MURDER BY SNAKE BITE (GENRE: REALISTIC FICTION)
By Neel Anil Panicker
“Not just him. Suraj’s entire family—his father, mother and that younger sister of his—they were all the same, a disgusting slimy breed of unctuous years!”
I looked at the man. He seemed an educated middle class man. A middle aged guy who, a man not given to hyperbole or excessive emotions, someone who would measure his words very carefully.
Still, I wondered, he had spoken of the accused family using such harsh words.
I listened intently to what further he had to say.
“Sir, being a neighbour, I was privy to what happened in their house. It was a family that hid behind layers. Like they wouldn’t. that to those they deemed below them; but yet, be very superficially friendly with others who they thought to conform to their standards.
I used to occasionally bump into them at the weekly market, even at the city centre at times.
Outwardly, they looked decent—well dressed, well mannered to all who mattered to them.
But, who knew, their real nature they displayed only behind closed doors. That boy, I say, he was a changed person ever since he married this girl”.
I knew this was it. After his long rambling diatribe, here was something this neighbour of the infamous family had to say that could price crucial to my investigation.
As a private detective, these are very moments we wait for.
I nodded my head and prodded him on.
” Sir, the day after she, I mean the murdered woman, came in as a bride, I heard loud noises emanating from the house.
At first they were just knocks, as if a table or chair was being moved around. Then, as the sounds became louder, I cocked my years closer to the common wall that separated our houses.
It wasn’t a fight. Well, not exactly. Suraj was arguing with his father. As I listened closely, that I heard made the ground beneath me go away.
Suraj was telling his father, ” Dad, I don’t agree with you and sister on this. I believe setting her on fire, or even strangulating her would invite the suspicion on us. I know of no other way than to have her bitten by a snake. I am friends with a snake charmer, and he has agreed to train me. He says in a week’s time I shall know enough about a King Cobra and the technique to release it on an unsuspecting Uttara. He says, and I quote,””You will carry the venomous snake in a bottle and hide it in your room. Then, well past night, after satisfying yourself that your wife is in deep slumber, you will receive the bottle from under the bed, and release it near her body. Then, the snake will do what it has to do, and ensure she dies. The next morning, you would wake up and scream that your wife is dead. The police would come, the medical report will establish death by snake bite, and no one will ever suspect any one of you. All you. need to do is hide the bottle” .
I listened to this well meaning neighbour reveal what he had heard of the diabolical plans of this evil family—Suraj, his parents, and his sister—all who outwardly looked like regular folk, but now, as it was clear had so cruelly, manipulatingly conspired to snuff out the life of a young girl, an innocent woman whose only crime was that she had married into this family that had positioned itself as a God fearing, kind, living middle class family.
Did she, did her innocent parents, ever have a whiff that such an evil plot was being hatched when they entered into an alliance with such a diabolical family?..I shuddered at the thought of it.
Then, took my leave, and headed to the City Crime Branch. As Chief Investigative Officer, it was my duty to prepare a watertight case to ensure that Suraj and his family stayed behind bars for the rest of their lives for so inhumanity killing an innocent 22-year-old woman.
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