Episode 2: Ted Manson
Updated: Jan 8, 2021
3rd June,2019 5:45pm
"I know, there are many tangled wires inside that head of yours, but know this, I cannot help you until you start talking. It’s been one month and you've barely spoken four words.", said Agnes, the shrink assigned to me at work before I could join my job again. I just felt fatigued all the time, tired of all the sorrow, all the misery and all the pity in the eyes of everyone I met, exhausted of being the tragic man who lost his wife and kids. Life became too strange in a span of a very short time. I lost everyone that mattered. My soul was numb, I felt nothing, nothing at all. I died with them too that day, that damned day.
As the bell rang and our session got over, I stood up and walked right out the door with Mrs. Agnes shouting from behind the timings of our next session. I started walking home quietly, with my head a little bent down hoping that no one recognises me as the man from the newspaper. My best friend, Aarish Bukhari, a Tamil American, my sister and other close relatives were at my place 24/7, most probably to guard and prevent me from killing myself and as much as I appreciated their condolences for me, it had become more or less of a huge nightmare. I really needed a break from the diurnal debates where everyone would regard themselves as Sherlock Holmes over tea and fritters and hunt for the killer in their minds with a brooding expression on their face. I went to the park to grab some fresh air instead of heading straight to home. I sat down on a bench, a little away from the other people in the park. People with happy faces and lively families. I blamed everybody, friends and family but deep down I knew, it was me who can't stop thinking about that night and who can't stop pitying himself. I was imprisoned by that state of traumatism where I can't cry or laugh, can't die or live for the rest of my life.
I closed my eyes welled up with tears and leaned on the beach, my phone rang, it was Aarish Bukhari. I answered the phone and, as soon as, I pressed the accept option, he said in a hurried tone," Hello, Charles, the police station called they said that they have a new lead on the case." I replied in an obsessive and curious voice that I'll be there straight away. The police station investigating my case was just a few blocks away. I reached there immediately and asked the investigating officer, Adrian McGrath in a flustered voice about the latest update on my case. He said in a monotonous tone with a weird expression which I could not decipher," Well Charles, justice have been served?" I had a poignant expression on my face, overwhelmed with grief for after this final moment, after the only purpose of my life was just about to be fulfilled there would be nothing but loneliness, regression and melancholy to be left. I took a deep breath and asked, “Who is that monstrous man? “Adrian replied, “Not just a man, a dead man, Ted Manson, a mid-aged, stout person with blonde hair who lived in the locality just next to yours, died this morning due to excessive alcohol consumption. While searching his ramshackle apartment, we found a confession diary, where he wrote all his dirty secrets and a vicious crime he committed, the murder of your family. Here is it.
"4th May,2019 4:24 am
Regret is a strange thing, a feeling that you know will bound you for the rest of your life, but doesn't have the potential to stop you from committing sins. Yesterday, I closed the doors of remissions, I perpetrated a crime so evil that it consumed whatever little likeness was left in myself for being who I am. My horrific deeds last night manifested Satan. I destroyed a family, a happy family. I was returning from the apartment of my ex-wife, Amanda, drunk, depressed and falling into the depths of despair because of the fact that I had completely lost every single chance of getting back with her. As she threw me out of her apartment like a stray dog and locked all the doors, I fell on the floor, hammered and miserable. I managed to stand up somehow and started to walk with a dejected face when I saw this open door of a flat with a nameplate of Charles Wilson. I saw happiness, confetti in the air and celebration. I heard the children saying something about the surprise birthday party of their father and the cake read 'Happy Birthday Charles' I felt love for Mr. Charles in the eyes of the children jumping around and his wife arranging the table. Their life was so perfect while I was a crestfallen loser. I don't know what happened to me in that instance. I lost my senses and went barging into their house, shouting and chasing them all around. The children went under the blanket on the bed while their mother tried to lock the door of their bedroom. It fills me with mortification to accept that their fearful shrieks were appeasing me. I watched and watched them cry, sob and beg for mercy. She was unsuccessful to keep me out of the room. At last, after giving up, she sat on the bed, grabbing the Christian cross, hugging her children and me like a fiend, stabbed and butchered them ruthlessly. I was drunk with anger and sorrow. After they went silent, I realised what monstrosity I performed. I started trembling and dropped the knife on the floor. I ran hastily towards my home. In a couple of minutes, I destroyed so many lives. I became the one thing I was not; a killer. I don't know how will I ever manage to forgive myself, at least not in this life. I inflicted pain on happy people just because I lead a melancholic life. I hope they are up above in heaven, resting in peace."
Tears began to roll down my cheeks when I read the letter and imagined the terror and agony my family went through. How much they must have shouted and called their father, the man who's meant to protect them while I was enjoying myself listening to loud music on earphones. I vowed to keep my wife safe and healthy forever and I was unable to do that one job properly. I was unfaithful to them, all of them. How will I live with myself ever again? "Charles, are you there?" asked Officer McGrath when I got lost in my guilt towards my family. "The case is closed, a bit of paperwork is to be done, do you have a minute? " asked Adrian. After completing all the paperwork, I came out of the police station and started walking aimlessly, lost in the wind of silence and the path of hopelessness. What a man can do other than cry after letting his family down? I wandered and wandered for hours when I suddenly came across a fact and said to myself, "Wait a minute, there was no knife with blood on it on the floor of my room. I remember very clearly; the white tiles were stainless." I was puzzled, I saw a cafe right across the road, I went and sat there in a corner seat, filled with consternation. I tried to remember everything clearly that was in the confession and also all of the things that I saw before I fell unconscious that day. I borrowed a pen from a waiter and made a note on the tissue. It read -:
•Knife in the confession but I saw none in my room.
•He chased my family but everything was correctly in its place with nothing broken or fallen.
•According to Ted, Ava and Andy hid in the blanket on the bed but I distinctly remember that there was nothing other than dead bodies and blood on the bed.
• Ted wrote that my birthday cake read 'Happy Birthday Charles' but as far as I remember it only read 'Happy second half ahead’.
The list left me astounded. I was dismayed that justice might not have been served, that maybe a dead, innocent person was being accused wrongly, but at the same time, I also thought that why would a person write such a confession in his diary if he didn't commit it? The next day, searching for that Amanda person who is Ted's ex-wife, I inquired the secretary of the building about the matter and as it turns out, an Amanda Shaw named lady lived in the third apartment on the first floor. I went over and knocked her door, a frail black lady, probably in her eighties, with grey hair and a wrinkled face opened the door with a great deal of difficulty and looked at my face waiting for an explanation for disturbing her early in the morning. I said with hesitation, “Good Morning ma'am, I am here to speak to Amanda Shaw." She returned with," I am Amanda Shaw, what is it?" I was stupefied, I said, “I am sorry but do you happen to have a daughter named after you?" She gave me a disgusted look and said in an irritated voice, “Get out of my sight, before I kick you out of my window." She slammed the door in my face and for good reason too. I irked her but I had to be sure. I concluded that there is no Amanda named young woman in my building. I didn't know what to do? I was bewildered.
Episode 3 coming out soon!