A loud scream pierced the stillness of the night and it send chills down my spine. I heard someone crying in the neighbour's house. The time in the clock showed 12.45 am
I was here at my aunt's house enjoying a long vacation. after my final year degree exams.
I knocked on my aunt's door knowing that she must be fast asleep after taking her medicines.
My aunt opened her door looking worried and groggy.
"I heard some screams from the neighbour's house. I think there is some problem.
I am going there to enquire " I said
She said she would come too as she didn't want me to go alone.
It was warm and sultry outside. We started walking towards the house in the dim lights of the street amidst the cloud calls of night insects all around us.
My aunt lived in a small beautiful village in kerala which was just an hour away from the city .
Her only son had migrated to Canada few years ago and wanted my aunt to join him but she always refused saying she was happy in her little village, surrounded by friends and relatives and didn't want to be uprooted.
The distance to the neighbour's house was not much. There were paddy fields all around bordered by huge coconut trees which were swaying in the mild breeze.
It was a huge house away from all the other houses that led to a long narrow pathway connecting the main road ahead.
The house belonged to 'Amu ' a 70 year old widow who had suffered a paralytic stroke, few years back since then had spent most of her time in a wheelchair .
Omna, a middle aged lady was hired as a nurse cum companion to take care of her and she lived with Amu in the same house as she had no family of her own. There was a cook and a maid who would come in the morning and leave by evening.
The lights were on in all the rooms and the main door was open.We saw Amu huddled in the wheelchair weeping bitterly with Omna standing beside her .
As soon as we entered Omna came running to my aunt, she was crying, her face contorted with fear,saying nothing we could understand. My aunt calmed her down and I went to pacify Amu who was in a bad shape.
Through their sobs we gathered that Amu's son was lying dead in his room above and it seemed someone had strangled him.
My aunt was too stunned to react and didn't know what to say or do. We just stood there watching Amu and her nurse clinging to each other and sobbing.
By this time some more neighbours walked in hearing the commotion. My aunt told them what had happened and one of them called for the police.
The police came in quickly with a doctor who examined the body and declared him dead.
They took charge of the body and looked around for finger prints and other clues, there were no finger prints as if the killer had wiped it all after committing the crime. An ambulance was called in and the body was taken to the hospital for postmortem.
The police came down to interrogate Amu and the nurse.
Omna said around 12 am they heard Dev, Amu's son enter the house as he had his own set of keys.
They heard some voices, the son was talking to someone but they didn't think much about it as he was in the habbit of bringing his friends home and they would have another round of drinks which would go on till wee hours of morning .
She and Amu then went back to sleep. Omna always slept in Amu's room incase she needed some assistance during the night.
After a while they woke up to a loud thud and heard footsteps running down the stairs.
By the time Omna came out the intruder was long gone. She found the main door was wide open. Sensing trouble she called out to Amu's son, but he didn't reply and so she went up to check on him.
Eexcept for a night lamp all the lights of his room switched off.. He was lying on the floor motionless. She went near him and saw some ligature marks on his neck. Being a nurse she recognised those marks. She checked his pulse and found none.... she ran down screaming.
Amu was devastated to hear the news and had been sobbing since then. The police turned to her to record her statement but she was in no state to say anything.
They said they would come again to interrogate Amu. They sealed the room and warned that no one should enter the 'scene of crime.'
"It's going to be a long night, so you can go home and sleep", my aunt said. I told her I'm fine as I wanted to be with her.
We stayed with Amu the whole night ..she was sobbing and calling out to her only child.
A doctor was called in who gave her a sedative that soon took effect and Amu fell asleep.
It was nearly 5am when we returned home and none of us could sleep anymore.
My aunt made us coffee and we sat at the long wooden table in the kitchen discussing the turn of events. She looked perturbed. She said, it's the first time such a horrific incident had taken place.
The village was very safe and they all lived like one big family. I was aware of it as I always visited her during my school and college vacations and it was a second home for me.
Amu's husband was a wealthy landlord and he owned nearly a quarter of the total land in the area. Amu was a very pious lady who always helped the poor and no one returned empty handed from her doorstep.
There was an orphanage for destitute children and a home for senior citizens totally funded by Amu. She owned many paddy and rubber plantations from where she earned all the income.
Her only son Dev turned out to be a lazy scoundrel. I never got along with him because he was always arrogant and rude even as a schoolboy. He never helped in the family business. He kept bad company and often picked fights with the villagers and sometimes even misbehaved with the ladies of the village.
People tolerated him because of Amu or he would have been languishing in jail for some time now.
He had raped a poor innocent girl 'Minu ' from the village who eventually committed suicide and Amu had hushed up the matter by compensating the girl's family handsomely asking them to leave the village.
Everyone in the village hated Dev.
Being the "only child", Amu had spoilt him rotten. She was blind to his faults and indulged him by fulfilling all his demands and this took him further on the road of destruction. Too late the consequences of her indulgence dawned upon Amu.
Now she was keeping a tight fist on her money which infuriated the son even more and there were instances where he had raised his hand on his old invalid mother for money.
Once he had hit Amu so bad that she had to be hospitalised for her injuries but she told the doctors that she fell in the bathroom.
He always treated Omna as a minion and left no chance to belittle her which she ignored only for Amu.
The next day the police came to interrogate Amu . They said the postmortem report revealed that the alcohol level was very high in the victim's blood and he didn't put up any resistance to the murderer.
They asked Amu if she suspected anyone. She said he had many enemies and it was difficult to pinpoint any one person.
"Are any valuables missing.?" asked the policeman.
Amu said she kept everything in the bank except for a little money for her personal expenses in the house.
The police ruled out robbery as a motive and felt it must be some personal enemity. They had also checked his call details but did not find anything suspicious.
The last rites of Amu's son took place the next day. Amu sat there stony faced and dry eyed. The whole village had turned up for the funeral more out of respect for Amu than for her son.
The police summoned her son's friends to interrogate them . They told the police that they were all drinking together in the bar and after sometime everyone left for their respective homes, their call records were checked, their family interrogated but no incriminating evidence was found against them.
All the goons and miscreants from the village were rounded up for questioning but the police couldn't find any concrete evidence against any of them and they were let off as they all had cast iron alibis.
They interrogated everyone from the village including my aunt and me.
The investigation progressed but nothing much came out of it.
The police returned after two weeks and told Amu that they have found no clue to conclude.... it was an outsider's job. They wanted to interrogate Omna the cook and the maid again ..
The cook and the maid said they both had left the house in the evening. Omna repeated her same story supported by Amu.
The police did not argue much and they left saying they would keep the investigation on and if they get any further information they would let her know.
Soon a month passed and it was time for me to return home.
I booked my flight for the following Sunday evening 10pm.I wanted to go and meet Amu but she still in a state if shock and wasn't meeting anyone. My aunt was feeling bad that I had to witness this horrific incident but I assured her that I was fine .
At 8pm the cab driver called to say he was waiting at the end of the road to avoid the potholes and asked me to walk up to the cab.
I didn't mind as I had only one bag and it wasn't much of a distance. I bid my aunt goodbye promising to visit her soon and started walking down the road.
I walked past Amu's house which was in darkness except for a night lamp in the living room. Amu slept early by 8pm and no one was allowed to disturb her once she was in
I heard some voices coming from her living room. Thinking she was still awake, I peeped from the window to shout out a final "Good-bye".
The sight inside chilled my bones. Amu was walking towards the staircase erect and without any support. She climbed the stairs and within no time disappeared inside the room. Omna was sitting near the lamp and reading a book.
I was too scared to move or speak and stood rooted to the spot.
I managed to reach the cab and literally collapsed on the seat.
Throughout my journey, that scene, haunted me.
Amu could "walk"? Why was she hiding this fact?
Was she the one who climbed up and strangled her son or was it Omna?
Did they tell lies to the police that they had heard Dev talking to someone the night of murder?
I was befuddled by all these questions and couldn't find any answers.
I reached the airport by 8.30, checked in and sat down in a corner, lost in thought.
"Mr.Roy !Mr Roy! " someone was shaking me rudely.
I saw three policemen standing before me.
I was wondering why were they calling my name
" you will have to come with us as your under arrest for the murder of Amu's son Dev", one of them said loudly. Before I could react they handcuffed me and bundled me into their jeep.
My aunt was already in the police station crying and looking at me in disbelief.
"How can you arrest me"? Do you have any proof? I shouted.
The inspector looked at me with a gleam in his eyes and asked me.
"Do you deny that you know Minu? The girl who committed suicide after she was raped"?
"Weren't you in love with her" ?
"Isn't it true the moment you realized that Amu's son had raped her you wanted to kill him?"
"Didn't you come with a plan to murder Dev?" He was throwing questions at me one after the other without waiting for an answer.
The inspector said that after interrogating almost every one from the village he was perplexed as he couldn't find any evidence against anyone. So, on a hunch he went to meet Minu's father who lived in another district. The father was still grieving his daughter's death. He told the inspector that his daughter was a talented artist and had received a scholarsip from a reputed arts college which had been her dream.
He proudly showed all her paintings to the inpector. Among those paintings was one of mine which the inspector instantly recognised.
He asked the father about the picture. The father told him that his daughter was in love with this boy . And that moment the inspector knew it was me..
He said that night I left the house after my aunt went to sleep knowing she takes sleeping pills and wont wake up until morning. I waited for Dev outside his house and persuaded him to invite me in on the pretext of discuss something important . The moment we went to his room I strangulated him.
I pleaded with them that it's all just a bunch of lies and false implications. I can never murder anyone but everything I said was falling in deaf ears.
I wanted to tell them about 'Amu's secret 'but no one would believe me.
My mind was numb.I was trying to recollect the events of that night before I heard the piercing scream but everything was blank.I couldn't remember anything .
Was it possible that I had murdered ' Dev.'?
I felt an icy grip squeezing my heart......
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Amazing story! Enjoyed reading it. Didn't even suspect the writer in the least.
Hi! I loved this story. Not for a moment did I suspect the narrator. Good job at keeping suspense! This is the first story I read where I just couldn't figure out the actual person at fault. This story reminded me so much of the Agatha Christie book The Murder of Roger Ackroyd where the plan is so similar. Good job!
Thank you Nirosha ,I'm glad you liked the story.I hope you read my other stories too, and give me your feedback.
Great story, I was surprised by the completely different ending, really beautiful, is it reasonable for the storyteller to be the killer, I never imagined it did.
Thanks for liking my story, it's not sure whether the story teller is the killer or someone else.
Miraculous story all events are excellently related