Monday, May 25, 2020
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Deadly Couch

Avanika knew something was wrong the second she spied his name flash on the screen. It was tempting to ignore the call, but instincts told her she should at least listen to what he has to say.

“Yes?” Her voice was even.

“I need your help, Avni. Come immediately, please.”

“The name is Avanika. What happened?” Judging the desperation in his tone, it was something on the lines she specialized.

“Sorry… Avanika. Please help me. There is a dead body in my house.”

“Whose?” She asked without a change in her tone. She should have been surprised, but she wasn’t.

“I don’t know. I mean, I do. But…”

“But what, Ransh?” She snapped. Despite the situation, Avanika was in no mood to forget and forgive his past mistakes.

He audibly swallowed, “Her face is familiar. I think I saw her two days ago.” Then he added. “At the club.”

Avanika suppressed a curse. It was hardly surprising. He wasn’t the killer type, but anybody could kill when pushed into a corner. And, Ransh was mercurial enough to become a prime suspect.

“Call the police.” She ordered.

“They’ll arrest me! Avanika, I didn’t do anything. Trust me, please. I wasn’t home all night.” He panicked.

Pinching the bridge of her nose, Avanika counted until five. “Ransh, you will need to call the police. Now.”

“But…”

She picked up the keys from her table and walked to the door. “I’m on my way. If you don’t call them, I’ll have to do it myself.”

After a pause, he mumbled he would do it.

“Good. Don’t touch anything until I come.”

Ransh sighed into the phone, relieved. “Avanika, I’m glad you chose your profession over me.”

She snorted. Becoming a P.I was her only ambition. After years of persistence, Avanika was successful.

She took the small kit which she got two days back just in case if she needs anything. The engine ignited as she rotated the car keys. It was 12:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon. She tried calling him again to check if he had already called the police. The whole bell rang but he didn’t pick up. She tried three times and no luck whatsoever. She now got two reasons for panicking. One could be that he has just made things up and called her to see her again or if has done something not really required at that point of time like suicide or ran off from the crime scene and she was more worried about the former one. She didn’t even know why she was helping in the filth he has created. It was a mutual breakup after all they both mutually decided that he don’t deserve her. A sense of relief she felt, when he called her back just before when she was about to reach his house. She felt as someone was following her.

‘Hey, you called. Saw your missed calls. Tell me.’

‘Missed calls? Are you insane or what? Leave it. Why weren’t you picking up your phone?’

‘Ohh, I was in the rest room. You know, I am stressed.’

‘Ughh. Did you call the police?’

‘No, not yet. You come here first. I have recently watched this show ‘Criminal Justice’ on hotstar. The story line is almost similar. The police don’t listen in such cases. They will arrest me for the crime I have not even committed, and I don’t want to spend my next few years in jail and you fighting my case to prove me not guilty.’

‘First of all, you need to call police. It’s not drama, right? And secondly, I am a PI and not a lawyer who will fight a case.’

‘Exactly my point. You won’t be able to help me once the police come. Please help me.’

‘Okay, stay there. I am coming in five.’

*****

‘Open the door. I am standing outside’, She called him when she reached there. He opened the door slightly to check whether she has come alone or with police. In any case, he knew he could do nothing. She didn’t have to do much hard work to find the body as it was lying down on the couch in the drawing room. It was a girl in her twenties, dressed in a black top and a blue pair of jeans. She spotted the footwear on the ground. The first thought which came to Avanika’s mind was about the girl’s dress sense. The blue pair of jeans was not going good with the top she wore. She was lying there as she was not dead and just sleeping and at any moment, she would wake up to surprise them.

‘Are you sure, she is dead? She doesn’t look like, she is dead.’

‘Am I sure? No, I am not. How do we check? She hasn’t even moved since when I came back.’

‘Check her breath, you idiot.’

He did try to check her breath and he felt relieved.

‘No, she is dead only. I can’t feel her breath. Pheww!!’

‘How can you be relived that she is dead and not alive?’

‘Yeah!! We shouldn’t be. But I at least guessed it correct’, He said

‘Leave, I am not arguing with you anymore. Now, tell me what happened right from the scratch’, She said.

‘ok. As they say,” the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony”, I was being myself, just when..’,

‘Who they?’

‘People say’

‘I was lonely, when you left me. I discovered that, I am way better human being when I am without you. Not intending to offend you, but you used to restrict me from being myself. I started making friends, mostly girls. They find me attractive also. By the way, why were you so possessive about me?’

‘Wait, what are you saying? For god sake, there is a dead body in front of you. You are not even realizing, how much in trouble you are and here you are talking shit like nothing has happened and I was not possessive about you. Why are you even telling me this?’

‘You only said that start from the scratch. This is like a segue way to the story of Sushila’

‘Wait, who is Sushila now?’

‘This dead girl’

‘Her name is Sushila?’

‘No, I don’t know but for convenience, we should start addressing her with some name at least when she was alive, no?’

‘Ughh, why am I here? Continue.’

‘I was living life king style. Meeting new people, chilling with them, partying with them and it was all blissful, until two nights back. I went to this place Knight Ryders to have a couple of drinks and some good time. I was at the bar counter when I saw Sushila dancing and grooving to some EDM music. She saw me, I saw her, and it was like she has almost fallen for me. I didn’t even smile. She came to the bar counter with her two friends. She came and sat near my chair. I knew, she would start talking and so I was playing the tough guy. She ordered a ‘Sex on the beach’ and her three friends ordered the same.’

‘Three, You just said two. See Ransh, let me make it very clear. I am not here to listen to your Casanova stories. I am not your ex-girlfriend who would get jealous of these fake useless stories. I am a P.I, who is here to help his client. You have to tell me truth or the cops will try their ways to get the truth out’

‘Alright, P.I. I got a call from Ravi to meet him at the Knight Ryders. You know Ravi? When I reached there, Ravi wasn’t even there. I was alone, so I started drinking beer and then I saw Sushila dancing. I don’t know what happened, but she came to me and slapped me on my face. She even called me a ‘pervert’. I couldn’t say anything. I was not even gawking at her. I just saw her and then this happened. I was sad, so I started drinking. I got sloshed and woke up in the morning only outside the café today in an Auto where I might have passed out that night. I don’t remember anything from yesterday. I don’t even know, what happened. I came back home today, and it was all opened. I saw her on my couch. I got panicked and so I called you’

‘Should we check her pockets?’, She asked.

‘Will it hamper the evidence in any way?’

‘Of course, it will, but I can handle that’, she started opening her kit and took the most basic thing a P.I would be using. She wore the gloves and started searching the whereabouts of Sushila. She found car keys in one of her pockets and some hard cash in the other pocket. On searching the whole house, they didn’t find anything related to some female except a female shower gel in his bathroom, which Ransh admitted that he uses because of the fragrance. It was almost two hours, and both couldn’t figure out how Sushila landed in his home.

‘What should we do now?’

‘We should at least now call police’

‘But, they will ask you questions when I will tell them that you have been here for the last two hours. Won’t they?’

‘You can not make me a part of this. This is wrong.’

‘But, you are a part of this. We have eaten Maggi together’

‘I was just helping you.’

‘Which I am not denying. I won’t deny ever, in front of cops also.’

‘You won’t say anything. What do you want me to do?’

‘Dispose the body’

‘Have you gone mad. I am calling police. I will handle the consequences’, she took out her phone and before she could even dial any number, there was a knock on the front door.

‘Cops?’, he asked her.

‘Not yet. I don’t know, who is it?’

‘I have a doorbell. Only cops knock the door even where there is a doorbell.’

‘Go and check’, she said.

He opened the door slowly. It was Ravi standing there with a Rug sack in his hand.

‘What are you doing here?’, he asked him.

‘I went to take the rug sack for Sushila.’

‘How do you know Sushila?’

‘Bro, we met Sushila that night. She called you pervert also. Let me in at least. We will fit her inside this and dispose her body as you asked.’, he let him inside.

‘Ohh, you have already called Avanika, but she was supposed to be a here’

‘I don’t remember anything.’

‘What happened that night?’

‘Should I tell her?’, Ravi asked him.

‘Ofcourse, even I want to know.’

‘Bro, after that night you came to my house. You drank whole night and you were cursing Sushila. You made this whole plan of abduction. I gathered her information about her whereabout. We were there in front of her college the whole day yesterday. You don’t remember anything? We then abducted her to your house after she left from the college. We took her to your house, and you injected her with Potassium chloride and then she died there only. Our plan was successful. You again drank whole night and then asked me to drop you near that pub again and to arrange a rug sack for body. I don’t know why, you called Avanika’

‘What are you saying man?’

‘I am definitely calling police now’, she said

“CUT”, some one shouted and the whole crew came to the room.

‘It was a prank Avanika, which they are shooting for this reality show. How was it? How was my acting?’

‘Prank?? The girl has not been moving for the last two hours’, She said.

‘Isnt she a good actor?’, he said and laughed.

****

“Actress died while shooting for a reality show where she was supposed to act like a dead body”, newspaper read next day.

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Photo by Alexis Alvarez

Sandeep Jumrani
Sandeep Jumrani
Hailing from Agra, Sandeep is a business developer by choice and a storyteller by passion. He believes that writing stories allows one to build their own fictional world. According to him, we all are playing characters and different roles in people’s life stories.
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