A Game of Shadows – II

17:35PM CET
Evert Van de Beekstraat 202,
Amsterdam Netherlands.


Dan Churrito (52) was a janitor at the Amsterdam airport; He was just halfway through his shift that evening when he saw the pregnant lady walk out the ladies room, with her luggage. Her fuller belly made it even more difficult for her to walk and the limp in her stride made her a picture for sore eyes.

She had no luggage at all which only meant that she had been there to see someone off, probably a husband or another family member. She walked with a limp in her right leg and the protruding belly didn’t help the cause either. With a glimpse of her beneath her fedora, Churrito could see that she had pretty features and streaks of blonde hair aching to break free.

He stood there, watching her walk out of the Airport and stand for a taxi that had miraculously appeared without a summon. Funny thing was, he almost thought he saw her exchange something with the other blonde haired beauty, who was dropped off at the Airport from the same cab.


48 hours ago


A violent knock on the door had broken Agent Weaver’s debriefing, or as Isabel would have put it, Weaver’s interrogation.

A year or so ago, Agent Tom Weaver had sketched a very delicate water tight trap for his most notorious rival, a noted and renowned art thief whose name was still a mystery. Hence, he was nicknamed Maclean after the Super thief Jack Maclean himself.
Weaver’s plan was put in motion and the ravishing Isabel Chavez, a rising young talent in the bureau, was planted as Khole Andrews, the director of the Van Gogh museum where Maclean or Kevin Ellis as he later introduced himself, was to strike next.

What Weaver could not foresee, was the unexpected event where the bait would fall for the predator.

After signing some urgent sought after documents sent from the Head office, that a nervous looking desk sergeant had brought in, he looked up at Isabel with grim expressions. She knew he was disappointed and he left no stone unturned in letting her know about the same.


“I want you to prepare a detailed report of everything that has happened in the last year with that thief around you. Even if he cooked a meal and threw away in a bin which you later discovered, I need it to be in the report. Do you understand Agent Chavez?”


“Yes sir” Isabel replied.


“Head back to the house now, go through everything he has left behind and make me a list of them. I want to personally inspect everything on the list. Mention the list at the end of your report and you will be relieved at the submission from the case.”


“Yes Sir”


“I hope you can do this right Agent Chavez, don’t disappoint me again”


She nodded and walked out.


An hour later, she was back at the cozy mirage of a life she thought she could share with a thief. Even though it made her sound stupid, she somehow believed every word that he has said, she somehow still believed what he felt for her was true.


But then reality was singing a different tune. He was on the run and she would probably be back to some desk job after failing her assignment. Her life was headed down the drain.

The first few days after Kevin disappeared into the night were tough on Isabel and it wasn’t getting any easier for her, knowing these would be her final 48 hours in the same house that she had shared with Kevin.


She has been asked stay in the same house and make a detailed report of every single incident that she could think of, which would help Weavers cause and put Kevin behind bars.

What the officials didn’t understand is that, not only they have asked her to walk on a path that goes against the man she loves but also to go through all of the memories of their surreal time together. Only to find a way to put him behind bars, taking him away from her once and for all. That too without getting any answers to her questions.


For the first couple of hours Isabel was lost, she didn’t know if she was supposed to hold her head high and with all her dedication help weaver to catch Kevin or was she supposed to cry her heart out in the pin drop silence of her apartment, mourning the loss of a life, a lie that she desperately wanted to be true.


So she did what she could, she sat down with moist eyes and started going through all the details that she had to pen down. As she wrote and re-read notes of every single moment and Incident the way it had occurred, unbridled emotions flooded every single spore of her being.


She listed every single item that he had brought in the house and the reason behind it, even thought memories flooded her thoughts, rendering her numb, she continued until she had to list his favorite piece, a framed quote that hung above their bed.
Isabel looked at it with sheer curiosity, wondering, why was this war quote his favorite.

“And you want to hang a war quote above our bed?” She had asked him

“Yes, cause it’s the right place” He had replied.


The right place! Suddenly it all started to fall together.


The only real piece of direct evidence retrieved from the night that Kevin Ellis had disappeared was a letter he had left in the gallery. The post script in the letter was a taunt for Tom weaver she had thought, or so had everyone thought. But now, only she knew that it was indirectly directed at Isabel, without putting her in the spotlight.

The letter


He was leaving her bread crumbs. A trail to follow. He had been planning this all along, giving Isabel ample proof that her heart had longed to believe. He did love her.


She looked around and thought of everything she could to find the next piece of bread crumb and came up with nothing. Time was running out, she had nothing other than the copy of the original letter that Kevin left for Tom weaver and the framed quote that she now knew to be her first piece of evidence.


So she went back to the drawing board and wrote down every line of the quote. When she couldn’t come up with anything she turned to the only modern day magician that every commoner believed in. Google.


As soon as she entered the quote, numerous hits for a certain George Herbert came up. Apparently, the lines were from a poem Herbert had written in the 17th century. The title of the poem was Anagram.


Anagram, her eyes lit up at that word. She had found the next piece of breadcrumb but she didn’t know where to apply it. She tried rearranging the letters of the same poem herself and through a series of various cryptography software’s that she was equipped with and yet came up empty.

Nothing seemed right to her. As a last throw of the dice, she entered the first line of his letter to Tom Weaver and the computer screen came to life with a positive reply. Excited to find an answer, she entered the rest of the lines of the letter.

To her surprise, every alternate line screamed the same answer at her. Even the start of his post script message, was actually a code. The code revealing his actual location.


The solved anagram read: I am at Edo.


Edo was the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo.



In the Meanwhile:


Somewhere in the Amsterdam office of the FBI, Tom Weaver sat smiling in his chair, watching Isabel run around the house, looking for things to pack through the small camera that he had installed at the apartment while Isabel was being held by himself under the pretense of a debriefing.


He knew the thief she called Kevin. He had chased him far too long to know that he would have never left empty handed after planning for so long.


Once a thief, always a thief, the thought as she watched Isabel emerge from the study room with a book in hands as she collected the small bag she had packed and walk out of the house.


She was going to lead him straight to the thief.


To be continued…



A Game of Shadows – I

22:09PM CET
Paulus Potterstraat,
Amsterdam, Netherlands.

It was just after 10pm that Khole was making her way out of the Van Gogh museum. Unlike January, the early February nights were starting to feel cold and Khole had forgotten her jacket at home when she started for work this morning.
The constant pressure at work had turned her into a workaholic. At 28, Khole Andrews was the youngest woman to become the director of the Van Gogh museum of Netherlands. The museum was the 30th most visited art museum in the world and the most visited in the country, which only meant, more added responsibilities with each passing minute for the one at the helm of such a prestigious place.
It was less than a year ago when Khole had taken over the museum but the most challenging event of her career was yet to come.

The inaugural Van Gogh festival, celebrating the life and achievements of the master was to be held in the museum in another 8months. For most it was ample time to make arrangements but for Khole every moment wasted was an opportunity missed to make a mark.

She just started walking down the final few steps outside the museum, fiddling in her bag to find her car keys, shivering in the cold night, when she bumped into someone.

He was nearly 6 feet tall, with what looked like a chiseled body and with the hypnotic smile that he was blessed with; he looked upon her with childlike Innocence as Khole gathered herself around his presence.

“I am sorry miss, didn’t mean to bump into you, I was just lost admiring the exterior of the place” he said, while making a gesture towards the museum building.

“You, an art student or something?” She asked, still trying to gather her mind from his smile.

“Oh no. I am a art dealer, huge fan of Van gogh, just moved here, so wanted to see the place, although never could make time, yet” he said.

Before she could reply, he spoke again, “Your shivering here let me help you with that.” He said and took his over coat off and offered to place it over her shoulder.

“I am Khole Andrews, I am the director of the museum. Why don’t you come back tomorrow morning and I can give you a small tour of the place myself” She offered with a hope to have a chance to see him again.

His eyes lit up at that, “That would be wonderful miss. By the way, I am Kevin Ellis here” She said, flashing that hypnotic smile of his.

A hundred meters away from them, towards the diamond museum, in a black car, a man with grim expression over his face watched Kevin and Khole walk away being all smiles.
He picked his radio and spoke into it, “This is Agent Weaver. The target has taken the bait. The plan is in motion.”
As he watched them walk away, he recollected an old phone conversation, a young voice, challenging him, “You will never know what hit you”.

8 Months Later –


It was the fourth day of the inaugural Van Gogh exhibition and after a hectic day’s work Khole had made home a little after 8pm, which was quite early by her standards. But it wasn’t her house where she had arrived, it was their house. Hers and Kevin’s.
A couple of months ago, Kevin had asked Khole to move in with him, It was a offer she couldn’t say no to, neither she had ever thought of answering negatively to the question. Consequently, she had moved in to his house in the next couple of days and since then they had be staying together, weaving a world of happiness with their love.

Kevin was an art dealer, who moved around the world, scouting for valuable art pieces or collections, he had a number of wealthy clients whose demands he catered to. Most of the times he kept out till late nights due to his work and at times he had to travel around the globe, which made Khole miss his presence. Hence, everytime she got off work a tad early she made sure to let him know, just like today. Tonight she has decided to surprise him by making his favorite food.

He was a meat guy and could eat meat at every possible opportunity, hence she always made sure she had some form of meat stored for him in the refrigerator. She got changed and started the preparations in the kitchen. On her way to the kitchen she looked at around at the house and smiled at herself.

Even if he was not physically present with her, his memories, his laughter, his love, was smeared all around their place.

Kevin was a pragmatic guy, who took every step with thorough thought of the present with an eye towards the future but even then, at times he lived in the moment, just to make her smile. Like the time last month when he decided to play santa for the kids at the nearest orphanage, he had said, “Happiness doesn’t have a date to arrive and who knows if I’d be around for Christmas. And I always wanted to share my happiness with you my love.”

If being impromptu was one of his qualities, being sweet and yet mysterious was another one. He always got gifts for her and hid them in places she couldn’t find and then would leave her notes with clues on where the gift was hidden. It was her personal treasure hunt. He remembered every single detail of their conversation and made sure he got her gifts that she always wanted or which were sure to make her smile.

He loved reading, history and art was his favorite subject. He would be reading about world history and the wars that were fought in the past for years. She recalled him saying that as a child, the first book he read on was from his grandfather’s library at his house in Cuba, It was titled “The great civil war of Onin and Bunmei” and since then he had grown in interest towards the history and never stopped reading about it.

For a guy with so many qualities, he was even weird in his own sense. He always brought framed quotes from unknown writers and poets, which now adorned the walls of their house. She recollected the time he hung a similar quote above their bed.

The quote read ~

“How well her name an Army doth present,
In whom the lord of Hosts did pitch his tent!”

–          Gavin Ward.

War quote

“And you want to hang a war quote above our bed?” She had asked.

“Yes” He replied with a smile.

“Why?” She asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“Cause it’s the right place” He said and pulled her in his arms and sealed the discussion with a Kiss.

Lost in her own merry thoughts, smiling and blushing at the memories that she had made over the recent past, she failed to hear the footsteps behind her. Slowly, a hand snaked through her waist and she was taken aback by a kiss planted on the nape of her neck.

“Good God Kev, you scared me” She said being startled.

 “You looked so lost in your thoughts that I wanted to make sure I’d bring you back to reality in the most beautiful way, I can.” He whispered in her ears.

She blushed as she said, “Get fresh soon, Dinner will be done in a while.”

A while later, when dinner was done, Kevin turned to the familiar solace of his favorite music. The slow soothing rhythm of the saxophone had always managed to transport him in the state of trance. He slowly dragged Khole out of the kitchen to dance with him. She didn’t resist much cause she herself needed the familiar embrace, the warmth of his arms around her.

The saxophone filled the living area with its slow melody as both Kevin and Khole melted in each other’s arms. It was as if their life had elucidated the reason behind their existence.

“There is something different about you tonight” She said.

He looked into her eyes with and with all seriousness, avoiding her observation said, “If I look back at the years of my life, I’d only say, you are the best thing that has happened to me. I might have been living luxuriously before I met you but I only felt alive when you blessed my life. Ms.Khole Andrews, I just want you to believe that I love you, from the bottom of my heart and the truest of my feelings.”

Tears flooded down her eyes as she couldn’t hold them back any longer, even with smile on her face and glee radiating from her soul, her eyes felt moist, something within felt empty.

“Oh, I love you too Kev. I’ve always loved you & I always will, no matter what” She replied.

Without a word further being said, Kevin carried her in his arms to their bedroom, where they slept together, embracing every moment that they spent in each other’s company.

Somewhere deep within, they both knew this night was unlike any other.

The rustling of the sheets and Kevin’s movements despite trying to be careful broke Khole’s slumber. She didn’t get up and question him though, she lay still and let him believe that she was asleep. He spoke to someone over the phone before gathering a large back pack. He leaned over and planted a kiss on her forehead and whispered “I love you” before walking out of the house in the middle of the night.

Khole got out of the bed and walked towards the window. She was careful enough not to be spotted as she watched him leave in a black car, which she had never seen before.

She rushed to her cell phone and as she started to dial tears started to flood from her eyes, with a heavy heart she spoke, “This is agent Isabel Chavez, I need to speak to Agent Tom Weaver, Now!”

A moment later she was put through to Tom Weaver who was the head of the FBI art crimes unit.

“Weaver here” He spoke with a grim voice.

“It’s happening tonight, he’s has walked out with all his gear and as we speak might be heading towards the museum.” Isabel added, with the tears still flowing from her eyes.

“Good work Agent Chavez. You’ve done your bit. I’ll take it from here.”

An Hour later,
The Van Gogh Museum,
Amsterdam, Netherlands.

10 of the best FBI art thief department agents were currently being lead by the department head, Tom Weaver along with the help of Amsterdam’s finest who had surrounded the building and were accompanying Weaver and his team as they stormed though the museum.

The exhibition was held at the 2nd floor of the Rietveld building, where the paintings of the master that were flown from different parts of the world were currently housed, while paintings that paid tribute to Van Gogh were exhibited in the adjacent Kurokawa wing of the museum.

As calculated before hand, the security systems were down but unexpectedly not a soul in sight.

The team reached the 2nd floor and canvassed the area looking for any signs of a theft. Moments later, the building was declared clear and no thefts were noticed, the sad part was, the thief himself had vanished into thin air.

Agent Weaver had already started to calculate what went wrong with his strategy when his eyes fell on a letter carefully placed   on the corner table in the room. It wasn’t addressed to anyone but he had a feeling It was another throw of the dice.

He carefully opened the letter and brought forth the old parchment from within that revealed its contents.

The letterTo be continued..


Disclaimer – All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

PS – I am ending this part of the post with a slight tinge of mystery. All the readers (Whoever manages to read) are welcome to play along. The letter that Agent Tom weaver has found contains the location of the thief carefully coded. So go ahead, find it if you can. If you find the correct location, you are welcome to write the next part of the blog alongside me.
I should also mention however, Apart from the correct location, there is also a false location mentioned in the letter. I’ve learnt writing a true and a false location is always a better way of coding. Saying that, the clues to find the correct location are smeared all over the blog post.
If you think you’ve managed to find the right answer, Let me know by tweeting at my twitter profile 


Email me at theghostwriterr@outlook.com

You have 24 hours, a dead line that can be extended. But nevertheless, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. See you soon.

Mother Oh Mother!


Prashant Nimkar,
D.C.P, Mumbai.
Zone 1

They say life is the best teacher one can have, because life constantly keeps teaching us new lessons. Today was one such day, where I learnt judiciary can be very unjust in itself if the servants of it are corrupt, ignorant and unfaithful towards their duty and towards the one they serve.

I learnt this lesson right here, in the police headquarters while investigating 3 possible murders. Then I didn’t know that I would be the only witness to the 4th one.

Back then, I didn’t know I would witness justice being served.


Mother Oh Mother!

Zone 1,
Police Headquarters,

The commissioner Mr.Bijay Patra, a veteran of the forces now, always had problems controlling his anger they said & this morning, he had been in a rather furious mood, which was evident from his continuous drinking. He loved his cognac and always carried around the little flask that contained it, wherever he went.

The autopsy reports were due to come in and he knew he wouldn’t be happy to see its contents. Within a couple of weeks 3 people were found dead very mysteriously. No sign of struggle or break-in where their corpses were found. It seemed that the reaper came to collect their souls when no one expected.

All 3 deaths were of people who had a very high profile in the society. 55 year old Abhishiek Marathe, a wealthy banker was found dead in his house, followed by 53 year old Sushant Awasthi, a well known business man, who was found near his car dead and lastly, Shresth Sharma, a local politician who came from a family of well known politicians, died while enjoying his time with a paid companion.

The DCP was summoned, who had advocated the theory of a serial killer at loose since all the three deaths had happened within a fortnight and all of them were connected since they were old friends who had stuck to each other for a good 40 years.

Police Headquarters

“Prashant, grab a seat. I need to talk to you.” Commanded the commissioner, as soon as he saw the DCP walk in.

“Are the autopsy reports are here sir. Do they hint at anything suspicious?” Asked the DCP.

“Hell No! They are all clear. There is nothing in them that shows signs of Murder”

Just then a constable knocked on the door and requested permission to enter.

“Can’t you see Tawde that I am busy here” Said the commissioner in a raised voice.

“I am sorry, Sir, but there is an old woman outside, waiting to see you. She has been waiting since early morning.” Replied constable Tawde.

“Tell her I am busy In a Important meeting and keep her out of my face.” Screamed the commissioner, as he watched constable Tawde leave the room.

“So you still think all the 3 deaths so far are Murders, Prashant?” Asked the commissioner, continuing his earlier discussion.

“Yes Sir. In no way can I believe that 3 close friends just happen to die in the span of 14 days, unless there is something we should know about them, something they were involved in recently maybe, which proved to be fatal.”

“You know I knew them well since ages Prashanth, They all were clean. But we should keep digging on their deaths. I want to know if there is a killer, who is the next target” Said the Commissioner.

Just then, constable Tawde made his way again in the Commissioner room which made the commissioners temper rise even more.

“What the hell is it now Tawde?” asked a furious commissioner.

“Sir, it’s the same woman. She refuses to leave before meeting you. She says she needs to talk to you and only you. She doesn’t want to speak a word to anyone else.” replied Tawde.

“Bring the bloody bitch in!! Let me see who she is and what she has to say” thundered the commissioner.

A couple of minutes later, an old lady who was probably about 70 years old walked in. Both the commissioner and his deputy instantly recognized her from the investigating they had been carrying around, she was Aunty Pearl, a trusted domestic help who worked for Abhishiek Marathe, the guy who was the first to die among the three.

“What the fuck is the problem with you, lady? Weren’t you told that I am busy? I’m trying to look into the deaths of 3 people here.” screamed the angry Bijay patra.

“I was told you were busy and now that I know you are investigating the murders, I am here to help you with that.” replied the old lady standing in the frame of the door.

The DCP raised his eyes like an ever alert hawk and asked, “We never mentioned anything about the deaths being murders, so why do you mention the deaths as murders?”


“That’s because I killed them, all three of them” Said the lady with a smile which showed that she didn’t regret her act.

Clearly shocked and unable to control his anger, the commissioner threw his flask from which he had been drinking all the while on the table and got up. He dragged the old lady by her arm and forced her to sit on an empty chair, locking the door of his office behind.
The DCP understood that his superior would lead the questions or rather the interrogation of the old lady and hence, he took a back seat, readied himself with a writing pad and pen to write down the details of the proceedings.

“Bitch! You tell me how you did this without even being noticed?” thundered  the commissioner.

“Well Im sure the Autopsy reports of Abhishiek might have suggested he had a stroke. Which I had induced by poisoning him”

“Poison? What kind of Poison? There were no signs of poisoning.”

“It was arsenic poison which I gave him trough his drinking water. It remains undetected while the person is taking it and also while the autopsy.” The old lady said and smiled.

“Fuck!” Exclaimed the DCP in near shock while the commissioner continued to hold his temper and continue with the interrogation.

“What about Sushant Awasthi? We found him dead in the parking lot of his apartment.”

“Ricin. Another undetectable poison that I managed to feed his body indirectly by exchanging his bottles of protein powder which he carried along with him when he came to see Mr. Abhishiek at his place”

On hearing this, the commissioner’s look changed to that of fear and he looked for his flask of cognac. He gulped down almost its entire content and calmed himself. In the next few seconds he felt a lot warmer in his throat and anger flooding his brain.

“I suppose you want to know how Mr.Sharma died too” She asked and continued with a smile, “He had a habit of enjoying sexual pleasures with paid companions every week, since age was catching up on him, he took support of the blessing you men call Viagra. I only had to pay his chemist a hefty sum to give him pills of an increased dose. Consequently, as we all now know, he suffered a cardiac arrest due to that in middle of his enjoyment”

The commissioner withdrew his gun and pointed at the old lady, his face looked as if it had been painted red as he asked at the top of his voice, “Why? Why did you do it? And why are you here?”

For the first time the old lady’s face appeared to be grim, she said, “You knew it the moment you saw the 3rd dead body that it was a murder, you knew I would come for you. Your face, your eyes tell me that you still remember that cold December night, 30 years ago in 1982”

The DCP sprang from his seat when he sensed the commissioner would pull the trigger but before he could snatch the gun, it slipped out of the commissioners grasp and he himself crashed down to the floor. He only Looked up and mouthed, “I will Kill you” to the old lady.

The old lady looked at the DCP and said, “I only came here to serve justice, which came 30 years too late. In 1982 4 people abducted an 18 year old from her hostel room, under influence of alcohol, beat her up and raped her and left her there to die, left my daughter to die”

A shocked DCP went silent and tried to help his superior to get to his feet while clearly he was struggling to move.

“He has a peanut allergy, a allergy that will kill him now. I switched his cognac flask with another one when he threw his flask on to the desk and forced me to sit. The replaced flask had cognac with peanut power.” She said to the DCP who was trying his best to summon for help.

68 year old Pearl Tavrez walked towards the door and unlocked it but before walking out, she turned and said to the DCP, “Sir, My name is Pearl Tavrez, I only did this to remind the system how unjust it can get if its servants are corrupt. My daughter needed justice, today her soul will truly rest in peace with his death but if you think I have been wrong and I should be punished or penalized then you can find my details in the police log book from the investigation you carried earlier”

She didn’t wait for the DCP to reply; she only smiled and walked off as a dozen police officers buzzed past her.


Pearl Tavrez,

It was a festive atmosphere at my house. Food for the dinner was being prepared and my only surviving family was to join me to honour the memory of a departed soul who should now rest in peace as her culprits were rotting in hell.

5 Mins later the door bell rang and I welcomed my family in, my granddaughter Urja, my son-in-law Alex and my daughter Sharon had arrived. Yes my daughter.

Not everyone knew what really happened that ill fated night in December, 1982.

Molestation Rape

In 1982, my daughter used to stay in a hostel since it was a hard commute back then from my place. Her childhood best friend, her soul sister Urja had joined her and they shared a room in their all girls hostel. Urja was a orphan who was bought up in an orphanage, a real sharp child she was, excellent in studies and kind and loving at heart. My husband had passed away and Sharon was my only family, since she treated Urja as her sister, I had planned to adopt her before her 18th birthday and welcome her to our family, until that night which changed the course of our lives.

The girls had a Christmas party in their hostel before they were set to leave for the vacations, but Sharon was busy completing assignments and wasn’t able to attend even though she wanted to. Hence, Urja who came back from dinner filled in for her. She asked Sharon to attend the party while she completed her remaining assignments.

15 minutes after Sharon left Abhishiek Marathe, Sushant Awasthi and Shresth Sharma broken into the hostel and entered the first room they saw, a room in which not one but two of my daughters were staying. They Dragged Urja out of the hostel, raped her repeatedly. If that was not enough they called in for a friend in, an inspector named Bijay Patra who would cover their track behind them. Instead he joined in their crime, beat her and left her by a deserted roadside to die until a few people saw her.

She tried to fight the pain inflicted upon her for two months but finally she gave in and succumbed to her injuries and humiliation.

It’s true, I never managed to adopt her but the child’s plight appealed to the mother inside me, her soul screamed and begged for help, but the authorities chose never to hear that, the case was closed as no evidence was found against the culprits, thanks to one of their father being a politician. That is when I decided to bring my little girl to justice. I planned and waited and it took me 30 long years but now that it’s done, I can sleep peacefully.

Let this be a message to all of you out there, a woman can be a million things if she wants to. She can make your house, fill your life with love, she can warm your beds but if you disgrace her, she can sever your head.

People die and leave the world but sometimes they leave an idea behind. An idea that can effect everyone’s lives they touched. Make sure you change people’s lives in a good way.