The Undertaker: Chapter 6

The Undertaker: Chapter 6

12 mins 520 12 mins 520

The Affinity

SP Khan got into the discussion room where Gabriel and Chetry were sitting. Both of them stood up as the senior entered. Chetry saluted him in a standard British Army style showing the disciplinary traits he possesses. On the other hand, Gabriel did a casual Navy salute. SP Khan gestured them to take their seats and they followed. “Chetry told me everything about the scene out there at Jatayu. Disgusting, it is! But, a formidable link between Jaan Patnaik case and the body can be confirmed only after the Analysis phase” SP Khan said. “How long will it take, Sir?” questioned Gabriel. “Five hours.


Usually, Computer Forensics take a quarter to four hours but the tech is new so the enumerators will take a bit extra time” replied SP Khan. After completing his words, Khan signaled Chetry and left in a hurry. SP Khan was to attend the annual meeting for Civilian security. As he left, Gabriel looked at Chetry with quizzing expression. “Sir wants you to study this guy Jaan Patnaik and see if he can really be a killer. Your psychological knowledge and analysis are at a higher level compared to us” Chetry replied to the latent questions forming on Gabriel’s mind. Gabriel was satisfied with the task but wanted to be part of the investigation procedure too. “Any plans on how you guys will investigate?” Gabriel quickly dropped the question before Chetry. Chetry told him that they were about to prepare one. He smiled and thumped Gabriel’s back before leaving the room. Gabriel returned a smile of gratitude. As Chetry left, he started walking around the Police Headquarters feeling all elated. His persistent begging to get indulged in a real investigation was heard by God quicker than he imagined.


All the different rooms had police entangled in calls and files. Tight security prevailed in the entrances. Lockup cells had prisoners who would look directly in Gabriel’s eyes- most of them without remorse. It was completely different from the educational tours he and his batch mates attended before. Nobody was providing directions and insights forcefully. Gabriel liked these lonely explorations. He hated the company and the reason was anonymous even to him. He really was anatomical to people solving problems in groups except for professional work, of course. He could count the number of his friends in a finger. Without making any kind of effort to start a conversation in the completely filled room, he wandered around. His eyes caught the sight of the upper floors which made him even more curious. Making his way through the stairs, he reached the second floor. It had the Forensics department situated. The transparent glass allowed him to look through.


A female doctor along with two associates was busy scanning the dead body found at Jatayu. Gabriel felt his presence might raise questions on trespassing. The Forensics department had the latest Computer Forensics equipment and devices which made Gabriel happy. “Sir, you are supposed to head towards Jaan Patnaik’s colony now. The address has been transferred to your device” Chetry said from downstairs. Gabriel felt the need to fuel up and proceeded towards an SUV as directed. He opened the passenger door and greeted the constable on the driver seat. The car took off slowly. They crossed the Headquarter colony after some minutes when Gabriel sensed something about the constable. The constable would tilt his eyes towards Gabriel and give him a look of complete reluctance. A few looks later, Gabriel asked “You surely want to ask something, Sir. Don’t you?” The constable gave a shaky smile when he got designated by a future Superintendent. “Sir, you are not supposed to be designating me. Instead, it is me who should” he said stammering. “I don’t divide respect on the basis of professional position. My mother always tells me that it is the personality and culture of a person which decides whether he is a trash or human” said Gabriel wisely. The constable could not retreat himself from smiling widely with both his eyes and face. “Sir, I have been pondering over this case. Can a boy this young really go to so much extremity?” the constable asked in a concerned manner as the car took a turn. Gabriel was expecting the question and put out some real facts saying “James Bulger, a two-year-old toddler was abducted and killed in England. Private parts were penetrated with batteries and huge boulders were used to kill him. The body was disposed of in some railway tracks.


When they investigated, two ten-year-olds confessed to the crime”. There was silence in the car after what Gabriel disclosed. They reached the address of Jaan Patnaik. The society remained silent like always. Busy and successful professionals did not care to care about each other. Gabriel and the constable took the elevator to Jaan’s flat. Numerous slippers were laid on the mat before their main door. Gabriel asked the constable to call out the watchman of society. Gabriel felt pity for the parents. He wished his intuitions regarding their son were wrong. He wanted Jaan Patnaik either to die or return to his abode. He knew Jaan going astray without being found would give false hope every day and being despair was far better than that feeling. The constable arrived along with the gatekeeper. “Hi! Please tell the secretary that we are here” he requested the gatekeeper.


A quadragenarian came outside and greeted Gabriel. “Good afternoon Secretary. I would like you to shift the society members to some empty closet in your apartment. We might need to interrogate them and meanwhile, I need the parents alone inside” Gabriel told the secretary. The members came out one by one and all of them could be categorized into the haves at first glance itself. Gabriel thanked the secretary and went inside the flat. The Patnaiks sat at their sofa and before them were glasses of water which they refused to sip. Gabriel sat before them and the Patnaiks did not look like being aware of it. “Hello Mr and Mrs Patnaik. I am Gabriel Orang, in -charge of interrogation in your son’s missing case” Gabriel introduced himself. The Patnaiks rolled their eyeballs towards Gabriel and gave a hushed permission.


Gabriel cleared his throat in order to begin the interrogation. His mobile chimed with a message from Chetry which contained an image. The description read that the paper in the image was stuffed inside the dead man’s mouth reading “HOWDY?” in a somewhat indecipherable manner. The paper was some official doctor that had the name ‘Ahaan Sengupta’ somehow recovered by forensics. They assumed Ahaan to be the victim’s name. Gabriel looked at the parents and decided to change his initial question. “Did Gabriel know someone by the name ‘Ahaan Sengupta’?” he asked in a clearly audible voice. The parents were taken aback and bewildered as the name dropped.


The mother looked at Gabriel’s eyes coldly. The intensity of silence increased and the mother’s eyes got wet as she seemed to turn anomalous. A hysterical cry came out abruptly from the mother. The father went close and hugged her tight. Gabriel could not notice any servants in the house so he ran towards the kitchen. He handed her a glass of water and rubbed her back. “Please take your time,” he said and decided to wait outside. Gabriel never assumed the emotional externalities an investigator has to go through. The difference between a drill and the real case became clear and he could feel a tear. Meanwhile, a call came from Chetry. “Hey! Have you started the investigation?” Chetry asked. “I received your message and it seems Jaan is not innocent. I turned out right” replied Gabriel. Gabriel asked about the investigation’s progress. “This is what I called you for. Where should we begin according to you?” Chetry asked for a suggestion. “The guy, Jaan Patnaik eloped with Ahaan Sengupta’s money and probably car. It has been almost twenty-four hours since he eloped. This means he can be on the verge of state border if he is still eloping or might have even crossed it. We cannot have given the Broadcast media access yet as it can aware of him. So, contact the adjacent states’ police and spread his photos. We are in for a Manhunt” Gabriel responded in detail. “You are indeed Khan Sahib. Jai Hind!” Chetry cut the call saying so.


Gabriel was instructed by Mr. Patnaik to come in. “You’re ready, Miss?” Gabriel asked politely. Miss Patnaik nodded and began a string of questions and peculiar answers. “As we know, your son wrote a suicide note and fled away. What are the events that led to this? Do you have some idea? Do you have any idea at all?” Gabriel started the interrogation. The mother, wiping her tears began “My son has not been happy since the past four years. This day was to come, I suppose. His grades started flunking once he got to the 11th standard and his best friends left him. From recent times, he started drinking alcohol in small bottles too. He is so lonely.” “What happened suddenly?” the interrogation continued. “I do not know, nobody knows. But, these were just bad times that come to everybody’s life. I mean, four years is a long time but he could be patient” she said. “Does he blame anybody?” Gabriel questioned. The mother took a pause and said “His school! He would often taunt us saying that he would go through some of its teachers and students. I do not know everybody but he did disapprove of Ahaan Sengupta, the principal, and his class teacher, Smriti”.


Gabriel’s alertness to her replies went on increasing and he asked about the students he hated. “I do not know. He surely did not like anyone from the school and I guess Mausam is the only friend he has had” the mother said in a low tone. Gabriel thought about other questions he could ask, specific and important ones. “Did he give any indication of doing something so bad?” Gabriel asked both the Patnaiks. The parents looked at Gabriel and the mother replied “He liked all these dark things- Ghosts, Witches, Killers, Hobos, etc. He liked these things from childhood. But, he never harmed anybody”. The mother wept saying the words. Gabriel’s connectivity with the case caught a tight grip after interrogating the mother as events of his drew parallel somewhere to Jaan’s. “Who is close to him except Mausam, Mam? I might need to speak to them?” Jaan still kept on dropping questions.


“Talk to his elder sister and brother. I will provide you with the numbers” the father said. Gabriel was approved to rummage inside Jaan’s room. The room was a broad one with pale yellow walls. There was a poster belonging to the Occult. A few torn Cricket posters were replaced with the pictures of Shanda Sharer and Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer’s photo was a personal profile of him sitting on a sofa and smiling. At that point, Gabriel knew the case was going to be profound. Gabriel took a closer look at the Occult poster. It presented the idea of complete sadism upon the innocent. Gabriel knew the characters depicted. Four men of power stomped on thirteen teenagers. Blood smashed out through their skulls. Marks of repeated sodomy and torture were visible on the victims’ bodies. They were whipped perpetually and feces lay upon them. Beneath them lied an army of skulls relishing the moment. The setup was in a deeply isolated castle. Gabriel understood the characters were from Passolini’s Salo. Gabriel wiped off the sweat from his face as there was perspiration on his face thinking of the victims who were next in Gabriel’s list.


He took a close look at the poster of Shanda Sharer and saw a personal obituary written on it in very small letters. Gabriel was baffled seeing the antonym among the posters. Gabriel began searching the room engulfed with inner tensions. The untouched perfect room was a mess within minutes as if someone seized it. Chairs were on the floor along with the big cardboard slate covering it. The two-story cupboard had all its clothes indistinctly being searched upon. Gabriel even knocked upon the walls to seek any latent information. He did find a lot of material, simply baffling. There was a picture of Richard Loitham. A paper cut about two recent juvenile perpetrators was found. It told about an educational institution burying a child tortured by seniors over three hours. Additionally, photos of Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, and Hope Rippey were crossed out red. The final photo he could find seemed like a class photo. All the teachers in the photo had a noose around their neck along with five pupils.


Gabriel smelt the dread of his subject. He felt chill down his spine and got lost for a while. Gabriel closed the door and started scratching his head. Once again, he looked at the photo of Jaan Patnaik and could not ignore those evil eyes accompanied by the most innocent of faces. Jaan resembled Jeffrey’s haircut and expression ditto. However, it was Gabriel caught in a situation of Hobson’s choice at that moment. He kept the class photo aside with him and tore out every other thing he found. Jaan accumulated the tiny pieces of material inside his pocket and opened the door. As he came out, the Patnaiks looked at him as blankly as they looked before. “Do you people know when Jaan got this haircut of his?” Gabriel asked in a tone of interrogation. “He got it recently, just a day prior to his arrival here” the father replied. “Did he ever kill animals?” Gabriel asked. The unexpected question did raise the eyebrows of the recipients. They denied knowing about it. “I guess he did” Gabriel murmured inaudibly to himself.


Meanwhile, the phone of Gabriel chimed again. It was SP Khan on the other side. “Sir!” exclaimed Gabriel and SP Khan asked him about the whole search. He also simultaneously informed Gabriel how his intentions were right regarding Jaan. SP Khan told that Jaan can be charged for theriocide as Gabriel predicted. A search around the ‘Paying Guest’ residence where Jaan stayed prior to living with his brother confirmed it. Jaan was studying in a state to the south of the country. He was a student at an institution thereafter his twelfth inter. Jaan replied to SP Khan saying “I am coming to meet you, Sir. Jaan Patnaik will not halt. He has found the taste he craved for and he enjoyed it”. SP Khan too got silent and asked Jaan to come immediately.


As the call ended, Gabriel had an eye-to-eye stern interaction with Miss Patnaik. He went close to her and fondled her fists. He took a deep breath and said “The way you described and admitted your son’s downfall really impressed me. I bet you are a good mother. I will not be going into details about the findings inside your son’s room. Circumstances turn saviors to maniacs or even maniacs into saviors. All I wish is that the latter proves true in case of your son”. The mother looked at him and smiled concurrently. Her melancholy was gone for some moments and she appealed to Gabriel in his ears “Do let me know everything when you meet him. Ask him to meet me once.” Gabriel hugged her tight and left the room.


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