“Ram Bahadur. Did this woman look a bit strange? Would you say there was something about her you would categorize as not normal?” I asked him.
“Sir she stammered a lot. And her voice was sounding a bit strange. Like she prepared herself to talk each time,” he replied, speaking from a trance like voice himself.
“Ram Bahadur get yourself a sketch artist and quickly prepare a sketch of this woman,” I hustled out of the office at the end of these words.
* * *
The last couple of murders had always been carrying a very obvious clue but after the fourth murder in which we almost reached the victim while she was alive the difficulties have increased. This time the body came with no chits no paper no name nothing. But if I could sense the killer’s competitiveness I knew there was a clue just not as explicit as all other ones.
“But then she had to be awake when the murderer got inside her house. Because the music was on, the laptop was open and the balcony window was also not shut by then,” Suhelika’s voice broke my thoughts abruptly.
I turned to look at her. All of thirty she was one of the sharpest minds in the department and the sole sane voice on the case.
“True. True. But there was no sign of struggle. That’s the marked point about all murders. It almost seems like the girls were waiting to be sacrificed. They were party to their own murder,”I replied, flipping through the photographs of the murder.
“Stop,” Suhelika suddenly held back my hand. She withdrew the photograph out of the collection.
“Did you observe?” she spoke slowly.
“What?” I asked, confused at her sudden activity.
“The girl is in fact pointing at something. Over there, her fingers are poised in a definite direction,” she followed the line of pointing and her eyes stopped at something.
“Its a photograph a framed photograph,” I spoke, suddenly things falling in a pattern.
“We have met this boy. He is the one who came at her funeral too. What was his name?” Suhelika asked, finally drawing her face to look at me.
“Nischal,” I replied stoically.
“This is taking a nosedive in many ways,” she replied.
* * *
“He is not at home. He has gone for a college trip to Ooty,” the elderly woman replied sharply. She didn’t look one bit comfortable seeing us return for further questions.
“When did he leave?” I asked, not one bit deterred by her staunch look.
“In the afternoon by the bus,” she answered and before we could go any further slammed the door.
“Do you think he is our man?” Suhelika asked instantly after the door closed.
“He is our man for sure. But now I have a strange feeling we have more than a man in this,” I replied grimly.
to be contd. at The Puppet Show- Part 3