Team: Maximus Dramaticus
Read the previous part of the story here
Darkness has strange properties. It appears to swallow everything that comes its way but what no one realises is that it is cunningly selective. ‘Just try walking on a dark road where stones are strewn,’ said Jennifer to no one in particular, ‘and you’ll know that you’ve been thinking bad things when your toe hits one of them. Your yowl is your realisation.’ Darkness makes the mind think and go back into a mode where all the good and the evil done are piled side by side and they send a person hurtling back into the past to look at all the good and evil done. The air is then full of remorse as the mind tries to re-focus in the present. Remorse overrules the small insignificant bits of good done because every good deed done is significantly overlooked by these mental flash-backs.
Jennifer was in a rather dense mood when Lallan’s voice broke through the tiers of her flashback sojourns. She looked at him as he said, ‘Come, I’ll take you to someone who has been the source of a lot of troubles for everyone. Kill her.’
‘Kill who?’ said Jennifer, and then quietly tried to guess what Lallan was up to. She spoke in a while, as they made their way through the police barricades into Percival’s house. Lallan took a deep breath once inside a large room, and said, ‘We have come in through the back entrance into the drawing room. Diagonally opposite you on the wall to the left is another entrance that opens into this room. She will walk in and towards you. In this darkness you will see her only when she is somewhere in the centre of the hall, making her way towards you.’ Saying this, he took out a package that was securely taped. ‘This package has a crore in rupees. She needs this as her fee to fade away from the crime scene in silence.’
‘Then why not give this to her and let Samantha live in peace,’ said Jennifer, making her guesswork identity of the victim known to Lallan. Lallan nodded with a smile and said, ‘Yes, your guess about Samantha is correct. But people like her never fade away. They need to be silenced. So kill her… and this package if yours to keep.’
Jennifer gave a tired grunt and sat down on the floor as she took out her patent razor from her pocket. ‘You’re going to go paint again, baby,’ she murmured as she settled on the floor to wait for Samantha.
Lallan wished her luck and told her to come out through the front door where he would be waiting for her. ‘Remember, Samantha will be here in another fifteen minutes.’
What Jennifer did not know was that Lallan did not go out through the back door, but quietly went out through the front door where he waited for Samantha to come. Jennifer also did not know that he told Samantha a similar story and added, ‘As you cross the centre of the hall you’ll notice a figure crouched on the floor. She is Don J who now needs to rest until infinity. You don’t need to worry about her aggressiveness because she is here to take this package of a crore rupees, her parting gift to fade away in silence. But you know people in our trade never fade away, they keep popping up and become a nuisance. You know what to do with her.’ He then handed a similar razor that Jennifer handled so deftly, saying, ‘Kill her with her own paintbrush!’ They laughed a hushed villainous laugh and Samantha then gave him her car keys, ‘Go and sit in the car. I’ll be out sooner than you expect and we’ll drive into the future that we want.’
Well, she was right in what she said. We all do generally drive into the future that we want, don’t we? Samantha walked boldly and fearlessly into the heart of the dark drawing room and then stared ahead where she noticed Jennifer getting up.
There was a click and a light shone right behind Samantha. She paused, turned to look and in those few seconds, Jennifer had leaped up to her like a tigress and her paintbrush had done what it was so accustomed to do. Samantha then saw that even Jennifer was carrying a package that was identical to the one she was carrying. Both of then spoke up together, ‘Lallan is a bastard!’
‘Samantha, I really didn’t want to kill you. I mean I don’t have any reason to kill you. But now it is too late as my paintbrush has carved your innards too ruthlessly.’
Samantha could see death not far, and yet she smiled and said, ‘I’ll fall in love again with Shekhar in my next life. I know that. Don’t worry about me.’ Saying this she held out her left hand. ‘Press the red button as you go out and see my car. And you know, I failed to get my love in this life but I know that failure is just a bruise and not a tattoo.’
Samantha died that night but not without giving her killer a smile. This isn’t an anomaly at all because even the worst amongst us are genetically tuned in to be wonderful human beings when besieged by love… and Samantha was madly in love with Shekhar. A soul that is in love will always try to do what is right or will set things right.
‘Yes, Samantha has indeed set things right,’ murmured Jennifer as she came out the front door and saw the silhouette of Lallan raise his right hand to beckon her. What she didn’t know was that he had a glass of poison-laced red wine in his hands that he planned to offer her. Lallan was looking at that glass of red wine with a smile when he was blasted into oblivion. His autopsy later would tend to fox the coroner when he would discover arsenic sprayed all over his scorched bones.
It was quite late in the night that Jennifer walked in… Shekhar, Tara, Aryan, and Cyrus were awake and in deep thoughts. Roohi was asleep. Jennifer walked in their house in Chuna Mandi and began without a preamble, ‘I am a crook. Some of you already know this. Some may have guessed. But I stand before you to tell you that I have placed a wreath on the one gang that was creating a havoc in this city… or maybe in other parts of the country too.’
Jennifer waited for a few moments and then continued, ‘Lallan and Samantha are dead.’ She looked at Tara and smiled, ‘You’ll be competing with Samantha again in your next life because after all failure is just a bruise and not a tattoo!’ Such sentences meander through a route that most people call cryptic, but really spell out the truth quite precisely. Tara too smiled and then raised her hand, ‘I need to say what I have been planning to say for quite some time now.’
‘Shekhar, you need to confess to the crimes you have committed and accept whatever punishment the laws of our country decide for you. I have talked to Aryan and he says he knows that his report will ask for leniency towards your truant past,’ said Tara. Shekhar nodded and said, ‘Yes, I think I need to be away for some time to be with my own self.’
Aryan hugged Shekhar and said, ‘You are a gem. I know you’ll be out before you realise… and then you’ll come out a free man.’ He then gave Jennifer a look with great expectations and said, ‘Cyrus has told us all about your past and your present too. You’ve effectively and single-handedly rid the city of a menace that has plagued it for years. But I believe you have a choice. The choice to walk away from Cyrus and back into the warped mesh of crime or to confess to them and…’
Jennifer started talking before Aryan could complete what he was saying, ‘I think I’ll go the way Shekhar has chosen.’ Then she handed Aryan the two packages that totalled to two crores and added, ‘This money now belongs to the government.’
The four of them held each other’s hands and closed their eyes. They were all thinking different thoughts but were together in their resolve to give everyone a better future.
This brings us to the final segment of Week 3
08 October 2014