‘Majestic! Absolutely majestic!’ Vishal Kapur exclaimed on seeing the scenic vistas from the balcony of the Skyline apartments. His daughter and son-in-law beamed with pride on hearing his approval. They had spent a mini-fortune in buying the penthouse that was located on the thirty-ninth floor of the swanky new apartment complex.
‘I’m glad you like this, papa!‘ Vishal’s daughter, Naina, said. ‘If only mom was alive…’
She let the words hang in the air as the trio relapsed into a melancholic silence. Vasudev’s wife, Sheela, had committed suicide by consuming poison fifteen years ago. The Kapurs were suffering heavy losses in their family business and Vishal had been jailed for a week due to the number of high-value cheques he had issued being dishonoured by his bank. Somehow, Vishal managed to clear his debts and his name and had risen like a phoenix. His son-in-law stood by him like a rock and Vishal owed his life to him. Unfortunately, his wife had become a casualty.
The Kapurs moved into their apartment a month later. They did a lavish house-warming ceremony and the who’s who of business were guests. That night, Vishal was sitting on an easy chair on the balcony, sipping a glass of his favourite whiskey while looking at the waves that were playing a shy tango with the shore. His daughter and son-in-law had left for a well-deserved night out on the town.
The voice came in wafting through the salty breeze in a whisper. Vishal turned so fast that he cricked his neck. Even though the word was whispered he knew who it belonged to.
‘Sheela?’ He asked with incredulity etched in his voice.
‘It’s me, jaan!’
‘It’s been too long…’
‘How is this possible? Where are you?’
‘Come to me…I’ve been waiting for fifteen years…’
Vishal stood up as if he was in a trance and walked towards the balcony…
The Police were perplexed. This was the ninth suicide that had taken place in the Skyline apartments in six months. All the victims had taken their life by jumping to their death from the balconies. What stumped them were the profiles of the victims. They found nothing common between two cases. Most of them owned apartments in the complex while an Israeli couple who had jumped were renting a tenth-floor apartment. A security personnel who went to inspect strange lights on the rooftop jumped in full view of his teammates. A beautician, in front of the lady who had hired her services, stopped manicuring and ran towards the balcony before taking a swan dive in broad daylight. People started murmuring about ghosts and a few of the owners had already put up their apartments for sale.
Inspector Satish Kadam sighed in exasperation. The Skyline apartment complex had witnessed yet another suicide…three suicides. A young couple had leapt to their death while holding their toddler in their hands. He couldn’t understand what the hell was going on in the infernal apartments. He was getting tremendous pressure from the top to solve the cases.
How the fuck do I solve these serial suicides, Kadam thought. People have issues in their lives and off themselves. What else can we do other than write a case report and close the damn file?
His train of thoughts was broken by a man with a long beard walked into his room. His eyes were brimming with knowledge and he had a sliver of a smile dancing on his lips.
‘Yes,’ Kadam nodded at the visitor, ‘How can I help you?’
‘On the contrary, Inspector.’ The visitor said and sat down, ‘I’m here to help you.’
‘Sir, I don’t have time to waste…’
‘Qliphoth!’ The visitor said, ‘That’s the answer.’
‘What is it? Some new app like tik-tok?’
The visitor grinned and said, ‘No, inspector. Qliphoth are the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Kabbalistic traditions.’
‘The what of the what in the what?’
‘Kabbalah, Inspector, is a school of thought in the Jewish mysticism. According to Kabbalah, Qliphoths are the manifestation of evil forces. The sudden spate of suicides in the Skyline apartment complex is due to the Qliphoth.’
‘Sir, I don’t understand. Why are you talking about Jewish ghosts here? This is India. We have bhoots, churels, and a lot of other stupid superstitions.’
‘Not superstitions, Inspector!’ The visitor said, ‘The world works on duality. Do you believe in God, Inspector?’
‘If God is the manifestation of everything good, then he should have a counterpart right? Like how night complements day, lies complement truth, evil complements good. In the Kabbalah, Sefirot is everything holy and its counterpart, Qliphoth, is everything evil.’
‘Ok, I’ll play along. Why are you bringing in the Kabbalah here?’
‘Because, Inspector, all the victims have Jewish blood in them.’
‘Yes. I’m Rabbi Moses and I have studied the profiles of the victims in detail. Each victim has been affected by a Qliphoth.’
‘You mean there are multiple Qliphoths?’
‘Ten, inspector. There are ten. I’d be happy to discuss them with you in detail but I know that’s not something you’d be interested in.’
Kadam scratched his head, ‘Are these like ghosts?’
‘No, Inspector. The Qliphoths are something bigger, grander, and much more complex to understand. All you need to know is that the victims have been affected by them.’
‘How is it going to help me?’
‘It’ll give you some inner peace, Inspector. Your mind has been boiling with conflicting emotions and confusion. You need the little peace I can offer you, lest you become affected by a Qliphoth yourself.’
‘Didn’t you know? Your grandmother was a Jew.’
Note: Several liberties have been taken by the author to twist the Qliphoth within the parameters of his tale.
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1. Tales With A Twist – A collection of my short stories.
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