A year after a rich industrialist allegedly committed suicide, his daughter and her husband are killed in their home. When the police approach their prime suspect, the truth is revealed before their end. With no repercussions, a living man is declared dead and an insane amount of wealth is robbed by those who were condemned within the family by collaborating with government officials.
“The Cursed Son” by Krishna Phani Sharman is the story of a twisted wife and her ruthless son reaching their objective in the most gruesome and haunting way possible with no regard for their relationship with their victims.
PART I: THE MANIAC
On a no moon night, in Flint’s city, Elieen served supper in the dining room while informing her husband, “Jen! Dinner’s ready!”
When she heard no response, she shouted again, “Where are you?”
While walking towards the stairs that led to their bedroom, she heard water leaking from the washroom. “Hoof! I’m vexed with this man”, she said to herself as she reached the washroom to tighten the tap.
Soon, she started walking towards the bedroom by crossing the living room and everything around was unusually calm. Unable to bear this distinct silence, Elieen shouted, “Jen! Are you there?”
Midway through the stairs, Elieen could feel a liquid touching her feet. Looking down, she saw blood flowing on the steps. At once she shouted, “Jen!” before rushing to their bedroom.
When she opened the door, she could see the man she married lying at the feet of her brother resting in Jen’s rocking chair. His tooth is broken, nose smashed and with his eyes wide open, he lay on the floor dead.
Gawking at his sister for a moment, Elieen’s brother shot her on the forehead with his gun attached with a silencer. As she crashed, the lean slick man just stood up and left with no remorse or fear of being caught.
The next day, early in the morning the maid found the dead bodies and called the police. In an hour, reporters got onto the site to inform about how Richard Samwan’s only daughter was murdered in her own home and the two guards who protected her personal residence in the ten-acre estate were nowhere to be found.
Inspector John was with the forensic team as they collected fingerprints and moved the decomposing bodies. Beside him stood the maid describing how the house reeked as soon as she entered and John suspected the guards might also be dead and instructed the policemen to check the surroundings.
From how she spoke without hesitation, John didn’t suspect the maid for a moment and after taking her statement, he walked out of the mansion before a news reporter shoved her mike towards him asking, “This certainly seems like a ploy by someone against the members of Mr. Richard Samwan’s family. Last year, Mr. Richard Samwan killed himself and now his daughter was murdered. Care to comment?”
Noticing the young reporter trying her best to make a name for herself, John carelessly replied, “The investigation has just begun. It’s too early to connect any dots and jump to conclusions. If we find anything, we would definitely inform the people of the Carsaw Country.”
Leaving the ten-acre estate that was managed by fifty servants, John soon realized that he had to find the security for Elieen’s personal residence and take testimonials from the others. Thinking about this unending process of eliminating each of them as a suspect, he reached the police station located in the centre of the city.
As he walked into his room, he could see an officer waiting for him. Noticing him, he stood up and saluted before both of them settled. Realising who he was, John assured, “We will certainly find whoever killed your sister, Mr. Tinkron.”
Knowing the truth as to how the police department worked in the Carsaw Country, Trinkron replied, “Can I be a part of this investigation, Mr. John? I’ve lost two of my family members to this unknown killer and my mother and brother are all that I have right now. It would be a great help if you could rope me in for this.”
Thinking about it for a moment, John replied, “You are related to the victims, Mr Trinkron. I’m sure you are aware that we cannot involve you in the investigation. It would be against the law.”
Glancing at the middle-aged man, Trinkron suggested, “Alright, I understand the limitation but if I’m just helping without getting involved in the case as per the official record or the on-paper report. Is it acceptable?”
Presuming he wanted to bring the killer to justice, John casually stood up before saying, “Let me show you the case files...”
Short Story II The Day AILA Came
The truth could be a bitter pill, especially when it is one that is least expected and discovering the truth of being adopted ends up tearing one’s soul given that it is an unanticipated thought. Such pain sooner or later pushes individuals to search for their origins and more often than not, this journey raises more doubts than it resolves. No matter how ideal the choices of the past are, they never seem acceptable and the intentions, no matter how good - never justifiable.
“The Day AILA Came” by Manognya Bethapudi is the journey of a youngster witnessing the bittersweet nature of life while learning the importance of valuing one’s own existence and identity no matter how terrible events turn out to be.
Fifty-year-old Mr. Basu stretched in his easy chair. The whiff of the coffee beans called out to him as he picked up his newspaper, ‘The Tribune’. Though the aroma of the coffee was ambrosial, it never reached his lips as the coffee mug came crashing down. Mr. Monotosh Basu read the deadly headline, “Cyclone AILA Swallows Coastal West Bengal”
That very moment, he understood what it felt like when the heart stops beating and when the brain stops thinking.
The green waters of the creeks move slowly aided by a gentle breeze and guided by the pale moonlight. The swampy, marshy land looks darker and greener than ever. Life is almost at a standstill. Time stops in this liquid Eden, in Bhatir-desh, Tide-country, Sundarbans. Even in the seemingly tranquil surroundings, danger lurks in the form of green shining eyes of tigers peeping through the branches of the mangroves and crocodiles gliding away in the placid waters.
These omnipresent dangers are nowhere near the dangers the Tide-country is soon to face.
The predators who prey on the bountiful fauna of this fragile ecosystem will soon be preyed upon because, in the face of Nature’s fury, predator and prey are both alike.
If only things remained as peaceful as they are now, if only...
But again destiny had different plans for the Tide-country and its inhabitants - tiger, man, deer and fish. Their life would never be the same again come 3 am. It would never be the same ever again...
Not knowing the ordeal that awaited him, not knowing that in the next few days, he would be on the verge of the precipice called LIFE. The only thought that revolved in Siddharth’s mind was that he wasn’t Siddharth Basu anymore. He wasn’t Monotosh Basu’s son. He felt numb, hollow and empty when he learnt that he wasn’t his father’s biological son and not part of his father’s bloodline. He was shocked to learn that he was adopted.
It all began on a fine Wednesday morning, 20th May, in Chandigarh where he was at his father’s house on vacation. At around 11 o’clock, when the crossword was being solved, the post arrived and slid into the letterbox with an ominous click. Montosh Basu took the wad of letters out and classified them but when he saw a letter from Lusibari - a place in Bengal, he was shocked. He immediately went to his study place and read the letter. Later, reappearing with bloodshot eyes, he spilt the whole truth out to his son by showing him the letter as he revealed that his beloved Siddharth whom he had loved as his own, was in fact adopted and that his real mother wanted to see him once, just once before she left the mortal world.
Siddharth was wounded and heartbroken. He left his father’s house and resolved never to see him again. Pleading him for the last favour, his father asked him to take the letter with him. He took it and decided to throw it away as soon as possible. He wandered for a while, staying at a friend’s place. But he couldn’t bring himself to throw away that letter. He read and reread it. The letter made him feel very guilty. He was confused, angry, frustrated and lost.
After much contemplation, he went to see his real mother because the void left by his adopted mother who passed away the last year before had not been filled and would never be filled, either. But still in the hope that his real mother, whose last words had moved him to tears, wanted to see him, he went...
He went to Lusibari – a small island among 102, in the Sundarbans to meet her once, just once… Exactly what he would say to her and how she would react was something he wasn’t very sure about but one thing was certain that he wanted to see his birth mother and fulfil her last wish.
Siddharth then took the train that went to Canning - the nearest railhead to Lusibari. Siddharth, a would-be professional photographer, was immediately taken in by the dark, damp and dank islands of silt and by the naturalness of the whole environment. At the same time, he was shocked by the squalor of the town, the signs of big-city pollution seeping into this small town. He was taken aback by the size of the nearby river, which looked more like a nullah.
On the ferry to Lusibari, he was the only one who wasn’t engaged in animated chatter about all and sundry. He felt out of place in his Lee Cooper pants (the only pair among all the 21) on the ferry and his Italian leather shoes while the people whose town he was visiting were engaged in a basic fight for survival, for two square meals a day, a shelter and some rags.
In Lusibari, he felt as if he had stepped back into the past where life’s pace was dictated by seasons and climate, where even a drop of water would have echoed everywhere, where life, times and people were almost prehistoric.
He met his ailing mother for the first time in a two-storeyed, pucca-building in the village, the Hospital which also served as a Cyclone Protection Camp.
His mother, Gauri, was 57 years old with just so many breaths left in her. Seeing her son, her blood, the only proof of her existence on Earth. She said that it was one of the happiest days of her life. She held him in her arms and said, “Bhogowan tumako ashirbad koruk (God bless you).”
Siddharth was happy to see her but he was filled with questions, desperately waiting for answers. He wanted his mother to tell him his story, the story of his life. He was almost on the verge of tears when he didn’t get any as the nurses persuaded him that his mother needed rest and she was given sedatives to help her sleep.
SHORT STORY III THE Wanderer
A lonely man stuck in a routine starts listening to a voice at his home that offers him company. He is hesitant at first but soon the voice becomes his daily companion and the only hope in his boring life. Curious to meet the person behind the voice, the man follows instructions from a book in-hopes to meet the person behind the voice. Giving up everything he has and intending to change his life once and for all, the man leaves his job and starts his journey. Meanwhile, his close friend from the office is concerned about him chasing an invisible voice.
“The Wanderer” by P. C. Ravuri is the story of a lost man and his secret admirer. While the man follows one lie after another living a demotivated life, his secret admirer doesn’t express herself for too long until he leaves on his mad pursuit.
PART I: A CONCERNED FRIEND
On a sunny day, as soon as doctor George opened his clinic, he had a friend waiting for him. Though it has been a few weeks since he last had a patient, he pretended to be a busy man and invited her to his cabin after killing twenty minutes doing absolutely nothing. After both of them settled, the doctor could observe that Ana was quite tense. Before he even asked her as to what happened, she mentioned, “George, I didn’t know whom else to consult. I need your help to find my friend.” Asking her to take a deep breath, George took two cups from the shelf beside him and served coffee from the flask he carried from home every morning. Passing a cup to Ana, he mentioned, “I’ll certainly help you. Could you just tell me everything in detail and not rush through?” Looking into the doctor’s black eyes, Ana replied, “One of my friends is missing and I cannot help but feel that he is in danger.” George was skeptical. This was the first time Ana was reaching out to help someone. For all the time he knew her, this was the last thing he expected of her. So after tasting his sweet coffee served with milk, he asked, “Can you tell me details about your friend?” Ana took her first sip of coffee before stating, “His name is Felix and we are colleagues. In fact, we share a cubicle at work.” George realized this isn’t just a friend she was talking about. Ana described Felix to be unique compared to the other guys she worked with. She mentioned that he was an introvert and seldom shared his views. Looking at her troubled oval face and ponytail, George suspected Ana might really be invested in Felix considering how she doesn’t usually care for others, let alone observe anyone around her. Meanwhile, Ana continued, “Exactly four days ago, he resigned from his job and when I asked for a reason, Felix told me he was going in search of his Senorita.” With his eyebrows raised, George confirmed, “Isn’t that just a title to address a young lady in Spanish?” Ana nodded in agreement. Placing his cup of coffee on the rectangular table that separated them, George tried to clarify, “So your friend left his job and is wandering in search of a girl?” Ana nodded again. Feeling confused, George interjected, “By any chance, is he travelling to Spain?” Ana thought about it for a moment before saying, “I’m not sure. I have come to you suspecting he is lost in his loneliness and is destroying himself.” Taking a deep breath, George questioned, “And why do you think so?” Looking at the doctor for a moment as he curiously waited for her answer, Ana replied, “After he left his job, I visited him at his home. He wasn’t there, so using my spare key, I entered his home and witnessed his thoughts through his wall paintings and took time to read his diary too.” After finishing her sentence, Ana passed the diary to the doctor. Taking it, George replied, “I’m sure this might inform me more about him than he does in person. I’ll need time to comprehend his intentions.” Ana impatiently pleaded, “Please get it done as soon as you can.