Shot Dead – Episode 3

Episode 3

 

“What now?” Mythili asked impatiently.

“Is this yours?” Chatur asked, suspicion dancing in his eyes.

“No” Mythili said, panic evident in her voice.

“I found it outside…”

“No, this is not mine” she said, cutting him off, as if letting him finish would put her in trouble.

“Where were you yesterday?”

“I was at home” she said slowly, gaining a hold on herself.

“Afternoon?”

“At home” she repeated, firmly.

Chatur noticed her looking at her in laws from the corner of her eyes. He gave an understanding nod. “Do you suspect anyone for Sudha’s death?” he asked. “No”, she said looking up and down. She remained silent, waiting for him to continue. When he didn’t ask more questions,her gaze drifted towards him slowly .His intense black eyes were reading her, her face, gestures and answers. Her response looked so far from the truth.

Chatur knew that she was lying; that she was trying to veil up the truth with her ‘No’s. But he didn’t utter another word. He nodded and left. Embarrassed in front of her in laws, Mythili couldn’t hold back her tears. As soon as Chatur left for Vinayak’s house, Mythili started dialing Shravan’s number.

Vinayak’s house, unlike Mythil’s was rather small. The walls were spoiled, almost ruined. A glass lantern was hanging from the window sill. Two little girls were playing with a magnet in the front yard. On seeing, a strange man in a motorcycle they scurried inside. A woman came out, hustling the girls inside. She looked older than Mythili. Not an effect of her age but work.

“Are you Mrs. Nandhini Vinayak?”

“Yes. You?” she enquired.

Nandhini was puzzled about the new man who was unusually fair, tall and with messy black hair. He was wearing a brown jerkin over a black shirt, a brown pant and sunglasses. “I’m Detective Chatur Nath, here for an investigation.”

“This early? Who will investigate at about 8 in the morning?” she sounded aware. She was educated.

“Sorry ma’am. I have to do my work. Pressure from my higher officials. Hope you understand” He excused himself and walked inside .

“You would have heard about Sudha” he started.

“Children, go out and play” she shooed the children out and nodded at him. “How was your relationship with her?”

“We never talked much. A month after their marriage, they went on to live alone” she told casually as though she had expected it to happen.

“Can you call Mr. Vinayak Ram?”

“He is…” he was cut off by a shattering sound of vessels. Nandhini sped into the kitchen. Startled, Chatur followed her. An old man, with wrinkled skin and a bald head, was clutching his chest, leaning against the wall. The steel glasses scattered on the floor, were still cluttering. Nandhini , surprisingly, was all prepared for the situation. She put his hand around her shoulder and led him to the room next to the kitchen. Then she sprinted back to the kitchen and brought him water. Chatur watched this spectacle, wondering who that man was. Definitely not Vinayak, as he looked way too old to be Nandhini’s husband, he thought.

After a couple of minutes, she came out.

“Who is he?”

“My husband, Vinayak Ram” she replied and glanced back when she heard him cough. She again went in to check on him. He coughed too loudly and continuously, holding his chest, his torso jumping violently every time he did.

Nandhini pulled out an old dirty plastic box from a drawer and took out few brown bottles – seemed to be tonic – and forced it down Vinayak’s throat. The cough began to reduce gradually after few seconds. When it stopped, Vinayak slowly closed his eyes and seemed to be sleeping.

Nandhini came out to find Chatur looking at a wall inside the room. Nandhini traced his vision but couldn’t find anything interesting except a hanger with clothes.

“What is that blood stain?” asked Chatur.

You can read the previous and the next  episodes by clicking on the respective links:

Episode 2

Episode 4

 

Shot dead – is an exclusive bilingual crime novel series, jointly written by Swathi Mohan and Anirudh Ramesh (English) and Arun Balaji, Kishore and K.Pavithra (Tamil).