Started at (K)nighted Men-Part 1

Contd from He left his plea open ended- Part 14

And he wasn’t much of a husband, anyways.

***

Whatever happened that night was a close guarded secret between many people. Salim mused. It could not be only the idea of him being murdered. The plot never spoke about him. It spoke about random events. Random people. All connected to a point where he was killed. Died.

“Ramlal, if you had to chose a suspect who would it be?” he was staring at the story board of the case almost as blankly as there was nothing on it.

Ramlal, tired by the week’s running around decided to renew his energy levels one last time. Or one millionth ‘last’ time.

Saheb, I would say Malini. She has motive. She has history and she was factually the last person he spoke to,” he replied.

Salim expressed no movement or expression.

“What about Mala? If Malini was the last person he spoke to, she was the only person around when he died,” Salim spoke in that monotonous voice.

Ramlal moved a little closer. He began to move around the dots. The red dots on the suspects.

“Saheb, does it have to be only one? What if there are more of them?” he asked, sounding a little suspicious himself.

Salim turned around to face Ramlal for the first time in five minutes.

“Ramlal, gaadi nikalo,” and with that he rushed out.

***

Very slowly Sudha stared at the man on the bed. Lifeless. With nothing but an expression of calm on his face, he seemed to be finally at peace. With himself and the world.

She picked up the phone and dialed a number, ” I have put him to sleep. He wasn’t looking like he could take it anymore. I have packed my bags and I am moving out in next ten minutes. Meet me at the station.”

And with that she moved out of the house rather swiftly.

***

Malini could see that there was very little hope left for her. Perhaps she didn’t realise that the idea itself was very weak. She thought of her husband. How much he had caused her to reflect on things. Things that she never bothered to see. How much of it was his own doing also.

She got up and picked the last of the packed bags. How time adds baggage to life, quite literally.

She glanced back at the empty house one last time and left.

***

Salim was driving at break neck speed. He was a man on mission. He knew time was against him, more so now. It wasn’t days but hours that mattered all too suddenly.

It was right in front of him and he couldn’t see. Only if he had met Mala a little before. He had mentally assumed her to be guilty. The circumstantial evidence against her was damning.

***

Satyam spent another ten minutes calling Suris. They were no longer interested in the deal. They had scrapped the whole project. How could they? His last call was more desperate than pleading.

“It was customised as per Rehan’s strengths. With him gone the project has lost its sheen,” their words broke his self-esteem. Like even in death Rehan could strike him where it hurts the most.

He stared at the blank wall in front. There was no other choice.

contd. at The Knock- Part 16

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