The First Demise – Chapter One

It was a flashy sunrise, orange enough to make the blue beach blush. The shore had green palms ordered, like cherries dipped on a cake, in line. Just in a few yards was a big multi-storied building, painted white. When viewed from top, it had the shape of a hand lens, like an ‘O’ on a stick. The blue glasses it had on its sides reflected the sea. The entrance bore the words NEOSCOPE. The push-in glass doors had the same name, NEOSCOPE, in a different style; it looked like a hand-lens on the whole. The letters N and E were written within the parallel lines that form the handle part. The O formed the lens part. Within the O was written SCOPE, bulging and curved as it was seen through the lens.

A man descended from a white police chopper that just landed on the H-pad near the building. As he entered the building, he was pointed to go left, when he enquired the reception. He was wearing a Ray-Ban, a Rolex and a rough look. As he walked through the brightly lighted hallway, he entered the lens part of the building from the handle-shaped part. After a few brisk steps, he stopped near a door. The board above the door had the words ‘Vimal’ in big letters and ‘Detective Head’ on the next line in smaller letters on it.

Inside the room, Vimal was reviewing some files in his Macintosh. He got a beep alarm and checked the monitor hanging on the wall to his right. It showed a man standing out of his room. He pointed the remote control unit towards the screen, pressed the Scan button. A matrix of green lines passed through the man’s face on the monitor screen. A small beep came as the frame on the screen split into two. The man’s face was moved to the left and the right pane showed his details. Vimal read through the lines on the right pane; when he was sure that the man was a police inspector, he pushed the handle on his table.

The door opened and the man walked in. As Vimal stood up extending his hand for a shake, the man took a gun from his side pocket, loaded and locked it, aimed towards Vimal. Just then, Prathap – the cleaner boy, exited the rest room which was to the left of Vimal’s table. He was shocked to see a gun posed to Vimal, and could not react. But he shouted ‘Vimal’. Before he could finish the man pressed the trigger. Prathap hollered again ‘Vimal….!’

When Vimal opened his eyes he was sitting, in a train, sopped with sweat. Prathap called again, ‘Vimal, wake up boy. We’re reaching Coimbatore. Keep the tickets ready, we’ll be checked.’

‘Yes boss, had a horrifying dream that I could not wake up. I saw our NEOSCOPE office, big and posh.’

Vimal explicated the full dream exactly, minus, he was the Detective Head and his boss Prathap was a cleaner boy. He knew the consequences, so just paused, smiled and told the rest of the story. Vimal was dark and tall. He had an innocent triangular face. It was blank by nature; no one can read what’s in his mind from his face that sported a trimmed beard always. He was hard by his looks but his inside was exactly diametrical. Prathap had the same color tone of Vimal, but he had a round face with crisp eyes embedded. He wore spectacles, which was a definite plus to his good-boy looks. His Kodak Zi8 was a regular appurtenance, passionately hanging from his collars. It rather looked like a mobile phone, than a camera. He used it to quench his photographic hobby, and to record enquiries of his cases. He always believed a second view was necessary for anything to be seen completely. He had an eye for detail, in everything.

These two young men are from Chennai’s famous Eagle Eye Detective Agency, headquartered at New Delhi. They were a ‘top’ class in their batch, and the favorites of their Chief. Since they had good rapport, the Chief sent them to Coimbatore to start a new office. They always dreamt of starting their own detective agency, NeoScope. Their train curved through the track gliding into the Junction. They were received by a friend of Prathap, who offered to bring Prathap’s Ford to Coimbatore from Chennai.

When they reached their office – it was their home cum office actually, Vimal felt not even an inch of similitude to the NeoScope office he had in his dreams. This was a small house, painted in pale yellow. It had a big hall, a part of which could be used as their office. It was ready with necessary furniture as pre-ordered by their Chief.

As soon as they entered, the first thing Vimal did was to put his mobile phone to charge. His phone was dead of empty battery, as soon as they boarded the train last night. When he switched the phone on, like a hungry frog, it captured a message. It was from an unknown number and it read, “I am sorry Vimal. I should’ve listened to you when you told me about Ajay. Now it’s too late. I am leaving this world. Good Bye.

Vimal felt a jerk through his nerves. It should not be Christie, he thought; but he knew it could not be any one else. Prathap was inside the bath, whistling his favorite song. When he stepped out from the bath, he saw Vimal sitting much tensed. Vimal showed the message to Prathap. ‘Is it a serious note Vimal? Who is this from?’

‘I fear it’s from Christie.’

‘Oh! Is it that Christie, your old friend?’

‘Yeah, this is her message to me after almost three years. I don’t even know where she lives.’

‘What is it, Marriage Issues?’

‘Yeah, they had issues from the very start. She never listened to me.’

‘You know any of her friends? Is she in Facebook?’

‘She never visits Facebook. I know her friend Samantha, but she stopped talking to me when Christie did.’

‘When was it sent?’ Prathap was in a deep thought of the very first case they’ve got.

‘It’s timed last night, 07:30pm. Her phone is switched off. Now it’s 7am.’

‘You need not worry. She’ll be fine. You must keep a cool head.’

Prathap consoled him and sent him to bath. When Vimal turned out, Prathap had already taken Samantha’s phone number from Facebook. He called her number. Her voice was young and sweet.

‘Hello, this is Vimal. You remember me Samantha?’

The call lasted two minutes, till he noted down the address. Just as they were getting ready, Prathap got a call. ‘Yes Sir. Good Morning.’

‘……’

‘We just reached an hour before. Yes, we’re comfortable. Did Chief call you?’

‘……’

‘Thank you very much Sir.’

‘……’

‘Yes Sir, We’ll take charge. What’s the case?’

‘……’

‘Burnt? Address of the scene?’

Of course, Prathap recognized the address. It was the same one which they noted down a few minutes earlier. He has never felt this cold. The very girl whom he was talking about is dead. He could not trust his ears. He wished it was just a dream.

‘Who was it?’ asked Vimal curiously.

‘It was the ACP. It seems like he was called by our Chief just when he was in a crime scene. He has called us over.’

He had a hard time explaining it to Vimal. He had to find words, to make the news gentle as possible. Vimal was in tears. He sat down, hands on his head. Prathap tried talking to him. Vimal seemed to be in a different world altogether. His warm tears were too hot for Prathap to handle. Their very first case seemed to be the smallest one. She has sent a suicide note to Vimal, and she has burnt herself to death. Is it that simple, to end a life?, Prathap was steering his mind to that woman, and his car to her address.

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