The 29-year-old woman, immersed in her expertise and knowledge, continued to convey information, gesturing toward the illuminated white screen courtesy of the projector. Her focus lay on investigating severe crimes, particularly murder, rape, kidnapping, and other grave offenses.


The image of a young man appeared on the device, lying lifeless on the ground, surrounded by a lengthy brown rope bearing the words “Restricted Area” in bold black letters. His stillness was eerie, suggesting no signs of life. She examined the image with a critical eye, aware that the bullet likely hadn’t struck his chest directly but had traversed his ribs before penetrating his chest, where the gun had been discovered.


A 32-year-old man, also a member of the investigative team, rose and approached her, situated in the right hall. He commended her, “Well done, Agent Maleeka. However, don’t rush. Don’t you think that if this man were a criminal, he could have maneuvered his hand to intercept the bullet before it hit his chest?”


Maleeka turned to face the man he was referring to and replied, “I’m not certain, Inspector Assad. But that’s my theory.”


Before their conversation could proceed, a voice intervened, commanding, “Enough of this!”


All heads turned to the source of the interruption. He had been busy twirling the ring on his finger, a habit of his when deep in thought. Raising his head, he fixed his gaze on them, sending a chill down Maleeka’s spine. Her thoughts scattered as he addressed her, “What are you contemplating? Are you certain?”


She couldn’t find her voice, her eyes cast downward.


His hands remained in his jeans’ pockets as he stood before her. “We’re investigating a murder here, in case you’ve forgotten. There’s no room for assumptions. Everything must be based on facts. You must know. I demand results, not conjecture. Do you understand?” His face mirrored her own concern, his eyes harboring a similar fear.


She meekly lowered her head, somewhat bewildered. “I… I’m sorry, Inspector, Sir.”


“I don’t need your apologies. Just do your job accurately. Otherwise, you’ll be removed from this team.”


His passionate tone conveyed the depth of his anguish.


The man beside Maleeka shook his head slightly and spoke up, “But…”


Katsesa interrupted, “What do you mean ‘but’? Assad, you know me well, you know I despise incompetence, and people like her irritate me.”


Assad, concerned for his friend, ventured, “Mu’azzam, please calm down. I was merely suggesting that you go easy on her.”


“Really? Am I being too harsh, Assad? Let me remind you, we’re investigating my sister’s death here. My only sister was found dead with this terrorist. You’re asking me to go easy on her? My sister, Assad, was murdered in cold blood. Someone killed her. And I couldn’t do anything because her killers remain unpunished. Tell me, is that how you want me to calm down? Is that how you want me to go easy on her, Assad?” He concluded with a raised voice, his emotions palpable, causing the hairs on his body to stand on end.

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