CLICK WRITE PHOTO
By Neel Anil Panicker
Detective Chacko turned his gaze upwards just in time to watch the sky turn a darkish hue and the clouds break into smaller amorphous forms, each one of them quickly bursting forth to unleash a rain bath on the earth.
“It’s this way all year round. The weather in these parts is so very unpredictable,” said Professor Anand Sinha as he quickly opened an umbrella.
“Hmmm…that tells a lot, doesn’t it?, “exclaimed Chacko as he too dived under for cover.
A moment’s silence followed the two sixty something gents stood at the edge of the green marsh and looked at the distant hills.
“I am sorry, what did you just say, cop?”, remarked the professor.
Chacko extended his arm and drew a circular path all around him.
“See this place___miles away from human civilisation___marshy tract with a large deep deep pond in the middle encircled by endless desert and nothing thereafter but the high hills yonder.
“Yeah! you can say that. It’s a frightening place indeed. But whoever in his right mind would ever stay here for long, leave alone come this way?”, responded Anand.
The rains had near stopped and Chacko stepped away from the shade.
“None would. At least not in how right mind. Unless..”
He let the words trail off.
Anand folded his umbrella and sidestepped a pool full of ditch water.
“Will you stop donning your cop act and tell me exactly what’s on your mind, Williams Emmanuel Chacko?” asked Anand in a sarcasm laden tone.
He knew that his childhood buddy hated to be addressed by his full name.
Suitably reprimanded, Chacko let the cat out of the bag.
“Dear Anand, I think I just might have stumbled upon a little secret.”
As the bemused former university professor looked on, Chacko continued, “I believe the Shilpi Sachdeva, the young backpacker from Delhi who disappeared from her hotel vicinity in Cochin a month ago is here___her body buried somewhere in these foothills.”
All Anand could do by way of an answer was stare shell shocked at his friend, the man who singularly had solved over a 100 ‘cold cases’ in his near half century career as an ace sleuth.
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