The Ring Finger
Three diaries were placed on the table – three identical ones. Bound in dark blue with golden letters. Officer Tom Blake was staring at them for a long time. He was perplexed and sweating profusely. In his hand was yet another identical diary – bound in dark blue with golden letters. The diaries on the table belonged to his friends who were killed in the space of three years. The killings were identical too – a slit across the throat, hands placed over the heart with the ring finger cut off and placed beside the diary.
31 December 1989 Sunday 11:30 PM
…Half an hour more, and I am a free man. Waiting with bated breath for the minutes to pass. Time is moving agonizingly slow. Will he come for me now?…
Sunday 11:55 PM
…Five more minutes. I will live…
Tom closed Steve’s diary. Steve had lived only for five more minutes. The body with the cut-off ring finger made the headlines in the morning.
30 December 1990 Sunday 11:50 PM
…Let my fear be lost in your love, my Lord. Forgive me for my sins…
Percy repented for his sins, yet he was killed. The same slit across his throat, and the ring finger beside the diary.
29 December 1991 Sunday 11:50 PM
…He will come for me. Please leave my children alone. Let them live their life. My Lord, I seek thy kingdom. Steve and Percy have left. Only me and…
Allen’s diary had a blot of blood that obscured the few words and the name at the end. The hands were clasped across the chest, throat slit and the chopped finger found beside the diary.
Tom stared at his diary again. The fourth person was him. Steve, Percy and Allen lived in fear for the entire month of December before being killed. They had become insular and locked themselves up. They never answered calls. They never called back too. Tom realized with a shudder that he had been doing the same for three weeks now.
On the first day of this December, he had received all the three diaries along with a letter. The letter said – “Three down. One more to go. It’s December”. Tom had tried connecting the pieces of the puzzle for two weeks – December, ring finger, death. He had slowly become paranoid. A stare from strangers set his heart pounding and his pulse raced in anticipation of an attack. Nothing had come so far. His mind was echoing Steve’s words – I will live.
I will live – and he finally got his clue. It was the last words he had heard in a prison cell years back. On a December evening – the last Sunday of a cold, windy December. He could see the impending disaster. The psychopath serial killer they had imprisoned and interrogated that day. He was on the prowl.
27 December 1992 Sunday 11:00 PM
…I will beat him to it. Here lies my body, finally at peace. I don’t want to lose, and I will have my victory today…
The killer was gazing at the page laid open in Tom’s diary. Tom’s lifeless body was on the floor – slit across the throat, hands clasped and ring finger beside the diary. The killer looked at his own hand and the missing ring finger. It was over – all of them had lost their ring finger on the last Sunday of December. He smiled – they had lost more.
This story was written in the space of an hour for a short-story competition in office. There are loose ends in the script. Kindly bear with them.