• 13 Jan - 19 Jan, 2018
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

"He’s Mr Raza,” said Rehan, identifying the person from the picture, “He’s the producer of the show.”

Maria was stunned. “Why would he murder someone from his own team? Plus, Yasir was the star of the show?” she asked.

“I know, that’s what I’m confused about,” replied Rehan.

“No, Rehan,” said Maria after a short pause, “He’s not the killer. He can’t be.”

“Well, he obviously killed Inspector Affan.”

“This is getting too complicated,” said Maria, tensed.

Suddenly, Rehan’s face lit up, he had an idea. “I think I can find out,” he replied after a short pause.

“Find out what?” enquired Maria.

“I’m in touch with one of the team members. I’ll arrange a meeting and ask him a few questions about Mr Raza and Professor Yasir. That way, I’ll know whether they were on friendly terms or not,” answered Rehan.

“Oh. Well, that’s one way to find out,” said Maria.

Rehan reached for his cell phone and searched for a contact number.

“But Rehan,” said Maria anxiously, “What if he is not the killer? The police officer who was investigating Yasir’s murder is also dead. How would we ever find the real culprit?”

“I don’t know,” said Rehan worriedly. He knew Maria could be right.

Rehan dialled Jahanzeb Wasay’s number on his cell phone. The call was answered immediately, “Hello?”

“Hello Jahanzeb, it’s me, Rehan. Can we meet tomorrow?”

“Sure, is everything ok?” asked Jahanzeb.

“Yes, I just wanted to ask a few questions about my cousin.”

“Oh. Sure, you can come any time after two.”

“Ok. I’ll be there,” said Rehan.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the same city, Kevin Rollins was exiting the studio of Crimes at Corners. He came here looking for answers and that’s exactly what he had found. So this is it, he wondered. This is how Professor Yasir died. What a tragic death, he thought as he walked towards his bike. I’m surprised by how the media doesn’t have a clue. But for how long? It’s only a matter of time. Sooner or later, everyone will find out.

The next afternoon, Rehan was travelling by bus. Once he reached the bus stop, he walked towards the agreed upon location. It was a small restaurant next to the studio of Crimes at Corners. He was to meet Jahanzeb, the video editor of the show.

Several minutes later, Rehan and Jahanzeb were seated inside the restaurant. Rehan initiated the conversation, “Can you tell me about my cousin’s relationship with his colleagues. I mean, did he get along with everybody?”

“He was fine, quite sarcastic though,” replied Jahanzeb. “But, I’d like to tell you about a strange incident that happened a few weeks back.”

“What happened?” asked Rehan impatiently.

“He came to work and was acting really strange. Perhaps, he was still befuddled after the mesmerism incident. He was constantly confusing people with each other,” said Jahanzeb.

“Really? That’s strange,” replied Rehan.

“Other than that, he also had trouble figuring out right from left and vice versa.”

“What does that mean?” inquired Rehan, worriedly.

“Like, if there were two guys standing in front of him and he wanted to speak to the one on the left, he’d address the person on his right side.”

“Oh God, that’s so unreal!” said Rehan, surprised.

“I know,” answered Jahanzeb.

“But what I want to know is…” said Rehan, coming back to the point, “Did he have a bad relationship with any of his seniors?”

“Well, I do know something but you’ll have to keep it a secret.”

“Ok, fine,” agreed Rehan immediately.

“He had a hostile relationship with the producer of our show, Mr Raza. The two could never get along. In fact, Mr Raza had plans of removing Yasir and replacing him with another host. They had a big argument about this,” said Jahanzeb.

“Why did Mr Raza want a new host?” asked Rehan.

“Because Yasir had asked for a salary raise.”

“Why didn’t Mr Raza simply accept his demands?” inquired Rehan.

“Because he personally didn’t like Yasir and was adamant about firing him from the job. But Yasir stood firm; he threatened to sue the producer.”

“I see,” said Rehan. Everything was beginning to fall into place now.

“I always stayed away from office politics,” said Jahanzeb.

“Well, thanks for meeting me here,” said Rehan as he stood up to leave.

“What? Are you leaving already?” Jahanzeb asked.

“Yup, you were quite helpful. You answered all my questions. Thanks again,” said Rehan after shaking Jahanzeb’s hand. Rehan walked outside the restaurant and searched for a cab. While waiting, he dialled Maria’s number. She immediately answered his call. “Hey Maria, guess what? Mr Raza really is the killer after all.”

“Really, how do you know for sure?” asked Maria.

“I just found a motive,” answered Rehan.

“Oh. So, what is it?”

“Whatever it is, it is enough to justify Mr Raza as the murderer.”

“Ok, where are you now?” asked Maria.

“I’m coming home,” said Rehan. On his way in the cab, Rehan remembered the billboard he saw the other day and wondered, some people plan their own death. I think I should watch that movie someday.

Kevin Rollins walked on the streets, pulling back his long hair. He was feeling guilty and wanted to clear his conscience. Crimes at Corners, he wondered, has finally come to an end. He asked himself, An intended murder, can it be a coincidence?

He was the only one who had the answers to Rehan’s questions regarding Professor Yasir’s murder.

At Maria’s house, she and Rehan were seated at the dining table. He said, “The whole point is – Mr Raza wanted to get rid of Yasir. He wanted him out of the show. But Yasir was clever and tried to blackmail the producer. That’s why Mr Raza wasn’t able to fire him.”

“Then what?” asked Maria, failing to draw a conclusion.

“So, in order to make it easier, he planned to kill Yasir. Now that Yasir’s dead, they can hire a new host. Get it?” explained Rehan.

“I see, that’s quite understandable,” she commented. “But what do we do now? We have no evidence. This is only a motive.”

“I’m going to personally meet Mr Raza, or call him myself. And if he appears guilty, I will take extreme measures.”

“What kind of extreme measures?” she asked.

Rehan remained silent for a few minutes and left the room without answering. Maria felt awkward and frightened about his intentions.

Later that night, Rehan was unable to sleep. He felt uneasy about the murder case so he got up and picked up his cell phone. He dialled Mr Raza’s number and thought about calling him anonymously. After several rings, the call was answered by him, “Hello?”

“Mr Raza, I know the truth about you,” said Rehan, altering his voice.

“Who am I speaking to?” enquired Mr Raza.

“I know you killed Yasir Javed,” accused Rehan.

“Excuse me?” he asked, confused. “I did not kill him. Who is this?”

“Oh. You didn’t?” asked Rehan incredulously.

“No! Who are you and who’s spreading such rumours?!” he yelled.

“But you killed Inspector Affan, didn’t you?” said Rehan convincingly.

Mr Raza grew silent.

“Tell me, did you…” Rehan continued, “Or did you not kill the police inspector?”

“Look, listen to me.”

“I know you killed him. That’s what the head constable told me,” lied Rehan, trying to put pressure on him.

“Alright f-fine,” stammered Mr Raza with fear, “I did k-kill Affan. But whoever told you about me killing Yasir is definitely lying.”

“Oh, really?” asked Rehan, defiantly.

“Yes, I had my…”

Rehan disconnected the call before Mr Raza could complete his sentence. He left the room and rushed towards the table where Maria’s cell phone was kept. He picked it up and quickly switched on the voice recorder while running back to his room. He called Mr Raza again and put the call on loud speaker. “Yes?” he answered.

“Yeah. So, you were telling me why you killed Inspector Affan,” continued Rehan.

“First tell me who you are!” demanded Mr Raza.

“Answer my question,” said Rehan calmly, “If you want to save yourself from any real trouble.”

“Yes, I killed him. I did it because he was suspecting me. He thought I killed Yasir but I didn’t. So, the head constable suggested that I kill the inspector. But I don’t understand why he backed out.”

Rehan was convinced that Mr Raza was speaking the truth and he hadn’t killed Yasir after all. He disconnected the call and thought, Oh man… now what do I do? He still didn’t know who Yasir’s murderer was. What if he’s lying? considered Rehan. Frustrated and annoyed, Rehan stood up and kept everything aside. He began to pace aimlessly around the room, trying to find some clarity. Suddenly, his cell phone rang, it was Mr Raza. Rehan ignored his call.

I just want to get over with all of this, wished Rehan. Why can’t I stop thinking about the murder? He asked himself. Rehan was obsessed and he wanted to overcome this obsession. We were so close to finding out who the real killer was and now we’re back to square one, he thought hopelessly.

A few minutes later, Rehan stood on a footpath downstairs. He stared at the street lights and wondered, I just want to run away from all this… but at the same time, I need to know the answers behind this mystery.

Rehan started running, gradually increasing his speed until he was panting. He imagined that he was running away from his problems. He wanted to feel better and was in search for an escape but running didn’t help. Why is life so stressful? Why doesn’t my mind let me have some rest? He wondered. These questions constantly troubled his mind as he eventually stopped to take a deep breath.

Maria woke up the next morning to find that Rehan wasn’t in his room. Surprised, she called out his name. When he didn’t answer, she grew worried. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. She ran to answer it, hoping it would be Rehan. It was him. “Where have you been?” she asked furiously.

“I just wanted to spend some time alone,” he answered, depressed.

“Alone?” she asked.

He entered the house and walked towards the kitchen. She closed the door and followed him.

“What’s going on with you, Rehan?” she asked worriedly.

“I have made a decision. I will no longer be a part of Yasir’s investigation.”

“Why is that?” she enquired.

“It’s too much to handle,” he replied.

“What’s too much?” she asked, confused.

“It’s too complicated and puzzling. I want to rest. I have put enough pressure on my mind but we still haven’t been able to find any answers.”

“But wait, what about the call you were about to make to Mr Raza?” remembered Maria.

“I called him last night.”

“You did?” she asked, clearly surprised. “Well, what did you say to him?”

“After speaking to him, I’m confident that he didn’t kill my cousin. Although, he did kill Inspector Affan,” replied Rehan.

“How can you be so sure?” she asked.

“Please, let it be. I don’t want to think about the investigation anymore,” pleaded Rehan.

“Ok. But there’s one more episode you need to know about,” she said.

“I’m sure that won’t solve anything. I’ll only get more confused,” replied Rehan.

Maria didn’t say anything and simply looked at him.

“I came to this city to look for a job,” continued Rehan, “And that’s exactly what I’m going to do now. I’m putting Yasir’s murder behind me,” replied Rehan.

“Whatever you think is best,” said Maria.

Rehan poured himself a glass of water and took a big sip. Maria still wasn’t convinced. “Can I ask you what Mr Raza said on the phone last night?” she asked.

“He said he had killed Inspector Affan but refused to take any responsibility for Yasir’s murder.”

“Did he tell you why?” asked Maria curiously.

“Yes…” said Rehan, “He said it was because Inspector Affan kept suspecting him.”

“Suspecting him? Of what?” she asked.

“Of murdering Yasir,” he said.

Maria grew impatient. “So, he murdered Affan?” she asked.

“That’s what I know,” replied Rehan.

“I can’t believe he killed someone over such a petty reason!” she said.

“Well, the head constable was the one who suggested the idea,” replied Rehan.

“Oh God!” she said, “You know what, you are absolutely right. We should give up this matter and leave it to the police.”

“Yeah,” agreed Rehan, still shaken.

“Although, I don’t think the police will do anything now. We should simply move on and leave all of this behind us,” she suggested.

“Ok,” agreed Rehan.

Suddenly, Rehan’s cell phone rang. He took it out from his pocket and looked at the caller ID, “It’s an unknown number.”

“Go on, answer it” encouraged Maria.

“Hello?” answered Rehan in a firm voice.

“Mr Rehan…” the caller spoke, “You don’t know me but I do. I know you are looking for your cousin’s murderer. Don’t worry about it. I know who he is and I have evidence. Meet me if you want to find out. I’ll text you the location.”

“Who are you?” asked Rehan.

The call disconnected.

“Who was it?” asked Maria curiously.

“I don’t know, but he knows me and Yasir’s murderer. He wants to meet me.”

Rehan received a text message from the same number. It read, “I am Kevin Rollins.”