The cold winter morning started with a loud scream of the maid who used to take the 5th lane to go to work. Mr. Chokrobarti was the first one who came to aid the woman and was himself helpless and stunned at the spot. A murder, a brutal murder. The head ripped open as if someone was searching for a diamond within the brains. It was not too late when the enthusiastic crowd of the locality came up to make a self-made barricade around the corpse.
The police arrived and officially fenced the area. One of the constables identified the corpse or whatever was left as the body of Mr. Kaustav Das. He was the neighbor of the constable. A case was file an investigation was started.
“I guess this is not the first”, came a loud and prompt voice from the back.
Everyone moved and cleared the path. What remained at the end was a man in his late 50s, with a sharp nose, well combed white hair, a pair of spectacle, white dhoti and kurta and a pair of sandals, probably from Bata. Saying this he slowly started to come in the light and started talking with the inspector. It was as if the inspector was expecting him, the inspector greeted him and after a short conversation, the old man started investigating the corpse in his own way. The police seemed very calm about this.
The crowd slowly dispersed or as it is they lost interest in the old murder case. Different verdicts about the victim came as to he was a cheat, a fraud, a corrupt man and a drunk, who might have lend money to someone who did this to him or someone had a grudge against him and all sorts.
What interested me the most is what the old man said after his investigation.
“This is the sixth one. And most probably the cruelest one. The two temporal and two parietal are missing”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Well, I read about the bones somewhere”.
Saying this the leftover crowd also dispersed and after the body was taken for forensic test the police also left. Ah! I guess here I should give my own description here before going on with the series of incidents that had happened. I am Tanujit Haldar a first year in masters at English hons and study at the Calcutta University. My native is in Bardhhaman but now I am staying at Anukuk Banerjee’s pg situated at Brabone road. It is a small room that can accommodate two persons. But right now I am the only resident of my room. This is my first month in Kolkata and along with the ups in life staying in a pg has its own downs at the point.
I returned to my pg that day and found out that Mr. Banerjee was standing in front of my room. As soon as he saw he cleared his throat and said,
“Ah! Tanujit I was looking for you. It seems that this gentleman wants a room here since you are living alone I thought of putting him up with you.”
“That’s completely fine, after all, it’s your place.” Said I.
Saying this he said that “The man has gone out I have shown him the place since your room was locked I couldn’t show him the interiors, can you please help him to adjust with the environment, I have to go to the office as this urgent meeting has come up.”
“Sure sir. No problem.”
Saying this Mr. Banerjee left the place. After about 15 minutes I was astonished. It was the same man who was present at the murder scene and was so compatible with the police. The same calm and well-combed man. What happened next was something that I had never experienced in my life. The man pulled his hair which was actually a wig, removed his fake mustache, and specs, and with a cool and calm voice said,
“Hello! I am Somnath Dey, and looks like we will be living together from this day forth”
It took me a complete five no ten minutes to come back to my senses and gather the info and process the details that were going on.
“But, but, u were there, why were you there in a disguise?”
“Getting the face accustomed to the criminals is an occupational hazard, I am a private detective, investigating the case of these mysterious killings that are occurring in Kolkata.”
“Oh! A private detective, but you are so young.”
“Yes, maths hons first year in masters, have some water you need some, and next time take the third left to sweet shop and then from the bakery take a right that’s a shortcut.”
“How did you know I didn’t take that road?”
“its very easy, I saw you way back at the scene of the crime and then I took the route fastest to this place cause I needed to set up my apparatus to test a few things, now there are many ways of coming to this place but from the sweet shop the entire road is narrowed down to only two possible ways one was the one I took which is the fastest way and the less traveled one and the other is the most common path that you took for which it took you longer than me to reach this place. Allowing me to come to talk with the owner and then go out to have a small breakfast.”
Saying this Somnath started to unpack his things and added, “Oh and next time please don’t put the spare key of the room under the rock near the tulsi plant in the yard. I prefer a safer place. I don’t want someone to come and greet me with a gun when I come home. ” saying this he started to laugh.
“I think that this is enough for today”, said I.
Later that evening when Somnath had gone out I was relaxing and thinking that it might get annoying with him, this intelligence is a kind of hindrance to his studies maybe. Suddenly the doors clattered and a gush of wind blew in as soon as I opened the door. It was Somnath almost after an hour later with a bunch of the books from the library he came in closed the door and sat down at the study.
“Umm Tanujit, I would be much delighted if you could offer me a cup of tea, please. I might just solve the case but this head pain is killing me. ”
“Ahh ah yes. Ok. Just a minute.”
Tea was served and that entire night Somnath spent in the study with the lights on. I did not disturb him as I was a bit tired myself so I went to bed. The next morning started with the loud screams of Somnath crying, “Yes I got it, I got it, I solved the case.”
I went to him and said, “What happened why are you shouting so early in the morning? Did India win the match yesterday night?”
“No, you idiot I just solved the murder mystery of the broken skulls. I completely solved it, I even know who the killer is, what and when his next move will be .”
“Oh really elaborate please.”
“Patience my friend patience, for this last act I need a few props. Time is of the essence. I must get to work immediately.”
Saying this Somnath left the place again. I was annoyed. What would have happened if he had explained? The day moved on as I had scheduled. Peacefully. Somnath was not there. I finished my assignments on time even the mess food was good that day. It was around 4 o clock when someone knocked on the door. I thought it was Somnath so I opened the door without seeing. I looked back when a gentleman cleared his throat and asked, “May I come in? I am Sumit Chokrovarti a friend of Somnath” startled I said “Yes please, but Somnath is not here he had gone out today morning and has not returned since then.”
“It’s ok he is a hard-working boy, and quiet the chain-smoker one of these days his smoking habit is going to kill him”, saying this he started to laugh. I smiled as it was not a good joke to be laughed at. He added, “Do you drink cigarette?”
“No”, I said.
“Do you mind if I?”
“No, it’s ok. Even Somnath drinks so it’s fine.”
The man lit a cigarette chatted for a few more minutes and then went away. Somnath arrived roughly after an hour. Upon his arrival, he suddenly went to the table and picked up a lighter and asked,
“From where did you get this?”
“Some friend of your had come to visit today, maybe he has left it. Why? ”
“And this friend of mine how did he look? Or what did he say his name was?”
“He said his name was Sumit Chokrovarti. He was wearing a black overcoat, a hat and a pair of black goggles, he waited for some time and then he went.”
“From next time please don’t open the door and let people in. I don’t have any friends. The person who cam can you describe him a little more?”
“No from what I recall that was what I saw but why are you asking?”
“This lighter, do you find anything odd?”
“It’s not mine and definitely not yours too, doesn’t that make you a bit suspicious about what it can be?”
“It’s just a light most probably your friend had left it.”
“Again I don’t have any friend Tanujit. I really don’t.”
“Then what are you implying?”
“This my friend here is the ultimate killing device planned to kill both of us the moment I light a cigarette. This is a liquid explosive device the liquid being the gas which you can see and the explosion occurs when someone lights the lighter and pushed the knob as the straw is meant to break causing an explosion. The same principle used in 1987 in a Korean airline killing all 155 passengers. Of course, they used a liquor bottle over there. ”
I was dumbstruck. My entire life flashed before my eyes when I heard the explanation. I said, “thank god I don’t have that dirty habit of you else’s I would have been toast.” Though I was certain that the thing had happened for him. I did not blame him after all he is the one who finally saved me. That night we talked with each other. I felt sorry for him after I heard his story. He was this young bright student from Calcutta University perusing his bachelor’s degree, poor and simple as it can get. Had a beautiful and understanding sister of his age. He said, “We were nearly broke at that time. We had nothing but each other. But on every Sunday we used to buy this cheap pastry from the pastry shop and get some Chinese food and then walk to this hillside sit under a tree and look at the stars and city light and pretend to be the richest kids alive with no worries in life. But life has its own series of unfortunate events. My sister became the sole eye witness to a murder and the day after when I came back all I saw was huge crowd, a pool of blood, a hand lying out from a covered white sheet and people saying how brutally she bleed to death. That was it. My story of why I became a private detective. Why I don’t have friends and why I don’t fear anymore. It’s because I don’t have anything more to lose.”
I did not know what to say, when he suddenly added,” that was until a few days before but alas life and its plans. ” He actually meant me. Saying this he said “ok now listen tomorrow is a big day. For tomorrow we catch the murderer. I will be out the entire day again don’t let anyone come in I have a key ill come in with that”
“I also want to come and see.”
“You want to come? Ok but please stay safe.” saying this he began to laugh.
Even I laughed.
“Ok listen how it is going to go. I have informed the CESE people. At 12:30 am there will be light out and if everything goes Ok the murderer will fall into my trap.”
The day passed and the night fell, a dozen police officer was in place a fake scarecrow kind of doll in Somnath’s hand and a lot of confidence in his face. As the clock struck 12:30 am the lights suddenly went off. Somnath quietly went and placed the doll in a manner that looked like a poor beggar was sleeping, I was astounded to see someone similar sleeping in front getting up slowly in the front and then disappearing in the lane. Once everything was in order the only thing we had to do was wait. After about waiting for an hour we saw that a man covered in thick shawl approaching. From distance it was looking like the person was blind and was using a long metal stick as his eyes. But as soon as I reached the dummy, what ferocity with one strike the head of the dummy was smashed into two then another strike followed by another.
“It’s ok Mr. Samaresh you won’t get the last ethmoid bone from a broken dummy.”
The man got up to charge at Somnath when the inspector came in with his revolver and said,” Don’t even think of it. We have surrounded you drop your weapon.”
“Now Mr. Samaresh, would you explain your behavior or so you want me to explain.”
“What do you mean?” came a loud and distinct voice.
“I mean this murders that you have been doing on these dates it was very easy after you made a slight mistake on your last account. Firstly I would like to point out the motive of the murder. Simple revenge on the Kolkata police to say so. Isn’t it?”
“Low lying pieces of flesh amongst us just taking bribes and passing on responsibilities. My daughter had an accident on the outskirts of the village, people took her to the nearest hospital and admitted her. I reached there as soon as possible to find out my daughter lying out bleeding. Upon asking they said first the permission of the police is required then only we can treat her. I went to the local station, where they said that the area was not under them but the other station so I went there too, where they said the same and sent me back to the previous station. I was roaming station to station and my daughter was dying in the hospital. In the end, I met with an officer who at once took action and said that he would take charge and accompanied me to the hospital but it was too late. She was gone. My only family. I at once knew that something had to be done. Something so bad that these people become a statement of failure.”
“And that’s why the murders. One after the other taking the bones of the head making it look like a serial killing when all it was, was an act of revenge. The first date 19th of May one month right after his daughter had died, in other words, 19-05, if you add the two that’s 19+5 equals 24, that’s 24th of June, or 24+6 equals 30th of July. Here’s where it gets interesting to note 30 July is 30+7 equals to 37 here he again adds the digit if it goes beyond the days in the month or 3+7 equals 10th of August. The next murder similarly 18th of September, 27th October and finally today the final act 10th November.”
“Good, quiet impressive of you to find the date”, said Mr. Samaresh.
“Thank you but another part need to be solved is how I choose the street that you were going to murder today and the place. You were choosing places that were near the homes of the officers but it needed to be near your home too that’s why you chose this area. Since there are 7 places where and 6 used this was the only spot left. And for the bones, I guess that part was for someone in the force to understand and catch you because in the end you also knew that it was wrong.”
“Very good indeed Mr”
“Mr. Somnath Dey.”
“Mr. Somnath Dey. Said Mr. Samaresh and seemed like he bit something really hard and fell on the ground. We rushed in to see what happened.
“Cyanide Tooth. Very common yet very effective.” Said Somnath.
The police got who they wanted and the murder mystery of the broken skulls was closed forever. I asked Somnath, “hey u said he made a mistake last time what was that?”
“Huh? OH, that. He was a bit careless I had seen all the other skulls since the last skull he broke was a bit too close to an officer’s house he was in a haste and in that he dropped something.”
Saying this Somnath put his hand in the pocket and took out a ring. A very peculiar ring with the makers’ mark.
“After that, it was just connecting the dots.”
“Hahahaa. Ok now let’s get home quick I need to attend tomorrows first lecture else I will get detained. Please wake help me up if I oversleep.”