Seven Days To Heaven

The Rudyman town is in a turmoil. At a Christmas celebration when a woman was murdered in the midst of the hollering and cheerful crowd, everything went into silence. A gunshot was enough to kill and enough to shudder the Crime Department. Alice Reign, a new recruit and a young private detective is to go in partnership with the well known Detective Bhishma Rai only in one condition: if Alice solves the first case they deal with before Rai. The "Christmas Case" is in her hands now, and at first, it goes well. But then, another murder occurs and it has no less connection with the case she is dealing with. That's when Bryce Abraham, a wealthy businessman, comes and partners with Alice without her permit. But a murderer's note was enough to let their hopes die as it read: 7 days more.

Will Alice be able to accomplish her goal?

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1. Prologue

Prologue

Loud cheers and hollers were followed with bits of coloured paper drowning in air in a graceful waltz as the song of choir merrily chimed through the winds. Mothers singing along, children clapping, men laughing and joking with a pint of ale in each of their brawny hands is a scene to savour. All the radiating faces lighted against the several tiny twinkle lights entangled in a perfect web like a spider's, carefully forming a bed of lights above the heads. All the countenances seemed nonchalant, gathered around the colossally decorated fir tree, unanimously singing out in complete exuberance, welcoming the world-wide celebrating birth of the holy infant. 

Eyes shone with excitement, reflected the jovial vision of the festive scene. Smiles were spread across all faces, no matter religious or atheist. Everyone was having one of their best times, chatting and drinking, children running on blocked roads, laughing and playing, taking the best opportunity available to unite with their companions. Fireworks showered the night sky with booming brightness fascinating young minds. A perfect festive scene, you can call it. Not a family dinner but a total combined entertainment of the whole town, greeting each other, Christian or not. The unity was pleasing to the mind as everyone wished one another with the old jolly phrase, "Merry Christmas!" at the strike of twelve. 

Families twittering, eyes glittering. No one in the midst of this merriment seemed to notice anything odd in the even. The lean shape which stood among the elated crowd, was one who looked completely out of place. Long face, sweaty cheeks and smeared mascara eyes gazed at the fairytale-like scene contradictory to her expression of moroseness. A few eyes noticed but went on with their business of celebration. The skeleton figure stood there impassively looking at everyone like a dead person with no light in her black beady eyes. A thin hand tightly pressed on to the five inch belly. All the odd creature did was stand and stare, making no sign of movement on any muscle except for the eyelids which batted tears with great vigour. An infant peeked up from the shoulder of its maiden and gazed at the creature, widening his eyes, witnessing such an odd being first time in his life. Why won't a frail lopsided figure like that catch the eye of even the careless? But everyone was too busy in the celebration to notice even such a noticeable thing like that. 

A few more "Oohs" and "Aahs" were followed by the bombing of the sky with fire crackers. Then suddenly some children squealed as they caught the sight of a big fat red figure standing at the edge of the low mounted stage beside the grand fir tree. The loudness "Ho! Ho! Ho!" got everyone to attention and the crowed slowly swarmed towards the red being, making their way to the front of the white bearded Santa. Beside the white bearded man was a lady under a sky blue shawl, cradling an infant in her arms. The little one was surprisingly in a deep slumber, wasn't crying and was really as patient a model of Jesus. 

A little girl grabbed her father's finger in a tight grip and pulled him with the crowed. He yelped at first, surprised at his ten-year old's strength and then laughed, following his daughter's shoes. "Mary, slow down a bit, child," said the concerned father, and swiped his young one off her feet and pulled her into his protective hold.

"But, daddy, I am Mary and I need to see my child," lisped the witty little brat and grinned naughtily. Her father laughed out heartily and delicately pulled his little one's red cheek. 

"Alright, mother Mary," he smiled and walked on with the crowd towards the red and white fat belly. The crowd was enormous, almost the whole town was present at the grand festival. Of course, at such a situation no one could not think of being pushed and squeezed by the people. As the father strided towards his destination, he was stopped by a frail lady standing still, her back towards him. He thought she would move after a beat but she didn't seem to, like the others. The woman, heavily covered with clothing just looked on straight to the horizon. 

Absurd as it was, Mary's father tapped on the woman's shoulder, careful not to be too hard. "Excuse me, ma'am?"

There was no response from the delicate figure.

"Hello? Ma'am?" 

On the second tap, there was a loud sound of a firecracker shooting up to the sky. But this time, there was no light shown, no sparkle in the dark sky, no firecracker. Just then the the little woman turned her feet, the first sign of her movement and the fatherly figure faced a ghostly countenance which was gasping for air with deepest breath possible. Her eyes were wide open, tearing out of their sockets. A dim light fell upon her face, making the deep scars visible which were cut into her skin. She lifted her palm up to his face revealing a dark, blood-filled hand and then finally collapsed on the ground like a broken puppet. 

Before the man could process what happened, the little lady in his arms shrieked out a cry at the horrifying scene, tightly closing her eyes. The whole crowd was diverted towards the horror. 

The thin body, lay there limp, and lifeless as everyone surrounded her and witnessed the light in her eyes finally die out into nothingness.

A moment ago, she was an peculiar lady with no cause. Now, she is another corpse with a peculiar cause. 

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