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The Gift

 

THE GIFT

 

Copyright 2016 Chandrapal Khasiya

Published by Chandrapal Khasiya at Shakespir

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

About the Author

Connect with Chandrapal Khasiya

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

Thanking Tejas Kemkar and Amit Pandey for tolerating my works from school days till graduation.

 

A special thanks to ADIT’s Volcano Team 2014 for keeping me inspired and pushing me to move forward. This is an outcome of your wishes.

 

Heartily thanking Kaushal Desai for suggesting to turn this story into an e-book.

 

And to all lovely readers without whom I would not have been able to complete story after story.

 

Last but not the least, to my Sony VAIO

Chapter One

“You ruined my life!”

 

“Please, at least listen to me.”

 

“Listen to you? What do you think of yourself?”

 

“Hush, our son will hear.”

 

“Let him hear. I don’t care. I doubt even if he is our son.”

 

“For God’s sake, please don’t speak ill about him.”

 

Rajan clutched the edge of his bed, the soft mattress curled under his tight grip. Fear paralyzed him as he heard the rising quarrel behind the closed door. He wanted to push himself up and wished to stop the fight of his parents. However, he failed to muster enough courage. What could a child of eleven possibly do to cease the affairs of adults?

 

And then as if his wish was granted, the noise stopped, abruptly.

 

Rajan sighed patiently, waiting for her mother to enter his room and hug him tightly, assuring that everything was alright. Though deep down he knew only miracle could repair his parents’ relationship. And he didn’t intend to make it right. All he wished was to…His thoughts vanished as he noticed the knob of the door was turning, fading light of the setting sun from the balcony shining on its brass edge.

 

“Maa,” Rajan said, “is that you?”

 

The door clicked, and its hinges made a tiring sound as it swung open. Bright light flooded inside the room, blinding the boy. Rajan struggled to open his eyes, adjusting with the sudden outbreak of brightness. For a moment he thought he saw his mother at doorway, then he realized the silhouette had manly features. “Father?”

 

The shadowed figure stepped ahead, and the light behind him dimmed. Silence fell across the room, a kind of silence that instills horror in one’s heart. Rajan remained rigid as a stone on his bed, his mind numbed, unable to comprehend what to do next.

 

“Were you expecting someone else?” the man said in deep voice.

 

Rajan shook his head, nervously. Words began to form in his throat, and when they reached at tip of his tongue, the grandfather clock at his left began to chime, announcing the time of seven in evening.

 

One! Two!

 

Rajan rubbed his eyes with his hands, they still hurt from the glare. He blinked harder for a couple of times until his vision cleared. A cold spike of fear stabbed him as he realized that the man standing in front of him was not his father.

 

Three! Four!

 

He was a haunting figure, fully clad in black, and his face was shrouded by the golden mask. Rajan stared with disbelief at eye sockets of the masked fear. They were empty, like pools of darkness. Ominous and sinister.

 

Five! Six!

 

The masked man produced a long knife from folds of his overcoat. He rose the weapon, its steel glowing golden in vanishing sunlight. “Happy B’day, Rajan!”

 

Seven!

 

The clock chimed for the final time, and the man struck his fatal blow, slashing the knife across Rajan’s chest.

Chapter Two

Rajan heaved on his bed, gasping a long breath. Nothing seemed to make sense for a while, everything was fuzzy. The only last thing he remembered was the golden masked man and his knife; the thought made his body shiver. Though he knew it was foolish, he could not resist the urge to check his chest for any kind of scars. To his relief, it had not a single scratch. Damn it! He muttered a curse under his breath.

 

Something moved near his feet and bounced at him, licking his face.

 

Rajan pushed his pet dog, Fido, away.

 

Fido moaned, tilting his head.

 

Rajan was certain that his beast had sensed his uncertainty. Just to make sure that only one person remains worried in the room, he ruffled Fido’s head. “Nothing, bud,” he said, sighing. “Some memories just turns into twisted nightmares.”

 

Fido pushed his head affectionately toward his master, licked his face for the last time and curled into a ball near him and dozed off, making a rumbling sound.

 

Beside the fluffy pillow, the phone beeped. Reluctantly, Rajan grabbed it and checked the message. A smile curved his lips only by seeing the sender’s name. Chitra.

 

Happy B’day, dumbo. You just aged 26, but you are still the same idiot I met at my clinic.

 

Like a magical spell, her words vanished every traces of the nightmare from Rajan’s mind temporarily. Smiling sheepishly, he typed – Thank You, love. He revised it and concluded that it was not the right time to reveal his jumbled feelings. Deleting the entire message he simply typed thanks with a smiling emoji at its rear. He was about to touch the send button when his phone flashed a name, filling the air with a vintage tone, a tone which his father used to hum.

 

“What’s the matter?” Rajan asked.

 

“Sorry to disturb you at this hour of the night,” came Sarthak’s husky voice from the other side, “but it’s emergency.”

 

Rajan’s brow knitted in confusion. “At least, brief me something.”

 

“Someone broke into Mr. Mehra’s mansion and murdered him.” Sarthak took a pause before he continued. “Sir, this case is particularly assigned to you for a reason. I am texting you Mr. Mehra’s address and please come as quickly as possible.”

 

Before Rajan could press his aged sub-ordinate more regarding the case, Sarthak ended the call. A moment later a message arrived.

 

Quickly refreshing himself, he put on a white shirt and jeans, gathering his cop’s accessories. He made his way downstairs, crossed the hall stealthily and turned the knob of the main door.

 

“Going somewhere?” A woman’s voice ceased his progress.

 

Rajan turned on his heels, an apologetic smile plastered over his face. “I didn’t want to disturb your sleep, Maa.”

 

With ageless affection she carried in her eyes, his mother descended from the upper floor. “You are a big man now, son. And how can a mother be sleeping on his son’s birthday.” She hugged her. “Happy B’day, Rajan.”

 

“Thanks, Maa,” he said, pulling himself back from the embrace of blessings. “I need to be going.”

 

“You are forgetting something,” Maa said.

 

Rajan mentally rechecked the list of his daily items and found extremely difficult to spot what was he missing. Scratching the back of his head, he said, “And that is?”

 

“Your jacket,” she said, smiling. “You tossed it last evening on the sofa. Wait a minute, I’ll grab it for you.”

 

“Maa, it’s okay,” he resisted, as she walked to pick his jacket. “It’s not so cold out there.”

 

“Don’t be so fool, Rajan,” she snapped. “You aren’t going out without it. Do you get it?”

 

Rajan took his jacket from his mother and slipped his hands into its leather sleeves. “May I have the permission now?”

 

She nodded, worry creasing her forehead. “Be careful.”

 

“I’ll be,” Rajan assured, kissing her forehead. “It’s just an another case, an another puzzle to be solved.”

 

Mr. Mehra’s mansion was on the other side of the city and it would take nearly more than an hour from Rajan’s house. However, as he veered his car in to the nearby alley, a figure materialized suddenly from the mist of the night, in middle of the road. Surprised, Rajan kicked the brake hard; the tires screeched against the asphalt. The vehicle came to an abrupt halt. For a heartbeat, he thought he had knocked down the crazy man. Furious and concerned, he alighted from his car and found the man still standing in the pools of his car’s lights. Safe and sound.

 

“Have you lost your nuts?!” Rajan thundered.

 

“The same question I can ask.”

 

Rajan immediately recognized the husky tone of his sub-ordinate. “Sarthak!” he barked. Then realizing that Sarthak was at an age of retirement, and possibly this case would be his last one, he somehow placid his anger-laced voice. “What are you doing here? You are supposed to be at Mr. Mehra’s mansion.”

 

“We are at Mr. Mehra’s mansion,” said Sarthak, gesturing his left hand to other side of the road.

 

Rajan squinted and spotted an outline of a majestic structure veiled by darkness and mist. “This doesn’t make any sense,” he voiced his confusion. “How can I reach so fast here?”

 

“It’s a game of mind,” Sarthak said. “Something worries you, something is keeping your mind so occupied that you didn’t notice the passing of time, and to not to forget, the distance too. A mind is restless and vulnerable when it is alone.”

 

Rajan pondered at what Sarthak said. The reason tend to be fair. Sighing his frustration, he turned to face Sarthak. By professional level Sarthak was under him, but by age and experience Sarthak surpassed his dexterity. He was glad that Sarthak was his companion and his teacher in the field of crime investigation, however, the fact of Sarthak’s honest service of thirty years to the police department had brought no promotion pinched Rajan every time.

 

“We must go inside,” Sarthak said, rubbing his hands, “it’s cold here.”

 

The duo entered through the large iron gate, security boxes installed at its both sides. They silently crossed the gardens, and then they were in the magnificent hall. Without wasting any further time in the breathtaking decorations of the mansion, they both climbed the broad staircases. Following Sarthak, he turned left and entered a passage, its floor carpeted with rug.

 

Sarthak stopped. “Rajan, I want you to be mentally prepared before what you see inside the room.”

 

Gauging the seriousness of Sarthak’s face, Rajan nodded and got inside the crime scene.

 

Forensic team, garbed in their baggy, plastic uniforms, had spread themselves across the room, searching for fingerprints. A young man at one corner was clicking the photographs. Mr. Mehra’s body lay dead on the bed, a knife jutted at his heart. A large stain of absorbed blood by the bed encircled the corpse. For Rajan who deals with murders every week the environment seemed normal.

 

“Take a close look,” Sarthak said.

 

Cautiously stepping forward he noticed Mr. Mehra’s mouth was gagged with a glittering gift paper, and a sticky note plastered on his forehead. Scribbled on it were the two words Rajan could never forget. They were etched deeply to his consciousness and subconsciousness both. He again looked at the note.

 

THE GIFT

 

Fear seized him from inside like a forgotten enemy, and then blackness clouded his sight.

 

Fifteen years ago, Rajan witnessed his father being murdered by the golden masked man in the same fashion.

 

The murderer had delivered his gift, again.

Chapter Three

“How are you feeling now?” Sarthak offered a glass of water.

 

Massaging his own forehead, Rajan gladly took it and emptied the glass in three continuous large gulps.

 

Sarthak again pressed the question with a weak, fatherly smile. “Are you sure you don’t want to go home and rest? I can drive you to your place.”

 

Still in daze of the shock of what he had witnessed had unsettled his ways of reasoning. Fifteen years, he thought, for fifteen years the murderer had remained low and suddenly on his birthday there was again a similar grim event. He tried to evade the conclusion, presumed other considerations, but every time his musings got concentrated on the same point. It made him shuddered, hairs on his arms bristled. “Do you think…”, he managed to say, “…that it was him?”

 

Sarthak remained silent.

 

Rajan raised his head, and for the first time after his black-out he realized they were in a different room, resting on the cushioned sofas. He registered that Sarthak’s forehead was creased with concern. “Thanks.”

 

Sarthak clamped his hand. “This must have been traumatic for you.”

 

Rajan turned his gaze to the hearth at one corner of the room. The fire was alive, devouring the wooden logs. “How this can be possible?”

 

“Rajan,” Sarthak gave a little shake to his grip. “The murder had similar patterns like your father’s, but that doesn’t prove anything. He or she can be an impostor.”

 

The young cop took a deep breath and sighed it out through his mouth. He repeated it for a couple of times until he felt the confidence building inside him was enough to control his mind. Once content, he rose on his feet and started pacing the room, his instincts were finally at work. “Did Mr.Mehra have any criminal record ?”

 

“No,” Sarthak responded to his officer. “As a matter of fact, he is…I mean he was a philanthropist. I think he was a noble businessman.”

 

Businessman. Philanthropist. These words froze Rajan’s feet to the carpet. His father was too a businessman and philanthropist. He was aware that the acts of helping poor people were just to cover a dark secret from the society. Whoever the murderer was, something more than the victim’s professional wealth had compelled him to repeat this gruesome act. Then something struck him. “No eye witnesses?”

 

Sarthak dejectedly shook his head. “Security guards were sedated with sleeping pills in their meals, I guess. All CCTV cameras are tripped.”

 

“Servants?”

 

“They are denying now, but I believe a rougher interrogation can yield something fruitful.”

 

Rajan dropped on the sofa. This was odd. When his father was killed, there was no one in his house apart from him, while here a whole team of servants were dozing under the same roof. He smiled. He found a disruption between patterns. “This is not the man in the golden mask.”

 

“I hope you won’t say the same after watching this,” Sarthak said, handing him a CD. “We found it beside the body.”

 

“What’s this?” Rajan took the disc and flipped it to other side. His heart forgot a beat. A small label beamed at him. Written on it was Happy B’day.

 

“I better leave you alone,” Sarthak said, rising. “You’ll find the laptop in that bag.” He pointed to a carrying bag inclined at one side of the sofa.

 

Surprised, Rajan asked, “What’s in it?”

 

“The murderer had recorded his killing,” Sarthak revealed. “He deliberately left it behind, Rajan. This is no more a case now. It is a game. A challenge you must accept, or I fear he would deliver more his gifts.”

 

Without wasting any further moments after Sarthak left the room, Rajan unzipped the bag and placed the laptop on the table. As the screen began to glow and the system started booting, his patience began to thin. He inserted the disc and double clicked on the single MP4 file it had. The video player popped open.

 

The screen showed Mr. Mehra’s room from an oblique angle, covering the entire room. A black clad figure appeared from the door, a long knife in his hand. Mr. Mehra seemed unaware about someone’s presence as he was busy in phone.

 

Rajan blinked.

 

Stealthily, the golden masked man seized his target in surprise and tossed him on the bed. Before Mr. Mehra could resist, he stuffed the glittering gift paper on in Mr. Mehra’s mouth. And then the knife hit its mark. Mr. Mehra’s heart.

 

Rajan bit his lips. With fleeting courage, he clicked on the rewind button. Seeing the video again and again was like torturing himself, each time it eroded the suppressed memory of his father’s death, each time he was living the nightmare. When he was about to give up, he noticed a shadow shifting at the door-frame. A realization dawned upon him.

 

Next instant, he was out of the room, searching for Sarthak.

 

“Where is Mr. Mehra’s family?”

 

Stunned to his sudden outbreak, Sarthak took a moment for responding. “He is a divorced man. He had his ten-year-old son as a family.”

 

“His son,” he muttered. “Where is he?”

 

“Sir,” Sarthak interjected. “Better to leave that fragile life away from this mess. The news of his father’s death has already put him in a delicate state. He is no condition to deal with your questions.” Rajan nodded and made his way to the boy’s bedroom. Two police men were at guard at the door. Their body stiffened as they noticed Rajan.

 

“How is he doing?” he asked.

 

One of the policemen answered. “Not good, sir. He hasn’t eaten anything.”

 

Nodding, Rajan pressed the door inside. The room was dark. He searched for the switches, but couldn’t found any in the darkness. Luckily, the moonlight filtering through the only window bleached a square on the floor. And in that square he noticed a dark figure huddled, sobbing.

 

“Hey, champ,” Rajan whispered, squatting beside the boy.

 

The boy didn’t look up. He continued to whine, his whole body trembling.

 

Rajan licked his lips and said, “I understand how you are feeling. I had been at your place fifteen years before.”

 

The boy raised his head, his tears glistening in the moonlight.

 

“Yes,” Rajan assured him. “Fifteen years back my father was killed in the same manner, probably by the same man. A man in the golden mask. The memory still haunts me.” He swore he didn’t want to share this secret with anyone, but he despised his father when he was alive. “I was a child and for simple reasons he used to beat my mother.” Hatred laced his tongue. “Once he hit Maa so hard that blood oozed out from her head. And I sat there, scared, helpless, watching Maa being tortured by the monster I used to call my father.”

 

The boy stopped sobbing. “Did you wish for his death?”

 

Rajan looked at him, shocked. “How did you know?”

 

“Because I wished the same.”

 

Dumbstruck, Rajan stared at him, wondering how their fates could be so similar. Was it some kind of prank? “You mean…”

 

The boy nodded. In his croaky voice, he said, “The reason for my parent’s divorce is my father. I watched them squabbling every night. One day he returned from his office, frustrated. I asked him the reason. He slapped me! Mom defended me and that was her mistake.”

 

Rajan leaned ahead. “What did he do to her?”

 

The boy’s body stiffened. “He dragged her by her hair to their bedroom. I ran for my mother but he shut the door on my face. I banged the door, pleading, and all I can hear was her screams. I don’t know what he did to her, but the next morning a doctor was called for her injuries. My father was a beast. Mom could not even eat by herself. I used to feed her, saying that when I’ll grow up I’ll take her away where we could live happily. But she had different plans. She divorced her, however, she failed to proclaim me legally.”

 

Rajan clapped him on his shoulder and rose.

 

“Will you catch him?”

 

Rajan turned back to the boy. “Yes, I have to.”

 

“But he didn’t do anything bad.”

 

What could Rajan possibly reply? Even he was in dilemma. For the world, whoever this masked man was a criminal, but on his birthday he provided him the best gift – end of his mother’s sufferings. Deep down he was glad that someone killed his father.

 

“Can you save him if I tell you who is he?”

 

“What?”

 

“I saw his face,” the boy said, picking up something from behind. The golden mask. “He said it was his last gift. But I don’t know his name.”

 

“Is he here?”

 

The boy nodded.

 

Rajan’s heart started thudding against his chest. He offered his hand – the boy grabbed it – and he pulled him up. “There is no need to be scared. Come.”

 

Rajan ushered him to the passage. In front of them was the door of Mr. Mehra’s bedroom wide opened. Rajan didn’t want anyone to know that boy was watching them, especially the suspect. “Who is he?” he asked.

 

The boy raised his finger and Rajan saw the man behind the golden mask.

Chapter Four

“How is he?” Sarthak asked

 

Rajan had returned to Mr. Mehra’s room after making sure that the boy had his dinner.

 

“Rajan?” Sarthak clamped the shoulder. “You look as if you had seen a ghost. What happened?”

 

Fifteen years before, he had first noticed the golden masked man, tearing his father’s chest. For fifteen years the shrouded fear visited in his nightmares. For fifteen years Rajan wanted to know who was behind that blasted mask. And when the moment of the revelation struck, truth hit him so hard that it shook the very foundation of his confidence. He felt as if was breaking inside.

 

“Rajan!”

 

Rajan looked at his mentor, his eyes betraying the truth. “Take me to home. Please.”

 

Looking at the pale face of Rajan, Sarthak neared him. “What happened?”

 

Rajan shook his head. “Nothing. I just need some fresh air and some rest. I am tired.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Hundred questions began to pop at the same moment inside him. Why would the killer return, and why would he easily place clues for him to follow? The more Rajan pondered, the more he felt scared from it. If the killer was up to some game, Rajan knew he was now in the heart of the trap.

 

“Keys?”

 

Rajan stared momentarily at Sarthak’s extended hand. Realizing that he was asking for car’s keys, Rajan dug his hand inside the pocket and gave him it.

 

They barely had left the mansion when something made Sarthak to stop the car.

 

“What happened?”

 

Sarthak smiled. “Come out.”

 

As Rajan alighted the car he realized where they were. Covered in thin mist and carpeted with round, smooth pebbles, he walked over the bank of the lake.

 

“You know why I chose this place?” Sarthak said.

 

Rajan didn’t answer. He had anticipated this would eventually come.

 

Sarthak turned to face him. “For what are you waiting? The man you seek is in front of you. Shoot me and end this case! Let your father’s and Mr.Mehra’s souls be at peace.”

 

Rajan took out his gun and trained at him. “Why?” His hand trembled. “Why to play such schemes? How could you kill my father? He was your friend!”

 

“So was Mr. Mehra.” Sarthak stepped ahead. “And they both were monsters.”

 

“This doesn’t make sense!”

 

Sarthak sneered. “If provided an opportunity you would have happily strangled your own father. Am I not right?”

 

Rajan dropped his gun. “I can’t shoot you, nor I’ll arrest you. I don’t know what to do?”

 

“Do what your duty says,” Sarthak spoke with authority. “Do what I taught you. Shoot me!”

 

“I cannot!” Rajan shouted. And then he broke. “How can I?”

 

Both looked at each other. An old man, defeated by time and his deeds. A young pupil defeated by his circumstances.

 

Each desperately wanted something from the other. Each denying to complete one another’s wish.

 

Rajan turned and started pacing toward his car.

 

“Don’t turn your back!” Sarthak said. “Kill me. I can’t live with this guilt! I am a bloody cop!”

 

Rajan paused. “Just like fifteen years before, the golden masked man will again vanish without leaving any clues. I’ll make sure of it.”

 

“You better not!” Sarthak roared, enraged. “Face your fear! Face me.”

 

Rajan continued his stroll.

 

“I won’t leave you so easily, Rajan! Don’t compel me to do things which I not intend. I have lived with this guilt for so long. I can’t sustain more. End my sufferings or else…” His words trailed off.

 

Rajan glanced back to see what Sarthak was doing. His body paralyzed with fear.

 

Sarthak was training his revolver at him. “I can’t allow you. I am sorry.”

 

And then the gun spoke death.

Chapter Five

“Why would I kill you?”

 

“No idea.”

 

Sarthak craned his neck and stared at the surface of the lake. He shook his head. “Why would I kill your father?”

 

“No idea.”

 

Sarthak rubbed his hands furiously, placed them on his face. “Why on earth would I kill Mr. Mehra?”

 

Rajan couldn’t resist anyone. He finally burst his frustration out. “I bloody have no idea about it!” A moment passed and he felt the buzz of people he was hearing had ceased. He looked around and found parents along with their children came for an evening stroll at the lakeside were staring at him. Embarrassed, he again slumped his head. “I said what I saw.”

 

“Wait.” Sarthak leaned so that only Rajan could hear his words. “You said that first you saw your father being murdered. Well, that was usual. I mean you have been suffering that memory from a long time. And then you witnessed another dream of me murdering Mr. Mehra, right?”

 

Rajan nodded.

 

“A dream inside a dream,” Sartahk scratched his chin. “Were you watching Inception last time?”

 

Rajan looked at him with disbelief. “What?”

 

“Inception,” Sarthak docked his head. “Nolan’s masterpiece…”

 

“I know it’s a movie!” Rajan cut him off in mid. “And since when did a person like you have started watching movies?”

 

Sarthak smiled. “You get to do something to kill the time. Remember, retirement sucks! I am missing those days.” He sighed. “Enough of an old man’s rambling. We have a problem of yours and we have to deal with. I just wish your uncle was alive. He was the person who exactly knew what to say something that can encourage you. I am afraid, Rajan. I cannot be like your uncle.”

 

“It’s okay.” Rajan said with a renewed enthusiasm. “What you have taught me in these years had shaped my entire life. And that is something even uncle would fail to teach.”

 

Sarthak’s eyes lit up with pride. “You have started playing with words.”

 

Rajan beamed and then his smile again turned into a sneer. “Does these dreams make any kind of sense?”

 

Sarthak pondered for a while. Something struck him. Pulling out his phone from his pocket, he started looking for something in its browser. “Last night I stumbled upon this guy’s blog. He had written something on dreams. As his research, he claims that everything you notice in your dream has come connections with your present or your future. Have a look.”

 

“Unfolding the dreams,” Rajan read the title of the blogpost. He quickly skimmed through its content. As mentioned by Sarthak, the blogger had distinguished the items and wrote what it implies in the real life. Rajan’s eyes stopped at one such item. “Death. This indicates a long life. But a sick person dreaming of death has positive results.” He looked at his mentor. “This is a crap!”

 

“Hey,” Sarthak snapped. “You are suffering and you always see death in your dreams. And this time you were dead twice. What if that indicates that you are going to finally find your answers.”

 

“Do you really believe in the crap he writes.” Rajan tossed the phone back to its owner.

 

“Nope. But sometimes our minds ignore and fails to showcase the truth in our dreams. A mind is restless and vulnerable when it is alone.”

 

Rajan stiffened.

 

“Enough of this talk,” Sarthak said. “Are you sure you don’t want to go home and rest? I can drive you to your place.”

 

Shock stabbed Rajan, hairs on arms bristled.

 

“Rajan,” Sarthak clamped on the shoulder. “You look as if you had seen a ghost.”

 

Closing his eyes, Rajan tried to suppress this sequence of the events. Whatever Sarthak had spoken in last few moments were the same words he had quoted in Rajan’s dreams. For a while, Rajan considered what he had read in that blogpost. Could dreams be linked to reality?

 

“Yeah,” he sighed. “Let’s get home.”

 

Sathak drove the car toward the other side of the city, crossing near Mr. Mehra’s mansion. Rajan squinted through the window and found Mr. Mehra and his beautiful wife sharing a private talk in their garden while their son was playing with servants beside them. Everyone seemed happy. “So it was just a dream.”

 

When they reached at Rajan’s home, Sarthak stopped him near the door. “Rajan, I want you to be mentally prepared before what you see inside the room.”

 

Rajan frowned. Again Sarthak had quoted from his dreams. Before he could ask something, Sarthak pressed the bell.

 

The door swung open and Rajan’s heart missed a beat.

 

Inside the room was her mother along with Chitra, each wearing a dazzling smile. “Happy B’day!” They both shouted with glee.

 

Rajan smiled and was about to reach Chitra then he realized her mother was too there. He immediately turned his feet and hugged her. “Maa,” he whispered in her ears. “This was surprising!”

 

“It was your girlfriend’s idea,” she whispered back.

 

Rajan jerked back, smiling sheepishly. “Thank you, Chitra.”

 

“Not a big deal,” she winked with a mischievous smile. Maa coughed as to announce that she had noticed what was transpiring between the young ones.

 

Sarthak smacked his back with a thud. “Happy B’day, Rajan.”

 

He grinned back.

 

“Rajan,” Maa stepped ahead. “Your uncle left his last gift before he passed away. He told me to provide it to you on your birthday. I have kept it in your room.”

 

Realizing the affection his uncle had showered upon him, Rajan ran for his room. He excitedly opened the door and the gift, a size of a thick book, wrapped with a brown paper was waiting for him on his bed.

 

Fido, his pet dog, lifted his head, noticed his master, and again went to his sleep.

 

Rajan found an envelope near the gift. He tore its edge and slipped its content in his hand. Unfolding the letter, he began to read.

 

Dear nephew,

I know you’d be thinking why I wrote this letter and why I told your mother to place this gift in your room. I had no son, and for a reason, I remained unmarried. But while taking care of you and my sister, I enjoyed every luxury of being with a family. Thanks for making my life purposeful. Now, it’s your b’day and doctor had already predicted that I had a couple of weeks to live. Till now, on each birthday, I had gifted you books and tools that could sharpen your skills and improves your life. And this, being the last gift, I wanted to share something that can help you, something that I had used. Tell your mother, I had done everything for her. Forgive me for not attending your birthday, nephew. Happy Birthday. Stay blessed.

Forgive me.

 

Yours lovingly,

Uncle Amit

 

Tears began to slip from corners of Rajan’s eyes. He unwrapped the gift and his eyes shone with surprise. He lifted it up, towards the window. And for the first time he noticed the light instead of churning darkness filering through sockets of the gift. The golden mask.

 

 

 

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About the Author

Currently I am pursuing MBA in Construction Project Management from RICS School of Built Environment. A fantasy fanatic and an avid reader of thrillers, I dwell at a small port named Jafrabad, nestled near Arabian Sea. In my spare time, I flip open my laptop and starts filling the barren documents with my imagination. For me, writing is fun. It succors my soul.

 

Fortunately, my short stories have published in various anthologies. From heart pounding thriller to flying butterflies romance, from nail biting mystery to spine chilling horror, I’ve written on various genres.

 

Blogging, random photography and devising philosophies are my favorite ways to kill the time. In short, I am eccentric and ambivert.

 

Connect with Me

 

I really appreciate you reading my book! Here are my social media coordinates:

 

Friend me on Facebook: http://facebook.com/chandrapal21
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/chandrapal21

Subscribe to my blog: http://chandrapal21.blogspot.com

 

 


The Gift

A call at the night of his birthday drags Rajan to a horrendous crime scene for an investigation. At first, everything seems like a normal murder case until the dead re-embroideries his most terrible fear. Rajan soon finds himself entangle in a web of strings pulled by the master puppeteer. Will Rajan able to conquer his past and save the present? Will he able to crack the case ? Read this exciting psychological short thriller to find out.

  • ISBN: 9781310916267
  • Author: Chandrapal Khasiya
  • Published: 2016-02-26 19:40:09
  • Words: 5443
The Gift The Gift