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Pareidolia: Part 4

Issac walked into the waiting lounge where Sarah was now sitting looking less dazed than before.
"What happened? Did you get him?" she asked.
"He's dead.Someone shot him. And there is no trace of the killer." he replied.
"Was it Tony?He got away? He's obviously the one behind Purva's death too then." Sarah deduced, hoping she was wrong.
"No. There was literally no trace of the killer. Like as if there wasn't a killer." Issac clarified.
"What? Ice. Go get tested.He's probably injected you with that drug too. How can there be a murder and no killer?" Sarah mocked.
"At every step, this case has thrown up more questions than answers. But some of it is beginning to make sense now. This new victim isn't Purva's killer. He's only an accomplice. His only job was to control the baby puppet from the terrace. The real killer was inside Purva's house all along." Issac explained.
"Hang on. That can't be right. If he was inside the house with Purva, he wouldn't have let her call the police." Sarah interrupted.
"True. But why did this accomplice come here? Just to scare you? Why would he take that risk?" Issac asked.
"He didn't! Maybe the real killer wanted him dead. This accomplice was our only track back to the killer. So he set him up here and killed him." Sarah said.
"But why do it here? We would never have known about an accomplice if he had killed him elsewhere" Issac said, confused.
"Will you stop posing questions for me and try finding some answers yourself?" Sarah said, a big grin on her face. "I'm supposed to be the traumatised victim of this episode" she joked.
" Traumatised? " Issac laughed. "You should've seen your face when I told you it was just a doll." he teased.
" Hey! Ask the paramedics. I am in trauma. I have the orange blanket to prove it." Sarah replied, pointing to the blanket that the doctors had put around her.
" Ok. Then you won't be able to take part in the investigation any more I suppose" Issac said and turned and walked away.
"No No No No! I'm perfectly alright. What's our next step?" Sarah said, throwing the blanket to a side and jumping from the couch, running towards Issac.
"Murugan Sir wanted to meet you. He'll tell you what to do next"

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Murugan had called a meeting of the security staff at the precinct.
"Sir. Our security systems are all working perfectly. The intruder jumped into our roof from the adjoining building. There is no way he could've gone through our security." the security in-charge said.
"What utter nonsense. Do you think that any intruder is going to walk in through that front door for you to catch?" Murugan said, "How did these fools get certified?" he mumbled. "I want that roof to be under constant monitoring. Do whatever is necessary. Now, more importantly, why did constable Ramesh go up there alone? I want an immediate review done of all our emergency reaction mechanisms as soon as possible. You can all leave." Murugan ordered just as Sarah walked in.

"Ah Sarah. How are you? Still shaken?" he asked.
"I'm fine sir. No worries." she replied.
"Great. Ok Sarah. I'll get straight to the point. Until Tony's role in this case is clear, you can't be investigating it. Issac will investigate that much. If he says Tony isn't involved, you can take up the case once again. Am I clear?" he said.
"Yes sir. " Sarah said. She knew this was going to happen. "Sir, can I at least go with Issac? I won't get in his way. I promise." She said, clutching at straws now.
"Sarah, You know how this works. Go home and stay there for a while. Catch a couple of movies or something. You need the break anyway." he replied.
Sarah's shoulders sank in disappointment. There was nothing she could do.

Issac went back to the apartments looking for answers. He decided to have a look around the terrace. He got into the elevator and pressed the button that said 20. He stepped out of the elevator and looked
around. There was only one apartment on the 20th floor. There was little door on the roof that led to the terrace. Without a ladder, it was impossible to get to it. Issac knocked the door of the lonely apartment. No one answered. He went down to the 17th floor and knocked on Mrs Martha's door hoping to get a ladder. A young lady opened the door.
"Hey. Is Mrs Martha home?" Issac enquired.
"Who?" the young lady asked.
"Mrs Martha. She was here a couple of days ago." Issac said.
"I think you've got the wrong flat. I just got back from London this morning." she said.
Issac was taken aback. "Ma'am. A 76 year old woman named Martha was here a couple of days ago. Did you give her your keys  before leaving?" Issac asked, patiently.
"No. And I don't know anyone by that name" she answered. Issac was stunned. He apologised and walked past Sarah's flat which was still locked and sealed. He walked to another flat and made some
enquires about Martha. Nobody had heard of her. His whole investigation of the case of a baby that hadn't died and a woman that had been killed by a killer that was dead, was based on a witness that,
apparently, didn't exist.

Back in office, a visually disturbed Issac entered Inspector Murugan's cabin.
"Sarah has to come back." he said, bluntly.
"What? So it wasn't Tony?" Murugan replied.
"Sir. Nobody in the apartments has heard of a lady named Martha. I'm not sure what I can believe in this case anymore" Issac said.
Murugan got up from his seat and walked over to his cabinet and proceeded to open a bottle of his vintage jameson whiskey.
"Call Sarah" he said after a few minutes of silence.

Sarah rushed from home and got to the office almost as soon as Issac called her.
"This makes sense now!" Sarah said, panting.
"What?" Issac and Murugan said in unison.
"It makes sense NOW? When your only witness turns out to be unreal?" Issac said.
"Yes! This Martha obviously set us up to think that there was someone else in that room. What if it was her? She didn't have the time to escape so she stood there like a witness and blended in." Sarah
explained.
"Right. So you guys didn't notice an old lady standing stealthily in the room where you put Sarah?" Murugan asked.
"Sir I don't think that was an old lady at all" , Issac said. "Sir, we have some work. I'll get back to you as soon as I have more evidence. Come on SJ" he said as he walked out, grabbing his jacket.

"Where are we going?" Sarah asked, as she jumped across to the roof of the next building, trying to keep up with a speeding Issac.
"This is where the guy who was handling the puppet ran the other day." Issac said, "And that's where we found him dead", pointing to the room in the distance.
Issac removed the police seal and unlocked the door. "If we can figure out who or what killed this guy, it will lead us to Sarah's killer." he said.
They began looking around. In no time, Sarah realised what had happened.
"Which group of absolute idiots from forensics did you bring here?" she said standing near the window next to the door. "You were chasing him and you were standing there when the shots went off, weren't you?" Sarah said, pointing precisely to where Issac had stood on the day of the shooting.
"H..How..did you know that?" a perplexed Issac asked.
"This wasn't a murder." Sarah said.
"Forensics confirmed that it wasn't suicide. I don't think the law defines what getting killed by ghosts is" Issac said, mocking sarah.
"Shut up. Can't you see? He was trying to shoot you through the window but the bullet ricocheted off the grill and killed him." Sarah said, pointing at the bullet mark on the grill.
"Wow. How did I miss that." Issac said, almost too embarrassed to talk.
"Wait. So this guy obviously was on a mission to scare me off but died in the process. where is his partner?" Sarah said.
"We need to establish this guy's identity first." Issac said before turning on his wireless set, handing the forensics team a piece of his mind and then asking them to find out the who that man was. "That'll give us something to start with", he completed when his wireless beeped. It was Dr Mani.
"Isaac. I've already got the identity of that guy and documented his history and handed you the whole report just this morning with the rest of documents." he said as Sarah began looking for the report,"Now if you'd stop screaming at my people, that would be nice" he said and abruptly ended the conversation.
"Must've slipped my mind. Did you find it?" Issac said to Sarah who was now running through the file faster than a currency counter. A few minutes later, she found it.
"Here. Found it. His name is Alex Tharamil. 29. Married to one Lisa Cherian. Hey check this out. The couple had a baby but that was before they got married so they put him up for adoption."
"Wait a minute. How did this family guy get into our databases?" Issac asked.
"There are a couple of charges of criminal intimidation and B&E against him. He's never responded to them charges so he automatically enters the database." Sarah explained.
"Oh. Wow. A baby. Finally we're getting somewhere. Where does she stay? This Lisa?"
"Redwood trail apartments" Sarah said, a smile on her face.

To be continued...


Read the first three parts here:
Pareidolia: Part 1 
Pareidolia: Part 2 
Pareidolia: Part 3 

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