Zaltrac was not himself anymore, he slept dreaming about nabbing the psycho and Avinash kept murdering one after one to quench his thirst for blood. It had been more than 22 days since they both had shaved their heads but nothing had changed. Avinash had visited the barber three days ago and Zaltrac had just shaved his head again using a razor his uncle had gifted him.
The city was shivering with daily murders and yet there was no progress on the case. Zaltrac’s superiors had started believing that he had lost his mind and had decided to pull him off the case. It was now or never. Bangalore Psycho had become an International topic of discussion and the incapability to nab him was affecting the city’s reputation. 27 murders had taken place already and each of them had a scent of a rotten egg lingering somewhere nearby.
Unable to handle the heat, the commissioner had called Zaltrac down to the headquarters. Zaltrac knew exactly what was about to happen as he took his seat in the plush office.
“You look sick.” The commissioner replied.
“I have been better but I will be fine once again when I bring down that bastard.”
“You are going nowhere with the case. 27 murders later, you are still stuck with his appearance and some clues which are as useless as you on this case.”
“I know that.”
“I want you to hand over the case to Prafful Kuriens straightaway. He is coming down from Mumbai in the afternoon.”
“I knew you would call the supercop down but I can assure you he cannot do anything about it.”
“Leave that to me, you are to take over Mysore crime branch with immediate effect, and for god’s sake stop smoking so much. I thought you had quit, you smell and leek of nicotine.”
“That is a personal thing but anyway I have already forwarded my resignation to your secretary. Please do accept it, I cannot live with guilt of a failed case and serve elsewhere.”
“You are completely aware that it is not possible. Resignation is not an option.”
“I will not take up any other case, Sir.”
“Then you will be flagged as an absconder.”
“We have not caught a serial killer who is absolutely insane, and you think you can nab a man like me with years of experience on handling criminals.”
“I will leave that choice up to you. Bangalore does not need your nonsensical attitude anymore.”
“Do you know why we have not caught him yet?”
“Enlighten me.” The commissioner shrugged sipping his cup of tea.
“The psycho knows us, he thinks like us. He kills at places where there is a blind spot. No CCTV has captured him even on the roads, he is smart, he is frustrated and he is angry for some weird reason and angry men are hard to catch if they are wise enough to understand the system.”
“Then, I will take your leave, sir.”
Zaltrac walked away in silence as the commissioner continued sipping his tea. It was raining in Bangalore again but today was a bit different. Zaltrac called up Janak only to be notified that he had been assigned to the incoming officer from Mumbai.
A few hours later, inside the VIP lounge of Bangalore International Airport, the sweeper found egg shells in the restroom. As he opened the door, his eyes laid rest on a tall man who was stabbed in the eye. In his hand was a boarding pass from Mumbai.
The psycho had killed Prafful Kuriens before he could even enter Bangalore. The news spread like wildfire and by evening, Zaltrac received a call from Janak.
“Sir, where are you?”
“Enjoying a cup of tea on some hill with a cigarette!”
“Prafful Kuriens was killed at the airport.”
“It was bound to happen, I told the commissioner the psycho thinks like us and is always a step ahead.”
“I have a doubt, sir.”
“Shoot away, Janak.”
“Why didn’t he try and kill you?”
Zaltrac laughed and took another puff of smoke, felt his bald head and replied bluntly.
“Maybe he wants me to play the game. Remember, he sent me clues initially as to where the murders will happen, and as the days passed by he started posting on Reddit. We could not figure out when and where he would kill again despite that, maybe he wants us to figure it out.”
“So, what will you do now, Sir?”
“Enjoy my tea and enjoy the game, and see the downfall of this great city.”
Zaltrac was drenched in rain as he kept the call but somehow the rains felt different today. He had just gone rogue to play the game in a better way. Avinash was in the city somewhere planning his next kill. He hadn’t killed anyone in the past two days and he was eager to strike again.
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