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She sat on the bench under the tree in a garden full of wet grass. There were tears in her eyes, which were joined by a few rain drops. The bells from cathedral were ringing high in the early evening.

"How could this happen to me?" the girl asked herself

There was no answer. The thunder roared, and suddenly the rain picked up. She had no option but to leave the bench and move near the shed.

"I need to know the answers. I will. But the question is how?"

Still no answer.

She was standing in the middle of nowhere, just as she was in life.

She heard few steps heading towards her.

She stood still for some time and then slowly inserted her hands into her jacket pocket and took out the gun.

One round of fire paired with cathedral bells....and that was it.

Everything went silent—the rain, bells, tears and life...


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Chapter 1

Police sirens shattered the silence.

Verma stepped out of the jeep. His eyes were red from glaucoma, and he forgot to bring his eyedrops. Despite his age (50 years), his hairs were still black, the credit of which goes to his wife Aarti. He didn't try to go near the crime scene. He had to wait for his colleagues first. After ten minutes, two more police vans came and stopped near him.

Five men stepped out.

" We are late as usual," Khandelwal said as soon as his eyes met with Verma.

"No problem." Verma replied warmly

"So, I guess the cameramen and fingerprint experts can start?" Khandelwal asked, indicating towards two men accompanying him.


The grass was still wet

Photographers started their job, clicking every inch of the scene. Fingerprint experts were busy taking whatever fingerprints might have left after the rain.

A gun was recovered from the victim hands.

Ten minutes later, they were done and Verma took charge.

"Okay. You can leave now. We will send the body for postmortem." Verma said while signing documents, after which the cameramen left in one of the vans

Verma approached the body and stood still near it for some time. He closed his eyes, trying to sense something. The wind was blowing heavily, but the rain has stopped

After a while, he opened his eyes and looked carefully at the body

"What a waste of life," he murmured

Khandelwal nodded in agreement

Verma bended to have a close look at the body. Her face was towards the grass with hairs facing the sky. Her clothes were intact indicating no sign of physical abuse. Blood patches were all across her hairs indicating head as the wound area.

"One of the victim hands is tightly closed," Verma said while looking carefully

"the one which was holding gun?" Khandelwal asked

"No, the other one,"

"Probably a body reflex before pulling the trigger," Khandelwal suggested

"Could be. Would you like to have some tea?"

"Now?" Khandelwal asked surprised

"Yes, never disregard the old ways Khandelwal. These days we are relying too much on CCTV’s but a CCTV cannot see what a human eye can capture. Let’s go, there is a tea shop over there. Let’s have some tea while asking questions."


They left one constable at the crime scene

An old man was sitting there with an aluminum beaker on the stove, preparing tea. If his clothes were any indication, business was not good.

"Bhaiya (a polite way in India, to talk to a stranger), two teas," Khandelwal requested

"Bhaiya, you were here when this happened? I mean when the girl died?" Verma asked

"Saab (sir), I was sleeping at that time. I just heard some noise like a Diwali (an Indian festival) bomb (fire-crackers) along with the cathedral bell. I thought maybe a child was enjoying a cracker or something. But then after a while people started gathering, and I found out that someone died in the park," he said.

"So how many times did you hear that noise?" Verma asked again

"How many times? I think only once," he replied.

"Are you sure you heard it only once?"

The shop owner took his time to consider the question before answering. "Yes, saab, only once," he replied firmly.

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Chapter 2

A motorcycle sped at lighting speed with Joy in the driver's seat. His eyes were red, blood red. Blood was flowing from his head. It was almost ten at night, and the road was all clear. He had no intentions of stopping, but the fuel needle was on red, and he had no option but to look for a petrol station. After looking for some time, he finally found one.

He entered the petrol station and stooped the bike.

"How much should I fill?" asked the petrol station worker (In India, self-gas filling is not allowed).

"A full tank," he replied.

"Your head is bleeding," the worker pointed.

"Do your work," Joy responded rudely.

There was no further conversation. Joy paid the money and got back on his bike.

"Asshole," the station worked murmured.

Joy ignored him, and was again on the road, speeding up the bike.

"I just hope I will make it in time, “He said to himself.

His phone was vibrating in his jeans pocket, which was making him irritated as he knew that he couldn’t ignore this call. After a few seconds, he again slowed his bike and took his phone from his pocket.

"Yes, boss?" Joy said.

"Where the hell are you? You know we’ve been waiting for you for hours. Be here in thirty minutes or we are done," said the person on the other end before hanging up the phone.

"Bastard," Joy murmured even though there was no one to hear him.

He started the bike and again drove.

It was Goa, the city of beaches, beer, and parties. But sometimes, if one was alone, the same romantic place could become a nightmare just like it was becoming to Joy.

After twenty minutes, Joy entered the premises of Hotel Paradise. The parking lot was almost empty. He parked his bike near the corner to be safe, adjusted his jeans, hair, and bag, which he’d been carrying for a long time.

He ignored the reception, and instead crossed the lobby and entered the lift. He pressed the button for the fifth floor.

After a few seconds, the lift door opened. Nobody was in the hallway. There were only doors facing each other. He reached Room 502, hesitated for a moment and then knocked.

After sometime the door opened halfway. A man in a black suit looked at Joy from head to toe then opened the door completely.

"What the hell happened to you? You are bleeding. Go to the washroom and fix yourself up a bit before you go to the boss. And be quick. The boss is still pissed off," the man said while taking the bag from Joy's hand.

Joy didn't argue and did as he was told.

After five minutes, he entered another room where five people were sitting on large sofas. A Johnnie Walker Black Label was opened in the middle of the table with six glasses around it. Joy picked up one of the glasses and took a corner seat.

"So, Mr. Joy Lobo, you are finally here. I guess you have completed the job?" one of the men asked.

Joy didn't speak, just looked the other way while sipping whiskey.

"Hey, you, I am taking to you. You think we were waiting here to fucking see your face? Do you think we’re idiots?"

"I am sorry, but there was a small issue… it was—” Joy was cutoff when one of them screamed.

"We didn’t pay you for some good for nothing story! Is the job done? If there is any kind of complication later, you will be the one we will be coming after.”

“I did it, but there is a small issue,”

"Put the glass down,” one of the man said while Joy was sipping his drink

Joy ignored

“I said keep the glass down, you bastard!" he shouted this time

Joy did as he was told.

"Stand up and get lost before we change our minds and Raja has to go to the extra effort of taking care of your body." The same man who shouted at him said while looking at the person who opened the door

Joy didn't say anything, just followed the order. He was aware that there is no point of arguing. It is a way of showing power in his profession, just shout, bark at whomever you could.

After he left, one of them spoke, "Walia, what’s next? He said there might be some issue”

"Don't worry, we will take care of everything. Let me make some calls," Walia said as he took out his phone from his pocket and made some calls.

After he got over, he turned towards the door, motioning to Raja who nodded in agreement and then left.

“You need not to worry gentlemen. I think we are done for today," Walia said before sipping the last drop of whiskey and putting his glass on table.

Everyone in the room did the same, and then the meeting was over.


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