Started at (K)nighted Men-Part 1

Contd from Spoiling a perfect plan-Part 6

“Mr. Malhotra, a simple background check shall reveal to us where you were on the night of the murder.. I mean suicide, if you want to call it that. So I suggest we drop the charades, in words of our departed friend and mention only what is factually correct,” Salim took a pause to gauge the impact of his words on the man across.

Satyam laughed in that characteristically sly way.

“Inspector Salim, let me first congratulate you on being very clear that this is not a suicide. Knowing how our dear departed friend was, calling his death that would have been a bigger charade. And as for my whereabouts I was with a woman and in case you need to check this fact, I suggest you contact her,” he pushed a card in front of Salim’s resting fingers.

Salim took one look at the name and smiled.

***

“I am sorry to bother you Mrs. Mala, but the duty as it is requires us to deviate from average human behavior,” he offered her a white handkerchief in due course of his words.

“I understand,” the old lady sniffed through.

“Now can we go over the precise events of that night. Starting from the time Rehan came home. What time would that be?” he opened the little red notebook and began scribbling his name in a rather scrawny handwriting.

“Somewhere around seven. Though that day he looked unusually happy about something. He kept humming songs and despite my repeated requests hardly showed any signs of sitting down on the chair for five minutes. A strange aroma of disturbed happiness flooded his body,” she took a sudden pause at this.

She rose very quickly and walked over to the side drawer and extracted a piece of paper.

“Here, every now and then he was doing something with this,” she handed over a sheet to Salim.

It looked to be some sort of a pattern.

“Do you mind if I take this?” he asked almost folding it into his diary while speaking.

She only nodded slowly assuming her answer was not much of a relevance anyways.

***

Sudha walked into the room carrying her usual bag of groceries. She found her husband lying on the floor curled up like a ball.

She dropped the bag suddenly and rushed out to him.

“What happened,” she shook him by his shoulders hard.

The man lay still on the floor, staring blankly at the ceiling.

With all her might she lifted him off the floor and postured him to sit up straight with support from the side wall.

“Sudha, they might come after us any time. We have sinned. We have killed a man,” he spoke these words out of trance.

contd. at There is something else as well- Part 8

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