The smell of death hung in the air. A yellowish mist descending, reflecting the light from the head-lamps of the parked car, choked the surrounding air giving it a deathly taste. It was just after the first hours of the morning and across the horizon Aurora’s chariot raced, heralding the coming of the sun.
Among the stone tablets that protrude from the ground lay a lifeless body, or what was remaining of it. Shovel after shovel, earth is heaped onto it; concealing the evidence. It is only when dawn breaks that the body has been replaced by a mound of earth and the perpetrator safely away, hidden among the hordes of the city populous. And by the time the warm of the sunshine broke through the stale air, he was one among them, walking shoulder to shoulder.
Half an hour and the undertaker had reported the scene to a place it didn’t belong. The crime department. This was no crime. This was art. The hand that took the life out of the body vaguely visible under the earth was of no ordinary criminal. It took a mastermind to plan and execute, to think and design this.
A grave on a graveyard. A grave taller then its marker. A grave above all others- a symbol of the highest kill.
The crime department can only shiver. And suddenly the emphasis changes- a murder had been committed and a murderer was walking free. And all everyone wanted was to desecrate his craft and put behind bars the artist.
Cameras flashed at the crime scene, where the model of a case stood inanimate and the horrors seeped free. Queasy hearts couldn’t take the intensity of that creation and they called him a lunatic. The sunshine was still lingering by, trying to dry the stale feel but fear held a firm grip.
Much to a complete distortion of majesticity, yellow plastic tape was pulled, sealing off the home of the dead and unsettling them in their earthly beds as incompetent crime detectives frowned.
Somewhere among them the winner smiled as his work of art became their nightmares. Giddy with his guilty pleasure of the night, the artist becomes restless under the noon sun. He can never live it down, this last kill, he knew. It had been his calling card to honour his victims with disgrace, but the earth he piled on his face this time, the grave he erected, was by far his best. He wondered if they would dig him out in peace or with sad in their hearts.
Neither. They had a crime to investigate and as much as they wanted to make it all vanish, they had to risk increasing it all when in the evening the heavy noisy machines pulled the dirt back.
All the while the single black stone on which with a rough hand was etched ‘Lies Dead’ stood witness to the procession, mocking them. An invitation, almost a triumphant scribble calling. This was his hand, an act of defiance to proclaim his victory and superiority over his victims.
Yellow tape fluttered still, but cameras relaxed, dirt spreading to surrounding graves, the black stone submerged below, the last lights of day plunged in the sky. And as the sunlight pulled out of the disturbed graves, it fled up to the zenith and further away, gasping for condolence. Dark took its place and greeted its yellow horrors and sat, marvelling at the day old work of art.
Things had changed that day. A day had dawned and drowned; and a body lay naked of its grave. A killer had come and gone; leaving his mark- the hallmark of excellence. And the citizens’ utopia had been destroyed, reality of a cold world creeping in. Now they knew he was there, walking among them. He was the man without a face, the monster behind the curtain. The first round went to death. Justice had yet to try its hand.
By Ruchika and Peter 🙂