stable..

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  6. Just too good! What a talent really, wish you had taken up crime novels. You are brilliant!

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  7. What an unusual twist.
    Too good

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