The Door bell.
"Riya..Riya.."We are home. Open the door!!
Riya’s mom hesitantly turns the door knob and the door hinges give way. She peeps in as her husband collects the luggage from their car. They have returned from their relative’s wedding in a nearby town.
She walks in leaving the door ajar. Her home wasn’t quite the same place as she left it a day before, it was amiss. The cushions were thrown off the sofa; the magazines were fluttering as the pedestal fan swung from side to side. As her gaze shifted, she spotted a broken idol of Lord Ganesha at the corner. A flower pot was kicked centered at the stairway. The curtains had been pulled down and dragged along.
“Megha! What is gone wrong here? Where is Riya?”
Her heart starts pounding harder. Her sweaty palm fails to clasp the rails. She misses her step and stumbles. They run up the stairs to find their daughter in a pool of blood. The world swirled around them. They gasped for breath.
The mobile rings; clenched in her hands the mobile rings. They were unable to move, fixated by the sequence of events that had unfolded.
Avinash(23) was registered under the missed call list.
Her father calls Avinash.
“Uncle, Riya is doing fine here. When are you and Aunty coming back?”
“Uncle, why are you shuddering? Where are you? Is there a problem out there?”
“When did you last speak to Riya?”
“Last night uncle. She is doing fine. Don’t worry. “
Avinash was worried. “Did Uncle find out we met last night at home in their absence?”
He hurriedly parked his bike and rushed in. He was terrified at the sight of cops standing guard in front of the house. The distant wails intensified his trepidation. As he approached the entrance, he felt very obnoxious; the strewn petals and foot wears made him queasy.
Avinash was taken in for questioning.
“Did you meet her yesterday?”
“Yes, we did.”
“When did you last see her and where?”
“At 11 last night. We had gone out together and I dropped her back home”
“Where did you go?”
“We went to Mahabalipuram.”
“How long have you known her?”
“We have been seeing each other for the last 2 years.”
“How was your trip yesterday?”
“Did you have any misunderstandings during the trip?”
“I wish I did. I would have stayed back with her.”
“Did you pick up a fight or an argument?”
“I told you, I wish.”
“She was last seen with you.”
“That’s all we know. You got to explain what happened when you dropped her, as you claim.”
“We spent some time talking and I started from her house around 12.”
“I heard it as 11 before.”
“We came back at 11, but we spent some time together”
“Did you see anything unusual around her house when you left? Did she come out of her home to say bye?”
“No, she stayed indoors. I shut the automatic door to lock. Nothing unusual”.
“Is there any information you want to share that you think may be vital for this investigation?”
“Not any that I summon now”
“Any incident or person that has bothered Riya in the last few days.”
“Do you guys always return home late?”
“The car broke down and hence the delay.”
“Car ! ”
“yes, we had hired a cab”
“ Did you pick up any fights on your way back home. Any accidents?”
“I would have told you if we did.”
“Ok Avinash. You can go home. We will get in touch with you if we require your help further. ” The cop grinned and gave Avinash a pat.
Avinash had no clue on who could have possibly done such a horrendous act. Riya was a simple, humble girl, she didn’t have any foes.
He entered her house. Uncle was morbidly reading the newspaper, while aunty was resting on the dining table chin down. Her face was swollen; her eyes were read and wet. He couldn’t believe at the imagery unfolding in a once lively home. Riya would come running down cheerfully to greet him, but today he was left only with those visions.
“What happened that night?”
“When I dropped Riya at home, everything was normal.”
“Did you speak to her after you left?”
“No. She didn’t pick my call. “