John pressed the door bell and heard the bell ringing ‘Ding Dong’ from Alex’s house. John waited for the door to open. To pass the time, till the door opens, he looked around the house.
... Alex was staying alone. Their friendship was quite old, as he knew him from quite a long time. It seemed that Alex was not taking proper care of the garden in front of his house. When Alex’s wife was alive, she had nurtured the garden, as she was very fond of it. It was almost 5 years back when she died in an accident. Since then the garden was not being taken care of. In between the security there, used to hire someone to take care of it, but not regularly. Therefore the garden was looking eerie and dry, like Alex.
It was quite a long time he had rung the bell. Still why the door is not opened?..
John pressed the button again twice or thrice, knocked the door too and again waited for the door to open.
... Since his wife’s departure there was tremendous change in his personality. Since then he totally stopped mixing with his friends. Suddenly he started to behave like too and too old. He became more careless as he was without mother and father or any close relatives. His wife was the only asset he possessed. And when she left he became all alone. Though his duty was mainly concerned with the dark of the night, but now he had made friendship with the dark. Since then he became so detached that he did not even leave a scope for another life mate to enter his life.
Still Alex’s door was not opened...
Now John was getting scared.
He again banged the door, “Alex” He called out loudly.
There was no response from inside. John walked towards the backside from the right. While going, he peered through the windows, banged them too, but no response. He reached the backside of the house to find the back door completely open. John again called out through the open door. The voice simply echoed in the dark in the house. John slowly and cautiously entered the house with various doubts in his mind.
What’s wrong? ...
Is there any kind of mishap?..
His breath was getting short and fast. Automatically his hand went to his waist and he removed the pistol from the holder. He vigilantly, without making noise, entered in, aiming the pistol around. The things in the house were scattered around.
Alex was not of the type to keep things neat...
Somehow his wife, sometimes scolding, or sometimes caressing, had tried to change his habits..
But since Alex’ wife left him... everything became lifeless for him...
As John entered the bedroom, he missed the beat. Alex was lying on the bed with his mouth slit open. Immediately John went to him, shaked him, “ Alex “ he called out.
There was no movement in his body. He checked his pulse. It had stopped long back. John hurried to remove his mobile from his pocket. But a vibrating mobile came in his hand. He checked the display;
it was Sam. He pressed the button to attend, “ Yes Sam”
“ Sir there is bad news ... the killer has executed the fourth murder too” Sam said from other side.
“ What?” was John’s reaction.
“ Niyole Wagner ... North Street, 1024... killed the same way” Sam provided the additional information.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Mugdha Apte