Chapter 9

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Always hopeful. Cody kept checking Facebook. That morning, as the sun pushed over the hills away in the dusty distance, she turned on her computer. There was a click and the Windows icon spun around the screen.

Cody held her bottom lip between her teeth hoping today would give her some clues. It was one of the hardest things she did because while she hoped for answers she also knew there was every chance there would be disappointment as on every other day.

Her daughter's image shivered into sight and Cody's fragile heart broke. There was her beautiful daughter, and it all seemed so unfair she could never hold her ever again. She fixed her eyes on that young innocent face, so full of trust. 

The early morning light turned her face into a shadow that reflected on the screen superimposing it over Jessica's lovely young features. 

There was something odd about the shadowed image. She drew closer and peered at her beloved daughter.  How could it be possible she was dead?

Something had caught her attention. Jessica wore an Indian hair clip she had never seen before. It sparkled and she was sure real diamonds glittered amongst the rubies.

If Raj had given it to her, Jessica would have rung Cody and excitedly told her all about it.

Daisy wore a similar style hair clip but it caught her hair in a bun whereas Jessica’s simply clipped her blonde tresses off her oval face.

Something else about the photo disturbed her. Jessica’s smile was forced, as though she was being made to pose for the camera. She knew her daughter and when she was posing naturally her blue eyes were open and her cheeks bunched up and pink.  A glittering red sari with golden threads heightened her colour. 

***

Daisy, was desperate to prove Raj’s innocence. “Oh, he might be spoilt,” she said in her husky voice, “He loved Jessica as he had never loved anyone else.”

Cody had heard her say this so many times she wondered why she needed to keep repeating it.

Later that day Cody called into Sekar’s office.

Sekar, was reading the file Shankar had delivered when Cody arrived breathless after climbing the stairs.

He gave a quick tweak of his lips which was supposed to be a smile.

“You know that to take Lakhbir on is suicide.”

Cody rolled her eyes. “I do wish people would stop saying that.”

Sekar held a finger to his lips. An ethereal voice filled the room. Cody was immediately alert.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve told you to make sure no-one can find anything.” 

“Yes master,” Shankar was saying.

“Well see this,” Lakhbir said. Cody imagined the sadhu's dreadlocks falling over his head as he bowed over. “Who thought it was a good idea to hide it in the statue of our Lord Siva?”

Automatically Cody’s hand went to her own grey streaked hair and touched where Jessica wore the hairclip.