Plot 1: The Woman in the Cemetery
I don’t like cemeteries. I know, it sounds stupid as who does? But I guess one does. As I seen one lurking many-a-times here, without any reason.
I always saw that one standing near a tombstone, looking melancholy, fatigued and expressionless towards a new grave being dug.
No smile. No pain, but, just a stare. Not cold, but still, a stare.
I saw her some, what, two times? Yes. Two times it was. First was during my visit here to pay regards and condolences to Father James D’ Souza, God bless his soul. Nice bugger he was. Always listening quietly to my confessions in that small room where I sometimes used to suffocate. Not due to breathlessness, but due to the account of sins which I used to narrate with my trembling mouth.
He used to listen patiently.
But sometimes I could bet a 1000$ that he cussed. Due to ennui or inundate, not sure. But he had cussed.
I had ignored his cuss and had continued with my episode of profanity. And finally, he could do the usual- try to refine me or purify me and all that.
But, all of that usually went in vain.
The woman in the white dress, a gown or something, sat on the slab of the tombstone and watched the proceedings as if watching a dull and a repetitive rainfall. I did not regard her much that time, as I was too busy with my own empathies.
But when I saw her again during the burial of Timothy’s, I was somewhat confounded.
What the hell is she doing here again? I had nearly jumped in a frantic startle.
She was still sitting on that same tombstone. This time the distance was somewhat farther than James D’ Souza’s grave.
I didn’t like Timothy, but he was my friend. He was into stocks, but a notorious sort. I heard he had swindled a lot.
“Ah, money is easy come, easy go my friend.”
That was his motto in life I guess. But I never knew he was talking about other people’s money when he referred the ‘go’ part. I came to know about this after a recent upsurge in the stock markets.
He was culpable.
So it came to no surprise when they said that he was found dead in his bathtub, in the middle of the night, with a knife struck deep into his heart.
He was survived by an aging mother, who was inconsolable today. He was not married but had some liaisons, which proved unsuccessful after some months.
But I could not understand the expressions of that woman in the cemetery today.
She seemed to be in mirth.
She was sitting cross-legged and had placed one of her wrists on the knee of the raised leg. The other hand was holding a support on the slab. The horrified mutilated face of hers, with red eyes, was bent forward. Her smile on that pained and wrinkled face looked like someone had placed a small rose amongst a lot of thorns.
The proceedings went on as usual, but my gaze was on that white dressed woman on that tombstone, smiling cheerfully and shaking her foot, dangling from the knee of the other’s.
The cries and tears of the poignant attendees there made her smile wide. She seemed like an evil pathetic, enjoying the misery.
I could not control any longer and glared at her.
Yes, so what if Timothy was a devil, but still there must be some respect shown for the dead. Respect for the soul, who had now departed, should be there.
Even for the soul which had been always disabled, when its owner breathed.
But I was surprised to find a hysteric giggle in response to my irate glare. She had stood up from the tombstone and was laughing like insane. Her hair was scattered all over and flying hither and thither.
To me, she looked like a witch, rejoicing her first kill or so.
A bloody blood sucking witch!!
“What a disgusting creature,” I mumbled with rage.
“What are you saying?” Dorothy nudged me with vexation.
“What? Can’t you see that insane of a woman in a white dress there? Laughing shamelessly?” I tried to defend my incredulous behavior at this time, and looking at Dorothy’s dark goggles, pointed out towards that hysterical creature near the tombstone ahead.
But to my surprise, when I turned my face back in the direction of that witch, I found myself staring at some more tombstones or graves lying peacefully in the green grass ahead.
No witch. No hysterical woman in a white dress.
I gaped at the tombstones and found myself suddenly being converted into an effigy. I was in a state of a tremendous stupefaction and the only thing that got me out was Dorothy’s pinch.
Dorothy was a nice friend. I relied on her whenever I needed some advice or so. The fifty-year-old girl had been my friend since I had joined her new and small publishing house, last year.
I am a proofreader or so, as they mention in my job profile, but actually, I am bored with it. I want to change this title to ‘author’ or a ‘writer’.
“You wanna be a writer? Are you nuts? You don’t know what it takes to be a writer.” I was now getting used to such kinds of epithets and phrases bestowed upon me with a pinch of sarcasm.
But Dorothy thought otherwise. She always used to say, “You write good, but still… improvise my friend, improvise a lot.” And then, she used to give me a warm smile. That was the reason I was still stuck up with her.
Yes Timothy had done her too. (I mean, in the stocks and shares thing.) But still, this angel did attend his funeral. She was not married and still a virgin. Sometimes I thought she was a nun turned publisher or so.
But, that was not the case.
She used to say, “For benevolence, you don’t need to turn to spirituality. You can still do it by holding a cigarette in one hand. You can still reform someone, however obscene your language might be.”
Odd logic, but I always bought it.
“Jesus!! She is gone now!!” I cried and got the attention of the other mourners, along with the clergyman, on me. They were glaring at me the same way I had been doing some moments ago, towards that witch. Immediately, I decided to keep quiet for the rest of the program, however bizarre the environment around me turns up to.
And quiet I remained that morning, till the rest of the mourning process.
“What’s that? You saw a white woman with scattered hair? And you claim that she was a witch?” Dorothy had sipped one of her favorite brands and had exhaled, before grimacing with these queries.
“Yes dear,” I replied.
“Are you sure you were sober when you turned up at today’s funeral?”
“As sober as a judge,” I replied calmly.
“Not sure if judges are sober too. But…” she sighed. “Anyway…”
She stopped talking and started considering the plate of chicken burger in front of her. A small cup of Nescafe stood fuming beside that plate.
We were in a small restaurant just across the street to her small publishing house, discussing the funeral.
Did she also share the same feelings as that wretched woman back at the cemetery did about Timothy? I didn’t know. Even if she did, she knew how to conceal them well enough.
Anyway, I didn’t ask. And our discussion had turned towards that hysterical figure instead.
“I had seen her before too. Strange, that you did not see her. She was just a distance away,” I said after exhaling a sip from my favorite brand.
“No Peter. I did not see any woman at any distance ahead of me there,” she replied and glared at me.
I was sure she was thinking me as an oddball having fantasies about witches.
I sighed and said, “I guess I must be hallucinating then.”
“I guess you should consider seeing a psychiatrist,” she proferred an advice. To this, I got damn sure about her views about my bizarre experience.
“Well, then that means I should be seeing her everywhere right?” I said and tried to sound logical, trying to prove that I was not lecherous and even if I were, witches would be my last choice of erotic fantasies.
But she sighed more deeply on this. She thought I was lying.
“You said you saw her before too. So, when was that?”
“During James’ entombment,” I spoke with slapdash.
“You mean, Father James D’ Souza’s funeral ceremony,” she snapped.
I shrugged shamelessly and nodded at the same time.
“And nowhere else?” she asked.
I nodded again slowly. She exhaled another smoke and now this time she was considering the male attendants at the desk. Eyeing them or lost in thoughts, I was not sure. But she was spreading a lot of smoke around her face, having sips from her favorite brand of cigarette.
Once she had blown the last smoke and extinguished her favorite brand in the ash-tray, she stood up. Then fiddling with some belongings in her Hobo bag, she produced a lipstick and a small handy pocket mirror. She applied it, while looking at it, and made weird shapes of her lips.
For a moment I had a weird thought that she was trying to take me out of my desires for a witch, and getting me attracted towards her instead. So I started looking outside the window.
But suddenly, mumbling something like, “Don’t be late,” she paced out of the restaurant.
Is she indirectly signaling me for a nooky? My weird thoughts continued.
Anyway, I was not in that mood. And least with her, of all the people.
And after a while, I too got up and strode off, gathering my own pieces of torn contemplations scattered in my mind.
When I returned to the office, I found Dorothy furiously engaged in her work and smoking. So that was no indirect signal. Yes, she was supposed to meet a client who did not turn up and that explained her sudden fetish for that lipstick.
I toiled in my sweaty office for some six to seven hours and then retired back to my shabby place, somewhere in this decent town.
I didn’t enjoy the dinner that night, at my small hole of a flat, rotting somewhere in a quiet area.
First, I came depressed from the office, late evening. As again, some of my pieces of writing were rejected.
And second, that woman was still laughing hysterically in my mind.
The copious weeping of Timothy’s aged mother in the funeral and the wild crazy laughter of that witch made me go raving mad.
So after plucking out a piece of my favorite cigarette brand from its case, I strolled outside the flat, in a lone and a deserted alley. The smokes of my favorite brand in my lips were flying above me, in the same direction where I trod. Once they all vaporized, I decided to tread ahead, outside the alley, towards the main road ahead.
I had nothing but a cardigan covering my vest, and cheap track pants covering my underwear.
I reluctantly pushed myself towards the cemetery where my friends James and Timothy, both having contradicting personalities, were sleeping.
I assumed that one was sleeping with peace and the other, perhaps, with remorse.
This cemetery was quite close to my rancid dwelling.
It was a nice full moon night. I was wondering if I could find my morning’s friend here, and I was not let down.
She was still sitting on that tombstone, and in the same manner, one foot upon the other, as I had seen her last, dangling one of her feet.
She saw me approaching her but did nothing. She was smiling from that fugly phiz of hers. Some people go scared stiff at such sights, but I behaved as if I woke up with her every morning or perhaps, acted as being one.
“Who the fuck are you?” I roared, perhaps trying to demean the gush of extreme terror rising inside me and make it go down in humiliation.
“You don’t know me? Yes, you don’t know me. But relax. We will come to that part later.”
Her voice was croaked and broken. It reminded me of my old teacher, who sometimes used to fake her voice for producing an effect during her narration about a fable having a beldam. Her hair was still flying hither and thither. It was a windy and a chilly night.
“You see dead people. Yes sir you do,” she said and gave a snicker.
She sounded like someone from that movie named Sixth Sense. But I stood there, faking a calm stature as if I was into the profession of encountering the dead every day.
“Yes. So?” I sounded like a professional and shrugged.
She seemed to have read my thoughts. “You accept this fact as if it were your profession?”
Her surprised goggle widened her red eyes, making her more ugly and terrifying. Her red eyes reminded me of a character from a scary movie, which I had seen some nights ago.
That character was less horrible than her.
“Well…at first I did have some troubles. But later on, I realized that I can’t let it go. So I am now adjusting with this freakish characteristic of mine, which seems un-impeding and untold.” I felt myself describing my pathetic plight to Father James, who was now resting in a grave somewhere in this graveyard.
But actually, I felt myself being in one of those bizarre dreams which I encountered every night.
“Well, I guess you are in a dream then young man,” she said and snarled.
She was clearly reading my mind, and that was no secret at all now.
“I guess I am,” I replied with a little bit of confidence, as now aware of the painful fact that dreams are meant to be broken. But I would not be feeling any pain if this were to be broken.
This was not a dream. This was a nightmare.
“Well, then I guess, even if you harm someone in a dream, it will not be proven, right?” Suddenly this abrupt query of hers startled me.
My brows narrowed and I kept staring at her.
“Tell me, young man. Will it be proven?” She iterated and looked at me with a half-smile.
I could see her rotten unbalanced teeth. These also resembled that same character in that scary movie. Still, that was less horrible.
“Well, not unless I am actually doing it, in a trance though,” I replied and tried to humor her (or me).
“No, you won’t be doing it actually. You will be just doing it in a dream, my friend.” The kind of laugh she gave out after this was the one when witches cackle after enjoying the carcass of their prey.
“But why the hell would I harm someone, even in a dream?” I glared at the ugly witch in front of me, showing her vile teeth.
“Because you like to, young man, and that’s what your real profession is,” she hissed.
“How can you say that?” I screamed, tearing some part of the silence bestowed gracefully on the cemetery that night.
“Ask yourself? Who killed Timothy Dalton?” she said and came near me. I could feel the frost around her body and shivered a bit.
Then she came close to my ears and whispered, “Who pushed Jack Foster from his own flat’s balcony and then slipped out quietly at the first strike of the sun?”
My wide eyes just stared at the eldritch figure cackling feverishly in front of me.
“N-n-nobody can prove that,” I said, breathing heavily.
“Yes, my young friend. No one could, except for me. But I am dead. So I can’t,” she said and grinned.
“What’s your point? And how do you know about all this?” I asked with vexation.
“I know many things, my friend. But for now, if you want to get out of this mess, just please do a little itsy-bitsy favor for me,” she said and sounded like a teenage girlfriend imploring her man to buy her an expensive dress.
“Why should I? You can’t do anything to me,” I said, reluctantly though.
“As I said because you like to kill. You like to kill because you like to inflict the pain of yours onto others. You had seen your father strangle your mother and your young sister in your child-hood. That pain is still within you. You want to kill your father every time. And in every person you kill, you see your father’s face,” she said and then cried vehemently, “Do it again. Kill your father once again for me. Please do it!!”
For some minutes, I kept staring at her in perplexion. The cold wind blew past my face like trying to revive me out of an unconscious state, which had now clung to me like a leech.
But I was now finding this nightmare interesting.
What does it matter anyway? I thought.
“Will you get out of my mind if I harm someone in this dream?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said and I could imagine a gleam in her red eyes.
I felt like the poor boyfriend of that teenage girl-friend, succumbing to any of her ludicrous wishes, to have her completely.
The only difference here was that I wanted to get rid of her instead.
“Ok. Who is it then?” I asked my eldritch girl-friend.
She gave me the details. I noted them and smiled. I knew those details earlier, line by line.
Also, I knew what I was doing right now was nothing but an entertaining dream fulfilling my deranged appetite for a murder. And also, for the sake of a sadist humor within me, which thrived on the pains of others.
But the body lying in front of me, gasping for breath had second thoughts on this.
I guess these were the last words of Dorothy Fernandez, the fifty-year-old girl with loose cheeks who was now lying in the bathtub, with most of the water splashed out. I had done her the same way I had done Timothy, a night ago. This time, I had worn black gloves.
I had entered her flat at 2:00 AM in the morning.
“What do you want at this hour Peter?” she had scowled at me. I had smiled at the fat feminine person in front of me in her floral pink loose pajamas, ridiculously exposing her bulk. She had some rollers or so on her hair and had applied some lotion of some sort on her plump and prodigious face.
“Late night make up?” I was leaning at the frame of her main door's.
She looked at me inscrutably and scowled, “What are you doing at my house at this darn hour?”
For a moment I thought she was getting carnally excited about my sudden entry in her flat, at the dead of night. Perhaps she wanted me to do something with her.
But unfortunately for her, she could never be of my type, for anything.
So without answering, I had pushed her aside and had made myself in. Then I had fastened all the latches of her door from the inside. After that, I had taken out my chef’s knife from one of the pockets of my black bomber jacket.
She gaped at me with a furious stupefaction. I guess this anger of hers was less due to the fact that I was about to liquidate her, but more because I had dashed all her libidinous hopes of having wild fun with me, to pieces.
When she had seen me taking my knife out of my jacket, she had begun to scream, “What the f…”
But before she could finish her shriek, I had struck her in the heart, where it hurts the most.
While dying, she had mumbled that profanity, “F-f-f-fuck y-y-you…”
After a few minutes, I saw her lying in her bathtub, with my knife deeply inserted into her chest and blood oozing out of it.
I walked out cautiously from her flat, out of her street as well, and took my own path.
Coming back to my miserable flat, I entered my room and fell down flat on my dusty bed.
Finally, I was out of my nightmare.
Captain Mark Anderson was not in his usual moods today. Or perhaps this was his usual mood.
“Fucking hypocrites,” saying this he slammed the newspaper down on his table with his favorite profanity.
“The politicians,” I spoke in my breath and smiled at him from across the room, sitting on a bench, watching his antics from a glass window separating us.
Frowning at me, he waved. I went towards his desk, still holding that smile. But in return, I got nothing but a glare.
“So you did it again?” He asked me the same question which he had asked while interrogating me during Timothy’s case.
“Yes captain, I did it again,” I replied, still maintaining my smile, which was now turning into a grin.
He frowned and scowled at his officers who were giggling behind their desks, doing their usual chores.
Then he turned back towards me and said, “Look buddy. I suggest you better consult your psychiatrist soon. You are coming here, like what…every week? Yes, every week, and that too, with a story that is like…ten years old. We had a certain stock broker by name of Timothy and a certain columnist by name of Dorothy, stabbed to death. True. But that was like, ten years ago pal. And I know you were their closest. But you were undergoing a vigorous medical procedure, my friend. You were...ahem...bonkers at that time.”
“I know that captain. But where is their culprit?” I asked with my grin and smile both gone.
To this, the captain gave a deep sigh. “She committed self-immolation in a cemetery. Do I need to repeat this again? Ok then, here goes:
So, this woman by name of Mary Campbell is flirted by a notorious stockbroker Timothy Dalton and humiliated by a columnist Dorothy Fernandez. So what does she do? Well, in a fit of frenzy, she takes a chef’s knife from the kitchen of her five-star hotel, which she was managing.
Then, first she does Timothy in his apartment and then next, on the same night, she kills Dorothy as well. And then, she goes inside a cemetery and kills herself, out of self-pity or so. Ain’t that logical enough buddy?” The captain gave a slight sneer at the end.
“But whose funeral I attended yesterday?” I asked, looking bewildered.
“I guess, you attended your deceased friend’s funeral in a dream, my friend. And then everything after that has happened in a dream. Now, like a nice boy, please do meet your psychiatrist and get the latest medications,” suggested the captain with a concerned look.
Sighing deeply, I rose from my seat.
I could hear the loud guffaws and jeers behind me when I left the captain’s cabin.
“I see dead people, who had been my friends once. And not only that, I am talking to them and having lunch with them in a restaurant. And the ridiculous part of it is that I am murdering them as well.”
I was sitting in a polite looking chair, in a decent clinic of a medical practitioner and blurting out my tale of woes. But the bald and the lean doctor in front of me seemed busy in preparing some injection or so.
He retorted to my babbling with a polite nod.
“Since when did this start?” he asked softly after a while, while deeply engrossed in checking some levels in the injection syringe, clutched in one of his fingers, held in front of his narrowed eyes.
“I guess, yesterday evening. No sorry….night before yesterday evening, if I remember correctly now. But it seemed like yesterday doc.
I am lying in my cot, and then I start getting these nightmares. First I am again that stupid proofreader where Dorothy is a publisher.
Now I am nothing.
She always wanted to be a publisher, but could never. But in my dreams I made her. She was not at all a good sort, far from being a nun. But still, in my dream, I made her one.
I guess I just wanted to see her like that, in-spite of her rebuff for the moral standards.
Perhaps, she had put on a mask or a veil of disdain on her, to protect her fragile sensitivity within. That untouched sensitivity of hers, which I could comprehend but not visualize, except in my dreams.
Anyway, suddenly we hear about Timothy’s sad demise, and then we rush to his funeral. It had happened ten years ago. I was not in the state of mind to attend any funeral then, but still, two nights ago, I had attended.”
“Hm,” he replied and then jabbed me with his needle in my arm.
Then after completing some medical formalities, he said, “Peter, I guess you need to be admitted again. Something’s going wrong again with your mind, and I need to study it properly.”
“Ok. So you mean I am going bonkers again?” I asked. The doctor nodded sadly.
Then after a while, he asked, “And…were you able to recognize that white dressed woman in your dream, which you had mentioned earlier?”
“No doc, I am still trying to.”
We stared at each other for some time. Him asking me some unanswerable questions; I replying him with a dumbfounded stare.
Then finally, he wrote some medications for me and advised me to start my treatments next week. After heeding his medical sermons and by holding my injected arm with my other hand, I quietly plodded out of his clinic.
“I did not kill them. You killed them.” The woman was sitting on that same slab, in that same usual manner of hers. It was still a full moon night.
“With that, you killed me too…again,” she said with a smile.
I was leaning against a tree adjacent to her tombstone, where she was sitting.
“What do you mean by that? What do you mean that I had killed you? I never remember killing you. And what do you mean by ‘again’?” I bombarded a series of baffling queries at her which were running fast in my mind.
I had again paid my eldritch girlfriend a visit at our usual meeting place – that desolate cemetery. Every night we had a date here, in my nightmares. I guess, now I was enjoying her company. Or perhaps, this nightmare was my only solace.
To my queries, she retorted with that ugly cackle of hers and replied, “You will find out my friend. You will find out soon.”
I looked at her pathetically for a while. Whether I had killed her or not, I wanted to strike her down now. But she was already dead. I controlled myself and breathed deeply.
“Do you always sit like that? By keeping one leg dangling above the other and having that wretched smile on your horrific face?” I asked inadvertently.
“Yes, why? Getting attracted towards me?” she replied and winked with a disgusting smile, making her face look uglier.
I frowned and shook my head. Then I asked, “Anyway…so what do you want me to do now?” I had stood up straight now.
Not to mention the deep sigh I gave after asking this.
I was slowly becoming that obedient slave of a boyfriend to this cruel girlfriend of mines.
I enjoyed it.
“Aha. So you are getting a bit of fun in this eh?” she teased me and winked.
Why does she have to do such things? Why can’t she stay eldritch, as she is? I thought and gazed at her incredulously. Then, suddenly, I remembered that she could read my mind.
And as expected, in a serious tone, she snarled, “Ok, so today I must relieve you. Just do a final kill for me.”
I was not sure whether I was overjoyed or saddened by her decision.
“Yawn.” Captain Mark Anderson, a widower with no family, had just switched off his T.V. in his nice cozy bedroom, and as I guessed correctly, was about to meet his sleep, when I had made my presence felt.
“I didn’t know,” I said and stared at the staring fat man in his fifties.
“Who the fuck are you and how did you get in?” he cried incoherently.
The semi-darkened room displayed his stout frame in the bed. His eyes were red. An empty bottle of Bourbon was standing on a nice stool just beside his bed. It was culpable for not only his red eyes but his delirious state as well, as he could not recognize me.
Ignoring his question, I approached him and bound his hands and mouth with a duct tape, which I had with me.
It was no effort, as the obese captain had too much of the Bourbon to defend himself that night. I threw away his holster which had his weapon, on the floor, at a reachable distance from my legs. But I always preferred my own weapon, the chef’s knife.
Finally, I emptied his old wooden stool, replacing his Bourbon and a glass with my lean bottom. I sat in front of him, keeping the bottle and the glass down on the floor.
I had killed all the lights in the room and now the captain and I were just listening to each other.
Correction, I was listening to his heavy breathing, and he was listening to my tale.
I started without an effort.
“I didn’t know that you had planned out things and you were the perpetrator as well, you bloody puppet of the influential!!
So ten years ago, in a dark night of December, Officer Mark, meaning you, enters a cemetery.
You are carrying a dead woman in your hands with her face mutilated and hair scattered and who is in a white gown or something. You encounter an undertaker in the cemetery. You cow him to a surreptitious crematorium. After that, you pocket him and then rush off from the graveyard as if nothing had happened.
But, the undertaker, who had tied one the next night, blurted this episode to a Jack Foster, a struggling enthusiast reporter. He had paid a visit to this cemetery to cover stories on undertakers and their lives.
Now, what does Jack Foster do? He bumps into Dorothy Fernandez, a columnist for a famous newspaper. And for a nice amount and a promise of a lead position in her newspaper office, he exchanges his sensitive story with her. She was supposed to speak high of him in front of her editor.
Dorothy gets all the evidence from the undertaker, and starts blackmailing you. Not for money obviously, but for the dark secrets which you were in possession of.
These secrets were regarding a certain high-profiled politician. What will she gain? Oh well, she can also blackmail him and get herself established high in her dreamed publishing industry.
But that would endanger your position in the department. And either you would meet a mysterious death or be out on the streets forever.
So what do you do now? What do you do captain?
You know a person by name of Daniel O’ Boyle or Danny for short. He is a kind of person who makes people disappear. He is your man. He is nestled by you. Want to get a piece of information that could make you look high in the eyes of the commissioner? Danny’s your man. Is someone coming in the way of your promotion? Want to get rid of him discreetly? Danny’s your man.
So, you approach Danny, who in turn approaches Peter McLean, a hit-man from the south side. That’s me.
Peter McLean, a deranged, lives a double life. By day he works as a boring proof- reader and in the dark night, he is a dangerous murderer. He knows columnists. He knows stock traders and he knows gamblers as well. He knows all bad- sorts. All are his good friends, but not in his good books. And none of them know about his actual job.
He knows when to use whom astutely.
Dorothy is also a good friend of his, working in the same newspaper office where he is.
So first, he pushes Jack Foster from the balcony of his own apartment, making it look like an accident.
Then he starts for Dorothy at late night.
But in the way, he is greeted by his friend Timothy Dalton, who is passing by in his car. He waves at him and asks him what he is doing here on the road, in the middle of the night.
Peter just smiles at him and says, ‘Ain’t feeling sleepy tonight.’ To this, he suggests a nice cocktail at a bar. First, he gets reluctant, and then he gets an idea. Timothy can be the best alibi for him, in case things go off-hand.
So he enters the bar with Timothy. Both of them order their respective drinks. Now, while drinking, Timothy blurts out his secrets with him. He says that he has got some useful piece of information lately, from a whore of hers, who is missing now.
What’s the news? Well, some powerful person had recently closed some shady deals with some mobsters, endangering the state’s health.
And Timothy had learnt that this same information was also possessed by a mutual friend of theirs, Dorothy Fernandez. Both of them were now planning a big thing. To blackmail this powerful person for meeting their desired ends.
This will help him affect the stock market well.
Hearing this, Peter gets stunned but controls himself. Then after a few drinks, Timothy reveals how he knew that this information was also possessed by Dorothy. He said that yesterday, she had changed her mind about certain investments in a stock, as she would be going big soon. When Timothy had asked as for how was she sure, she reserved her dark secrets.
Then, Timothy had made her drink a few of his alcoholic fluids dexterously and made her reveal the entire story. And on getting this information, he planned to use this astutely for himself.
Of course, he did not tell Peter about whom Dorothy was expecting this sensitive information from. Also, he did not know that he was confiding in the very man, who had planned to end Dorothy’s existence in this world that night.
So now, Peter had two targets for the night. One was this over-ebullient Timothy and the other was his former target, Dorothy. Not to mention an alcoholic undertaker of a cemetery.
He planned everything in detail over his cocktail. First, he would make sure that Timothy dropped him back to his flat. And then he would slip inside the flat, by making his presence known to some of his disgruntled neighbors. After that, he would slip out from his room’s window and from the rear gate, would surreptitiously go out.
Then, after finishing the undertaker at the cemetery, he would be again on the main road. From there, first he would turn towards Timothy’s apartment to do him away, and then make off towards Dorothy’s apartment, which coincidentally, was much near to Timothy’s building.
All was planned well. Only thing was that he should not have gone to the cemetery to do away an undertaker, an assignment which had fallen in his plate suddenly. But he did strangle him to death. This was his job after all.
And upon completing his murderous objective stealthily, while going towards the main gate of the cemetery, he caught sight of a man weeping over a tombstone.
‘Not my concern,’ he thought at first. But something made him go near him. And when he did, he saw a lean old short man, wearing a fleece jacket of some color, kneeling down in front of a tombstone and crying loud.
‘Who are you? Why are you crying?’ he asked the howling man. The old man looked up at him and sniffled. ‘Jonathan Campbell. I am crying over my daughter’s grave brother. Kindly leave me alone.’ The reply was stern but in a soft tone.
Something made Peter kneel down and put a hand on the old man’s shoulder. ‘Who was your daughter?’ For the first time, in that night, he took out his gloved hand from his black bomber jacket.
‘Mary Campbell,’ the soft reply came.
Peter looked closely at the tombstone. It had no inscriptions and had nothing that could describe the body lying inside it.
‘Is it fresh?’ asked Peter, the twenties-something tall and lean young man with a pink complexion on his long bearded face, and kept his hands inside the side pockets of his black bomber jacket.
The old man looked up at him with wet eyes and nodded slowly.
Peter got a glance of an old picture of a cheerful looking woman, in her white dress, a gown or something. This picture was in the hands of the old man who was sobbing profusely.
He could not make out her face clearly, except for her stature.
She was sitting on a bench or something, having one of her legs above the other. Her wrist was on the raised leg and the other hand took the support of the bench. She was leaning forward and smiling widely. What were the features? What was the shape of the face? He could not tell as he could not see clearly. But, the face was smiling. It looked smiling.
‘How did she die?’ Peter asked and to his own surprise, his tone had a hint of concern.
The old man looked at him with wet eyes and a pathetic face. ‘I don’t know. I just came to know a few minutes ago, by an unknown caller, that my daughter is lying here in this crematorium, at this point, in an unnamed tombstone.’
‘Did you go to the cops?’
‘Not yet,’ the pale looking feeble man said. ‘But I had reported my daughter being missing two days ago. Nothing had come up yet, and tonight I had got this strange, unknown call.’
‘Are you sure it’s your daughter who is buried here?’
All of a sudden, Peter found himself getting interested in the man’s tale.
The man said he did not have any logical proof, but something in his heart convinced him.
He said that recently she had been fighting some very powerful people of the state, and he was secretly worried that things might turn out to this tragic level.
Of course, he would be going to the cops for this after finishing his process of sorrow, if he had the courage left to do that. But he would have to. He would have to find out the actual reason behind his daughter’s death and to nail the culpable.
The death of the only family he had till now.
Peter stood there for some time, and then breathed heavily.
But suddenly, something made him turn towards his wrist-watch.
And, leaving the old man to his tale of woes, Peter resumed his journey to end some two person’s journeys of their lives.
First he did Timothy. Entered his flat, stabbed him with the chef’s knife and dumped him in his bath-tub.
Then, he went for Dorothy’s. She had rollers on her head and had applied some lotion on her large face. He struck her with his second chef’s knife. It was unbelievable that just today morning he had a chicken burger and a cup of coffee with her in a restaurant. They were returning from a friend’s grave: a certain Jack Foster, who had slipped from a top floor of his building during the first light produced by the sun.
He had died on the spot and was survived by an aged mother in her eighties.
After completing his dark chores and while returning, he again crossed the cemetery. Something made him go inside and approach the same place where he had a meeting with an old man, some hours ago.
It was like 3:00 AM and from a distance, he could see no old man near that un-named tombstone.
But instead, he saw a strange feminine figure strolling near that place. She was in a white dress.
Curious, he went towards her. But when he came close to her, he nearly collapsed with a fright.
The woman’s face was white like a corpse with red eyes and her long and loose hair was a mess. She was laughing hysterically.
Controlling himself, Peter ran towards the main gate of the cemetery. He ran and ran till he reached the very tree from where he had resumed his journey earlier. He climbed swiftly and was soon inside his dark room of his dark flat.
The next morning, when he read the newspaper, while sitting on his toilet seat, he saw the most astounding and the most bizarre news ever. It read:
Mary Campbell, the woman who managed one of the branches of the renowned MayFlower group of hotels very prudently, met with her death last night due to self-immolation.
The once defamed whore of Mayor Christopher Rodriguez is now lying peacefully at the serene Greenland cemetery near Foyers. It appears that she had been suffering from acute depression after being dumped by her recent lover and the notorious stockbroker, now deceased, Timothy Dalton.
Sources report that in a fit of frenzy last night, she had attacked her betrayer at his flat in Louis Street and had stabbed a chef’s knife deep in his heart. Also, the same night she had targeted another person by name of Dorothy Fernandez. She had inflicted the same suffering to this fifty-year-old woman. It is said that Dorothy is the same woman who had exposed her affair with the Mayor once, but nothing was proved and Dorothy nearly faced a lawsuit.
Dorothy had called her a dirty slut who could go at any length to get her job done. Mary had argued that the allegations of Dorothy’s were grotesquely false and she was just trying to make a cheap profit by defaming her. She had said, that she had only one person in her heart, that being Timothy Dalton.
But in-spite of her arguments, the damage was done to her character.
So Mary, on the path of revenge last night, might have thought of closing all her debts. And perhaps, in that same fit of rage, might have done Dorothy too.
But soon after that, she might have felt and realized her act as immoral. And in a state of frenzied remorse, she committed suicide in Greenland cemetery by smashing her face with a concrete slab of a cemetery.
Mary had a humble father as her own family. He was a retired teacher by name of Jonathan Campbell, in his seventies, and was found dead in his bathroom last night, on account of a powerful electric shock. There was a disturbance in the electric geyser, which electrocuted the water in the bathtub, which had that old man inside it. He used to have a bath every night before sleep.
Officer Mark Anderson, who was handling the Mary Campbell missing case, had immediately reached the Campbell residence and had started his investigations.
The proof that Mary had ended the life of her assumed foes and her own afterward, lies in the very note which was discovered by this able officer Mark Anderson, tucked in her purse, in her bedroom.
It said that she and only she was to be held culpable for the atrocious murders of her enemies, with their names mentioned, and none other. The undertaker at Greenland cemetery was the one who had actually found her body and had called for Officer on duty, Mark Anderson. Her body had been sent for an autopsy first, but nothing was revealed except for the fact that she had committed suicide. And since, having found no surviving relative of Mary’s, she was cremated by her friends last night.
Also, the same undertaker was found dead after some hours, somewhere in that same cemetery, with the cause of his mysterious death, being known as consumption of cheap liquor.
Also, startling information has been revealed from the secret halls of The Daily Flash, where Dorothy worked.
She had an associate by name of Jack Foster, who used to help her with occasional sensational bits, which roared in the edition’s front page and made Dorothy famous.
Jack and Dorothy had a bitter argument about some undue settlement at Jack’s flat in the early hours of the morning and it seemed Dorothy was the one who had pushed Jack from his own balcony, from the tenth floor, in a fit of frenzy.
Officer Mark Anderson had retrieved a substantial piece of evidence proving this theory. ”
There were some other details of the deceased, but Peter was not interested in them. He was staring at a picture of a woman in white dress. It resembled the same woman she had assumed in the cemetery a night ago.
Was it her ghost?
‘And also I had met that old man last night. And that old man had said that he had received a call….’
Peter left his own words hanging and immediately rose from his toilet seat, contemplating furiously.
He completed all his toiletry formalities and rushed towards the same cemetery. On reaching there, he ran near the spot where he had encountered that old man and that bizarre woman. On reaching there, he gaped at the grave. It was a fresh grave. And on it now, were new inscriptions which read:
Name: Mary (something) Campbell. Born: (so and so date) Death: 29-12-2008.
And below this were some epithets or quotes for the dead.
‘Yes it had to be done this way,’ sighed Danny.
‘Could you tell me how it happened?’ asked Peter, meaning I, who had gone to collect my remuneration for the sins I had done a darkness ago.
I was in Danny’s club, in his small office, where he sat behind a small table, looking very small and sheepish.
’Well, I can’t say who’s involved, as we got big names in this one, Peter boy. All I can say is that we needed someone to take the blame of two, sorry three bizarre murders with two being committed on the same night itself.
And this was all done to cover that up.
And yes, Mary Campbell was indeed a bloody whore of powerful people. But, she had some conscience left, I guess. She found out some things about her powerful master, which could affect the entire state in an adverse way. And so, she wanted to bring him down by some other powerful associates.
But before she could do that, she was got rid off by…ahem…some people. They mutilated her face badly while she was getting ready for an occasion in a white dress. This she was doing in a lonely room of a lavish, but lonely apartment gifted to her by her powerful master.
Someone entered her flat and had smashed her face brutally.
She was put down but had to be resurrected later only to be put down again.
Why was she resurrected? That’s because the top officials and the opposition needed an answer for Jack and Dorothy’s sudden deaths. And also Timothy’s, the new volunteer for death, and who coincidentally turned out to be the unfaithful lover of Mary’s.
Mary’s father had also to be done away with, as someone had tipped him regarding his daughter’s mysterious death.
And he had rushed towards a police station to mention this fact.’
Saying this Danny handed me my share and asked me to get out.
But before I got out, I asked him, ‘Who tipped her father about his daughter’s sudden death?’
‘None of your business,’ said Danny and without mentioning, revealed that it was him.
No sooner I got out of his club, I felt a strange and a bizarre tingling in my head. And before I could realize, I was held by two burly hands. And when I came to, I found myself lying in a hospital bed, diagnosed as a schizophrenic patient.
The rum which I had in Danny’s bar was doing things to me.
For ten bloody long years, I walked the grounds of that mental institution, figuring out what had happened, how it had happened. I nearly came to think all this as a dream, until one night, that same woman came in my nightmares.
And then, I realized the truth about all this.
But still, I was not sane. I repeatedly got the bizarre nightmares in which I used to see her laughing hysterically at my friend’s burials.
First, it was Timothy’s and then that same night, I murder Dorothy.
This same dream haunted me for several weeks. And tonight, I wanted to get rid of this all.
So I approached her in the cemetery once again. That was no dream, but yes, hers was an illusion in my mind.
That illusion told me all, or you could say, the truth dawned on me at last.
She told me all about you. She told me all about the mayor.
So tonight, before coming here, I had secretly slipped in the ex-Mayor Rodriguez’s luxurious estate, with my own apt experience and art.
I killed him while he was sleeping with one of his new whores. His dead body will be found by your men by tomorrow morning. And his drunken whore will be found sleeping in his bathroom.
But your body will be found in that same cemetery, at that same spot, where I had promised that woman in the cemetery there.” I smiled a wide smile after this, feeling proud of the act I had done.
Suddenly I could feel the captain rushing towards me. Perhaps he had somehow managed to cut off his duct tape bound to his hands. But before he could make any wise movements, my favorite weapon stabbed itself deep into his chest. He fell like a load of bricks with his mouth, still bound.
I continued to narrate my story to his cadaver.
“Also I came rushing at you every now and then with stories about my sins, assuming wrongly that you might help me. I did not know that you were the person who had put Mary down.
You were Rodriguez’s man.
You realized I was that person who was supposed to go down with Mary, as were the instructions. But Danny was sympathetic on me. And instead of finishing me off, he had dumped me in a mental institution.
Perhaps that was his part of remorse as well, after the one in the form of a tip given to a father about his daughter’s mysterious end.
Now, since I had been visiting you, first you brushed me off by treating me as a medical patient. You kept on humoring me.
But afterwards, you begin to realize I might pose a threat, and unveil your past sins to the world.
So a few hours ago, sipping the liquor from that Bourbon, perhaps you were planning to get rid of me.
But your wish will remain unfulfilled. I will still go down, but not as you wanted. I will go down, by my own way, by my own wish.”
The night was chilly when I dropped the obese man on the green grounds of the Greenland cemetery, near to a tombstone.
There was no woman with scattered hair in sight. But only a silent tombstone stood there with the engravings of Mary Campbell and her details were seen shining in the moonlight.
And near that tombstone there was a deranged lean tall man, with some gray hair, standing with an obese body lying at his feet, wrapped in loose blue pajamas, sodden with red blood.
“So you killed the captain?”
The officer on duty was not in the mood of any gullibility today it seemed.
I liked the dawn time at the cemetery. I guess, only today, I could have liked the dawn anywhere.
I had called up Officer Marley on duty with the message, that I have your captain lying beside me, besides Mary Campbell’s tombstone, in Greenland cemetery.
“Yes,” I replied calmly.
“It’s a long story. But for now, please apprehend me.”
“Nothing I would like better. By the way, did you kill the ex-mayor too?”
“Yes. And ten years ago, I had been the terminator of Jack Foster, Timothy Dalton, Dorothy Fernandez and a pathetic undertaker of this cemetery as well, for your case that is. I am still wanted for many other cases like these at many other regions.
I had been a pro, never leaving my marks behind. I wanted to have Danny’s blood on my hands too, but he left the States to perhaps Australia or so.”
The officer looked at me thoughtfully for long and then sighed. After that, he cuffed me and his men and him, took me in a vehicle.
While driving towards the police station, I saw the cemetery rushing past me.
There was still no sight of that crazy woman.
Smokin Joe, as they called him since he had burnt an entire family along with their house, down to ashes, used to say, “T’was no witch mate…’ere ne’er been one. T’was yer guilt man which gone now.”
Perhaps the burly nigger Joe, my cell-inmate, was right.
He was hung a day before me.
Anyway, I guess I will never see that woman in the cemetery now.
As now I know, that the woman in the cemetery was nothing but my guilt, which is vaporized now as Mary Campbell had been once.