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Shalini replied, ” I told our cook, Mrs. Laxmi, about Vishwas’ hospitalization and asked her not to come for a couple of days.” Gautam was shocked. He asked her, ” When did you hire her? Is she trustworthy? Did Vishwas sir check her credentials?” Shalini looked puzzled, ” Are you suspecting her of any crime? Actually, she saved my son from the kidnappers and Vishwas hired her instantly. Believe me, SI Gautam. I was also surprised because he didn’t even consult me.” Gautam faked a smile, ” No issues. We will try to find out about her. Meanwhile, I would suggest you keep distance from her. Don’t discuss any family matter in front of her. She might or might not be innocent. It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Shalini smiled back and said, ” I can stay for a couple of hours. I promise not to let him out of my sight for a moment. Carry on with your investigation and catch this rascal before he causes further trouble.”

A doctor entered the ICU to check his vitals. He reported that Vishwas’ condition was stable. Gautam felt restless after recapitulating all that took place within a couple of days. He prayed for Vishwas’ speedy recovery and left his boss under his wife’s care. He had a cup of coffee and pondered over the next course of action. He had to catch Ram Prasad red-handed along with the paymaster. He cursed himself for ignoring the license plate of the truck. He thought of a plan to catch the hired killer before he could make another attempt on Vishwas’ life.

He called Lady Constable Rekha Verma and said, ” Listen to me carefully. I want you to spread false news in the police station about Inspector Vishwas’ miraculous recovery and his supposed discharge from the hospital tomorrow. Make sure Ram Prasad takes the bait. He is a black sheep working for the serial killer.” He gave her the necessary instructions and also sought help from his trusted men to trap the killer. He went back to the hospital and asked Shalini, “Ma’am, avoid using landline at home and never let the cook hover around anywhere near you or Harish. I want to make sure that she could be trusted.”

Shalini nodded. He requested her for a duplicate key to the house and advised her to stay with Vishwas the whole day, next day. He had to carry out a major sting operation. He said, ” Also ask your cook to come home tomorrow after 10 AM. Just tell her that your husband has been discharged. Under no circumstances, should you leave your husband. Please drop your son at your parents’ house before you come to the hospital.” Shalini agreed to follow his instructions.

The next day, Gautam and his men took their position outside Vishwas’ house. Shalini and her son had already left the house. Gautam used the duplicate key and let himself in. He arranged the pillow and bedsheets to look like Vishwas was sleeping in his bedroom. He locked the house and hid among the bushes. There was a rustling among the leaves. A man covered in a black shawl used a skeleton key to let himself in. Gautam and two constables moved stealthily behind him.
The killer opened the master bedroom and took out his knife to stab at his victim but Gautam sprang upon him and cuffed him. He said, ” What’s the big hurry? Let’s see who you are.” He removed the shawl and wasn’t surprised to find Chotu, a hitman hired by the rich to get rid of their dirty laundry. He almost escaped every time because of a loophole in the legal system and a little help from the police department. He had a police record but they were altered and mentioned only minor offences like chain snatching and stealing wallets ( pickpocket). Chotu smirked, ” You won’t be able to keep me in jail for a long time. ” Gautam restrained himself from punching him. His men led him away. He noticed a woman enter the house. ” This must be the cook, Laxmi, ” he thought. She entered the kitchen and prepared coffee for herself. Gautam stepped into the kitchen and said, ” Wow! What a wonderful cook you are ! Helping yourself to coffee when your employers are not around. ” Laxmi almost spat the coffee and left the cup on the table. She turned to face him and said, ” Who are you? How dare you break and enter the house? I am going to inform Shalini Ma’am about your trespassing. ” Gautam was shocked to see her. Her face seemed familiar. He suddenly remembered her true identity. But how could it be possible!
” Well, Laxmi ji or rather Ms. Asha Gupta, ” he remarked, ” It’s a great miracle to find a dead person who emerged alive after 16 fucking years. Where the hell were you and why have you come back now? If you are still alive , then why didn’t you contact your best friend, Monica? Because of your supposed tragic incident in 2006, a monster was created. Monica killed several people and now she is responsible for the attack on Inspector Vishwas. You have to contact her and ask her to surrender.” ” I am afraid, sir, ” she said, ” I can’t do that.”

” But why? “
” Because Monica Mehta is dead.”
SI Gautam was speechless. He yelled, ” Are you out of your mind? She has been killing people and challenged the police to catch her. What are you talking about? “
Asha replied, ” This may come as a shocker to you. But Kunal and his father paid me to substitute my identity with hers. Unfortunately, My best friend, Monica Mehta, was raped by her own father and brother with their friends under the influence of alcohol. They realized their mistake when they became sober. They approached me with an offer I couldn’t resist. They paid me 50 lakhs to use my identity and frame Inspector Vishwas. I can’t tell you anything more than that.” At this point, Gautam saw someone peeking through the window with a gun. He pushed Asha aside as the bullet ricocheted and deposited in the kitchen window. Asha thanked Gautam. The sniper ran away after failing in his mission. Gautam was sure that there were bugs and hidden cameras in the house. Otherwise, how did the culprit know when, where and whom to attack?

Is Monica Mehta nee Aggrawal truly dead? Will Gautam trace the real culprit? Will Vishwas survive or succumb to his injuries?
Watch out for the upcoming episode of Catch me if you can.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š


8 thoughts on “SHORT STORIES FRIDAYS (33)

  1. Thank you so much, dearโ™ฅ๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธโ˜บโ˜บโ˜บ. Enjoy the weekend.


  2. Thank you so much, dear Elvira. โ™ฅ๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ


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