THE SECRET OF THE DEAD FAMILY: A SHORT STORY BY ME In STORYMIRROR.COM
I will present Grace and Lester King’s adventures next week after I come back from my vacation. Meanwhile, please enjoy this story from Storymirror.com.
Oh, no!” cried Rekha Reddy after seeing a semi-nude corpse of a man lying in her house. Her ten-year-old daughter Asha was lying unconscious beside the body.
She had left her daughter alone to buy grocery from the nearby grocery store.
She called her husband Sagar who was the general manager of a multinational company in Mysore. They had recently shifted to Mysore after Sagar’s job transfer. Rekha was a housewife who took care of the family.
Things went on smoothly for them until a couple of weeks ago. They noticed a considerable change in the attitude of Asha. She was no longer a friendly and cheerful child. She started throwing tantrums ever since they shifted to a new house. Rekha was quick enough to notice that Asha was normal during the day. She had no problem with her female companions.
She even allowed her father and brother to touch her before the sunset. She became violent at night when any man or a boy approached her. She pushed her seven-year-old brother Rahul down the stairs. She bit her father and attacked her maternal uncle when he tried to hug her.
Rekha started noticing blood stains in her dress. She thought that perhaps Asha had started menstruating very early. Asha did not show any sign of discomfort that could indicate the same. Never the less, she took her to a gynecologist who ruled out the possibility of menstruation. Rekha sought the help of her best friend cum forensic expert, Aarti. Her worst fears came true. Aarti told her that the blood stains in her dress were of six different men.
Rekha was shocked to learn about this new development. She was too stunned to react.
Aarti thought of something. She decided to check and compare the blood stains on Asha’s dress with those of the recently murdered men in the area. The police had discovered semi-nude corpses of several men in the same locality with their genitals severed.
Aarti was stunned when she discovered that the blood stains matched perfectly with these dead men. The police were unable to track the culprit because of the lack of evidence. Aarti called Rekha to discuss the current situation that could affect Asha’s future. She visited her house after Asha went to school.
She briefed her about her findings.
She asked her, ” When did you start noticing a change in her behavior? Did you observe her facial expression after her personality changed?” Rekha answered, “We moved here just a couple of months ago after my husband got transferred from Bengaluru. My father-in-law, Mr.Sadashiv Reddy owns this house. He asked us not to open the locked room in the basement. Asha wanted to find out the secret of the locked room. She stealthily crept into my room and managed to get the key. This incident happened a couple of weeks ago.
It was Sunday, and I was taking a nap in my room. I heard a shriek coming from the basement. I rushed down immediately and saw Asha lying unconscious on the floor. I scanned the room thoroughly but did not find anything suspicious or frightening. It was an ordinary room with a broken chair and a cupboard containing family heirloom. I shook her and sprinkled water on her. She immediately opened her eyes. I can’t forget the murderous look that she gave me. Her eyes were devoid of love and affection. She stared at me for a few minutes and then became normal. Her father usually spends quality time with her during weekends. They went to the park with Rahul. No sooner did they enter the house after sunset, Asha became furious for no reason. She stomped upstairs to her room, looking disheveled. Later that night, she pushed Rahul down the stairs when he called her for dinner.”
Aarti’s expressionless face convinced Rekha that she did not believe her story. Rekha continued to speak, ” I would like you to see the CCTV footage for your satisfaction.”
Aarti replied, ” I am sorry to bother you, but I have to inform the Police Chief. You need not worry about Asha. We will keep the case as discreet as possible. We will watch the recording before planning our next course of action.”
Rekha agreed to her suggestion after getting an assurance from Aarti about the confidentiality of the case. The latter arrived with The Police Chief Mr. Bhaskar Rao on the following day. Rekha switched on her computer to play the recording. All of them watched in absolute silence. Everything happened just as Rekha had said except for the basement part. There was no CCTV in the basement to capture the images.
Aarti and The police chief were shocked to see little Asha behaving like a monster. Rekha was about to switch off her computer, but Aarti stopped her. Rekha’s eyes widened in horror when she saw Asha leaving the house with a dagger. The recording stopped abruptly.
Aarti’s eyes were too sharp to notice a silhouette moving behind Asha. She whispered something to the police chief. He got up to leave, followed by Aarti. He said, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Reddy. I don’t think your daughter is responsible for the ghastly murders. I never believed in ghosts until I saw this video. I am sorry to say this, but some evil spirit has entered your daughter’s body.” Rekha and Aarti were astonished to hear these words from a reputed police officer. The police chief asked Rekha to bring him a glass of water. He signaled Aarti to keep mum until Rekha went away. Aarti asked him, “Why did you fabricate a story about ghosts? You know very well that they do not exist.”
He responded, “I want this lady to believe in the ghost theory. I have discovered some loopholes in the video, proving her innocence. If you remember, the entire background was dark. The lights were not turned on. Asha’s image was crystal clear. It means that someone was recording her movements with a video recorder or a Handycam. He stopped recording the video and started following her. The silhouette belonged to the real culprit who wanted to frame her. Did you notice that Asha’s face showed no expression at all?” “What do you mean?” asked Aarti, “I can’t understand the relationship between her facial expression and the case.”
The officer answered, “It means that the child must have been either hypnotized or sleepwalking.” Aarti quipped, “What about the blood stains that discovered on her dress? It matched perfectly with those of the victims.”
“Use your brain, my dear child. You are a forensic expert, ” he added with a chuckle. Aarti looked puzzled. The police chief continued his explanation, “She must have been standing close to the victims. The Culprit mercilessly stabbed them till death. That is why you discovered the blood stains on her dress. I have another surprise for you. The murderer had an accomplice to execute these murders.” “How did the child know where to go? She was not even fully awake,” asked Aarti. He added, “I want you to find out whether Asha had a sleepwalking problem or hypnotized. The crime scene is nearly 6 km away from Asha’s house. The culprit and his accomplice must have forced her into a car. I am saying this because the girl is new to this area. I am sure whoever committed these murders, must be a local citizen. You have to convince Rekha to send Asha with you for a couple of days. Tell her that the kid needs a change of place. Don’t ask her right now, but wait for 2-3 days. You are not supposed to breathe a word to your dear friend, Rekha. I can hear her footsteps. I will call you later. I request you not to get yourself involved in this case. Ask your detective boyfriend, Sameer Kumar to meet me immediately.”
Rekha entered the parlor with two glasses of water. “I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I had a hard time with Asha. Since it is already 6.30PM, she has gone back to her foul mood.”
He insisted on seeing Asha before leaving the house with Aarti. Initially, Rekha hesitated to comply with their request fearing for their safety. Finally, Aarti persuaded her to allow them to see Asha. Rekha opened the door of Asha’s bedroom slowly. The visitors were shocked to find her chained to the iron bed. She screamed at the top of her voice. “I want to kill Sadashiv Reddy,” she continued her ranting, “Hand over that cold-blooded murderer. I will leave this body after drinking his blood.” Mr.Rao asked her, “Who are you? Who is Sadashiv Reddy?” Asha responded in the same male voice, “I am Ramayya Vedahalli. Sadashiv Reddy was my close friend who stabbed me in the back. He repeatedly raped my wife and two daughters after tying me to a pole. He had six buddies who also joined him on satisfying his lust. My wife and daughters died after the gang rape. Sadashiv killed me after usurping my property.”
Rekha replied, “Sadashiv Reddy is my father-in-law. He is a perfect gentleman. I am sure this is a fabricated story.” She turned towards Asha and said, “Please leave my child alone. I can’t let you kill my father-in-law. Ask for something else that would please you. “The evil spirit inside Asha did not budge from its stance. The police chief whispered to Aarti, “I want you to send me a copy of the autopsy report of the six victims. Rekha madam, I need to go through the CCTV footage again. May I have the recording, please?” Rekha complied with his request. They bade each other goodbye and moved on to their respective destination.
Next day Aarti sent him a copy of the autopsy report with Sameer. “May I come in, Sir?” asked the young and handsome twenty-seven-year- old detective, Sameer. The police chief greeted him warmly before taking the report from him. Sameer said, “Aarti told me everything about this case. I did a little homework on this case before coming here. These men knew each other very well. Who were they? Why were they killed at the same spot? Who is the murderer? What was the motive? These are the questions that must have cropped up in your mind.” Mr.Rao was impressed with his presentation. He encouraged him to go ahead with his findings.
Sameer continued, “These men were either in their sixties or seventies. Their names are Govind, Sathish, Dhanapal, Vasu, Murali, and Ramesh. You must be familiar with these names. They were involved in a brutal gangrape and murder case around twenty-five years ago. Sadashiv Reddy happened to be the main accused. The complainant, Mr. Vishnuprasad Vedahalli, had filed an FIR against them. He accused them of threatening his elder brother, Ramayya into vacating their ancestral property. Sadashiv and Ramayya were childhood friends. The former was well educated, whereas the latter was illiterate. Sadashiv learned that Ramayya had discovered a hidden treasure in his house. Sadashiv had wilfully obtained his thumb impression on the legal documents. Ramayya refused to oblige him. Sadashiv and his henchmen forcefully entered his house. They knocked him out and tied him to a pole. Vishnuprasad was in the backyard when he heard someone screaming. He decided to investigate before calling someone for help. He entered through the backdoor and found that he was too late to rescue them. The men had finished raping his sister-in-law and her two daughters. Sadashiv and his men went away, laughing at their success. His brother Ramayya had sustained severe head injuries. Ramayya’s wife and two daughters died on their way to the hospital. The court acquitted them due to the lack of evidence. Ramayya passed away after a week. Vishnu performed the last rites of his family. You would be surprised to know that Ramayya had four children. There were three daughters and a son. The youngest daughter and her brother were playing with other children at the time of the murders. I feel that the brother-sister duo was responsible for killing their enemies.”
Rao asked him, “How did you find out all these details?” Sameer replied, “I followed the usual procedure. I asked my friend Inspector Shekhar to check whether the deceased had any criminal record. Fortunately, all six were involved in the same case. I got the address and contact number of Mr.Vishnuprasad from the old police records. I went to meet him personally. He told me everything that I needed to know. He showed me their family photograph as he got emotional. He is a bachelor. He brought back his niece and nephew with him to Mangalore. He did not tell the children about the tragic incident. He took an apartment on rent. He educated them and took care of all their needs. They got decent jobs and moved out to Mysore again. I have got their photos from their uncle.” Sameer handed over the photos to the police chief. The latter was too shocked to react. Sameer also told him that Asha was perfectly normal. She was forced to act against her wish. Sameer added, “When you and Aarti went to see the girl, she was screaming out of pain. She threw this paper while pretending to be possessed by the spirit.” Rao took the paper from him only to find a message in tiny scrawled handwriting. It said: Help me.
Rao was furious with himself for leaving a child in distress. He received an urgent phone call from Rekha. She discovered the dead body of her father-in-law lying in her house. She was weeping all the time and could hardly make any sense. Rao assured her that he was on the way. He requested her not to disturb the crime scene. He disconnected the call and asked Aarti to join him.
Aarti and the police chief arrived shortly. Asha was still unconscious. Sagar had broken down completely. ” When did you discover the body? What were you doing before the murder? ” asked Mr.Rao.
Rekha answered, ” I had gone to buy some grocery from the store across the road. Asha was playing with her doll. I shouldn’t have left her alone. Her grandfather was not aware of her problem. He might have tried to hug or kiss her. The monster inside her killed him. I hope it has left her body for good.”
Aarti and the police chief burst out laughing. Rekha was annoyed by their behavior. Sagar reprimanded, “How can you laugh at someone’s demise? What was so funny about my father’s death?” Aarti spoke for the first time. She retorted, “Why don’t you ask your darling wife? She has told us nothing but a bunch of lies. She wants us to believe her idiotic theory of a spirit.” Rekha was speechless to see her best friend criticizing her. Aarti went on to launch a verbal tirade against Rekha. She said, “You are a disgusting liar. I thought I knew everything about you because we were supposed to be childhood friends. We grew up together in Mangalore. I don’t think I would be able to expose you.”
The police chief said, “This story begins with a friend’s betrayal followed by rape and murder of Ramayya’s wife Anjali Devi and his daughters Lakshmi and Priya. He had another daughter Renuka alias Rekha and a son Pradeep. Fortunately, they were playing with their friends at the time of this incident. Their uncle Vishnuprasad cooked up some story about their family’s prolonged absence. He wanted to get justice for his deceased family members. Sadashiv used his wealth and position to escape the noose with his friends.
Vishnu could not bear the pain and humiliation. He decided to settle in Mangalore for the rest of his life. He left Mysore with Rekha and Pradeep. Both the children had a sound education. They were unaware of the harsh realities of their lives. Rekha got a new friend Aarti with whom she shared an excellent rapport. They went to the same school until 10th grade. Aarti wanted to become a forensic expert. She left Mangalore for higher studies. She still kept in touch with her best friend. Rekha and Pradeep joined their respective colleges for completing their higher studies. They used to visit their uncle during their semester holidays. As luck would have it, Rekha overheard her uncle talking to someone about the death of her parents and older siblings. Rekha wanted to seek revenge from her adversaries. Since Sadashiv Reddy was a renowned businessman, she had no problem in tracking him.
She moved back to Mysore with her brother. She learned that Sadashiv had a son, Sagar. She thought of marrying Sagar and then move closer to her primary target, Sadashiv. Her hopes were dashed to the ground when she discovered that he was already married and settled in America. She contacted him through Facebook. Rekha was determined to ruin his family. They started chatting with each other. He shared all his secrets with her. His wife Srishti discovered about her husband’s extra-marital affair. She committed suicide leaving behind two children. Sagar came back to India after losing his job. His father asked him to join his business. Sagar refused him because of his self-esteem. Rekha used her social contacts to help him get a job in Bengaluru. She asked Pradeep to find out where the other villains lived. He came to know that all of them were living in Bengaluru. They moved on to Bengaluru. Rekha married Sagar much against her uncle’s wish. Pradeep decided to live in a men’s hostel. He got a job in a private company. Rekha frequently visited Pradeep to discuss their evil plan. She waited patiently for two years as she wanted to gain Sagar’s confidence. Pradeep was an expert mimic. Rekha recorded her father-in-law’s voice and handed it over to Pradeep. It took him several months to achieve perfection.
Finally, it was time to put their plan into action. Rekha used her influence to get Sagar promoted and transferred to Mysore. She never went for a job so that she could plot the downfall of seven lives. She started abusing and ill-treating her stepchildren. Pradeep joined her in torturing them. These two wanted the children to do their bidding. Pradeep sedated little Asha and raped her very often. Rekha threatened to beat Rahul if he tried to complain about them to Sagar. She starved the children and made them look like zombies. Pradeep burnt Asha’s tiny hands with cigarette butts. She yelled out in pain. Rekha concocted a story about the ghost of Ramayya entering Asha’s body. I remember the day when we went to see the child. She just moved her lips as advised by Rekha. Pradeep spoke to us on her behalf. He was hiding under the cot.
These two had already executed their plan successfully around a week ago. Pradeep pretended to be Sadashiv and invited his friends for a treasure hunt. Rekha and Pradeep killed them with the help of a goon. Rekha hated the dead men so much that she severed their genitals. They had forced Asha to accompany them on the night of the murders. They wanted the police to believe that Asha committed these murders under the influence of the ghost. Am I right, Mrs.Rekha Reddy or Rekha Vedahalli?”. Rekha trembled in fear. She knew that her game was over. “Does it mean that Rekha killed my father as well?” asked Sagar now turning red in anger. Aarti replied, “Yes. She killed your father. She had planned to eliminate you along with the kids. I would like to know where you have kept Rahul. If you remain silent, then I will have to ask the constables to blow off your brother’s brain. Our men caught him outside your house. You left behind your diary when you came to seek my help. I wouldn’t have cared to read it, had it not been for Asha.” Rekha panicked and told them that she had locked Rahul in the basement. She also confessed to her crimes with her brother. One of the constables came back with an unconscious Rahul in his arms. “You bitch!” shouted Sagar, ” Get out of my sight before I kill you. You are a heartless wretched woman. Look what you have done to my kids!”
Mr. Rao sensed imminent danger. He asked Sagar to get his children admitted in a hospital for treatment. The police led the brother-sister away.
The court handed them a death sentence. Sagar quit his job to look after his children. Rahul became hale and hearty. It took some time for Asha to come out of her trauma. However, she lost her usual cheerfulness after the rape. Sagar took her for a counseling session with a child psychologist. The latter helped her regain her self-confidence. Sagar took over his father’s business and spent a lot of time with his kids.
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