The Four Patriots-A Review

Four Patriots Book Cover

It is a story of patriotism, a story of transformation. It is a story of a country where the common belief is “iss desh ka kuch ni ho sakta”. It is a story of four people, like you and me, whose love for the nation and experiences with the system instigate them to take it through a metamorphosis.

Debut author Sumit Agarwal has penned down a real page turner that would keep you engrossed till the end. The pace is super-fast, the plot is enthralling-weaved meticulously through the pages, where small details emerge as major twists-an art that very few Indian writers have displayed! The writing is easy to follow and is done fairly well.  The pain taken by the writer to research the nitty-gritties to make the story as close as possible to the real India is evident in all its aspects.

The journey of all the major characters (Salman, Varun, Aditya and Raghav) have been drawn out cleverly, that easily puts the reader in the protagonists’ shoes. The background stories added at required intervals added more weight to the story line. The romance and other normal happenings were positioned in a manner to not only avoid overdoing the theme but also added some plausibility to the characters.

What is really uncanny is the similarity of events that happened after the book’s publication. Aditya’s move to purge black money from the country is quite similar (and sudden) to that of Modi’s move to demonetize, which was conducted with the same intention. There is also a scene similar to movie Dangal, where the coach asks the contender to be defensive, whereas the mentor asks him/her to be offensive, and following the mentor’s advice the contender leads the country to victory in that particular event.

In short, the book does well what it set out to do—inspire with a clear message that asks people to act in for their country and instil patriotism. It nudges the reader to go out and make an impact in any way possible, a much needed advice for the youth of the country. The underlying idea that anyone could bring about a change with their actions has been drawn out very well.

The book has been launched at a stage where people have started giving politics a thought beyond it being a mere topic of discussion, where the government is taking new steps towards the destination of making India a super power. In times where countries in the globalized world are taking a step towards protectionism, the writer calls out the youth to become the agents of change, to work towards making India the golden bird that it was.

However, the book was a tad too unrealistic. The almost miraculous happenings took away a bit of its credibility and made it appear filmy at lot of instances. Adding especially to the Bollywood-ish nature was the character Salman, who seemed to have emerged right out one of Bhai’s movies. Despite all the author’s efforts the characters were paper-thin, and villains were faded. In fact, the tyranny of villains was lost midway, and the protagonists were made way too formidable. Ironically, new India did not feature any woman at the vanguard-the women characters were present, but merely to execute plans or for emotional support.

Would I recommend this book? For those who are looking for a thriller, or looking for a light read, this is the book to go for. It may not make a place in bookshelves, but it definitely qualifies for a good one time read!

Crimson Vengeance: Chapter 2- Remembered

Leaning carelessly on the door ledge stood Deborah Gander; her presence materializing Jonathan’s wish. His lips made way for an unconscious smile, and for the first time in the night he felt a strange relief taking over him. Was it really five years ago?, he questioned himself. The very next moment, the e-mail, Peter Murphy, the murder-all came rushing in his mind. He could not afford to risk everyone’s life the second time. Best to keep everyone at bay from the very beginning, he thought to himself, as he regained his cold composure again. The smile disappeared as instantaneously as it had come and he inquired, “How did you?”

“Find you?” said Deborah, her casual voice a sharp contrast to his, as she sauntered towards the chair, “I kept a track. A very close track.” She positioned herself cozily, legs on the table, and said, “Don’t pretend to be so disappointed. I know you are pleased to see me.” She flashed her unique sarcastic smile. Jonathan turned to examine the main entrance. It was locked, exactly the way he did it. He returned his gaze to Deborah, his blue eyes narrowed in suspicion.

“Come on!” she shrugged, “the door is not the only way you can enter into someone’s house. Perhaps, you ought to be more careful.”Her open hand gesture cleverly pointed to the study window which Jonathan was quick to notice. His features relaxed slightly, and he silently stared at the documents.

Deborah observed him for a while, and then took out a packet of cigarettes from her leather jacket. She lazily flicked the lighter on. Jonathan shot a cold glance in her direction, and said brusquely, “How many times have I told you not to smoke inside the room?”

“I remember,” Deborah nodded, drawing deeply from the cigarette. She stood up and walked towards the window. Puffing out the smoke, she added, “I just wanted to hear it again.”

Jonathan paced about the study, browsing through the documents; Deborah sat comfortably on the window ledge, her eyes duly following his movements. An anticipated silence prevailed for few minutes. After a few minutes, Deborah softly spoke, “They’ve taken Murphy.”

The words awakened Jonathan’s fear. So they were serious, he thought, but Andrew said it was fine.  The pieces didn’t fit together. Baffled, he asked, “Are you sure?”

“I know Andrew told you that Murphy went on a vacation. Andrew will never look beyond the routine,” she replied, tossing her half-finished cigarette out of the window.

“You have been following me as well?”Jonathan asked, disgusted. And you never noticed, a voice in his head added.

“Don’t you think it is quite co-incidental that you receive an email the same day?” she hinted, jumping off the window ledge. She leaned against the study table and watched Jonathan’s features transform. He was livid.

A sudden anger engulfed Jonathan. Why does she never let go? Why does she need to get to heart of everything? Why doesn’t she ever realize the gravity? Angry voices pounded in his head. She had to get out of this. He moved towards her and said, in a ferocious low tone, “Deborah Gander, I know you prize yourself for solving the most difficult of cases, but I would like to remind you that this one is more than just a game. This case was solely mine, and I do not want a single casualty. So let me handle this and leave me alone. Beginning from NOW!” He was shouting by the end.

Deborah pushed Jonathan against the shelf. “This war that you call your own, what do you even know about it, Detective Scott? They took Murphy today, and you know that just because you received that email. Last month, my sister was taken, and she was almost electrocuted. She is safe only because they realized that we did not know your whereabouts. It was rather lucky I think, because I don’t think they are going to show mercy this time. The case may have started as yours, but from the day we started to work on it, it turned its vengeance on us as well. All our loved ones are in danger. That is why I am here. Like it or not, I am going to stick till the very end!” she said, and abruptly turned to leave.

Jonathan hung his head guiltily. They should have told him in the very beginning. How could they?, questioned the voice, you never let them know. He cursed himself for running away.  “Deborah, please,” was all he managed to say.

Deborah turned back and walked towards him. There was an injured look on her face, and from the way she approached him, he was sure she was going to slap him. You deserve it! said that voice, you have been acting like an idiot recently. Instead she just smiled. Then, rather impulsively, she hugged him and said, “We missed you, Jon”. Jonathan was taken aback. After all these years, these people still cared about him. He shed off his usual closed demeanor and put his arms around her. His hands found their way into her soft, raven-black hair that cascaded down to her waist, and he caressed it gently. Jonathan whispered, full of reproach, “Deb, I am very sorry…”

“It is alright,” she spoke before he could complete, “I promise we will finish it this time.” She let go, and said, “But you have to bear with me.” Jonathan let the smile rule this time.

“What do we do now?” he asked, still holding her hands.

“We should go to the headquarters. We are going to need a lot of support,” said Deborah, her brows furrowed in thought.

“But I resigned,” he said. This was clearly not feasible.

“And I burned that letter. DCI Wilson is still under the impression that you are on that Russian case. He believes you died in Siberia, and mourns deeply. He would be very pleased to see you.” she stated plainly.

Jonathan didn’t know how to react. “Deborah, you are–”

“I know. Thank you,” she interrupted, “Now you would better hurry. We don’t have time to lose.”

He rushed to the living room, loaded his Glock, and took some extra bullets. He was putting on his overcoat when he heard Deborah call. He strode to the study. Deborah had switched off the lights.  “We cannot leave right now,” she spoke, her voice filled with anxiety.

“What happened?” Jonathan asked. Something was definitely not right.

“They are waiting for us. Downstairs.”

Crimson Vengeance: Chapter 1-RESURFACED

His hands were set on the keyboard, ready to type out the thoughts buzzing in his head. He sat staring at the computer screen, his fingers rooted to the respective keys, wondering where to begin. It was late in the night; the office was almost empty–only one or two employees, sitting in obscure corners, perhaps waiting to attend the late night calls. His presence was unknown to them; he had not bothered to turn on the lights of his cubicle. For almost ten minutes, he remained in the same pose, still as a statue. Then suddenly, he quaffed the coffee kept on his desk and the choice was made–he would rather not answer the email. Yes, that would be a good option. He would keep quiet. This way, he would remain safe. And so would the others.

He closed the browser, crossed his fingers and rested his chin on them. The screen now displayed the details of some hi-tech, incomprehensible technology. His eyes vaguely followed the article, stopping at the words that were common to the vicious email. As reaction, images wildly flashed in front of his eyes. The graveyard that he visited every month, decaying like the buried bodies it held. His childhood home, the floors of which were anointed with blood. The grey revolver in his closet, the sheen dulled by the murders it committed. The face of the man that he hated the most, hated so much that he would never refrain to murder the scoundrel…

Why should these haunt his mind? Suddenly, after so long? The event seemed to have happened in some unknown era of his past. Today, everything came alive as if he was warped in time. Why?

He got up, moved out of his office silently. The air outside was ice cold, to his great relief-the bitterness released the torturous memories. He decided that he would walk today—it would give him time to think. Meanwhile, he had to start his course of action, confirm his suspicions before it was too late. He turned left to go to Peter’s, his home was the nearest.

As he walked down the empty streets, he hoped that Peter had not changed his address. It had been five long years that he had contacted anyone or even read the emails. He remembered receiving something from Peter but he had thrown it away, as he had pledged. To lose himself into a new world where he was invisible. No one had really understood why. Even he didn’t.
The house seemed lived in. It was well kept, the burgeoning cherry blossom tree was an evidence. He walked up to the gate post and squinted to read the name on the etched marble. #45, Murphys, it read. He heaved a sigh and hoped everything following would be good.

He opened the gate silently and walked towards the door. There were some clanking sounds that came from inside the house but the lights had been turned off. He glanced at his watch. At the same time the Big Ben struck. It was midnight. Too late to knock at someone’s door. Nonetheless, he had to do it.

He rapped on the door in his usual style. He wondered whether Peter would recognize it. He wondered if he would want to see him again. But was it really there enough time to think all of this? No, no time if he was to meet a mess. Yes, the most important thing was…Peter should be present-in a single piece, as it was said. They were ruthless. They could have done anything. Five minutes had passed, without any reply. He was beginning to get impatient.

He rapped again, louder this time. Nothing seemed to be stirring inside. It was late, definitely, but Peter never slept so heavily. Anxious, he punched the door savagely, with a force good enough to break it. Still, silence prevailed. There was something wrong.

“Peter? Peter?” he called out, his voice in rhythm with his knocks.

“Peter? PETER! Can you hear me?” he called out again. No results.

He turned the knob to break in. The door easily gave away. The house was not locked. He turned on the lights of the living room. The scene took him aback. It was a complete mess. Things thrown here and there, furnitures out of their usual places, as though someone was struggling. The TV was off the table. Nothing seemed…normal. His blood had already begun to boil. How could they?

He moved inside the house, effortlessly, in search of some clues of Peter’s whereabouts. There would definitely be something. All rooms were in the same state. He checked every nook and cranny, to get something that would give him a direction. He was in the master bedroom when he heard the clanking again. Following his sharp senses, he reached the bedroom at the end of the house. He took wary steps, in a ready position to attack. Then, he switched on the light. No one in the room, except a cat, who seemed to be playing around. Damn! They did it so cleanly. Not one clue. Once he found out he swore he wouldn’t leave them. He tried calling Peter’s cellphone, it was unreachable. As expected, he thought,now I must act. But before he did anything, he had to visit Andrew. He might know stuff.
Without hesitating a moment, he took a taxi and rushed off to see Andrew. He could not act without seeing what Andrew had in store. Of one thing he was sure of-the death game had begun long before they had sent the mail. The plan was structured like pieces on chess board. One wrong move…

He was so lost in thoughts that he hardly realized when the taxi stopped. He jumped off the taxi and ran to Andrew’s door and wildly knocked on the door. Within few seconds, Andrew opened the door, and spoke groggily, eyes half closed, “Hey Man! Do you even realize-?” Andrew just opened his eyes to see the man.

He rubbed his eyes and shook his head vigorously. “Can I believe it is Jonathan Scott? Showing up at this inopportune hour of the night, after years of hiding?” Andrew’s voice reflected the delight clearly

“Hi, Andrew. Thought I’d just drop by,” replied Jonathan, in his usual dry tone.

“You didn’t think that, did you? There is something else on your mind,” replied Andrew, in a matter-of- fact voice. A smile lightened up his face.

His icy blue eyes shot a look of astonishment towards Andrew. He gazed on the ground for a while, before he spoke up, “You are right.” Words didn’t seem to have an easy passage today. Not that they always had, but today was much more difficult.
Andrew studied him, trying to figure out the underlying situation. “Come inside. You must be cold.”

Jonathan moved inside the house. He was indeed very cold. Only that he didn’t realize this all the time he was outside, wandering to confirm his suspicion. The décor hit him with a fierce nostalgia. It used to be his favorite hangout place, back in the old days. Old days? Did he really want to remember them? Have a taste of them, again? Yes, he did miss them terribly.Right now is not the time, he said to himself. There was more than one life in danger.

“Where were you all these years?” asked Andrew, as he shut out the chilling winds.

“London.” Jonathan replied. He didn’t understand why he even asked that. It was of no importance right now.
Andrew was astonished. “Why didn’t I ever see you?” he asked.

“Because I didn’t want to be seen.” Jonathan replied, impatience showing up in his tone.

Andrew sensed it. He knew his friend just too well. He began to ask for a drink,“Should I—”

Jonathan cut him short. He didn’t want the usual frivolities. He drove straight to the point “Where is Peter?”

“He has gone on a vacation to Madagascar with his wife,” said Andrew, coolly.

Jonathan had a puzzled look on his face. Really? He had gone on a vacation?

“Oh yes, you wouldn’t know. Peter married Melanie last year.”
Damn! He would never understand. Of course Peter would have married by now. That was not the source of botheration. “I went to Peter’s home before coming here and–”

“You knocked at the door for long and no one replied. You opened the door and found the house in a state as if Peter had been taken. Messed up, things astray on the floor, cellphone unreachable–giving you an idea that something might have happened to him, didn’t it? Well, it’s normal. Most of his plans are last minutes. He really does a lot to keep Melanie happy. Six months ago, the same happened with me. I called up the department, filed a report and after two days, they found Peter holidaying in Italy. After that he makes sure he informs me before he is up for such a plan. And duly, I received his call today at 6p.m. saying that Melanie and he were leaving for Madagascar.” Andrew explained.

“It is perfectly normal then?” asked Jonathan. He was not convinced. There was a nagging feeling inside that told him something had happened to Peter. And whoever had done it was really very smart.

“As usual as it can be. You know Peter,” he shrugged. Andrew seemed contended with the scenario.

Should he mention about the e-mail? No, not now. After all, it could just be a prank (which seemed highly unlikely to him). And even if he told Andrew, he wasn’t sure that Andrew would believe it. There was only one person who could help him at this point. He desperately needed to talk to Gander. The problem was, he had lived cut out from this world for so long that he didn’t know anything about anyone.

There was nothing much Jonathan could extract from Andrew. He stood up briskly and moved towards the door.

Andrew was surprised. He studied Jonathan’s reaction. He could understand that Jonathan was keeping away something. He didn’t dare to ask. There was a rule with Jonathan-you never asked many questions. He satisfied himself by inquiring-“When will I see you next?”

Jonathan wanted to say “Never”, but instead answered “Soon.” And
headed towards his apartment.

Getting back to his apartment was a feeling he wanted to experience for long. It was like a refuge, where he could clearly give way to his thoughts, to his ideas and questions, without being questioned or disturbed. He removed his coat and sat on the couch, thinking deeply. Peter was taken, he could assure that. Should he call the yard and let them handle it? But it was his case through and through, he had opened it and it was his duty to close it, without involving the others. Except Gander, of course, who had urged him to follow it. He really missed… I should concentrate on them he coaxed himself. To begin with, he rolled over the last case in his mind…perhaps, amidst the situations, he would find something valuable. Something to work upon. But everything was blurred in his mind. The day had been long indeed. He decided to take over the matter after getting a refreshing sleep. He got up from the couch, walked towards his study and started to see the old case files that he had not discarded. It brought back the urge to get back into action again. That was the life he was had loved. Back then, how easily had everyone thought that nothing would ever follow! One’s deeds were never left behind. The truth stood unquestioned.

“I told you they would come back. They have,” said a cool voice from behind, as if to validate Jonathan’s thought process. He turned back in astonishment.

Crimson Vengeance: Prologue

Image

 

Image Courtesy: http://www.donaldgruener.com/photography/wine/red_wine_splash.jpg

Image Copyright: Donald Gruener

I could not have been happier any other day in my life. Although my face was streaked with dry tears (of sorrow), I was really mad with joy. The sun was much more than just a shiny yellow blotch in the sky, I could feel warmth in every radiation it emitted. The scorching rocks were not tormenting any longer, instead, the heat enlivened my bare feet. Something inside made me admire everything around. Every passing second made me aware of nature’s beauty. I almost seemed fey. Yes, I was fully aware of approaching death. My life was presently resting on a broken fulcrum; recent happenings had generously tilted it towards the infernal side. The very next second could be the most devastating blow, but I could not bring myself to care a bit about the future. I didn’t want to lose this sensation of pure bliss. After a long period of emotional numbness, feelings- good feelings– were no less than miracle in my world. The reason behind this was a small typewritten chit that stated two simple words: 
He’s alive.
That’s all I wanted to hear at the moment. Even if it was a lie. 

 

Diary of a Distressed Damsel

ImageImage Courstesy: Fanpop.com

The knife was still dripping blood of the man it had just slain. My eyes flickered towards the bleeding corpse and back to the knife again as I ruefully tried to ingest the incidents of the last hour. I was equally drenched in crimson liquid; the bullet embedded in my left thigh sprouted blood in copious amount. I did nothing to obstruct the flow-I could feel the profound guilt inside me silently draining along. Yes, I had murdered the person. To justify, it was an act of self defense but really, I had acted under the ordeal that had taken over me. Trauma was all I had in my mind, and that was inevitable. I had just learnt that my best friend set me up for execution. And this trauma made a sadistic being out of me.

I threw down the knife and staggered towards the mantelpiece for support. The pain had reached an excruciating level now and I had no other alternative than to yield to it. I sank into the debris of upturned chairs, smashed furniture and shards of glass, looking outside my cabin at the grey sea, the only other thing alive in my vicinity. I direly wished that I was a wave, dissolving as easily as I was made….

It was an early April morning and I switched on the television to see Rupert on the Morning Coffee, a health chat show. I was browsing through the channels, when I saw the news- another murder aboard Carnelian. Not that I had a very good memory, but I vividly remembered it, Carnelian had been making the headlines for five consecutive years-the same reason time and again. She was the undoubted empress of the Caribbean, the desire of every traveler and subsequently, the hub of elites. The strangest thing about these murders was that every time, the richest passenger was killed. Stories went around that the ghost of Captain Bloodstone was responsible for this (Carnelian was a pirate ship initially), but for each murder one of the crew was arrested-which was again weird because either all of them were involved or someone was working behind this. Meanwhile, the innocent were getting slaughtered.

The case smelled so fishy that I decided to intervene. Jordan, my best friend, thankfully agreed to assist me. Together, we set out to solve the scandal – something that police forces of 14 countries had been unable to do. And ironically, we had accomplished our motive. Hundreds of excuses, thousands of lies and we had tracked Vaughan down. We had even planned to reveal him red-handed. Only I hadn’t known that it was actually a master plan of Vaughan and Jordan against me. I wondered if I had known this earlier, how much difference it would have made.

The door knob turned; the sound loud enough to break my chain of past memories. I hid behind the mantelpiece, scared out of wits. I had reached the dead end both the ways. If it was Jordan, I would be dead in no time and if it was someone else, I would be soon given death sentence or lifetime imprisonment for killing Vaughan. I didn’t mean to kill him,, I was just saving my own life. Unfortunately, I had no evidence to prove that Vaughan attempted to murder me. I held my breath and tightly shut my eyes, waiting for the judgment to shed its shadow on me. Moments later, the door closed behind with the lights still turned off. I assumed that the person had gone out because it was impossible to move around the room without any illumination; the light from the corridor would clearly show that. I came out of the cumbersome corner but a familiar voice startled me. Petrified, I crawled back to my hiding.

“I had been waiting for this opportunity for long. We finally made it Vaughan. Is she dead?”Jordan asked in a nervous tone.

Along with his voice came tears, heavily streaming down my eyes. My heart broke into a thousand pieces, each chunk piercing the hell out of me. It is one thing to decipher fact from circumstances, but when reality looms in front of your eyes, well; it is ten times harder to accept it.

“We will reach Barbados within half an hour. Things need to be rushed up. Is she dead?” Jordan asked again after a while, growing very impatient.

The Dead don’t speak, Jordan, I said in my mind. I was too terrified to articulate my thoughts. With my body giving away, I had negligible chances to survive. All I could do was to delay my demise. Mortal as I was, I feared entering into the world of Hades.

“Why don’t you speak Vaughan? I have come here all alone,” said Jordan, anxiety getting on his nerves.

“He is dead,” I replied to his query, mustering all the courage I had.

Hearing my voice, Jordan froze. At least it appeared that he did because the following ten minutes were filled by grave silence. He did not expect me to live. Who would? I was an unarmed fragile lady. Vaughan had the potent shotgun. My existence was nothing less than a miracle.

“You…you killed…how did this happen?” he spoke through choked words. I could well understand his condition because I was going through the same phase-with only one difference. He waded through shattered dreams and I through shattered trust.

“There are more humane ways of accumulating wealth, Jordan,” I said after a while. Before I died, I wanted to be well acquainted with the reason of his grudge.

In response came the sound of crunching glasses. Jordan was moving around, either to find me or to find the shotgun. During the brawl between Vaughan and me, the shotgun was thrown in a corner unknown. I had to judiciously use this time to escape. I had hardly any guts to confront Jordan, lesser to put up against him.

I slowly started moving towards my right. The door was located opposite to where I was hiding. Every move I made intensified the pain, so much that I thought of giving up, but the panic kept me in motion. Jordan was growing wild with every passing second, the crazy crunching of glasses evident of the fact. I also created a lot of racket, removing things that hindered my pathway but Jordan seemed unaware of my move, deeply engrossed in search of the gun. Almost there, you are almost there, I assured myself as I proceeded closer to the door. I stretched my hands, groping for the knob in the dark, when something metallic pressed against my head.

“It’s a choice between my reputation and your life. And your living has no worth,” whispered Jordan into my ears and struck my outstretched hand. The twinge made me shriek in agony.

“I can’t believe you are doing this,” I sobbed. Jordan pulled me upright by my hair and twisted my arm keeping the gun intact.

“I still have to unleash my monster,” he said, twisting my arm further. Unable to bear the ache I hit him with my stiletto heel. Although I did not strike him savagely, he fell backwards tripping over the centre-table. I moved towards the fireplace, hoping to get hold of the knife that I had thrown. I stumbled over something but regained quickly. Rummaging frantically in the debris, I got hold of knife. Meanwhile, Jordan was back.

“You can’t outwit me, missy,” he smiled, holding out the gun.

“Dare to move and I will stab you,” I warned, standing up, pointing the knife at him.

“I don’t even need to move. Your life is just one trigger away. The gun is mightier than the sword, or sorry, what’s that? A table knife?” he laughed and advanced towards me. I had hardly taken two steps that I hit the wall. I was cornered.

I don’t know if it was adrenaline rush or the fear of dying that I kicked the gun out of his hand. He raised his hands and retreated, maintaining a safe distance from me.

“You won’t kill me, will you? How can you forget all that I had done for you?” he provoked. Memories of good times flashed across my mind, melting me but I pushed them away. The Jordan that I had known did not exist anymore.

I was just about to lunge on him when the door swung open. Sudden flood of bright light rendered me blind for a while. However, I could recognize the individual from her silhouette. The smashing and crashing emanating from the room had woken up Mrs. Emerson, my next-door neighbor. I wasn’t sure if she had seen Jordan because he was still in the darkness, but she stood rooted, shocked seeing my aggressive stance, a stained knife in my hand, a brutally stabbed body and yet another victim (in her eyes). She maintained her position for a minute or two, before she let out an ear-splitting scream and fell unconscious.

With her scream vaporized all my hope of surviving innocent. It was sure to attract attention; therefore I had to make my move fast. Committing one more sin would not make a difference, if I would ever be able to commit it. I shifted towards the shadowy part of the room, looking back. What I saw left me dumbstruck.

There stood Captain Bloodstone, as alive as in the painting we had first seen. His bloodshot eyes, stern air and crooked smile were all distinct and clear. And he seemed to be approaching me. I guess I was hallucinating-a consequence of the dizziness I felt or perhaps, it was the calling for my death. It didn’t frighten me though; the pirate Captain was also murdered by his right hand. The same was to happen to me but I would take my revenge before I took my leave.

 “If I have to die, I will take you along. After all, we are bffs. Best Friends forever.” And saying that I plunged the knife in the dark with all the power I had.  I think it hit him and it hit him hard because I did hear him groan.

I fell, exhausted, having used all my energy reserves. I was grateful to finally have rest, not having to care about what the next second would bestow on me. I was half conscious but I could hear footsteps, people arriving. Seconds later, I lucidly heard the screech of a bullet. Simultaneously, extreme pain shot through my body.  Everything around me went white.  My senses started to resign and numbness gained control. Faraway, I could hear a soulful melody lulling me to sleep. An angelic, dreamless slumber.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

See I told you but you wouldn’t believe me,” said Mrs. Moore, placing the pancake on her son’s plate.

“Told me what?” asked Mr. Moore without looking up from his plate.

“That the Ghost of Captain Bloodstone was causing the murders. The newspapers claim it now,” she exclaimed and handed over Veracity to Mr. Moore.

Mr. Moore somberly took the newspaper and glanced at the headline. The news piece made him push his breakfast aside.

 

The Killer Cruise:

Did The Ghost Of Captain Bloodstone Really Exist? 

Wednesday, 13 March 1996

Barbados: Yet another murder bewilders the police as Carnelian arrived at the Deep Water Harbor with not one but three dead bodies this time. Topaz Tarkington, 23, Michael Vaughan, 31 and Jordan West, 24 were found dead in cabin 109, which belonged to Ms. Tarkington. Michael Vaughan was stabbed nearly 9 times, Jordan was shot straight in his skull, both suffering from spot deaths and Topaz was shot in her left thigh but her death occurred mainly due to heavy bleeding from the cut placed on her right wrist. The shotgun was found in Vaughan’s hands and the knife was stuck on the table. No one is suspected yet and detectives proclaim that the three perhaps killed each other during a fight. “The room was in a huge mess with almost everything broken. The shotgun had fingerprints of Vaughan and West, whereas the knife had fingerprints of all the three. We are investigating further, looking for some iron-clad evidence to justify our presumption,” said Mr. Timothy Dickinson, Deputy Commissioner, RBPF (Royal Barbados Police Force).

Mrs. Emerson, another traveler who was found unconscious on the doorway of the same cabin, however claims that she had seen the Ghost of Captain Bloodstone and insists that he is the reason behind the deaths. “I heard a lot of noise from her (Topaz) room and went to check what was wrong. As soon as I opened the door, I saw Captain Bloodstone standing there behind Topaz with the scariest expressions. Topaz also held a knife in her hands, perhaps she was fighting him. Bloodstone was progressing towards her, I was so scared that I shouted, after which everything blacked out. I am sure it is Bloodstone who killed Topaz; he had that intention written all over his face,” she said. Though the statement seems quite vague, investigators have taken her word seriously as she is the only living witness of these murders.

Unsurprisingly, Ms. Tarkington was the richest traveler on the cruise and her death has further added to the element of mystery in the Carnelian Scandal. Lot of people and even some investigators believe that the Ghost is the sole root of these reckless murders. The case having many misleading evidences will now be handled by MPD (Miami Police Department) and the cruise will cease all its voyages till the case is completely solved. Passengers on board will be returned to Miami by a vessel of The Barbados Coast Guard for safety reasons.

The families of both West and Tarkington have filed a lawsuit against Amber Antiquity, the owner of Caribbean Cruises Ltd. This is the sixth consecutive lawsuit against her .With the business suffering such heavy losses and the testimony of Mrs. Emerson validating the ship to be haunted, closing down of the company is quite probable. Amber Antiquity refused to speak anything regarding this matter.