Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Ketaki Bakshi

Crime Fantasy Thriller


4.5  

Ketaki Bakshi

Crime Fantasy Thriller


The Mystery of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 3

The Mystery of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 3

9 mins 513 9 mins 513

The second clue

Charu read the papyrus once again, this time very slowly. However, it still didn’t make any sense. ‘Follow the opposite of right? Damn, how on the earth by following wrong, would someone make Sun show anything at all? After all, the opposite of ‘right’ was and has always been ‘wrong’,’ She thought, feeling perplexed.

Abhay was squinting at it over her shoulder, thoroughly impressed. Looking at him with stunned disbelief, she asked, “What makes you feel impressed?” He said, ’the complete intelligence with which all this is woven. No one can solve this mystery without having strong wits.’

‘But that makes it difficult for us too. ‘She added, nodding.

‘It will give a sense of achievement, solving this’, He said, chuckling. Shrugging, she hurried back to examine the idol.

Suddenly, a lizard ran over her foot, making her give a high-pitched shriek. Stumbling, she fell directly on the idol and whimpered. Abhay burst out laughing. Staring at him with exasperation, she tried to stand again. In doing so, her hand felt something that was engraved at the baseline of the idol.

She rubbed it with her hand to clear the dust and focused the torch over it.

‘Blind are those who cannot see within… 

Helpless are those who cannot find within… 

Incomplete are those who cannot travel within…

Because truth is that, the journey starts within…!’


‘Damn…another clue…? As if we did not have enough already…!’ Charu muttered, clearly crestfallen. She called Abhay and showed it to him. The smile faded from his face, almost instantly.

‘Okay, we will solve this too…but first, get up ’. He offered to help her stand.


‘It is very easy to laugh when someone falls...but each time I fall, I learn something new.’ She said defiantly, rose, and continued her examination of the rest of the room.


‘Ms. Perfect...the self-sufficient warrior princess…’ He smiled. As soon as he pocketed the papyrus, the phone rang.


‘What? Oh yes, for sure...I will reach there within 20 minutes.’ Hanging up the phone, he said, ‘Come on Charu, let us get going, I have got something urgent. You also need to reach home, it’s late.’


Charu had completely lost the track of time. ‘Gosh, I need to hurry actually.’ She hurried off after him.


A detour


Charu rushed to get an auto but was brought to an abrupt halt after getting a glimpse of a familiar face. ‘What on the earth is she doing here? I don’t reckon she has anything to do with this part of the city.’ Thought Charu, trying to remember hard about Granny’s nurse, ‘Penny’.

For a second, she thought to simply go and ask her, but then suddenly another thought poked her mind. Why can’t she just follow her and find out about what was going on? She would come back at once, in case it turned out to be something private. However improper it seemed ethically, Charu decided to act on her sixth sense.

Penny went towards a deserted and much darker ally and stood there gazing into the dark. Charu followed her concealing her face with the stole. Penny was looking anxious, as though she wasn’t happy with all that. After a wait of painstaking half an hour, somebody appeared out of nowhere near her.

‘Everything’s fine?’ She asked hurriedly.

‘No, the old lady’s been putting a lot of commotion. It’s becoming very difficult to handle her nowadays. If master gets to know this, his wrath will be unbearable’, He jeered.

‘Hmmm…’ Penny considered for a moment and then said, ‘What about that lake? Any progress?’

‘No…Master was exasperated…very agitated indeed. But that is not why I called upon you. You have to be ready to do the same treatment for the old lady in case need be. I will send the message in the usual way. Get ready with all you want.’

‘But you could’ve sent this over a message…’

‘Don’t be a fool Penny, what if the message gets caught? This is highly sensitive…’ He snapped. 

‘When will you take me to master?’ asked Penny looking hopeful. 

‘How many times do I have to reiterate? The perfect you keep your work, higher will be the reward...now off you go…I have to hurry back.’ He said and without letting Penny interrupt any further, stormed off.

Penny left too, looking dissatisfied.


Charu was dumbfounded by this new turn of events. ‘Who could that old lady be? What are these bandits trying to do with her? And most importantly Penny was involved in what kind of racket?’

‘God, don’t you want all these things to unfold? Secrets after secrets, piling up like a mountain.’

Charu’s thoughts continued as she hired an auto to home. She was thinking about the deliberate attempt of some wrong treatment to an old lady and a sudden chill rose to her spine.

‘My God, does that mean she is mistreating Granny as well?’

‘But then Doctor would have found out for sure…. or was he involved too?’

There was no point speculating over all these without any proof. She decided to take the medicines to another doctor and get all speculations cleared at once.


Charu went to Dr. Ramakrishnan the first thing in the next morning. He allowed her in and said, “Good Lord Charu, that’s a long time after I am seeing you. Have a seat.” Charu tried to smile, but it faded almost instantly.

‘Listen Doc., I need some very sensitive information from you, not a word should go out…’

‘But obvious Charu, you came here, you must have had such a purpose. I do take learning from past...’ he added, grinning.

‘No Doc., this is nothing regarding any criminal case, but is, on the contrary, very personal’, Charu added, shaking her head in negation. ‘It’s about Granny…I think someone is deliberately meddling with her medicines. I don’t know what the reason is, but something is fishy…Granny has always been either sleeping or unconscious…continuously...’

‘Hmm…do you have her reports, prescriptions, and perhaps the samples?’ he asked, looking serious.

‘Yes, here you go’. Charu handed him the medicines plus report and prescription.

Examining them closely, he said, ‘Why have you bought this injection which is not prescribed?’

‘It is not on the list?’ asked Charu, horror-struck.

‘No, the names differ…The one you have brought does bring deep sleeping effects, which looking at your granny’s reports, doesn’t fit in. However, one must give an accurately measured dose to the patient, biweekly I would say; a bit extra can make it adverse. I must say, she has got talent, that nurse. But mind you, if you take any preventive measures, you must exercise caution, she might get to know at once.’ He finished, staring at her.

‘That doesn’t create any risks to Granny’s health right?’ She continued, hoping for an affirmative reply.

‘No, else your doctor would have known. You can stop administering them, but afterward, how to deal with nurse is your take.’ He said.

‘Thank you, doctor. Once again I beg of you, please do not let a word sleep away, this matter is very grave.’

‘Rest assured Charu, I won’t tell anyone ’. He said, smiling warmly.

Charu left, with more questions in mind than before.


A Letter


The plumber silently slipped into the back yard of Uncle Vincent’s house and knocked the windowpane of the middle window, thrice, as he had been instructed over the phone call. Soon it was opened, showing a very pale-faced Martha, who popped her head out.

‘Was it you who called?’ He asked, trying to sound as calm as he could.

‘Yes ’, she replied, in a very feeble voice. ‘You had said that hiding truth was equivalent to making a sin.’ She continued, her eyes now gleaming with confidence and she was sounding perfectly normal.

‘So? Did you call upon me for that? He asked, feeling exasperated.

‘No, you said so, made me introspect and realize my mistake. You must have been sent by the angels. They say that it’s never too late to mend. I regret that I kept secrets and the fact that I remained silent. I could have…’

‘You chose what was easy…rather than choosing what was right...! But obvious, everyone does that…Now you confess, but sometimes, hearty regret doesn’t mend the grave mistakes madam, you cannot add virtues and nullify sins, karma doesn’t work that way…’ He jeered, giving her a look of pity.

Martha’s face contorted with pain. ‘I had no choice, God knows I hadn’t…but I can’t change the past. Instead, I can give you the piece of letter which has started this conspiracy all over again.’

‘To me? Why me?’ he asked.

‘Because I believe, only you can take it back to Sherry. Now...hurry up...nobody should see…’

She pushed that withered, yellowed piece of the letter into his hands and hurriedly closed the window. He jumped through the fence and slipped out as silently as he had entered.


Charu was holding that piece into her hand and was looking at Abhay with stunned disbelief.

‘How come you laid your hands on this?’ He smiled with immense pride but did not answer.

Charu rolled her eyes mumbling, ’haughty…’

‘Read on...’ he snapped, amused with himself. Exercising restrain to the extent possible, Charu turned towards letter in hand.


'Given that they were not ready to let us use the lake as an entrance. However, now Anthony has managed it all right. The mountain, or so I should call it, could not be named after my maiden family, as the land is government property. Anthony tried to use his contacts, but that didn’t help much. He has built the Hotel, named it after my family, and it did serve both of our purposes.

          We had to put loads of security measures as the mountain itself could not become our whole and sole property. Anthony was not happy of course, but you see, the Egyptian priest did assure him that only continued bloodline would be able to open it.

You know already why we had to arrange all this stuff. It will be very difficult to hide that much gold otherwise, and also, I don’t want to give up on family heirlooms as worthy as my own life. We both fear for its misuse. So, it will be safeguarded there, with all enchantments and everything. 

Only those of our bloodline; who will be witty, brave, worthy, and yet selfless, must be able to get that. Now as you had asked about the sword, it will be used to open….


Charu felt very disgruntled at this abrupt start and end. It seemed that the first and last page of the letter was lost. This piece in her hand also was very fragile to handle, a mere wind gust was giving it threats of disruption.

It seemed that Sheryl herself had written this letter, perhaps to her closest friend. It told what was hidden within the mountain and why. It clarified that they wanted only their lineage to find the treasure. However, again it failed to explain the exact purpose of the sword.


Charu looked at Ahay, sighing nervously. ‘Well?’ He asked. Shaking her head, she said, ‘I am unclear, I mean not about the obvious facts, but the intent.’ Abhay frowned. Pacing back and forth, he said, ‘It certainly answers one question. Why the person who stole the sword didn’t steal the 9th jewel as well? Because he didn’t know that there was another entrance. The hotel was named after Sheryl’s maiden name and it is the second entrance. ‘It did serve both purposes…' this line of letter confirms it. But we lack the information on the lineage. Who can clarify that?’ He asked, looking blank.


Sudden revelation struck Charu’s mind. ‘But of course, Granny…! Now the purpose of keeping her silent is clear. She knows Sheryl’s lineage.’

Abhay continued squinting at the letter, his mind racing.


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