In the lone roads of Lemuria
– what you see is not always what it is
I live in the dark
I’m not bad
I’m not evil
I’m one of the few that’s normal
I want to play
When I see the one that deserves
But I always win
This is my game!
It was a dark night, the long-stretched road was empty. The road connected the city with the town. It was surrounded by plain land with dry plants on its side.
Lemuria is a small state that had its own government, it was quite peculiar. The state was divided into two areas – the big posh city and the little town. Not everyone was privileged to live in the big city. The residents of the big city were a mixed crowd with the ones with power and money, the ones who try every day to get into the lush areas of residence and the upper middle class of course. The little town was a place for everyone else.
Just as Anu walked through the road, it was lonely, and the street lights flickered. Anu took out her ear phone, played the song of her choice and walked fast. Although it’s a route that she takes every time to the art gallery, this is the first time that she walked. She usually takes her bike, but today her bike was punctured. She was little scared to walk as the place was dark with a few street lights. She was anxious but the music kept her going.
Suddenly, the unexpected happened.
She smelled cigarette. It was strange, not the usual cigarette’s smell, it was different. She felt giddy. She ignored and kept walking, THUDDDD!! A street light glass broke and fell just in front of her. She stopped and looked around. There was no one. She quickly put her hand in her purse to take her pepper spray. She took it out and held it tight, she looked up and kept walking. She was profoundly sweating, was anxious and could hear her heart beat louder than the music.
And just then… She just felt it. A touch! She stopped, slowly removed one ear plug and took out her pepper spray and turned…
‘Good Morning students! Please refer to the notice board for your respective class alignment, you may return to your classes now! Thank you’ the principal – Father Antony said, as a signing note of the assembly. Lemuria global school had just begun its school year. It truly is an international school with completely air-conditioned interiors, well equipped gym, swimming pool, salon style change room, luxurious lobby and day dorm room. It was only for the top class, yet the school managed to offer 100 scholarships every year to identify eligible students who can put the school name on top. While these best students’ study, the filthy rich ones spent their time doing nothing, they had their money do their job. The system of education in Lemuria was quite different, it was 15 years long, post which the students are free to choose a 3-year subject of their own and graduate. The best students get to do professional programs for 4 years and work in the government.
‘Hey Hannah, we are both in the same classes – 13 A, see I told you, God has made us study in the same class all the time, so I could be your sis in law’ Lesha shouted in happiness. Lesha and Hannah had been best friends from kinder garden. Lesha’s parents were doctors and were the most popular ones in the city. Hannah is a scholarship student; her parents were college professors. She was a nobody until three years back, but when her brother John aced the national detective test and became one the youngest head of the National Detective Squad (NDS), the premium force that is only governed by the supreme federal court. He was a combination of brain (He completed his graduation and masters 4 years in advance) and looks, so he was the most eligible bachelor in the city.
Lesha and John had been childhood sweethearts and Hannah loved both dearly. Well, she was exhausted of running a mail service between them. Yet, the three were the best trio ever!
Hannah walked up to Lesha, put her hand around Lesha’s shoulders and said, ‘Let’s go, fate for some reason doesn’t save me from you’. Lesha laughed aloud and said,’ yeah right, I’m your lucky charm’. Just as they were about to step further, Hannah saw a small gift box kept at the corridor, she picked it up and showed to Lesha. They decided to hand it over to the teacher’s desk once reading the name.
The classes started, Class 13 A was having fun as their art teacher doesn’t seem to me around. Everyone became busy catching up and telling stories of their vacation. Just then, they heard a big scream and commotion outside.
‘She is missing for over 2 days and her number is switched off, where is she?’ shouted Mother Agnes, the vice principal, with pain and fear. Father Antony tried consoling her, ‘the last place she came was to school and she never returned to the dorm, can you check? the principal suggested they reach out to the police and file a missing person complaint. He helped her raise a complaint and called up John for help, as he was an ex student of the school.
John reached the school as soon as he could and met Father Antony, ‘Hi Father, how are you. What happened, you sounded anxious in the call?’ he asked.
‘Hi, my son, actually, we are not good. One of our students has gone missing’ he said gasping in shock.
John calmed him out and continued, ‘can you tell me a little bit about her father?’
‘She’s a very sweet girl, always helping people out, she is extremely good in art, in fact she’s also our art teacher’ Father Antony said.
‘Does she have a desk, father?’ John checked, ‘Oh yes, its in the teacher’s room’ father answered.
John initiated his investigation, he spoke to all the teachers and workers in the school. 2 hours passed, Hannah stepped out to fetch water and saw John. Surprised, she asked ‘Hey Bro, what’s up, came to flirt with your girlfriend?’ she chuckled. ‘No dumb head’ He smiled and surprisingly asked, ‘wait, what are you doing outside, you are not allowed to step out of the class, isn’t it?’.
‘Oh that, two reasons bro, 1, our art teacher hasn’t come yet and 2, I wanted to fetch water’ Hannah replied
‘oh, lucky you, has your teacher always been like this?’ John asked carefully, not giving the details of the case.
Hannah- ‘No, this is the first time actually, she’s so soft-spoken and punctual, oh I probably should go check if she has come and ensure she gets it’
‘Get what?’ John asked puzzled. ‘The gift, she just got one, I kept it at her desk’ she said. John thought it is best to check it out for himself and went to her desk in the staff room and picked up the gift.
Just then, the police arrived. ‘What took you guys so long?’ John screamed, he was clearly angry at them. He then tried to open the gift box. It was addressed to ‘ANU’
‘Sorry sir, there was an issue in the service road. It was gruesome, we had to clear out a few things’
‘what was it?’ John asked, by then he opened the gift box and took out the box. It was a rouge music box, he slowly winded the small metal handle on its side.
The box opened, played a music that they had never heard before. There was a dried rose inside, and underneath was a folded paper, it looked more like a polaroid photograph and a piece of paper.
John picked it up and opened and was stunned to see the picture. He turned and looked at the police.
Head constable Veeran walked up to him to explain the situation and was shocked, while both and John and Veeran looked at one another,
Veeran said in a low voice, ‘this is what happened sir, we are waiting for you to check the crime scene, we just cleared off people’
It was a photo of Anu lying dead in a bed of roses.
John opened the paper, it was written in blood
‘There she lies
In crimson red
It was her favorite
Blood is what she wanted
Her eyes played well
Seductive than the usual
But she lost the game!
She liked it soft
She loved roses
They called her gentle
But it is not what it seems
To be continued…