The Dragon Tattoo
by Jini Maxin
(Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India)
The door was left ajar. Inspector Rajan peered through it vigilantly and what he saw inside the living room was absolutely frightening. A rivulet of blood interspersed with pug marks greeted him. It ended right at the end of the bed where Shankar lay dead. His neck was covered with deep wound marks. And, there were scratch marks all over his body. Suddenly his eyes fell on the arms. There, right above the elbow he saw an image of a familiar fiery dragon tattoo. Inspector Rajan paused for a moment, tilted his head, and then went forward to have a closer look at the tattoo. He knew he had seen that tattoo before! If only he could remember where.
He knitted his brow in angst; and his mind meandered off to a similar case he had been investigating for the past few months.
At once he turned to his investigators and questioned, “The dragon tattoo, was it not there on Shyam’s arm?” Didn’t Shyam die in similar mysterious circumstances? We did find pug marks there as well; didn't we?” Inspector Rajan thought and spoke at the same time.
He ordered his juniors, “Collect info from all tattoo stores about clients who had got a similar dragon tattoo done. Do it now or else we might witness yet another murder in a couple of days or even hours”.
A short probe at the nearby police stations revealed two more murders in a similar fashion: the two victims ―Somu and Shirish― had similar dragoon tattoo designs on their arms and had scratch wounds all over the body. Without a shadow of doubt, a serial-killer was on the rampage. But what about those pug marks?
The grave keeper was facing a hard time keeping the 15-year-old boy and his bull-dog away from the grave since last couple of months. The duo spent days and nights there. Even during the chilly nights that might send a chill down the spine of even the bravest and the boldest, the ferocious dog and his companion never left the grave site. This struck the grave keeper as odd. One day his curiosity piqued; he asked the lil boy,
“What’s your name boy?”
“Michael.” And he looked at him with blood-shot eyes.
That’s when the grave keeper noticed an incredible amount of anger and stress in the boy’s eyes.
But he continued with his conversation.
“And Michael, whose graves are here?”
“My entire family is here,” said Michael reluctantly with no emotions whatsoever. He ambled across the grave site with a scraped knee. There were some dry blood marks on his cheeks and neck as well.
“Is there anyone at home to whom you can go to?” the grave keeper further inquired, feeling sorry for the boy.
On a closer examination, the forensic experts suggested to Inspector Rajan that the pug marks found on the floor and the scratches on all the dead victims were that of a bull
“Can a dog be a serial-killer,” thought the Inspector.
Then on second thoughts, “It has to be, otherwise what explains those pug marks and scratches on the body of victims.”
Without losing any more time, the inspector ordered his team to round up all the bull-dogs of the city, both strays and home-bred.
A red-alert was sounded throughout the city.
“The murderer has to be caught red-handed,” ordered the inspector, gritting his teeth, adrenaline rushing through his veins.
A massive combing operation was undertaken that resulted in capture of hundreds of dogs, including Michael’s bull dog.
“There’s no escape route for the killer beast now.”
“Now let’s see if another death happens in the city because of a bull dog,” inspector Rajan spoke to himself, quizzically.
In the meanwhile the police had zeroed in on two more men who had similar dragon tattoos on their arms. Their houses were put under strict vigilance. CCTV cameras were placed inside and outside the rooms. They knew somehow that they are on the target list of the killer ―man or animal: only time will tell.
Further police investigations revealed that all the four dead men were not part of any gang and had no criminal records whatsoever. Then why were they being targeted by the killer dog? Just because of those dragon tattoos.
Mani was taking swigs of whiskey when he heard some noise from the living room. He feared for his life. Police officials had informed him of his life being under threat and especially asked him to stay away from stray bull dogs. So he kept himself well-armed all the time. The police at its end ensured that there were no chinks in their security system.
It was half-past twelve when he had heard the noise. He gathered all his arms and walked towards the direction of the noise. The police force was present in full strength. There he was, paws drawn and ready to make that deadly leap on Mani. Before he could do anything, daggers and revolvers were drawn from every side. The bull dog decisively ducked their first attack easily. Inspector Rajan, once again nimbly aimed his revolver and charged at the murderous dog with full force. Michael in dog’s clothing let out a loud, painful noise before he succumbed to his injuries.
Inspector Rajan is busy solving a new murder mystery these days. However, this time he had failed to fill in the missing puzzle pieces. Why did Michael kill all these men? Was spotting a dragon tattoo a good enough reason for all these murders?
His mother being a renowned tattoo artist of the city had she anything to do with these murdered men? Hmm! Was she in a relationship with these men? How come Michael’s entire family found refuge in grave?
This and many more questions have been haunting inspector Rajan’s mind for some time now. However, as of now, the Dragon tattoo case stands closed. ****