Ritu was sitting in front of the dresser, carefully applying polish to her manicured nails, when she heard the door bell ring. Startled by the sudden noise in the middle of the afternoon, she upset the box of polish which fell on the floor, smearing the tiles in pastel shades, sound of breaking glass echoing through the room. She decided to ignore the bell as had been her habit for the past few weeks, hoping the bell-ringer would get tired of waiting and go away, and paid attention towards the mess; contemplating the best way to deal with it. But the chime of the door bell quickly became loud and persistent, just like it had always had in the past, as if the bell-ringer was drawing some sadistic pleasure from abusing the bell.
She swept aside the sudden bout of fear she felt, fear so strong and menacing that it paralyzed her for sometime, convincing herself that it can’t be Him. After all, she had dealt with him, hasn’t she? Ignoring the mess in front of her she decided to see who was at the door, realization dawning on her that the commotion outside would have woken up all the residents of the building from their afternoon slumber. She hurried towards the door and looked through the peep hole to find some uniformed men in Khaki, ringing the bell impatiently. Relief swept over her on discovering that it was indeed someone else. She gathered herself together and asked aloud who it was.
“Police”, came the answer, “Open the door quickly”, one of them said. Again she had the familiar feeling of fear gnawing away at her heart, reducing it into a mass of tissue that thumped loudly against her chest. She knew the men outside would become upset if she delayed any longer and so informed them loudly that she was going to open the door. Summoning up some courage she first of all unlocked the safety latch and then moved the lower and the upper bolts, finally going over the center interlock which she opened last, and taking a deep breath to relax her nerves, she opened the door. Moving aside she invited the two men and a woman in, apologizing for the smell of acetone that now filled the apartment, and trying hard to hide her anticipation and anguish she asked them whether they had news about her stalker.
The policeman that had the smartest uniform on, ran his index finger over his neatly trimmed mustache and said, “Yes, we do. We did find him but he was dead on arrival.” She looked at them, staring each one in the eye, waiting for them to tell her more, her heart beating fast. She didn’t have to wait long though because the same man announced that they had come to arrest her on charges of murder. She felt the whole world swim around her head and quickly grabbed the nearby chair for support and cried out loud, “There is some mistake, I am sure. I don’t even know his name, How can I kill him?”
“We traced your address from the murder weapon, Miss. I am sure there is no mistake.”
“Murder weapon, what do you mean?”, she was literally crying now, feeling all confused and at loss.
“We found your revolver near the body.”
“Oh!”, she whispered, heaving a sigh of relief, “But that’s impossible because the revolver is in my purse” she said and went over to the wardrobe to get her purse, the men following her all the way to the bedroom.
She opened her purse and looked through it, not finding the gun she was looking for. Throwing it aside impatiently she grabbed another purse from the wardrobe, rummaging through its contents. The relief she had felt earlier had turned to panic now. Uttering a cry of sheer despair she chucked the purse aside and went back to the previous one and turned it upside down, spilling all its contents on the bed, searching in vain for the weapon. She slowly realized what this meant and sat on the bed abruptly, tears threatening to run down her cheeks anytime now. She couldn’t believe she had been so silly, after all, forgetting the weapon at the crime scene! The woman constable put a hand on her shoulder, she looked up and slowly followed her out of the room.