BEHIND THE LOCKED ROOM
“Finn… Are you still sleeping? Open the door!” Mom tapped the door harder, shouting louder with her shrill voice, as much as she could, yet there was no response.
“Finn, come out! I need to clean your room,” she said again, waiting for the reply that would never come.
Unexpectedly, Finn sneaked through the half-opened door, “No, mum. I will do them by myself…” He grabbed the cleaning utilities from her hand and shut the door again.
“I don’t know if you are an archaeologist or a secret murderer,” yelling she walked away, complaining him to his dad, “It has been three months since we came to this house. Look at this place! Is this worth that much money? He has become mad, I swear! Though we had seen so much of good houses with low rates, he chose this old half-damaged house irrespective of its high cost. I do not know what is in his room! In fact, he had not left anyone see that room until now. I swear I had never looked into his room till this day!”
“Finn…” Father breathed out, “is a mysterious one, indeed!”
This happens all the times. Everyone around considers him as an odd, mysterious one, yet actually it is so! How hard Finn’s life is! His own family, friends, neighbors, enemies, known, unknown and almost everyone around seem to spy Finn for his notable weird behaviors.
He had never worn black hoodie and walked out with knife at the mid of the night yet people see him as if he is so! He had never smiled the one sided evil smile, yet whenever he tries to be happy, people regard him so. His chocolate colored eyes show that he hides something from everyone around!
After cleaning his room, he slowly came out, like a cat on its velvet paws, yet his mom’s eyes rolled like an owl and caught his view though her head was still. She suddenly turned in eagerness to look into his room, yet the slamming sound of the door, returned her head to its prior casual position.
“Let me break the door and move into it today!” Then she changed her mind, thinking that it was just 3 months until they bought the house.
He wore his casuals, trying to look as normal as other people, put his hands into his pockets, and walked as he cared for none around. He walked across the old respected man of the place named Williams, who was stuffing his bag with things he needed for his home. Finn smiled at him getting a grim stare in return.
He moved across the nearby garden, looking at the seven kids, who think themselves as ‘secret seven’, hiding in the bushes and behind the trees, noting him with their keen detective eyes. Finn felt uneasy on seeing those wicked children and moved out faster mumbling, “Enid Blyton should have made the children study from day to night, giving no time for gang meeting or mystery solving!”
Thereby, Esma, his mom’s neighborhood friend crossed him, fixing her eyes at him in a terrified manner. “Aaah…” She fell down, Finn rushed to help. The moment she saw him, she got up all of a sudden, all by herself and moved away as fast as she could. “What’s happening here? Do I look that weird?” Finn looked his face in the mirror that was kept out of the saloon. “No, not much…” soliloquized he, adjusting his hair and beard with his hands, stopped it and moved away on seeing the horror struck face of the shop owner.
Heartbroken he became, moved towards the seashore; sat on the banks dipping his toes in water and exclaiming things of all sorts! “This is why I left my old house! Yet, things seem to continue wherever I go!”
“Mr. Finn… What’s troubling you?” asked a sweet little girl backside. The first look at her and those children hiding back showed that she is one of the ‘secret seven’.
“Nothing,” he smiled, handling over a chocolate that he had in his pocket.
She passed it to a little boy named Henry, whispering, “Check it out!”
He unwrapped the chocolate as fast as he could, put in his mouth, chewed it faster and reported, “Tasty, strawberry flavored and good… Seems like he is a good man…”
“Uff! Henry, I said you to check if it is poisonous,” mumbled the little girl again.
Henry turned pale; another kid touched his throat and whispered, “Still alive, showing no symptoms. It is not poisonous.”
Finn stood up all of a sudden weary on over hearing their husky stupid words and walked away from them.
“Mr. Finn, you are supposed to stop now!”
“Why do I?” screamed Finn, continuing to walk.
“You are under our investigation!” that little girl ran and came in front of him.
“No way! You are no one to question me…” Finn left the place hurriedly.
That day, two newbies entered the town named James and Jill. The two seemed unique in the eyes of others for they befriended every single soul of the small town, including the secret seven, who doubts everyone around; anyhow, that is not much a big deal than befriending the mysterious man, Mr. Finn.
Everyone around was amazed to see Finn, talking heartily with the two newbies. “How Finn changed all of a sudden?” exclaimed few.
“I wonder how James and Jill changed this man?” sounded another.
“I fear, these guys are a gang from ago,” exclaimed Williams, the respectable old man of the town. As those words came out from a genuine mouth, people believed it half-heartedly. “They are investigators, I heard, came here for their own chores. I am unaware how you people are going to survive with this suspicious head! It is natural to like a few though we are surrounded by many!” stormed Elisa, staring at Williams, “I don’t know what is wrong with you guys. You used to gossip about people who remain silent as well as the ones who are free with everyone! I believe you do not have a scale to converse too…” Elisa left the place staring at all the rough faces around her.
“Elisa is also like Finn, she never talks with everyone around! She is an inward, an introvert and what not!” added Esma.
Others nodded their head as if it was the thing they were about to say! “You silly human beings, use your brain which is preserved well for years. She is right as she says! We, stupid beings, continue backbiting our own kith, kin, brothers and sisters. Everyone leave this place!” Williams ordered and no one had words to reject.
That evening, Finn heard few other voices in his home. He tried to overhear the conversation from his room yet he could hear nothing clear than ‘Mr. Finn’. He was so sure that some were talking about him but could guess no more.
The secret seven has entered the house, investigating Finn’s mother.
“Why do you come here, leaving your old house?” asked Della.
“It has a variety of reasons… What shall I say!” she cried, stopped suddenly on seeing Finn coming out of his room, placing his fingers on his mouth, gesturing to keep it a secret.
The sudden ring from his phone, gathered the attention of everyone around. He attended the call, answering, “Hello James, what’s up man?”
Della resumed her questions to Finn’s mother, “What are those reasons?”
Finn was alarmed by this and started to shout, “You idiots, get out of my home. Don’t ever come here in the name of investigation or anything! Get lost I say! You people seem like you will enter my place even by breaking my window. Move out…”Everyone moved out quietly except Della, whispering something into Henry’s ears.
James yelled on hearing the hoarse voice of Finn, “Cool down, Finn! They are children.”
“They are not as you think. Those were wicked people ever seen in my life!”
“Cool down Finn. Come near the seashore. Let’s have a short talk.”
“Sure, just two minutes,” said Finn, marched out of his house, without informing the reason, as always.
Della, who was waiting for this chance, murmured into Henry’s ears, “Come on… Let’s break the window and move into his room!”
Henry was a bit afraid, “Della, are you sure if we need to do this?”
“Very sure,” said Della determined, standing at the back yard of Finn, rounding his room from outside. She found a glass window with no bars crossed, “The right way!” She mumbled throwing a stone that broke the glass to pieces.
The sound of the breaking glass made Della anxious. Fear from nowhere caught her and she started screaming, “Henry, run fast, somebody might catch us!”
Henry was alarmed so much that he sped with his full strength that he reached his house in minutes.
On seeing her panicked child, Henry’s mother patted him softly, asking, “Henry, What’s wrong with you?”
“We did a mistake, mom. Forgive us! Help me saying that I was in the house till night,” begged Henry, hugging his mother as tight as he could.
“What’s the matter Henry?” hurried Henry’s father.
“Promise me that you will forgive and support me,” demanded Henry.
“I promise!” responded he swiftly.
“Della and I broke Finn’s window. It is not me actually but Della. Anyhow, I was with her when she broke it,” said Henry hastily.
“Where is Della now?” enquired his mom.
“Somewhere near Finn’s house,” Henry stammered.
The trio rushed to the backyard of the house, found the broken window but not Della, not even a trace of her. Henry’s father mumbled, “Look, someone is hiding over there!” The moment he said, that one moved quickly, making him chase him with his full power, yet he missed him.
“It must be Finn,” murmured Henry.
There, James and Jill became tired, waiting for Finn for the past one hour, “What is he doing?” he mumbled.
“Let’s move now, James!” sighed Jill.
“Hey guys!” sounded Finn, rushing to the shore.
“Why are you too late, Finn?” asked James.
“Sorry, some important chores crossed me in between,” smiled he, looking at the two bare faces, “Why do you call me?”
They planned to have dinner in a hotel, at the end of the street. The road was busy with trucks, cars and two wheelers yet the hotel was out of customers. It seemed small yet good, filling the whole place with the smell of freshly prepared food. The workers seemed to be soft and the smile of the manager never dimed. It made everyone say, it was surely a wonderful place for friends.
Finn, who had no idea to eat, ordered a coke, supped it slower than a sloth that those two have finished their wholesome dinner before he emptied his drink. It was surely a good time for Finn, talking about his childhood and everything that matters them, until Jill asked him, “Everybody says that you never leave any one to visit your room, is it real Finn?”
Finn turned pale all of a second, left his half-drunk cola in the table, bought a parcel, paid the bill and left the place without bidding them good-bye.
James did nothing to stop his friend but sit in his chair, seeing his friend’s angry expressions, he said, “Jill, you should not have asked him that!”
“I’m unaware, friends have limits too!” replied she, washing her hands, “What if you ask him to stay?”
“I don’t feel like we could put his temper down! It is better to let him go than to offend him again!”
The next day morning was not as peaceful as usual, for Della’s mother rushed to the police station screaming, “Alas! Della is missing…”
Her voice echoed everywhere, bringing people together, triggering them to invent new gossips.
“How did you lose your child?” inquired the respectable old man, caring for the grief stricken women of his town.
“She left the home by yesterday evening but never returned.”
“Leave a complaint. We will find her as fast as we could,” promised the police officer yet no one seemed to leave the place.
“She should be somewhere, roaming in the name of investigation as always,” remarked one.
“Might have lost her way!” signed another.
“I beg God, she should not be kidnapped!” came a voice from the crowd, shaking the veins of everyone around.
“But no one dares to…” whined Della’s mother.
“Maybe… it might be Finn!”
“No, he is not so!” entered James, pushing people, making his way to the center of the crowd.
“He is so!” joined Jim, who was Henry’s father.
“Finn was with us last night!” yelled James, stunned by hearing the opponent’s justification, “Last night, Della and Henry broke Finn’s window. He ran home leaving her yet she was not there when we went to check her. She should have gone into his room, so Finn should have kidnapped her.”
“Let’s check it out by ourselves,” James took them to Finn’s backyard yet no one could find any broken window in the spot. “Now, everyone leave this place. Let the police officers find the right reason. Please don’t confuse them with your powerful gossips,” ranted James.
Everyone left the place slowly, leaving James and Jill in the backyard. “I don’t know why people hate Finn much!” exclaimed James, stopped as he found something on the green ground. “Glass!” he mumbled, looking fixedly at Jill, “I don’t think we are right!”
“Yesterday while you called him, the children are there in the house. Moreover, he left us only after eleven. Something has happened in between he left the house and our meeting and he was late too,” sighed Jill.
“Hey guys, what are you doing in my backyard, oh, changed our meeting place from the seashore to my backyard?” smiled Finn.
“Finn, why were you late yesterday?” asked James.
“That’s what the reason you shifted our meeting place, I suppose.”
“Why were you late yesterday?” repeated James sternly.
“Something stopped me…”
“What?” inquired James.
“A sound!” said Finn, attended the call from his head, showing gestures to wait for two minutes.
“The sound of the breaking glass…” muffled Jill into James ears, “Henry’s father was right.”
“Good afternoon sir, I will handover it to you sooner!” said Finn louder, suddenly lowered his voice and walked a few steps away from them, sensing that those two overhearing his conversation.
“Our guess is right, James! No more wasting time, come let’s tell about him to the police,” whispered Jill.
“Calm down, Jill. Let us wait and solve the whole mystery,” said James.
The moment he cut the call James asked, “What do you think about those seven kids?”
“Say them kids no more! I would sell them to witches if I could at least 2 or 3 of them,” groaned Finn, taking them into his house.
The house seemed old, built in a gothic style. The pillars were thin yet well curved, and the whole place was quite as graveyard. His parents should have gone out, James thought.
“Want something to eat or drink?” asked Finn, gazing at those confused faces.
“Nothing!” refused Jill.
“Coffee,” smiled James, looking at Jill, conveying her to order something.
“It’s better to have tea, I suppose. James, you don’t trouble him with your coffee idea,” added Jill.
“You change your choice Jill, it is better!” remarked James.
“It is nowhere a trouble for me. Just two minutes guys!” said Finn directing into the kitchen.
“I fear he would poison us to death,” screamed Jill yet silently.
James had no time to listen, as he was busy trying to open Finn’s room but it was locked. James predicted his arrival before a minute and acted as if he was gazing the photos hanging on the wall.
Finn placed two cups of coffee and a cup of tea on the table. Seeing Finn, taking a cup of coffee, she grabbed it from his hand saying, “Won’t you give your guest some coffee if she asks you…” “Sure if you want,” offered he.
“Thank God! It is not poisonous,” thought she.
“Finn, let us meet in the same hotel today!” said James, leaving the place.
That evening their plan was entirely different from that day. They made the manager to serve him drugged coke. They believed that that would make him speak all the truth out for they could record it.
The moment he entered the hotel, they made him sit and ordered a coke for him.
“I feel a bit hungry today,” uttered Finn, ordering hamburgers for his dinner. His taut voice and sweaty palms reflected the pain in his heart.
Jill opened the coke for him yet Finn showed no interest to drink it.
James started, “There are four kinds of secret holders. Some let everything out though they don’t want to, some acts as if they have no secrets when they have a dozen hiding behind the lips, some won’t have great secrets but would act as if they are the most mysterious one in the world, some have secrets and every hair and muscle of them would reflect it!”
Jill shouted out, “You are certainly the second type, James!”
“Jill, then I believe you belong to the third!” James laughed out. Yet their companion just nodded his head and showed no expression in his face.
James asked softly, “Hey Finn, why do you look sad? What made you get distracted yesterday evening in the way to meet us and you are not normal from then?”
“I’m an archaeologist by profession. I don’t know why but in the way I felt like I was standing on something… something like a loft or something that covered the hollowness underground!”
“How did you feel it?”
“That tap-tap sound when I stepped over it. My mind wandered through my prior experiences where we found dumped things underground. It sensed like a secret chamber underground,” said Finn anxiously and drank the whole coke in a sip, stunning both.
Yet the next moment, he acted like a small boy, struck between strangers. His silence broke the peace of their mind. He stopped eating; trying hard not to wipe his tears for others would note him crying.
“Hey Finn!” said James slowly but that grew him violent making his words run off his lips, “I hate everyone. I hate you James; I hate you Jill. You people doubt me like everyone yet I do not know why! You drugged me now for some selfish reasons, making me shout out of my limits,” and bolted out of the hotel.
The next morning, on their way to Finn’s home, they saw Angelina weeping, and asked her the reason. Thereby, the news of second kidnap reached their ears, “Henry is missing as Della, leaving our ‘Secret seven’ gang as ‘Fantastic five’!”
Henry’s mother complained, “Henry hadn’t gone out yesterday, just played in the garden with Williams, that old man in neighborhood. Within two minutes of pause for water, Williams said that he could not see him anywhere. We are searching him from past night yet no trace of him worrying me a lot.”
“This is quite serious James!” said the police, who was investigating Williams about it.
“Say them kids no more! I would sell them to witches if I could at least 2 or 3 of them,” Finn’s words rang twice in Jill’s ears.
They rushed to Finn’s house yet there is no sign of him.
“Where has he gone?” enquired Jill.
“He never had a habit of informing things to me nor to his father. Once I caught hold of him if he misses to get permission but now things are not as before! I became an old woman with no definite rights to question him…,” said Finn’s mom exhibiting a variety of expressions in her face.
“Avoid unnecessary dramatic tone, I say. He should have gone out regarding his job chores,” added his father.
“Nobody knows where exactly he goes. He is indeed a mysterious man!” said he, adjusting his specs.
Where had not they searched for him? They looked for him in the seashore, in the meadows, in the hotel, behind the trees and bushes and where not! Yet Finn was nowhere.
Unfortunate followed the place even after his disappearance; that night Angelina too was missing. People crowded again in front of the police station and started protesting.
“We should find Finn right now,” yelled James, rushing to the hotel, “Have you seen Finn?”
“Yes, he came here just a few minutes ago,” said the manager, ensuring that no one was overhearing him, he continued in a low voice, “James, I feel like he is the kidnapper for he bought a parcel on the night of first child’s disappearance, two yesterday and now three…”
“Must be feeding the kidnapped children…”murmured Jill.
They moved faster to Finn’s home not expecting him there, yet he was there. The moment he saw them, he started, “I’m not the one, who kidnapped the children. I found who that was… I found it!” Unexpectedly, he had answers for all the questions that they had. “Finn, I believe you, yet I need you to say these things in front of everyone,” said James.
Finn accepted and followed him to the police station. The protest seemed to heighten on seeing Finn. The crowd surrounded Finn attacking him with questions. Finn just said, “I’m not the one who kidnapped those children, believe me!”
“I have seen Angelina near your home yesterday, before she gone missing,” said Esma.
“But I hadn’t,” protested Finn.
“We will not punish you Finn. Just tell me where they are!” pleaded Della’s mother, provoking tears in his eyes.
“It is not me… I promise!”
“Kill this man. Hang him off! You are a liar…” aggravated Williams.
“Oh let’s deal with it in the morning. I feel so sleepy!” crossed a voice in between.
The hotel manager put his voice out, “Then ask him why he bought parcels from my shop as much as the kids missing?”
“It is for me on the first day, then for my parents as the taste is good, then for all three of us. This is stupid to connect these things with the kidnap!” Finn shouted out.
“Then why had you changed the glass of your room, the same night it was broken?” asked Henry’s father.
“It is not safe to leave it broken. Someone might come into my room!”
“What’s there in your room, worth hiding from everyone including your parents?” asked Williams.
He became silent, bowed his head, controlling all expressions in his face but not his tears.
“Open your room and prove, else put him in jail!” echoed the crowd.
Everyone marched towards his house, dragging him with them, irrespective of his persistence, stopped in front of his room, asking him to open the locked door.
“But I lost the key,” Finn said idiotically, his head still facing down.
“Let’s break it!” came a voice from the crowd.
Finn slowly took the key from his pocket. Williams shouted, “Kill this man, now it is proved that he is a great liar.”
Finn turned the key, yet stopped and said, “Anyhow, promise me, you will not move inside or touch anything!”
As everyone around accepted, he opened the door, letting everyone push one another to see the mysteriously hidden place filled with many weird things, shining at corners of the room. Finn said, “I’m an archaeologist by profession. These are the things recently discovered by our team and we believe that they belong to some 18th century wizard or witch.” Magic wands of different sizes, glass bottles with various stuffs and magic crystal, which witches used to possess, gave a spooky feel.
“I got the point! Della should have touched something here and should have gone into a magical world,” reported Williams seeing the creepy things on the table.
“I beg you stop this non-sense,” rejected Finn. Thereby they started quarreling over topics of all sorts.
“You should be hanged!”
“I’m no one in this case. Why do you make others doubt me?” barked Finn.
“Your anger shows your real face, you kidnapper!”
Suddenly a voice interrupted in their quarrel, “Everyone… We found the place where the children are hidden. It seems to be a secret chamber!”
“Ha… I think it is enough to prove him bad!” yelled Williams.
“Why me again?” asked Finn aggravated.
“Then who is going to build a secret chamber near your house to hide the children?” asked the old man laughing sarcastically.
“Near his house… How do you know the location?” jammed James.
William’s voice stammered on hearing that and those fixed stare of the people shook his heart.
“Then would he build the secret chamber elsewhere? It shows you people’s brain is under developed,” said Williams sharply.
“But now the actual problem is that we could not find the entry point. In addition, as the secret chamber was underground, we cannot break through the top that easily for we do not know the space down. If it is small, it could harm them badly,” said Jill.
“I found the entry point, follow me,” said a new voice in the crowd and it was Elisa. Everyone followed her and she moved the bushes that hid a secret way underground. While some fled in to rescue the children, the old man tried to bring out the truth from their own mouth.
“You two are companions, I suppose!” asked Williams.
“I don’t know who she is!” screamed Finn.
“See here, my dear brothers and children, he manages badly high!” said Williams, irritating Finn.
A silent woman in the crowd asked a definite question, “But Elisa, how did you find the entry?”
“I…” started Elisa but Williams interrupted, “See… she is finding ways to prank us!”
“I saw it!” banged Elisa.
“How?” questioned Finn.
“What if I have a video proof!” smiled Elisa, showing her camera.
“Give it here…” Williams tried to grab it but Elisa escaped out from him and displayed it in front of everyone. “As you all suspected Finn for the first two missing case, I went there, fixed cameras all around his house!” She played the video in which the kidnapper closed Angelina’s mouth and dragged her near the bushes, opened the secret door and crept in it to hide her. “But I found that it was not Finn but our old gentle, respectable man named Williams.”
The whole crowd searched for Williams but he was not there in the place he stood ago. “He is here,” said Finn, grabbing his collar. Police officers rushed to the spot arresting Williams, irrespective of his rubbish yelling. Everyone surrounded him, while James came out with the three kidnapped children. How could I describe the feel of people around? They had never been so happy ago. They celebrated their return, some with shouts and some with happy tears.
“I don’t know how to thank you. I’m grateful to you James and Jill for this!” cried Angelina’s mother.
“Better thank Finn and Elisa… For Finn is the one who actually found the secret chamber and Elisa for collecting evidence to throw this old man into jail until his death!” said Jill smiling at both.
People congratulated, praised and celebrated them as heroes. Everyone’s face blushed with happiness yet no change could be noted in Finn’s face.
Seeing him, James went near him, and whispered in his ears, “Back to friends, buddy?”
“Why not!” smiled Finn, his eyes reflecting true happiness, “Everything happens for a reason. I believe…”
“I found someone of my sort!” smiled Elisa back.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Dharani KannanWrite a Review