Samuel Clooney was dressed up for the occasion. It was his moment of glory. He was to be featured live on national television, in conversation with Rebecca Whitmore; who more or less made a book zoom up the national charts with her endorsement. Samuel had earned this day by hard work. And he was thrilled to be on her show.

Rebecca was in her smart and bright red flowing dress with high pointed heels, comfortably wallowing on her couch as she eyed Samuel who was trying to get his nerves calmed. She always loved these moments of awkwardness as her guests tried to adjust themselves in the unfamiliar environment. For her, it was her daily job.

“Welcome to the show Samuel,” she greeted him and continued “Congratulations on the success of your new book ‘Curious case of Heartless Murders’, which has just hit the charts this week.”

“Thank you, Rebecca, it’s an honor to be on your show.”

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“Okay. Tell us something about your new book. Is it again featuring Dr. North? That psychopath doctor whom we had met last time. I am dying to know all about it.”

“Rebecca, you have to read my book for all that. But yes, I can say that this time it is more chilling, macabre and suspenseful. I hope you and all our viewers lap it up and enjoy it.” Samuel was cleverly pitching his book to the audience.

“Tell me, Samuel, for the benefit of our viewers; Is it true that this is based on a true story?”

“Yes, it is an outcome of my research on a similar case. It has been inspired by it, although I cannot divulge all the details as it is still being investigated.”

“Oh my God! You are saying that the psycho serial killer is for real and is still out there? Ready to attack any one of us?”

“Well, the police department has been trying hard. They had a few suspects, but it’s still not conclusive. I can safely say that the killer is at large.”

Rebecca was visibly shaken. Here is a star author who is already on best seller charts and he is telling everyone that the story is true and the psycho killer is freely roaming amongst all of us! She knew instantly that Samuel was going to be the talk of the country soon and the book would hit the number one position.

“Thank you for making it to our studio. It was a pleasure talking to you.” She eased him towards herself and they posed for the cameras with a copy of the book in their hands.

***

As I watched ‘The Rebecca Whitmore Show’, my blood started boiling. He is selling my case to the people. He is milking my  dreaded reputation of a serial killer. I had to take six lives before I reached this far. Does he think it was easy for me? No, absolutely not. But this moron, he is spoiling everything.

Rachel was the last one. Oh.. how I loved her cute innocent face. I had been following her for almost six months. It took so much time and preparation. I knew everything about her. I had to ease her pain. Her life needed a bigger meaning, and I was going to give it to her.

She was shocked when I entered her bedroom. How  she screamed and resisted. Although a petite girl, she had strength. It took so much effort to pin her down. Then one smooth blow on her carotids, and she fell silent as blood gurgled from her mouth… Take it easy baby. It will be all fine. I caressed her to ease her pain.

Then followed the difficult part of taking out that reservoir of life and the pump that kept her going-the heart. I had come for that, that was my interest. It was the sixth one. I needed another four.

But this idiot author, Samuel Clooney. Why was he on my trail? Why couldn’t he mind his own business? And now on national television! Now everyone will be talking about me.

***

Samuel Clooney sat on his favorite armchair in the balcony overlooking the city lights, shimmering in the distance, as darkness engulfed the city gradually; taking all the sordid happenings of the day in its stride, almost like a mother hugging her little baby.

He was restless. He was pondering on the fact that had alarmed Rebecca Whitmore. Yes, the killer was at large. And he had alerted the entire public about it. Would it cause panic? Would everyone become paranoid? He hoped not. Maybe it would keep them guarded and safe. He had actually not thought about it. He was so engrossed in his book and its promotion. But now it was hitting him and it had got him petulant.

For one full year, he had followed this case of six murders. All adult females. Brutally murdered at their homes, with not a clue left for the detectives. The only common thread that could be linked was the missing hearts. They all had their hearts removed! ‘Why would anybody do that?’ Samuel had thought hard.

The only conclusion he had drawn was that it was something symbolic. ‘A tribute to the lady and her heart. Making her heartless. Maybe the killer wanted the world to know that she was that: A cold heartless bitch.’ He thought that it was some sort of vengeance by a shattered and rejected man. His way of getting back at her.

Samuel’s earlier two books featured different themes. Although the antagonist was the same Dr. Gabriel North. In the first of the series, Dr. North had offered euthanasia to the terminally ill patients, which was illegal in the country. So he was a doctor with a conscience who took law in his own hands and did not hesitate to take lives. It had hit all the right notes as it had come at an opportune time when medical euthanasia was being debated hotly.

His second book in the series was more dark and thrilling. Dr. North had become more bold and brutal. He had eliminated multiple mafia members and terrorists admitted to the hospital. He felt they were a burden onto the society and he needed to cleanse it. It was an instant hit making it to the best sellers’ list in no time.

This time around he was worried. Had he jumped the fine line of real life and fiction?

***

This moron, Samuel Clooney needs to be sorted out. The police are on the lookout for me now. He has sensationalized the case.. It is going to set me back by six months at least. Never mind. I have important tasks to complete. I will do whatever it takes. Whatever…

Don’t worry sweetheart, your life will not be wasted. It has lighted that passion in me.

The world needs to be rid of this pain and suffering. People have been afflicted for too long. If I don’t do it, who will? It will be eternity before they come up with anything. Yes, I have to act. There is no other way.

***

 

It was late in the night at around eleven, and Samuel had just finished his coffee and was about to retire for the night that he heard a loud thump on his main door. It was dark and windy. It was drizzling and the power was out. The inverter had already given up, and the candles and lamps had taken over. Samuel was alarmed. ‘Who could be there at this time of the night?’ His servants usually retired after dinner and he stayed alone in his bungalow at night.

The sharp thumps continued. Samuel pulled out his shawl and rushed to open the main door. The moment he opened the gates, the man rushed in almost pushing Samuel out of his way. In the dimly lit hall, he could only partially see his face, which was covered. But he had something in his hands and it was pointed at Samuel. It was a gun!

A chill went down Samuel’s spine. He was trembling. He was a timid and frail man, best only with his written words. He had never involved himself in a brawl or beating in his youth, and here he was standing in front of a barrel pointed towards him.

“Who are you? And what do you want?” He sputtered with great difficulty. “ I don’t have anything valuable to offer to you.”

“Shut up Mr. Samuel Clooney. You don’t recognize me? Think hard. I am your creation. Your claim to fame.” Said the man behind the gun.

“Do I know you? Am I supposed to?”

“I am Dr. Gabriel North.” And the man started laughing crookedly, almost devilishly.

The ground beneath his feet seemed to melt. His heart raced and face turned an ashen pale. “What? How’s that possible? There is nobody by that name.” Samuel feebly muttered with some effort.

“You need not know my name. You have spoilt my game. My plan and my project. You have to pay a price for that.”

“What plan? What did I do?”

“That nonsense you spoke on television. You remember that? The show with Rebecca. What did you tell everyone? Recollect that.” Dr. North was now speaking contemptuously.

“It was just a story. My book. I was promoting it.” said Samuel.

“Why did you distort it? Did I ever molest or rape any of the girls? I never did that. Without inhibitions you ascribed it as a true tale.”

“I am a writer and I do fictionalize some parts. I told you it was my imagination. Tell me the truth then.” 

The man with the gun alias Dr. North now pushed Samuel towards his study. He made him sit on the chair. And handcuffed his forearms to it. He spoke like a possessed man. A man with a clear mission. 

“Those six girls… I gave them deliverance, I gave them a purpose to die for. Do you know why I killed them? No, you don’t. I did not want anyone to know.”

“What was the reason? You are a doctor and yet you killed them.”

“They were suffering from terminal stage cancer. They were anyways going to die in due course of time. But their hearts could save a million lives. I could not save my wife’s life who also was crushed by cancer.”

“I am sorry. But why kill others? It doesn’t make sense.”

“I was working on monoclonal antibodies. Antibodies to fight cancer. I had identified all these patients and I was working to see the results of monoclonal antibodies against the tumor cells I had injected in their bodies, during the course of their hospitalizations. They were my  live laboratories. I was studying the oncogenes which I had triggered, and the monoclonal antibodies resisting it. That’s what I was working with. ”

“But that was unethical and illegal, you know that.” Samuel argued.

“ I wanted to get quick results. The heart tissue which I had targeted needed studies and elaborate testing. Trials and permissions would take ages. And probably would never come. I didn’t want to waste time. It could save millions of lives. They were my guinea pigs.”

“You are out of your mind. You can’t do that.”

“Have you ever pithed a frog? Or sacrificed an albino mouse in a lab. They pay the price for the progress in medicine. It’s cruel and yet you do it.  I have done it. I know it’s a small price to pay for the sake of humanity. And nothing can stop me. You derailed my project. Called me a rapist. You have to pay the price.”

I can only hope to offer a cure for this dreaded cancer. That’s the only way I can express my love for you darling. I am sorry that being a doctor I couldn’t protect you. Protect you from the scourge of cancer. I remember the way you collapsed in my arms, writhing in pain. And I was just a silent spectator. But rest assured my love, I will free this world of this curse.

 I’m trying my best. But for this man…Samuel Clooney…

With these words, Dr. North hit Samuel hard with the butt of his gun. He plummeted to the ground along with the chair. He released him free from the chair. The doctor took out a stiletto and hit the jugular. In no time Samuel plummeted on the floor, blood gushing out from his neck. The doctor drained his blood in a bag, clinically without any emotions. Next, he took a large knife and opened his chest with the precision of a surgeon. He dissected and took his heart out.

***

The seventh heart has been acquired. My experiment is well on its way. I will require another three hearts. The monoclonal antibodies are showing promising results. A definitive cure against cancer is within my reach. I will have solid evidence unlike anyone. 

Dr. Gabriel North is on the verge of a major scientific advance. Wait and watch. 

 And yes. Now I can sleep peacefully. I have set the record straight. Dr. North just doesn’t target damsels. He targets hearts. Even the male ones! 

Chuckling to himself, he tucked himself cozily in his bed with a sense of pride and contentment. The job needed three more guinea pigs. 

He still had a lot of work to do!

***

==>This is an entry for Artales-17, #DrNorth, an ArtoonsInn writing event.

Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/artales17/
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Struggled and Soared “stories of courageous women of India”. A non-fiction that talks about the women that reflect the spirit of India – an invincible spirit to be free! Dr North till July 31stIt is the story of four Indian women who have one thing in common –courage to follow their heart and do what they felt right. Reading this book would be like taking a much needed break from the false propaganda and information that you are surrounded with on digital media. This is just the right book that will give your mind freedom to be yourself and an invaluable inspiration as well as meaning to life. The author has done full justice while accounting the life of all inspirational women from India’s past and present. We recommend this book for those who love to read well-researched works.

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Vipil Written by Vipin Chopal

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