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

Romance Fantasy Thriller Crime


4.3  

Ketaki Bakshi

Romance Fantasy Thriller Crime


The Mystery Of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 4

The Mystery Of Hotel Mount Verghese- Part 4

9 mins 398 9 mins 398

Abhay's face was showing an unfathomable expression; perhaps a mixture of fear, bewilderment, and defiance at the same time. However, his eyes were still gaping at Yuvaan, as if wishing to kill him only by looks. Yuvaan's feet waddled as though he was enervated. He then fainted without uttering a single word. Abhay felt numb. He crumpled within the puddle of mud and water, thinking of Charu. Why the hell had he agreed to pitch in into this nonsense? He should have restrained Charu and Yuvaan. He wished if he could turn back the time, just for an hour or so, to resist Charu from jumping into this suicidal adventure. But time was the actual unity; nobody had ever been able to meddle with it.

For him, Charu had always been his dream girl. Intelligent yet ground to earth, determined yet humble, ambitious yet considerate, stern yet kind at heart. She was so different from other girls. But she was far too focused on her career to even consider his emotions over it. Abhay's family was a traditional one, wishing for a perfect daughter-in-law, and that was where it all had broken. Charu had stormed off…off from his life. All those glimpses were passing through his mind.

This adventure, however, had rekindled his love and hope; but out of nowhere, Yuvaan and this catastrophe had torn all that apart. However nice he tried to be to him, his heart ceased to help. Abhay's heart was weeping and paining excruciatingly with depths that someone could hardly fathom.

'Only if heart and brain agree to keep the resonance that is needed ', he thought, struggling with his emotional turmoil. He was a resolute guy, practicing stoicism to the extent possible. The duties took over his emotions. It was needed to find her, to clear up all this mess. He had to rearrange the facts, now that he could hardly return without finding her. 

He decided to focus on what exactly had persuaded him to agree on lake's investigation. The answer had lain with Charu's granny and the letter found. She had been able to regain senses and had told them all about the lake and the bloodline of Sheryl. How Charu had managed that nurse and had restrained her from meddling with granny's medicine; was however an enigma to him. They never had got a chance to discuss that, with Charu hurrying over to the lake, to Yuvaan, and to make all the arrangements. Abhay desperately tried to remember what all had been discussed with grandma.

'Now that you already know about what lies there, I am not going to discuss it again.' She had said, having the fragile parchment in her skinny hand.

'Sheryl belonged to a royal dynasty whose origins were deep-rooted into Egypt. One of her ancestors came to India to research about Indus valley civilization, Indian culture and he settled down here. Perhaps mesmerized by the beauty and culture of our land,' She had smiled proudly, while Charu had given an approving nod.

'His descendants flourished into Indian land and culture. However, Egyptians are known to guard their culture with equal rigor. That is why till Sheryl, all the family details and heirlooms were guarded quite fantastically. She valued them more than her life and so, she plotted all the security with Anthony, quite in an unprecedented way.' He had made a chuckle and had received a gaping stare from both ladies.

'Sorry,' he had added, with a flat face.

Granny had continued," The hooded cobras are royal symbols to pharaohs. They used to have it designed on the center-point of their crowns. It represented their valor to the rest of the world and also the protection of an Egyptian Goddess. Anthony and Sheryl hid all her prized possessions into a tomb…a sarcophagus precisely and made an Egyptian priest lock it with their usual protection chants and curses." He had opened his mouth to argue, but Charu had nudged him right inside the stomach with her elbow. "Keep calm Inspector…" She had jeered in a low tone.

Grandma had heaved a great sigh. He had seen the watery eyes which were missing her friend quite clearly. 'We were close friends you see. She and I used to understand each other's hearts quite naturally. Yes, this letter was addressed to me…but it never reached me. We already had discussed these matters before and then I went out of town. Only after Sheryl's death, I got to know from the police that this letter was supposed to come to me.'

'How did she die?' Charu had asked.

'Ohh…Accidental drowning; in the same lake! They never discovered how. She was having that sword in her hand, clutched to her heart with all her might. What actually had happened is still an enigma. Anthony's pain had been excruciating. He kept blaming himself for not being there with her at the time when this tragic incident had occurred. Some days later, he just went missing too…just vanished…and more agonizingly, nobody bothered to check on what happened to their daughter. Poor child, she was left all alone.'

She had not been able to continue, tears had been streaming down from her eyes. Hugging her gently, Charu had asked, 'Granny, what…'

'I adopted her, raised her as if she was mine.' Granny had completed, and within her eyes, he had seen the stealth of a tigress.

Charu had been sitting still, horror-struck. 'Does that mean… I…'

'Yes…you continue the bloodline of Sheryl Verghese…!'

Grandma had paused. An agonizingly long pause it had been. Charu's eyes had been teary, but she hadn't let them stream down. Grandma had said, 'Go and find out what the truth is…be a worthy princess…'

Charu had risen. The same stealth had been glowing in her eyes then….

Abhay was staring at the placid lake with blank eyes. It was starting to dusk. Deep despondency had fallen over his heart. As if it was dusking inside as well. He closed his eyes for a while, thinking of Charu, and promised himself, 'I will bring you back Charu…for sure…come what may..!'

~

He was now squinting at the small piece of paper, on which the second clue was written. It was one of the two ways to solve the mystery. The second one was the lake itself, but its secret lay with Yuvaan and he had already sent him to hospital. But once he returned…there was a lot to question him about his underwater adventure. 

The second clue was more of a conundrum compared to the first one. It seemed more like poetry with deep meaning. After reading it for the umpteenth time, he realized that it pointed to start a journey.

'To find, to see and to travel; all lead to a journey…Of course…but where?' He leaned on the chair and closed his eyes, allowing his mind to hover in the room.

It said that the actual journey started from within. He always hated sophistries and this was looking like one. 'Damn… within…within what?'

That hidden chamber was the second door to the mountain. He had believed that. However, they had failed to reach the mountain from there.

'Within…within…' his mind was racing through every single thing he had seen there.

'Gosh…' a sudden thought hit him. That half-finished statue…!!! What was the point to keep it half-finished? It had no eyes…but had tears… tears represent soul…shedding them usually makes the wise people introspect…it is actually a journey from within.

What if that half-finished statue had been something like a trapdoor? What if the journey ought to have been started from within that statue? It was half-finished, and so its base had seemed large enough.

Correlating these thoughts, probably the statue was a symbol to start the journey from within…In actuality…from within that statue itself…the clue just confirmed it… Bravo…!! This was the answer…he felt certain now.

He hastily grabbed his cap and was about to leave when Yuvaan suddenly bumped into him. Abhay's cap slipped from his hand and fell at Yuvaan's feet. Yuvaan also staggered and so a diary fell from his pocket. Abhay's jaw clenched and so did his fists. Restraining himself from saying anything further, he bent down and picked both, handed the dairy back to Yuvaan, and wore the cap himself. However, his hand smelt bad; a combination of old furniture, dust, and something putrid.

'Filthy lad…don't know from where he got that stinky diary', Abhay thought, applying some sanitizer to his hands.

'Abhay...please…Listen to me…I did not do anything to her'…said Yuvaan hastily, following Abhay as he frog-marched towards his car. 'Why would I? I care as much for her as you do…' Abhay stopped dead.

'Really? So where do you think has she gone? To swim through water for joy maybe…You tell me Yuvaan, would you believe a blabber of this kind? That she just vanished in front of you?' He laughed mirthlessly.

'Not in front of me. I was examining a symbol of a hooded serpent carved on a wall, and she was at my back a little distance farther. After I turned to show her that, she had vanished.'

'How long were you looking at it?' Demanded Abhay, raising his brows.

'Maybe 3 minutes or so…' Yuvaan replied with a feeble voice. 'It looked exactly similar to what we had seen on the sword.'

'So how could that be? Within 3 minutes Charu was gone, without you seeing or hearing absolutely nothing?' Abhay's voice was clearly showing exasperation.

'Yes. I think there is something like a pipe. It is used to suck water at some levels up through vacuum technology. I saw it when I studied the detailed plan of that area. Charu could have been sucked up from there.'

'This isn't that easy Yuvaan, without any exact details. But did you see its opening? Like where it was exactly?' Asked Abhay, looking hopeful.

'No, I desperately searched everywhere…but could hardly find that', Replied Yuvaan, slightly crestfallen.

'I can't risk any more lives Yuvaan, but I will surely look into what can be done in this direction.' He turned to leave.

'Abhay…Charu will be fine right? I just can't….,' Yuvaan's voice broke and he had to gulp several times for restraining himself from crying.

Abhay's heart melted. 'Nope Yuvaan, she will fight…she has to…!' He patted Yuvaan's shoulders and left.

~

Charu slowly opened her eyes. Her head was still spinning, from a blunt blow she had received on it. Slowly, she was gathering her senses back. The floor beneath her seemed unusually cold. Everything was moist, slippery and the atmosphere was filled up with a pungent dusty odor. It somehow felt like it was familiar, but she just could not remember its origin.

She still had her diving suit on, just her head was free. Slowly she tried to stand but then she realized that she was tied tightly with ropes. With the Sun starting to shine, the room started to become visible to her. It was shining bright with breathtaking aesthetics. Many beautiful Egyptian pictures were painted on the walls. 

The head of the grand statue of Anubis was hovering over her head. It was its legs to which she was tied. Exactly in her front, lay a sarcophagus as granny had correctly mentioned. It was purely made of gold. The same hooded serpent was engraved on it and beneath it, there was something scribbled. Charu had to push hard to get a clear view. People with an active conscience would have called it a warning. Rest would have called it a 'Curse'. It read…

May the one who is not a worthy heir….

And still tries to open this like a slayer….

Receive the wrath of Anubis and Hemen….

May they oust the slayer from heaven…

Reward the heir with the rightful wealth…

And the slayer will die a pitiful death…   


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