• 06 Jan - 12 Jan, 2018
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

While Maria left for the kitchen to get water, Rehan looked at the cell phone and opened the contact book. There were so many names; he didn’t know where to begin. So he checked the call log instead.

“Maria!” he called out. “I need a paper and pen. I have to write down some numbers.”

Maria entered holding a glass of water. He took the glass from her and said, “Thank you. I need to note down these recent numbers from the call log.”

“Ok, we’ll do it together,” she suggested.

Suddenly, the cell phone began to ring. They both got startled because of the loud noise. Rehan looked at the caller ID. It was an unknown number.

“Should I answer it?” he asked.

“What if it’s the cops?” inquired Maria.

“Well, what if it’s the killer?” answered Rehan.

They both were afraid and didn’t know whether the call should be answered or not. With some courage, Rehan finally decided to take the call, however, he chose not to speak.

“Hello?” said the voice from the other end. “Where are you? Why have you stolen my cell phone?!” yelled the man in anger. Rehan recognised the voice. It was the head constable. Though scared, Rehan didn’t utter a word and disconnected the call immediately.

“Who was it?” asked Maria, curiously.

“It was the owner of this cell phone,” answered Rehan.

“Oh no! What should we do now?”

“Let’s keep the cell phone with us,” he said standing up. “I’ll only attend calls that seem relevant to the case.”

Maria didn’t know what to say so she just walked away towards her room.

“Maria,” he called out.

She turned to look at him.

“I have a feeling the killer won’t be punished even if he gets caught,” said Rehan.

“Well, what if the killer is not one of our suspects? That would be hardly believable,” she answered.

“At times we don’t believe in truth, because we don’t want to accept it,” he said, disheartened.

She remained quiet for a moment and then finally said, “Sometimes we can only hope for satisfactory results.”

An hour later, Rehan and Maria were drinking tea together in the same room. Maria was using her cell phone while Rehan was watching a movie on television. Suddenly, the head constable’s phone buzzed with a new text message.

“I think you should have a look at it,” suggested Maria.

Rehan stood up and went to read the text message which was from an unknown number. It read, “The rest of the money is ready. Where should we meet?”

Rehan immediately understood who it was. This message was from the killer who had paid money to the head constable to control the situation after the Inspector’s murder.

“What is it, Rehan?” asked Maria.

“It is the person behind Inspector Affan’s murder. I’m going to contact him and meet him in a public location.”

“Don’t do that, he could be a very dangerous person!” Maria cried out.

“I know, but I just want to see his face,” urged Rehan.

“How about,” she suggested, “You call him on the phone and try to recognise his voice.”

“That won’t be easy,” he said while replying to the text message, “I think meeting him would be better. I won’t talk to him but I’ll ask him to come to a specific location so that I can see his face.”

Maria looked worried, she did not like the plan one bit.

“In the meantime,” he said, “Why don’t you watch an episode of Crimes at Corners?”

“Which one?” asked Maria.

“The episode in which the SHO was exposed,” replied Rehan.

“Alright, but Rehan, I don’t want you to go there alone,” she said.

“Don’t worry,” he said without a hint of fear in his voice, “The killer won’t even know I’m there. I just want to see him and capture his photograph, that’s all.”

“How would that be beneficial to us?” she asked.

“I’ll report an FIR against him, claiming that I saw him murder Inspector Affan,” replied Rehan.

“That doesn’t sound very convincing.”

“Let’s give it a try.”

“Ok. When are you meeting him?” inquired Maria.

“Tomorrow morning,” answered Rehan.

The next morning, Rehan was all prepared to finally meet the killer. He had been waiting for this moment for a long time. He was obviously scared of what might happen but he needed answers. Meanwhile, Maria was in her room, looking up an episode of Crimes at Corner.

An hour later, Rehan was anxiously waiting for someone at a public park. He constantly checked his cell phone to make sure he hadn’t missed a call or text. While he waited, he turned to look at a billboard outside the park. It read: “Some people plan their own deaths.” This was apparently the tagline of a movie but the words struck Rehan. He realised that he was possibly doing the same thing by waiting for the killer.

Meanwhile, Maria started watching the episode of Crimes at Corners on her laptop.

In the video: Professor Yasir was talking to his viewers, “People of Pakistan! Today our team will interview a serial killer who belongs to a special organisation that hires local criminals and pays them to murder people.”

In the next scene, Yasir was standing inside the house of a serial killer, who looked like an ordinary civilian. He asked the man, “Are you a serial killer?”

“Yes,” the criminal answered calmly.

“How many people have you murdered so far?”

“I don’t know the exact number.”

“But, you must have an idea?” asked Yasir.

“20. Or maybe 25.”

“Which organisation do you work for?”

“I can’t mention the name,” replied the killer.

“Why not?” Yasir asked in anger.

“That’s against our policy.”

“I’ll pay you,” offered Yasir, “How much money do you want for exposing the organisation’s name on our show?”


“Fine, I’ll censor their name,” Yasir said. “In fact, I won’t reveal your face at all in this episode. Just tell me the organisation’s name or give me their contact number.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t tell you anything,” replied the killer.

Yasir turned towards the camera and talked to his viewers: “Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, there are some criminals who work for evil organisations and are not willing to surrender themselves at any cost. But the team of Crimes at Corners always has a plan B.”

The scene changed and some pictures were displayed on the screen. There were pictures of police officers who had arrived at the criminal’s house and arrested him. There was also a picture of the criminal being taken away to the police station. Yasir’s voice could be heard in the background: “We had successfully arrested the criminal and locked him in the police station. However, that wasn’t the end of the story. We had no idea that our police department was so greedy that it would be willing to release its criminals in exchange for money.”

The screen now displayed the SHO of the police department who was talking to Yasir, “Thank you for bringing this criminal to us. We will interrogate him and find out which organisation he is working for.”

Yasir’s narration played, “We had left some of our team members behind to make sure the police was doing its job properly. But sadly, the criminal was seen leaving the police station after a few days.”

The screen played a video clip of the criminal standing outside the police station, talking to a few cops in a friendly manner. Yasir’s narration continued, “Our team followed the criminal to his house. One of our members disguised himself as an ordinary person and asked him why he had been arrested and how he was released.

The criminal replied, “I was arrested for serial killing but I was soon released because I had offered to pay the SHO one million rupees.”

Yasir appeared on the screen; he was in a bad mood and said with grief: “I’m sure my viewers are shocked after watching this episode. But this is our society. The police department which is appointed to employ justice is now supporting these criminals. We can’t decide who the real criminal in this episode is: the serial killer or the SHOs.”

The scene had changed. Yasir was inside the police station and was walking towards the SHO. “Sir, what are you doing here?” Yasir asked angrily.

“What?” said the SHO, confused, he looked at the camera and gestured the police officers to send the cameraman outside.

Yasir’s narration began, “We were asked to keep the cameras outside. But I had hidden a voice recorder in my pocket and managed to record some of my conversation with the SHO. When I asked him why he took bribe from a criminal, he simply answered that this is how the police earns money.”

The SHO’s audio recording played on the blank screen, “Do whatever you can, but I won’t change my acts.”

Yasir then questioned him about how this could lead to innocent people being killed. The SHO answered, “That’s not our problem.”

Persistent to do the right thing, Yasir tried to convince the SHO by threatening to expose him on the show. To this, the SHO replied, “I am a man of my word and I always do what I say. If you come here again or try to expose us on your show, I’m giving you my word, I won’t lock you up or beat you, I will kill you and dispose of your dead body. That’s my final word.”

Yasir appeared on the screen and said, “Did you see that, viewers? The police officers won’t admit their mistakes and are threatening to kill us for revealing the truth.”

Maria paused the video. She was shocked and didn’t know what to do.

Rehan should watch this episode. Perhaps, this SHO is the real killer of Yasir Javed, she wondered.

A minute later, Maria was pacing around her room wondering why she and Rehan were trapped in this world filled with cops and criminals. After all, her ordinary life had nothing to do with criminals and murderers. Perhaps, her act of kindness towards Rehan could put her in grave danger.

Somewhere in the city, the serial killer from the Crimes at Corners’ episode was in his home watching television. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. He stood up and went to answer the gate. As he opened the door, he saw Kevin Rollins standing outside. “Who are you?” the serial killer inquired.

“My name is Kevin,” the man replied, offering a handshake, “I need to ask you something about Professor Yasir Javed.”

The killer looked at him with astonishment.

Inside the police station, the head constable scratched his forehead in stress.

“What is it, sir?” asked another constable sitting in his office.

“I just want to find that man,” answered the head constable with distress.


“The one who stole my cell phone, Yasir’s cousin.”

“Oh, him.”

“I’ve been trying my number for quite a while now and he’s not answering it.”

“I know, sir.”

“Can we track him?” the head constable asked.

“I wish we could but the department is more concerned about Inspector Affan’s murder right now.”

“Oh, yeah,” whispered the head constable.

Maria heard the doorbell. She stood up to open the door, expecting to find Rehan. It was him. “Thank God!” she said looking at him.

Rehan entered the house. He was still shocked after what he had just witnessed.

“Is everything okay?” she asked.

He didn’t respond and kept walking.

“Is everything all right, Rehan?” she asked again.

“Sorry?” Rehan turned to look at her and replied. “Yes, everything’s fine but it’s all unbelievable.”

“Did you find the killer?”

“Yes,” he replied after a pause.

“Well, who is it?” she asked curiously.

“Maria, I’ll tell you everything in a while, but first, let me take a shower.”

“Ok,” she replied patiently.

Rehan went to his room and locked it. Meanwhile, Maria wondered, Why does he look so stunned? I hope everything’s fine. She waited for him outside. When Rehan finally came out, he went straight to the kitchen. She followed him, “What happened Rehan? Why aren’t you telling me anything?”

Rehan poured a glass of water for himself and took a sip. “I went to a public park and waited for the killer to arrive.”

“Did you see him?” she asked.

“Yes… he told me that he’d be wearing a black suit with a red tie so that I could recognise him from the crowd. He was obviously expecting to meet the head constable.”

“Then what happened?”

“When he came to the park, I recognised him from the clothes he was wearing. But the interesting part was that he seemed familiar. At that moment, I was quite sure that I had seen him before but I couldn’t recall his name. Anyway, I took a picture of him on my cell phone.”

“Wait, did he see you?” asked Maria.

“No, I was hiding. I didn’t even go in front of him and secretly captured his photo.”

“Do you have the picture with you right now?”

“Yes, but there’s something that’s really bothering me,” said Rehan.

“What is that?” Maria asked irritated. She couldn’t wait any longer and wanted to know who the killer was.

“Well, I don’t understand why he would murder Professor Yasir. I don’t think he has a motive.”

“Who are you talking about?” she asked getting annoyed. “Stop beating about the bush and answer my question!”

“I’ll show you the picture,” he said taking out his cell phone. “I don’t see why he’d want to murder Yasir,” continued Rehan while finding the photo, “Although, I understand why he would have killed Inspector Affan to halt the investigation.”

“If he had murdered Inspector Affan then he has definitely murdered your cousin too,” said Maria.

“I agree with you,” replied Rehan. He had finally found the picture and showed it to Maria. Upon seeing the man’s face, Maria asked, “I’ve never seen him before. Who is he?”

to be continued...