By Neel Anil Panicker
‘I was angry. So I killed them.’

Despite the wintry cold, hot beads of sweat began to run down Inspector Sharma’s temple.
He shook his head in one rapid motion and moved towards the haggard looking man who stood with his back to the wall.

Now inches apart, the Crime Branch super sleuth looked into the eyes of the middle aged balding man in front of him.
A pair of strangely alien eyes, the pupils, white spherical splotches that contrasted eerily against an all black skin tone stared right back at him__unflinching, emotionless__as if they were just two stones jutting out of a mountain edge.

And then despite his years of dealing with criminals of all ilk including the hardened, the crazed, the hopeless, and also the utterly remorseless; knowing them and their psyche fully well, he felt himself increasingly lost as he desperately tried to figure out into which category this man who had a perpetual scowl on his regular worker class face belonged.

And so there they stood ___the cop and the criminal, locked eye ball to eye ball, none refusing to blink, both holding on steadfast to whatever life principles each were individually wedded to, as time stood still as if waiting for deliverance.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity and long after the two had studied to perfection every single bodily contour of the other, Inspector Sharma decided enough was enough and that he needed to light a smoke.

Pulling himself away from the high octane tension ridden atmosphere, the cop strode out of the room, slamming the door behind him with a ear splitting kick of his heavy police boots.

Outside, as he stood in the small apology of a square box sized garden dragging nicotine into his perforated lungs, the cop wondered whether his presence or absence would have any bearing on the outcome of the day long interrogation.
Hardened criminals, once they have been ‘broken down’, either admit to or deny the commission of the said crime or crimes. At times they even go ahead and admit to crimes they have no connection with.

But here, this man was proving to be a real tease.
It wasn’t the admission of his crime that raised the heckles of the cops on duty at R.K Nagar Crime Branch Police Station; instead, it was the sheer brazenness of the admissions.

‘Sir, I have committed 20 murders, no wait minute, I think it is 25.’ 
And then after a while, ‘No! Make that 36. Yeah, that’s right. I believe that’s the count.’

As Sharma heard the man bandy about figures with such practised ease as if he were trotting out a batsman’s batting average, the senior cop thought, and not for the first time that evening about human nature, and about what goes into the functioning of the human brain, what mind could be so diabolic as to slaughter like cattle some thirty odd innocent men, and then carry on with the everyday humdrum existence that is life without so much as looking back over the shoulder at the macabre trail of destruction that’s been left behind.

#FOWC #523words

Written for multiple prompts:

FOWC with Fandango — Tease


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