From Part 2…
Avinash finds out that Lakhani was actually murdered in cold blood, with 8 stabs to his body in classroom 10 of his very own Department. Condolence holidays are announced for the next two days for the college. While leaving class, Avinash gets a peek of the murder scene – Classroom 10. He notices the amount of blood across the classroom and is repulsed by it. He spends the evening playing cricket with his friends, while Prateek, his roommate, completes his assignments in their room. They both sleep early, exhausted by the day’s work. At around midnight, Avinash is woken up by Prateek’s frantic calls. Avinash does not understand what had happened. Prateek informs him that their Principal, Mr Tripathi, the college principal was dead, in classroom 10!
Even that word couldn’t explain what I was going through. Prateek sat down on his bed.
“What…? I mean how…? I mean when…?” I spoke after a long time.
“I don’t know. I’m scared.” He said looking at me. I could see the fear in his eyes.
“If this is some psychopath student, getting his revenge or something, you never know who it could be next, I don’t want to be in that list.” He muttered. “Hey Avi, let’s leave hostel for a couple of days and go for a short trip or something. I don’t want to die” he added, still with fear.
“Hey man, what happened?” I said. I was worried.
“I don’t know. I’m tensed. Thinking about the fact that there could be a murderer among us or around us, just makes me shiver.” he said.
“Relax. Nothing’s going to happen.” I said.
The thought though, did send a shiver down my spine. I started making a mental list of people I might have hurt in the past, any past nemesis I might have had. None came to mind.
“Where’s the body?” I asked.
“Huh? What?” He said, still lost.
“The body. Where is it? Is it still in there?” I asked.
“No man, they took it out almost an hour ago. I thought you would wake up listening to the siren noises, you didn’t.”
“I guess I was too tired after all that cricket today” I said, although I didn’t think I was. I have played longer and harder than yesterday but that would never affect my sleep. Strange.
“8 stabs” he said, softly.
“Again? Oh my god!” I almost shouted. “I think you’re right. This guy is definitely some psycho serial killer who’s getting revenge or something.”
“Yes. I know! Let’s leave from here. Our lives are at risk!” he said again.
“Oh Relax! Okay? Stop being so sceptical about it. There’s nothing to be worried about. In fact, we should try and find the person behind all of this.” My eyes lit up, “What say?”
“What the…? Are you out of your mind? This is an actual murder we’re talking about. Not some Bollywood movie or Crime Patrol where you’ll just go out there and investigate.”
“I know. But this has happened in our department! We can’t just let it go that way, can we?” I said. I had started pacing up and down the room, thinking about people who could have done it.
“Are you seriously serious? You better say no or I’m going to blow my top, right now!” he said.
“The department!” I shouted.
“Quick let’s go to the department; we can find some clues there! Get ready!” I said, getting into my track pants. I checked the time. 5:00 am.
“Okay, not now, not at this time” and switched back to my boxers and collapsed on my bed. I strangely felt sleepy again.
“Are you kidding me?” I heard Prateek say. I was already asleep.
I got up at around 10 the next day. Prateek was snoring on the bed beside me. I yawned and looked outside the window. I was still eager to know more about the murder. I couldn’t even see what had happened yesterday at the department. I checked my phone. I had received an email from the college:
“Due to the increase in criminal activity in and around the college, the management has decided to announce the entire next week off to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all the students. Students living in the hostel are requested to vacate their rooms and leave for their respected homes. Students who decide to stay back are asked to remain in their rooms and not loiter around the campus. The college is not responsible for any mishaps that could occur in or around the campus. The students are asked to be alert at all times and cooperate with the police investigation as and when asked for.
Genesis Institute of Technology.”
Honestly, I should have been happy, but didn’t. I kind of expected it. My brain was still lost in the thought of yesterday’s incident. Who could have done it? Someone from college? someone from outside? A student? A staff member? It could have been anyone. I had to find out. I got up and went out to the common washroom to freshen up. Some students had already left. Many were in a hurry perhaps to leave soon. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. I hadn’t even called back home to inform them about what had happened. I didn’t want to worry them unnecessarily. There was a lot of commotion in the common bathrooms. Many wanted to catch the first bus and couldn’t afford to miss it, so they were fighting for cubicle to have a bath before they left. They couldn’t go home as the stinky pigs they were at the hostel.
I freshened up and came back to my room. Prateek was still snoring in his bed. I felt this was the best opportunity to go out to the department and look at yesterday’s aftermath. I switched to a hoodie and trackpants and slowly sneaked out of the hostel and walked towards the department.
Genesis Institute of Technology or GIT, in short has huge campus spread over a 100+ acres. It consists of a main academic building, where the management departments like the academics’ section, the accounts section, the principal’s cabin etc. were housed, we had a Library building, six other buildings for each of the departments and a workshop. The length of the entire campus was lined with brick-and-mortar walls and barb wires. Of course, the age of the building and time had created many gaps and holes into the wall leaving more exits and entrances than the college authorities claimed it had. CCTVs had stopped working ages ago and the watchmen slept more than they worked. I was pretty sure the college authorities were already in trouble for all of this. For having studied at the college for two and a half years now, I knew that the college cared more about its reputation than the death of two old professors. So, it was pretty evident that the college would try hard to suppress this. Now again, I couldn’t care less about the professors or the college’s reputation. What bothered me the most was that two people had been murdered in one of the classrooms in our department, brutally stabbed 8 times each. Something had to be wrong and I had to find out what.
I reached my department. I couldn’t see anyone around so I went straight in. I climbed up to the second floor, to classroom-10. The place where it all happened. It had been taped with ‘Crime site’ tape and the door was locked and sealed. I peeped in through the window. I noticed that the blood from the first murder had been cleaned up. There were only a few unremovable stains on the wall, but there was another corner had been bloodied. There were also hand prints in blood near the walls. It definitely was brutal. If I had to know more, I had to get in. I couldn’t know everything from outside.
Just then, I heard footsteps behind me and before I could turn back to see who it was, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I froze right then…
(To be continued…)