Hiiii,

This is the first chapter of my suspense thriller. I've already written 13 chapters. Need inputs on whether you guys love, like or just hate it. Be honest…. But must confess I am really bad at handling criticism, So be very afraid… I may just end up stalking, tormenting, and torturing you with unmentionable horrible things. Just Kidding! Ha ha! Starting with my first chapter… enjoy!


The Shadow

Prologue

The rain coming down in mercurial sheets drummed relentless at the dark thicket of trees leading to the dreaded Kalighat jungle. In the stillness of the inky black night, the mournful howling of the billowing wind rustled the autumn tinged leaves incessantly, but beyond that and the occasional screeching of a predatory owl, everything was eerily silent. ...Until, the hushed stillness of the night was broken momentarily by the muffled sound of a hurried tread on a broken twig.

…Almost soundlessly, a dark shadow stepped out of the thickets to walk on a narrow muddy path that in the mist morphed into numerous stony steps leading to an old dilapidated Kali temple. Slowly and stealthily, it flitted across the stone cold marble floor, careful not to collide with the numerous carved black marble pillars placed at strategic corners of the temple. Almost simultaneously, through the open rectangular wooden windows, a crescent moon peeped through the angry cumulus nimbus clouds curiously as if poised to catch the interloper red-handed.

But if that was a deterrent, it didn't bother the intruder. There were worse things to worry about… With an almost careless yet a strangely underlying frenzy; the black silhouette flitted from one part of the dilapidated temple to the other, desperately rummaging through the hidden nooks and crannies of the mysterious medieval temple.

For an instant, the 'shadow's frenzied movement froze for a nanosecond as he stumbled over something. What was that? Was it…? No, it was instead the ungainly elongated leg of a chair. Stifling a cry of disappointment, he mentally cursed the awkward oblong old woodwork, which passed off as furniture in this temple of yore… But he didn't really have time to spew out his fury… he had work to do. Where could it be?

The clock was ticking alarmingly fast, he knew. The rain had receded and the moon hidden behind the grey clouds, was slowly yet steadily being swallowed by the rising sun. The grey skies already had silver streaks of orange and peach. Soon it would be dawn and the temple pujari (priest) would ring the massive antique bell and start the early morning devi puja. And though this old temple was in the middle of a thick jungle, he knew the tribals living in the outskirts would make that arduous journey to offer obeisance to the devi. He had to hurry. Every second wasted spelt doom. He had to destroy the black box. If he didn't, he knew there would be a catastrophe of an unimaginable magnitude.

He couldn't risk that happening… Strange, he mused. …It all seemed so easy in the beginning. Just like a jigsaw puzzle – all those little pieces coming together to make a miraculous whole. He had planned it so well – every little detail dealt with meticulous care for months. ...And he was good with little details, he knew that! For he had learned from noneother than his mentor - the greatest illusionist on earth, that the biggest things are actually held together merely with fine details. And he was detail par excellence - everybody said that…

Or did he just imagine it? How could he have gone so wrong? Damn... But it was still not too late… He could still cut his losses and run. No! That would be silly. Only a person with limited intelligence acts impulsively when he panics, he thought arrogantly. He had to think straight. There was a way out. He was sure. … This was a crisis, and his razor sharp grey cells worked best in a crisis situation.