Cold Case Files – #795666

“Detective Inspector Shane Devouc, you and I are gathered here in this room, on 10th April 2010, to discuss the events of the dispatch call on 13th May 1990, at 3 am, where you were the first responder” I say and then stare at my smart phone recorder.

“Oh shit,” I say again, and look up; embarrassed at my rookie mistake.

The burly man with head full of hair as white as snow stares at me impassive.

“I’m sorry, Detective Inspector.” I say. “We’ll have to go over this again. I forgot to press the record button.”

He grunts, and I start over. I can see that he is trying to brush this off as just another interview. Cool as a cucumber, or at least that is what he wants me to think. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t hide his twitching fingers.

“Detective Inspector”, I start, again. “You and I are gathered here in this room, on 10th April 2010, to discuss the events of the dispatch call on 13th May 1990, at 3 am, where you were the first responder.”

He grunts again and then picks a strand of chicken stuck between his front two teeth. He pulls it out from the crevice slowly, like stretched bubble gum as I watch fascinated. That visibly obvious strand has been distracting me since the past fifteen minutes and now that he is pulling it out, I can’t help but feel a sense of strange relief.

“Can you tell me about the events of that night, Sir?” I ask, my eyes fixed on that long strand as he finally pulls it free and then pops out back into his mouth, chewing slightly.

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Nina

Nina was found buried in the crook of a Wych elm deep into the forest. or perhaps what would have been deep into the forest before Sobha builders decided to make a home away from the city, in the lap of nature, eco apartments that were only five minutes from fairy falls, only fifteen kilometers away from the nearest school, hospital or office space; and only twenty minutes away from NICE road.

It was barricaded to the public; only Sobha resident joggers eroded it every morning and practically turned it into a freeway to the waterfall.

It was a dog that found her hand dangling like a T-Rex’s arm from the rotted core of the elm; one of those furry golden ones. I saw them often with the joggers, trotting along, burying their nose where it didn’t belong.

Devoid of skin, tissue or even rot, Nina’s arm had been licked clean to the bones. I was surprised that the foxes hadn’t ground the bones into a powdery puff, yet.

Nina - Wych elm

I stood among the few joggers, as the police pulled Nina out from the dark hole, one limb after another. Her torso came last and a small man was sent inside to fetch her head.

It was almost thirty minutes later that a head popped out, not Nina’s, but the man who was sent after it. He climbed out, panting and repeating, “Kuch nahee hai, Saab. There is no head.”

The Chief Inspector who looked like mosquitoes had made half a meal out of him, stomped his foot and shouted, “Where the hell is the head, then?”

“Kamraj sir…” said his deputy, smiling like a patient grandmother, “Where will the head go? It will be around somewhere. Mil jayega.”

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The day Pikku disappeared

I make myself believe that I clearly remember the day Pikku disappeared. I remember the bright rays of sunshine that shone through our windows. I remember the smell of pancakes wafting up through the steps into our room. I remember mummy and daddy talking loudly, about something, something inconsequential to the memories of that day. I remember Pikku lifting my blanket and peeping inside, grinning. Her front two teeth were missing. All I saw were pink gums, bright blue eyes and flushed cheeks. Her brown hair fell in ringlets around her chubby face as she tickled me and ran down the steps giggling. I ran behind her, laughing loudly, “You chump, you absolute chump, I am going to get you.” I shouted. This was our weekend routine.

It always took me a while to settle into the skin of an elder brother, a whole two and half years older. Now that I am an adult, I realize how easy it is for a child to forget, forget that he is growing up. Continue reading