Sarita donned in brown overcoat stood with folded hands gazing through the green meadows from the top of the hill she was standing, interrogated herself, “How is this possible?”
“He was never like this?”
“He is a kind-hearted person?”
“How and when did this happen? And how did I miss?”
“How have I been living with such a devilish man?”
Submerged deep down in the battlefield of her mind, laboring to convince herself over the truth she is now acquainted with, she hardly heard the vehicle tumult and the noisy footsteps that slowly progressed through the dried leaves towards her. Jolting back from her far-of-the-farthest journey of love and betrayal by the touch of a hand on her shoulder, she turns around and finds herself in Pranab’s arms.
“We did it Pranab. We did it!!” exclaimed Sarita dangling to his neck.
“Yes, we did it finally.”
“I was blind.”
“He was so soft and good…” (Sobs)
(After a pause) “..that I just believed him for everything.”
Guilt stricken she continues, “Good heavens! I would have never doubted him had you not shown me those hints.”
“Right under my nose all these were going on and I was oblivious. Thanks, Pranab for salvaging me.”
Arnab Bakshi and Sarita Ahuja tied the knot after college and moved to Pune.
It had been ten years since and Arnabh is the successful business tycoon and Sarita a top class crime reporter.
Working on a crime report Sarita met their batch-mate DCP Pranab Mukherjee, the investigating officer. Having a refreshing moment together she invited him for dinner where Arnab and Pranab finally met giggling, joking, and enjoying the good olden days.
As the case advanced, the meetings increased and so the closeness between them. One fine day, Pranab broke the conversation about Naman and Pia’s murder case. Naman and Pia were their batch-mate. She a bit uncomfortable, softly drifted the discussion from murder to more horror movie released recently.
Pranab could not draw much.
“Thanks for the coffee”, and she gets-up to leave.
“My pleasure. Just have a look at these photographs”, and Pranab lays a couple of photographs.
Unwillingly she gave a quick look from the corner of her eyes and caught a glimpse of a familiar mark at the crime sight. While on the way back home she recollects that the familiar mark she had observed in Arnab’s office. Not all of them have it, but only a few.
In the evening at the dinner table, Sarita shared Pranab’s inquiry about Naman and Pia. Arnab listened to her and said, “Stay away from Pranab.”
“But why? He is our friend.”
“What do you mean?”
“Police are neither good as friend nor as enemy.”
“He showed me that mark which I saw in your office.”
Arnab’s eyes enlarged and he said, “What?”
“That is what I want to know. I never interfered in your work, but today when I saw that in his hands, I am compelled to ask you about it.”
“Are you in some mess?”
“Don’t mess up” and he takes a quick leave from her.
Arnab calls Mahesh, his secretary, and discussed for long.
“How did that mark go to the police”, wailed Arnab.
“I don’t know. Let me find out.”
Late night Arnab and Mahesh back on phone. Arnab has never kept Sarita in such suspense or in darkness ever. So these moves of his agog her. Following him unobtrusively she overhears Arnab’s discussions of secret mission and the proofs they have acquired thus.
“But how did the mark go out?” asked Arnab.
“Not very clear. Only five of us knew this.”
“How did Sarita come to know?”
“That file was there on my table when she came to see me. I thought she will not observe this deeply. But she will not leak I am fore sure.”
“Her conversation has given me the hint that she’s looking for an answer. She wants to know what the mark, me, and the police has to do. ”
Sarita, on this side of the door, eagerly waiting for the answer, escapes when she feels the voice is nearing her.
Sarita finally digs the truth and found that Arnab, Naman, and Pia were business partners. The company flourished magnificently and reached the top. All three were equal shareholders. At this point, Arnab proposed to buy the company which Naman and Pia refused as it was their dream-come-true. This rejection was too heavy on the business tycoon. So finally he acquired through executing the devilish assassination by the team of trio.
This truth completely broke Sarita, and with much difficulty she took the toughest decision of her life and handed over all her investigation findings to DCP Pranab Mukherjee.
Having them all in his custody, filled with felicity he smiled and thanked Sarita for her loyal support in curbing corruption.
DCP Pranab stood beside Sarita as Arnab was arrested.
This was totally out of the wildest expectations of Arnab.
He kept shouting “Sari this is not true.”
“I never did this.”
Dejected Sarita turned her back and found a nichee in Pranab’s shoulder.
Wretched Arnab felt crippled loosing Sarita’s trust. He never thought that anything could ever break the bond they shared. But today, he is no more than a pauper. He could bear every loss except the misconception of Sarita.
The secretary handed over the things of Arnab’s safe to Mrs. Sarita but she was reluctant. On his continual request, unwillingly she gave a quick glance to the will papers, files with that mark, a microchip, and a copy of arrest warrant dated eleventh May 2011(Two years from now).
She picked up the warrant and read it out loud. It was Arnab’s arrest warrant regarding Naman and Pia’s case.
ACP Pranab Mukherjee was the investigating officer. Turning a few more pages revealed that Pranab lost his mental balance as Arnab won the case and he is now a fugitive from a mental asylum.
We appreciate you rating the story out of 10 along with your comment in the comments.
The above story is an entry into the writing event(Feb. 02nd – 20th) hosted by ArtoonsInn: #PullTheRug #UniK-3
Event rules and guidelines: https://artoonsinn.com/pull-the-rug-unik-3-writing-event/
Check out Varsha’s space here: https://artoonsinn.com/author/varsha-madhulika/
Photo by Linus Nylund