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Crime Historical Fiction

PART 1: THE EMERGENCE

It was a warm evening and fog rose from the Seine. It mingled

with the brume if industry and elouded the gas street lights that

dimly lit the Warwick streets. Adjacent, in the 4th district, was

the Western State Penitentiary Prison, within which a man Joe

Cole, whose hands were chained to the wall by cold steel chains

and ankles bound by cuffs.

Joe had brown, straight hair and long thick sideburns that

taunted the corners of his mouth. He was in rags. His nose still

had the bruise from the attempt to detain him when six rugged

men were needed to pin him down and capture him.

“Sir” he said speaking to Fred Cain, the Warwick Chief of

Police, “I turned a criminal the night my father had me arrested

as a kid”. When those constables had turned up and took him

away to a cell that night, he had felt betrayed, devastated by his

father. Above all, he had felt angry. And that anger had stayed

with him all his life, a chip on his shoulder that had been ever

present in his interactions and informed his life choices.

Fred sat in the adjacent corner of the cell on a wooden bench.

His hat in his lap and his walking stick leant against the wall.

“During your trial at the Warwick county court, did you give the

judge these damn reminiscences about your dad? Do not waste

my time”.

The rays of torches lining the walls flicked. A rat buzzed

between the iron bars and retreated into the shadows.

“I have watched that damn machine cut off the head my dear

friend Gregor Manor. This can’t be my fate”. He shook his head.

The surprise look upon Gregory’s face as his head fell to the

ground was forever engraved in his memory. He couldn’t resist

it, could not recall how Gregor used to smile or the jovial times

they shared in local brothels.

“You have deserted from the army, you have destroyed many

marriages and you have orphaned my children. Why would I

care about your damn fate?” Rays from the flickering torches

gleamed in Fred’s eyes.

“Sir, I crave a life no longer on the run”, said Joe, thinking of

his recent arrest. His wife, who left him for another man, had

found him back in London and reported him to the police. He

could never be free while the sins of his past stalked his being.

“Such is the date of a criminal. Why would I care about your

itch? You are wasting my time”, Fred said, snatching up his

cane and smashing it against the wall. He stood.

“Sir, let me tell you what I can offer you, so as not to waste

any more of your time.”

Fred pushed out the backs of his jacket and sat carefully on

his stool. “You can proceed.” Thieves adore me. Hardened

criminals esteem me. I drink their hearts. I will gather their

secrets and share them with you.”

“We have informants already, why would I need you?”

“Sir, I will be the best of them all!Of your informants, do any

have as much esteem amongst the other criminals? Of your

informants, have any been as tricky as me, to escape hardened

prisons so many times, even dressed as a nun to avoid detection?

Sir, I will go to lengths those simpletons could not even imagine.

I will be your best informant sir. I know this without a pinch of

doubt, and I think you do too.”

“I can’t trust you”

“Sir, when my late father had me arrested as a boy, my fate

was sealed. In my mind, I became a criminal. It has taken my

while life to realize he did that out of love. I can be different, I

can be of use to the society, I can be the man my father knew I

could be.”

“I don’t know if you can.”

“Sir, I’ve seen the end. I’ve seen my friend’s head freed from

his body by guillotine. I know that God’s grace has all but kept

me alive. I will be as devious as I was in crime but use those skills

to catch the criminals, and make Warwick safer.

He shook his head. ” Just as the rats carry the plague, I fear

you spread a vile truth.”

“Sir, just give me one last chance. Please.”

Fred was silent. “We will hold off your application in the

morning. But know this, you are one mistake from execution. I

want intelligence, actionable intelligence, or you will be seeing

your father sooner than you had imagined.”

He stood, picked up his cane, placed his top hat on his head

and signalled to a guard outside the cell to let him back inside

the cell.

Joe put his head back on the stone wall and blinked a tear. He

would be tireless, he would be disciplined. He would use the

tricks and the black arts he had learned. It was clear that Fred

barely believed what Joe said. But that was fine. Because he

knew what was there in his heart. And it was true. And, with

time, he would prove it. He felt the anger that had fuelled his

heart for so long start to thaw. The miserable wretch that was

his soul, felt a flick of hope. His father had loved him and had

wanted to be the best he could be, no matter how tragically he

had tried to teach that lesson. And now understood that it was

only ever a lesson. He could become the man his father knew he

could be.

PART 2: BLIND FOLD

“Sir I didn’t kill him. And why would I do so when I don’t know

him? ” Sarah said with a persuasive tone.

“Every murderer says the same thing madam. Speak the truth

am too exhausted to listen to all your crap”. Said Joe with roaring

insolence.

Sarah covered her face with her hands. Tears came rolling out.

This ordeal was agonizing. She said in a very low tone “believe

me I didn’t do anything. Somebody is framing me.”

“Your neighbor has given statement against you. He is the

eye witness.” Joe said with the same crooking voice.

Sarah jumped with shock and said “who? Yash?” Joe nodded

slightly narrowed his eyes on Sarah. Sarah said in a little bit

louder tone “that’s impossible. He can’t be an eye witness

because he is blind!!”

3 years ago………

The neighborhood is not so friendly contrary to it’s name

“Friends for life Residence” in an elegant area of Warwick city.

Sarah likes it that way, silent and uncanny. She was forgetting

things slowly. Initially sh ignored the symptoms which have

started interrupting her daily routines. Things turned out to be

nastiest day by day when she was diagnosed with Insanity one

day.

David left her alone with a psychiatrist. He sent the divorce

papers and Sarah mutually agreed. A smart move by David

because if Sarah forgets him, the divorce would be on the brink

forever. The treatment turned out to be prolific. Sarah was

getting better not wholly but partially. Sometimes she just

wonders; the treatment makes her feel better of David’s absence

in her life. She once asked the doctor if her treatment can wipe

out all the previous memories and rebuild fresh memories or

not?

“Hey stop the lift for me…..!” Sarah shouted and rushed in

hurriedly.

Sarah went out for her groceries and other essential or non

essential things with all precaution measures. She has saved

each and every possible detail of almost everything about her

in her phone and she keeps a small notepad too in case of

emergency. Sarah now doesn’t forget the way to her home nor

her neighbors.

“Thank you Yash. You too went out for groceries? Said Sarah

with a chirpy voice.

“You’re most welcome Sarah. Yes lots of groceries actually,

so that a blind man doesn’t need to go out pretty often”. Yash

sounded overwhelmed.

The lift stopped at 4th floor. Both of them came out and walked

towards their respective doors. Yash doesn’t like people helping

him or feeling pity on him. He loves doing everything all by

himself. He manages very well. Sarah wonders blind people

have some special gifts. They can sense anything good or bad

more efficiently than other people with eyes.

“You should come to my place sometimes. I cook very well.”

Said Yash putting the exact key among all other keys into the

hole with absolute perfection.

Sarah was busy watching him do so. She answered after a

pause of few seconds “yes sure.”

Sarah has posted notes on almost all her stuffs; washing

machine, microwave, food, clothes, bathroom, bird food, fridge,

TV, remote and cash. That worked actually. She sat with a cup of

tea and turned on the TV when she heard the lift door open and

close going to the ground floor. There are two houses in each

floor so that makes Yash and Sarah the only close neighbors to

each other.

“Yash is so wierd. Just now he told me he bought extra

groceries to avoid getting out very often and look at him.” Sarah

was talking to herself.

Yash was not a friendly neighbor when he first met Sarah and

David. Though she vaguely remembers whether Yash has ever

talked to them or not. That day when Sarah went out to bring

cigarettes packets for David and she forgot her and David’s name

and house number and mistakenly, she knocked Yash’s door,

David yelled at Sarah like an animal and the very next day she

was taken to Maria, the psychiatrist. Sarah tries very hard to

remember that day whether she entered Yash’s house or just

stood outside of the lift going up and down from 5th floor is the

maximum during nights

Why would a blind man go out so often at night? Sarah has

heard sounds too. Like people having arguments but during the

day, the house remains grave silent. She is not much more sure

though. Sarah took sleeping pills. Seems like he is hallucinating.

The canary was chirping merrily sitting at the aisle of the sofa.

The alarm rang, time to feed the bird.

The insanity has destroyed many important memories and

ability of judgement of which Sarah repents a lot. Though some

memories which Sarah repents for not remembering evidently

is about her peculiar neighbor Yash. After a year of undergoing

treatment one fine day, the bathroom tap stopped working

persistently. Even after wasting four helpless hour Sarah

couldn’t remember the plumber’s name and phone number.

She was in a dilemma of going out and asking for help as she

hasn’t stepped out for quite a long while.

That is when landed at Yash’s door for the second time. A tall

handsome young man wearing black glasses opened the door.

After listening to her problem, he went in to get the plumber’s

phone number and asked Sarah to sit and wait.

That’s the moment which Sarah can’t recall however hard she

tries. When she was sitting and waiting, she saw a glimpse of

Yash without spectacles going through some notebook pages.

Sarah leaned forward a little more to have a clear view when

Yash came out of the blue and stood in front of her like a ghost.

“Sarah I found the plumber’s phone number.” Yeah said in

calm voice and gentle smile.

After the plumber left, Sarah sat on the sofa with her canary,

she thought “Yash might be looking in a Braille book probably

but I can’t remember in which room he entered and from which

room he came out. He appeared in front of me in a jiffy like a

ghost. Why can’t I remember? Fuck!! Someday I will forget my

own name.”

Present Day……

“Mrs Sarah, you are a patient of severe Dementia (insanity)

and your psychiatrist has confirmed that too.” Said Joe with rage.

Sarah’s eyes were red with anger and frustration. She yelled at

Joe. “I am Miss Sarah not Mrs anymore. My husband left me

for another woman the moment he learnt about my disease. Yes

it’s true I was in severe stage of insanity but I have recovered

partially didn’t my psychiatrist confirm that to you? I live alone,

I forget things but I cannot kill anyone!”

Joe extended a glass of water and said “calm down Sarah. Fine

then, can you tell me what exactly happened yesterday? Try to

remember everything clear and specific.”

Sarah said with wet eyes “please don’t say like that officer,

I clearly and specifically remember everything that happened.”

“Yes it’s true that I don’t remember since when Yash is my

neighbor. He was unusual but a pleasant man, soft spoken, never

misbehaved with me and very helpful but one cannot ignore the

fact he was a mysterious as if he is not worth he seems to be.

There’s always a mystical aura around him. Yesterday morning

we met in the lift and he invited me for lunch, I refused as I don’t

stay away from home for.a long time, but he would not listen.

At 2pm I distinctly remember it was 2pm I knocked his door. He

came out wearing his usual black glasses and his stick which

he carried with him like a shadow. He asked me to sit and wait

and he went out saying that he forgot to bring some soft drinks

and he left abruptly. He was fucking longer than usual and I

was getting reckless so I thought to take a short trip around

his home. I checked my wrist it was 3pm. I wanted to use the

washroom, I searched it myself and when I screamed aloud like

hell. On the floor was lying a man on pool of blood. I stepped

back and collided with Yash. I don’t know when exactly he came

and when did he called the cops. I conspicuously remember his

endless screams blaming me for Killing that man who I don’t

know.”

Just then Fred entered the room with the autopsy report. Joe’s

eyes widened as he reached at the end of the page. He stood up

and said “Miss Sarah you may go home. But I am sorry to say

that a lady constable will accompany you to your home.”

Joe seems to be an expert. He has been to the station many

times. He has been interrogated by some of the best detectives.

Fred was astonished by the way he was commanding respect

among his team despite being new to the job.

This being his first case. Joe led his team to search vigorously

for 2 months the killer. One morning, Joe reached Sarah’s house.

Sarah was shocked and glad at the same time.

“We are extremely sorry for bothering you Miss Sarah. I

apologize on behalf of the entire team.” Said Joe with composed

eyes.

“It’s okay officer. I keep forgetting things so I forgot the

mishaps.” Sarah said with a witty smile.

She added again “congratulations for your win by the way.

What happened to Yash? He never came back in this house

again!”

Joe said “that night, the autopsy report said that the man died

in sometime between 3:30 to 3:45 am the previous night. So we

dismissed you as our suspect as we knew that your presence at

your neighbor’s home at that time was impossible. We nabbed

him from a motel in the highway where he was hiding with

his Identical twin brother Gilmour. Gilmour is blind but not

Yash. Both of them are so identical that they easily switched

roles. Gilmour stayed indoors and Yash turned blind whenever

he stepped out. They are drug dealers. The man Yash killed was

a rival. They had some argument and Yash stabbed him. That

day Gilmour was yelling at you not Yash. They were trying to

bewilder the cops by imposing murder charge on you. Anyway

miss Sarah, get well soon!!! And beware of tricky neighbors.”

Sarah was extremely happy that the killer was arrested and

gained confidence in her memory and her disease. That’s a win

for her and Joe.

Fred led the whole Warwick Police Department to give Joe a

standing ovation. He was also awarded with the “cop of the year

award.”

July 20, 2021 19:27

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