Monday, November 19, 2018

An encounter with a cannibal

A friend had asked me to write a horror story. This is an old one repeated for his reading pleasure and for the new followers.
It was late evening. I was sitting in the lounge of a hotel in an interior African city.
” Hey, new to this place? Would you like to see a cannibal?” asked a tall and big man from the adjacent sofa.
I had nothing specific to do and readily agreed curious to see something strange.
In a few minutes we drove outside the city to what seemed a forest and were face to face with a bare bodied black tribal man with shrunken face, matted hair, unkempt beard and beads on neck seated before a bonfire to ward off the cold. There were lines in white and orange on his face and body.
There was a look of surprise and his eyes glistened as he smiled showing his yellow teeth. He made no attempt to talk but made some gestures that I could hardly comprehend. A shudder passed through me as he looked at my white skin with interest.
I looked around for my companion. He was not seen. A lump arose in my throat when I heard a loud thud. My companion had hit the black man hard on his head.
“Don’t worry” he said as he plunged his sharp teeth with relish on the black man’s shoulder and added with a large grin showing his blood filled mouth, “I am lucky today. Black and white would make a great combo.”
As he slowly stood up with a vicious look and blood dripping from his flesh-filled mouth, I stood frozen still and dazed like a deer caught in the headlights.
” Trinng, trinng, trinng,” the phone came alive with the receptionist in her sweet drawl announcing, “Good morning,Sir. This is a wake up call. It is 4 am and your flight is at 6 am.” Highly relieved but still dazed, I thought of the terrible nightmare looking at my sweat drenched shirt.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A tough decision indeed (twists galore)

The inspector of police was about to leave the police station for home. A constable came in to announce that a young lady wanted to see him urgently. She came soon behind him, a young lady in her late twenties. The Inspector asked the constable to remain outside. She seemed educated and spoke flawless English. The inspector was an elderly man about to retire in a year with a daughter of her age and a son well settled.
Asked what brought her to the station, she said coolly “I have poured acid on my husband’s face when he was asleep. He is writhing in pain at my home.” The inspector could not believe what he heard till she assured him that it was a fact. The inspector asked her to wait and meanwhile sent a SI with a constable in a jeep along with keys to her home to admit the man in agony in a hospital. He simultaneously arranged an ambulance to reach her home
Once this was taken care of, he asked her to narrate the events truthfully as they happened. After a glass of water, she said” I am Swati, a post graduate in Botany and a lecturer in a college. I made the mistake of falling in love with this man whom I married later. He is an exceptionally handsome guy, with an infectious smile, slightly effeminate, suave in manners and an engaging conversationalist that would sweep any woman off her feet. He is intelligent, cunning, lazy and fond of good living, easy money and adept in handling girls.
When I fell in love with him, he told me that he was a MBA and an executive in a reputed company. I have waited before his office building in the evenings till he came out for spending the evenings. He took me around to places but took care not to take advantage of my mad love for him before marriage. This made me trust him more. I have no mother.
My father an old man who is no more had one look at him and said “Swati, he rings fake to me. Something about him warns me that he is not right, though I cannot pinpoint. Don’t be in a hurry to marry him. Have his statements verified independently before you take this important decision.”
Foolish and headstrong as I was, I ignored his suggestion and went ahead with the marriage. At the suggestion of my husband, it was a simple marriage with a very few friends of his. It was only later after a few months that I could find out, he had no job, had no MBA and was a plain loafer. It transpired later he waited in the office building to pose that he worked there. I also learnt to my utter shock that I was his fifth wife and that he had inveigled earlier many girls like me and married them, gave them children and robbed them of their money. He went each night to one of the unfortunate women.”
The kindly inspector asked “Do you have any child? Have you also parted with your jewels and belongings as I see no gold on your neck or hands?”
She replied “Yes, I have lost all. Luckily I have no child. He made me abort the one immediately after marriage telling me that it would be a hindrance for planned holidays and I was then not aware of his shenanigans. The immediate provocation for my drastic step today was his attempt to cheat a young girl into a marriage. I overheard his conversation telling her that he is an IRS officer and unmarried when he assumed I was not at home. When I confronted him that I would not tolerate any more of his cheating young women and that I would complain to police, he laughed derisively and asked me to get lost.
The inspector kept quiet thinking of a plan to resolve successfully this matter. I knew his looks were his asset and I decided to take it away from him so that no girl would ever fall a victim any more to his wily moves. I had strong acid for cleaning purposes and I decided to wait till he fell asleep on the sofa after watching TV as he usually does. I took this decision consciously and am prepared to suffer punishment for it.”
The inspector kept quiet motioning her to remain silent and thought over the matter for a few minutes. He could see in the agitated young girl before him a picture of his own daughter. He could visualize the mental torture of hers having been cheated by a riffraff. He had no sympathy for the young man who got his just desserts. What he was worried was the wrong manner in which the justice was administered to him by the young woman taking law into her own hands.
After a while he coughed slightly and told her in a quiet voice” You have taken law into your own hands. This is highly wrong, a big offence and punishable. Listen carefully, you are of my daughter’s age and I trust what all you have said. Still I will make independent inquiries to verify the veracity of your statements. If he is really a culprit as you have explained, have no worry at all. You said that you poured the acid on his face when he was asleep. He must have lost his vision by now. Give me a statement duly signed that on entering the house from the college, you found the door open, your husband writhing in pain on sofa and that someone must have assaulted him with acid out of enmity. Utter no word to anyone that you did it and stick to this no matter what. I will bring this case to a successful conclusion to the great relief of his five cheated wives and to the rescue of his potential sixth victim.”
 He stood up, patted her on her shoulders and said “Don’t worry; you have a dad in me. Policemen aren’t as bad as they are often depicted.”
The story can end here. However, for some of the readers who expect a twist at the end, please read on.
It was then the mobile in Inspector’s hand rang.” What did you say? Repeat it, is it that your brother is in hospital with acid burn? Which hospital and who gave the information? I am rushing there,” he replied to his wife.
He turned to see Swati trembling in fear. “Do not worry. Our deal stands. If the man is a cheat, he will pay the price. You may go home without fear. My only wish is that your husband is not my brother in law but a different man, though my brother in law is a wastrel with all the traits of your husband.” the inspector said as he rushed to the jeep.
For those not satisfied with the above twist being unrealistic, here is another.
On hearing is wife, the inspector looked at the trembling Swati sternly without a trace of compassion he showed earlier and walked to his desk. He took her statement from the drawer and tore it to shreds and bellowed to SI,” Take her to women’s police station and keep her in the lock up till you hear from me.”
If you desire the ultimate twist, here is one.
When the mobile rang in inspector’s hand, he asked, “Tell me quickly. I am in a hurry to go out. Did you say your wife is missing? What is her name? Okay. Please tell me,” and listened quietly and looked at Swati once or twice. Finally, he said to the person on the phone, “Yes, sir, she is here. You may come immediately. I will wait for you.”
In a few minutes, a young and handsome man got down from car and introduced himself, “I am Mohan, IRS working as Assistant Commissioner," and  gave his card and showed his ID. "This is my wife Swati. I am sorry she has inconvenienced you all. She is having some psychological problem and very occasionally gets into a bout of persecution complex and imagines all sorts of things. This is the third time. We are a happily married couple. She is under treatment under Dr. Sargunaraj. If you wish, you may talk to him."
Meanwhile Swati had snuggled close to Mohan and smiled innocently at the inspector unaware of the problem she had created a while ago.Evidently the presence and comfort of her husband's proximity had calmed her mind.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A mysterious disappearance

It was raining with men and women coming out of offices and  were seen seeking cover under the porticos of office buildings or shops.
“How about a hot coffee at the adjacent coffee shop?" asked Vittal to his good friend and colleague Shoba.
As they were seated in a corner with coffee cups in hands, Vittal looking at her intently said, “Are the ear studs new? The penguin shaped one with red stone fixed on it for the eye looks exquisite on your face.”
“Yes, I fell for it when I saw it. It is a new and unique design. I bought them yesterday at the mall,” replied Shoba. She readily agreed to Vittal’s wish and posed for a selfie with him that displayed the stud prominently.
” Shoba, I have been observing you for the past two weeks and notice a look of worry in your face. Are you keeping well with no health issues? I have not seen the usual smile for a long time. Tell me if there is any problem that I can help resolve.”
She kept quiet for long time. When she did not answer, Vittal said, “Never mind, drink the coffee before it gets cold. The rain has subsided. We will make a move.”
“I am sorry Vittal. You are someone more than a friend and someone whom I could trust and in whom I could confide. Let me tell you in strict confidence what is bothering me. I have been dating secretly someone in our office for a year. You know him well as I have seen you both together often.”
“Did you say secretly dating? why should it be that way? A guy in our office known to me? How come I did not get a scent of it?” asked Vittal in a baffled tone.
“It is Vikram Arora in marketing. You must be knowing him well.”
“Who will not know that dapper guy with his charming ways and flashy style. He is close to me as we were classmates in IIT. Surprising, he has not uttered one word about you so far. I have heard friends telling he is the heart throb of many female employees. You are lucky he has chosen you. Why this veil of secrecy? If the friendship is open, it would keep others away from him. When are you both getting married?”
“It was at his insistence that I did not tell anyone and secretly meeting him in resorts and hotels on weekends. You know I have no parents or any close relative here.”
“Such an amorous development should reflect joyfully in your face. Why this melancholy look then?” If you had confided in me earlier as a trusted friend, I would have advised you not get too close to him till the wedding is decided publicly. I know him well from his college days. Do not lower your guard. I would advise you,if you really love him, to get married soonest.”
“Vittal, I am actually in trouble due to my foolishness in falling for his sweet talk. I explained to him the urgency of the marriage in the condition I am. His reaction  is callous and irresponsible. He tells me it is my problem for not being careful and asks me to abort or get lost. He even has the cheek to tell he cannot marry every woman with whom he had slept,” confided a sobbing Shoba.
“I feared this response. What will you do now? Did you consult a doctor? Vittal asked her with concern
“I will not buckle that easily. I have threatened him that I have proof of all his messages in my mobile phone and that I will lodge a complaint in the office and if needed go to police. He got jittery and asked me to wait for two months when his sister would have been married and he would marry me immediately in a gala function.”
“If I were you. I would still get rid of the problem immediately. He is not trust worthy. Do what you think is best before it is too late for redemption, “ he consoled her.
“Do not worry. I can afford to wait for two months,” she assured.
Vittal left the next day on a  long tour for nearly a month. He got immersed in work and did not think much of Shoba. He was once or twice concerned about Shoba and her relationship with that wily Vikram.
On the day he returned to office, he was busy meeting senior bosses and in meetings. Only as the evening drew close, he remembered Shoba, he requested his secretary to get her on the intercom.
“Don’t you know, Sir, she stopped coming to office two weeks after you left on tour. Our HR department’s efforts to trace her at her apartment failed as she was missing there also. She had left no message to people. The landlady had also complained to police. Our legal office has also informed the police. So far they have drawn a blank with no clue of her whereabouts. Her mobile is switched off. We are all very much disturbed. She was pleasant and seemingly had no problem. She had no romantic interest to our knowledge,” replied the secretary.
When Vittal met Vikram the next day in the corridor, the latter betrayed no emotion. On the other hand, he hugged Vittal and asked, “Where had you gone? I was told you had gone one tour. I need your help this Sunday. I am shifting my house to another locality. I want you to be at my place to keep an eye on the things at my present place as I will be busy receiving things in the new house. The truck will carry the big packages like furniture, fridge and washing machine. We will take in our cars the costly electronic and delicate items finally.”
Though Vittal agreed readily, an irksome thought crossed his mind about the coincidence of disappearance of Shoba and Vikram’s shifting to another apartment.
Next Sunday the truck had carried all heavy things to the new location. Some personal items, electronic items, some expensive glass items were stacked in Vikram’s car and a few in Vittal’s. Both cars followed the truck and reached the new apartment. A few men were arranging heavy things inside the at the proper places. Vittal called two men who were standing idle to take the  things from both cars carefully to the apartment which they did
When everyone was inside the apartment, Vittal cross checked the boot of Vikram’s vehicle to see nothing has been left behind.It seemed. empty though it was dark inside. When he narrowed his eyes and looked hard, he saw something shining in one corner at the rear. Curiously, he pulled up the mat and saw to his shock, one penguin stud with red stone. There was a reddish brown smear on one side of the stud. He took care not touch it but made sure it was one of the pair he had seen on Shoba. He closed the boot even as Vikram came down with the labourers.
Vikram thanked him profusely before Vittal took leave calmly  without revealing even slightly  the horror of what he saw and his strong suspicion. He stopped on his way at a public booth and rang the Police control number 100 and said “Please listen carefully. Look for Honda City Car number DL XX XX XX**** at ..... apartments,Third avenue, …..bagh and check rear end of the boot for a penguin shaped ear stud smeared possibly with blood and connect it to the missing woman reported if any within the last fortnight. Do not waste a moment. You may lose the vital clue. You will get a photo of the missing woman with the stud very soon.”
“Hello what is your name, where are you speaking from? Can you please hold on for a moment?” asked an anxious voice from the other end only to hear a click of the phone being disconnected.