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Ketaki Bakshi

Horror Fantasy Thriller


Ketaki Bakshi

Horror Fantasy Thriller

The Mystery of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 2

The Mystery of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 2

9 mins

Part 4: Sword Vanishes

Charu was still lost in thoughts when her sight felt over the newspaper lying on the table. It read, “Robbers strike again in daylight”. The details revealed that the sword which once belonged to Verghese’ had been robbed. Charu felt dumbfounded, but still, she was certain. She knew where to go. The report mentioned that Inspector Abhay was investigating the case and he happened to be a good friend. Charu had visited him while getting details of some cases that she and her senior were working on as lawyers, before her departure to New York.

Charu hurried off to the Police station only to find that Abhay wasn’t there at all. The constable asked her to wait till his return. So, she started gathering all details from him. The sword was of Egyptian origin; precisely it was called ‘Khopesh’. It was in use till the 3rd millennium BC. It had a very peculiar shape; curved outside, it looked like a question mark. It was adorned with a very distinctive symbol on the handle; a hooded cobra, with 8 beautiful jewels encircling it. ‘Enough as a motivation to steal’, smiled Charu.

She was about to question him further when Abhay came in. No sooner did he enter, everyone tried to act perfect.

Abhay was an intelligent officer with a serene face and calm eyes. He was very famous for being strict as well as kind. Somehow, Charu always had felt that he was a bit haughty and quite self-satisfied. Rolling eyes at his grandiloquent entry, she went to him and said, “Hello”.

Abhay hadn’t expected her for sure. “Charu? I didn’t know about your return. Anyways, to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” He enquired, walking to his cabin.

Following him, Charu explained the purpose of her visit.

Abhay didn’t even try to suppress his laughter. “Have you changed your profession? Aspiring to become the new mystery queen?”

“No, if you find it funny, better that I should leave”, jeered Charu.

“No, Charu, I am sorry. The reason I said this is that it is quite unbelievable, isn’t it? Dead ringers, mountains, swords and horrific dreams make a good thriller. But that is not how life is. It is obviously about being rational, as you once had told me.” He explained, staring at her.

Charu looked at him in stunned disbelief. After a momentary silence, she said, “Can we please focus on the matter at hand Abhay? I have got to get this sorted at the earliest. Life has taken me back to the path I had deserted once, but I must deal with it.”

Clearing his throat, he said, “Fine, I still have a lot of things on my plate. After that, I can come to your house to discuss this in detail, sounds good?” Charu nodded. Without wasting even a moment, she rushed home.

“This seems unbelievable yet true. Some things are just hanging like cobwebs, with no origin to find. Uncle Vincent for instance, why did he go to Egypt in particular? And why would a lady want a mountain? That seems very weird to me. The Shrieking lady Martha, the code…I am also as unsure as you are,” said Abhay, his face now bearing a puzzled look. They were discussing the matter in Charu’s house.

“The sword has certainly got something to do with all of this. The code says ‘MV’, possibly meaning Mount Verghese. 02F could mean 2nd Floor, but I am still unsure about K09. However, the grooving on the door was unclear, it seemed like a serpent, but what on the earth has a snake got to do with this? As for Martha, I would like you to set some tail on her. She knows something. “Charu Finished.

After thinking for a moment, Abhay said, “Bring on the map Charu.”

Charu handed over the map to him. He scanned it in detail comparing it with the enlarged map of Fort Kochi.

‘Now this is something interesting!’ He exclaimed.

‘What?’ Charu asked in a bored tone. ‘This mountain; that lies midway between museum and hotel, doesn’t it twinkle your sharp mind? Lots of rumors revolve around it, then there is that enigmatic labyrinth full of dark even in daylight.’

He pointed at a spot on the map with a usual teasing smile that exasperated Charu. She was ready to retaliate but she also needed his help. Fuming, she turned her thoughts to the mountain. Looking at her, as she restrained herself, amused him. ‘She is still the same. Can’t accept her defeat…’ he smiled.

Charu’s mind was racing. The mountain was surreal in itself. It had a huge labyrinth on one side and the other side had a huge lake with its placid blue water. No one had made it to return alive from there. The rumors had it that one lady was murdered and it was her soul that kept the area haunted. A sudden chill rose through Charu’s spine. These details were fed to her by Uncle Vincent….!!!!

‘What could connect these things? What the hell…. I can make neither head nor tail of this, but does one have the freedom to say so? Mr. Intelligent would pester me again on this’, muttered Charu.

‘Sorry?’ interrupted Abhay. ‘Nothing…I think we should visit the museum again. Probably we will find something important.’ She said. Nodding in agreement, he inquired casually about Granny’s health, Appa, and then rose to leave.

Part V: Sin, Water, and Dirt

Ruth felt exasperated. He was annoyed to the highest extent possible. Water had logged again in the washroom. This was the third time in the day. ‘Already I have so many things to look after. These sheepish servants won’t even call the plumber’, He jeered. He then himself contacted a plumber and asked him to visit at the earliest.

Ruth opened door to allow the plumber to enter. He then guided him towards the bathroom that had the blockage. While entering the room, the plumber spotted a lady who was staring at the roof with a blank face. ‘Clearing blockage won’t let the water wash away your sins…!’ she blurted out. He felt flabbergasted.

He asked, ‘Sir, who is this lady?’ Ruth was already exasperated at the chaos she was often creating these days. He replied in a low tone, ‘My mother’.

‘Is she ill’? Plumber enquired.

‘Will you please mind your own business?’ snapped Ruth.

‘Lake… brought in…the tomb…with serpent’ she shrieked again suddenly, causing the plumber to drop his bag on Ruth’s foot, who whimpered. ‘Stop it, mum’ he shouted, face contorted with pain and features looking sulky.

‘Sorry, sir...’ Hastily gathering the belongings, the plumber hurried towards the bathroom. Ruth went out of the room, probably for getting first aid for his toe.

‘They don’t know…water has memory…Mother Nature won’t forgive…’ Martha muttered again. He asked vaguely, ‘what madam?’

Martha replied, ‘Sins…you filthy man…you all will pay…! Sword vanished…did it not?’

‘But then keeping secrets is equivalent to lying ma’am…’ he said.

‘So?’ Martha argued.

‘For Mother Nature, lying is a sin too…! And yes…clearing blockage may not allow water to wash away sins, but certainly, it will wash away the dirt, allowing us to see clearly…!’ He stormed off, leaving Martha to ponder over sins, water, and dirt.

Part 6: Papyrus

Charu folded the sleeves of her shirt, perhaps to try to open the case 7th time in a row. Abhay interrupted, “Let me try Charu, I beg of you. Not in life may be, but please let me assist you here.” Charu’s sweat-soaked face turned red. “I don’t have a whole day to see how extraordinarily capable women are! I already agree to that!’ Abhay pressed on as Charu showed every possible sign of interruption. Grudgingly, she handed over that small case to Abhay.

They were standing at the very place from where the sword had been robbed. The curator had shown them the case which was locked with the sword. The case too had the symbol of hooded cobra and was extremely beautiful. It was jammed shut due to not being opened for several years. Curator and Charu both had evidently failed to open the case. Abhay applied all his might and the lid opened. Inside was a small pyramid, shining bright with breathtaking aesthetics.

‘What is this meant for?’ Abhay asked, holding it near eye level. Curator replied, “Sir, I have no idea. Probably this too comes from Egypt just like the sword.”

Keeping it in the pocket, Charu and Abhay left to find the room she had seen in her dream.

They were now looking at the deserted corridors of the 2nd floor. Not a single door had resembled the one Charu had seen in her dream. She looked slightly crestfallen. ‘We have searched everything; rooms, garden, library, laundry everything. Except…!’

‘Kitchen…’ Abhay completed the sentence, smiling.

They entered the kitchen and thick layers of dust made Charu sneeze hard. ‘God bless you Charu..’ Said Abhay, chuckling heartily. She did not react but kept looking at the doors carefully. There were several doors, some opened into storage rooms while others opened into changing rooms, probably kept for chefs. In a corner, which was usually hidden from sight, was a gigantic cupboard, marked with the same serpent sign.

Charu opened it with bated breath. One more stroke of dust attacked her. At first sight, nothing looked unnatural, rusty things laid normally on the racks.

‘Damn…I thought this was it…’ With a jolt of anger, she slammed her sandal at it. The sound made her feel curious. Both of them went near and tapped the back of the cupboard.

It seemed as if it was hollow. There was something behind it. Charu hastily pulled the racks and the stuff away and pushed the sun mica towards her left. Nothing happened. She looked towards Abhay as if asking for help. He joined her and both pushed it hard. This time it opened with a loud noise allowing them to enter into a much darker corridor.

Abhay lit his torch and marched forward. Charu followed carefully, watching her steps. At the end stood a very peculiar door, which had a hooded cobra engraved over it and the place above its hood was vacant. This was it. But why suddenly hooded cobras were making their ways in?

Charu’s thoughts were interrupted by Abhay, who asked, ’Now how do we get in? There is absolutely nothing.’ Charu’s heart started pounding at a sudden revelation in her mind. “But obvious Abhay, it needs a key! The ninth jewel that we discovered just now…K09…! “She took the small ivory-made pyramid from him and pressed it in the groove. The door opened with a loud Crack…!

‘And that is why they say, women are extraordinarily capable…their sharp mind twinkles at the crucial time of the test.’ Said Charu, finally getting her revenge over Abhay’s teasing jokes. He cast her admiring look and followed her.

This room was also having thick layers of dust as if no one had been there for years. Cobwebs were hanging here and there plus lizards and mice were playing their hearts out! Disgusted, Charu made a grunting noise.

Now, this was a very herculean task that had to be completed. They knew nothing which could have helped them progress further. Suddenly Charu’s gaze fell over a half-finished idol of a lady. It looked vaguely familiar. She frog-marched towards it and observed. It seemed exactly similar to the cover page of the book she had read. An idol of a lady without eyes.

Behind her, Abhay exclaimed, “Charu, see here, what I have got! “. He was standing near to a partially visible safe, which had the same marking of a hooded cobra on it. It was a neatly rolled Papyrus. It read…

‘Listen to what Mother Nature says…Water always makes ways...follow the opposite of right and the sun God makes the hidden world shine bright…!’

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