Prey on the Prowl

A crime Novel

That June evening, the crimson sun gave in to the dark monsoon clouds to let them end its long summer reign over the Deccan skies. What with the thickening clouds thundering in triumph, Detective Dhruva woke up from his siesta, and by the time he moved into the portico of his palatial bungalow at 9, Castle Hills, the skies had opened up to shower its sprawling lawns. It was as if the eagerness of the rainfall matched the longing of the parched soil to receive its fertile mate in an aroma of embrace, and in the ensuing echoes of that seasonal union, the roots of the garden plants devoured every raindrop, that is, even as their leaves shed the overburden to accommodate the new arrivals.

In that setting, as Dhruva, impelled by all that, stood engrossed, Raju, the housekeeper, fetched him a plateful of hot pakodas, which, facing the spatter, he began to savor, and before he had finished with the snack, Raju returned with a mug of steaming Darjeeling tea for him. Soon, as the refreshed sun resurged to warm up the leaves, even as the satiated roots let the bounty go down the drain; done with the beverage, the detective picked up the sachet of lanka pogaku to roll a cigar, and then as he reached for the cigar lighter, the rainbow, in its resplendent colors, unfolded in the misty skies. However, when he began puffing away at the exotic cigar, as if dispelled by its strong scent, the dissipated clouds began disappearing from the horizon.

Having savored the cigar to the last puff, as he stubbed the butt and stepped out onto the lush green wet lawn, Dicey, the Alsatian, followed him, as if to leave its own footprints on the damp canvas in its master’s tracks. Then, even as the rainy clouds began regrouping in the skies, he covered the garden to caress every croton and coleus as he would his pet. But when it portended downpour, Raju led Dicey into the portico and the detective headed towards the study to pick up the half-read Crimes Digest of the month.

But yet again, as it was a downpour, Dhruva reached the first-floor window, standing by which, he thought that it was akin to the urge of an assassin to revisit the scene of the crime, for a review of the same. Amused by his analogy, he thought the sky was at obliterating its earlier footprints on the earth, but when it ceased raining and it turned murky, as if mourning the loss of its resplendence, he too began immersing himself in the dark world of crime the Digest pictured, even as Raju let the pet do the patrolling of the premises.

Soon though, Dicey began barking at the gate, again inducing Dhruva to reach to the window, through which he saw a sensuous woman, tentative at the half-open Iron Gate of his mansion. Enamored of her attractive face and desirous of her middle-aged frame, as he stood rooted, the pet sprang up to the gate, forcing the tantalizing trespasser to beat a hasty retreat. No less affected by her sensual gait in her retreat, the detective lost his eyes to her, until she went out of his sight, but readily alive to her loss, he cursed himself for not sticking to the portico. Thus, obsessed with her, though, inexplicably, he rushed to the gate, only to see her turning the bend, even as Inspector Shakeel came into view on his Bajaj Pulsar.

When the cop greeted the detective, feeling lost, he forced himself to hug him, even as his pet leapt up to the visitor in welcome; however, as Raju took away Dicey, wondering aloud what made him scarce, for nearly three months then, Dhruva led Shakeel into the portico. So, as the cop began to detail how he had reached the dead-end of a double murder investigation on hand, the detective closed his eyes, as if to avoid reading the script from his body language.

Continued to “Shakeel’s Fixation”


More by :  BS Murthy

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