|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Old Palace OR Bungalow|
I panicked like I had never before. I stood at the door with my ear stuck to it. Was this really happening? How had his day taken such a steep turn? I looked around. There was no one in sight. I mentally cursed myself for walking inside the gates of this bungalow. But how could I not? The bungalow had been locked and empty for as long as I had lived in this neighbourhood. The sight of the open gate and a car in the parking lot had been too tempting to overlook. And so I had walked straight in, eager to get acquainted with my new neighbours. Before I could ring the doorbell, I heard it.
“So that means we will have to murder him”, a woman said. “Interesting”, said the man.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead. So much for being nice. But I decided to stay on and listen. Someone’s life was in danger and I couldn’t just turn my back on it. Pushing myself closer to the door, I pressed my ear against it once again.
“Now with him gone, the entrance won’t be safeguarded anymore. The next clue in the book will provide the secret code to that entrance.”
Oh yes, the book! They had spoken about the book even earlier. Some clues leading to some treasure. Yes, it’s all clear now. The book will take them to a hidden treasure. But where? And someone has to die for it! But who? I should listen more closely.
“This is where it gets challenging. The book will now play games. A circular maze! No other person in the way. The treasure is not far now. But can we figure it out?”
Their plot is coming to an end. I need to do something quick. Do I call the police? Or should I go tell Ma? No, she would panic more than anything else. Do I listen more? Or should I just leave and forget about it? No, that would be very, very wrong.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. My heart started palpitating. I gradually turned around and came face to face with a man.
“Hi. Do you need something?”, he said.
“Who…who are you?”, I mumbled.
“I am Manish. I moved here today morning. And you are?”
“I am Arjun. Inside…I heard something! Book..Treasure..Murder…”
Before I could complete, the man laughed out loud. Oh my god! What an evil laugh! This guy is also involved in the crime. He is with the people I have been listening to. I am so stupid! What do I do now! I just stood still, as if frozen to the ground. Then I watched the man ring the doorbell and a minute later, a lady opened the door and stepped out. I felt as if I almost died.
“Hi Manish! You know what, it’s almost done now!”, she said. And then looked at me and greeted me with a Hello.
I just kept staring at her, overcome with fear.
Ashok responded, ”Hey Latha! Meet my friend here. He thinks.. we are plotting a crime!”
Latha paused for a few seconds and then laughed out loud.
The same evil laugh! That’s it. My end is not far now.
Then turning towards me, Manish said,”Arjun, I am the creative director of a theatre group called EntertainingYou and Latha, here, is one of our scriptwriters. Our crew has been temporarily put up in this bungalow for our soon-to-be-staged play in the city. Rest of the crew will be here by tomorrow and you may come back and meet them, too!”