News of an Abduction #3

FOUR

“Too wordy” said Maran as the video finished playing at the Mangal household. “Too wordy, but not lacking in emotional quotient; if by chance the abductor has a sudden change of heart you can attribute your success to the video”

Mr. Mangal was on the phone, a silver flip model now out of date, just like the Mangal family. For someone who had started out on a high note with jewelry but somewhere something happened and this branch of the family took to real estate. The best they could do was this two storey stuffy house on CIT nagar 2nd street. Now, that is where a small contingent of policemen was stationed. Ramesh Mangal was not the only child; there had been an elder brother. Elder enough to accompany daddy Mangal on business trips, but not elder enough to share responsibility. If this was a royal establishment, the press would have dubbed him ‘prince in waiting’.

Waiting he was on the mauve colored extra fluffy sofa set, looking up when Maran had said enough to make senior Mangal to cut short the phone call. The mother however was in no talking mood, she was crying.

Daniel tried to improve police-public relations by bringing the family to form an incomplete circle, Maran stood in the middle as always.

“Now, it’s been more than a day. We on our end are doing all we can and we have been asked to do more than what we should normally due to your husband’s contacts in the government” Maran said looking at the tear wiping and nose blowing mother. Even at this vulnerable moment, Daniel thought Maran should have avoided the wit, so did everybody else.

“Normally, there is a ransom note or call. Nothing has arrived, even the video seems ineffective. I fear…” he waited for an opportune moment but none came so he continued.

“I fear…these people want more than your money”

The only lady in the room understood what Maran was choking on, it was undeniable that young ramesh mangal could have been killed.

*****

Officer Selvam had to have some tea before swallowing what he had seen. From the garbage mound, he constrained his eyesight to focus on a tea shop some yards away.

Selvam had immediately called for backup and being part of the force told him that it would take more or less another hour; the dead were not an emergency.

He looked at the squatting man, a brown street dog probably of royal descent but bastardized through the ages lay curled near him, in a protective sort of manner and ears at the ready. Thirumalai was a garbage monger close to the age of seventy. But the poor do not count their days and since when he can remember he had been a collector of glass wares in this dump behind the Government teacher training institute and he had never found a dead little girl, never.

Sipping the tea, selvam felt nothing. The usual smell of the tea was missing or his nose had gone numb to the smell of the filth. He did not care, this was bad. “Dead little girls are not a good omen” he said with creepiness, the tea master in his green towel could say nothing but agree.

“Long before this place was allocated for garbage, there was a temple, someone told me” said the squatting man.

“A minor temple, not built in stone or wood but sand. I don’t know what happened to it, if we see through this dump we might find it”

Selvam maintained a sarcastic silence and turned to the tea master, who was listening to the squatting man.

“He doesn’t speak much, this man” the tea master said pointing to thirumalai. “But when he does he speaks the truth”

**

Not far away, in the house of Mangals the telephone bell rang. Tension prevailed for a few moments, but the house breathed when they found out it was a girl.

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