Sumit searched for the murderer like a bloodhound, investigating every single lead he got relentlessly. But a distinct lack of evidence impeded his progress. In the apartment, he found only the fingerprints that were supposed to be there: Raj and his family's, the owner's, the manager's, the help's. There was nothing unusual.
Whoever committed the murder must have planned it very carefully. How else could he explain it? Sumit began to suspect that it was a full-fledged conspiracy. Almost a month after the murder, Sumit finally revealed his suspicions to Raj.
"Who would be out to get Mala?" Raj asked, his voice still hollow with grief.
"What about you, Raj? Is there anyone who would do this to send you a message?" Sumit pressed.
Raj shook his head. "I have no enemies. I mean, my boss, Vivek, and I had a row after the incident at the lab, but he wouldn't do this. It was just frustration. It happens all the time with people and their bosses."
Sumit tried to get more details from Raj about the nature of the fight, but Raj brushed him aside.
"Vivek is a good friend. He has always looked after my family and me. We just had a spat. That's all."
But Sumit was unconvinced. His training taught him to always trust his suspicions and, right now, he was very suspicious of Vivek.
Vivek entered his chamber, his whole body heavy with guilt. He remembered looking at Mala's brown eyes while talking to her, how soft and welcoming they were. How scared. But the moment he pressed the pistol to her forehead, he'd felt cold, like his actions were just.
He dropped his head to his shoulder and closed his eyelids tightly. The room bent over him to listen to his heartbeat. He remembered the events of that day. He didn't want to kill Mala. How did that happen? He started analysing everything that happened. He sat in that position for an hour without moving a muscle.
Mala could have prevented this. She should have given me the report. Even if she didn't have the report, she could have told me where it was kept.
He had to get away as quickly as he could. He turned off his phone for the entire day and asked his secretary not to disturb him. He had something very important to do. He started to lay out a plan…
His biggest concern was how to discard the weapon. He had to destroy it.
He set it on his desk and stared at it for some time.
He picked it up and flicked open the cylinder to empty the bullets. They clattered on the table, a few tumbling on the floor. His face contorted as he looked at them. He removed his jacket and then unbuttoned his shirt, revealing his lean, fit body, his forearms covered in bulging veins, speaking volumes about his love for gym. With tattoos wrapped around one of his arms and shoulder, he could easily be mistaken for a rock star.
Vivek picked a bullet up from the floor and stared at it, his eyes growing wider and wider. Anyone else who saw him would have questioned his sanity. He loaded the bullet back into his pistol, spun the cylinder, and pressed the muzzle against his temple. He pulled the trigger.
Beads of sweat dripped down his forehead. He placed the pistol on the table and tried to clear the clutter in his brain.