Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Dolls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The advent of Professor Trilokashwar Shonku of Scottish Church College faculty, in the literary sphere of the Bengali Science-fiction adventure, emerged in the year of 1961 for the first time. He is a fictional character created by Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), the Bengali Oscar-winning film-maker and author. Professor Shonku (son of Dr. Tripureswar Shonku) is a Scientific inventor, who is capable of speaking 69 languages.
“Byomjatrir Diary” (The Diary of the Space-Traveller”) was first published in the Sandesh Magazine. Written by Satyajit Ray, the Bengali Oscar-winning film-maker and author. That was merely the beginning. And Professor Shonku novels became megahit since the very beginning. Since then, total 38 complete Shonku adventures have been published until 1992.
This scientist cum explorer Professor is a bona fide Bengalee. He is a globetrotting scientist and eccentric genius. He is intrepid in the wildest fiercest expeditions, but then again incredibly humble. He has been received with utter respect in the international academic community. His self-confidence, inner strength and versatile innovative talent are astounding. Prof. Shonku has travelled the world in connection with his research and discoveries, and has been honoured by the Swedish Academy of Science. Shonku novels are outstanding cocktails of world-wide travelling, mystic adventures, supernatural thriller drama, reckless campaigns, mysteries, fantasy and hair-rising suspense. Shonku series are allrounder that keep entertaining the readers of a wide range of ages. They include Ray’s marvellous illustrations as well.
Professor Shonku’s remarkable discoveries, medicine, device, weapon:
Annihilin - A pistol capable of annihilating (obliterating) any living being.
Miracurall - A drug that cures any ailment, the name is an acronym of Miracle Cure for All Ailments.
Omniscope - A combination of telescope, microscope and X-ray-scope which looks like and can be worn as spectacles.
Air-conditioning pill - A capsule to be carried in pocket, that keeps the body temperature normal in extreme climate.
Remembrain - A device that revives memory.
Botica Indica - A pill that replaces the body’s need for food and water for 24 hours.
Microsonograph - A machine to hear subsonic sounds and speeches.

Consult Wikipedia for a complete list.

The Diary of the Space-traveller, 1961
Professor Shonku and the Egyptian Terror, 1963
Professor Shonku and Macaw, 1964
Professor Shonku and the bones, 1964
Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Dolls, 1965
Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Sphere, 1965
Professor Shonku and the Chi-Ching, 1965
Professor Shonku and the Ghost, 1966
Professor Shonku and the Little Boy, 1968
Professor Shonku and Robu, 1968
Professor Shonku and the Mystery of the Bloodred Fish, 1968
Professor Shonku and Cochabamba Cave, 1969
Professor Shonku and Gorilla, 1969
Professor Shonku and the Box in Baghdad, 1970
The Island of Dreams, 1971
The Strange Animal, 1971
The Mystery in the Desert, 1972
Corvus, 1972
The Unicorn Expedition, 1973
Dr. Sherring’s Recollection, 1974
Hypnogen, 1976
Curse of Saturn on Shonku, 1976
Shonku’s Golden Opportunity, 1977
The Mystery of Munroe Island, 1977
Compu, 1978
The Messenger from Space, 1979
Mr. Nokur and El Dorado, 1980
Shonku’s Expedition to Congo, 1981
Professor Shonku and UFO, 1982
A Bizarre Creature, 1983
Professor Rondi’s Time Machine, 1985
Shonku and the Prehistoric Man, 1986
The Tomb of Nephrudet, 1986
Shonku’s Study of the Afterlife, 1987
Shonku and Frankenstein, 1988
Dr. Danieli’s Discovery, 1988
Prophecy by Don Christobaldi, 1989
The Gold Shrub, 1990
Intellectron, 1992
Adventure on Drexel Island, 1992

The advent of Professor Trilokashwar Shonku of Scottish Church College faculty, in the literary sphere of the Bengali Science-fiction adventure, emerged in the year of 1961 for the first time. He is a fictional character created by Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). Professor Shonku (son of Dr. Tripureswar Shonku) is a Scientific inventor, who is capable of speaking 69 languages.

“Byomjatrir Diary” (The Diary of the Space-Traveller”) was first published in the Sandesh Magazine. Written by Satyajit Ray, the Bengali Oscar-winning film-maker and author. That was merely the beginning. And Professor Shonku novels became megahit since the very beginning. Since then, total 38 complete Shonku adventures have been published until 1992.

This scientist cum explorer Professor is a bona fide Bengalee. He is a globetrotting scientist and eccentric genius. He is intrepid in the wildest fiercest expeditions, but then again incredibly humble. He has been received with utter respect in the international academic community. His self-confidence, inner strength and versatile innovative talent are astounding. Prof. Shonku has travelled the world in connection with his research and discoveries, and has been honoured by the Swedish Academy of Sciences. Shonku novels are outstanding cocktails of world-wide travelling, mystic adventures, supernatural thriller drama, reckless campaigns, mysteries, fantasy and hair-rising suspense. Shonku series are allrounder that keep entertaining the readers of a wide range of ages. They include Ray’s marvellous illustrations as well.

 

Professor Shonku’s remarkable discoveries, medicine, device, weapon:

Annihilin - A pistol capable of annihilating (obliterating) any living being.

Miracurall - A drug that cures any ailment, the name is an acronym of Miracle Cure for All Ailments.

Omniscope - A combination of telescope, microscope and X-ray-scope which looks like and can be worn as spectacles.

Air-conditioning pill - A capsule to be carried in pocket, that keeps the body temperature normal in extreme climate.

Remembrain - A device that revives memory.

Botica Indica - A pill that replaces the body’s need for food and water for 24 hours.

Microsonograph - A machine to hear subsonic sounds and speeches.

 

Consult Wikipedia for a complete list.

 

The Diary of the Space-traveller, 1961

Professor Shonku and the Egyptian Terror, 1963

Professor Shonku and Macaw, 1964

Professor Shonku and the bones, 1964

Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Dolls, 1965

Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Sphere, 1965

Professor Shonku and the Chi-Ching, 1965

Professor Shonku and the Ghost, 1966

Professor Shonku and the Little Boy, 1968

Professor Shonku and Robu, 1968

Professor Shonku and the Mystery of the Bloodred Fish, 1968

Professor Shonku and Cochabamba Cave, 1969

Professor Shonku and Gorilla, 1969

Professor Shonku and the Box in Baghdad, 1970

The Island of Dreams, 1971

The Strange Animal, 1971

The Mystery in the Desert, 1972

Corvus, 1972

The Unicorn Expedition, 1973

Dr. Sherring’s Recollection, 1974

Hypnogen, 1976

Curse of Saturn on Shonku, 1976

Shonku’s Golden Opportunity, 1977

The Mystery of Munroe Island, 1977

Compu, 1978

The Messenger from Space, 1979

Mr. Nokur and El Dorado, 1980

Shonku’s Expedition to Congo, 1981

Professor Shonku and UFO, 1982

A Bizarre Creature, 1983

Professor Rondi’s Time Machine, 1985

Shonku and the Prehistoric Man, 1986

The Tomb of Nephrudet, 1986

Shonku’s Study of the Afterlife, 1987

Shonku and Frankenstein, 1988

Dr. Danieli’s Discovery, 1988

Prophecy by Don Christobaldi, 1989

The Gold Shrub, 1990

Intellectron, 1992

Adventure on Drexel Island, 1992

 

 

Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Dolls (1965)

written by Satyajit Ray,

(the Bengali Oscar-winning film-maker and author)

translated to English (UK)

by Dr. Anjana Sen

 

Today is a memorable day in my life. Today I received honorary doctorate degree from the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and it made my last five years’ hard work all worth it. Before my research was proclaimed, nobody knew such an amazingly delightful tasty and nutritious hybrid fruit can be created by crossbreeding the seeds from one type of fruit with another. Last year Swedish Scientist Svendsen visited my laboratory in Giridih and was astonished, when he saw and tasted a sample of this fruit I invented. On return home, he wrote quite a lot in the mass media about this, and as a result the news of my discovery spread abroad! A large share of credit goes to Svendsen for the honour I received today.  That’s why my mind is getting filled with gratitude for him while I am sitting here writing this diary.

I have never been in Sweden before. Feeling really good to be here. What a beautiful neat and clean country. It’s May — hence the sun can be seen 24 hours a day. But it’s somewhat murky and gloomy. Looks like dusk all the time.

Can’t imagine how people feel during the incessant winter nights. I have heard, when people first see the sunlight after six months’ long night, they commit suicide in an extreme euphoric state of mind. Perhaps people like us, who live near the equator, are doing just fine. We have no reason to envy those who live in the cold countries up North.

I wanted to travel to Norway after my engagements here are finished. There is of course a reason for that though! When I was visiting England about four years ago, I made a close acquaintance with famous Zoologist Professor Archibald Ackroyd. I even visited his cottage in Sussex and spent a week-end there. Prof. Ackroyd was planning to travel to Norway at the time, because a peculiar type of small rodents called Lemming are presumably found there, that he was going to study. Lemmings are strange animals. At some point every year an entire herd of them comes out of the forests and make their way to the seashore. They keep on moving forward, ignoring the attacks by foxes, wolves, eagles, etc., depleting all crops in the fields on their way, finally reaching the shore and then they commit mass suicide by jumping off seaside cliffs and plunge into the sea to their death!

Unfortunately, Ackroyd’s study most probably remained incomplete, as I already read in the newspapers when I was in Giridih, that he died during his travel in Norway. I was pondering over travelling to Norway to see if it’s possible for me to finish the research study that Ackroyd couldn’t.

After dinner, when I heard the knock on my door at night, a while after my return to the hotel, even then thoughts of Lemmings were going on in my head. When I opened the door, I saw a middle-aged tall blond-haired gentleman, wearing gold-rimmed eye-glasses, and a pair of sharp blue eyes behind those eye-glasses. When he smiled parting his lips slightly and introduced himself, I noticed that, he has a gold-plated tooth. He told me that he lives in the town called Sulitjelma in Norway. His name is Gregor Lindqvist. He happens to be an artist, who creates portraits of famous people in the form of dolls. That is to say, he makes skin colour, hair, nails, clothes, all these exactly like real humans, only thing is that the size is no more than six inches.

After small talk for a while, he said in a humble manner with a bit hesitation, “I would be very pleased, if you accept my invitation to stay at my place for a few days, I would be able to build a miniature doll figurine of you as well.” Furthermore, Lindqvist said, there is apparently no doll figurine of any Indian celebrity in his collection, and he would feel gratified if I accept his proposal.

It also got revealed in our conversation that, I am interested to know more about Lemmings and to study them. In response to that, he said, before I go wandering and exploring in to the forests, underwoods, copse and wilderness in search of Lemming, he will be able to obtain one and show it to me in his own  home.

After this, I had nothing else to say.

I have decided to travel to Norway along with him on coming Thursday.

 

17th May

It has been two days since we have arrived in Sulitjelma. It’s a very pleasant town in Kjelen valley in Northern Norway. There are copper mines nearby, and to the West side, mountain range Sulitjelma is guarding the town. Height is about 6000 ft., it may seem like a mere hillock in comparison to the peaks of our Himalayas. But this is the second highest peak in Norway.

Lindqvist is being utmost hospitable to me. I don’t see any other houses in the vicinity. Norway is already a low-populated country, on top of that, Lindqvist seems to have chosen an even more sparsely-populated neighbourhood amidst that. I have nothing against that. I also specifically chose a secluded neighbourhood in Giridih and built our house there.

Haven’t got the chance to see any Lemming yet. Lindqvist has requested for a couple of days’ time. No problem with me, because I left home with some spare time in hand. For the time being, what I need is rest. I am being served trout fish and very good quality cheese. All in all, I’m having a pleasurable repose.

However, Lindqvist seems to have a habit that makes me uncomfortable from time to time. He often stares at me. It’s not unusual to gaze during a conversation. But when we are just sitting quietly, even then I feel sometimes, he is staring intently at my face. This morning I couldn’t help but asking him why. Without even looking abashed in the slightest, he promptly replied, it becomes easier for the artist to create the model, if he gets enough time to observe the subject attentively for a few days; besides, in that way, the subject of the portrait doesn’t need to stand still or sit still continuously for a long time during the art-sessions.

I had one more question, which I couldn’t hold any more. I asked, “When are you going to show me your dolls? I’m getting rather curious.”

Lindqvist said, “They are dusty. Hoping to show you by tomorrow evening, after my servant Hans cleans them up.”

“And Lemming?”

“First dolls, then Lemming. OK?”

Having no other way, I had to concur.

 

18th May, Midnight

It has been two hours since I came back to my room, still can’t get over the agitation, which is why I’m having real hard time writing the account of the series of events today in an organized way.

This evening at 7:00 p.m. (I’m saying evening according to the clock, as there is no apparent distinction between day and night), Lindqvist opened a hidden door in his drawing room, took me down a spiral staircase to a room in the basement and showed me his dolls. I have never ever seen such incredibly amazing things before.

The things I saw under glass cover placed on the table, I am actually feeling quite hesitant to call them ‘doll’. The only difference between real human and these things is that, these figurines are lifeless. Besides, none of these is taller than 6 inches. One can fairly say these figurines are approximately one tenth of real humans in proportion.

There are total 6 of them. All of them are miniature models of celebrities, although I wasn’t familiar with the appearance of all of them before. Among those, I was able to recognize French globe-trotter Henri Clemo and African champion boxer Bob Sleeman.

And the figurine in glass cage number 6 standing with his right hand in his coat-pocket and wearing dark shades is late British Zoologist and my good friend Professor Archibald Ackroyd, who died 2 years ago during his expedition in search of lemming right here in Norway.

As I saw Ackroyd’s doll figurine, I realized immediately how perfect these dolls are as human portrait. Not only that the appearance matched so well, but also these figurines are made of such materials, that hairs on the head, skin, eyeballs, all these elements looked absolutely like real living humans.

I was particularly stunned to see the last one, which was utterly breathe-taking. When Lindqvist noticed that I was standing baffled, he asked, “What’s the matter? You know this guy?”

I replied, “Absolutely! I made acquaintances with him in England, almost a friendship so to speak. That’s him I heard about Lemming from. It was actually here in Norway where he died, as I heard.”

“That’s correct. But I got really lucky. He visited me here only a few days before his demise, and that was the time I managed to successfully finish creating this doll. All these celebrity figurines you see here, they all stayed here in my home and gave me sitting for the creation of my artwork.”

When we were taking the spiral staircase up from that secret basement room, Lindqvist said. “I’m planning to start your portrait from the day after tomorrow.”

 

I’m sitting here in my room and writing my diary, and Ackroyd’s smiling face keeps coming in my mind. I have never ever imagined it could be possible for any man to create such dolls. This Lindqvist guy, is he merely an artist ? Or a scientist as well in reality?  What sort of materials does he use, so that the eyes, nails, hairs, skin, look all so real ? Hope he is going to build my model right in front of me, so I can get the opportunity to witness the usage of the ingredients with my own eyes.

Tomorrow I would rather like to ask him a couple of questions about this, let’s see what he says.

For the time being, I am ready to postpone the subject of lemming, and stick to the doll issue.

 

19th May

Last night’s storm blew in a strong pungent odour and woke me up. The odour remained for quite some time. It’s a new odour mixed with some familiar and some unknown smells. The familiar ones would be Copper Sulphate and Ferrous Oxide. Besides, there was some kind of sweet odour, which can very well be some chemical substance or perhaps something else. The bottom line is, there are some activities with chemicals are going on in this house or in the surroundings. My suspicion, that Lindqvist is a scientist as well, became stronger at this point.

 

In the morning, the elderly servant Hans came to me and said, “Master is just gone out for a while. He asked you to eat your breakfast and not to wait for him.”

After I finished my breakfast, I paced through the house and sauntered around outside the house as well. When I found pieces of flasks and test-tubes here and there, behind bushes and shrubs, and a rusty Bunsen burner, no doubt remained in my mind that, there is a scientific trick behind the creation of dolls. It’s not that easy to fool me.

One suspicion keeps bothering me. Why would a person, who is actually a scientist, introduce himself as an artist to another scientist?

When I returned around 09:30 a.m., there is still no sign of Lindqvist. When I asked Hans, he couldn’t tell me when Lindqvist will return. While sitting alone in my room, a wicked idea came to my head. What about taking another peek at the dolls in the daytime?

There is a code for opening the door to that secret room. One has to turn the door-handle this way that way for a while, then one pull, and the door opens up. Yesterday I observed and memorized how many times Lindqvist turned the handle to the left and to the right before the last final pull. However, of course It wouldn’t be possible for ordinary people.

I called for Hans and told him, “I need to send an urgent telegram. If you could please do it for me ? I am having breathing difficulties in this cold climate. I don’t dare to walk that far.”

Hans of course agreed right away, I gave him some money, scribbled a meaningless telegram message to my servant Prahlad back home, and sent Hans out with it.

I waited 5 minutes longer after Hans left home, then I went out of the gate and stood on the street. It’s possible to see to a great distance either direction. Lindqvist is still nowhere to be found, even if he returns, it wouldn’t be within next fifteen minutes, I reckon.

I came back inside, went to the that secret door and started turning the handle this way that way as per my memory. In due time, the door opened up with a click sound. I had a flashlight in my pocket. I went down the spiral staircase with my flashlight on!

After I entered that secret basement room, I started lighting the glass cages and inspecting them one by one. Couldn’t see anything different than yesterday. There is that Italian singer in number 1, the name was most probably Mario Batista, boxer Bob Sleeman in number 2, French globe-trotter Henri Clemo in number 3, Japanese swimmer Hakimoto in number 4, one German poet in number 5, don’t quite remember the name, and my friend Ackroyd in number 6.

I approached Ackroyd’s cage with my flashlight on. These glass cages are really something. I have never seen anything like these before. It’s a type of glass cover, like the conical shaped apex of a temple, sort of glass cases that usually contains expensive quality clock or sculpture. These glass cages here are a bit like that, but the only difference is, these ones here have doors. And those doors have hinges and can be locked up with keys. However, you can lift the entire lid by hand if you want to.

I pressed my face almost all the way up on the glass and started to take a peek at Ackroyd’s figurine. While inspecting so closely, it looked like there is a slight difference in the posture in comparison to the way it was yesterday. As if the right hand looked further in inside the pocket yesterday than the way it is now. Is that right? Or no, my eyes are deceiving me? Perhaps the dolls are equipped for making such rearrangement of limbs and body parts. Perhaps Lindqvist opens the door and rearranges the standing posture of the figurines once in a while. Or perhaps the limbs get moved around during dusting. How about I open and check it out?

But I felt somewhat awkward and uneasy to touch Ackroyd’s doll figurine, so I opened the glass lid of the Japanese swimmer and cautiously lifted it on my hand. As soon as I took it in my hand, I realized immediately, Lindqvist made sure, there is no way to move the doll’s limbs. The dolls are absolutely numb and immobile.

I put the glass lid back in place, took the spiral staircase up, shut the secret door and came back to my room.

Lindqvist returned home at around 12:30 p.m. At lunch table that day I told him, “I feel like doing a bit of reading. I hear that they have a very good public library around here. Is it possible to go there some time?”

Lindqvist replied, “By all means. I will give you direction. You better go today, as you have to do sitting for the art-sessions from tomorrow.”

I went out without even resting a while. A vague suspicion at the back of my mind was troubling me; that’s the reason it became necessary to browse through some years-old newspapers.

I sat in the library for three and a half hours, digging into the files of “London Times” and then returned home with a deep suspicion, agitation and apprehension in my heart. While reading the news of Ackroyd’s demise in the Times newspaper dated 11th September two years ago, I found out that it’s still unknown where he died and how. He went missing while traveling around in Norway. He was last seen taking a boat on a trip through the Norwegian fjord. That boat disappeared as well without a trace, hence it was assumed he drowned and died as a result of sinking of the boat.

Furthermore, I was reading about the deaths of Bob Sleeman, Hakimoto and Henri Clemo. They all went missing in Europe, and they were all presumed dead after rigorous search and investigation.

After return to Lindqvist’s house, I tried my best to spend rest of the day looking as normal as possible. My curiosity about lemmings is almost gone from my head.

That evening at dinner table, Lindqvist asked, “Shonku, you don’t drink alcohol? Would you like to taste this good quality wine from our country? I, however, don’t really like the taste myself, but people say it’s good. Just try.”

I didn’t dare to refuse lest it raises suspicion in his mind that I have begun to suspect something.

Lindqvist poured some wine for me in a glass. As soon as I brought the glass to my lips, I smelled something questionable. Nonetheless, I took a sip and spitted it out on the napkin and said, “In this matter my taste matches with yours. I would rather like to have some of that you are drinking.”

I have no doubt, Lindqvist mixed sedative narcotics in that wine. However, his sinister intention is becoming increasingly clear to me.

I have to try hard to stay up tonight and keep an eye on what he does.

 

20th May

The uncanny experience I had last night as a result of staying awake, I am putting that in written record already this morning.

In this wooden house, there is no such thing as door-sill. Thus, if someone turns on the lamp in the next room, the light can be seen through the gap at the bottom, even though the door is closed. The cuckoo clock in Lindqvist’s drawing room just chimed midnight. I am still sitting wide awake even without taking those stay-awake pills of mine, as some kind of firm intuition in my heart is telling me something is going to happen tonight. At that very moment, I suddenly saw light through the gap at the bottom of my closed door. Someone has turned the light on in the drawing room.

A few moments’ silence! Immediately after I heard that familiar click sound. Then the lamp in the drawing room is off again.

After I sat quiet for a minute or so, I approached my door cautiously with just socks on my feet, opened the door just about one inch and peeped in that direction through that narrow opening. Then I opened the door and walked ahead. When I came to that secret door, I found it unlocked.

Despite apprehension of danger, an irresistible scientific curiosity was overpowering me at that time.

I opened the door and started to go down the stairs. It’s three and a half turns down to the dolls’ room. Already at the start of the third turn, I heard an eerie sound.

My ears, no not just ears, all my sensory organs are far more vigilant than ordinary people; still this sound is so unusual that it took me a while to recognize. Eventually all of a sudden as I figured it out, my blood froze in astonishment and panic.

This is a scream of a human ! But the voice is high-pitched and many many times sharper than standard human voice. And the language was Japanese.

I at once figured out the rest, it was nothing but the figurine of that Japanese swimmer who is screaming like this in a state of terror.

As I was stunned listening to that scream, it suddenly stopped. Then a clinking sound of glass. It’s not difficult to figure out the source of this sound either. This is the sound of shutting the door of the glass cage.

Now my curiosity has overcome all my fear. I went down rest of the stairs and stuck my neck out by the wall.

Lindqvist has opened the cage door of that French globe-trotter with a key. Then he grabbed the doll in firm grip, took it out, and as soon as he brought something by his left hand to strike the doll’s body, the doll started to squirm, and then began the scream in a faint fine voice. In Lindqvist’s demeanour, there was absolutely no sign of getting perturbed in the slightest by the scream. He just ignored the scream and kept putting something in the doll’s mouth by a dropper.

Slowly the doll stopped squirming. Then as soon as Lindqvist struck the doll’s body with that same thing that I saw in the beginning, the doll went back to the original state of numbness and immobility. Lindqvist put it back in the cage in upright posture, shut the cage door and locked it with a key.

I just stood right there where I was, in an utterly overwhelmed state, lost in thoughts. Lindqvist didn’t even notice I was standing merely within 15 feet right behind him.

Now it’s Ackroyd’s turn.

As I was witnessing Ackroyd’s misery in the grip of that insane scientist, it was getting extremely difficult for me to control my outrage and agitation. At that moment, all of a sudden, his squirming stopped. Even from afar, it looked like his head turned in my direction, then a high-pitched shriek came out with great difficulty in his clear polished British accent, “Shonku, what are you doing here, run away, run for life!”

As soon as Lindqvist heard my name from the doll’s mouth, he turned his head instantly towards the stairs, and I immediately dashed up the stairs 3-4 steps at a time, sprinted through the drawing room, hastily entered my room and shut the door.

But surprisingly, Lindqvist didn’t chase after me.

Now it’s 09:00 a.m. I haven’t been called for breakfast. I have realized by now that, I won’t be called for meals any more. The door of my room has been locked from outside.

 

23rd May 

It has been 24 hours after last night’s incident. Still no sign of Lindqvist. There were some fruits in my room, and I also had some biscuits with me, other than that, I haven’t got anything to eat since yesterday. With starvation, exhaustion is taking over me. I had some bizarre nightmares last night. One of them was, a gigantic beast, which looked like a rat, was trying to enter my room through the window. Then a sound of explosion, followed by a horrid shriek woke me up. I lay there feeble and numb for a while. Since then, I began to get a smell of something strange in the room; now I have realized that it’s coming from inside the fireplace. The odour is coming through the chimney.

Not just the odour. Along with the smell, some kind of a vapour is entering the room and overcasting the room with smoke. I am now starting to feel drowsy. I am having hard time writing. Perhaps the pen…..any more.....

 

7th June

I won’t say I am in sound health, however, it’s no less than a great surprise that, I am still alive. I am writing this diary sitting on a SAS flight. Trout fish was served at dinner, no I didn’t eat, I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat any of the food items that were served in Lindqvist’s home. On my return to Giridih, I need to contemplate seriously to invent a scientific method to erase the whole episode of Sulitjelma from my memory. Anyway, for the moment, let me keep written record of the incidents in my diary, because having a written account of such diabolic activities can work as a warning in the future, if nothing more.

In my description 23rd May, I mentioned smoke and odour. I didn’t even sense, exactly when I lost consciousness. When I came back to senses, it looked like I am lying in a huge room. The ceiling of the room is so high I can hardly see it. First thing I thought, I am perhaps inside a church. Later, when I tried to look more attentively, I noticed the joists, and those looked somewhat familiar.

The surface I was lying on felt rather soft under my back. But it wasn’t a bed, as it wasn’t static.

After the drowsiness is gone, as soon as I turned my head a bit towards my right, my eyes got blinded by an intense light. Even that light is constantly moving, sometimes focusing on me, some other times moving away from me. Now it’s gone, and my eyes got some rest, so I was able to figure out the entire situation!

The light was coming by reflection from two huge round pieces of glass. Behind them, two smooth blue circles were glaring in intense brightness, in the middle of those, two more relatively smaller black circles or dots. These blue circles containing black dots are not static either, they are moving this way that way, and glaring at my direction at times. Yes indeed, glaring, because those two are actually eyes. Lindqvist’s eyes. Those two round pieces of glass are his gold-rimmed eye-glasses. I am lying on his gloved hand. And I have now become just like the other dolls in size. That means, one tenth of what I originally was. However, even so, despite the size, my wisdom, intelligence and senses didn’t diminish. Only thing is, I am feeling pain around my left shoulder. I realized that I was given an injection there.

Now Lindqvist leaned over me. I felt his hot breath on my body. Now that his lips parted, his dazzling gold tooth came to sight. Stench of alcohol with that and more hot air, and Lindqvist’s words...........

“What do you think of my hobby, Shonku? Rather unusual, isn’t it? People collect stamps, matchbox labels, antique coins, autographs, and I capture hand-picked celebrities worldwide, turn them into dolls and keep them locked in glass cages. Would anybody ever give me honorary award for this bizarre hobby? For this scientific marvel? Nobody!.... You would say, I already have one scientist in my collection, then why you? Tell you what…..I’m keeping you because you are Indian, not as a scientist. Where am I gonna come by an Indian celebrity around here? How many of them would ever come to Norway? Most of them are actually reluctant to come to my abode all the way up here, but you came?”

Lindqvist took a break to catch a breath. Then licked his lips and continued, “You know my greatest talent? I do not commit murder. These people are all alive. I keep them numb in the daytime by giving them electric shock. At midnight I wake them up by giving them electric shock again and feed them by dropper. I even make a conversation with them at times, if necessary. However, it’s a pity that, even though it’s such a peaceful life they are having here, free from all worries and anxieties, still none of these people is even remotely pleased or satisfied. As soon as they come back to senses, all of them start screaming, “Save me, rescue me” ! You see, where they don’t even have to worry about livelihood, absolutely no question of plight and predicament in life, then what can be the reason that they wish so much to get free, that’s beyond me. You look like someone who I will easily be able to subjugate, right Shonku?”

Lindqvist stopped talking and put me down on the table from his hand. Then tied me up with straps around my chest and waist.

I didn’t even try to object or use physical force, because I knew there was no point in that. What such a situation calls for is to keep a cool head, and find a way to overpower him just by applying tact and ingenuity, despite my present miniature size.

Lindqvist already mentioned it was necessary to give electric shock to turn the miniature humans to numb dolls. But he won’t really be able to accomplish anything by giving me electric shock, because I have a “Carbothin” bodysuit on under my vest. One time in Giridih, while trying to save the seedlings in my garden in the middle of a storm, I passed out when lightning struck a palm tree nearby. Then I invented this special bodywear and have made it a habit wearing it 24 hours a day.

Lindqvist had left me lying there and gone to the other side of the room. Now I saw the lamp in the room suddenly got turned off. Then I heard the sound of a wooden table being pulled. Then the sound of glass clinking! Then on turning on a switch an intense light fell on my body. Then I saw the glint of Lindqvist’s eyeglasses. He is coming towards me.

Now his gigantic hand came down on me, I noticed an electric wire in his hand. An evil chuckle at the corner of his lips.

Then his lips parted again with his gold-tooth glistening, then he spoke in a hoarse undertone, “Come on darling, my doll number seven. Come on.....”

Lindqvist’s hand with the electric wire covered my entire body. When I felt a shiver running down through my nerves, I realized that he struck me with that electric wire. After five seconds’ contact like this, he removed it. 

I remained immobile, lying there like a deadbody and pretended to be numb.

The lamp in the room came back on. Lindqvist loosened up the straps and picked me up in his hand. I kept my limbs stiff, as if I have turned into a figurine.

Lindqvist put me on a new table in a new cage and locked the cage. The lamp in the room got turned off again. Then I heard the sound of heavy footsteps going up the stairs. Then the sound of the secret door closing.

Now I loosened up my limbs.

The room is pitch-black, nothing is visible. As I walked ahead, I banged into the glass wall. As I tried to push it by hand, I realized that it’s extremely heavy, it’s not even possible to move it by a single inch. I sat down leaning on the glass wall and started to ponder. At times, I could hear the howling of Norwegian wild fox. The sound is coming through the narrow gap between the table and the glass; the air that’s coming through this hair-thin gap is enough for my breathing.

Now I heard the cuckoo clock from the drawing room upstairs.

It chimed 03:00 a.m. No way to know it’s day or night. I felt a bit sleepy. I spread my legs and leaned back. I felt like laughing while thinking of myself.

Me, Trilokeshwar Shonku, world-famous legendary Bengali scientist, honoured and awarded by Swedish Academy of Sciences, now turned into a doll form and being held captive by a Norwegian psychopath. Thoughts of Giridih keep coming to my mind ? the river Ushree, Khandoli hills, my home, my cat Newton, servant Prahlad, my laboratory. That Guloncha shrub on the North side of my garden, so many unfinished tasks I have, so much research to do, many..........

ting ting ting !

What’s that sound? A deep sigh that was emerging from my heart stopped abruptly. I pulled my legs together and sat up straight.

ting ting, ting ting ting, ting ting !

I stood up. The sound is coming from the cage next to mine. Ackroyd’s cage.

ting ting, ting ting ting, ting ting !

What?! This is Morse code, the coded language of telegraph ! And I happen to know this language too !

I tapped on the glass and asked, “Come again? Repeat please!”

That ting ting sound again. I began to interpret it in my mind. Ackroyd said, “I have Carbothin undershirt on too. I have simply been pretending to be a figurine the whole time. The day you visited, I was glad to see you, though it frightened me at the same time, but didn’t express it.”

I did ting ting too in response, “The second day? When I came alone?”

“You came down here alone? Didn’t see. Perhaps I was asleep. I have gotten used to sleeping in standing posture. The other night I just couldn’t help it, I felt compelled to shout.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Two years. Since the time of my ?death’. Have seen a lot in these two years, have found out a lot, ….been doing lot of thinking. Perhaps now the chance has come to get free and escape.”

“As human? Or in doll form?”

“Human! There is a remedy. Stay prepared tomorrow night at feeding time. Feeling exhausted today. My hand is almost paralyzed of muscle fatigue. I am going to sleep now. Good night.”

I tapped good night on the glass. Ackroyd is alive ? just like me. It was me who gave him the formula of Carbothin. But what escape plan has he worked out ? No idea. Am I going to be able to return home to Giridih ? Unharmed ? No idea. I have absolutely no clue about what kind of fate is waiting for us.

At one point I fell asleep while thinking deeply. After I woke up, I just sat rest of the time leaning on the glass in the dark. The cuckoo clock chimed several times. In the beginning, I was keeping track of time, afterwards stopped doing so. Finally, at one point, I realized it’s midnight, when I heard the sound of the door being opened. As soon as I heard the sound, I stood up straight and assumed the posture of a figurine.

Lindqvist came down the spiral staircase. I heard a sound of humming and realized that he is singing. The lamp in the room got turned on with a clicking sound. I tried to glance as much as possible through the corner of my eyes without turning my head.

Lindqvist, however, didn’t come towards our table. He opened another door at the back and stepped into the next room, and turned on the light there. Now I dared to look in Ackroyd’s direction.

Ackroyd smiled at me ! Then he slowly took out his hand, which was in his right pocket. Then he raised his hand towards me. I saw that he is holding a half inch long injection syringe in his hand.

What he did next was even more surprising. He put the syringe back in his pocket, walked to the cage door, inserted his hand into the key-hole, and after he manipulated around a bit, the cage door opened. Ackroyd came out. I could hardly catch my breath. What if Lindqvist comes back ? Without even thinking about that, Ackroyd walked by the edge of the table, came to the backside of the table, glanced in either direction and jumped down from the table. Is this guy committing suicide or what ? No, of course not. There is an electric cord that passed through the backside of the table and is hanging all the way down to the floor, Ackroyd actually jumped down immensely precisely aiming at that, and now climbing down to the floor holding the cable. I already knew Ackroyd was known as a man of robust health, but I wasn’t aware that he could be capable of managing such a difficult gymnastics !

After he climbed down to the floor along the cable, he peeked through the open door once and then walked into the other room. An unusual sound was coming from that room, which I haven’t paid attention to until now, this time I am able to hear it ! But it’s not a human voice ! Then what can it be ? It seemed impossible for me to recognize it.

After the sound stopped, I heard the sound of Lindqvist’s footsteps. He turned off the light and came back to this room. The cage number 1 happens to be right in front of the door. Lindqvist took out the keys, opened the cage door, and got busy with the Italian singer Batista. I just kept standing like a wooden figurine and kept glancing alternatively towards Lindqvist and the side door.

As usual Batista’s screaming began. While I am trying to speculate over what on Earth Ackroyd is doing in the next room, at that very moment, the door to the next room was suddenly flung open, and my friend Ackroyd barged in with his full 6ft. tall body, sprinted forward, made a flying leap and sprang upon Lindqvist. I am still captivated inside the cage, on top of that barely 6 inches in height, no way to assist Ackroyd !

But within just a few moments, I realized that Ackroyd had no need for help. As Lindqvist had his fancy doll number 1 in his hand, at first it took him a while to put it aside, by that time Ackroyd managed to grab him in a tight clasp.

Before Lindqvist could even do anything, I saw that Ackroyd jabbed an injection on the left coat sleeve of that Norwegian psycho with tremendous force and severely pricked him.

After that ? The scene thereafter is more gruesome as well as unforgettable. Only a few moments ago I saw Ackroyd grab a brawny guy of his own size, now I see a barely 6 inches long doll version of Lindqvist in the clenched fist of Ackroyd’s left hand !

Ackroyd threw the doll on the table with utter disdain and turned him numb by striking him with the electric wire.

Then he came towards my cage, lifted the glass lid, pulled out that tiny half inch long injection syringe from his pocket, gave it to me and said, “This thing is so tiny, you would rather be able to handle this one. Go ahead, inject yourself.”

I injected myself without another word and turned back to my original size. But how did Ackroyd obtain this antidote ?

When I asked this question to Ackroyd, he put his hand on my shoulder and led me to the next room. He turned on the light in the room by clicking the switch.

In the middle of the room, there is a gigantic glass cage standing, which is almost as high as the ceiling. It looks exactly like the ones in the other room, but instead of celebrities, there is a gigantic rat-like animal in it.

As I turned my eyes from the animal towards Ackroyd in extreme astonishment, he said, “Perhaps you can now guess what this could be. This is a gigantic version of lemming; real lemming’s original size is one tenth of this. Lindqvist has been experimenting on this for a while now, perhaps his new hobby is to collect gigantic versions of tiny things, just like his hobby of collecting miniature versions of big things. It was only yesterday, when I found out about this from his conversation with Hans. And then and there I figured out this is the drug that will be able to restore us to our original size.

I pointed at the other dolls and said, “What is going to happen to them?”

Ackroyd shook his head and said, “Unfortunately, they didn’t have Carbothin protection, hence they won’t be able to live as normal humans anymore. They are as good as dead. Let’s go.”

We headed for the spiral staircase. Some sort of wariness arose in my mind, when I noticed Ackroyd’s sullen face. I asked, “Are you going to travel back to your home country?”

Ackroyd let out a deep sigh and said, “You know there has been wake and memorial services for me. My wife wore black. They even started a scholarship in my name, and it’s being awarded and funded by my money. Wouldn’t it be a bit awkward to return home in this situation?”

“Then what are you going to do?”

“I still have an unfinished task. I haven’t yet been able to make profound acquaintances with the lemmings. A few more days and their journey to the sea is going to begin. I am thinking of joining their troupe. If such an ordinary animal can be so fearless to be capable of taking a diving plunge into the sea, why wouldn’t I?”

 

12th June

I am writing this diary four hours after my return to my home town. There is one thing I must write down, as it’s associated with the previous incidents. Since I returned home, I noticed that my servant Prahlad is giving me a suspicious glare. Now I have realized the reason. The pair of shoes, that I left at home, seems to be smaller size now and doesn’t seem to fit anymore. Later, I found out that, the sleeves of my black coat have now become little bit shorter, when I tried to take it on. Then the mystery got solved as soon as I measured my height.

Lindqvist’s antidote has made me two inches taller than before, instead of bringing me back exactly to my original size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: May 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 anjanasen. All rights reserved.

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anjanasen

It's a bit annoying that all the dashes in my text have turned into question mark by Booksie's setting, and ruined my text. Furthermore, everytime I edit, they come right back ! Unfortunately, I contacted Booksie hundred times on several issues in several ways, they never ever respond!!!

Thu, May 20th, 2021 10:58am

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