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A Walk Into The Murder At The Palm Groves!

By Joohi Likhitha

The evening was slowly fading into young night. The road is very dimly lit and is adorned by identical bungalows and hybrid palm trees on either side of it. I took a rather slow pace and lazed about the walkway, gazing at each house. I could get glimpses of life in each of them. In Villa Number 8, the living room looked like a still art painting, with white linen curtains trying to shyly mask the window view, but I could see through it a beautiful array of books on the shelf, a lamp shade, a white sit out and some neatly laid out evening tea crockery.


As I turned to the row on the left, I heard some sweet music coming from house number 17. Who could be playing the piano so gracefully, I mused. I stole some moments of bliss, walking by that lane several times, trying to take in and capture that music in my heart to play it out on another rainy day. And then I walked past the only lively bungalow in the whole community. This one had children playfully running around, hide – and – go seek if I may guess and some new version of Catch- me- if-you-can. Overlooking them sat the adults playing some Bridge or House. Ah, that’s a nice place to be! What merry!!


As I walked into the fifth row of villas, it was eerily silent. I could only hear crickets in the bushes and it started to drizzle. On one portico, there was an empty chair and an open newspaper. Perhaps someone was enjoying the silent ambience on the portico under the sweet fragrance of jasmine plants. And then I saw something…..something dreadful! I wanted to scream but I found myself numb, choked for words… Underneath that empty chair I could see a pool of blood and a severed hand! It was so white, indicating that it had been cut off a while ago and is quite dead! Oh my God, murder in the cold! Fear ran down my spine and I shivered from head to toe.


I scanned the neighbourhood quickly to see if anyone was there. Not a soul, I could still hear only the crickets and the drops of water falling down the roof. I didn’t know what to do, should I walk away without getting my hands dirty or should I become Hercule Poirot ? I scanned at the last house to the left of this one. It was even more dimly lit and its components looked dark! It had gothic paintings hung on the indecent walls and creepy tapestry. My heart was pounding and then I spotted a man sitting in the corner of the living room, his eyes now focussing on me with an expression of startled bewilderment. I am now petrified beyond words, his eyes moved to a blood stained knife on the table poised like a prized possession. He was looking at it with a sense of achievement and pride. He had a smug expression on his face as he eyed it.


Okay, so I am now looking at Mr. Murderer, I took all the energy I could muster and ran like I was being haunted by a scary ghost. I ran back to house number 26, and collapsed into my husband’s arms, panting and sobbing uncontrollably. Alarmed at my distraught, he gave me some water and calmed me down and enquired my state. Through hiccups and sobs, I narrated to him what had happened. He slowly got up and walked about the room, made few calls and then he smiled and said "Why my dear, you ought to stop reading Agatha Christie, and murder mysteries! You do know that there is an annual theatre festival season starting soon in our community art centre. You must have walked past Mr. Thomson’s villa, he is organising dramas and plays, so they were enacting a costume rehearsal of 'Dark Death – murder in cold'! So nothing to worry there.“

I sat silently for few minutes and recollected what I had exactly seen, I never saw a dead body. It was only a hand prop perhaps and some red ink. And then I looked at my husband and smiled sheepishly. Phew, some drama that was!

By Joohi Likhitha

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