Inspector Anurag Singh powered his way into the deserted metro station. He had only one chance to find the Stoneman, a serial killer who had never been arrested. Five corpses had been found with their skulls bashed in as the excavations had been conducted for the metro line in sector 100 of Gurugram. In each case, the murder weapon had been a large stone which had been buried with the body. A new corpse had been found but had now disappeared at the station. He was the closest investigating officer. The voice of Chief Inspector Gil still rang in his ears.
“Do what you can and if possible, just stop anyone from going in. Don’t worry, I will be sending Nakul to take over in 2 hours. He is stuck in traffic.” This speech from a man who would start every morning with the pronouncement of “no pain no gain.”
Nakul was inspector Nakul Ghua, Anurag’s colleague who had joined the force 2 days after him. Anurag shoved the joy stick back stopping his wheelchair before the bank of elevators. The body had been found in the staff room which was on the third floor. He got to the staff room and bent down to look at the place the body had been. There was now only a leg. He straightened, looked about but could see nothing else except for plain desks and chairs. As he studied the leg, he tried comparing it to his own. That was a mistake. The plaster casts around both his legs were featureless and gave nothing away. There was just the pain and his wheelchair. He spun the chair and rammed into the wall. It was his knee’s turn to remind him that they existed. Souped-up wheelchairs did have their downsides the upside being that he could continue his police work without having to be on his feet for any length of time. He backed the chair out of the staff room and considered calling Gil but decided against it. He could imagine the conversation.
“Don’t worry, the body was on the floor so seeing it is difficult. Just don’t let any person enter and we will do the rest.”
He had under 2 hours before he lost his chance for reincorporation into the police force. He descended to the ground floor and entered the stationmaster’s office. He scanned the CCTV footage for the last 7 days but found nothing because the staff room did not have any cameras. All staff was trusted. He felt the rumble of an approaching train and knew that this was the driverless test train making its way through the station. There was an automatic signaling system. He returned to the third floor and watched the train come in and then stop because the signal had turned red. Its doors did not open. He moved towards the front of the train in an attempt to look into the control car’s cameras and that was when he saw the long black shadow on the floor below. He ignored the train and took the escalator. Too late he realized that he should have turned his chair 180 degrees before boarding the escalator. He flew out of the chair and landed on the floor below. The wheelchair followed, crashing on to the floor. The daily morning pushups proved their worth as he dragged himself behind a column. So much for detective work. He could not move. The shadow resolved itself and studied the wheelchair. The man had a shiny leg and now that the train had gone, Anurag could hear the clunk of the prosthetic limb. The man turned and Anurag had to suppress a gasp of horror. The man held a stone in his right hand. He walked calmly towards the right end of the platform. Anurag followed dragging himself using his hands, his legs trailing behind him, taking cover behind columns whenever he could. It was slow going. The man was much faster. By the time Anurag reached the last column, the man was using a shovel to pry loose a paving stone. He had discarded the existing stone which was smaller than the paving stone. He stood, raising the stone in his hand and began to walk towards the overturned wheelchair. Anurag knew that he did not have much time. He reached for his police issued pistol and his hand closed over the can of pepper spray that he had bought yesterday. How stupid could he be, he remembered the hospital and the nurse, “sir, your friend inspector Nakul has taken your gun to the station for safe keeping. He told me to tell you so.” Anurag knew that Nakul’s intentions were good but the Chief Inspector had other ideas.
“A person in your condition does not need a gun. Your uniform and the additional respect you get is enough for your policing duties.”
The rumble of another approaching train broke Anurag’s reverie. The man stood poised over the wheelchair. Anurag could take a picture on his mobile phone, drag himself up the stairs and wait for Nakul but what would be the point of that? He (Anurag), would not get the credit of the capture. He had to capture or kill the man himself. The pepper spray would not do significant damage to the man unless Anurag could get his eyes. Anurag returned to the place from where the Stoneman had taken the paving stone. He picked up the discarded stone and threw it over the barrier. The man looked about at the noise and charged towards the platform on the lower floor which was where the stone had landed. Anurag followed as fast as he could. The man took the escalator, Anurag took the stairs. Anurag reached the bottom and slipped in a puddle of water. His left hand slammed into the railway track and he lost all feeling in that limb. he screamed out of frustration and pain. What could a one handed man do? He then realized that he could feel the track which gave him the energy for one last effort. He managed to yank his hand away but the stoneman was coming towards him. Anurag lay on the ground watching the stone rise above his head. The man’s eyes were dark holes, his face expressionless. Anurag, clenched his right hand and was surprised to find that he was still holding the pepper spray. He aimed it into the point of darkness above him and fired. The killer recoiled, the stone crashing on to the can. Anurag let go and cradled his shattered right hand. He had done it. The Stoneman ran blindly on to the track, screaming and holding his eyes. His body spasmed, jerked and he fell. Anurag would have reached across and have pulled him to safety but felt the ground vibrate. It was the final train of the test and this time the signal was green.
I got the idea for the above story when I attended Planet Abled’s inclusive metro ride
The stoneman is a real killer who has not been caught so far.
It is possible for people in wheelchairs to use escalators. See the following link. HOWTO: WHEELCHAIRS AND ESCALATORS… A LOVE STORY.
Finally, try the following website for buying pepper spray; Pepper spray India
Note: none of the links above are affiliate links.