Duplicity - Chapter 9

Team: Writers’ Express

Read the previous part of the story here.

     After Tara found the shocking evidence in Cyrus' backpack — the three photos and Jennifer Joseph's visiting card — she started calling Shekhar frantically. When Shekhar did not answer her call after her several attempts, she realised that he must have kept his phone in the silent mode as he was watching a movie with Roohi.

    She could not afford to waste any second, now that she was convinced that Cyrus was a dangerous person. She started imagining all sorts of things - What if Cyrus intended to cause some harm to Roohi? What if he attacked Shekhar? What if he found her alone at home and killed her?

    Tara was known for performing her best under pressure and she soon realised this was the time she had to be at her best; it was, after all, the question of her family's safety. She took a deep breath, gulped down a glass of water and did some serious thinking. 

    Tara shuffled through her drawers and found a new lock and key. She then packed a change of clothes for Roohi, her uniform, books and other necessities. She picked her laptop, put the new lock on the main door and stepped out to meet Shekhar for lunch. Cyrus had a spare key to the house and she did not want to take any chances.

    On her way to the restaurant, she called up her friend. Her daughter was Roohi's classmate and a good friend too. Tara planned a sleepover for Roohi at her friend's place. She also managed to speak to Shekhar on the phone and explained everything to him. They decided to speak at length after dropping Roohi at her friends place post lunch.

    Tara tried to conceal her fear during lunch and tried to be as normal as possible in Roohi's presence.

    "So how was the movie?" Tara asked.

    "Oh you missed it, mom," Roohi said, "it was so funny! Can we watch it again with you?"

    "Of course, Roohi, I really want to watch it with you," Tara said.

    "In fact, since mom could not join us today, she has planned a great surprise for you," Shekhar added.

    "Are we going to go to the beach?" an elated Roohi asked.

    "Beach? How would you like to have a sleepover at your friend's place?" Tara asked appearing as excited as she could.

    "Wow! Seriously? Today?" 

    "Yes, we can drop you there after lunch and you can have lots of fun all day!" Tara said.

    "I love you mom," Roohi was thrilled.

    Tara and Shekhar dropped Roohi at her friend's place and then went to a coffee shop. Tara wanted to stay away from home to think straight. She showed him the photos on her laptop. Shekhar could not believe his eyes.

    "I told you so many times that Cyrus is not to be trusted. But you just think I am crazy. Now look at this. What do we do now?" Tara tried to keep her voice as low as she could.

    Shekhar understood that Tara was right. He tried to think what could be done next as she kept on talking.

    "Shekhar, you blindly trust everyone. You don't see the real world outside. I know, I meet people of all kinds. People are not what they seem to be. But what do you care? You stay lost in your imaginary world of writing while our world is getting rocked. What if I had not checked Cyrus' backpack? What if he..."

    "I am sorry, I am so sorry. You were right," Shekhar knew how to put Tara at ease, "Now let's decide what to do next."

    "I have thought of everything. We will confront him when he returns tonight. Enough is enough," asserted Tara.

    "Okay. And I will ask him to vacate our house tomorrow itself," Shekhar said.

    "Tomorrow? Yeah right! Enrage that criminal tonight and give him enough time to kill us in sleep. He is leaving my house this night, after he explains to us everything. And that Shailesh, your friend, you'll speak to him after that," Tara was furious.

    Shekhar agreed, Tara was right. When they reached their doorstep, he was surprised to see a new lock on their door. He looked at Tara and her expression said everything. Of course, she had put the new lock. He was always proud of her intelligence. She knew how to handle tough situations. 

    The doorbell finally rang at 9.30 pm. Shekhar opened the door and let Cyrus in.

    "Hi bhaiya, bhabhi. I met this real estate broker today and..." Cyrus started to speak.
"What the hell is this?" Shekhar interrupted turning the laptop screen towards Cyrus with the three photos clearly visible. Cyrus had never seen him so furious. As he glanced at the photos, Cyrus was shocked and speechless. He could not meet their eyes. 

    Tara stood near the dinner table hiding a knife behind her back. She was expecting an attack from Cyrus and had cautioned Shekhar earlier that it was a possibility. 

    At first, Cyrus looked scared. He then convinced them to hear him out. 

    "Stay right there and say whatever you have to. Don't try to act smart, I have already informed the police. If you try to harm us, you won't be safe either," Tara lied.

    "Police? Why would you call the police?" Cyrus looked surprised and scared at the same time.

    "There is no need for all this drama anymore. Just tell us what this is all about and why you planned to stay at our place," Shekhar commanded.

    Cyrus told them that when he was in Mumbai the last time, he got a call from his acquaintance Jennifer Joseph who was a photographer. Her friend Maya was missing in Delhi. Since Jennifer knew nobody in Delhi, he had to fly urgently the next morning to help her. That's why, even though he knew it was rude, he had left the note before leaving:
    Shekhar bhaiya/bhabhi, some urgent work has come up and I have to leave for Delhi by the morning flight! Didn’t want to disturb your sleep hence leaving a note!

    When he reached there, they together looked for Maya. Shailesh also had joined them. By the time they found Maya, it was too late. She was already dead. 

    He also explained the three photographs — The first one was of Maya and Jennifer together, the second one was of the place where they found Maya's body and the third one was of Maya's body.

Read the next part of the story here.

Me and my team are participating in the Game of Blogs at Blogadda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Chapter 1: Pawan Hegde | Chapter 2: Partha Sadhukhan | Chapter 3: Sujata Tawde | Chapter 4: Shilpa Halwe | Chapter 5: Manjulika Pramod | Chapter 6: Shazneen Pathak | Chapter 7: Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli | Chapter 8: Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli  

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