The Narrow Escape
Rishab was now feeling a bit better and was strolling across the beautiful, well-maintained garden of a majestic royal palace, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. This was once a princely state on the northeastern fringes of the country. Rishab, an aspiring writer has been appointed by a descendant of the royal family; Mr. Abani Raybarman for documenting the family history of the royal lineage. It has been only three months.
But, Rishab has worked very diligently and the documentation is almost complete. He had to meticulously go through all the letters and even personal diaries. All these efforts have finally paid off and he has been able to recreate the forgotten chapters of the royal history. Mr.Raybarman is quite pleased with Rishab’s effort. He has already started talking with the publishers. Rakesh was quite elated that his book will soon get published.
But he has not been in the pink of his health off-late. He has been suffering from nausea, headache, and muscle pain off-late. The family physician had been called and he had given him some medications. But still, his ailments were not cured completely. He was pondering upon his health issues. Suddenly he felt the presence of someone. It was
Atish, a close cousin of Mr.Raybarman. Atish was in his mid-fifties and was a businessman. He visited the palace only on weekends. Atish said, “How are you feeling young man. I learned that you are not keeping well off late. Abani has just shown me the manuscript. You have done an excellent job, son. Wonderful writing skills. Our history has become so flamboyant just because of your work. We are proud of you. Get well soon, son.’’ Rishab smiled weakly and said, “Yes sir, I am feeling a bit weak these days. I can’t figure out the reason. Thank you, sir, for appreciating my work. Only some proofreading is left ’’. Atish now said, “Let’s get inside, son. It’s getting cold here.’’
They sauntered into the palace. The old servant, Ram greeted them and said, “Sir had just called. He won’t be able to come tonight. He will come tomorrow’’.Atish replied, “This, Abani. He is always so busy with his business trips. Must be busy cracking some deals with some foreigners. Let’s sit in the drawing-room and have a chat.’’ They sat on overstuffed chairs of the spacious drawing room adorned with several artistic masterpieces. There was a gorgeous chandelier in the center of the room. They chatted for quite a while Ram served them hot coffee and snacks.
Suddenly, Rishab started feeling a bit dizzy. He said, “ Excuse me, sir, I am feeling a bit dizzy, sir. I think I should go to my room and take some rest’’.Atish silently nodded. Rishab returned to his room and took some pills that the doctor had prescribed. He lay on his bed and soon dozed off to sleep. He suddenly woke up by the sound of continuous knocking on his door. It could be Ram, serving his dinner. But why was he knocking the door so frantically?
He opened the door and to his utter surprise he saw, Atish standing there. Atish hastily pushed himself into his room and said,’’ Rishab get ready, pack your stuff, you will have to leave right now. I have arranged a car for you. It’s waiting for fr you outside.’’.Rishab was flabbergasted and said,’’ Why, sir, what have I done?’’.Atish said,’’ No, son. It’s not about you. You are not safe here son. You are being slowly poisoned every single day, with every single meal. Abani had instructed Ram to feed with low doses of poison. He wanted to finish you off. This evening, when you suddenly felt ill after having your tea, I started suspecting some foul play. Then I kept an eye on Ram. I caught him red-handed in the kitchen while he was adding poison to your dinner. He has confessed everything.’’Rishab was stupefied and said anxiously, “But. Why?’’
Atish said, “He had offered you a hefty amount a few weeks back for handing him over the authorship of this book. But you blatantly refused. He mentioned this incident to me. But he presented it in a different way to me. He said that he wanted to test your character. But now I can understand that he desperately wanted the authorship of this book. He knew that this will certainly be a bestseller. He did not want an outsider like you to run away with the credit. Probably, he also apprehended that if he deprived you of your credit, you might create a ruckus and defame him. Thus, he wanted to kill you by slow poisoning, so that nobody notices it. Now get ready and run away from here. I will handle everything else.’’
Rishab said remorsefully,“ That means I won’t get my due credit for the book.’’ Atish said with a resplendent smile, “I will make sure that you get what you deserve. The book will get published with your name, don’t worry. Abani has to give your name. I have all the pieces of evidence against him. I have already informed a local policeman who is also a good friend of mine. But I have requested him to keep this a secret, keeping in mind our family’s reputation. If he does not give you your due credit or tries to cause some harm to me, my friend will take the necessary actions. Now do hurry up, son. You will have to catch the midnight train.’’