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John Hartigan’s Secret Admirer

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Genre Crime


“Wait!” I yell, as I run inside a dark tunnel. By dark I mean absolute, pitch darkness ahead of me, which seems to consume me as I seem to run deeper and deeper into its heart. The only sound I can hear is the clacking of my boots on the ground as I run hard.

“Wait!” I yell again in vain, to the figure gliding a few feet in front of me. The figure is glowing in the dark, serving as a beacon to me. This shrouded figure, glowing fluorescent blue, is the reason I’m in this seemingly endless tunnel in the first place. While I’m already falling short of breathe from having to run probably faster than Usain Bolt to try and stop this figure, it glides effortlessly along the tunnel, not making any noise or even stopping in its tracks. Tonight, I will find out who this figure belongs to, and why it has been stalking me for the past many days.

I finally think I’m catching up with it. The florescent blue figure seems much more nearer now.

I increase my speed, and soon I’m right behind my quarry. I reach my hand out, and tug at the shroud with all the strength I can muster.

“Show yourself! Now!” I yell, trying to turn the figure around and see its face.

Suddenly, the glowing figure starts to turn around, and at the same time, the shroud starts coming off.

The glowing figure turns to me, and next moment the shroud is lifted from its face. Before I can take in all the details of the thing before me, it bursts into smithereens noiselessly. I vainly grab at minuscule, glowing particles floating around me like dust particles. The darkness is complete around me now, engulfing me in its black, infinite, sinister folds.

“Nooooooooooooooo!” I yell…and wake up, sweating and panting and puffing in my own bed, my hand grasping at thin air. I look around the room. Yes, it’s definitely my bedroom, and everything seems normal here. I look at the luminous clock on the bedside table. It’s only 2.30 a.m.

I try to go back to sleep, but my eyes refuse to shut and allow me some rest. All I can do is see images from the weird dream- a shrouded, fluorescent blue figure gliding in a dark tunnel, me running after it, trying to stop it. The rest of the details have completely disappeared from my memory.
I finally give up on sleeping and go to the kitchen, where I make myself a cup of coffee and sit down with a book. This has been happening to me quite frequently for the past few days- strange, vivid dreams, and then subsequent inability to sleep. It all started a few days back, when it started happening to me.

1. My Secret Admirer
“Your blue eyes are the tranquil seas,
Wavy, fair hair permanently ruffled by the breeze,
Your enticing, full, beautiful mouth,
Which have never uttered a word uncouth” — Your secret admirer

I stare hard at the note in my hand, willing the words to disappear into thin air. But I know they won’t. This is the tenth such note I have received in this past week. And notes are not the only thing I’ve received. Five of the notes were anonymously delivered to my office at the FBI Headquarters in Boston, with a huge bouquet of red, pink and white roses and a box of liqueur chocolates. The others, including this one, were randomly stuck in convenient places for me to find it.

I take a sip of coffee out of the mug in my hand, relishing the bitter tasting hot liquid which would soon fire up my central nervous system and prepare me for the day’s work.

On the windshield of my car, in the mail-slot, shoved beneath the front door of my apartment; this one had been shoved beneath the front door, and I found it when I went to pick up the morning newspaper. Little notes with poetry, and in the beginning indicating this person knows a lot about me- my name, my job as an FBI Special Agent and a criminologist, my home address, and my taste in flowers and chocolates. As if I haven’t already realized that as soon as it began. ‘It’ being my being courted by a clandestine admirer. They know everything about you, somehow. You’re unfortunate enough to have caught their fancy, unintentionally. Your looks, your smile, your quirks- anything can set them off on a ‘secret’ mission to turn your life upside down.

News & Events

Crime Winner None Other Than ‘A Second Chance’

crimeThis was a tough one. Not only was there strong competition, but we had the author’s second entry to consider as well. So when we picked

Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan for A Second Chance,

it was a hard, long haul. Up against the likes of Mr. and Mrs. Sampath, and Sowing Seeds, A Second Chance edged ahead on the strength of snappy dialogue and crisp language. Congratulations, Roshan, this win was well-deserved!