Catch the previous part here
His friend, Vijay arrived at the “The CrossRoads Inn” and walked briskly through the parking lot. He tried to spot Vishal’s car, but he didn’t. “Bad sign” he said to himself and continued breezing through. He pushed through the front doors of the in-built multi cuisine restaurant. The restaurant was less than half filled and it dint take long for Vijay to realize that his friend wasn’t here. Pushing through the doors once again he walked into the reception area and waited for the elevator. The elevator arrived and he entered as it rode to the third floor. Searching for room number 305, he brisked up. Finally, as he found the room, he knocked at the door for which silence was the only reply he got. He slipped out his cell phone and dialed Vishal, but it wasn’t reachable. He ran back to the elevator, descended into the reception area and asked the Receptionist- “ Where is the person in room number 305?”
“Sorry Sir. Our shifts changed and I’m on duty only since 5 minutes. I’ll check the records.” She turned some pages and said- “ The room got vacated 15 minutes ago, Sir.”
Asking too many questions wasn’t going to help his case, so he walked out into the parking lot, approached the watchman, counted out two 50 rupee notes and asked- “What happened to a silver coloured Ford that was here? KA-05 MB 4248.” Trying to get the watchman out of his ambivalence, he slid the money into the watchman’s pocket and gently patted on his back- “Please.”
“Shit…..” Vijay let out a frustrated kick on the hotel gates.
At Perambadur Police Station
Inspector, Mr. Ashok (Crime Branch, TN) crossed his legs, sipped his tea and said in his crisp voice- “ Why should I believe you?”
Vishal, with dignity replied- “ All I can do is tell you what I know, Sir. Incidentally that is what the truth is. And I believe that’ll be very scarcely helpful to you.” He wiped his sweat and continued- “ I offer to be helpful, now that you’ve spotted me anyway.” He smiled.
Mr. Ashok played in his hands, with the toll receipt paper through which he could discover Vishal’s whereabouts and fixed a long stare towards him. It took him a long minute to change his stare into an almost invisible smile and then stood up, clapped his table and announced- “ Okay. Vishal, you’ll be accompanying me and my assistant Mr. Syed to the spot. You’ll show us the house that the victim pointed towards before he died.” Trying not to sound too nice, he continued- “ Until then, remember you are under custody, your cell phone and your car will be here.” He finished his last sip of tea and warned- “ No tricks. No funny business. Okay? Lets move”
An hour later—
“This is the petrol bunk where I refilled petrol last night,” pointing towards the bunk, Vishal informed Mr. Ashok and Syed as they almost reached the point where the body was found. In a couple of minutes, Syed applied brakes to halt the Qualis, as they had arrived at the spot. The place wasn’t dense with people as Vishal had expected it to be, but it was empty as the post murder procedures were done with and only a constable remained at the spot. It was almost noon, but with the surrounding heavy woods, the sun hardly penetrated and that made the atmoshpere cool.
Vishal scanned around the place and was startled to find that the wooden- “Dead End” sign wasn’t there anymore. He further glanced along the road, gasped when he dint find the metal barricade that had blocked the road that night. On learning this, Mr. Ashok informed Syed to enquire with the highway Patrol Police and the local village police if the two sign-boards were detracted by them.
“That’s the house there, that the victim pointed towards before he fell dead, Sir.” Vishal informed as he pointed towards the old, tile-roofed, modest house. It was about a hundred metres from the road, with no particular pathway. They walked through the trees, the path layered with withered dry leaves towards the house.
“There doesn’t seem to have been any recent human activity here.” He said to Syed, looked at Vishal, turned back to Syed and continued- “ But with these winds, it’s hard to conclude.”
‘knock..knock’ Syed knocked at the door, as Mr. Ashok held his right hand on his pistol. Without wasting any more time, Syed broke opened the weak door and the three entered in. The house was dark and empty. With the help of torches they moved in slowly by the walls, alert to any human retaliation. The room smelt filthy and a bit different from most unused houses. “Sir, bloodstains.” Syed pointed out to Mr. Ashok. The blood stains continued along as a path into the back door. “Somebody was dragged out of here.” Vishal said astonishingly with his heart beating in a hurry.
“Don’t talk. Shut up.” Syed replied with an irritated whisper. “A refrigerator.” Syed illuminated it with his torch.
In a deserted house of a supposed killer having nothing, not even bulbs, spotting a refrigerator, Mr. Ashok knew it was never going to be an auspicious discovery. He could almost paint the picture now. Syed hesitantly stepped forward, clasped his hand on the fridge door handle, looked around and pulled it open gently and the three were exposed to a horrifying scene. Vishal, held his throat, ran to the window, pushed it open, coughed hard and vomited. Cut-off human fingers in a polythene bag.
To be Continued......