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It was six pm; dim rays were drifting through the swaying trees. There was silence everywhere only voice of screeching of leaves and flapping of wings was reaching my ears as I paced my steps on the narrow track that zigzagged through the dense trees and bushes. As far as my vision could reach, I could see a huge demonic piece, standing to stop any intrusion. Thick fog was averting my vision.   Leaves were rattling, choking me with earnest sensuousness. Wind gushed down my spines and blew my hair as I reached near the hovering gate, of a muted but traditionally adorned cottage that glowed with the lightning.

I could feel sweat lurching from my forehead.  It was a place where I was supposed to reach, few miles away from the graveyard of Dukeshire, appearing as a testimony of some grave witness.   

I am Riza D Silva, an Investigative agent of TRIC, a private investigative agency run by Hawthe Shaw, an ex-commanding Officer of the Army, a stout man 5, 8 sturdy built with a personality that can be compared to Steward Richard Nixon, who was responsible for overthrowing the opposition party in county elections of Dukeshire, and now besides aiding counsel Nickolson, got a license to run this agency. I m Graduated from the University of Oakland and inspired by many detective novels, took Criminology.  I was third in my subject and now standing as an aspirant agent for Hawthe Shaw, a Round faced the man who hardly smiles, jostling over his papers as he twitched his eyebrows towards me with a grim look. A black overcoat, with collars, held up, he directed me to sit.

After few quick questions, I was honored to be bestowed a trainee agent. Quick was my reaction too, as I replied, Thank You.

I lived in my parents’ house, my father retired Army Chief, Richard Silva, stout, heavy built, a big mustache perturbing nature, angry and irritated, but sensitive by heart. He had two German Shepherds which were soaring to my mom’s eyes but dad loved them. My mom has always been a loyal wife and a humble mother with integrity to maintain spontaneous silence, as the best virtue which she had kept all her life. While my father denied religious dogmas, the mother was a staunch Catholic. I still remember, never a Sunday went by when I would go to Church, and silently sit for hours, sometimes close my eyes and whisper in Jesus’ ears. I inherited this penchant of my mother and stringency of my father that gave an impulse to my emotional intensity. Sweat on my forehead, and the way I swirled forward to open the gate, it was obvious that it is in this cottage lies my first case and it is not going to be easy.

The reflections of some movements of a divine persona on the engraved walls perplexed me.  The walls were all bricked enriched with the ancient architectural style, adorned in many shades of layers.  Lock of its door, with the touch of brown, appears to glare me with the fearful look.

On both sides, there were engravings of the two big leaf petals, blazing in an enigmatic charm.  I knocked. Within few minutes it opened, a healthy middle-aged man with a studier look and a mustache tangling between lips was in front of me. His glare was astoundingly nerving. Anyhow, I picked my nerves and stepped inside, as the door closed from behind.  It was a waiting room for the granule of royalty.

With the humble gesture, he offered me to sit comfortably on a spacious sofa that lies just in the middle of the room. I thank him and sat with poise where I am asked to. I looked around it was a spacious room with a firewall just towards the corner.  On the shelf near it, I could see a photograph that seemed to be of a soldier of British regiment of around fifty, wearing a stiffened peak cap, with a thick woolen tunic, dyed khaki, a leather strap, brass fitting and secured with two small brass buttons.  Also, ammunition boots with hobnail soles on the feet, and a steel plate on the heel. With stout body, rough face, he appeared to be a typically harsh soldier, and with the striking eyes, I could see the image of my father in his. I could imagine what my father would have been when he was of his age. Suddenly I was intruded by a female voice.  

I elegantly looked at her as she walked towards me, her eyes appeared weary, and her beautiful face gives a clumsy look. She appeared to be above thirty, slim, golden hair attired in an embroidered silver gown. She was accompanied by a young girl, seemed to be fourteen, with an angelic face, wearing the radiant gown, but eyes were telling some undiscovered gloom. After the pleasantry gentries, we sat facing each other. I was offered a soft drink, which tasted of grapes and apple with ingredients of little sugar to what they call Fresta. I remembered enjoying it in my Uncle Sam’s home when I would walk to his home folding my father’s hand. I would say No first as it would taste rather bad, but I had to gulp it as it was a friendship drink of their old camaraderie.

It is the same juice, now I am having thanks to the Jesus tastes more delicious and I smiled. Lady winked at me with raising nerves introducing herself as Mrs. Cathy whose husband is now no more.  What conspired to her husband, no one knows, it was so sudden, she throbbed as she recalled. Her eyes were gloom but face dropped with impudence. She is now living as a widow, and the girl is her niece Suzzy, it was a promise to her late mother that she was fulfilling. The tale Mrs. Cathy divulged was enough to vibrate my senses. It was about Suzzy.

Suzzy was a very loving child, with immature innocence, she has many friends.

I remember once Mrs. Cross saying, “Oh! Dear, she is so sweet and humble as an angel, always smiling, singing and flinging between the flowers like the butterfly.

So sweet she was, but oh my may not God befell any ill omen on anyone.  Oh, Jesus, God took away everything from her, and so whimsical look she gave, I smelled fishy but listened with admiringly as she continued; it changed everything for her, when she was just ten.  It was morning 24th June I still remember she dressed, gulped her milk and excitedly went out to meet her new friend.

It was summers. We moved out, crossed the gate and walked towards the main road, usually we would take the main lane for the road where her School bus would pick her up, but this time, we walked through that narrow lane that passes near the graveyard opposite the teak tree towards the outer surface of the dense forest area.  And if we turn right we can reach the road from where Sussy gets her school bus. It would take just a few minutes on this path, and merely five minutes if we walk from the other side. We rushed through this route, but suddenly, Suzzy holds my arm, all in blues.

I pushed her to move on, few steps more, she again shuddered, pulled my dress hard, I shed her off, pushed her further insisting to keep on moving. Her mouth was shut but the face had a bit of nervousness and sweat, what made her so scared, there was no reply.  She held me tight but slowly her grip began to lose as she wanted to whisk away from my fold, she turned her back to run. But my mind ticked, I hold her arms and pushed her back. She neither shrieked nor cried just remained numb with her eyes continued to glare towards the tree standing tall with its green leaves sprawling sideways. I looked here and there but could not see anything happening, I patted her back, hold her arms and took fast steps and we soon reached the corner of the road. She might have seen a strange animal which was the most immediate thing that struck my mind; I patted her back, hold her arms more tightly and pushed her towards the road.

She would be alright, I thought, but she did not as she again turned her back, murmured something which I could not understand. She was quite shunned. I could see a mix of shock and strange emotions on her face. Someone is sure behind her, but who… I don’t know except for a few stranded people here and there on the road, there was no one. It was totally mystifying for me as she had never done anything like this before, even when her parents expired.

Soon I heard the sound of a horn and her School bus halted with a jerk. I just tried to push her in, but she did not move an inch, I again tried but she was staring silently at the same direction, without winking her eyelids, I pushed her in and the bus shooed away. I observed here and there, shocked by her strange behavior, it was so weird she could be acting this way.  A few minutes later, I still remembered, as I retraced my steps backward, I saw sweat on my forehead as the wind blew my hair. I took my steps faster now towards home.

Suzzy’s life came to a halt, struck by the God’s tragic demise on this innocent soul. She was only eight years, when both her parents had died in an accident, while she had a narrow escape. The day was 24th June 1997 weather was wonderful, there were clouds with figments of ran drops drenching the soil beneath us. Suzzy’s father, Mr. Patrick who was a man of various vibes, owner of many lands, had planned an outing at Sterling garden just half a mile from Dorsey.

It is a beautiful garden having a pond, fruit trees and flowers. I also loved this place. They had just finished their packing, paced their steps through the gate and reached the road. There was a sudden burst of lightning, and in the freak of a second, the car speeding through the opposite direction hit them; first, it was Mr. Patrick and then her mother went rolling. Father’s head crushed under the front-rear wheel while Suzzy was thrown on the payment covered by grass by the side of the road.  When she regained her senses, she was in the hospital. Mr. Patrick was already dead, while her mother, Zealot lay still on the hospital bed, suffering from the head injury. She came to her senses for few minutes and placed Suzzy under my care. This was not enough, wiping her tears, and now this incident; she continued as her tears do not seem to stop.

I said, “I am sorry!” are you ok

Yes, “I am”, wiping tears with the tissue.  

I thought it must be her prank, but no these episodic reverences were happening now and then. Sometimes she would start peeping through the door, and sometimes through the window.  During our regular evening walks too, she would get panicked. Yesterday evening I took her for a walk, and suddenly she caught my dress and her face turned blue, with her eyelashes seemed to rise. This time I too got terrified as I saw behind her a shadow of a strange figure creeping through the bushes and then suddenly disappeared. We hurried back. I took her on my lap and now oh! She breathed, poor little girl!

Yesterday night, I slept with her and my heart started beating faster as I again saw the same shadow. But taking a deep breath I closed my eyes.

This is a case, “this is ridiculous, I thought,”, but I choose to remain silent”.  

She asked, “What I make out of this?” Maybe it is just her hallucination and nothing else, I replied, But, Mrs. Cathy was unnerved.  

“How it could be when I have seen the shadow myself.”  “I called TRIC agency to help give this little girl respite and save her. I have right to know what’s happening. I have paid a hefty sum, she huffed”.  

“So this is my case, oh! What a case, where there is no crime, but I have to find the criminal.”

Hmm! I said, rather reluctantly, “so when shall I start, I asked”? She said, “as soon as possible, we have made your arrangements, out there on the first floor towards the right. Mr. Hackman would lead you.”

I shook hands with Mrs. Cathway and Sussy and went straight towards my room, still wondering, why I am here?  

It’s a cozy little room with double bed laid beautifully well.  Wall was painted brown projecting many million darker truths. Better still; towards right there was a bookshelf with dust shining over the books, waiting to uncover many layers of truth. A reflection of a burning night lamp was creating condensed shades on the floor. Roof’s bit lower with spades of ceiling fan circling making a swishing noise in the calmness of the room.  I could see window opening towards kitchen garden with a hedge covering it from all its sides. A couple of fruit trees and crops was swaying to the blow of the winds. It was now six pm, I pushed myself as I felt something blown past me, but I could not see, hiss just a wind. A little distance away, branches of the mango tree were emotively soothing the window sill. “Maybe I am tired, I felt, I would relax for few minutes, I thought, soon I drooled away.”   

At 8:00 pm, a knock jolted me, I opened the door, to see a grunted, wrinkled face, and he was Mr. Rodriges, an old helper in Patrick Mansion.  I was called for a dinner, as I passed through a small gallery that leads towards the dining hall, my eyes struck at few fathomable strokes of artifacts in their variegated forms spreading within frames clothing the walls. These were paintings of nature soothed in aromatic calmness.  This small passage had a kind of strangeness I can smell peculiar oddity as I walked through it. At a few distance, passage curled towards a door studded with wooden creeping with shining mirror on it. I looked into this glass, but to my yet another surprise, this was not a mirror but a window. I could see through it a dining room where my host seated towards the center while maids jostling to serve dishes.

The dining room has an entirety of royalty and simplicity.  I saw a little round brown table, with the capacity for six. Suzzy was calmly seated towards the right of Mrs. Cathy, with her eyes dizzily looking at me.  I took my place opposite hers. As I picked my spoon, I heard tapping sound, there was another, sturdily built, thirty years, member walking straight towards the table, and cozily pitched himself near Mrs. Cathy. He is introduced as Mr. Norman, younger brother of Mr. Patrick and uncle of Suzzy. He is the patron of Mr. Shaw’s property looking after his affairs since the day Patrick became the owner of this mansion. After the formal introduction, Norman gave a hasty smile with a disgruntled look at Mrs. Cathy.

“Well, I am glad to meet you all,” with this I picked a bit of pie from the table. If you permit, I would like to talk with Suzzy alone”.

No, “it’s her time to sleep.”  

I insisted, “I am here to ease her from these ordeals, I have to spend some time with her”. Alright, just a few minutes”, she agreed.   

After dinner, I met Suzzy. I had a small gold bracelet laced with silver strings with the picture of the cross. I had picked it from the shop located at the corner of Dorsher street.  My little angel, “put your right arm forward”, as she did, I tied that bracelet on her right arm and said, “now we are friends”, and this is a lucky charm that would protect you from troubles.  She gave a vivid smile”.

“Please tell me the truth, God is with us and he will help us if you tell the truth.” And, she said ok!

“Have you seen anyone following you.”, and she nodded No!

Have you ever noticed any strange animal or a bird, She again replied in a negative.

“Has anybody tried to touch you or hurt you, when you are in School or ever you are playing with your friends or at home, it was again, No.

Insistently, I heard footsteps behind me, and Mrs. Cathy interrupted, that’s all Ms, “Suzzy hurry up for bed,”  

Just a moment please, I retorted, “Have you ever took her to the Doctor, and she said, yes, why? When she was suffering from fever, I said, No! To the psychologist, maybe she needed a good psychic treatment. Mrs. Cathy gave an irritating look, “She is not mad!” Yes, we have a family doctor, Mr. Rodrigues who visits us often for the normal checkup. Tomorrow you can see him, now please I suppose will you excuse us, young lady.”  I had wanted to ask more about Mr. Norman but she just skidded away with Suzzy. I too retraced back into my room brandishing the different knaveries of the day.

Next morning I woke at six, opened the window.  Weather is awesome with dew drops still fresh, and sun rays were giving their splendid spray of colors from behind the tall deodar trees.  I looked around to notice some movement near the hedges, I looked at the direction, and within seconds a man peeped out with his grass cutter.   I yelled, “Who are you, and he replied Mike, gardener Maim Ok!” I retracted to freshen myself and meanwhile, I was summoned for breakfast.

At the breakfast table, I pitched Mrs. Cathy for more information.

I need all the details of Sussy family about their relatives, her friends, your relatives and neighbors and all associated with the family. She conceded me the details, I noted as much as I could.  I found Patrick have very limited friends. Photograph hung in visiting the room was Suzzy’s grandfather.

After Cathy’s permission, I continue my investigations. Suzzy was reading with her hands on the lap, while a glass of juice was kept covered on the table. Room was very beautiful with an audacious appeal. It had a study table, besides a cupboard. “Hey, your drink”, she merely nodded.  I glanced around, two birds, had pitched on the window sill, Suzzy ran towards them, as she saw something. I too pushed myself toward the window, birds merely took off. Suzzy was whimsically glaring towards the window. I peeped outside but for the birds on the trees, few squirrels and rabbits near the hedges, there was no one. So Succulent and so swift motion it was I could not imagine, she retraced her steps and murmuring, “Mom”, and sat on the bed. It quite seemed she was holding someone’s hand. She slept cozily on the bed as the child sleeps on her mother’s lap. I could see calmness and a smile on her face.  She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

I opened her drawer and checked her books, words were written haphazardly on it, I scrutinized her cupboard, all her clothes were nicely placed, I noticed family photograph with Mr. and Mrs. Patrick and their daughter Suzzy appearing as a charming family. Suddenly my eyes caught hold of the small diary, neatly laden with family pictures. I was filled with emotions as the same read  

“I Love You Mom, love you Dad, I miss You Lot”.

Out of the window I saw

Birds flapping their wings in the laps of the sky

Flowers, leaves, mountains and trees whispers and play with each other

Birds dancing with joy

I love you so much, dear and I love you

All are so beautiful, Mom, All are so beautiful.

But you are not with me

To give me the wings to fly, to sit on the flowers like the butterfly and pluck the fruits from the trees. This is my dream Mom, I want to have wings and come to you!

And this time, it was me who was crying, but equally shocked to see a little red arrow mark on it written D.  I was puzzled, what is this arrow mean. What is a connection with the hallucination of Suzzy or its’ just her imagination? I need to ask Mrs. Cathy, but should I ask her? Several questions started pecking my brain. I kept the diary in my purse.  I then went into Mrs. Cathy’s room and checked everything, but found nothing substantial. I went into Mr. Hackman’s room too; it was small with the simple single bed and a table. I checked each corner of the room but could not find anything.

My heart was beating fast, as I saw the mark, now I began to sense something horribly wrong. I went straight in a kitchen garden, through the back door.  It was now 12 but thanks to the God there were clouds. I went towards the tree which is seen through Suzzy’s window. I reached just below her window where the branches were flowing like the windshield with the shades over the sandy ground.  Many of its stems were hung low, and the branches were little broad and with its roots seemed to stretch far and wide. I first glared at the tree, as if it is huge devil standing to gulp me. But as a courageous little agent, I went forward and started scrutinizing it by going around its branch and studying its root. There was nothing. I was just going to turn around, I heard a shrieking sound, it had appeared somewhere from the top, and suddenly a huge bird too flapped its wings strong and flew away. I looked at the window it was again Suzzy’s shriek. I entered the house and rushed towards the room.  Meanwhile, Cathy too had reached her, she cajoled her.

Hey, what’s the matter, she spoke for the first time, “I saw someone running out there.” I told her, calm down dear there is nobody but she said, yes, someone’s there! I said ok and told Cathy to be with her. Saying this I again entered the garden towards that demonic upshot of nature. I looked at the branch and towards the stems and leaves. I could see Hyena’s nest; she flew away as I climbed. Oh! How funny I must be looking, I imagine myself. I looked here and there and to my utter surprise. I saw a strange mark on one of the stems. It was the same arrow mark which I saw in Suzzy’s diary. I immediately took its image and climbed down as I also saw footsteps of a man approaching near, maybe he was a gardener.

I showed the mark to Mrs. Cathy and enthusiastically asked her about it. She said yes! I have seen this mark but know nothing more. I thanked her and moved towards Mr. and Mrs. Patrick’s room.   It had been locked since they died, yet I insisted to check the room and their belongings. I went up with my keys, opened the lock myself, there was dust everywhere as nobody seemed to have bothered to clean it. I checked everything, clothes were scattered. I opened the drawer, there were few papers. I picked them, as I presume they must be important or confidential papers. As I was coming out of the room, I saw a shadow behind the wardrobe, as if someone was hidden there and keeping a watch on me. I leaped forward and shouted, who is it? I peeked through the window and saw a young boy running towards the gate.  Now I can sense some foul play, as papers lying scattered inside the drawer and now this young man. My heart started beating fast. Without looking here and there I went straight to my room, and continue scrutinizing the papers. Oh my God! I started palpitating! Oh my, my! Suzzy’s parents had written something in a very odd language about some 100,000 million dollars which they had kept in a certain Wankshire Bank, located near Colombia, just 150 km. from Dockshire. But there was also reference of Mrs. Drake staying at Wankshire with her children. These papers referred to Suzzy as an owner of this wealth, but she could only claim when she would be eighteen, while this wealth would be governed by her Aunt Mrs. Cathy and Uncle Mr. Norman with some share going to Mrs. Drake. Now case was getting more complicated, maybe I thought the boy I saw running must be after the papers, but who was he and why should he want these papers?  

Several questions passed through my mind but there was no answer.  I just walked out from the room and went straight to meet Mrs. Cathy. “Do you know anything about these papers,”? Hey! “She replied nonsensically, don’t touch these papers?”

But why I asked her, “I must know as this could be an important clue to these mysterious instances around”.  She soon was calmed but I could see shock, and a sense of fear lingered on her face. “What can I do with the same?  I had never talked about it to anybody, as our life could be in danger? She replied with trembling lips. A Hair-raising sensation spilled down my sleeves as I asked what kind of danger and of what you are scared of?

She then narrated me a story, it started when Suzzy’s parents were not yet married.  Suzzy’s father had lands in Wankshire he had a partner named Roberts who was very close to Mr. Shaw’s family.  He trusted him with a complete sensibility of dedication and apathy. Once Mr. Patrick was walking down the office corridor to reach his room, he heard some voices. Those voices were louder appearing to be of Robert and a woman. He tried to listen but the voice was unclear. Whatever he could hear startled him.  The woman was bearing Roberts baby, but he declined to marry her. A woman was Ms. Drake. She was sweet soul, disillusioned she cursed him, and soon he saw a knife bitterly stabbed in the women’s stomach. While woman died on the spot, Robert skipped from the scene. Who killed the woman nobody knew. All the evidence was against Roberts, so cops had no other option but to arrest him. Mr. Patrick tried to release him but failed. Evidence was so strong that he could not do anything. T

his incident gave his business a bad name. Patrick broke his partnership with Roberts. When Roberts was released, he was a helpless man and a pauper, but he befriended another woman. They had an affair for few years but she too left him. This made Roberts crazy. He cursed Mr. Patrick and pledged to return to take revenge on him. I am afraid, Roberts too could be behind his accident, now he would come and snatch these papers and kill us both”.  Fear gave me punches and enough nightmares, not to talk about these papers with anybody and neither with Mr. Norman.

Mr. Roberts had come for the first time on the day of the burial of Patrick but after that nobody saw him again, ya! But again recollecting something she said, “Yes! Once I saw him with Mr. Norman, they were arguing about some business dealing which was left pending when Mr. Patrick was still alive. But after that, I never saw him.” I was shocked as to why Roberts did not meet Suzzy.”  

But was this case has anything to do with incidents of Suzzy, I tried to tie the strings together but could not. Will Roberts try to kill Suzzy was my immediate question. I walked through a narrow path which passes through the graveyard. I kept my movements stealthily with a hope that maybe I could get some clue but there was none. Merely a distance away, my brain and eyes fixed equally well at the site of a man standing in the shades of a tree that Suzzy would often see. He was wearing hat, old ragged pants, and dirty shoes.  He nodded at me, as I stepped towards him, my nerves irked as he softly but ardently murmured “Save Suzzy”. I was going to reciprocate and catch him but he just vanished.

Oops, I cried, but I made a call, retraced my steps immediately and reached Suzzy’s room.  She was sitting cozily on her bed. I saw a man was standing near her holding sharply pointed equipment. I ran towards him and kicked him. He stumbled over, I caught his hand but he shouted, I’m Rodgers, Miss. He had a kitchen knife in his hand with some fruits and a glass of water.  I quip him, “What made you come here”, he said whimsically, I had come here to give baby these fruits”. Oh! I apologized. Glanced here and there but there was no one as Rodgers gave Suzzy water, fruits, and some pills. I encountered him, “hold, what are these pills”, he said, Ms. “I am giving her what doctor instructed, and at orders of Mrs. Cathy.” I examined these pills, noted down the medical name and ingredients”. At this moment, Mr. Rodgers whispered in my ears, “Alert!”, and he left.   

Suddenly there was a shadow again, which I saw in Mr. Shaw’s room. It was moving behind the window sill and squeezed out as air moves out of the window.   I leaped forward, peeped through the window; there was nobody, only a few birds on the trees and wind blowing the dry leaves on the ground.

In the evening I myself took Suzzy for a walk in a garden, a young man appeared in front of us. He is Joseph, staying in a small cottage, towards the right of the mansion. His father is a farmer whom I had often seen from far, pulling weeds, and planting. Suzzy nodded as I could make out they were good friends. I left them alone to gossip for few minutes, with constant watch over her activities while I attended a call. As I was talking, the swift wind blew, my voice stumbled, and hair blew as my eyes pierced through the sand dust which covered my vision. I could see Suzzy giving a grim smile raising her hand towards the edge of the garden, while that young man was trying to pull her back.    I waved my hands to get the clear vision, and swiftly rushed toward Suzzy. She was sarcastically smiling. I placed my hands on Suzzy’s shoulders and was going to ask but I saw Mrs. Cathy coming, meanwhile, Joseph turned and galloped back towards his cottage.

I winked at Mrs. Cathy as she took Suzzy back in her fold. That night I decided to sleep with her.  It was a pleasant full moon night and the breeze was giving rhythmic waves to the winds. This time I could also hear an owl hooting, else it was calm.  I looked at Suzzy, she was deep in sleep, and I lay down by her side and recollected the incidents of the whole day. I could not when sleep gripped me, but suddenly a hush sound gave me a jerk from sleep. I opened my eyes startled.  It was two; I again tried to sleep, but again heard another hush sound. I looked at Suzzy’s bed, but oh! She was not there? I was shocked and petrified. Fear gripped me. Where is she? I peeped through the door, it was closed, and again looked at the washroom, but she was not there too. I rushed outside, in the dark corridor, I saw a shadow walking, and oh it was Suzzy. Instead of calling her, I decided to follow her. To my utter surprise, she was walking towards the backyard, opened the door and went towards the tall tree. There she stood motionlessly, and suddenly I saw a figure appeared, he was making some gesture towards her. I could not see his face though, but it seemed to me he was a known person. I rushed towards it, he suddenly stepped back. But I had already raised an alarm and soon lights glittered while I pursued the intruder. While the drama was being unfolded, Suzzy fainted. Mr. Hackman picked her to take her in a room.   

“What’s what is happening”? I rushed towards the man, he had accidentally fallen on the ground, hit by the stone, and meanwhile one of the caretakers had caught him.

Hey!  Who’s there? Who are you and why you are here? Why you called Suzzy at this time and what you were going to do with her? He tried to release the arm, but the caretaker was my man, an FBI agent, who had been secretly assisting me to find out the facts. His name is Steel, a stronger man with an intelligence of a Sherlock and eye of an eagle. Sturdily built, he had been keeping an eye on all the happenings and updating me.  The torch was thrown on the face, he was Suzzy’s uncle. I was baffled to see him.

I did shockingly ask, hey it’s you! He rather sarcastically nodded, “yea! It’s me”.  What are doing here at this time and why you called Suzzy, Are you after all that has been happening with her? oh! My God, you wanted to kill that poor little girl so you can own her property.”  As I said this, he shouted, “Ney, never in the life could by the grace of god fell into this turmoil for the sake of the earthly pleasures and that too by killing my own niece,” May God pierce thorns on my body and make me fall in hell if ever I could think of doing such nasty ordeal on this girl”.  What reply will I give to her father when I die? But, I was adamant and shouted at him ,“You Lie, you cheater, now you are caught and making these excuses, of course, if not you then who would benefit from the wealth and property which Suzzy s father had left for her in inheritance, Oh my God why I didn’t think of this.”  I ordered Steel to call the cops for interrogations.

Suzzy had now recovered from the shock and Cathy was soothing her. I asked Cathy, “Had she ever before moved out in the middle of the night”, and she replied, yes quite often. I am shocked and now my nerves are pounding to hear about Mr. Norman’s behavior, he had never acted so strangely before. He had been a man of composed behavior. He is still a bachelor with the reasons he only knew.  But as far I know he is not a man to harm anybody not if he or she is of his own blood. I nodded, and calmed her, “If he is not proven guilty, he will be released.” Further, have you ever suspected any of your servants? No, Cathy replied, all had been very nice to Suzzy, even more till her mother had died. I asked her and what about that boy in your neighbor? Oh he is only a child, and moreover they both are best friends, he could not do such nasty things.”

The case was getting more complicated.  Cathy gave her doze to Suzzy and she drooled into slumber.  When I slept I did not know. Early morning, I was summoned to the guest room, as cops had arrived to quip me on Mr. Norman. I told them all the happenings of the night.  They retorted and turned back with the positive note. Mr. Norman would be released soon, as there is no evidence against him”, I gave a deep breath and meanwhile Steal too produced his version, Mr. Norman is innocent, he loved his niece and often brought gifts for her. No one in the house or in the neighbor had ever seen or heard anything nasty about him. He is as innocent and of noble blood as the priest. I had to apologize Mr. Norman.

I remained with Suzzy that day, observing her behavior. Next morning Steel had news’ for me.  A few days back Roberts had met Mr. Norman for the property affairs and there was a brawl between the two and had met Suzzy too. “Why Cathy did not tell me about it”?  Suddenly Steel noticed some moment in the garden, it was Suzzy’s friend. I shouted, catch him now?

Steel brought him, but he pleaded innocence, “I shouted, hey! Now speak up buddy, why you are here, and what have you been doing.” I heaved a sigh of relief, for the case would be solved now, but it was not? The boy pointed towards the bench, and I willingly nodded as I too sat opposite him.

He started, “Suzzy and I have been friends. We would often go together in the forest, sit for many hours in the garden. But after the sudden demise of her parents, she is no longer the same girl, hardly plays. I often notice her staring at something, smiling and murmuring. I would ask her about it, but she never spoke. One evening, we were in the kitchen garden near the tree, she saw something and smiled, but there was no one. I was amused, I asked what? And she said, don’t know!  I tried to ask her but she did not reply just continue to smile but soon she started crying, tears were wetting her rosy cheeks. I was shocked, why are you crying? But she simply said, “Mom and waved her arms”! It was an unnerving revelation. Her mom had died two years back and now she is saying Mom. I consoled her and narrated this incident to Mrs. Cathy. She called the Doctor, who gave her some pills. It is the same doctor who is treating her, which I am scared worsening her case. After few days, her condition deteriorated to the extent that she stopped recognizing me and was yelling at me.

I care for her, so would often secretly come to find out about her but would never dare to appear in front of her as Mrs. Cathy had declined me permission to meet her. This is happening since last few days.  I asked him about the arrow mark, he replied, “Yes, we had put the mark when we were playing. That Mark is used in our game “Silent Exposure”. He further said, “No I love her and care for her, I am afraid something is happening to her, he pleaded, please save her.” So he is not a culprit, hmm was my instant response.  After this revelation, I just sunk back on my bed.

Next morning was another bright day. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. After performing morning overtures, I heard few voices from the sitting room. What I saw was enough to raise my brows again, as it was Suzzy’s Doctor.  Suzzy must be sleeping I thought as I steadily followed them, shadows from the sun rays were reflecting on the wall. I Saw Steel on the stairway, and I motioned him to prevent others from obstructing me.

He entered Cathy’s room and shut the door. I peeped through the keyhole. What I saw, made me tremble, and walls rattled.  Cathy took out few dollars from her drawer and kept on the Doctor’s hand. Wondered when Mr. Norman was paying Doctor’s fees, why Mrs. Cathy was paying more to the Doctor, what was going on here? Two of them turned their back I retraced back and hid behind the curtain. They walked towards Suzzy’s room, while I silently yet cautiously followed them. I peeped through the keyhole, she woke Suzzy caressed her as Doctor took an injection and pierced her and she yelled with pain. Soon Suzzy was drowsed into the deep sleep. Mrs. Cathy’s eyes were shining with wickedness, as Doctor was silently espousing his impious gentility, “two more dosages of this injection, Suzzy will….” and they both hysterically laughed as Doctor threw that injection in a dustbin.  

I receded back and went to Steel, gave him some instructions, meanwhile Doctor and Mrs. Cathy had left the room. I entered Suzzy’s room, she was sleeping soundly as if someone is fondling her beauty and angels were eyeing tenderly at her. I picked up the injection from the dustbin, few medicinal pills, which were lying scattered and prescriptions from the drawer. I juggled through the staircase and hushed swiftly outside the gate to meet Mr. Renault, a renowned Doctor and neurologist at the County hospital, in the city.  He told me, “These injections are prohibited as these weaken the brain cells and a person would lose his/her memory forever if injected five times consequently.” A person would be a “Dead Soul”.

I had now all the reports with me from the Doctor.   I collected the evidence and summoned the cops that evening. I instructed all the family members, Joseph, and servants in a room.  With authoritatively and quiet confidence I declared. “I have solved the case; I know whose conspiracy intruded into this young angel’s life? But hold for few minutes?  Soon, there was sound of footsteps and cops entered the mansion. I then began my speech, narrating about my investigations and introduced Steel as my colleague.

All were curiously watching me; suddenly I pointed my finger towards Mr. Norman.  He started, “I knew something fishy was going on in Mrs. Cathy’s mind since last many days, as I had seen her giving Suzzy pills, I tried to ask her but she would just hastily declined. One day I quip her and she told me her plan. I tried to stop her but she started blackmailing me.  She had made me the victim of nefarious designs to kill Mr. and Mrs. Patrick. The reason was simple. After their death, she would be the only owner of million dollars property and this Mansion, while I would be behind bars. She told me to induce Mr. and Mrs. Patrick to go for the picnic, and when according to her instructions  aroused their interest for the same, she recorded my voice. I never knew what was going in her mind. Only days after their tragic demise, I heard Mrs. Cathy revealing hysterically her guilt in front of her mirror. But then it was too late as she had wiped all the evidence except for my recorded conversation with Patrick, which she started using to blackmail me.  I was scared if I go to jail, Suzzy would be left at the mercy of this cruel lady, so I continue with all my honesty and dignity prevails to what Mrs. Cathy was making me do, just for the sake of Suzzy.

Medicines had started showing the negative impact on this girl’s health. She would often wake up in the night and walk. That night I was awake, as my stomach was troubling me. I was merely walking to ease my stomach commotions; there I saw Suzzy and the incidents that followed are in front of you.

I then pointed at Roberts for his narration, he started, “I was innocent, I had not killed my ex-girlfriend,” Yes, I nodded with affirmative,” You had not killed your girlfriend, but then who contrived her murder and what happened that night.”  It was Mrs. Cathy’s man again, she came to know about my relationship, and that night when I was having a brawl with my girlfriend, her man was waiting for us in the room, before I could do anything, his knife pierced her body. He skipped away in the dark and I too ran away scared I would be caught.

The man you saw under the tree near the graveyard was my man, retorted Mr. Norman.  I had sent him to alert you. He had been keeping an eye on Suzzy all the time.

I instructed cops to catch Mrs. Cathy and Doctor, “Your game is up to Ms, now speak up”? She disclosed, meanwhile I felt something swished near me and my clothes swirled around my body, however, ordered Mrs. Cathy to confess her contrived plot. She started with her straighten face and twitched eyebrows. “Yes, I and Doctor had contrived the plan to have first Patrick’s killed and then make Suzzy mad. Why shouldn’t I, when I am part of the family and had served them all through my joyful youthful days, they were treating me like another maid, gave Suzzy all the property to leave me at her mercy.  Yes, I contrived their death as the whole property would be mine, I would be rich. I had called you as I wanted you to hold Mr. Norman and Roberts guilty and I would then go scathe free. She was behaving hysterically. With the help of Doctor, I was giving Suzzy lighter dose of pills to ensure that the cells in her brain are harmed without causing damage to her body.

But after few dozes, we noticed there was no change in her behavior and she was as fine as early. We decided to start injecting her, as an excuse to cure her hallucinations. These injections had begun to impact her mind; she had started walking in sleep and forgot her best friend Joseph. Our plan was working; the blame will fall on Mr. Norman or Roberts. Only one more injection, she would have become completely insane. We would have put her in the mental asylum for whole life, and I would have been the owner of this vast mansion, lands and farms and million dollar property. She started laughing hysterically. I ordered cops to take Mrs. Cathy and doctor away. But was it a miracle!

Mrs. Cathy was right, Suzzy was fine.  Except for few Hallucinations and night walks, she was showing all signs of improvement.  The doctor said, with little love and care, she would be cured within few days. We were surprised too, as these injections are quite harmful.  But it might be the God’s grace on this innocent soul, I thought.

Now it was my time to leave.  After having Suzzy placed in care of Mr. Norman, I packed my belongings. I hugged Suzzy and promised her that I would come back to her soon. After formal farewell, I moved towards the gate.

But, hold here’s another twist! I raised my arms to open the gate but oh! It screeched and closed.  I again tried but it would be again get closed. I felt a wind blew past me. I placed my luggage down, turned my back, and what I saw was unbelievable.  It was Zealot, Suzzy’s mother holding her daughter’s tiny arms. She was all in her white, with a smiling face quite similar to as I saw in the photo. As she waved, tears rolled down my cheeks.

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