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The Missing Man

The Missing Man

Police in jungle

As the location of a missing man is traced, a group of officers visit the location to unfold a series of events which is unlike anything they have ever witnessed

By Anubhav Das

The wing mirror of the police car was adjusted by a dark, wrinkled hand. An ageing Bhuvi looked into the mirror as the waning light gave him a vintage look but he was far from satisfied. Bhuvi’s profession got the better of him; he was after all a police officer. On top of his professional life, his personal life was undergoing turmoil. Unremitting toil, both personally and professionally made him look significantly older than he actually was. He was the part of a convoy of police cars. The convoy of cars were on a mission. They had finally traced the location of a person who had been kidnapped several months ago.

To their surprise, the place was in the middle of a dense forest. This kidnapping case did not display much promise. The sequence of events resembled a typical crime thriller. The only element separating this from a predictable thriller was the protagonist. Bhuvi was neither handsome nor masculine- probably the most unfitting guy for an officer. He could not dodge bullets, did not own a sleek tuxedo like James Bond and on top of that he was in his mid 40s! Confrontation scenes with Bhuvi always ended up being unintentionally hysteric. His beer belly was distracting for all criminals and weary eyes left them in a state far from intimidated. But despite all odds, Bhuvi was a  hard working and an honest officer – something rare in real life as well as stories.

After moving through a diversion from the main highway for 10 kilometres, they entered the forest- The place where at least  two side characters perish in a dramatic narrative. The forest was obviously dense and one narrow road rutted with tyre marks lead somewhere. The convoy of cars followed the marks. The tyre screeches and the sound of rumbling engines scared off the birds.  An old rugged house was revealed at the distance. The house was wooden, partly broken down and seemed abandoned. The officers got down from their cars, ready to trouble.

The group of cops circled around the house- Their guns ready to fire. Bhuvi carefully opened the front door, his gun still pointed towards whatever was inside. The door opened slightly, only to reveal a small section of the house. 3 other officers came forward, while the rest still remained below the porch. At the count of 3, Bhuvi and the 3 other officers elbowed through the door into the hallway. The rest of the officers followed. There was no sign of any activity inside the house, so they went on a search. In groups they began looking through the rooms. In one of the rooms they found the missing man who was tied to a wooden chair. They released him from the tangled mess and escorted him back to the police cars.

The rest of the rooms unfortunately did not possess anything dramatic. As the narrator, even I am disappointed, but the new character seemed promising. The convoy’s new discovery was sitting behind our protagonist. Bhuvi looked at the rear view mirror and saw that the guest was looking outside the window. The Rembrandt lighting on his face made him look suspicious. Bhuvi knew the fact that the man would not speak up, so he decided to break the ice. “You know you will have to speak up eventually at the police station. It’s better you say something now”, said Bhuvi.

After starting outside the window like a dead animal for a few more minutes, the guest finally spoke up. “My name is Nakul Shah. I was was kidnapped by CRYPTIC.” Bhuvi’s jaw nearly dropped when he heard the word CRYPTIC.

He looked at Nakul through the rear view mirror. “I suffer from facial blindness. It’s a disease in which people aren’t able to distinguish between faces. They kidnapped me during mob firing, tied me up and took me to that house” said Nakul. “So you did not see any of their faces?” asked Bhuvi. “No” Nakul replied back. “But then how do you knew they are  CRYPTIC?”asked Bhuvi. “I had heard one of them mention the name CRYPTIC” said Nakul. Bhuvi was expecting a reveal but the mention of CRYPTIC caught him off-guard. “I myself arrested one of CRYPTIC’s members last month, he’s in jail now” said Bhuvi.

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Nakul changed his sitting position and looked at Bhuvi. “Did you guys trace CRYPTIC’s leader?” asked Nakul. “Nobody has seen him. But once that bastard in jail speaks up, we will have some leads. Moreover, elections are around the corner, we expect some kind of interference by CRYPTIC” said Bhuvi. Meanwhile Bhuvi’s cell phone rang- It was his wife. He did not receive the call. He did not want to continue the discussion about whether their house needed new furniture or not. “Pick up that call.” Suggested Nakul.

An hour later Baghbagan police station lost the connection with the convoy of police cars. They tried tracing the group but the efforts did not pay off. What happens next? Well that calls for a separate story on a different day.

Also Read: Point of No Return

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