THE TRUTH

Raphael was busy arranging the documents required for the raid that he was to conduct the following day. An undercover agent working with the police department, Raphael had been deputed to carry on this raid on a gang that apparently was selling unauthorized stuff. The leader of the gang however was a very well known figure in the social circuit, making the accomplishment very difficult.

It was on a tipoff received through an anonymous call that this raid was arranged in a jiffy. No officer would have had the guts to accept this challenge, knowing very well about the high influence of the main accused. However Raphael was a man who had the chutzpah to even enter the den of a lion unarmed. He was renowned as one of the most courageous officer, whose moral records were unblemished. Accompanying him would be his wife Nancy, who worked as his subordinate and Joseph; yet another subordinate.

Only the four of them, Raphael, Nancy, Joseph and their senior Mr. Richard were aware of this operation it was a closely guarded operation as it involved a renowned personality.

As Raphael finished arranging the sheets, he suddenly got one of those bouts of headache that had been troubling him of late. The doctor had prescribed some medicine as temporary relief till a detailed CT scan report was to be received.

‘Ooops!’ Raphael realized that the reports were supposed to be collected the previous day. He had been so preoccupied with two back to back assignments in office that it had slipped his mind. Then this raid had cropped up all of a sudden leaving him little time to even reverberate on his ailment.

It must have slipped Nancy’s mind too. She was away attending a friend’s wedding and had said that she would be joining him for the raid the following day.

Presently he stretched his hand to take the pill from his drawer. Thanks to Nancy everything was available at arm’s length. She was very particular about keeping things in their respective place and would often get cross with Raphael for his callousness.

Putting the pill in to his mouth Raphael again stretched his hand for the water bottle. Nancy’s absence became conspicuous from the quantity of water in the bottle. There was hardly one sip. She would never keep a bottle even half filled. If there was any difference of opinion within the couple, it was only because of trivial matters like these that upset Nancy. Half filled bottles, strewn clothes, scattered things.

Raphael had the sip of water but it felt like the pill had just passed his throat. He was about to get up and fetch some more water when nauseating fumes emerged from downstairs and engulfed his room.

‘Oh God, this guy has started his experiments again. I need to confront him now before going to the gym,’ so saying Raphael changed into his gym tracks and wearing his shoes, quickly ran down the steps to the ground floor apartment. A self proclaimed scientist, Mr. Alden, had just moved in a few weeks ago and in the name of carrying out experiments was creating much of a nuisance to Raphael and his wife. They lived in the upper portion of the villa.

A few calls made to the landlord hadn’t changed anything because the landlord had expressed his inability to sort out the issue right away. He was out of the city and assured that he would look into the matter once he returned and that would take a good three months time.

“Is someone there?” Raphael asked as he slightly pushed the door that was ajar.

“Oh is that Mr. Raphael, I will be there in a minute.” Raphael could hear Alden calling out from inside the house.

The pungent odor of the smoke that was s till lingering in the room triggered Raphael’s cough and he felt like the pill which he had gobbled with scanty water was wedged somewhere in his esophagus.

“Help yourself to some water. It is on the table,” Alden instructed from wherever he was.

Raphael tried opening the water bottle but its lid was sort of jammed and refused to open. There was a glass of water kept beside the bottle, covered with a coaster. Raphael drank it in a jiffy and felt much better. He waited for a good ten minutes with no sigh of the scientist who kept assuring him from inside that he would be there in a minute.

Bugged with this, Raphael left. It was time for his gym session now and he couldn’t just stand there at the threshold of Alden’s house till eternity.

In a few minutes he was down at the track running towards the gym. He happened to bump into a hefty guy accidentally and tried to apologize, but the guy was looking at nowhere, astounded. “Who is it?” he said in a coarse voice. “What happened?” a passerby asked.

“I felt like someone bumped into me now.”

Raphael was astonished. He was standing right there apologizing but the man did not seem to hear him or see him. Raphael tried touching the man by his shoulder as a gesture of apologizing again.

“Who is that?’ he screamed, much to the awe of others there. They thought he had gone insane, but Raphael was shocked.

Does this mean he had become invisible? He had bumped into a gentleman and the man has felt his bump, but Raphael’s apologies seem to be falling into deaf ears. He ran towards his house to check if he could see his reflection in a mirror. However on reaching the premises, Raphael overheard the scientist vehemently clarifying something on the phone.

“No I did not ask him to drink the concoction in the glass. He was coughing and I asked him to drink some water that was kept in a bottle alongside. How on earth would I know he would consume that liquid in the glass?  I was getting my guinea pig ready, in the meanwhile he came and I am sure he had come to fight over the smoke that got spread as I was finishing the experiment. Now I do not know if he has become invisible and is here around. I have shouted in the air requesting him to nudge me so that I can realize he is around, but he is not responding. How am I going to be sure if he has turned invisible and also how am I going to assure him that he would be visible in another 12 hours?”

Someone on the other side seemed pretty cross with Alden. Raphael could hear him shout, “Go to his apartment and find out if he is there.” After a short sermon by the other person on some dos and don’ts the phone was snapped.

Raphael was initially bewildered to know that he had actually become invisible but was happy to note that this was a transient phase and that he would be visible in another 12 hours that would be around 6 in the morning. However he decided to give a jolt to the scientist by remaining evasive. ‘For all the trouble he caused to me and Nancy, let him brood over it for the next twelve hours,’ he smirked.

An excellent idea struck him all of a sudden. What if he would sneak into the premises where he was to conduct the raid the following day? No one will be able to see him and he would easily be able to find out where they have hidden the smuggled goods.

He can stun his wife and Joseph by directly pointing out where to look in for the hidden goods the following day and then he would become a stalwart. Of course he would unravel everything to them later.

Raphael went to the premises in his invisible form.  However he was surprised to see fervent activities going on there. Goods were being hurriedly moved and the immediate right hand of the man behind this whole smuggling was frantically giving instructions to people.

“Move all the materials quickly. Put them in the truck. We will shift them to our guest house. Mr. Raphael would not even get a whiff of it.”

‘What was going on here?’ Raphael was thoroughly baffled. They had somehow learnt about the impending raid, but then who might have informed them? Other than himself, Nancy and Joseph and of course Mr. Richard, no one was aware of it.

Lost in the situation, Raphael moved ahead hearing some noises. He was taken completely by surprise to see his wife Nancy and Joseph sitting across the table and chatting with the main suspect.

Then he saw wads of currency in a briefcase that was handed over to Nancy.

 “Thanks for giving us the information. Tomorrow when you husband comes he will find nothing here.” The man laughed and shook hands with Joseph and Nancy.

The duo walked out with the money and hurriedly got inside Joseph’s car. Raphael had a good mind to follow them, but right now getting inside the truck carrying the smuggled good was more important. He could find out where they are being hidden and the following day he would surprise all of them by conducting the raid in that premises.

With a heavy heart he got inside the truck without anyone noticing obviously.

So Nancy and Joseph are together; how he could never even find out that they had a crush on each other. He had been so naïve. He chided himself. They would take this currency notes and probably set up a home elsewhere. Nancy had lied to him that she was going for a friend’s wedding, but the truth was she was coming here with Joseph to unleash the raid plan and get awarded. How unscrupulous of them!

Raphael returned home in the wee hours of morning and in a while he realized that he had become visible. He profusely thanked the scientist, who was surprised to be showered with a volley of praises.

“You have helped me crack too many puzzles, thanks for helping me become invisible. My work will be recognized soon, and my life will have a new perspective all because of you,” he said shaking hands with the scientist. The guy looked confused, but enjoyed every bit of this adulation.

The raid was to be conducted in another six hours. Nancy and Joseph would reach there together as if they had met by accident on the way. Raphael could not bear to envisage the night they might have spent together after getting shit loads of money. Who knows this may not even be the first time they are together. It is just that Raphael happened to spot them this time.

Gathering his composure, Raphael dialed a number. “Hi Raphael, how come you are calling so early in the morning? I thought you are coming to office before the raid. Is there something important?” Mr. Richard sounded a bit vexed.

“Sorry to trouble you, but I need orders to pull back the timing of the raid and change of venue too.”

“And may I know why?”

“Can I come to the office and explain everything in detail, please? I will meet you in another couple of hours.” Raphael got ready in a jiffy.

The unpardonable treachery by Nancy and Joseph was unveiled in front of his senior. Mr. Richard was not able to concede and wouldn’t believe that the duo would do such a thing. However, soon the rescheduled successful raid with only Mr. Richard and Raphael cleared his doubts.

In his capacity as the head of the department, Mr. Richard wasted no time in preparing legal notice against the two.

“When both, Nancy and Joseph will go to the originally scheduled premises in a while, they would be astounded to see the premises sealed by us. Obviously they will come here. Then they shall be served this notice and hand cuffed. Thanks for bringing this immoral deed of the duo to my notice, but wonder how you were able to do it. Anyway it has been proved beyond doubt that they are the culprits.” Mr. Richard was all praises for Raphael.

Around the same time, in one of the most famous hospitals, Nancy and Joseph were sitting across the table talking to the chief Doctor.

“Doctor, is this money enough to save my Raphael from that deadly tumor?” Nancy was trying hard to fight back her tears.

“Raphael is an unassuming person and a very good and professional officer to work with. Our department can never find anyone more sincere than him. He has to survive to wipe off trouble mongers from the society and for that this tumor has to be permanently removed. Can you assure us that with this amount the operation can be conducted by your panel of doctors?” Joseph was literally pleading.

October 28, 2019 06:06

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James Offenha
01:42 Nov 09, 2019

Really loved the section where he’s trying to swallow a pill with no water. You tell a lot in this story and I’d love it if you could show more.


Sudha Viswanath
03:45 Nov 10, 2019

Thank you for having read my story. I have been working on 'Show' more and 'tell' less, at the behest of many friends. Will inculcate that in my subsequent work. Thank You so much.


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