The Peculiar Case of the Man With the  Steel Trunk    

Arpita Bhattacharya posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-39 on 2022-03-15

It was raining heavily, when a car rolled down the street overlooking the river front.  The hotel... ‘A room facing the river side please!’ ‘I am sorry Sir! But if you agree, I could offer you the corner room. ‘ The new guest agreed. The man was around fifty, carrying a steel trunk, quite huge . It was at three, that the guest, Mr. Moti Thakur reappeared and depositing the key of his room at the front desk . He had not changed his clothes, nor had he washed. The next day, however, Mr. Moti  asked for a favour, to be escorted to the nearby riverfront. The manager asked one of the room service attendants Jeetu to accompany him. ‘Are you  a local boy? Do you live nearby?’ asked Mr. Moti Thakur. ‘No Sir. I live in Ara, Bihar. I have come to Calcutta for work.’ ‘Do you know Laxmi Mittal, the iron extrusions merchant, who stays in the big house in Kumortuli?’Well...maybe you know his son, Jagdish Mittal, the automobile parts owner?’ The persistant queries of the new guest irked but Jeetu kept his calm. ‘I am afraid, I know none.’ MISSING PERSON’S DIARY The front office was buzzing with activity. The front door swung open and an officer from the local police station stormed in. ‘Can you give the names of guests and their addresses; specially of those who have sought accomodation within the last ten days?’ Perspiring , the hotel manager  extended the register of guests. After going through the names, the policeman left  Shortly after the police had left, Jeetu came running towards the manager. ‘Sir, Moti Thakur is not in his room!. Please call him back to hotel. ‘’ ‘But he has not left the hotel! He always leaves his key with us. Let me call him on his mobile. ‘ ‘Bur Sir, I remember, he doesn’t have a mobile. The last time he went out with me, he was looking for a telephone booth to call a friend!’ Jeetu and the manager, went up to Moti’s room. It was clean and without any sign of disturbance. The trunk was open , kept on the bed. The interior was with rotating cog wheel like fastenings, which emitted a churning sound. Suddenly, a spring fell off from the apparatus. A rolled piece of paper fell down on the ground. Picking it up, both stared after reading what was written on it; ‘ Dear Jeetu, thank you for helping me to revisit  my childhood days. I came from the future to make a few changes. I am a time traveller. The police must have come to seek me  out. But they cannot. I have escaped to another dimension.  Jagdish Mittal, will reach home soon. He was my father who turned broke after losses and ultimately vanished without a trace. I came back to put his business on a lucrative path. He will reach home, a happier man, tomorrow. Don’t inform the police, they will not believe you.’   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!