Friday, 8 May 2009

The Murder Last Night

The phone rang. Sheela ran to answer the call as fast as she could. Every time the phone rang, she ran to receive the call hoping it to be the one she had been waiting for since an year. She would pick up the phone and the “Hello” would be said with great enthusiasm. But soon after, the expression of her face changed for she didn’t get to hear what she had been waiting for. But, today this was the most awaited call. The expression of her face had changed to that of relief mixed with surprise and curiosity. The police officer had called to tell her that her husband’s killer had been nabbed and he called her to the police station to complete some paper work.

She could not control her emotions. Her husband had been killed last year just a day after their second marriage anniversary. He had been sleeping in his room when someone strangled him to death. Sheela had been sleeping alongside but could not sense the danger because the killer had made her unconscious by a strong dose of chloroform. She woke up in the morning only to find that Ravi’s dead body was lay beside her all night. She was dumbstruck. The man with whom she had just celebrated two years of togetherness had left her. She was too terrified to scream. She soon got up and went to the guest room where her brother Ashok, his wife and children were sleeping. She woke them up and they ran towards Sheela’s room. The police was soon called and investigations began. The killer had left no trace; no finger prints, no articles. But Sheela had immense self control. She was not overruled by emotions.

The formalities were over within a week and Ashok and his family left soon after as Ashok had to return to his work. Sheela would regularly call the police station to enquire about the progress of the case but to her dismay, she got only one answer, “Ma’am the search is on.” Ashok was too busy in his work to offer any help to his sister besides consolation. Sheela had been running from pillar to post to get the case solved. Ravi had been transferred to this city just a month before the murder and so, they didn’t even have any servants whom one could suspect. Time heals wounds but some wounds are too deep to be healed quickly.

Sheela took up a job as a typist in a local college at a salary which was enough to suffice her requirements. But the horror of the murder and the memories of Ravi lingered on. She was leaving no stone unturned in helping the police; providing all the details asked for, going to the police station whenever called for. There was some guiding force within her that didn’t let her lose hope and she moved further.
She had just returned from work today when she got this call. Without wasting anymore time, she quickly grabbed the keys of her scooter and rushed. When she reached the station, she saw that the inspector was in deep thought. He asked her to sit and Sheela had just said, “who is…?” when he said in a direct tone, “I’ll call the killer but don’t lose your self control after seeing the person.” Sheela was too anxious to know who the killer was to pay attention to what the inspector said. She just nodded quickly. The inspector called his sub-ordinates and asked them to produce the killer before them. Sheela was thanking God for her prayers had been answered and as she lifted her head up, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The person standing before her was Ashok’s wife, Reena. For a few moments, Sheela was quiet. Her heart plunged into grief. She had never thought that her own sister-in-law would be the cause of her life’s dramatic turn. She didn’t say anything to Reena and turned her face away and asked the officer how the case had been solved.

The night the murder took place, Reena was wearing a red shirt with a black trouser. When the police had come to Sheela’s place in the morning, and walked past Ravi’s bed, suddenly there was a notch in his trouser on the side of his left leg. There had been a nail protruding out from the bed towards Ravi’s head side. He observed a similar kind of a notch and that too on the part of left leg on Reena’s trousers. This could have happened only when someone unaware of the nail had gone too close to Ravi. Since Ravi was aware of the nail , there was no notch in his clothes. Also later on, Reena had confessed of being the murderer. Ravi and Reena had been together at college and Reena had developed a strong liking for him. But Ravi didn’t respond in the manner she expected and refused to marry her. He did this not only once but on many occasions even in front of her friends whenever Reena tried to approach him. Reena had thus become a subject of ridicule and this had infuriated her. Also, many times, Ravi had refused to go to Reena’s place on her invitation on the pretext of being busy. All this led to the consequence which changed Sheela’s life forever. Reena also told the police that earlier she had planned to kill Sheela but since that night when she entered the room, she saw Sheela lying in such a position which could make it difficult for her to strangle her while she could easily do so to Ravi. Moreover, killing Sheela would have had far more dangerous consequences because Ravi would have lost all his control and done anything to ensure that Reena got the most severe punishment utilising all the resources at his disposal, he being the secretary of the divisional commissioner of the city. Sheela’s thirst for the killer had been quenched but leaving her amazed at the feeble nature of relations..