Raj  bolted the door from outside and  reached the slums, which was reeking of an odour that made him retch.  A stark brightly lighted shack, against the pitch dark night in the isolated passage caught his eyes. It allured him to enter. A bony framed, slightly hunch back and sprightly old woman sitting in front of the fire smiled wryly at him as if she had already read his mind and learned his purpose of visit. She picked a small glass jar which had tiny rave capsules, heated it in the fire with her bare hands and handed to him. His palms and fingers felt oddly icy holding it and the contents quickly turned shiny and colourful.

“These capsules would make you invisible for 24 hours. Use it discreetly.” She told. He nodded and left .

An enormous mansion stood protected against burglars with alarms and cameras. He swallowed the tablets standing a mile away from it. First his legs started to disappear,  then the gut and gradually the entire body faded into the darkness. The blowing wind carried him to the lavish building’s entrance. He attempted to get through the iron gates but failed to penetrate,  so he climbed and jumped the other side. Ecstatic about the failure of the security systems to sense his presence he made it to the entrance, clambered the pipe, got into the room through the unlatched window easily. 

The glimpse of the room was something he had never seen. Before his eyes was a luxurious room dominated by a massive Mahogany bed on which his friend was floating at the height of thirty centimetres from the ground. The underneath lighting from it,  added to a mystic look to the room.The vintage style oak flooring gleamed elegantly.

Aditya who was alone that night woke frightened to the shattering sound of the exquisite crystal flower vase from the wall-attached night stands. The room lights began to flicker rapidly when he just recovered from the shock of the  mysterious fall. The sight of the switches toggling on its own caused a sudden chill down the spine. He ambled towards the exit but the doors refused to budge.

Drops of perspiration tickled down despite the room being air-conditioned. As he gulped the glass of water audibly which was kept on the table he felt a sudden pain in the chest,  out of fear. The soft, fluffy tiger skinned carpet of the room was floating in the air like an evil magic. He closed his eyes, prayed fervently and chanted mantras diligently for few minutes which seemed like years. Expecting a positive change in the ambience  he opened his eyes only to get petrified by the view of a rustic sharp knife about to stab his arms. In a jiffy, the expensive floor got stained with crimson. His gaze got fixed at the ornamental mirrors hanging at the accent wall on which the words ‘EXPOSE THE BLACK MONEY’ was written in blood.

Terrified yet with all his might he tried to pull the mattress,  while on the other side Raj succeeded in throwing them on the ground. There were precious stones and gems laying casually like pebbles and stones. ‘Good’,  came the written reply with his blood.

He crawled and managed to stand holding the adjacent wall. He lifted the family photo frame and pressed a point which in turn opened a hidden wall safe on the other side.

Raj,  least interested in the money simply ran the knife in heart shape on Aditya’s  nape mercilessly and left the place after he collapsed. He thought that he had to wait till next day for the news of Aditya’s murder and the fall of the entire business due to hoarded money.

On the way to home, he remembered the day when an email from a username ‘ur_my_life’ arrived on his sweetheart’s office laptop,  which she had forgotten to lock before leaving for washroom. He curiously opened the email sent to the fake username od her ‘urs_only’ and saw  several love letters and chats conversations exchanged between the two. On a quick scan, a glimpse of heart-shaped tattoo with a Letter ‘L’ engraved inside it captured his interest.

Never in his wildest dream he had imagined that his loving wife,  Leena would even need to cheat him. The pretence of his sleep seemed genuine to her and she left the room to continue with her work.She was pregnant and Raj’s doubt turned real but he had to find the culprit.

Raj,  a man of fewer words is a loyal person in both personal and professional life .The firm, where Raj worked as a Senior Accountant, was recently acquired by an affluent tycoon. The new CEO,  Aditya, his college best friend, was a married man with two kids. After graduation, Aditya had moved aboard for higher education and now reunited with Raj after years.

They shared the same bonding despite of their contrasting official Posts. It was destiny’s way that on the next day Raj spotted the same tattoo on Aditya’s nape casually at office when he came in a T-shirt. 

Angst by the extramarital affair, he consulted the occultist to seek vengeance on him. 

 It was 6 am in the morning when he reached home still invisible. To his surprise , he saw his entire house in mess. The lockers unlocked, money,  jewels along with Leena were missing. She had eloped through the back gate with his lover. Raj ran through the streets searching her. He spotted her with  baggage heading towards the airport.

He saw a man with a body builder physique, shaven head and with the same heart inked mark at the  back of the neck from behind. The man leaned and kissed her. He was Aditya’s younger brother with whom she had illicit love affair. 

Both the brothers had the same tattoo in fond memory of their late mother,  Lalitha.

:***

When was the last time you read some modern sea stories—stories of ships and the seafarers who man them? Tales of adventure, love, romance, piracy, intrigue... and human nature? Well, look no further.

These are twelve stories of the sea, but not necessarily for seafarers alone. They are for anybody and everybody who likes to read fiction. And a ripping good yarn, as sailors used to say once upon a time.

Written by a sea captain who has spent his entire adult life at sea, more than forty years on the waves and still counting, these are stories set in the 70s, 80s up till the present day.

Will you come aboard now? The voyage is about to begin.

Link to buy this book: https://www.amazon.in/Driftwood-Beetashok-Chatterjee/dp/9385854771 and also at selected bookstores all over India.


Author:Beetashok Chatterjee, ex-Claws Club member at ArtoonsInn.

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The story you've read is an entry for UniK-5, #Invisible, a room8 Writing event by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/unik-5-writing-event-artoonsinn/

Photo By:MontyLov

Thanks for reading.

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