(9) Episode 6 – The Puzzle Man7 min read

Previously on ‘9’:

* * *

It’s 6:00 AM, another fresh morning elegantly blooms in by shattering the overnight darkness. Mumbai is getting ready to slip into its routine strides of restlessness.

Some of the patients in the hospital woke up with the shouts born out of Pranav’s anguish. A couple of cops are pulling him off to enter the room where Kalki is supposedly locked in. “Bloody cheaters! You made me a sniffer dog to smell out for your cause. Who gave you the liberty to hide the news? You heartless scoundrels” Pranav yelling at the cops in a sheer uncontrollable fashion. ‘Sir, as this a suspected murder, we can’t allow you to look at her till the autopsy. I can understand your pain, Please excuse us. The inspector in charge is on his way, he would explain you more about the next happenings.‘ a cop tries to passive Pranav and rests him on the nearby couch. Pranav collapses in grief, rests on the shoulder of Dr. Aadesh and starts weeping.

If at all you were not working in this hospital and not seen her, I would have still been longing for her and be hoping for a miracle to be unveiled by these buggers” Pranav imparts Dr.Aadesh with a dozen of pauses in between.

I am afraid of sparking any fond memories of Kalki that breaks you down even more. These are bloody shaking moments, Be what you like to be” Dr.Aadesh taps Pranav in a heavy voice. Even in that dark phase, Pranav senses the concern and affection of Dr. from his tone and tenor.

* * *

1997 – Pondicherry

A couple of weeks gone by, There are no traces of Pranav yet. Jenny aunty is visiting Leena frequently and supporting her in all possible ways. The ever looping memories of Pranav making her sick. Disturbed sleep patterns and skipped meals stuck her badly and pivoted her to unconsciousness today post noon, while taking a class and the school staff spurts her to the hospital.

Leena and Pranav are waiting inside the doctor’s room anxiously. Leena expressing her tension by tapping her legs in a rhythmic pattern, Pranav almost eat up all the nailheads in the right hand and moved to the left-hand thumb. Lady doctors enter her room with a couple of medical reports covered in a customized envelope and settles down in her seat. In a lighter smiling tone “Nothing to worry, the baby is healthy and the growth is quite progressive too. Leena, your hemoglobin count improved pretty much to meet the standards. Most importantly, You look happier and contended compared to the last visit. I believe Pranav is back to be an ideal husband” as she finishes, all the three split into laughs.

Same doctor’s room, this time Leena is sitting in a dull and lifeless state opposite to the doctor. “Look, Leena, it is still fresh in my thoughts how joyful your last visit was. No adjective is quite enough to express the pain of what you have lost supposedly. You have to fight through this. Irregular sleeps and skipping meals is a threat to you and the child as well. Drugs and fluids can temporarily help you, but if you continue to neglect your routines and diet it can end up into more adverse. In fact, you need this child more than ever now. I believe you understand. This is well known, but I don’t find anything else to tell you now ‘Life is what happens to us when we are busy in planning it’ and it’s the time for plan B – Plan of Birth !!

Life is what happens to us when we are busy in planning it

* * *

Amidst all the drama, Mukund along with Satya walks into the hospital corridor. “She doesn’t deserve it. I was holding her when she left. This is not the first time I’m witnessing a death, mind you. Her eyes, that very eyes still haunts me, it is questioning me, are you this incapable? Capturing the suspect is the only way I can do justice to her, acting vigilant and not letting the search sidetracked with emotions was crucial in the initial few hours. I have done whatever is supposed to be done for the best interests of all. I am not a kind of explanative bird, hope you are matured enough to digest this. You can see your daughter now, only touching her is not allowed till the autopsy” Mukund expresses in a steady tone and waves his hand to the guards “let them go“.

Dr. Aadesh lifts Pranav, as they take few steps forward, Pranav’s Phone is beeping hard in a decent volume that is audible to everyone around. Pranav drags the mobile from his pocket to spot a pop up of a video message from unknown. A push on the ‘play’ button opens up a video stream.

A lean, tall, confident looking man with blue eyes features the video. He is in green scrubs covered with blood marks and surgical mask, seems as a doctor who just been out from an operation theatre. The video was not that clear, to make it worse, it’s a near pitch dark room. Despite that, one can observe it as a sort of lab, with a backdrop of huge glass boxes with human specimens stocked inside each of them. Rightmost corner of the video frame is filled with a series of stretchers with human bodies lying on each of it.

Observing the mobility in Pranav’s face, Mukund and Dr.Aadesh sense something unusual. Both jumps in quickly to have a peek at the video. The so looking doctor in the video pans the camera to the nearest stretcher. A young man connected to a series of medical monitoring equipment and life support systems is seen lying on the stretcher.

The doctor-like monster starts to operate on the human body. Tilts the body to the left side, cleans up the ear area with an antibiotic liquid, injects a series of drugs into the ear.

After few minutes, he dips in a tester sort equipment inside the ear to examine the levels. Upon observing the reading, furiously bangs the operation table, stumbles the body back to the normal lying position and starts applying the antibiotic liquids to the chest area, picks a stone cutter kind equipment and smacks on the green button to test the run. It booms with a sound like saying to everyone “I am ready to cut through this piece“.

The visual is super bizarre to send chills down the spine to Pranav, Mukund, and Dr. Aadesh. Suddenly video is held to out of focus, which blurred out with no clear display of what’s happening, yet the sound of cuts through the human body is barbarous enough to fill the scene in imagination. “This is cruel, shouts Dr.Aadesh in a shaky voice” and all the three look at each other in with a spell bounded expression.

The man in the video returns to focus and starts talking “Pranav, I really lost count of these experiments and toothbrush collections for a positive DNA sample. To be straight. I know you made a human clone, I need that formula or at least tell me who the sample is. That’s all I want.

Let’s play my favorite trick. Pick up the local daily new paper tagged with your name at the hospital reception, solve the crossword puzzle, follow the decoded instructions. Get your cops I am not worried about them.

Still searching for a reason to believe me? look at this

The camera is panned to focus on the third bed in the right corner, it is Kalki’s dead body.

Note:- Episode 7 is been constructed on the below most voted plot chosen by the readers. A pure interactive form of story weaving !
  • Pranav's backstory of human cloning 76%, 13 votes
    13 votes 76%
    13 votes - 76% of all votes
  • Recover Kalki's dead body 18%, 3 votes
    3 votes 18%
    3 votes - 18% of all votes
  • Trace the location of the lab 6%, 1 vote
    1 vote 6%
    1 vote - 6% of all votes
Total Votes: 17
February 13, 2018 - February 19, 2018
Voting is closed

Storyboard credits: Noelia Dickson (Web address)

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  1. Toothbrush mistery borkedown well in a non-sensible manner, I didn’t get close to such a thought of guessing it. Good going Gopu. I voted for option-1. Let’s meet on next Tuesday.!!! Namo Shiv Rathri.!!!!

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