Quick – Chapter 4

As I sat in the car, the phone buzzed again.

“A futile attempt, Sir,” said she.

“What?” I turned around to see anyone following me. No. No one on the street. “Are you following me? What do you want?”

“Don’t talk foolishly. There’s a GPS in the car. We don’t need our eyes fixed on you, do we? Did you enter the house?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Oh good. I should then let you know that we have your fingerprints on a cup as well as the key now, which places you at the scene without any doubt, in case something happens there. So please refrain from interrupting our plans with yours.”

“Who are you? What can happen at the house?”

“See you at golf today, Sir.” She hung up.

“Where are we going?”

“To Hotel Ganymede, Sir.”

“What?”

“Hotel Ganymede, Sir. I have been asked to drop you there.”

“Okay.” I wanted to know how in heaven’s sake golf was even remotely related to it, but I kept quiet. It seemed the right thing to do.

I sat back in the car, reading the local news on the tablet. The phone call was on my mind. I felt it was the same voice that had called earlier that morning, but the number was different both times. My thoughts shifted to the hotel. Ganymede. Named after the biggest satellite in the solar system. The satellite was discovered by Galileo in the 1600s, or so I had read. I imagined the hotel to be quite big and fancy, given it was named after the largest satellite of the largest planet. Fifteen minutes later, the car stopped. “Hotel Ganymede, Sir.”

I came out. By far, this had been the biggest of all disappointments. Ganymede looked more of a place where a guy would spend the night when he had an empty wallet. It was a one-storeyed apartment, with the entrance opening bang on to the reception. The reception had a desk, and there was one corridor ahead. The only corridor in the hotel. It had six rooms, three on each side, with the numbers painted in white on the doors.

“Mr…,” I looked at him.

“Zimmer Nummer fünf.”

“English?” He shook his head to a negative, then raised his hand and showed five fingers. I presumed he wanted me to go to room number five.

I knocked. The door opened, and there she was, again. So, I had been looking for her unaware of the fact that I was going to meet her. Okay.

“Hi, I’m Juliet,” she said, handing over her card.

I took the card and glanced over it. Juliett Macber. So Juliett had a double t.

“Hello, Juliett.”

“I know you really need some answers, don’t you? We have five minutes before we leave. So I think we have time enough for may be, one question?”

There was only one question in my mind right now. And probably if her answer matched what I was thinking, many more questions would be solved. “Why do you spell Juliett with a double t?”

She laughed. “Give it a guess?”

“It isn’t possible that you do so for French speakers, who may otherwise treat a single final t as silent, is it?”

“Well, for a starter, you seem quite intelligent,” she said with a smile.

And instantly, I realised what the whole situation was about. Everything was now clearer. It now seemed every bit had its own explanation. My coming from India, playing golf at Ganymede, and meeting Juliett. I had been skipping the old treasure for a long time. It was time I got back to it again.

“Why am I here? What are we doing?” I asked.

“Alright, time to leave,” she said.”Where are we headed to?”

“My apartment.”

“The real one?”

She smiled as we got back into the car.

“Talk to me,” I said. “What am I doing here? What’s the issue?”

“You want the long story or the short?”

“The short, for now.”

“We have a riddle to solve.”

“Okay, and?”

“That’s the short one.”

“No, I want to know the long story then.”

“Haha. Okay.”

“Tell me?”

“Yes, I am thinking where to start from. Well, to say, our decoders have been trying to solve it for a long time. They believe that the answer will lead to — Oh my God!”

A car from the opposite direction was speeding up towards us. A girl was driving it. Our chauffeur pressed the brakes harder than ever. No use. Bang!

The chauffeur felt it was his responsibility to inform the girl’s parents about her death. Meanwhile she kept staring at me, dumbfounded.

Somewhere

They said I killed her, that she died because of me,
Although deep somewhere, I know it wasn’t my fault.

Jet black eyes and a white dress,
She walked into my life one day,
And before I realized what was happening,
She changed it in a strange way.
It wasn’t love which I’d fallen in,
Because there was no pain in it,
The only pain that I felt each day,
Was when she said, “Tomorrow we’ll meet.”
If it were a jigsaw puzzle which I was solving,
Only one piece was what I couldn’t find,
And I knew it was around, hiding somewhere,
So that someone could stab me from behind.
And yes it happened, as I thought it would,
She ran away as far as she could,
Not bothering to tell me what happened to her,
And left me alone the whole of that summer.
When people found out that she had died,
By eating food with poison mixed,
They said she killed herself for I had betrayed her,
I couldn’t respond, I was already fixed,
Fixed into something which would never wash off,
The fact that she had left me alone,
And though I knew I didn’t hurt her,
I kept shut, as dumb as a stone.
Two years have passed, and sometimes in my dreams,
She comes and apologizes to me,
Says she’s sorry for what she did,
And calls me to her world where all are free.

How the Essay Spoke

Mr. Susanne then handed over the sheet to me. Stapled were two sheets of paper, A4 size, single ruled, with notes written in blue ink, cursive, beautiful. It seemed that whoever had written the essay had planned well before writing. Neatly written, without many scratches, the write-up would surely get a ten on ten if assessed on handwriting. I started reading it, knowing not why I was doing so, but knew that Mr. Susanne had asked me to, and so I ought to. Mr. Susanne was a teacher in the primary section of Edinburgh School, the most famous school in our town. He was an English teacher, however, frequently he also solved a bit of mathematics for his son, had he any doubt in them. Tall and lean, one could have hardly guessed he was in his late-fifties if not informed earlier. I then took out my spectacles from the pocket on the right hand side of my shirt. I was wearing a formal shirt today; it had been gifted by one of my old friends last month on my anniversary, and I hadn’t got a chance to wear it all these days. So when I opened my wardrobe today, I first glanced as usual through the whole wardrobe and, coming across this, I decided to wear it, and was consequently complimented by Susanne for doing so.

I was in the personal cabin of Susanne now. Although most teachers were allotted chairs in the staff room, Susanne had been allotted a separate cabin. There could be possibly two reasons for this. The more probable one would be his long stay at the school, for I remember he used to teach in the school even in the times when I studied there. Back to the essay, Susanne had said to keep in mind that it was a fictitious one, it started off,

“An Accident”

“Accidents are things that happen by mistake, of course, and that is why they are accidents, not deliberate attempts to harm people. They may occur with anyone, anywhere, anytime and the person involved may be slightly injured or seriously, and if fatal, it can also lead to death. However, the people involved in the accident are to be blamed too, for it may cause the life of a person too. Being an eye-witness to an accident is bad enough, however, being a part of an accident is worse than that. I narrate to you an account of what happened to me last year.

It was the season of festivals. The various festivals along with their pompous celebrations had instilled into everyone an urge of fun-making. In such a situation, people cannot stop but commit mistakes. In some other cases, people get overdrunk and run into accidents. Such a case happened that day, and I do not know whether fortunately or unfortunately, but I was involved in it. Not that I was drunk, not that I was driving fast, but only that I was crossing a busy street. Even then, I was very cautious, because, being here in this city for so long, I have learnt that people hardly care about the traffic rules, and that they could well run into anyone if the signals showed red. Moreover, there was a faith, because I was holding my father’s hand, and if I forgot to tell you, my father was with me all this while, and also my mother, because we were out together as a family.

Just as I was crossing the road, suddenly a car, I can bleakly remember, but it was a Volkswagen, although I don’t intend to blame the name of the company, because the entire fault was of the driver’s, rushed through the street, and even before I could realize, it ran into me and then I do not know what happened, because when my eyes opened, I was on bed number 5 in the children’s ward in the local hospital. I looked desperately for my right leg, but couldn’t see it. I had become lame, however, I could still see, smell, taste, feel and hear. All my senses were perfect, and I looked around and saw my parents sitting beside at the table. My father smiled wryly at the fact that I had finally opened my eyes, but no one could stop my mother from crying loudly, as if it were hers and not my leg that had disappeared.

Now, I am absolutely fine just like any other friend of mine, except that I need to use a pair of crutches, which hardly makes any difference to me.”

The essay ended there. It was written finely, and I admired at the imagination of the boy who had written it. He would grow up to be a great poet, or author, or script-writer may be, I thought. I turned around at Susanne to request to meet the boy, and it was then that I saw tears in his eyes, he was weeping, softly though, so that no one would hear. I asked him what happened, as I could see no reason to cry at such a beautiful piece of writing. He then said, “This was written yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon, after the school ended, while he, the boy who you want to meet, was returning home, a car ran into him. The right leg was cut from the body, and the boy passed away on the spot.”