Sunday Story by Priyadarshini Dey

Cops you can’t trust

It was a regular grey morning. I had taken my breakfast which was nothing but a piece of toast. I had just gone for my regular morning walk when I heard police sirens circulating around Mrs Stella Harson’s house. A sweet and relatively pretty lady, though, widowed.
“What’s going on?” I asked one of the cops.
“Oh, just a missing case. The woman living here vanished without a trace. This is the fourth one I’ve been looking after this month” the cop explained.
“Then why are you so casual?”
“I’m habituated”
“You’re weird”
“Maybe, yes”
I trotted off, realising that arguing with the cop was of no use.
Ever since my mother had passed away, Mrs Harson had been a motherly figure to me. I couldn’t really bear the thought of the woman who was so wonderful and sweet was missing..or worse, Dead?
I walked back home. A few posters had been attached to the tree in front of my house. Wanted posters of criminals who were extremely sought after. I was never really bothered about those, but my eyes still managed to be dragged towards the poster. A man with a mask, his facial features weren’t very clear. Maybe they failed in getting their hands on a picture of the man without his mask. He had brown hair and a sharp jawline. That’s it.
Soon, night fell.
A knock on my door. I left the TV show that I was watching on play while I went to answer the door.
“Who’s it?” I asked, but didn’t expect any answer.
“The cops, for interrogation purposes” I was wrong, after all.
“Come in”
A man in the local police uniform entered the room. He was tall and stern, not the one I met this morning. He had brown hair, almost lifeless eyes that felt very…weird and disturbing. His sharp jawline was very intimidating and added a tough feeling to his look. He had a particularly specific scar on his chin, which much rather looked like a star.
“Myself, Nateneil Harson, I’m here for interrogation” He started.
“Interrogation for what?” I asked, puzzled.
“Your missing neighbour”
“Tell me the whole story. The story about yesterday” He asked, instinctively.
“Well, Yesterday was Sunday, right? So, as usual, Mrs Harson knocked on my door to hand me the cookies that she made for me every Sunday.” My heart was pounding. If something wrong had slipped from my tongue, I knew I would have been done for good. I was never really good with cops.
“And then, I invited her in. We talked about her children…her daughter was married and her..son was a cop in Amsterdam police station..”
He sort of flinched. He seemed afraid, but of what?
“Did you say anything hurtful to her that day?” He asked.
“No, I don’t think so..Although we did joke often, I could never even imagine hurting her feelings..she was such a sweet woman”
“However, have you found the slightest clue of where she might have gone? I mean, after investigating, you might have found some evidence already..isn’t it?”
“We hope to, yet, we haven’t”
“Please try your best..I’ll be at help anytime you need me”
“Okay, I’ll better be leaving now” The cop said, taking off his hat as a gesture of bowing and left.
I had a sleepless night. Mainly because the missing case of Mrs Harson had completely occupied my mind.
The next morning, as immediately as I had woken up, I left, without even eating my breakfast, reminding me that I won’t be home until I got to know what happened to Mrs Harson.
The first thing I thought was to ask someone who lived with her. But I soon came to the realisation that she was widowed and I didn’t know where her children lived.
I reached her house, which was no longer guarded.
I entered the devastated home. Filled with dust and dirty clothes scattered.
I had never entered her bedroom, but I had always believed that it must be somewhere on the first floor.
Trusting the belief, I went upstairs.
There was a wooden door just face to face to the stairs. When I opened it, a lot of dust was immersed. It made me cough a lot.
The room in front of me was massive. A huge queen-sized bed and a similarly sized cupboard, where I assumed she kept her clothes. The clothes of which I was forever a fan of.
What specifically caught my attention was the series of photos on the wall. I slid from one picture to another. There were ten in total. But the last one in the row, in particular, made me raise my slitted eyebrow.
It was Mrs Harson flanked by two children. A girl, brunette, just like her. Probably about 20 years of age, standing beside her and a boy, brunette as well, seemed to be much taller than Mrs Harson was herself. One thing that I noticed was the scar on the boy’s chin.
My eyes came across an odd-looking diary on a desk in the room. I grabbed it and started to flip through its pages when I was interrupted by Mr Nataneil himself.
“Miss Christine..what are you doing here?” Mr Nataneil, himself, now entered the room. I was swift to hide the diary behind me.
“Decided to take the case on your own?” He scoffed “it’s not as easy as it seems, give up already”
“I won’t, and if it is what bothers you, then please leave”
“As a cop, It’s my duty to look after this case, not you, you’re just a town resident”
“As a person who was like a daughter to Mrs Harson, I do think I have the rights to enter her house”
“Okay, let’s see what you’re investigating here”
He was stubborn and was determined to stay. But I was quick to deny, of course, I wouldn’t like a dumb cop to nose into something that I would like to do on my own.
I walked back home, Satisfied of the thought that I had managed to grab the diary of Mrs Harson.
As soon as I had reached my house, I opened the diary. I skipped to the most recent diary entry and read it out loudly, without any reason.
Dear Diary,
I’ve noticed a man following me. He’s stern and tall, brunette hair. He wears a mask so I can’t really note his facial features down. I have probably seen him in wanted posters. It started when I was watching Television.
I looked out the window and there he was, a psychotic-looking man.
Stella Harson

It wasn’t unusual for a lonely woman like her to maintain a diary. What was unusual really was the mention of the man who looked unusually similar to the man on the wanted posters.
Suddenly, everything made sense.
The wanted posters that I saw last morning were of the cop, Nataneil himself. He looked uncomfortably similar. The man that stalked Mrs Harson was most probably Mr Nataneil himself. And if that’s the case, the man that was the cause of her disappearance was also, Nataneil. An unusual matter in this case was, Nataneil seemed to be the son of Mrs Harson. If he was, why would he hurt his own mother? After all, I don’t recall Mrs Harson saying that she had a rather unnatural relationship with her son or daughter. Instead, I often found myself nodding to how violent her son was and how he was psychologically deprived which led to his downfall.
Mrs Harson also had a fairly large property, which summed up to what finally made sense. I had understood what had happened but I wasn’t ready to convince others to believe what I believed that time.
It wasn’t until christmas eve that I saw something that bothered me. I was preparing food for relatives who were supposed to visit me on christmas, and out the window, I saw, standing there and grinning, Mr Nataneil.

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