WRITTEN FOR WRITING PROMPT
MURDER OF A FILM ACTRESS
By Neel Anil Panicker
“Where does this lead to?”, inquired as he peered through the broken window pane.
The elderly housekeeper coughed a little, phlegm trickling down his lower lip.
He spat into the ground before replying, “Sir…it’s the wild…the jungle, I suppose.”
Senior Inspector and Head of Police Detective Wing Alphonso Chacko looked at the latter’s haggard half bent self, at his hollowed out eyes that looked as if they perennially half shut and wondered whether questioning this relic was any worth.
Still, he decided to gibe one last try.
“Ok, Samuel…Sam, is that what you said your name is, right?”
The old man nodded.
“Ok, now I want you to tell me all that happened since last evening till the time you discovered the body. Go ahead”.
The nonagenarian cleared his throat, an excruciating act that so repelled Chacko that perforce he took a step backward.
“Sir, it was around nine. I was in the kitchen, cutting vegetables, preparing for madam’s nightly soup. I heard the car honk. I rushed out and opened the front gate. She drove in, and then stepped out and directly went to her room”.
‘Did she say something? Did you notice anything unusual?’
The old man continued, “No Sir, she was her normal drunk self, and staggered back to her inner room. She just said she won’t be having anything. Also, not to disturb her. I feebly mumbled that her soup is ready. She waived me off. I went back to my room and slept. I too didn’t feel like having dinner. The next morning I woke up at around six, I prepared bed tea and carried it in a tray to her went. I opened the door only to see her lying on the bed. I called a few times. There was no response. I stepped closer and looked at her face. She stared back at me, a blank expression on her face. I knew she was dead. I hurriedly came out and dialed 100.”
A cool breeze blew in from the front lawns.
Chacko looked out and frowned. What a waste! He had once again missed his morning walkathon around the park.
Arriving at a murder scene, that too so early in the morning was definitely not to his liking.
He knew he morning was gone the moment the call came.
“Chacko, this is Commissioner Pai. The forensics report is out. The film actress was strangulated. It is a murder case, now. I want you to take charge of it, right now.”
Chacko raised his right hand and brushed away non-existent hair off his bald as an eagle pate.
‘Ok,’ he said to himself, ‘So here are the facts, so far. An ageing film actress drives back (from where? with whom? what time?) to her beach side bungalow where she lives alone save for an old housekeeper. She’s drunk ( as usual__needs to be probed further), staggers into her room, and the next morn is found dead in her bed. No visible signs of violence on her body, bed, or room. Except…except for a broken window pane, glass shards scattered all over her room.’
Chacko turned around and asked one last question, “Was she being stalked”?
The old man looked at him as if had never heard of such a word.
Chacko knew his life was further cursed, this time he would be expending precious hours who killed and why and how an yesteryear silver screen actress who was known to be more than friendly with more than a few Prime Ministers and hot shot industrialists of the country.
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