Chapter 1: A Haunted Memory can be read here
Chapter 2: Three Strokes of Red
A few years ago
Prakash yelled out in desperation. There was no response and frankly, he didn’t expect one. He frantically looked for clues in that desolate house. As he was rummaging the remains of a book shelf, a rather fresh looking paper protruded out of a book almost as if it wanted to scream something. His trained eyes didn’t miss the obvious clue.
“Roses are red and Violets aren’t blue
When your body aches and your day ends
Where memories will be your only friends
There, lies your next clue”
With renewed hope, he rushed home.
His eyes welled with tears as the agonizing memory of his lost friend stirred up emotions he thought he had long suppressed. He was now at a gallery, far from his home, waiting for Annie, his flame and the one with whom he hoped to share the future. An artist, much like his lost Lissy, her abstract representation of feminism was something he was sure he would never get, but then, he was no connoisseur of art.
“So you want to buy this?”
The girl asked, bringing Prakash back from his reverie.
“Not now, miss. And what is your name?”
He was expecting her to be called Lissy, much like us, but then he realized he was not a single dimensional character in a slasher movie. However, a moment later, he understood that this name meant that perhaps there was more to the unsolved mystery of his dead friend.
“Lissy… Annie...Catherine... like Jack the ripper’s victims”
A few years ago
Lissy did not shrug or struggle. She knew that she would get out of this situation and trusted Praksah to find her.
“Now we continue”
There was a slash and the mirror was bathed in Lissy’s blood. Still, she was calm.
“Now we disrobe”
The red sari was forced off her.
“You realize that you are not going to get away with this, don’t you?”
She asked, though in agony, she maintained a calm demeanor that was unnerving for the assailant
She had to be broken. <88 words removed as they were deemed too graphic and violent>
That was the last anyone saw or heard about Lissy.
Prakash rushed in an hour later only to be greeted by a severed thumb and a butchered placenta. There was her sari, with the message.
He had to move away from those haunting eyes. He was now happily staring at some ridiculous exhibits. There were three not so straight red strokes on a strikingly white canvas that was priced twelve lakhs. Even such absurdity did little to distract him as he was going through whatever facts he remembered.
“We both know I didn’t do that one”
Sarvesh said with a straight face as he was taken to the prison then and was now awaiting his date with death. As a junior, there was not much he could do back then and he swore that the actual killer would be brought to justice, rather than Sarvesh, a murderer nonetheless, but with a different modus operandi.
“Excuse me, sir”
It was a waiter. What was it this time, pigs in blankets? Chicken on couches?
It was an envelope.
He opened it to pick out a photo of a young Annie. Instinctively, he looked at the other side
There was no mistaking the handwriting.
Note : This post is a part of the “Tagged” Contest by writer Kaarthika and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Kaarthika’s book is being released on May 29.
P.S: Now I tag Raji to take forward the team…
P.P.S: The story has exactly 569 words because, well, 500 is too mainstream.