The Dead Man's Eyes - Chapter 8
by Geetashree Chatterjee
Back to Chapter 7
The sun had now dipped into the pond. The birds were chirping their last good byes. The boy came out of the attic and shut the door behind him. His demeanour was unusually placid. His eyes had lost the searching tinge. Truth had always been the harbinger of unruffled calm. He slowly climbed down the stairs.
Someshwar was exhausted. The day's activity had taken a toll on him. Meetings, discussions, dictation, going through and signing documents, the paraphernalia of busy office time, which once considered revitalizing, now, irritated him. He had a throbbing head ache. He had rubbed a balm but it seemed useless as the pain continued. He closed his eyes and reclined on the sofa next to the bed. The lights were deliberately switched off. Darkness was somehow soothing to stressed nerves.
There was a soft footfall. Someshwar opened his eyes. The sofa on which he sat faced the door. The curtain moved a little. Someshwar jumped, "Who is it?" The boy entered and stood there looking at him or perhaps through him, he could read his face and mind even in the dark. "Oh! Its you?" Someshwar sounded relieved, "Why don't you come inside and sit?" The boy did not move but his lips parted, "You did it. Didn't you?"
Someshwar opened his mouth to ask what but at the same time he knew it was futile. The dreaded moment had come. The boy knew. But how? The boy spoke again, "You killed him, didn't you?"
"I was not alone," Someshwar replied, his voice was unexpectedly calm.
"No. You were not. Dr Roy helped you in forging the reports. Did he also assist you in administering the lethal dose?" The boy sounded accusatory.
"It was meticulously planned and executed over a period of six months. Slow poisoning which would only damage the heart but not the eyes." Someshwar's voice was a tired whisper.
"You did it just for the eyes?" The boy was strangely agitated quite against his nature.
"No! My boy. It was Mukherjee's rash, drunken driving which caused the accident in which your parents died. He then used his contacts to hush up the case." Someshwar ejaculated.
"Then how did you come to know that it was him?" The boy asked.
"Money, my son, money speaks, especially at the lower rung of the ladders that are more conversant with the gory details but are compelled to keep mum because of the higher up's orders or pressure."
But the boy was unstoppable. "A crime begetting another crime, Dadu! How do you justify that? Not only did you wrong but also made others wrong with you." The boy cringed visibly as he said these words.
"I did not force anybody, my child. Manik, Bela, they all had their reasons to hate him."
"Even Beladi?" The boy sounded incredulous.
"Yes, the poor woman never got the status of his wife though she sacrificed her entire life for him." Someshwar agonized.
"And Manik Kaku?" The boy was plain curious.
"Manik's son worked in Mukherjee's firm. To save his skin from a million dollar scam, Mukherjee put the entire blame on Manik's son who was otherwise innocent. All evidences were made to point towards him. His conviction was a foregone conclusion. The day previous to the final verdict, Binoy committed suicide. The stage was set so impeccably that Manik, though suspicious, could not point a finger at Mukherjee." Someshwar continued his voice tearful,"Raghavan as Mukherjee's family solicitor had to assist him in the macabre game. But he could not pardon Mukherjee or himself thereafter. He might have smelled something fishy behind the old man's death but chose to let sleeping dogs lie. My boy! It is natural justice that the man who was responsible for snatching away your eyesight had to pay for it by giving you back his eyes?" Someshwar relapsed into an uneasy silence!
"Untimely though!" The boy ended the incomplete sentence.
It was pitch dark inside the room. The dim light of the corridor outside threw ghostly patterns on the floor through the filigreed net of the curtains. The boy took a step back without speaking further and melted in the corridor. Someshwar sat immobile for sometime. Then he heard the click of the cordless phone fitted on the corridor wall. His limbs went cold. He got up with a lurch and staggered outside.
The boy was keeping back the receiver in its holder. He turned back. There was an odd colour to his eyes. It was no more blue. It was a shade of gray. A vivid gray!!! His lips curled in a sarcastic snarl" "Don't worry Dadu! I am not calling the Police. Moreover, I have destroyed those papers which you had hidden in the attic. You should have never done that. Why didn't you destroy them before?" Someshwar had once read somewhere that the culprit always left clues behind which in the long run gave him in. He wanted to say that he always knew that one day he would have to give reply to these questions which now floated in the air, some answered, some unanswered and some left unsaid. But he could not utter a single word. The only thing that spoke volumes was the silence which hung low and dense between the two mute figures. Nevertheless, Someshwar could feel his taut muscles relaxing. He let out a long sigh slowly almost enjoying the breath ejecting from his nostrils fanning his face. He smiled a little lopsidedly as he turned around to enter his room. He would rest now for a while.
He could feel the boy's eyes on him. Watchful. Attentive. Observant. Someshwar knew a judicial probe and verdict would have been too easy an escape for him. His secret was out. He was off the burden he had carried for so long. He did not suffer an iota of guilt, remorse or repentance at what he had done. He had waited for long to bring forth poetic justice. He was a perseverant man. He had never given in to fate. But he knew it was fate that had dealt the final blow. As long a he lived with or without the shadow of his past, the dead man's eyes would always be following him every wakeful, living moment of his remaining life.The End Back of Chapter 1