THE MATYROSHKA CØEPA

CHAPTER ONE

It was a rather ordinary day in the mailroom for Adam Martins. He was performing his duties nonchalantly, whistling while picking up packages off the conveyor belt, examining their contents, and sorting them into letters, parcels, cheques and so on and so forth.

A rather large parcel caught his attention. He picked it up, and, using his razor, slit the cardboard open, and looked at its contents.

It was a sphere; rather heavy, as if it had many other things inside it. He turned the sphere in his hands, and noticed that there was a little keyhole in the sphere.

‘Probably a toy…’ he thought.

He placed the toy in the box, and began taping the cardboard box again. He checked the address.

It read,

The Chief of Police

LAPD

Area Code: 213

‘The Chief of Police?’ he wondered if it was for the chief’s child.

A moment’s pause, and he continued with his work, placing the box aside, and deciding that he’ll deliver the box to the chief of police himself.

And he went on sorting letters, parcels and cheques.

~~

The Chief of Police, Sarah Thurlin, already had enough on her hands, what with renovation inside the police department, and being unable to step into her office without breathing in copious amounts of falling ceiling dust.

And then, a man from the mailroom showed up, claiming he had a parcel addressed to her. He added that it was a toy, and might be for her child or children.

The Chief shrugged, and took the package.

She was pretty sure she didn’t have any children, though.

~~

Once renovation ended, she entered the police department, and looked around; whitewashed walls and ceiling- check. New tube lights- check. Wood panels all around- check.

She placed the box on the table, and walked around her room, while the rest of the officers went to their respective desks, and began unpacking their papers, pen stands, laptops….

She opened the box, and took a look at the sphere. The key hole caught her eye. Instead of passing it on to a locksmith, she kept it to herself, because the box didn’t mention any sender.

~~

Adam Martins was walking back to his mailroom, when he was pulled into a back alley by two powerful hands.

A hand covered his mouth, but he was slightly quicker on the uptake, and he punched his captor in the stomach with his elbow, and broke free of his grip, and ran.

His captor groaned, and took out a gun, and fired randomly.

Powered by adrenalin derived from fear, his legs went faster than ever as he ran all the way back to the police department.

He stumbled in, and a few police officers jumped to their feet, and held him.

He murmured, “…someone tried to kill me.”

And his eyes rolled up to the back of his head as he fainted.

~~

He awoke to a splash of cold water, and found himself sitting opposite to the woman he had delivered the sphere to.

“You delivered the sphere to me today, didn’t you?” said a sharp voice.

He replied in the affirmative, and she questioned him again, “Do you know what the sphere contains?”

“No, ma’am. I simply assumed it was a toy, and I handed it over to you. But I did notice a keyhole on the sphere.”

“Right”, she said, “I noticed that too, but what of the key?”

“As far as I know, I didn’t see any key, ma’am.”

“Well, I suppose you are a certain element of interest in this case, so, I’d like you to stay here.”

“Please let me help in the case ma’am; even I’d like to see the matter of this sphere to the end.”

“Okay, but I still need to know if I can trust you, so…”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

~~

In some dark hallway, two figures met, and walked onwards to the main hall, where a table was set up for thirteen.

People began trickling in, and taking their places at the table. Their faces were unrecognizable, as it was dark, and the room was lit by one candle in the middle of the table.

The head of the table spoke in a deep voice, “One is not among us. This is because he failed to perform his one duty properly. I’d expect the police to have come to know about the murder soon enough. However, the plan will proceed as follows.”

“Who among us killed him?”

A man sitting a few seats away from him stood.

“Well, you have the chance to be the next card in play. Do you accept?”

“Remember. If you fail in your duty, your successor will kill you, and there is no escape. If you are caught, you are to kill yourself.”

“I…Accept”, said he, and sat.

(A Chapter Two will be out soon)

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