Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Aarish Bukhari's House, 3rd August,2019 6:00 am “Open up, open up, open up” I shouted while banging the door of Aarish Bukhari's house. “Who is it?” asked Aarish Bukhari in a sleepy voice. “It's Charles, you traitor. Let me in.” “Charles... what are you doing here so early?” asked Bukhari while opening his door. I had a look on my face which told him that I am onto something. “Agent Liam visited. I know what you are doing Aarish.” “Who the hell is Agent Liam and what are you talking about.” Bukhari aggressively asked. “You know in all these years, I never thought you could betray me like that. You were my best friend.” I cried. “Were your best friend? I still am.” said Aarish. “Okay Mr. BEST FRIEND... are you saying my kids and wife are not here at your house?” “What the hell are you saying, Charles? Rebecca and the kids, they are... dead. They are not here. They—” “Oh shut up, you traitor.” I yelled and continued my search for my wife and kids in his house. “Rebecca, Ava, Andy... my sweethearts, answer me if you are here. I am dying without you all.” “Rebecca, Ava, Andy.” “Rebecca, Ava, Andy.” I shouted and searched but no-one was found in Bukhari's apartment. “Charles, they are not here. Stop this madness for god's sake. They are dead and in heaven, not here in my little apartment. Now go home and get some sleep.” Bukhari said in an assuring tone. I was confused because Agent Liam told me that I'll find my kids and my wife here, at Bukhari's apartment. Liam said that Bukhari betrayed me. Lost in my thoughts, I quietly left his apartment and went home. “Is he gone?” asked Rebecca. Her voice was coming from behind a bookshelf. Bukhari glided a book to open the shelf to a secret room inside. Rebecca and was found in the hidden room. “Is he gone?” Rebecca asked again. “Yes” replied Bukhari. “Are you sure you wanna go ahead with the plan?” Rebecca asked with a concerned look on her face. “It just got harder. I ain't quitting now.” said Bukhari with a mischievous smile. Meanwhile, I was startled. I didn't know who or what to believe. It was just then when I found a way. A way that will lead me to the truth. I waited till it was dark and then went to the graveyard where my children and my wife was allegedly buried before I could regain consciousness. I went there with a plowshare at night. I jumped the fence and went inside in the dead darkness of the night. The eerie rustling of the trees was making me nervous but I knew that there's no other way and therefore, I had to do whatever it takes. I had visited the graves of my family many times, whenever I felt like I'll die due to the gut-wrenching pain, I did the only thing that I could do- visit their graves. I knew their exact locations and reached there. I took a deep breath and started digging my wife's grave. It took me half an hour before the plowshare hit her coffin. Naturally, tears began rolling down my cheeks. But, I knew I had to be strong. I took the coffin out and opened it. Although it was something that I expected, I was staggered to find the coffin empty. There was nothing inside other than a piece of paper with some sort of code language written inside it —
Then, for another two hours, I dug the graves of my children, opened their coffins and guess what? They were all empty too. I went back home and fixed my self a drink staring at the piece of paper I found inside Rebecca's grave. "What is she trying to tell me? Who placed it in her coffin? Is this message even meant for me or not?" were all the questions dancing in my head when suddenly I remembered about the birthday card which Rebecca placed on the table on that god-awful night — my fiftieth birthday, when all this mess started. I stumbled to the get the card from the cabinet in which I kept it. The strange thing about that card was the poem written in it. My wife, Rebecca was not a big fan of poetry and that's why I found it strange for her to write me a poem. I opened the card and read it—
“Your socks were red,
And I laughed at everything you said,
Whenever in dismay,
Find me again,
In that papery smell.”
I stretched my brain trying to figure out what she meant but I got nothing. I was tired, befuddled and tipsy and went to bed keeping the card on the table. The next morning I woke up and went to a nearby café to get myself some coffee and breakfast. While waiting for my coffee I saw a teenage girl reading a book. She sniffed the book and said that she loved the papery smell of a book. THAT'S WHEN IT HIT ME! What if Rebecca was referring to a book in her poem. I left the café without taking my order and rushed home. I searched the whole house and found books without any sort of hint of the secret code I found inside her coffin. “What am I missing? What is it?" I kept on muttering while circling back and forth in my room. "Oh God! How big of an idiot am I?" I said with bitterness for my dumb self. How can I forgot about our favorite childhood book. The book I was reading when I first met her in grade five — Geronimo Stilton: The Enchanted Charms.
I rushed to the nearest bookstore and bought one and then it was all clear as a bell. The code was written in Fantasian alphabets given at the end of the book. I cracked the code and wrote in down. The code read— “HI, CHARLES I AM IN FBI I FAKED MY DEATH TO SAVE YOU FROM THE ZAO MONARCH IF YOU FIND THIS YOU KNOW TOO MUCH WAIT FOR ME OR MOVE ON LOVE, REB” I was shocked to my very core after read this but I knew at the same time that I didn't want to move on or wait for her. I wanted to pursue secret option three— to get in the game.