Parth keenly read every word; it was the first time he was intrigued by the first page. He must say he had never encountered such a unique case in his entire career. Although every nerve in him pricked to flip to the next page, he closed the file shut.

Anup was taken aback by Parths sudden transformation. Was he wrong about his prediction earlier? He seems genuinely interested.

”Is it not exciting, or you didnot understand? ” Anup cornered Parth in a teasing way. Truth be told, his wife had three days of nightmares when he narrated the story.

Crossing his arms, Parth leaned back and gazed at Anup with a mischievous smile. ”Lets hear from your mouth, Mr director. I am bored of reading the reports. Whats the deal with this case? ”

”Alright. I will narrate if that is what you want. ” Anup recalled his close friend narrating this story. Goosebumps raised all over his body throughout.

”Every rock, every gnarled tree, and every lonely valley has its strange and graceful legends attached to it. In the same way, Vikramgad also has its own legend. ”

”The town is a hub for a number of businesses. Seven kilometres away from the Vikramgad, there is a Y junction. One needs to cross to enter the town. ” Anup paused to take a gulp and resumed back. ”The businesses keep the day and night alive with buses and trucks, but no single soul wanders on the day of Amavasya. On every new moon day, a pregnant woman goes missing without a trace. The tribal villagers from the nearby town believe its an occult ritual directly related to God. ”

Parth was calm and composed, processing the details. He didnot make any remark. Meanwhile, Nikhils head began to explode like Lava. Are these people dumb? Why do they stay in a cursed town when there is so much land? Probably population increase, he concluded. He is never going to step into that town.

Anup shifted his position as he spoke. ”Several officers tried to investigate the case, but they were found dead. One person survived, but she is in the hospital, paralysed. She can neither walk nor speak. There is no use of her. ”

Anup continued. ”Government imposed a strict restriction on the people to not take the road on Amavasya and closed it for good, but the cursed road has a fascinating way of luring its prey. There are a number of cases reported even now. Last year, a famous director, in hopes of knowing the story for his next movie, went to Vikramgad. One month later, he was found dead. Women call it the jinxed town. Men call it the cursed road. Children call it the Ghost of Vikramgad. Different names, different tales, but one thing that was common among the people. Fear. ”

”When did it start? Who is behind this? It remained a mystery. ” Anup took a pause and continued again. ”Government strictly prohibited publishing in the newspaper because nothing is more powerful than word of mouth, and they believed this would negatively impact the country if foreigners knew about this cursed legend. ”

”People started complaining about the missing cases, which has put a lot of pressure on the ruling Government. Elections are approaching. So, the Prime Minister has to step down and specially request CBI to handle the case. ”

”The locals strongly believe it is an old legend of the curse that runs in the people of Vikramgad town. But our officials believe there is something valuable down there, and killing people is a mask to hide the real purpose. ”

”The information I gave is just the tip of an iceberg. We hadn found any clue to move this case further. I rest my case with you from here. ” For the first time, Anup noticed Parth calmly listening to the story without meddling in the middle. Unbeknownst to him, Parth was contradicting the officers conclusions. To get the inside information, Parth grabbed the file and began reading the reports penned by the previous officers.

”What sort of valuable things do you think the town is hiding? ” Parth questioned without lifting his head. If there is something valuable in the town, why did only the pregnant woman go missing? They could have killed anybody. Why did they find the officers bodies but never the pregnant women? Its not the valued stuff. He strikes the first possibility.

”Probably rare metals? ” Anup remarked. ”I know its hard to leave your wife for a mission when you married a month back. ” Anup sighed, feeling sad for the girl. But his hands are tied down to duty. There is no replacement for Parth.

”Well, don worry. She would be the first to kick me out of the house to find the mystery, ” Parth chuckled, shaking his head at the mention of his wife. If that monster learns about this case, she will feel jealous that he got to handle this, and then she will tag along to accompany him on the journey. Parth decided to keep this case a secret from her until he returned. He doesn know what danger lurks around the town, and bringing her along with him might put her life at stake. Keeping her safe is his priority. Unknown to him, destiny had different plans.

”I will take up the case, ” Parth said, determined to set his foot and unravel the web of town mysteries. ”Arrange me a team. ”

Now that Parth agreed, Anup got another major problem to handle. Finding the employees. He bet nobody will volunteer to serve this Rakshas. For the moment, Anup agreed.

Meanwhile, Nikhil sneered at Anup. Old man, I will throw you in the sugar cane crusher if you pull me into this mess.

”I am taking the file with me. ” Closing the file shut, Parth got up to leave. Anup stopped him.

”Parth. ” He started, voice laced with concern. ”Don get your curious nature land into trouble. Dangers are lurking at every corner of that town. If you find it hard, come back. I will talk with the officials_ ”

”You know the meaning of my name? ” Parth cut off Anups thoughts in the middle. His tone was dangerously low, posing a threat, causing Anup to reconsider his remarks.

”A person who never miss the target, and I mean it. ”

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