So here is the first chapter of the sequel, Enjoy…
CHAPTER ONE – The Uncertainty
You have hurt me a lot, you hurt me so bad that I chose not to remember the past. You made so helpless that I ran, away from your tortures and away from your wrath. I ran my whole life. But I forgot that the world wasn’t flat and after all the toil and turmoil I found myself on the same spot where it all began.
But guess what? Am stronger now, am no longer the kid you pushed around because I can fight now. In the end all those years of running proved fertile. But look at you, you are old and tired now, you are nothing to my bullet proof hatred I have for you.
I’m here now, standing tall before your eyes, resentful and full of rage. I advice you to sleep with one eye open because Destiny, Oh! My Dear Destiny; I’m ready now.
El Milagro Palace
Piyali looked at the image of a man she recognize as her brother, No! It was not an image. She had to tell herself over and over again that she wasn’t imagining things, her mind wasn’t playing tricks on her. The man before him was not a mirage but a true and real man in flesh and blood “Kabir… ” she whispered still in disbelief.
“One and Only” he replied still smiling at her. “Won’t you give me a hug sis?”
Tears found their way down her eyes when she touched him, she touched his face, his eyes were worn like someone who hadn’t slept for ages, her hands caressed his shoulders, there were not broad anymore, he had become so lean. She wrapped her arms around him as tight as she could, she was seeing him after five long years and Kabir hugged her back. “But they told me you died?” she whispered asked when she broke the hug. She remembered it clearly, she could not forget something like that especially when it had left her devastated. Two years ago she got a call from the prison he was in and the authority informed her that her brother had died due to a fire that had occured inside the prison. The news was also highly publicized by the media because a drug lord had made an escape from the prison by instructing his devotees to bomb the jail resulting in deaths of 13 prisoners.
“Look at me sis, am in front of you as alive as ever?”
“But the DNA…?” she trailed, since most of the corpses where damaged beyond recognition, siblings of the victims were asked to take DNA tests to identify the bodies, if he was alive then whose body did she cremate.
“Money talks” he said smirking “I made connections inside prison and it’s because of that I am here today”
So the bomb blast wasn’t for the drug lord alone, it was for him too she thought. Piyali couldn’t bring herself to believe that the boy she had loved as her son and not as her brother alone was capable of living with the death of 13 men under his concious, as realisation fell upon her, she took two steps back creating a drift between them “all those people died because of you” she accused him.
Kabir laughed humourlessly “and I thought you will be happy to see me alive”
He didn’t deny it, why didn’t he deny the accusations she threw at him “what do you want?” she masked the pain in her voice with coldness in her eyes.
“I want to go away, I don’t want to hide anymore and I need money for that”
Money, money was all that he needed, why didn’t she think about it sooner “I can’t help you Kabir, I have mended my ways”
“Oh! Don’t give me that bullshit, a crook can never mend her ways. Don’t tell me that you are now a saint because I don’t believe it”
She sighed “How much do you need?”
“two hundred and fifty thousands pounds” Piyali’s eyes widened in shock, Kabir softened his features and held her hands “I need to get away sis, I need to make a fake passport and start a new life somewhere else. I have to go away and I need that money”
Piyali withdrew her hands from his hold “I don’t have that kind of money”
Kabir strode to picked the codeless phone and gave it her “call the police then and send me back to that hell hole, abandon me like you did before” he teared “all I ever did, I did because you told me so but when the time came to face the music you left me all alone…. I suffered alone in that jail cell for both of our mistakes while you enjoyed here in this palace” He wiped the fake tears “If am going to suffer again then I want that to be in your hands, call the police and report me…. Call them sis, call them now”
Piyali cried too, how could she forget that he was in prison afterall, she threw the phone away and hugged him tight, no matter how he was he was her brother still. “promise me you will go away and be away from trouble”
Kabir placed his palm on her head “I swear on your life” he told her and she believed him, if there was one thing Kabir would never do then that was harming his own sister.
“give me two days” she promised him and he smiled before saying his goodbye, he got what he wanted at last.
Kensington International Kindergarten
Jai was nervous as if it was his first day of school, he kept rubbing his sweaty palms while Aria was busy playing candy crush in his phone. He pulled up at the school parking area and turn to her “we are here” he told her and Aria excitedly took off her seatbelt and picked up her pink Barbie backpack. Jai held her hand as they walked towards the entrance stairs of the school “now listen to me, if any kid troubles you tell the teacher immediately…. And it’s okay if you can’t make friends on the first day itself, take your time…. Remember to have your juice, you need your energy” he kept instructing without noticing that Aria had her attention on other kids in the playground and not him.
“Preeti..” Aria squealed causing him to turn to the direction she was looking and saw the same woman whom they met at the park on Aria’s birthday. Aria left her dad’s hold and ran to the young woman in a pink floral summer dress who seemed equally happy to see Aria.
He sighed and walked up to them “hi..”
“hi..” Preeti replied smiling.
“you… Work here?”
“yes” she nodded
“yay, I already have a friend at the school” exclaimed Aria.
Preeti smiled “yes, you do” Aria then joined other kids of her group and together they were taken by their new teacher to their class.
Jai sighed walking back to his car, he thought Aria would cry and he would have to pacify her but it seemed that he was the one having parting problem while his daughter was perfectly okay with the new environment. He saw Preeti near the parking area and went to her “may I ask you for a favour?”
She smiled “sure”
“please take care of my daughter” he urged.
“that’s my job, actually” Jai smiled thanking her “you really don’t remember me, do you?” she asked out of the blue.
“we met at the park, a week ago” he replied with a hint of confusion on his face.
She chuckled “how could you forget the person who helped you cheat in your 12th grade math exams?”
Jai now was more confused, how could she know that he cheated on his 12th grade exam, and how could he not cheat when he had spent the whole night watching the world cup finals instead of studying. But that was a secret between him and his friend alone, how could she have known? Wait a minute, could she be…. Her? His eyes almost dropped out of their sockets with surprise, he gasped “cannon ball..!?” he said still in surprise. “MY GOD! You are a woman now” he said but then realised what he had said and apologized “sorry, that came out wrong”
She chuckled “I know…. I know…. I looked like a boy back then with the moustache and all” He chuckled at her words, she was always like one of the boys in school dressed like a tomboy, good at soccer plus no cute girls accepted her in their group. He nicknamed her cannon ball because she had broken a boy’s nose who was teasing her with just her one punch “I recognized you instantly at the park that day”
“But I didn’t” he replied still smiling “how could I when you have turned into this beautiful woman”
She blushed and he averted his gaze realising what he had just blabbered “we should catch up sometime” she said breaking the silence. He smiled and they exchanged contacts promising to meet up for old time sake.
Forensic Toxicology Head Office.
The forensic toxicology office was not a new place for Arjun, having solved most homicide cases with greatly the help of the people from that department so it was no shock to the receptionist when he walked by the entrance smiling at her. The young woman behind the desk greeted him friendly before he walked to the office of his old school mate who was now one of the major assets in forensic toxicology science “hey Arjun” greeted a young man in a white lab coat sitting in his office.
“hey Steve” he greeted back taking a seat facing him “what news you got for me?”
Steve adjusted his rectangular shaped glasses and took a file among the piles on his table “am afraid I have bad news” he started while opening the file.
“So you did find something?” he asked sounding impatient.
Steve nodded “well… We found traces Calcium Gluconate in his body, it’s a drug used by doctors to counteract what we medically call as hyperkalemia” Arjun’s brows furrowed in confusion of the scientific word, biology was never his favourite subject “hyperkalemia is basically a condition where there is too much potassium in the body that can produce heart arrhythmias”
“But Dad wasn’t sick”
“Will you let me finish?” countered Steve and Arjun apologized. Steve continued “though Calcium Gluconate is a drug but when overdosed it can disrupt the normal levels of sodium, potassium and chloride in the body and thus leading to a heart attack. The victim will experience the same symptoms as a person having a heart attack does. But …….”
“A lethal dose of Calcium Gluconate can only be achieved through injectable form but we found no puncture marks or any signs of being recently injected in your father’s body which leads to the conclusion that he had taken the drug orally….. But when ingested the drug takes time being absorbed in the body…. It would just made him sick and would have found medical assistance even after 6 to 8 hours of consuming the drug, It couldn’t have killed him”
“You lost me now” he confessed rubbing his face with his palms.
“So was I, I was confused too so I did further tests until I found the culprit….. Aconite, aconite was the poison that killed your father” Arjun heaved a sigh, so his father was murdered afterall, though he doubted it earlier but now that he knew it was true it spiked a whole new feeling in him. “we found small amounts of alkaloid toxin which is only found in Aconite….. Aconite is a plant indigenous to various parts of the world, its a very lethal plant and very hard to trace, even the best modern toxicology experts may be fooled with this plant….. In some culture it’s called The Queen Of Poisons”
“The Queen Of Poisons?”
“Yes, even a tincture of aconite root something about 2mg is enough to kill a man, mix it in alcohol it will go unnoticed…. it’s the perfect poison to mask a murder”
“Is it easy to find this poison?”
“Well yeah, in some countries like China or India it’s used as auyervedic medicine, it’s used as homeopathic remedy for acute inflamation so am sure if you drive to China Town you will find it in the drug stores”
“That’s intense” he sighed again feeling helpless.
“True and coincidentally enough someone who has been poisoned with aconite will also show the symptoms as someone having a heart attack….. If you hadn’t insisted on the toxicology test then we wouldn’t have ruled your father’s death as murder”
Arjun took the file from Steve and read the information for the second time, it was hard for his mind to process everything at once. His dad was given two drugs both intending to murder him, he never knew his dad had enemies like that “so two people wanted my dad dead?” he whispered but it was enough for Steve to hear.
Steve leaned on the table that separated them “yes, one must have done a thorough research that’s why aconite was used and the other must either work in a hospital or have knowledge about medicine that’s why Calcium Gluconate was used”
“And what if it’s the same person?”
Steve leaned back on his chair, to use two poisons that were going to have the same result was not a trait that a murderer would possess “It can’t be the same person but if it is I would say whoever this is, is either an impatient fool or simply deranged”
Arjun thanked him and took his leave, his father was murdered and now it was up to him to find him justice.
Neil was on the verge of having a nervous break-down, Kiaan had turned the house upside down and he knew that he was in trouble because when Sam got back and saw the house in that condition he will be toasted. Kiaan had knocked down Sam’s favourite flower vase she had bought during their honeymoon in Italy while playing football inside the house a habit that Sam discouraged a lot. But what could he have done Kiaan was playing with his phone and he was afraid he might delete his entire contacts like he did previously so told him to play with his football instead.
He looked at Kiaan who had his whole attention on the flat screen TV watching Sponge Bod Square Pants show without a worry for the world “this boy will get me killed”
The front door opened and Sam got in “Hi…” she said softly, she sounded low.
Neil followed her to the kitchen “what’s wrong?”
She sighed “nothing, I just thought someone was following me” Neil held her by the shoulders and asked her to explain “I noticed this black SUV following me since I left work, I went to the kid’s store and it was still behind me… I had started to worry when it took another turn, near here…. I almost called the police”
Neil hugged her “you are just paranoid, and it’s normal with the recent happenings”
She nodded “maybe am watching too much detective series”
He chuckled “mom called, she will be back next week”
“Oh, that’s great” she exclaimed “we really need her help, Kiaan is getting more and more mischievous everyday”
He gulped “about that…”
Sam looked at him suspiciously, she then quickly walked to the living room and when she didn’t find her vase, she turned to him red with rage, nostrils flaring and teeth gritting “NEEEEEEIL” her shrill echoed throughout the living room. Neil tried to defend himself but it was a sinking ship “find yourself a couch to sleep on tonight because you are not sleeping in my room” she snapped before slamming their bedroom door on his face.
Neil sighed when he turned he found Kiaan playing with his football again “seriously?” he muttered.
Mishra Mini supermarket
Over the years Dilip had transferred from a grocery store to a mini supermarket thanks to Ajay’s business plan, his friendship proved to be useful for his life and his business too. Radhika walked inside pushing the glass door, she always did her grocery shopping there to contribute in her father’s success. The small bells hanging above clinged when she opened the door causing the young man at the cashier’s desk to raise his head from the Calculus book he was engrossed in. “good evening Di” he greeted her smilingly.
“Good evening, Chotu” she replied equally smiling. She then gave him a small gift bag “this is for you”
“thanks Di” he replied taking the gift out “how did you know I needed this?” he asked surprised seeing the latest scientific calculator.
Radhika smiled “I heard over the phone that day, when you were talking to your friend”
He smiled and thanked her again “you are an angel Di” he said gratefully. Radhika loved to help the young boy and in all honesty he deserved the aid, he was a bright student but due to financial scarcity of his family he had to drop out of college and look for a job but none would give an Indian young boy a decent job until he came to Dilip and got a part time job as a cashier. When Radhika heard about his story she paid for his tuition and insisted that the only way he could return her favour was by doing good in school and that was exactly what Karan aka Chotu was doing.
“what can I do for you Di?”
“nothing am just here for my usual shopping”
“let me help you” he took her grocery list from her hands “I will take care of this you just relax Di”
She smiled in appreciation “okay, where is Dad?”
“in the back, in his office” he replied while already disappearing in the aisles.
Radhika walked to her dad’s office, it was in the far end of the store near the toilet. The door was slightly open so she could hear what was going on inside. She managed to figure out that Dilip was on the phone with someone and was not pleased with the person on the other end of the phone “how could you be so careless, do you want to get us caught?” he shouted and Radhika stood behind the door to listen “what you did at the party was wrong, I have worked so hard for this and you will ruin it all with your impatience” Party? What party was he talking about? Was he talking about Aria’s birthday party? She thought and got more keen to know who was her dad talking to “listen…” just then Radhika’s phone rang and Dilip had to halt his conversation and look outside only to find his daughter ransaking her handbag to find her ringing phone “I’ll call you later” he said ending the call.
Radhika finally found her phone and answered “hey Sweetheart” came Arjun’s voice over the phone.
“Hi..” she replied
“just called to tell you that I will be late today, have something to do at the station later”
“sure, whatever” she answered uninterested.
“hey, is something wrong?” he sounded surprised with her curt replies.
“nothing, now will you get over the phone”
“okay, chill” he said before ending the call.
By the time she got inside Dilip’s office he was seating on his usual chair going over something on his desktop computer, she greeted him and sat opposite him “shopping?” he asked and she nodded “how is Arjun getting by?”
“He resumed work today but this things take time, so I can’t say that he is over the mourning period”
Dilip nodded in agreement “even Priya went to work today but her eyes clearly show that she is sad, we all try to cheer her up but she has just lost her father so I understand what she is going through”
She smiled a nervous one, she was debating in her mind if she should ask him or not about the phone call he was at “uh, dad… Who were you talking to just a while ago?…. You sounded really angry” she asked nervously.
“nothing important, just business” he replied casually and quickly averted his gaze back to the computer screen and that made her more curious, her dad never does that. She wanted to pry more on the matter but just then Karan came to inform her that he was done with her shopping and she had no other choice but to leave.
Taste Farm Offices
Arjun sat in Priya’s cabin waiting for her, she was in a meeting in the board room. He looked at his phone where Radhika’s image was on the screen and recalled his phone conversation with her few minutes ago, why did she sound mad, did he do something? He looked at the date displayed on the screen, it was not her birthday, he sighed of relief that he was not in trouble for forgetting to wish her on her special day. Besides he had reminders for all important dates in his life, it was not her birthday neither was it their anniversary and it was summer so it can’t be Valentine then what had he done for his wife to sound angry at him. “women” he whispered concluding that no man can understand that specie.
“have you been waiting long?” Priya asked when she entered her cabin.
“not really” he replied and greeted her with a warm hug.
They settled on the two-seater sofa in her office “how are you?” she asked in her sisterly concerned voice.
“just like you, I guess” he said pointing to her dark circled eyes showing that she has either not been sleeping properly or she has been crying and he decided to believe on the latter.
She sighed “am trying, but it’s not easy”
“I know, but we have each other” he placed his hand on hers “we will get over this together” and she smiled at his words.
“so, to what do I owe this visit?” she asked after a minute of silence.
“I got the toxicology report”
“he was murdered, dad was poisoned to death” he refrained himself from revealing too much information like the possibility that two people might have wanted him dead to not worry her. Shock was not even a word enough to express Priya’s state at that moment, who would have wanted his dad killed, did he have enemies, and why now when their lives were settled and peaceful “I wanted to ask you if you have any suspects in your mind, are you aware of any enemies dad may have had?”
Priya nodded in negative “I… I… I don’t understand… Who would have wanted him killed…. And why?” she stammered as fresh tears kissed her cheeks. Arjun took her in an embrace and calm her down by giving her a glass of water to drink.
“relax…” he told her in assurance “you know I will bring whoever did this to justice” he said as a promise and she nodded showing her trust in him.
“what else did the report say?”
“nothing helpful, just that the poison is called Aconite”
“Aconite?… How is that spelled?” she asked clearly with confusion on her face.
“A.. C.. O…” he started.
“N.I.T.E?” she finished for him, worrying him.
“yeah, do you know anything about it?”
Her brows were furrowed in confusion “I think I have read about that recently, or someone must have told me about… I don’t know…. I can’t remember…” she said biting her lips trying to recall where she had learned about that poison.
This can’t be good, he thought. How did she come to know about a poison that killed their father before the murder took place, this can’t be a coincidence “are you sure?” he asked but she was so concentrated in her thought juggling her memory. Then suddenly the lines of worry on her face vanished as her brows straightened “did you recall something?”
She looked pale, as if what she remembered was more shocking, he shook her a little when she didn’t respond to him for some time “Huh..?” she looked puzzled as if he had been talking to a wall all this time, he repeated his question and she nodded negative “No…. No… I have nothing”
“Are you sure?” he repeated his previous question.
She stood from the sofa and grabbed her purse “I have to run, I remembered an issue I have to look after”
He also got off the sofa “okay, but if you recall anything about that poison be sure to tell me”
“sure” she replied quickly forcing a smile on her face.
“And yeah…” he said as he just recalled why he came to see her “I needed the video of the birthday party since you organized it I thought you will know where it is”
“Yeah… Yeah…. I have it, will email it to you when I get home”
“Thanks” he told her and left her office behind her.
Well… Well… Well…
Too much mystery for the first chapter, my mind scolds me.
So what’s your take so far….
1. The letter, who wrote who received?
2. Is it one or two murderers?
3. What or who could have Priya recalled?
Excited to read your views.