THE MYSTERY CRACKERS
A Chest’s Tale
Jinal Shailesh Doshi
A Striking Puzzle
“Let’s race!” challenged a fourteen-year-old, brown-haired teenager, in spite of the slippery road. He sped off in his red-and-black Hero Bicycle, zigzagging amongst the green lanes of Jhiljila Town, which gleamed bright green in the drizzle.
“Oh! You wait Nish, I’ll get you this time!” bellowed a dark-haired Prash after his, a-minute younger brother and raced by the tall trees of the well-cared hill-station.
Nish jeered from far, while Hri piped in, “Even I’ll race you guys.”
Short and timid, Hri was the son of the rich merchant – Mr Yogesh Parikh, famous at Jhiljila for his collection of antiques. The two brothers – Prash and Nish, were fraternal twins, immensely unlike each other. However, these Jhiljila High School students were fast friends like their parents.
They loved to ride about the peaceful Jhiljila, even in the rains and watch the sun disappear.
Prash and Hri had almost caught up with Nish. Not to be outwitted, Nish increased his speed abruptly and shouted, “You guys can’t match me … yo-ho … uuoh!” Crash! His gusto had led him to slip on a murky stone pavement. While trying to sit up, he cursed the foul garbage of mucky leaves, twigs and the other waste that covered him.
Prash and Hri soon joined him. Hri couldn’t help chuckling and commented, “You’re a mess Nish.”
Prash leapt from his black-and-blue Hero Bicycle and gave a hand to Nish, while Hri straightened Nish’s bicycle, still laughing.
“Are you alright, Bro?”
“Fine, just a bit – hey Prash, look at this!” Nish’s fall had cleared a batch of waste around the stone pavement. When he cleared it further, a withered message emerged from the cold stone.
Prash read it aloud,
When the sky is clicking photographs,
Where beauty dances happily,
The Unseen will be clearly seen,
And you will meet the Truth …!
“What a funny thing to write.”
“No Nish, it’s not funny. Read carefully. It’s a clever puzzle, clues to something … some answer,” Prash explained.
“What Hri? Seeing snakes?” asked Nish irritated. He hadn’t yet forgiven him for laughing at his fall.
“N-no, worse … it’s Golu!” Hri trembled.
“Inspector Gulkand! Oh no! We’d better hurry.” Prash quickly took the puzzle’s photograph from his Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, while Nish hastily covered it with garbage.
The Inspector halted his police bike and strutted towards the boys. He was the current head of the Jhiljila Police Station. Pot-bellied and pompous, he loved shouting out orders to the others. Manning the Jhiljila lanes at dusk and telling off teenagers for roaming about there was his cherished custom. The kids hated him, but enjoyed teasing him Golu behind his back.
The Inspector glared at the three boys and gruffly spoke with spitting anger. “Why are you out of your houses this late?”
“Late? It’s not even seven Gol – Gulkand Uncle,” retorted Nish.
“I am no uncle of yours. Address me as Inspector Gilli Gulkand. Get it? And what’s wrong with you … covered all in dirt? What were you doing?” threatened Inspector Gulkand.
Prash giving Nish a sharp look, swiftly took over. “Gulkand Uncle –”
“Sorry. Inspector Gilli Gulkand, my brother just slipped from his bicycle and hurt himself. We were just helping him up and heading home. We are extremely sorry for the disturbance.”
Inspector Gulkand instantly melted at Prash’s polite words. “Hmm … fine. I’ll let you off this time. But don’t dare let me catch you again. Off you go now!”
The boys didn’t need telling twice. They left immediately hearing his faint mutterings. “Don’t even know how to ride and parents go ahead and buy them bicycles. I’d better …”
The twins laughed but Hri was unusually grim.
“What’s up?” Nish quizzed.
“Yeah, you went pale in front of Golu. Done something wrong?” emphasized Prash.
“Not me. But maybe my Dad has …” gloomily stated Hri.
© Copyright Jinal Shailesh Doshi 2014
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