N.B.– This is the ninth chapter in Week 2 of the ‘Game of Blogs’ by the team ‘Bards of the Blogosphere’. #CelebrateBlogging
Read the previous chapter (8) here.
(Three weeks later)
The Dutta household resembled a Tower of Silence after they had heard Jennifer’s story hitherto. She seemed to be immensely tired and spent to the core of her heart narrating the gruesome events. Every time she described herself reading Cy’s text “I am innocent,” her heart shattered into a million pieces. She broke into inconsolable tears at the end. Cy, her Cy, was still in jail. She was fighting for him and their love, scraping around evidences based on Cy’s research and TMJ posts. She and their lawyer would produce them at each hearing in court and try to inch towards proving him innocent. But redemption was still in a faraway corner of the courtroom.
Shekhar and Tara were stunned at this revelation. This was beyond their expectations and the normally smart couple seemed at a loss of words this time. Tara, the tough journalist, was sceptical about Jennifer even though her heart started melting knowing about Cyrus. Shekhar on the other hand was more logical and he inclined to believe in the story as he had read about Cyrus Daruwala being arrested for the minister’s murder. It was an unnerving situation to handle when little Roohi finally broke the silence.
“Don’t cry, aunty. Please.”
She hugged Jennifer and held her hand tightly, perhaps to show she believed in her eventually.
Shekhar felt relieved knowing Jennifer wouldn’t harm Roohi. He had been following TMJ since long and was a fan of the blog. His solid father-armour received a blow every time he read the report of another child trafficked and wronged, snatched away from their parents. He wanted the criminals to be found and justice done to all the little children and their families. He supported the TMJ blogger and his research, now that he knew it is Cyrus Daruwala. But did the guy really kill the minister and seal his fate as a jailbird for the rest of his life? Shekhar’s analytical mind doubted that and he decided to assume Cyrus is not the killer.
Tara finally asked the most relevant question of the evening that had been hovering in her mind.
“Jennifer, how are we and most importantly our princess involved in this story of yours?”
Her tone was stern, with the editor self in her rising up to the situation to save her daughter.
“I’m sorry for being so vague in all these days you people have known me. I didn’t want to reveal the premises of my acquaintance with Roohi.”
“But why? How does she fit in?”
“She saw the killer. And he will be looking for her. We have to keep her safe.”
Shekhar felt a chill running down his spine as he heard this.
So this was it? He couldn’t imagine in the wildest of his dreams that such danger would be in store for his little princess.
Tara let out a wail as she clasped her hands around Roohi.
“Tell us what you know, Jennifer. Do you know the killer?” Shekhar tried to calm himself as much as he could. Someone has to hold the family together now.
Roohi was bewildered as she couldn’t understand the scenario well.
Jennifer let out a deep breath and explained.
“Cyrus had a glimpse of the killer when he ran back to the chamber hearing the minister scream. He recognized the face as one of the men in his recent TMJ post.”
Shekhar was growing impatient as he cut Jennifer short.
“And? How does Roohi know him?”
“He sat beside Roohi for a brief period after the Minister’s speech. I noticed her playing dumb charades with him while both you and Tara were busy analysing the speech and its nuances. It was probably the time Cyrus was in meeting with the Minister. The killer must be waiting for his turn while he played with Roohi.”
Tara shuddered in fear. How could they have imagined that a harmless spectator sitting beside their daughter in an auditorium would be a killer? They hadn’t noticed the man as they were talking animatedly, only to peek at Roohi playing with a stranger.
“I took a photo of Roohi with the man. Can you identify him for me, princess?” Jennifer continued.
As she took out the photograph, the Dutta family huddled around it in sheer attention and fear.
Roohi gazed at the photo for a few seconds and confirmed that it was the uncle she played with. He was extremely intelligent and yet let her win a few rounds. She liked him.
As Shekhar donned his glasses and looked closely at the photo, the face seemed vaguely familiar to him though Tara couldn’t recognize him.
“I have seen this man somewhere nearby. Is it my gym or our building, I can’t recall for the life of me.”
“Please try to remember, Shekhar. It is important for us to know.” Jennifer urged him.
After a little pondering, Shekhar came up with an affirmative.
“He is our neighbour, the new tenant at the last flat in our floor. I’ve been introduced to him only once by his landlord, his name is Mr. Aryan Ahuja.”
Read the next chapter when it is posted (in Week 3).
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