#TornadoGiveaway – Frozen Summer & Columbia

Name of the Book: FROZEN SUMMER AND COLUMBINA

Author: Geetha Madhuri & Cynthia Vincent

Read some reviews:

1. Mayura Ramesh

2. Shriya

3. Kumar

The Story:

Frozen Summer & Columbina is India’s First Ever Double Header book with 2 different stories that fall under the Genre – Psychological Thriller.
Frozen Summer Somewhere in the city of Hyderabad, a young software engineer leaves an interview with broken heart. On her way back home, news of the murder troubles her. The more she learns about the details, the more familiar they seem to her -dangerously familiar. Would she find answers to the several unanswered questions that concern her? Stakes are high, chips are down and curtain rises for an all-out game. Columbina World’s most cruel penitentiary – THE ALCATRAZ tells tales of notoriety bundled in the shape of men. Alcatraz holds a dark secret that will arise a few venoms and rekindle viscous forces. After a body is found in a trunk on the island, Martin Herd is hired to solve this unfathomable mystery. Finding the truth will pose a big question before him, Should the secret of the Alcatraz be left buried or should it be brought before the world?
Frozen Summer is a suspense thriller written by Geetha Madhuri (Author of The One and Only Purpose from Time’s Lost Atlas)
Columbina is a detective thriller written by Cynthia Vincent Daniel (An enthusiastic blogger who owns the blog – Whispers in the Wind)
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About The Authors 


 

Geetha Madhuri 
 
Author of the upcoming novella – “Frozen Summer” published as India’s First Ever Double Header – Frozen Summer & ColumbinaPreviously known for the short story “The One and Only Purpose” published in anthology, Time’s Lost Atlas.

An IT Employee by profession and writer by passion.

 

Cynthia Vincent

 

 
About Cynthia in her own words: In the first year of my teens, I had written a poem for my dad on Father’s day. I had written it on a white chart paper and stuck a photo of me and my dad alongside it. The poem was an instant hit.Ever since, I have loved writing. I feel it comes naturally to me. I can express my feeling better when I put them down in words. As a kid, my parents would take me and my brother for a holiday every year. Travelling fascinated me and on every travel I made it a point to pen down small notes about the travel.

During the first year of my life in the Hostel, I started blogging right here at Whispers in the Wind. Blogging gave me the confidence to write a full length novel (Psychological Thriller) which is slated for release on the 7th of February, 2015.

On my blog, you will find me writing Short Stories, Poetry, Travellogues and anything through which I can connect with my reader.

An Author, A positive thinker, Traveller and someone who believes in the power of Acceptance

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Week2 – Post17 – GameOfBlogs by BlogAdda

Blog-o-holics

 

A TIME TO KILL

Read the Previous post by Sumi here.

 

Really! Some people have no civic sense or basic etiquette, thought Tara as she heard the door open with force. She turned back and glared at the girl who walked in, invading the privacy she had needed with the police commissioner. Not that the commissioner was here though. She had been kept waiting without any explanation whatsoever. If this can happen to a high profile reporter like her, God knows what happened to the common people.

 

She saw a sense of recognition pass through the girls’ eyes. So this girl knew who she was. Tara, though, didn’t recognize seeing this girl anywhere before. Maya. That’s what her ID card read. But however much Tara thought about it, she couldn’t recall seeing this Maya covering any news. Maybe she’s a new recruit, Tara thought, and turned back to face the empty leather chair with a white towel on its headrest.

 

“I’m so glad to meet you Tara Ma’m”. Tara turned toward the girl and smiled at her, before turning back again.

“Are you here because of your kidnapping? Have they figured out who the culprit is?”

“I have no idea. I’m yet to meet the commissioner you know. As you can see, he’s not here.”

“You’re so brave, getting yourself free and running away like that! I really admire you, Tara Ma’m”

“Thank you, Maya. Do you also have an appointment with the commissioner?”

“Errr…Umm…”

“Here to get some inside scoop, are you?”

Tara smiled as she saw Maya fidgeting with her ID and glasses. “Are you here for my kidnapping or for the bomb blast?”

“No. No. I mean, of course your kidnapping and the blast in the city is big news, but other reporters are covering these. I’m here about the murder.”

“Murder?”

“Oh! You don’t know about the murder? They found a dead body from the sea, no? Wanted to know if they got his identity yet.”

As Tara turned back to face the commissioner’s empty chair, Jennifer smirked. “You’re not the only one with news, bitch” she thought.

-x-x-x-

This is the last chapter of Week 2. Will update the link to the next chapter as it goes up next week.

 

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

 

 

 

Week1 – FirstPost – #GameOfBlogs by BlogAdda

Team Blog-o-holics’ first entry.

 

Walking on high heels can be a pain, thought Tara, as she stopped to adjust the straps of her wedges. She placed a hand on little Roohi’s shoulders for support as she struggled with them. Everything in place, they started walking, Tara almost dragging her 9 year old daughter. “Hurry up, Roohi, or we’ll be late for school.” Roohi, however, tried to walk at her slowest, hoping against hope that they’ll be so late that she could ultimately skip school. Who wants to go to school when you haven’t done the homework and were asked to get a note on your diary signed by your parents but didn’t, right? She hoped her class teacher would somehow ignore what she did on her friend’s back with colors yesterday. Her hopes were soon in vain as she saw the Convent building looming nearby.

Tara heaved a huge sigh of relief as she tightened the ribbons on Roohi’s two ponytails and packed her off at the school’s entrance. “Try not to be naughty today, Roohi!” she called after her daughter. She adjusted her large designer tote while watching Roohi disappear inside the building and then decided to walk the remaining distance to her office, which was nearby. She worked at Headlines Today and loved her job, especially since it offered her flexible hours and a fat cheque at the end of the month. It’d have been so easier if Shekhar also worked full time at some job, she thought. But 10 years ago she had taken the plunge knowing full well that Shekhar would be writing full-time. It meant irregular pay but she was glad he could stay at home and look after their daughter. You can’t trust the nannies these days. Look at all the news reports coming in where children were abused by their tutors & nannies.

As she walked immersed in her thoughts she started feeling a little uneasy. You know the feeling you get when someone watches you intently? She turned to look but nobody was around at this early hour. Except a morning walker wearing grey track pants and a black hoodie who was sitting on a stone bench, texting. Tara shrugged and dismissed the feeling. It must be the fight she had with Shekhar today. Or maybe the one she had had with the Autowallah. She must give credit to Shekhar though. Whenever they fought, he was always the first one to hug her and say sorry, his graphite eyes ever smiling through his thin golden specs. But the Autowallah! She felt her blood boil as she recalled their argument earlier. First of all he had the audacity to ask for 300 Rs. just to go a few km. And then when she had bargained, he had spit his paan right next to where she stood, as if the whole world was a giant spittoon! Poor chap will always remember the lecture he got this morning on manners, she thought. All this could’ve been avoided if only Shekhar had remembered to take the car to the mechanic for repairs. All these years and she still wasn’t used to living with a writer!

She felt the sensation again as if she was being watched. She increased her pace a little, her heels making a clack-clack sound on the cemented pavement. Her office was on the next block after the traffic signal. She could see the tall building with the hoardings but it would take 6-7 minutes to cover the distance on foot. Suddenly, she became aware of another sound matching her pace, not very distinct but certainly there. She stole a glance backwards and caught a glimpse of a tall, slim figure wearing a black hoodie. Was it the same man she saw earlier? Her heart leapt to her mouth and she could hear her blood pounding as sinister images formed in her head. She increased her pace as she noticed a chai-wallah opening his shop at a distance. Relief flooded her as she saw another person and decided to stop at the stall and ask for help if needed.

As she got near the shop, she felt the person behind her come closer every second, taking long strides. She felt as though she’d have a heart attack as the person overtook her, slightly grazing her shoulders, when she reached the shop. She stopped abruptly and heaved a sigh of relief. Really, wearing a hoodie isn’t a crime you know, she chastised herself on her childishness. The hoodie man must have been in a hurry.

She walked at a leisurely pace to her office and headed straight to the washroom to straighten her formal shirt and fix her lipstick. It wouldn’t do to appeared flushed in front of her colleagues. After she applied some gloss on her lips, she moved over to the window and opened it a little to get some fresh air in her system and calm her frazzled nerves.

Was that a flash of a black hoodie she saw around the corner?

 

Read the next installment to this story here.

 

***

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Book Review – Scarlet Revenge by Ann McGinnis

 

Scarlet Revenge by Ann McGinnis



The Blurb
 
The FBI doesn’t know what to do with Analyst Caycee Scarlet. She’s brash, brilliant & brutally relentless when tracking a serial killer. But she also has a temper, problems with authority figures and recognizing the chain of command. Things go sideways for Caycee when she uncovers a lead that saves the Omega Killer’s latest victim. Rather than working the system and making nice with her pompous boss, sparks fly and she gets into an altercation with the lead Special Agent on the case, resulting in a transfer to another assignment. Caycee finds herself transferred to an FBI interrogation facility where she assesses the most dangerous of criminals in custody. She struggles to get over the loss of her dream job, but her new boss, handsome Special Agent Gil Graham, may soften the blow. Sparks, of a different variety, fly between the Special Agent and his new Analyst, as they work together to crack the most difficult cases. Just when Caycee’s wounds are healing from her expulsion on the Omega Killer team, she is dragged back into the thick of it. Caycee and her new team are front and center, focused on an interview of a bombing suspect, when Omega comes looking for revenge. His attack wounds her team, leaving Caycee with only one option for help-the devastatingly handsome bombing suspect. It will take all of Caycee’s wits, and a kiss for luck, to stop Omega and save her co-workers.
 
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Review

Scarlet Revenge is the first story in a series of FBI Analyst Caycee Scarlet. I am normally skeptical about picking up the first novel of a series till the time the other books aren’t out but I’m glad I picked this up. This story has a sense of closure, it doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered while keeping the reader interested to read the second book as well. So many authors aren’t able to pull off sequels correctly and I congratulate Ann on doing a fantastic job at this.
Caycee as well as her boss-cum-love interest, Gil, are both likable and relatable characters since both of them possess positive as well as negative shades just like normal human beings. I loved Caycee’s spunk and found it charming that Gil supported her, sometimes even taking a backseat. How many heroes do that, really? The Omega Killer Jeffery, The baseball Bomber Hicks & Ex-Boss Wilkes are the other important characters in this novella. The author has done an excellent job with sketching the characters of Hicks as well as Wilkes whereas I wanted something more from the author regarding The Omega Killer since he was the Main antagonist in this story. I believe he needed a li’l more attention. His methods, his background or why he became what he did was never really discussed. In a serial killer thriller, I would expect these things as a reader. Hicks character, on the other hand, was strong and compelling and I’m glad that there will be more of him in the sequel Scarlet’s Envy. I’m certainly looking forward to it. At the end of the story, Caycee sees someone that looks like Hicks get away from the premises and doesn’t do anything. This is the only point which felt jarring to me since I had made an opinion about Caycee being an upright FBI officer. It made me question her dedication to her profession. Not sure if this concern will be handled in the sequel but I certainly hope so.
I recommend Scarlet Revenge to all Romantic Thriller lovers. I would rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Meet the Author
 
Ann McGinnis writes about characters that let their egos and sense of justice rule their lives, while they protect the public from serial killers and unthinkable crimes. Of course, Ann’s characters always find a way to blow off steam — romantically!
As a writer, Ann comes from the world of action/thrillers and screenwriting. She has two scripts currently in development. A third script, about a spunky FBI analyst, is the basis of “Scarlet Revenge” and the main character Caycee Scarlet. It is the first book in a series, with Book 2 “Scarlet Envy” coming out in September 2014. 


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Book Review – Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge

SAVAGE_FINAL_4 copy

“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage


The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

Buy at :  Amazon

Review : 

Savage Summer is a fast paced mystery/thriller, so interesting that I finished it in a single sitting.

The author has created great characters. I liked that there are only a few characters in this book and that each one has been developed really well. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t identify with at some point or other.

All good thrillers guarantee fast-paced, nerve-racking moments and this is no exception. Add to it Curt Savages satiric sense of humor and you have a perfect summer read.

The only disappointment (and it’s a huge one) I had from the book is the absence of a sense of closure. Now I understand that this is just the first novel in a series and the BIG reveal about who killed Savage’s girl would be solved only at the end. However, I’d have liked to see some resolution to the night-prowler case. Three mysteries have been touched upon in this novel and not a single one of them have been solved. If I’d known this previously, I’d have picked this up to read only after all books were released!

 

Excerpt :

The phone jarred me out of the fantasy. I awoke suddenly, shielding the light that assaulted my eyes. The odor of Ruthie’s perfume was everywhere.

“Ruth?” I called out. Disoriented, I reached out to her side of the bed, expecting her to be there. It took me several more seconds to realize that she was dead.

“Hello,” I started. The gravel in my throat demanded that I clear it once or twice.

“I’m responding to the ad about Ruth Warwick’s murder.”

Those words officially woke me up. More effective than any cup of coffee, the voice synthesizer disguised the caller’s identity, but the point was that someone had finally phoned. Ever since I’d been dispensed with as a suspect, I’d placed small pennysaver ads in papers published in both Pennsylvania and Ruthie’s home state of Connecticut. Somebody knew something, but I hoped this wasn’t some clown trying to get the reward money from punking my ass.

“Yes, go ahead. I’m listening,” I replied as I ran for a pen and paper. I wanted to be ready, but all I heard was static and heavy breathing. I guessed that it was “all about the money” time. In a second, they’d be asking for the details of how to collect. I figured I’d beat them to that particular punch. “Look, if you’re worried about the reward, the $10,000 will be released when it leads to the arrest of the person, or persons, responsible.”

“I don’t care about the money. There are bigger things going on.”

“What? What do you mean? What things?”

“In due time, Savage.”

“You know my name? How—“

“Inconsequential, don’t you think? Right now, all I can say is this—Ruth was having an affair.”

The click of the receiver on the other end told me the call was concluded. Shocked by the accusation, I stared at the phone, still in my hand. In a million years, I’d never expected a call like that. I collapsed in a chair, trying to think things through. I concluded it had to be a joke perpetrated by someone that thought I hadn’t suffered enough. I slammed the phone back into its stand and took my shower. My stomach was in knots. I was upset that someone was trying to put things in my head about the woman I still loved.

 

Author – Ruth Bainbridge

Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

SAVAGE SUMMER is Ms. Bainbridge’s debut novel. It introduces Curtis Owen Savage into the world of ink and fury. Savage is engaged and about to be married when the brutal murder of his fiancée sends the world crashing down around him. Depressed, he isolates himself to better deal with the pain, but his beloved Ruthie won’t leave him alone. Haunting him with her presence, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer, and making him pay for taking her away.

With the help of a quirky friend and an old colleague, he takes his first steps, but the poisoning of a next door neighbor’s dog lands him his first case—and into a new profession. Hired as a private detective, he navigates through a complex series of clues to discover why someone attempted to kill the black Pomeranian. In the midst of trying to track down the motive, he receives his first anonymous phone call from a phantom who insists he knows secrets about his fiancé’s death. Dubbing the caller Dr. Shadows, the tidbits scattered become the breadcrumbs that lead Savage down a dark rabbit hole that was never meant to be discovered.

Her next planned project is MURDER MOST FOWL. Alex “Trout” Matthews, is a former NYC detective. Now retired, he moves to the town of PortsmithIdaho so he can focus on his one passion—fishing. But as Ruth puts it, “Murder rarely leaves an inquisitive mind alone for long.” He soon finds himself pulled back in the stream of things and knee-deep in mystery.

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Book Review – The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

 

The REVIEW: 

Usha Narayanan has done a great job with The Madras Mangler. The title itself is so clever that it was enough for me to take up the book which the author lovingly provided in exchange of an honest review.

It is a fast paced thriller with new twists and turns every few pages. The serial killer is of course the main plot but there is a sub plot for each of the friends which, I believe, is the secret to the pacey read. Every few pages we are caught up with the history of the girls, someone is fleeing their past and taking up an imaginary identity whereas someone is running and hiding from a rapist. Cyber criminals and plain-old goons run amok in the college and create enough trouble for the girls that they take the threat of the killer too lightly until one of them disappears.

Since the novel is setup in Chennai, we see a lot of references to local hangouts, colleges, streets and rivers which lends a local flavor and authenticity to the story.

The author is able to maintain the suspense halfway through the book for me. She heightens the suspense when the serial killer takes his first victim from the Padmaja college however, being a devour-er of mysteries and thrillers, I could guess the killer as soon as the killer chooses his next victim. This might be a case of concern for fellow thriller readers. Otherwise there’s no taking away the fact that the author has done a good job with The Madras Mangler.

 

The Blurb

 

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

 

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Meet the Author

 

 

Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months.

Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author J

 

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Who’s There? – A stranger comes calling.

Anna bolted the front as well as the back door. She shut all the windows and drew the curtains, first the white lace ones and then the dark velvety ones too. Relieved, she turned on the TV and switched to the local news channel. The reporter on the channel was going on about the ‘stranger’ that invaded people’s homes during the night and carried children away. They still didn’t have any clue as to who it was and what was their motive since nobody got a call for ransom money. Anna couldn’t imagine why he (or was it a she?) would carry away the children if kidnapping for money wasn’t his motive? Was he killing the children? Or maybe mutilating them and putting them to work as beggars? Not all the people that had disappeared were children though. Some were teenagers and a couple of them were young adults.

Watching the news always made her nervous. Turning it off, Anna got up and went over to the door to make sure she had bolted it correctly. Then she checked all the windows. Very nasty business, this. What would people want of innocent little children? Shaking her head, she went over to the kitchen and put 2 cups of water to boil adding the instant noodles and the masala to it, not feeling well enough to make anything else. Then she took out a carton of juice when the doorbell rang. Brows furrowed, she looked at her watch. Who could it be at this time of the night? She finished pouring the juice and put the carton back in the refrigerator. She stirred the contents of the pot when the doorbell rang again. “COMING!” She took off her apron and flung it on the back of a dining chair and walked towards the door. She looked through the peephole but couldn’t see anyone. “Who’s there?” No answer. Her heart beating wildly, she managed a “Go away or I’ll call the police!” but couldn’t stop her voice from quivering towards the end. Still no answer. Must be the children from next door. Always up to some mischief or the other, she concluded.

She went back to the boiling pot, turned off the stove and poured the gooey syrupy noodles on a plate, sitting down to dinner. As she took the first sip of the juice the doorbell rang again. Anna gave a start and spilled some juice on her skirt. She pushed her chair aside and determined to give the neighbor’s children a piece of her mind, she walked over to the door and looked through the hole. Nobody. Without making any noise this time, she decided to wait there at the door and catch the person who rung the bell. Surely they will have to come off hiding to ring the bell again.

Anna slowed down her breathing and kept her eyes glued to the door. Patience, she reminded herself. She didn’t notice anything at first and after about two minutes when she was ready to give up, she saw an arm extend from the other side of the wall and ring the doorbell. That’s not a child. She felt her knees weaken and her throat dried up. She couldn’t get away from the peephole, she had to know more. Soon, she saw the arm again, rickety fingers drawn out, hesitating and then ringing the bell. She put her hands over her mouth to stop from screaming and tip-toed toward the phone, stealing a look backwards now and then. She dialed 100 and put the receiver near her ears. No sound. She punched the ‘off/on’ button on her phone several times and listened. No dial tone.

Shit, she cursed under the breath and put the receiver down but it made a horrible racket as it fell on the floor. SHIT!, She exclaimed again as she hurriedly picked the phone up and put it in it’s place. Anna ran to the dining table and picked up the cellphone. No signal. She moved to the farthest end of the kitchen and she saw a faint signal line appear on the screen. She dialed 100 and waited, fingers drumming on the kitchen counter. Pick up the damn phone, she muttered under her breath.

“Calling somebody?” She gasped when she heard the deep baritone just behind her and then felt a strong hand over her mouth, gagging her. “How?” she managed to ask.

“You didn’t check the back door, did you?”

She heard “You’ve reached the city police station. Who’s calling?” before she felt the blood gushing forth her slit neck.

***

764 words.

Kidnapped.

It all started on a cold January afternoon while I was returning from college, hands in pocket and satchel on back, hurrying to cross the deserted alleyway. It was then I felt those eyes on me, roving over my body and boring into my back, penetrating the many layers of clothing to reach my heart and make it skip a beat. Not stopping, I turned around abruptly hoping to catch the culprit who had disrupted my quiet afternoon walk home, but found the street deserted except a grey sedan that had just turned a corner and was coming in my direction. I nodded my head in disbelief and looked to the front again, irritated at my hyperactive imagination, my brain arguing that I was safe but my heart refusing to act normal again. I quickened my pace a little, resolving to reach the warmth of my home and a steaming cup of coffee as quickly as possible, but heard another set of footsteps matching my pace. Before I could react I felt a hand pin my arms behind my back while another held a cloth to my nose and mouth.

***

This must be a mistake, I thought to myself, they will surely realize how wrong they are and will apologize to me and set me free. Just have some patience girl, I told myself. I couldn’t move my hands and feet. Obviously, they were tied. I couldn’t see a thing but I knew I wasn’t blindfolded.I sat up with some effort and tried to keep my eyes open, focusing on some distant point. As they grew accustomed to the darkness I noticed how dirty the walls and the floor were and had to stifle the urge to vomit. Come to think of it, that’s what those dark, dry patches on the floor looked like, Vomit. I screamed with outrage, angry at the absurdity of it all, angry at what was happening to me, angry at these men for doing this to me. I shouted obscenities at every present and non-present being, hurling insinuations at them and daring them to face the consequences. Suddenly I heard footsteps coming towards my room and then the lock turned and the door opened with force. As the dark, looming shadow entered the room I started screaming at the top of my lungs, all the while backing towards the wall using my tied hands as support. In an instant he was hovering above me and then I felt a sharp sting on my right cheek and tasted blood. His arms went around my neck and I felt a cold steel chain grip me, digging into the flesh as he started to strangle me, snuff out my life. I could offer little struggle and I soon started to gag, tears escaping down my eyes when I felt his grip relax a little and then stop entirely. He pushed me away and threw me on the floor. I started coughing and crying and begged him to stop, to not take my life. I told him I would do anything he asked, even ask my dad to give him money or whatever he needed. He chuckled at that and said he was not looking for money. I told him he would get whatever he needed but pleaded with him to please stop hurting me and set me free. He laughed aloud when he heard that, a blood curdling laugh, and I cringed, something died within me that very moment as I realized exactly what he wanted from me.

***

I cried a lot nowadays, though not loudly anymore and cringed at even the slightest sound, always dreading the sound of the door lock opening. My hands were finally untied but I was still locked in this godforsaken room. I tried to sit up with my back to the wall but my whole body ached with the effort. I had not eaten anything for the past few days and I felt weak and dizzy. I knew I had to do something soon or it will be too late, I wouldn’t have the energy to do anything whatsoever. I put my hand in my pocket, feeling the assurance the steel chain provided to me, a chain I had stolen from him the last time he visited me. I planned to surprise him with it, a surprise attack being my only chance to freedom. I heard the faint footsteps approaching and quickly went to the darkest corner of the room to wait, a hunter waiting for its prey. He came inside and put the dinner on the floor asking me to eat it and turned to go outside. Deciding now or never, I leapt at him from the back, putting the chain around his neck, strangling him with all my might. He struggled to keep my hands at bay but I kept pulling fiercely and after a while I heard him gagging and then his body went limp and and I let it fall on the floor. Am I finally free from this man? I couldn’t yet believe this. Scared that he would wake up any minute, I let the chain go and quietly went out the door without once looking back, finally full of hope because I had survived yet another challenge that Life threw upon me.

She did It!

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.