I woke up to the sound of people talking and could feel a lot of movement outside my room.
“Where Am I?”
“Why do I feel so drowsy?”
I look around trying to recollect and in the hope that something will help me remember what’s going on. With my eyes still half-closed, I try to get hold of the alarm clock in the dark. It was just 3 AM. “What on earth these people are up to at this time of the night?” I thought to myself.
And then just as I was trying to get up from the bed, there was a sudden jolt and I almost fell off the bed. That jolt and the sound of squeaking wheels made me realize I was aboard “Royal Express”. Royal Express was the train ride for the VIPs and who’s who from all around the world. The train was going to Delhi. There was an important meeting being held at Delhi, guests of which were the head of States and important businessmen of the country.
One such important guest was Mr. Malhotra who had received multiple death threats and my job was to make sure that he stayed alive. I am an undercover cop with the secret services and have been trailing him for two weeks now. No life threating calls have been received by him since then and there haven’t been any suspicious activity around him so far.
“Where is he now? And why I am in my compartment?” I was supposed to be around him at all times, no matter what and the agency have made sure that I get the compartment next to him. Anxious and panicked, I make myself presentable and step outside my compartment. I ask the crowd gathered outside and one of them said, “There’s been a murder on the train!”
I almost chocked and my heart beat so fast and loud I could almost hear it. I navigated my way through the crowd to go see if Mr. Malhotra was alright. Mr. Malhotra’s body was on the bed. He had been shot multiple times. There was a doctor on board who was helping out police with the time of the death. As I tried to enter the compartment, I was stopped by an officer, “Nobody other than cops are allowed in here, please wait outside.” I was about to tell him that I was a cop too but I wasn’t allowed to at the moment, I was an undercover.
Just then I could feel somebody pulling my hand as if trying to tell me something.
“Excuse me madam”…. “Excuse me madam”….
It was almost as if I was waking up from a dream. The sound was much clearer now and when I looked up, there she was – the Librarian.
She looked at me and smiled and said, “Dear, its time! Time to close the library”
(Based on Agatha Christie’s novel – Murder on the Orient Express and prompted by I Smith Words )