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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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 Short story:  

A twist of fate

A blue Ford Sedan car was parked in the marine drive near the beach. It was three in the afternoon. The lovers in it were in the world of their own, chatting, cuddling and kissing each other totally oblivious to the environment. The front door of the car opened and out came a youth dressed in a blue denim, T-shirt and sporting a big-beaded necklace. He was in his early thirties.

His fiancee had suddenly developed breathing problem and collapsed on the steering wheel, and no matter however much he attempted to revive her, her head rested on the steering wheel and she no longer moved.

The youth seemed excited and thought that he was in for trouble. He thought that his fiancee has passed away. He looked around here and there and slowly closed the door without banging. He thought that he would be framed for murder, which he did not commit. He walked away hastily, thinking that he could sweep the tragedy under the carpet.

He broke the news to his mother. “Mummy, a very unfortunate thing happened today.”

“What's that Jib?”

“My girlfriend collapsed suddenly. She didn't talk after that. I think something serious happened, may be she died.”

“What? She died?”
His mother's eyes goggled in surprise.
“Did you have any fight with her?”

“Not at all, mummy; she suddenly began to pant non-stop and collaposed.”

Police
“So you didn't report the matter to the police?”

“If I go to the police, it will create a problem to me. They might think I murdered her.”

“Nobody was around at that time?” Mother queried.

“Thank God, not a single soul. Nobody saw me coming from the car. So I'll pretend I don't know anything about it.”

“What if the police come here?”

“How can the police trace me, when nobody has seen me?”

An urchin strolling on the beach spotted the girl slumped on the steering wheel and bleeding from the nose. He had informed the people in the vicinity and they reported the matter to the police.

The police visited the scene of the tragedy after two hours. They collected a few items from the car-documents of the car, her handbag which contained her make-up kit and a diary. The girl was already dead and her body was sent to hospital.

The parking area of the car was cordoned off and sleuths began to investigate the car for finger prints and strands of hair that would help them solve the mystery murder. The parents of the dead girl came to know of the beach tragedy from the radio news broadcast in the the night.

Sleuths

On the following day a team of sleuths visited the dead girl's residence. She was in her early twenties, pretty, fair and brownish black name Mr.......?”

“Robin Jacob”
“Where did your daughter Doreen Catherin go yesterday?”

“To the beach with her boyfriend”.
His face was masked in sorrow.
“What time it was, Mr. Jacob?”
“She left home by car about 2 p.m.”
“What's the boyfriend's name?”
“Jib Davidson but she calls him Jibby.”
“Did he come here yesterday?”
“No.”

“So your daughter went to pick him up?” The sleuth queried.
“Hasn't he visited here?”
“He used to visit here but these days he hasn't come here” Mrs. Jennifer said.
She was in tears. “Why? Any misunderstanding?”

“No inspector, nothing like that.”
“How long is their relationship?”
The sleuth asked.

“About six months.” Jacob replied.
“So during this period any misunderstanding or quarrel?”

“Who will not quarrel, inspector? That's part of love”
“Have you both visited his place?”
“No.”
Wise decision
“Do you know his place?”
“He stays somewhere in Havelock Town but we don't know exactly.”

“Ten days elapsed after the incident and Jib Davidson was happy that the matter had settled down. He told his parents that he had made the wise decision by not reporting Doreen's death to the police. A fortnight after the beach tragedy, there was a loud tap on the front door of Jib Davidson's house. It was about ten in the night. The father opened the door and met a posse of policemen.

“Is this Jib Davidson's house?” A sleuth asked. He was a tall person of corpulent build and moustached.

“Yes, inspector. He is my son.”
“You're Mr......?”
“I'm Freddie Davidson. What's the problem?”

“We want to question your son in connection with Miss Doreen's death”. Both Freddie Davidson and his wife pretended surprise. “Death? When was that? We know nothing about it.”

Freddie and his wife eyed each other; the sleuth could see the pretence through the facade of their ignorance. Then they summoned Jib Davidson to the verandah where the sleuths were seated. “you're Jib Davidson, aren't you “A sleuth asked and Jib shook his head in affirmtion.

“Do you know Dorean Catherin?”
“I don't know”

“You've never met her?” “Never”, “You're Doreen Catherin's boy friend”. “I don't know anyone by that name.” “Look here, Jib, don't play the fool with the police. Tell the truth.” The sleuth warned.

Truth

“I'm telling you the truth, inspector.” “Where were you on Tuesday before last, the day she died?” I was at home.”

“Don't lie. We have evidence to implicate you in her murder.” Then the sleuth told that Jib Davidson's address, telephone number and the short name ‘Jibby’ are in Doreen's diary.

“How did your telephone number and address go into her diary, if you don't know her?”

Jib Davidson remained silent. The inspector had eye contact with him.
“Do you still say you don't know Doreen Catherin?”

“Just because my telephone number and address are in her diary, you say I killed her.”

“You're a suspect in this case. We found out from the Telecom that you and Doreen have given telephone calls to each other. And you're lying.”

Custody

Davidson was taken into custody for finger prints and further investigation. The parents were crestfallen and blamed their son for concealing the truth. Jib's finger prints tallied with those found in the car and on her body; stands of hair found in the car and those found on her body matched with his hair. He was indicted with the murder of Doreen Catherin and arraigned before court.

The death sentence was imposed on him and within the next three months he would be executed. Day in and day out, Jib wracked his brain to prove that he was not responsible for Doreen;s death. He spent sleepless nights and regretted for concealing the whole episode.

However, much he thought of a way out, he came to his wit's end. So he resigned to the fate of dark and gloomy days in the death row to face the gallows as destiny has decided.

One day after a month, he remembered Dr. Dilshan Aponso, the cardiologist, to whose clinic he has taken his mother for consultation. It was about seven months ago. There he happened to six next to Doreen who had come with her mother. Whenever, a patient came out of the consulting room the seat at the head of the queue became vacant and every patient had to move forward to the immediate vacant seat.

Problem

Doreen had unknowingly dropped her medical record papers and was looking here and there, searching for the papers. Jib had already retrieved them from the floor and handed them over to Doreen. That was how he had met her for the first time and later they exchanged their telephone numbers. In fact he and his mother were given a lift home in the same blue Ford Sedan car. He drifted into a reverie. “My mum has a problem in her heart; we always consult Dr. Dilshan Aponso.

“Even my mummy is having a problem. This is our second visit here.” Jib replied. “If you have time you can visit my house” Doreen said. When Jib rang her after ten days, Doreen's mother had told him that she had travelled outstation. When he asked for her contact number, she had told him to ring her in another two weeks. This particular incident gave a brainwave to Jib, and he immediately got in touch with his father through the prison officers; then he requested him to get the particulars of Doreen and her mother who had been frequent visitors to the cardiologist clinic. Freddie Davidson was assigned a police inspector to visit Dr. Dilshan Aponso's clinic. At the clinic he got a bombshell in his life. The doctor told him that his patient was not Mrs. Jennifer Jacob but her daughter Doreen Catherin. “So doctor, Doreen Catherin was a heart patient?” Questioned Freddie Davidson.

“Yes, yes, she had a hole in her heart. Several specialists examined her and had said she would not survive more than six months. Armed with the specialist's report on Doreen Catherin's health condition, Freddie Davidson appealed against his son's sentence. The case came before the Appeal Court.

The prosecuting counsel questioned Jib Davidson. “Do you admit you told lies in the court?” “Yes.” “You know Doreen Catherin but you said you didn't know her.”

“Yes, I told that.”
“Why did you tell lies in the court?” “Because I thought I'll get caught.”
“Now you're telling that you know Doreen Catherin?”
“Yes.”
“And you were in the car when she died “Yes.”

“Your fingerprints were on her body. And still you say you didn't strangle her to death?”

“Yes, I say that.” At this stage the defence counsel made his submission. “Your Honour, my client had an affair with Doreen Catherin but didn't know that she was a heart patient.”

The prosecuting counsel got up. “Your Honour, even if she was a heart patient, that doesn't free the accuse from the guilt of the crime.”

Thereafter, the defence counsel submitted the specialist doctors’ report on Doreen Catherin. The judge read the report. “Doreen Catherin was suffering from an acute heart problem. The hole in the heart has enlarged, panting and difficulty in breathing may occur anytime. Survival is difficult.” On the basis of this medical report, the accused is not guilty of Doreen Catherin's death. I revoke the death sentence and acquit him”. The appeal judge pronounced the judgement.”

 

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