Chapter 2

Written by: SameerNagarajan

Cody was struck by the sheer size of the house – airy, natural light coming in through windows, tall doors left open, minimal artificial light. 

She stared at the young man sitting opposite, actually facing her daughter’s killer for the first time outside a courtroom. So you are the obscenity that masquerades as human life, she thought even as she smiled and shook hands. And hides behind his father’s influence when it comes to the reckoning. 

Australian by passport, but she understood the Delhi psyche. 

Rising slowly, Rajdeep looked at her with uncertain eyes – watchful, anxious, almost fearful– and timidly gestured towards a sofa. She sat down amidst oppressive silence. 

Rajdeep offered a welcome drink and Sekar smiled ingratiatingly but before he could accept, she crisply declined and launched immediately into a brief explanation of why she was there. Why did he kill her daughter? Did he feel the void he had created in her life, the deep despair and agony she suffered every day? Rajdeep dared not interrupt. As she spoke, her voice began to crack and her eyes suddenly became moist. She paused, reaching for a hanky. 

Rajdeep rose, mumbling incoherently, and left the room. 

“You shouldn’t have said that,” whispered Sekar in a low, intense whisper, “I told you to let me do the talking. Now he is gone and I don’t know what is going to happen next.”

 In a moment, Lucky walked into the room. He looked straight at Cody and reminded her that she had asked for the meeting and he had taken time from his busy schedule to meet her. I should have asked my lawyer to be here he said evenly, but I trust you. She should state her business, or he would throw her out. He wasn’t going to take nonsense like his 'good and meek' son Rajdeep. 

‘No, no, Lucky-jee” moaned Sekar, “nothing like that. We came to pay respects ...”

“Ahh, pay,” purred Lucky. “I understand, of course. A daughter is always precious, regardless of which culture you are from. So I will give you a million dollars. In any currency, anywhere in the world. You must agree that there will be no further litigation and of course never talk about the settlement. Deal?”

Cody could barely believe her ears. She walked silently across to him. Sekar stayed close behind, confident that she would accept the generous offer. Lucky had a benign smile on his face. 

She slapped him across the face, twice. Hard. 

He was silent for a full moment and then screamed for his guards to escort them out. Cody dared them to touch her, shouting she would call the police. Lucky screamed something. Sekar frantically whimpered and grovelled to Lucky and admonished Cody in turn. 

She turned around confidently. As she stepped out of the room, ignoring all the shouting behind her, she saw Daisy peering at her from behind a pillar. She looked scared, admiring and sympathetic. Next to her were statues of Siva and Kali.

Comments

A good chapter with lots of detail.One point to make. There is one paragraph of dialogue with three exclamation marks. If it is the same character talking throughout then the mark should only be at the end of the first or last line. In this case, the character is whispering and even in a low intense whisper there should be no exclamation marks at all. The chapter is full of tension and your characters are really three dimensional. It is going to be a hard job to follow this. Loved it, Sameer. Well done.
Ray - thanks for the point around punctuation: I wasn't aware of how distracting it was and will watch out in future. And thank you for the feedback on the chapter as a whole. Much appreciated!
I often catch up with these serials when its my turn to write a chapter. This is a great chapter. The way you handle dialogue without making it dialogue is excellent. I'm referring to your description of Cody telling Rajdeep about her grief and demanding to know if he felt the 'void' in her life he had left... That is beautiful description. I could see and hear her and also feel Rajdeep's discomfort (Rightly so). Very well crafted. I agree with Ray's point re the exclamation marks. I think you were trying to add emphasis and you did that by describing the way she spoke. That was well done.You also used short sentences which winds up the tension.