murder

Flash Fiction: Sixty Eight

Hello Readers,

Apologies first. I have been on vacation in Australia(loving it here) and have had little opportunity to blog. For now, here’s a new flash fiction which is my first entry in Tanmay Jain’s FTS Project. Here it goes:

There was something extraordinarily ordinary about murder that people just didn’t get!

It was the natural order of things. A hunter hunts and prey gets murdered. Yet, us humans deem to curb our natural instincts. Our societies condone murders and have made laws protecting the prey. It makes sense, since most of the lawmakers are prey themselves.

I don’t take these laws too seriously anymore There was a time when I did that. I believed the laws and joined the military to protect the prey. A few close encounters knocked some sense into me. I defected. Went off the radar and began doing what I was born for. I am quite good at it too. Sixty seven on my kill list and no cop has even got close to figuring my identity. Number sixty eight should be fun.

I’ve never killed with a screwdriver before…


Prompt by Tanmay Jain

FTS Project 2.0

Happy reading! 🙂

Flash Fiction: Shards

I lay broken among shards of glass, broken like the window I had just fallen through.

It was a four floor fall. My consciousness was fading, just like my life had been for many years. The shards piercing my skin hurt so mucu lesser than the words that had pierced my heart minutes ago. The words I read on the note had struck me hard. It was a suicide note, signed by me. However, I had never written one. I realised only after I was shoved hard through the window.

The last thing I saw was my wife’s face…


Word Count: 99

Prompt:

Carrot Ranch January 24 Flash Fiction Challenge

Death in the Classroom

It was a regular day at St. Overpriced High School. At 9am, the students of class 3-A shuffled into their class and settled into their desks. They went about their morning activities, enjoying their few minutes of unsupervised freedom. They knew that once Prof. Holme Rume came in, they would have no chance to do incredible things like running around in the class, making out, tossing paper at each other, and other such highly intellectual activities. The students were pleasantly surprised when those few minutes turned into a good twenty minutes and then into a whole hour. However, at 10 am they had to stop their rambunctious ventures. A middle-aged man wearing a red tweed sweater and brown pants entered the class. He introduced himself as Prof. Jay June and informed the class that he was a substitute for Prof. Rume, who had some sort of an emergency. He asked the class to settle, fetch their history books and pay attention.

Jen had been listening to music on her phone, when the substitute professor had walked in. She dutifully kept her phone and earphones inside her bag, and took out her history book. To her, the subject did not really matter. None of them interested her. However, she did not want to get into any more trouble. She already had two strikes on her record. For the first ten minutes, she tried paying attention. After another five minutes, she was back to wondering whether Zayn quitting One Direction was a good decision. She realized it was going to be an ordeal and let out a yawn. Rubbing her eyes, she rested her head on the desk. Just a short nap, she thought to herself.

The ringing bell at noon signaled lunchtime. Prof. June left the classroom. As soon as he was out, the bustle returned. Buddy rushed up to Jen’s desk. He was hungry and he needed lunch money. She was his only friend in school and he knew he could turn only to her. Buddy tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hey! Wake up sleepy head. Time for lunch.”

Jen did not move an inch.

Buddy shook her by the shoulders.

“Wake up, Jen! Class is over.”

She gave no response and remained in her position.

Buddy was worried now. He called out to his classmates and asked them for help. No one could succeed in waking Jen up. The school nurse was informed and Jen was carried to the infirmary. The nurse checked Jen and quickly dialed a number on her phone. An ambulance arrived within ten minutes and the doctor rushed in to the infirmary. He checked Jen’s wrist and used the stethoscope to confirm. Jen was no more.

The doctors could not determine the cause of death of Miss Jen Eric. In their opinion, she was perfectly healthy. The case was labeled: a once-in-a-blue-moon medical anomaly. This label stuck only until the next day. Another such anomaly had occurred in class 3-A of St. Overpriced High School. And then another the very next day. The doctors had no explanation for the three deaths. The mayor decided that an expert needed to be called in. The mayor called in the very best – Detective Solvet Al. As luck would have it, he was only a few hours away from Overpriced Town, and instantaneously accepted the mayor’s request.

Solvet was famed for his hundred percent success rate and was infamous for his unconventional methods. He requested the classes to continue as they were and assured the parents and children that no more deaths would take place on his watch. The next day, Solvet was in class 3-A at 9 am. He asked Prof. June to carry on teaching while he observed the class. The students were scared, but the detective’s presence gave them some confidence. Solvet moved around in the classroom through the day. He peered at students, ran his fingers over the walls, sniffed here and there. The students’ attention was focused on the detective’s antics, rather than the chapter being taught. The day passed and the final bell rang. Everyone looked at each other. No slumped body. Everyone was alive and kicking. Solvet had stayed true to his word. All eyes turned to him. The detective knew the question on everyone’s mind and he had figured the answer to it.

“I have solved it. I know the cause of death. It is not a what, it is a who. It was murder, alright. And I know who the murderer is.”

A wave of murmuring went around the class. The detective raised an accusing finger and began moving it around casually. The finger finally stopped, pointing at one particular person. Prof. Jay June. The detective walked up to the professor.

“Oh yes, sir. I attended your class for one day. And I concur that you are the murderer.”

Professor June appeared shocked.

“Me? I did nothing. I am innocent.”

“Don’t lie to me professor. You killed three kids.”

“I did not kill anyone.”

The detective looked sternly at the professor and announced to everyone present.

 

“You are the murderer Professor Jay June…

You bored them to death!”

 

 

This is my attempt at writing a comedic story that does not really take itself seriously.

If you like the comedy genre, you may want to check out: Brouhaha and Dinner

Do share your thoughts and opinions on my stories, I do love reading them! 🙂

 

(Image courtesy: https://daily.jstor.org/how-blackboards-transformed-american-education/)

Whodunit? Part-2

Bruce sat along with his guests in the living room. There was a deathly silence in the room. No one was uttering a word from their mouth. The guests’ eyes moved back and forth, trying to catch each other but trying to avoid Bruce’s piercing gaze. After Alfred had been declared dead, Bruce had activated the lockdown again. He had made it clear to his guests that no one was leaving until the murderer was caught. His guests had been wise not to protest. Bruce had led them to the living room and asked everyone to take a seat. He sat in his armchair and tried to decipher if his guests were involved in the death of Alfred just by looking at their faces. He soon realized this would not work and he decided to break the silence.

“Now, if any of you had any hand or even a finger in the murder of my butler, I want you to confess right now. I promise I will simply hand you over to the police. But, if I decipher it later, there will be no police and no justice. It will be just you and me, and nothing will stop me.”

L gave Bruce a smirk.

“Mr. Wayne, I understand how you must be feeling right now. But, you cannot hold us here as prisoners, you know.  I can make one call from my cellphone and have the cops come here.”

Bruce looked L straight in the eye.

“I knew that was a possibility, so I have already jammed your phones. You cannot have any contact with the outside world until the killer is caught.”

L held Bruce’s gaze evenly. Sherlock cleared his throat.

“Bruce, there was a lockdown that was initiated here previously this evening. Only you or Alfred could have initiated it, since there is no one else here. Definitely not one of us. Now, Alfred is dead and you would not have initiated a lockdown for no reason. So, we could continue being suspicious of each other or accept the possibility that there is another person in this house. The person because of whom the lockdown was initiated and the person who killed Alfred is still somewhere in this house, trapped with us.”

Shaggy laughed nervously and whispered to Scooby.

“More like, we are trapped here with him.”

Sherlock ignored the comment and addressed the detectives in the room.

“We are all under suspicion here, even you Mr. Wayne. Anyone could be an accomplice to the killer here, or maybe even the killer himself. So, if we work together, we can keep an eye on each other and solve the murder case as well. What say?”

Everyone nodded in agreement. Bruce got up from his place.

“Very well, we shall work together. But, since you know my secret I think we should all be on level ground here. I have been keeping a tab on all of you. Let me start with you Sherlock. Wasn’t Irene Adler just a red herring for Watson? You never wanted him to suspect that you had the hots for him and have been jealous of his wife.”

Sherlock turned a deep shade of red. Without waiting for a response, Bruce continued the expose.

“L, you have been known to aid various police departments in apprehending criminals by solving unsolvable cases. But, you also have cut a lot of deals with the criminals, keeping the truly dangerous ones hidden away, until a case carrying renown turns up, and only then you miraculously solve it and apprehend the ones you shielded yourself.”

L sank back into his chair, pinching hard on his lower lip and gazing into distance. Bruce turned towards Inspector Clousseau.

“Now, my French Inspector. You managed to prevent the robbery of the Pink Panther on multiple occasions, even managed to recover it several times. This made you a hero in the eyes of the French population. But, what they do not know is that it was not you who managed to pull off these feats. There were others who did the hard work, but you managed to steal their glory and take all the credit, taking harsh steps to silence the ones who did their duty.”

The French Inspector began fidgeting with his fingers and turned his eyes away from Bruce. Without stopping, Bruce turned to Shaggy and Scooby.

“You are both renowned paranormal investigators. You claim to see ghosts and communicate with them, this the general populace knows. But, do they know that these ghosts and apparitions you have claimed to see are actually hallucinations? Hallucinations caused by those Scooby Snacks you keep munching on.”

Shaggy and Scooby hugged each other as their shivering resumed. Satisfied with the effects his words had on his guests, Bruce got up from his seat.

“Now, I think we are all in a position to work together. Everyone knows each other’s secrets, so we now have leverage over everyone, and hopefully some trust as well. Let us study the crime scene, there are bound to be clues there.”

Everyone murmured in agreement. All the guests were shocked after listening to their hidden truths. With their masks torn off, they felt naked in the gaze of everyone. But, they found their courage in the fact that everyone was in the same boat, and the only way they could get out of this situation, was by working together. They made their way to the scene of the crime. Bruce was not wearing his bat-suit and knew he could not access it without leading the others to the bat cave. He realized he only had his raw-detective skills and smarts to depend on. His huge array of gadgets, save his scanner, were of no help here. Sherlock took the lead while entering the room. He hated other people defiling the crime scene. As he entered, he noticed the body was lying as it was, but there was something new at the crime scene. A page was lying next to Alfred. Sherlock gingerly picked it up, not to touch the dead body. He saw that the page had a note scribbled on it.

Greetings great Detectives,

I hope you are enjoying your evening in Wayne Manor. I wanted to join in on the fun. So, consider this dead old butler my invitation card to your party. Well, it is also a challenge. I am here in this very manor. Prove to me that you are indeed the greatest detectives alive (for now). You have the entire night to solve this challenge. Figure out who I am, and I shall concede defeat.

Yours Sincerely,

Chuckles

PS- Don’t let your guard down, that would be a fatal error.

PPS- Let me give you a hint – We have met.

 

Sherlock read out the message to the others and passed it around for everyone to read. While people took their turns reading and observing the note, others tried to find clues on and around the body. After looking around for a good fifteen minutes, the detectives decided to take a break. Inspector Clousseau wiped his brow with his handkerchief.

“Eet eez not pozzible. Zere waz no cloo we could find.”

Sherlock shook his head sideways.

“Gentlemen, I think we have been directing our efforts in the wrong direction. Clearly, the murderer is smart. He wants us to play the game his way and purposely left the note next to Alfred. That would mean there is a clue in that note.”

L held the note in one hand and pointed at it with the other.

“This name, Chuckles. Does it ring any bells?”

Whodunit? Part-1

My interest in whodunits was developed after reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This interest developed into admiration after watching films on the genre. But, it was the parody movie Murder by Death that got me into wanting to write something of that sorts. The Whodunit Short Story Series is what my mind churned out. Readers, I hope you like it. Please let me know your thoughts about it. Happy Reading! 

Note: It may be possible that characters here might be unfamiliar to you. In that case it is recommended you read about the characters( I have provided the links to their wikis) in order to get a better understanding of this series. Thanks!

 

The Wayne Manor was well lit for a change this night. Instead of the dead silence of the night, jazz music reverberated through the dining room. The air was filled with the aromas of the various treats Alfred had prepared for the guests. Guests were another rare occurrence in the manor and Alfred was pleased at their presence. He was of the opinion that his Master Bruce needed to spend some time in the company of normal folk. Well, these people were almost normal. All of them were detectives, but not the kind Master Bruce was used to. These were the kind of criminal-catchers who investigated crimes. Not the kind of people who beat up criminals and risked their lives every day (or night in Master Bruce’s case). No super human kind either, just simple humans. Alfred thought this was a shade better than hosting The Justice League, in fact, many shades better.

“Alfred, could you serve the Hors d’oeuvres?”

Alfred picked up the plate of baked mushrooms and walked towards the dining room.

“Coming, master Bruce.”

Bruce Wayne, billionaire-playboy by day and vicious crime-fighter by night, had donned a tuxedo instead of a bat-suit this night. He was seated at the head of the dining table. Also seated at the table were his guests for the night – Sherlock Holmes, L Lawliet, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and Scooby and Shaggy. All of them were detectives of great repute. Sherlock Holmes was the indisputable best ‘consulting detective’ in the world. L Lawliet or L as he was known around the world had cracked many-a-case that had befuddled police departments all over. Inspector Clouseau, The Hero of France, was credited with solving the robbery cases of the exquisite Pink Panther. Scooby and Shaggy were the foremost authorities around cases revolving around the paranormal. The guests were uncomfortably eyeing each other. Bruce decided to bring the dinner to order.

“My guests, you are the top detectives in the world, today. I decided to invite you all to dinner in order to have a discussion among detectives – Insights into crimes and certain interesting cases. Please enjoy the delicious dinner my butler Alfred has prepared, and I hope it compliments our conversation.”

Alfred walked into the room and served everyone a portion of the baked mushrooms.

“Baked mushrooms, sirs.”

No sooner had Alfred served Shaggy and Scooby than they had gobbled up the contents of their plates. Alfred looked at the duo in distaste.

“I shall get more. Enjoy!”

Alfred left the room to set the next course in order.

Sherlock Holmes had been eyeing the room the entire team.

“I must say this room is quite not what it used to be. It has been hurriedly cleaned, most probably to prepare for this party. However, that haste has left much dust and grit in certain locations it takes ages for such dust and grit to build up. I suspect this room does not see much use, Mr. Wayne. “

Bruce smiled.

“Perfectly deduced, Mr. Holmes. I see the legends are quite true.”

Homes acknowledged with a nod and proceeded to smell the glass of wine held in his hand.

L, who was sitting on his chair in the most peculiar manner – in the ‘Indian Style’, left his glass untouched. He cocked his head towards Bruce.

“Mr. Wayne, I don’t see why you would want to play host to us detectives. We cannot share the details of criminals with an aristocrat such as you. I cannot see what you seek to gain. Unless you want to buy information of some kind from us, you would not have hosted us. Am I correct?”

Bruce narrowed his eyes.

“Come now Mr. L, you don’t really think everyone is quite as nefarious as your Kira now, do you? Besides, I’m sure you jested when you said you cannot share information with a fellow detective. ”

L smiled.

“I never said I would not share it with fellow detectives. I said I cannot share it with you, as you are no detective.”

Bruce laughed hard.

“Do you mean to say you can only speak if my alter-ego is present?”

All guests looked quizzically at their host. Bruce stopped laughing.

“Do you really want me to get into my batman costume and then join dinner?”

Inspector Clouseau’s eyes widened.

“Meezter Wayne, does eet mean you are ze Batman. “

Bruce stood up from his chair.

“Of course, I’m batman. I’m sure all of you knew that.”

Bruce’s guests looked at each other and then at Bruce and nodded their heads to their sides. Bruce dropped in his chair.

“So, none of you had figured this out. I can’t believe you do not keep tabs on the World’s Greatest Detective. I had expected you all to have uncovered my secret and kept it that way because of detective’s code of honor and of course, because you all are afraid of me.”

Scooby Doo howled.

“Scooby roooo!”

Shaggy petted him on his head.

“There there Scoobs. I like..agree with you. Scooby and I are afraid of the Batman. Bats are so scary.”

L put his right thumb on his lower lip. He tended to do that when he began thinking. Sherlock kept his wine glass down.

“First, Mr. Wayne, I did not know about your secret because I do not think you are as important a person to keep tabs on. Second, I believe you wrongly used the title of the Greatest Detective for yourself. It belongs to me.”

He sat down and began picking on his mushrooms, smelling them before putting them in his mouth. Inspector Clouseau drained his glass of wine and stood up.

“Eet eez an hhonour to meet ze Batman. I waz too beezee with ze Pink Panzther caze, so did not inveztigate you.”

Bruce poured himself another drink and drained it instantaneously.

“I think we need something stronger than wine to get through this night. Alfred, get me a bottle of scotch from the cellar.”

At that moment the lights went out. The entirety of Wayne Manor was swept over by darkness. The silence was abruptly ended by a siren going off and the windows and doors being shut.

The guests at the table were taken aback. Shaggy and Scooby grabbed on to each other. Sherlock shouted over the siren’s sound.

“Mr. Wayne! What is going on?”

At that moment, the siren stopped blaring.

“Mr. Holmes, my house seems to be on lockdown. I’m sure the lockdown will be lifted as soon as the power kicks in. It won’t be long.”

Alfred dashed into the room, candlestick in hand.

“Master Bruce, I’m afraid there is some bad news. Our power grid is out and the backup power is not kicking in. We have no electricity as of now. All our systems are offline and the lockdown will stay put.”

“Don’t worry, Alfred. I’ll check it out and fix it. Till then I would want you to show our guests to their rooms. I request all of you to retire to your rooms for a while. I will have the power up and running in no time. Dinner will be delayed though, I do apologize.”

All of Bruce’s guests grumbled about the situation and that they understood the delay, but followed Alfred to their rooms. Bruce made his way to the generator room through the secret passage activated by his grandfather clock. He began fixing the problem. Alfred arrived there after a while.

“Ah! Alfred, were all the guests shown to their rooms?”

“Of course, sir. I trust the power will be up in no time?”

“Yes, Alfred. It won’t be long.”

“Very good, sir. I’ll head back to the kitchen and fix up what I can for dinner. I don’t think our guests would be too happy if dinner isn’t ready by the time the lights are back on.”

“Right you are, Alfred. I am confident your cooking will not be affected much by the lack of electricity.”

Alfred headed back.

“Don’t count on that, sir.”

A good half an hour had passed before Bruce had finally got the power up and running. He decided to check up on Alfred first. Bruce headed up the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. By this time, all the guests had also made their way to the kitchen, probably led by their stomachs. As they reached the dining room a foul sight met their eyes. Alfred was lying on the kitchen floor. Bruce rushed up to Alfred and removed his Bat-scanner from the pocket. He detected no vitals on Alfred.

All the detectives shouted together in shock.

“HE’S DEAD!”

 

 

To be continued……

Helpline

via Daily Prompt: Chuckle

It was late afternoon and I was sitting at my desk. I was a volunteer at an NGO that ran a suicide helpline to talk people out of their attempts to commit suicide. I had a break from college and I wanted to utilize my time by contributing to the society. I had just recovered from a serious bout of depression, a depression that had given birth to thoughts of suicide in my mind. I was lucky that my family had talked to me during that time. They explained that my then boyfriend’s abusive behavior was no reason to give up on living. They had told me that I was strong and he was not worth my feelings or efforts. They had heard me out. I had been lucky. But, there are so many people out there who have no one to hear them out and talk them out of committing the unwarranted act. I wanted to be that person. This is why I joined the NGO.

I was just starting out back then, and being a rookie, the NGO had assigned the afternoon slot to me. This time slot statistically showed the lowest attempts at suicide. It had been two weeks now and I had had to pick up the landline phone on my desk only thrice, among which one of them was a call asking about a Pizza delivery. There was only an hour to go before my shift ended. I was leaning back against my chair. Not expecting any calls, I was relaxing with a smoke. Just as I had taken my third drag, the telephone rang. The caller ID showed an unsaved number. I stubbed out my cigarette and picked up the call.

“Hello! Angel Ears, we are here to help you.”

The person on the other side responded with a chuckle. It was hoarse and raspy, as if the person was going out of breath. It chilled my insides.

“Do you think taking of life is the right thing?” the person asked in a soft pitched voice. It sounded as if the person was a male.

“Sir, let me help you out. It is never the right thing to take your own life. Tell me what is on your mind. We will find a way out.”

He chuckled again.

“What if death is the only way out? What if it is a lost cause to continue living?”

His voice was sinister and irritating at the same time. I had a feeling this was a prank call. But, I could not cut the call, it was against the NGO’s policy. I had to continue respond.

“Living is never a lost cause and death is not the way out.  Sir, could I know your name?”

He chuckled, his voice getting hoarser and hoarser. It was making me uneasy. Half of me wanted to cut the call right away.

“You can call me… Chuckles. What if a person does not deserve to live? What if there is no redemption available in life for a person? What if that person nearly led someone else to their death?”

“Chuckles, none of that warrants a person to take their own life. Everyone deserves to live.”

And the chuckling started again. It lasted longer than the previous times.

“Not even if he abuses his girlfriend, physically and mentally torments her every day? Does he still deserve to live?”

The question hit me hard. I was at a loss for words as memories came flooding back to me. I could still hear the man chuckling. It took all my willpower to resist slamming the receiver down. I replied to him as calmly as I could.

“Yes, even such a person deserves to live. Do not give up on life.”

“I know you aren’t being honest. Do such fiends deserve to live?”

A stream of tears had started running down my cheeks.

“No, such fiends deserve to die. But Chuckles, please do not do something as bad as killing yourself. Promise me you won’t suicide.”

My seniors at the NGO had told me that asking for promise was a good way to prevent the suicide attempt. The man did not reply for a few seconds, but I could hear his breath. He seemed to be thinking.

“Very well, I promise you I will not kill…myself.”

He chuckled again before he cut the call. I felt relieved. I had prevented another suicide attempt and I did not have to hear any more of that voice or the chuckles. I lit a cigarette and took a long drag. Even though I felt relaxed, I could still not get over the pause he took before saying ‘myself’. It had an ominous ring to it. Pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind, I tried getting comfortable in my chair. At that moment, I heard a loud crash coming from the street. I got up from my chair and ran to the window. The NGO had a rented out office space on the third floor of a building overlooking a side street. As I looked out from the window, I could see a throng of people encircling a wrecked car. As I concentrated on the wreck, I realized a man was lying on top of it, sprawled in an awkward angle. It was my best guess that this man had plummeted to his death. By the looks of it, he had jumped out of a window of the building that was opposite to the building I was in. I couldn’t help but think that it was Chuckles who was lying on top of the car. I could hear the police coming in and I headed back to my chair. The guilt was weighing down on me. I paced around the room, trying to clear my head.

It had been a good fifteen minutes before I heard the phone ring again. I was hoping that the caller was Chuckles. I ran back to the phone, stubbed my cigarette out and checked the dialer ID. It was a different number. I picked up the receiver. But, before I could say anything, I heard the familiar chuckling.

“Relieved to hear my voice? I had promised I would not kill myself hadn’t I? I keep my promises.”

“I’m glad to hear that Chuckles. Are you feeling positive about life now?”

“Yes…I am. But, you were right. Fiends do not deserve to live. I feel better now.”

“I am glad you do. Do have a nice rest of the day and remember, never give up on your life.”

“I will never forget that. Thank you. “

His chuckling had progressed into a full-fledged laughter which was even creepier. I quickly slammed the receiver down. No sooner had I done that, than the phone rang again. It was yet another phone number. I picked it up.

“Hello! Angel Ears, we are here to help you.”

“This is Detective D’Souza from the police department. May I know what conversation did you have a few minutes ago with Mr. Aviral Singh?”

I was taken aback.

“Aviral Singh? No, sir. I haven’t spoken to him.”

“Ma’am, it would be better for the both of us if you stopped lying. I have Aviral Singh’s phone here with me. Before falling to his death at Reggae Street, the last conversation he had was with this number. Give me the address registered to this number. You and I need to have a chat.”

The detective cut the call. I was shell-shocked. Reggae Street was the street I was on right now. So, the man I saw on the car, must have been Aviral Singh.

It may have been a massive coincidence, but Aviral Singh was the name of my ex-boyfriend. I could feel Chuckles’ chuckling around me.

 

 

Image Credits: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/02/19/article-2103456-11C80587000005DC-203_468x497.jpg

If you liked my work (or hated it) please leave a comment. Let me know what if there is a theme you want me to explore. Cheers and Happy Reading!