Monday, April 11
Wind-chill woke up Rishi at five. He brushed his teeth at the garden hose, took his loincloth and took a bath in the cold ocean and then with the garden hose he washed off saltwater. He spread his loincloth on a bush to dry. He dressed up, his loincloth was dry, he packed his backpack, put it back in Cynthia’s car’s trunk.
When he shut down the trunk he thought for a while and reopened it, removed the small bottle containing eel’s blood in glycerin, put it in his pocket and closed the trunk again.
When Cynthia woke up at 7.30, she was still hugging the rock. She opened the curtain and saw Rishi, dressed up, sitting at the beach with sea lion as they were hugging each other. She was instantly worried because sea lions were biters, she called Rishi but it was apparent that he left it in the room as usual. She dressed up in a rush and ran to the door to the deck and shouted from the deck to catch his attention. Her shout startled sea lion and it ran back to Ocean, Rishi rose and walked to her.
“Good morning Cynthia.”
“Good morning Rishi. Were you comfortable at night?”
Wet hairs of Rishi were telling that he took a bath and was prepared for the day.
“It is cold outside; you will get sick, get inside for coffee.”
She led Rishi to the dinning room, they had coffee with biscuits.
“What you would like for the breakfast.”
“Whatever you will have,” he replied.
“Oh, don’t worry about me, I just take eat a piece of raisin bread while driving to hospital.”
“In that case, please bring a piece for me too,” Rishi said rising, “you will find me walking on the road.”
“Yes, pick me up at the road; show me your hospital and the park, where we will be meeting in the evening. Then I will on my own for the rest of the day.”
She thought about it. “OK, as you wish Rishi. Road goes straight for four miles to a T-junction, there you have to take a left, away from the ocean.”
Rishi walked out of the house or rather checked out. He knew he may not be returning there again, would not be welcome in that home. He knew Cynthia would hate him from the evening. He was hoping, she would survive the mayhem and confusion he will be plunging her into.
He knew he may be under arrest in the evening. He knew, if free, he was more useful to the creation. He gave the matter a brief thought. He will avoid getting arrested but create maximum confusion. He knew how a human mind works.
At the end of the driveway, at automatic wrought iron, grilled gate; he turned back, looking, probably at the last time, at the billionaire Russet Frazier’s estate, golf courses, fountains, palm tree lined driveway, juniper lined porch, ocean facing deck, Bellaire-mansion, atrium, heated and steaming swimming pool, landscaping lights, expansive cars, garages and helipad. He thought about Cynthia, a prisoner of wealth.
Gate opened and he stepped out.
It was a beautiful morning in the coastal California, rolling landscape offered a view of wilderness and a mesh of rich people’s estates. He was enjoying each moment of his walk. Birds were signing, ocean was roaring, leaves on the trees were rustling in the cool air. Road rose, at the top it offered breathtaking views of ocean and the surroundings. He sat there on the grass. Took out the little bottle from his pocket, opened the lid and licked a drop of it. It was red color and sweat taste of medical grade glycerin; he let the liquid stand in his mouth and felt the sweat taste turning into peppery. He swallowed it.
Place was very beautiful, he decided not to walk further but to wait Cynthia. After one hour he took another drop of the poison to desensitize his body gradually.
Dr. Ryan took out two bottles of perfumed massaging spray bottles; to test the integrity of surface anesthesia; he sprayed each, one by one on the back of his hand and rubbed it. His skin went numb; he prickled himself with a needle on the surface and did not feel anything. Today was the day. He took a dose of cocaine, his mind was running again. Another scheme formed in his mind. He will give a massage to Rishi also and infect him too. Later on it would be easy to justify that Rishi gave her disease in India.
He made sure that he had three insulin syringes, in case one fails or second too fails. He laughed. He was getting late for his work, he had to report at 8.30 to sedate a diabetic patient for open heart surgery that was to last at least 4 hours and his presence in the operation theater was essential. At the end he made sure he has four marijuana cigarettes in his pocket.
He walked to his rental Honda Accord, drove off. One girl called and then second and he didn’t know when he reached hospital.
Cynthia rushed up to take a bath, asked the maid to prepare the breakfast for two and pack it. She dressed up and drove to the work early, to meet Rishi and if possible to have another walk with him. From the car she called him but again he was not carrying his cell-phone. In her mind, she rehearsed a long lecture to him. She found him sitting on the rise of the road, at the ledge. She stopped her car and joined him with the breakfast packet. When she saw the view she was mesmerized, she took that path thousands of times but missed such a place.
“Well Rishi, here is your breakfast,” she said opening the package, “actually our breakfast.”
“I was worried about you,” she said, “but you are having good time.”
“Yes,” he said eating vegetable sandwich.
They ate the breakfast, looking at the playing sea lions.
“Let’s go Rishi, I have clinic today, patients may be waiting.”
She drove; her hospital was in the outskirts of the city limits. On the way she gave him a long lecture about keeping his cell phone with him. She showed him the park where they will meet around 5.30pm. She took him to the hospital but he was not interested to go inside. She said him good bye at the entrance.
Rishi walked to the park that was two miles away, it was a large park full of trees, a pond, day use picnic area with tables cum benches, and grills and restrooms etc. He chose a table cum bench near the pond and took another drop of poisoned liquid. His begun to feel his heart beating, and then he felt his all arteries in the body were beating. Upon the ground he saw plant similar to the herb punarva. He plucked many leaves and washed them at the water fountain and ate one by one. It was almost same stingy taste but anyway he lost his taste due to the poison. He was feeling chocking sensation, was able to breathe only by nose because his throat was constricting. He felt if he will swallow his tongue. He sat on the same bench for two hours and time to time forced himself to drink water. Each hour he took a drop of poison, ate the herb and drank water. He was feeling his heart may explode, saw blood in his urine and pain in his kidney area. His whole body ached due to the unusual activity pulsing in his arteries. At 2pm he took another drop of the poison and decided it was the last. He was having fever; he went to washroom and cooled his head in the water for several minutes, dunked his face.
He sat on the bench for two hours and endured his agony. Miraculously he began to recover after 4.30pm. He still had fever and low pain and inflammation in the kidney region but otherwise he was normal. Those acute symptoms that the poison caused were wearing away.
At 3pm Dr. Ryan had his last marijuana cigarette. To get rid of the smell he brushed his teeth, gargled with a medical grade mouthwash and chewed a mint chewing-gum. He was despised at the idea to see Rishi again but had no choice. Cynthia told him that after Rishi will speak with him, he will leave them alone to discuss about engagement plans. Why she was more concerned about the opinion about a doctor by a little unemployed engineer from India. Let the stupid-filthy-rich-bitch play her stupid games and he will play his own game. Hope Rishi gets a massage too and pays the price. Rich bitch will get the treatment for whole life like he would be getting but Rishi will rot away in a poor country, unable to afford expansive treatment. Good for him and who cares. He will go along with Rishi’s picnic idea.
At 5pm Cynthia called Ryan, drinks and disposable cups were lying on the back seat of her car, she requested him to join her in her car and then later on she will drop him back to hospital to his car and he had no problem with that. He walked to her office but met her in the corridor. She kissed him on the cheek, they walked to her car. On the way she stopped her car to buy a bag of ice. They entered in the park and had to make almost a complete circle on the road in the park, to locate Rishi who was sitting on the picnic table. She stopped her car in the parking space.
She noticed Rishi was sitting there with bare feet, his shoes and socks were hanging on a bush.
“Hi, Rishi, what happened to your shoes?”
“Hi Cynthia, hi Dr Ryan. I stepped into the mud, accidently.”
They waved each other. Rishi helped Cynthia to unload the drinks and the bag of ice. Ryan was looking around, he was happy with the last, isolated, corner spot Rishi had picked surrounded at two sides by woods and at one side by pond and then parking.
Cynthia took an orange juice bottle, drank about one third of it, tore the bag of ice and added some ice cubes in it.
“Well Rishi, Dr. Ryan is all yours. I am taking a hike as you said.”
A trail lead to the woods, she walked away in the woods.
“What do you do Rishi,” Ryan asked playing with a V8 vegetable juice bottle.
“I am unemployed.”
“I heard Cynthia paid your ticket.”
To provoke Ryan and to make him react, Rishi said, taking away V8 bottle from his hand, “You stole away my girl Ryan. In India she was after me but I guess my magic ended there.”
Ryan was dazed for a moment then smiled.
Rishi opened V8 bottle, poured it in two polystyrene cups. “Let’s drink to my defeat and then I will go away.”
“OK, we will drink to that,” Ryan said, giving his killer smile.
Rishi poured three ice cubes to his cup.
Ryan interjected, “No ice for me, Rishi.”
Raising his cup, Rishi said, “Cheers.”
Both took a sip from the glass and Ryan noticed that Rishi was looking at the top of a tree.
Ryan asked looking where Rishi was looking, “What’s there?”
“A huge owl.”
Ryan placed his cup on the table, he wondered, “Where?”
“If you go there you can find his nest; a huge owl the biggest one I ever saw.” Rishi pointed to the woods.
Ryan was making an effort to locate owl, Rishi took out little bottle from his pocket, poured half of its contents into Ryan’s cup.
Rishi said, “Never mind, it is gone now, flew away.”
“I guess so.”
“To my defeat and your victory,” Rishi said, raising his cup again. He gulped all he had in his cup. Ryan gave him another smile and begun drinking from his cup, but stopped in the middle because now the vegetable juice was somewhat sweet. For the last many days taste in his mouth was not consistent, anyway, he emptied his glass.
“I will take a hike Ryan, as I promised. I will leave you two alone. Please call Cynthia.”
“Are you leaving us now?”
“I will be around but don’t worry, take your time.”
Rishi wore his socks and shoes. Dr. Ryan failed to notice that Rishi put both used polystyrene cups in his pocket. He took a bottle of mineral water and walked on the road to the restrooms, in there he added few drops of poison in his mineral water bottle. He drained the poison bottle in the sink, washed it with water, washed both polystyrene cups thoroughly and threw them to the bin. He went to pond and tossed the little bottle in the water.
He walked around and drank the whole mineral water bottle, in the bathroom washed it several times and threw it in the recycle bin.
He walked to the pond, pretended he slipped into it and fell in the water. A woman who was walking with the baby in the stroller screamed to catch the attention of two people they pulled him out.
Ryan jumped to the opportunity that Rishi had provided him, earlier than expected; it was the time he was waiting for the last one week. He called Cynthia and gave her the news. In a rush he sprayed some liquid on his arm and rubbed it, filled the insulin syringe with some drops of his blood and placed it under the bench near his shoes.
When Cynthia arrived Rishi was not there.
“Where is Rishi?”
“He said he will be around.”
“Oh good, finally we got together Ryan.”
“So how are you Cynthia?”
“I am fine, and how are you today.”
“Good-good, first thing first, I owe you a massage.”
She giggled, “Yeah thanks doctor.”
He reached to his pocked and placed two bottles on the bench. Take your pick.
She sprayed a perfume on the back of her hand and smelled it.
“Oh ……,” she murmured, “It is soooooo good.”
“Then it to be.”
Ryan made her lay her arms on the table, and her head on the arms, while she sat on the bench. He sprayed a generous quantity of liquid on her neck and shoulder, evaporation of alcohol gave her a very soothing and cold sensation. He started rubbing her skin and she was in ecstasy. He sprayed the liquid twice, was massaging her for five minutes. He gave her a little pinch but she didn’t feel a thing. It was the time for the action.
He was leaning down to pick up the syringe, suddenly his heart started beating faster, and he felt nausea. He picked up the needle and continued his massage but then suddenly blood begun flowing from his nose, as it has exploded. His blood fell on Cynthia’s arms and face; she opened her eyes and jumped with a shriek. He threw the syringe under the bench. She looked at him; blood was flowing from his nose and with his both hands he was pressing his heart region.
She screamed, “Oh my God-Oh my God. What happened to your Ryan?”
Ryan sat on the grass; she dialed 911 and called for an ambulance. In a panic she tried to attend Ryan but brain stopped working, she didn’t know what to do.
She begun screaming, “Help-help-help us, somebody.”
Rishi appeared from the trail he was soaked with water.
“Help me Rishi, Dr. Ryan is very sick. Help me put him in the car. Help me.”
Rishi sat next to Ryan, checked his pulse and heart, both were fast. Ryan was conscious, he was unable to speak, and he had choking sensation.
Rishi whispered in his ears, “Do you hear me, Ryan.”
Ryan gave a week nod.
“I have poisoned you,” Rishi whispered.
Making a superhuman effort, Ryan shouted to Cynthia, pointing to Rishi, “He has poisoned me.”
“I am myself sick,” Rishi said, vomiting.
Cynthia didn’t know what to do. Ambulance arrived in only five minutes.
Rishi again whispered in Ryan’s ears, “They are taking you to the hospital; they will test your blood for drugs, diseases and HIV etc. Remember Won Chin.”
Ryan again made a superhuman effort; he rose and screamed, “I am not sick, nothing is wrong with me. Leave me alone. I am doctor myself.”
A spray of blood from his nose fell on the paramedics.
Two paramedics tried to force him on the stretcher but he was running aimlessly, screaming, “I am not sick. Nothing is wrong with me. Leave me alone. I am a doctor myself.”
Cynthia was weeping, sitting on the grass, closing her eyes with her hands. A crowd of people gathered.
Both paramedics pounced upon Dr. Ryan, subdued him and tied him to stretcher.
Ryan again screamed pointing to Rishi, “Rishi has poisoned me.”
They put him in the ambulance and drove away. All people dispersed one by one.
Rishi was sick himself, he had intense pain in his kidney region; he again threw up.
He said to Cynthia, “Cynthia, stop weeping, go to the hospital and take care of Dr. Ryan.”
She said, looking at Rishi, “Did you poison him?”
“Look I am sick too, but I will survive. Go to hospital.”
“Did you poison him, you were jealous of him from the beginning; you never even liked his picture.”
“Cynthia, let the police decide it. Give me your cell phone.”
She gave her cell-phone to Rishi, he dialed 911 and a lady took the call.
“There is poisoning crime scene, two people are sick; one is taken to hospital…..”
Lady interrupted Rishi, “Sir, where are you, tell us your precise location.”
Rishi said, handing the cell-phone to Cynthia, “They want to know the location. You can tell them better than I.”
Cynthia disconnected the call without speaking on the phone and started weeping again. They sat there in silence. It was dark now.
In twenty minutes, two squad cars arrived there, all lights flashing. Search lights were focused upon them.
Two officers came out, their hands on their guns holsters.
“Did you all 911.”
Rishi said, “Yes.”
One cop said in loud voice, “What is your story?”
“Her fiancée is taken in the hospital, they thinks I poisoned him.”
“May I see some identification of you both?”
Rishi rose to reach in his pocket but collapsed with pain in his groin. Cynthia gave her driving license to the officer.
One police officer talked on his radio to ask for an ambulance.
Other said to Cynthia, “Are your Russet Frazier’s daughter?”
“Yes, I am.”
Two police officers whispered something in each other’s ears.
One officer asked her politely, “Madam, why are you here?”
“We were having a picnic and my fiancée got sick.”
“How you two are related?”
“He is a friend of mine.”
Both officers whispered again.
One said to Cynthia, “We will take care of the things, Doctor Frazier. You can leave.”
”Can you drive or we can drop you at your home.”
“I can drive; I am going to hospital to see my fiancée.”
“Just to make sure, I will escort you. You follow behind my car.”
One squad car left with all lights and sirens turned on. Cynthia followed that car to her hospital. Soon another ambulance arrived, since Rishi did not have any insurance, it took him to a government funded hospital.
Another police car arrived to secure the suspected crime scene. Place was to be guarded for the night, search and investigation would start in the day light.
Russet Frazier got the news at 8pm; he was talking with the lead person of a consortium of insurance companies. He cancelled his meeting and arrived in the hospital. He was more worried about his little girl Cynthia than his future son-in-law Ryan. He met Cynthia in the waiting lounge of emergency room; there were two police officers too, who were waiting there to interview Ryan about the suspected poisoning. Russet Frazer was began talking to police officers.
One doctor came out of the emergency room and approached to Cynthia.
“The news is good, patient is stable. His heart was beating very fast but inefficiently but problem is under control.”
“What could be the cause doctor?”
We have taken the blood and a urine samples, patient is hemodynamically compromised, with renal elements in the blood and urine. Results will start arriving as the lab will open at 9am.”
Cynthia asked, “Now what?”
“He is stable; we are transferring him to ICU. We were about to call nephrologists but then we thought you are nephrologists. I guess you can volunteer to take over.”
“Thanks, I will call the administrator, to put me on the roaster.”
Doctors called both police officers. “We have taken extra blood and urine samples for the forensic lab purposes. You can take the samples.”
Mayor of the town arrived, he talked with Russet Frazier.
When Mayor shook hands to depart Russet said to him, “I want to get to the bottom of this matter ASAP.”
Cynthia called hospital administrator and took over as nephrologists on call. She visited ICU, Ryan was sedated, and his face looked even prettier in his sleep. He was wearing a paper apron only.
Not much was mentioned on the chart. She prescribed some medicines, wrote instructions for nurses, checked his vital symptoms on the monitors, all was well. Whatever happened, was acute, did not last long. Ryan said not once but twice that Rishi poisoned him. It was possible.
Russet Frazier came in the room escorted by a doctor.
“Cynthia let’s go home.”
She shook her head side to side.
Doctor said to Cynthia, “You should go home, your job is done; he is in good hands.”
“Let’s go,” Russet Frazier ordered her.
She followed her father at the hospital roof, to the helipad. In twenty minutes helicopter landed at their helipad. Russet made arrangement to bring her car home.
He was thinking about Rishi, just one day in his home and brought destruction in his home. He will pay for it.
Rishi was conscious when ambulance brought him at the hospital. Hospital asked if he has any insurance, he said he is fine and does not want to get admitted.
Police insisted for his blood and urine samples, they also wanted him to spend one night under observation because of suspecting poisoning by him. Russet Frazier’s daughter was involved in the affair and Mayor instructed the police to get to the bottom of the matter, without delay. Rishi was admitted in the hospital on the government expanses, he was offering his full cooperation. His blood samples were drawn and were immediately sent to hospital as well forensic laboratory. He was conscious, he was recovering faster than doctors anticipated and they sedated him to sleep. His symptoms were not life threatening, he was transferred to a secure private room so police could guard him and prevent his escape.
Cynthia wept in her room. She believed what Ryan said that Rishi poisoned him. Rishi was not looking very sick, may be pretending to appear sick. He betrayed her. An ordinary, greedy jealous man, disguised as an ascetic on saintly errands. He stabbed her in the heart, whom she though a Buddha, her God and her mother.
She carried the rock from her pillow side, to the deck and threw it away; it fell on the grass with a thud. She took the shawl that Rishi bought her in Bangalore, swaddled it up and put it in the trash compacter in the kitchen and pressed the button. On the computer she deleted all Rishi’s emails and pictures.
She returned to her room and felt she was stuck under a rock; she was making an effort to take each breath. She wanted to die. Each moment was becoming intolerable, to survive the night she took two antidepressant pills and waited and waited in hell, till she fell to sleep on the carpeted floor.
Russet Frazier drank half the bottle of scotch, he was depressed too. He went to his daughter’s room to check upon her, she was unconscious and cuddled up on the floor. Her face was wet with tears. He carried her to the bed, put a blanket on her, sat there for half hours, and left the room only when he was convinced that she was only sleeping but not in some overdosed medicine induced coma. After many year tears fell from his eyes. He went to his room and called again the Mayor of the town again.
Levis Hopkins nicknamed Colombo; the brightest detective of the police force of the town, was watching a mystery movie. He was only forty and solved almost all complicated cases he was given. His cell-phone ranged but he ignored the call and turned the phone off. Then his landline phone rang.
It was his boss, he said, “Levis, Colombo-Colombo-Colombo.”
“Ever known a name: Russet Frazier?”
“Nope,” he lied.
“Well then report to the office, you should know it.”
“But chief, it is almost midnight.”
“See you in one hour.”
“Make it faster.”