# 5 Who’s NEXT???

The story so far…

#1 A Haunted Memory

#2 Three Strokes of Red

#3 The Red Saree

#4 Black Heart

 

From here my story starts…

 

The absurd painting with three red strokes was lingering in Prakash’s subconscious mind. Lissy dead. Mary dead. Annie missing or in better words Annie also dead. He woke up stressed. It was seven minutes past 12 noon. He had spent the night before searching for Annie. But there was no clue of her.

‘Catherine must tell me more about both the paintings.’

He dressed up hastily and left for the art exhibit. While driving, the only scene that was playing in his mind was the painting joke from actor Kaarthi’s latest movie ‘Thozha’.

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Masterpiece 😉 😉

‘The world likes random strokes of a lunatic and calls it a masterpiece, paying millions for it. 12 Lakhs for just 3 strokes. ‘

Dumping that thought away he drove faster into the parking area beside the exhibit.

‘Maybe Annie is the third stroke! ’, he ran inside the hall and stood near Lissy’s painting. Catherine was not there.

The security guard walked in and gave him an envelope.

‘She told me to deliver it’, and he departed.

The next is your dearest ROSE. Come at once to the place where you met your first Rose before. Seek her alive.

It was the same handwriting. Prakash didn’t want to lose Annie at any cost. For he knew the haunted place which the killer mentioned. It was just one end of a deserted tunnel near an old mansion. He had met Lissy there for the first time, 10 years ago when he accidentally knocked her off with his bike.

He reached the place in 45 minutes. There was a familiar silhouette at the end of the tunnel. Prakash went closer to get a better view. It was a woman. He had held out his revolver in case he needed it. But the woman standing ahead was walking away him now. Her face was crystal clear in the light.

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The W.O.M.A.N.

A ray of joy erupted inside Prakash. For the woman was none other than his beloved Annie. He ran as fast as he could to hug his love, for her absence had made him mad. At once he wrapped her in his arms and suddenly there was a feeling of excruciating pain from his abdomen. Blood was flowing profusely when he touched his belly.

He pushed Annie away and there was a bloody dagger in her hand. There were tears in Prakash’s eyes now. The love of his life had just, sweetly murdered him. Gravity pulled him, and he lay helplessly now.

He saw Annie for one last time with his blurred vision. She grinned, perhaps too happy on her achievement.

A man with a majestic style of walk came along and stood behind Annie.

‘Know who the third stroke is, you fool?’ he said with a laugh.

Prakash recognized him instantly, making no mistake this time.

‘Noel’, he said breathing his last….

 

The main pieces of the unsolved puzzle were still missing!!!

Who was the third stroke?

Where was Catherine? Was she alive or dead or a ghost??

There was only one person alive who knew some real part of the story, and was passing his time inside a prison now. Sarvesh the crackpot. But who would believe him???

 

Lakshmi continues the story now and you can read it here

 

P.P.S. The above story is an entry to the Tagged Contest-2 by author Kaarthikaa and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Karthikaa’s book ‘Tagged’ releases on May 29 and you can get it from Amazon.

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Witnessing it LIVE!!!

Sometimes life breaks silence by taking you through tumultuous times, and the way you look at things changes forever. It was a regular day, the regular sun, the regular college, the regular chats and eventually the regular evening was about to begin. I did the petite favour of accompanying my mom to the green grocers when, on my way back I noticed Ram and Shyam (who lived in our vicinity) engaged in a bitter feud. I crossed the drunken brothers to reach home. After a while I was strolling around my terrace for time pass I observed the quarrel grew louder and a new element of violence was induced in their process. A reluctant crowd had gathered around to witness the big fight and I joined along with them. In a fraction of a second raged Shyam ran into the house and returned with a dagger. Everyone thought that he was only going to threaten his elder brother with it.

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The bloody wrath.

In the next second unexpectedly, he plunged the dagger into his brothers abdomen, not realised the repercussions of his act. Ram was bleeding profusely and I saw a fear gripping in his eyes: the fear of losing his life. Seeing this everyone in the crowd started running in all possible directions, dispersing quickly in a moment. I stood still, unable to overcome the shock I just got. I could hear my mom screaming to the top of her voice calling me back. I just couldn’t move. And I was the only soul left back in the scene from the crowd. Ram’s son came running towards me, held my hand, with teary eyes he told me, ‘Anna (brother) do something!! He just stabbed my dad!!’ I stood speechless and frozen. He went back to his dad who was slowly dying now and living the last few movements of his life. Meanwhile my brother came in and dragged me back home abandoning my chances of helping Ram. Trembling already, I immediately rang up the police and ambulance, the least I could do. The police arrived after half an hour and the by the time ambulance arrived Ram was almost still as dead. En route to the hospital Ram breathed his last and was declared dead. I felt shattered as my efforts to save Ram went in vain. Had I taken him on my bike, today he would have lived.murder_death_blood_sparks_24412_2560x1440

Life’s value cannot be estimated easily. Seeing a life being taken away in front of my eyes was the most disturbing thing I could ever imagine. I made it a point, that in future if I ever come across a similar situation I will step forward with my presence of mind and lend a hand, instead of running away like the herd of cowards did that day.

From the eyes of: Chris G

Disclaimer: The names of the people involved in the scene have been changed to maintain privacy.