It was dark chilling mid night, with very few vehicles running on the bridge. A vehicle stopped by, just before the bridge. A dark figure, wearing thick woolen coat and a woolen hat, may be to protect from cold or to hide himself, came out of the vehicle. Slowly and cautiously, the figure walked under the bridge. Reaching a place, he stopped and looked around again. He bent on a place, rummaged around shuffling some stones around. As he moved a big stone, he froze, probably be he had found out for which he was looking for. He picked up something and replaced with it a wrap from his coat pocket, moving the stone again to its previous position. Looking around vigilantly, the figure started coming back to his vehicle. Suddenly another vehicle happened to run fast on the road flashing its headlights on his face, revealing, he was none other than Dan, a close associate of John.
As office staff arrived in the morning, they got summon to assemble in the hall, a rare thing happened since long. What was it that John summoned his staff to assemble in the hall? It must be in connection with the current serial killer’s case going on. Sam, who was considered to be the closest of all associates of John, used to know such things beforehand. But today, it didn't happen; Sam was unaware of the purpose of the meeting.
When Sam reached the hall, he was the first to arrive. Gradually others started to assemble with lot of whispering going on among them. Most of them asked Sam about the purpose, but were surprised to find him too ignorant. John was still to arrive. Dan arrived at the end, with wavering around, and took a seat in the corner.
Was john aware of my deceit?
But how could he know. I myself am unaware about whom I helped, then how could he know?
Dan was consoling himself.
Some unknown person phoned me, he assigned me a job and gave a pretty good amount in return. The amount was also not handed over directly, he kept at some unknown place and I picked it up.
Dan now felt little relaxed. Suddenly John came in with his swift long steps. As he arrived he kept the file with him on the table, a rare act, generally somebody used to follow him with his files and papers.
" Today I called you here to disclose a shocking and equally disgraceful news...." John took over the attention immediately after he came in.
Dan's heart started throbbing badly. John took a detailed gaze over the audience, trying to pick up the culprit. He removed two photographs from his file, handed over to his associate seating in the first row corner, and instructed him to circulate those in the crowd. As photographs traveled from head to head, the reactions were of confusion and astonishment.
"Look at both the photographs carefully..." John said
Again the whispering sound could be heard in the hall.
" Look carefully... in both the photographs there is a tea table... in one the paper weight is kept on it and in the other it is missing... as you all know, we all were instructed not to touch or move the things at the site..." John's penetrating eyes moved around in the hall again.
"Then where the hell that paper weight has gone? ... The paper weight suddenly disappears... what does it mean?... that it must contain something important which would have led us to the culprit... like the finger prints or the blood traces ... or something like that "
Dan was trying hard to hide his expressions.
" Then what I should infer from this incidence... that we ourselves have some traitor inside..." John said, now with his high-pitched hard tone.
A dreadful silence spread over in the hall. Dan was trying hard to hide his emotions , but still his eyes spoke. Did John catch his expressions?
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Mugdha Apte