Moving Over To New Blog

This is to inform my readers that from now on I will be posting only on my new blog Jai's Jottings. This blog will be gradually phased out.

X is for the Xylophone Played By A Child - #A2Z2018

X is for the Xylophone Played By A Child - #A2Z2018

The fiddler paused and took a deep breath. "I dared not show my face outside the village. But the urge to carry out my experiments and complete my breakthrough was still burning fiercely inside me. Please do understand me, Commodore," said the fiddler in a pleading voice, "I was only doing humanity a great service. My motivation is of the highest moral order. I don't think you or for that matter, Father David Fenniston can deny that. Only thing is I am not selfless about it. I do not place much value on human life Commodore. Millions of human beings are born every day and die every day. What is the harm if we use a few for such a noble cause?"

Mat was horrified by this warped logic and it must have shown on his face for the fiddler immediately said, "I shock you, don't I Commodore? Well, let me continue my story. Now we come to that boy Jack. You already know he was a brilliant painter. In addition, the one thing no one knew was that he had a great aptitude for Science. I recognized his genius. My first reaction when I got to know him was, here was someone who could carry my legacy forward if I get caught or die before I complete my work. I immediately befriended him and slowly cultivated him."

"You had already seduced his mother Irene hadn't you?" asked Mat.

"Oh Commodore, I forgot to tell you about that. That happened a few months after she started living there. Yes, she was unhappy with that fellow Gabriel and she jumped into bed with me at the drop of a hat. Oh, she was a wild one. Dangerous like a cobra. Wild in bed. Boy! Did we have some great times together!

Getting back to Jack, the problem with him was, he was soft. Not tough enough for the kind of work I had in mind for him. So I toughened him up by giving him lessons in cruelty. I taught him about Satanic rituals and devil worship. I encouraged him to think of different ways of torturing people and put all that he could think of on canvas. I taught him to love cruelty. And then there was his aptitude for Science. I daresay some of his tutors recognized his brilliant intellect, but his apparent cruelty put them off. Some tried harder than others to tutor him, but sooner or later they all gave up and left.

A child's mind is easily molded, Commodore. Slowly he began developing a taste for cruelty. He trusted me implicitly. I wanted him to take over my legacy and help me in my work. My kind of work required a very healthy appetite for cruelty. I slowly plunged him into the depths of depravity. You think I am a fiend in human shape don't you, Commodore? But just think, I was doing all this for a much higher, nobler cause, a purpose, which, if fulfilled, would benefit humanity for an eternity. Along with the lessons in cruelty, I was also coaching him in Science. He worked with me and assisted me in my experiments with animals. He was a very bright boy. He showed great promise. All this happened right under the noses of Hilda and Gabriel. Even Irene knew nothing. The world lost a great mind when that boy died.

Then came the day when Gabriel went away for a week. I was itching for an opportunity to try out my experiment on just one more live human being. You see, I was sure that was all it would take for me to arrive at the breakthrough that had been eluding me all these years. I was just a step away. Well, that child Karen was in good health. I realized I could not experiment on Karen without killing Hilda. I planned to store both their bodies and use them on a regular basis for experiments if I failed in my first attempt. 

I asked Miss Hilda if she would be kind enough to visit my house with Karen. I showed great sympathy. I told her I was like an elder brother to her. She was unhappy and neglected and was longing to talk to someone. She acquiesced easily. She suspected nothing. I asked Irene if Jack could come along and she agreed immediately. You see, I wanted Jack to be part of the historic moment.

I told them to visit my house and have breakfast at 8 AM the next morning. They arrived right on time. I invited Miss Hilda and Karen to partake of some apples. I had cut up the apples with a knife laced with my drug. They happily munched away at the apples and soon began to feel drowsy. Finally, they were unconscious. Their body temperature began to fall immediately.

The boy Jack was confused. I had made sure that the plate of apples I had given him had not been laced with my drug. I began my experiments on the live bodies of Hilda and Karen. I worked till afternoon. Jack assisted me. He was feeling rather dubious, but he trusted me implicitly and really believed that he was contributing to something historic. Further, the boy was loyal to me and trusted me enough not to question me. 

I wanted him to observe and learn. Of course, finally, I would have to kill both Hilda and Karen but at least I could try and see if I could achieve the breakthrough I was about to arrive at when they hounded me out of Brazil. 

Well, I tried experimenting on the bodies of Hilda and Karen till the end of the afternoon, but I failed and had to give up in despair. Irene was quite puzzled when I went back that afternoon with only Jack. I told her that Hilda had told me that she was fed up with living in the villa and had left with Karen to a new place to begin a new life. Jack knew I was lying, but he did not give me away. He had become quite attached to me. I went back to my house, leaving Jack with his mother. Well, I could not achieve my breakthrough and soon Hilda and Karen died. I stored their dead bodies for further research.

Finally, Gabriel came back that Sunday. He immediately smelt, a rat but his suspicions fell on Jack. Six months passed and one fine morning, Gabriel forced the truth out of Jack. Jack was sixteen at that time. I knew sooner or later he would break. I heard the commotion in the hall when Jack blurted out the truth to Gabriel and I immediately stepped into the hall with my gun. I grabbed Jack and held him at gunpoint. I forced Gabriel to write that suicide note. At first, he refused, but he realized I was not joking and would really shoot all of them if he refused. Eventually, he sat down on the sofa and wrote that suicide note I dictated. 

As he wrote he was desperately looking for a way to outwit me. He was buying time just like you are doing by listening to me now. He knew he was signing his death warrant. As soon as he had finished writing that letter he lunged at me desperately, but I immediately shot him in the head. Irene begged me to have mercy on her and Jack. But I did not have a choice. I had to shoot them. My life would not be worth a tinker's cuss if I let them live. I shot Irene and very reluctantly put a bullet through Jack. I almost felt as if I was killing my own son.

I then put the gun into Gabriel's hand and left. I was scared stiff. The police came and that fool Lakshman Singh got nowhere. The dust settled and soon the police closed the case. As days went by the old people left and new people came into the village. I had nowhere to go. My mental health deteriorated. But most of the time I was sane enough. 

But I began having fits of wild, insane rage. I could not move out of the village. I fell on hard times and I ended up living in this shack. For quite some time my urge to carry out my experiments subsided. I was scared. Twice I had had near escapes. Several times it occurred to me that I could kidnap some of these villagers' children and try out my experiments on their bodies. But I realized how dangerous that was and desisted. 

Things were quiet for a long time and then along came your granddaughter. She looked so much like Hilda's daughter Karen. I decided that I would make one last attempt. That day when you picked your granddaughter and ran inside I was quite close to you. I was hiding in the branches of a nearby tree. Fortunately, you did not spot me.

I was planning to kidnap your granddaughter. I used that out of shape ball coated with blood laced with my drug, knowing your granddaughter would think it was an apple and try to taste it. But you arrived too quickly on the scene and I did not have the chance to make away with your granddaughter. And you know the rest, Commodore. Now we have wasted enough time. I hope you enjoyed the story," finished the fiddler. Mat looked at the fiddler and said, "One question, why does the blood not wash off my granddaughter's lips? It washed off my hands so easily."

"No doubt your experts have realized that blood is not human blood and it is also laced with my drug. I have been fooling around with blood for a long, long time Commodore. You say it washes off your hands, but not off your granddaughter's lips. Can you put two and two together and tell me why Commodore?" grinned the Fiddler.

Suddenly it dawned on Mat in a flash. "The difference is that I have not ingested the blood, whereas my granddaughter has. Your drug makes blood stick to the skin once it gets into the system?" asked Mat. "Hit the nail right on the head Commodore. I can see you are gifted with a high intelligence. The blood will wash off as soon as the effects of my drug wear off," said the fiddler. 

"Why did you put that message in the elephant's trunk on my doorstep and call me to tell me Gabriel's story? I don't see what made you do that," said Mat.

"Well, Commodore, you do ask the questions, don't you? Let us say I was being selfless. You fed me once Commodore. I wanted to give you a sporting chance to solve the problem. I try to play fair with my friends, you know. And there was just an off-chance that it might have misled you," said the fiddler.

Mat asked, "Who is that boy you have tied up to a stake?"

"Just a street child Commodore. As I grew older my mind began growing senile. Even a cold-hearted man like me begins to ache for company Commodore. I was growing lonely. I picked up this boy. He is a very average boy. Nothing like the brilliant Jack. But he is company for what it is worth. I never had any plans of harming him. But now I have no choice. No doubt you would have left a trail and your pals would soon be here looking for you. You have already escaped from me twice. I don't want to take any more chances. I will first get rid of you and then work on that boy and make one last attempt to achieve my breakthrough. And the minute your friends from the police arrive, I will end my life," said the fiddler.

Mat was desperate to buy time. He pointed at the Xylophone lying on the table and said, "Does that belong to you?" 

"Yes," said the fiddler, "My mother taught me to play the Xylophone when I was a kid." Suddenly his face broke into a smile probably at some memory of his early childhood. "Okay, enough, now let us get down to business," said the fiddler and raised Mat's revolver and pointed it at his forehead. 

Just as Mat was about to launch himself into a lightning-quick dive towards the Fiddler's feet, he heard Vikram's voice from behind him, "Put the gun down Viktor Fenniston, One false move and I will put a bullet through your head." 

"Oh, hell," said the fiddler and smiled crookedly. Then with a lightning quick motion, he put the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. 

Author's Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


  1. Fascinating. All the parts of the whole being pulled together. You've written very well.

  2. A great reveal, all the pieces of the puzzle coming together. Hopefully this means Karen will be safe when the drug wears off then.

  3. Finally all the dots connected. Fiddler was doing this for the sake of his experiments. What happened to the Jack, the boy? Perhaps I forgot to read in previous posts..


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Moving Over To New Blog

This is to inform my readers that from now on I will be posting only on my new blog Jai's Jottings. This blog will be gradually phased out.

Copyright Notice

© Sitharaam Jayakumar and Jai's Writing Retreat, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material from this site without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sitharaam Jayakumar and Jai's Writing Retreat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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