The Witch with the Itch

4

A woman walks up to Sarah and stops her midway to the office building from the parking lot. ‘Excuse me, are you lost?’ The woman is all tears and couldn’t utter a word. ‘It’s all right. You seem to be in pain. Come with me.’ Sarah takes her to her office. ‘Sit here. I will send some coffee. Wait for me. I will return in some time.’ She leaves the woman alone.

Sarah returns to her office after an hour. ‘Sorry, I kept you waiting. I…Where are my manners? I’m Sarah Reynolds. And you are…’ Sarah puts her hand forward. ‘I’m Natasha Gutland. I need your help.’ Natasha shakes Sarah’s hand and doesn’t let go. ‘It’s all right. I’m all ears,’ Sarah said pulling her hand away.

Natasha tells Sarah about her ordeal at the hands of her colleagues. She complained to her boos and her HR department. But she was not provided with any help. It started with obscenities and bad mouthing. One day, it led to physical encounter. She wanted an end to this. She heard about Sarah from a friend and came running to her.

‘I believe we can help each other out,’ Sarah said. ‘Excuse me. How can I help you? It’s I who need help,’ Natasha said. ‘I live to see the light of justice touching everyone. And you will help me with it. Welcome aboard.’

Natasha leaves Sarah with a big task. Sarah needs all the help she can get to come up with solid evidence to make the offenders pay. She instructed Natasha to act normal and record everything that happens henceforth. ‘Try your best to sound natural and act as a victim,’ Sarah suggested. ‘I don’t have to act one,’ Natasha said.

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The Witch with the Itch

3

‘They hurt someone, but don’t take the fall. I get some warmth, and burn them all,’ Kenneth read the message out loud.

‘Not again. Blimey! This is fun. She’s so deep. She targets the ones who are guilty. She meets them, has sex, then kills. There are three parts to the story. And it’s the same every time,’ Richard said.

Kenneth examines the body. ’41 days. That’s the interval.’ There is burn marks everywhere. ‘Seems like she used some hot rod to carve out a ‘CONVICT’ on his chest.’

Richard shields his nose. ‘Sweet. She kills in different ways and enjoys it. A wannabe psycho. I like her style. She will become famous.’

Kenneth balks at his partner. ‘There’s nothing to like about this. This is taking the law in one’s own hands. We need to find her before she finds her next victim.’ The palms of the victim have been hollowed. They are red and messy.

‘She believes in the Hindu Karma. She transfers all her bad karma to her victims when she kills them.’ Richard takes a close look at the victim. ‘The smell is not so bad after all. This has a softer touch. She has calmed down after her last soirée.’

Kenneth takes down notes on his mobile phone and clicks some pictures. ‘Karma…What was the last thing you said about it? I remember. Karma is like 69. You get what you give. Now, how come this transfer of bad karma comes into the picture?’ He looks at his partner for some answers.

Richard draws a blank stare. ‘I am no God. How would I know? It’s confusing for mere mortals like us.’

The Copycat Stigma

8

Gerard gets an idea for a romance series. A man falls in love with a new woman in every book of the series. Every time he meets someone, he marries them, and they die at the end of the book leaving behind a child. He launches each book of the series with aplomb. It is heralded as one of the best romance series ever written. Some critics dismiss it hands down as cheeky and nothing that they haven’t read before.

Gerard receives a call when he is celebrating the launch of the final book in the series. His family and friends are present and they are having a gala time. The children have an area to themselves. It is filled with carnival games like Feed The Monkey, Trampoline, Bungee Jumping, Face Painting and Knock The Can. The adults are enjoying the karaoke machine with Gerard’s wife performing often.

It is the president of the news network on the line. He wants a talk show with Gerard. It will be an hour dedicated to his achievement till date. Gerard feels honored but suspicious of the history with the organization. ‘You have disrespected me on more than one occasion. How can I forget that?’ he said. ‘Yes, you are absolutely right. And we apologize. This time it will be different. Everything is in the past. I will personally do the talking if you want,’ the president said.

Gerard agrees after repeated requests by the president. He gets another call the next day confirming his availability for the exclusive show. He is the special guest for the first episode of the show. The title includes the name of the guest: ‘Tonight with Gerard Montgomery.’ ‘We are starting a new show, and you will be the one to launch it with us. You have successfully launched dozens of books. How about you launch this program for us?’ the president said.

Crypto Miners

10

Rupert lies in front of the mine surrounded by his dead comrades. It is the break of dawn. He sees the night turn into day. What a spate of events this has been, he thought. It’s a déjà vu. Things creep into his mind from the mine explosion. ‘Why am I the only one who survives? This is my fate. I won’t take it anymore. End this life once and for all,’ he mutters. He hears cries from afar. It’s his family. He cries, ‘No! No! Not them…’

Anthony comes with Maya, Sarah, and Rudy along with a bunch of his goons. ‘There, there. Isn’t this lovely? A family reunion. Little boy, cry for me,’ Anthony said. There is a gunshot. Now Anthony turns towards Sara. ‘Little girl, now it’s your turn.’ Rupert hears another gunshot. ‘Now, what do we do with her? Fellas, you want to take her for a ride or should I?’ Anthony said. Shouts of ‘Aye’ come from everywhere.

Rupert tries to get up but fails. ‘You leave her alone. Take my life…Not my wife.’

Everyone burst out laughing. ‘Did you hear the Romeo? My goodness. Such alacrity. I am thrilled. I suppose these are your last words. Goodbye, Rupert. And thanks for the discovery. Riches abound. Maybe, I will spare your wife for my guys. See you in hell,’ Anthony said. He pulls the trigger and a loud cracking sound echoes. Rupert closes his eyes and becomes one with his comrades.

Crypto Miners

9

The comrades come at night for the heist of their lives. They wear robes indistinguishable from each other. They are unable to recognize one another in the dark. ‘This is it, my brothers. Today is the day. Let us act as one. Let today be the last day we work in the mines,’ Rupert said.

They sneak up on the guards and knock them out with their axes and shovels. ‘You shouldn’t have hit him so hard. Look, he bleeds,’ Randy said. ‘There’s nothing we can do. Just get going. We don’t know how much time we have. Quick!’ Rupert said. The others follow him to the mine where lay the treasure. They start digging.

It’s two hours into the process and all of them have their bags filled. ‘This is way beyond what we expected. I think there’s more,’ Gilbert said. ‘Leave it. We have enough to last a lifetime. Let us get going,’ Peter said. ‘No, I want more,’ Randy said. ‘No, we are leaving right now. Get moving,’ Rupert said pushing others one by on towards the exit.

As soon as they get out, they are surrounded by the two guards. They spent more time than required fussing over the quantity and their greed. ‘Let us leave. We don’t want to harm you. We have something of value. We will give you some. You can leave with us. Come, join us,’ Rupert said. ‘Join you…’ a security guard roared. Another said, ‘We have sounded the alarm and made the call. The authorities will be here any minute. There’s nowhere to run. And look, we found our guns. Hallelujah!’

They start shooting. All of the comrades die except Rupert. He bleeds from his legs. ‘You know why we kept you alive. Don’t you? You are a special one, the famous Rupert. You shall live to tell the tale. Now, let’s get our prize and hide it before anyone sees it,’ a security guard said.

The Witch with the Itch

2

Sarah runs towards the lift after getting inside her office building. ‘Slow down, mam. What’s the rush?’ a security guard says. She is late for a meeting. She enters the room and all eyes turn towards her. ‘Sorry, I know. Bad stomach,’ she smiles. ‘Everyone has the memo. That’s good. Who wants to go first?’ Her junior colleagues update her on the week’s tasks. Then, they discuss what needs to be done next.

Sarah is working at Peter & Crew, the biggest law firm in the world. She is working as a senior associate in the criminal department. She started as a junior associate four years ago and rose aggressively amongst her competitors. She now handles a team of nine and earns a figure of six. Her love includes sex crimes, violent crimes, drug crimes, theft, embezzlement, and fraud. She’s one of the best at analyzing case laws and developing a legal strategy. Her future is bright with the increase in crime rate around the country.

Her first words to her new client: Everyone is guaranteed a trial by jury and presumed innocent until proven guilty. ‘I bet you can help me. That’s why I’m here. I heard you are the best,’ the client said. ‘You heard that correct. But first, I will make the decision whether I want to. Now, begin with the problem…’

After the client leaves, she picks up the day’s newspaper and sips coffee. A gruesome attack by an animal – the headline said. ‘Animal…This is what they call me. What about them? And beautiful men? They seemed just okay. And no word about their crime. Why do they always miss out on the facts?’ she mutters to herself. She tears the part and throws it in the shredder. A colleague catches her attention, ‘This is not what it is used for.’ ‘I know. Let’s call it a necessity. Shall we?’ she goes past him slapping his bosom with the rest of the newspaper.

The Witch with the Itch

1

‘I wanted one, now I have two. One tied up, and another glued,’ detective Kenneth said.

‘What in God’s name does it mean? Is this a poet we are looking for? I tell you, this is shitty stuff. My grandma wouldn’t go for this. Puny poet,’ detective Richard said.

The two detectives reach a crime scene where two men are found murdered in cold blood. The killer has left no mark other than a note. ‘Can you believe it? This note would not yield a result if it went for a handwriting analysis. All the letters are written differently. Who does that? A psycho bitch,’ Kenneth said.

‘What makes you think it’s a woman? There is no sign. It might be a man,’ Richard said.

‘Yes, but no. Both of these men seem to have copulated with someone.’

Richard chuckles. He moves closer to the body on his left and scrutinizes him from head to toe. He finds that the victim has been gagged before he finally gave up. There’s red lining his neck, wrists, and legs. ‘Seems like this one was raped after being tied up. His facial expression doesn’t look like he was enjoying it.’

Kenneth goes towards the second body. ‘Whose does? Will you find a smile on any face when death is near. A dying smile maybe, but who knows what it is like.’ He examines the victim and finds he is sticking to the chair. ‘Can we have him removed…Better, he rests now. No point in exerting in this state…’ The victim’s body makes a tearing sound with his skin ripping apart from his body when four policemen try to get him off the chair. ‘Christ! This is a bad one. Look at this mess. Oh, the smell.’ He rushes to the bathroom and throws up.

Meanwhile, Richard steps closer to the chair. Patches of skin and blood fill it throughout. ‘The glue seems to be of high quality, possibly epoxy resin. It has worked its magic. The poor man died trying to get up. His backbone sticks out resulting in loss of blood. Yes, the mess.’