Approx. Reading Time – 12 mins

Confusion reigns supreme as the line between Jai and Jaime blurs for Annie. So what’s the truth and what’s the lie? Presenting the second part of the thriller, ‘That Girl on the Highway’



“I am sorry, but you can’t talk to her right now.” 

“She has no physical ailments. I don’t understand what is the issue over here.”

The doctor stopped Jai, signalling that it won’t be possible for him to continue anymore. Annie had been kept in a sedated state since the incident. 

“Listen, inspector, I can’t let you talk with her. You know the protocol; she has to get fit.”

“Get fit? I have a damn murder case to solve.”

“She can only be examined by a psychiatrist. I have mentioned it in my report, so you better look for one now. And stay away from her.” the doctor said firmly. 

Jai was losing patience; he had hit a roadblock. Greg’s autopsy showed nothing suspicious. There were no attempts or claims by anyone, on his assets or properties. He had no one apart from Annie as family. Jai was in complete dark about his next steps.

His team could not find anything about Jamie. “Who is this Jamie and what project was Annie working on?” Jai was fuming at his team. When Annie was brought to the hospital, she was constantly repeating incoherent phrases. “Jamie gone…Project closed…Jamie…uncle Greg”. 

After a week, the doctor had finally allowed her to be examined. Jai had gotten Dr Param, a senior and renowned psychiatrist on-board for Annie. He was an obvious choice because of his prolific track record and the help he had provided in many cases earlier.

Jai kept staring at the desk-phone in his office as if trying to find a clue somewhere. It had been 4 hours since Param had gone to meet with Annie.
Jai was in his usual trance when his phone rang. “Meet me at my office immediately, I have a story which might interest you,” it was Param on the other side. He avoided discussing sensitive cases in crowded police stations.

Jai sprang up to his feet. It took just 20 minutes, for him to reach Param’s office located in Banjara Hills office complex. He went straight to his cabin. 

“Wow, you were quick buddy! Sit down, let’s have a cup of coffee”. 

But Jai was restless. “Let’s keep the greetings aside. You were with her for 4 hours, there better be a story worth listening to.”

“There are many but let me start with the big one.” 

“So, what did she say”

“She works at Meta-Code, a premier private research firm. They have pioneered research work on building technology to understand human psychology.”

“Yes, and?”

Param got up from his chair and walked across his room. He paused for a while as if to structure his thoughts, “Before we go in detail, you need to understand 2 important concepts.”

He walked back towards the whiteboard placed at the back of his cabin chair and started to write.

  • Functions of the human brain
  • Quantum Mechanics

“Oh god! There’s a reason I became a police officer; I didn’t want to study all this! Is it really that important?” interjected Jai

Param ignored the snide and continued, “Modern science has only scratched the surface as far as these topics are concerned. A lot is yet to be known. The problem is…” 

“Is?..”. Jai urged Param to continue
“That this unknown bit can shake up your existing belief system, and block you from understanding the situation.”
“You have my attention now Param, tell me how all of this is related to our case?”

Param cleared his throat and started “Human brain; do you know how it functions?”
“Well, yeah the stuff that it sends signals to our body parts commanding them to act,” answered Jai.
“Ok, and how does it store information?”
“That I have to admit I don’t know.”

Param smiled and said “Our brain performs a critical function of recording information. Whatever we perceive daily through our sensory organs – sound, sight, touch etc. It encodes this data and stores them as memories.”

“Memories?” asked Jai
“Yes, our life is a collection of these multiple memory sets. We are like computers that record all memories as data. We remember only a small percentage consciously; the rest gets stored in some hidden drives within us” mentioned Param.

“And why does that happen?”
“It’s a natural protection mechanism. If we get access to too much information, it will lead to a malfunction. Just like how, a computer processor slows down when it is given too much instructions than what it can handle.” explained Param

“Where are these hidden drives located?”
“Well, that’s where we draw a blank. If we had known, I wouldn’t have called them hidden.” smiled Param. Jai realized the error in his question and smiled back.
“What we know is that these memories are located in the unconscious.” Param continued
“So, what do these memories do?” asked Jai
“These memory sets, create patterns.”
“What kind?”
“The ones that determine our personality.” clarified Param.
“How can you be so sure?” questioned Jai

“DNA scientists have discovered more than a thousand genes related to intelligence. Matching sequences and patterns have been observed for people who have specific attributes like Depression, Alzheimer etc.”
“So?” Jai needed clarification
“So, it means there is some mechanism within us, which records information and breaks it down in sequences or patterns. This has a role in shaping our current personality. Update your knowledge on DNA studies!”

Jai rubbed his eyes. He felt overwhelmed with the information he had received, but still dared to ask, “Question, still remains, how is all of this related to Meta-Code?”

Param went back to the whiteboard and wrote 3 points:

  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Actions

“Let me explain through an example. Do you think the Wright brothers would have just got up one day and made the airplane? What would they have done?” 

Jai got confused with a detour in the conversation but as promised, he paid attention and answered “They would have first thought about it as an idea, they would have felt its possible and can be done. Then they would have done the necessary planning and execution to make it happen.”

“Good, now let’s take a simpler example, let’s say you want to buy a shirt, what would be the logical flow?” Param’s inner teacher was happy to observe Jai’s curiosity building up.
“Well, if I need one then I will go to a showroom, if I like something, I will buy it. But what’s your point?” Jai asked impatiently.

“Exactly” Param went back to the whiteboard “Anything that you do, whether big or small. First, you think about it, you plan, you weigh the pros and cons. When you establish a deep connection in thoughts, your emotional patterns start to surface up. Feelings of passion, having a mission, wanting to make it count, etc. This peaks up your belief levels. And, when your ideas (thoughts) and belief (emotions) get aligned, you get into action.”

“Thoughts lead to actions.” summarized Jai. He thought for a while and said: “I still don’t understand why is Meta-Code interested in my thoughts?”

“Because it knows how to access them?” mentioned Param nonchalantly.
“What, are you kidding me?” Jai was visibly surprised. Param stayed neutral and waited for his moment, “Did any of, whatever we discussed, look like a joke?
“Can’t believe that a learned man like you believes in this” said Jai.

“Since I am learned, I know that, in the world of Quantum Mechanics, every thought has its own frequency. These are said to be energy waves which are carriers and encoders of information.” continued Param.

“Okay, so if there is data available, then we can possibly access it?” questioned Jai
“Correct”
“So, theoretically speaking, if there is a way to access it, we can possibly read, observe and analyze it?”
“That is right”

“But I hope you noticed the words, theoretically and possibly in the above assumption. Param, the murder happened in reality!” Jai was concerned.

“Yes Jai, but every research starts with a thought, a theory, a basic premise to be validated through empirical observation.”
Param moved towards Jai, “Remember, I told you that the unknown bit can shake your beliefs. Anything which has not yet been validated does not mean that it doesn’t exist.”

“If all that you say is true, then what is Meta-Code expecting as an outcome from this research?” pondered Jai.

Param spoke once again, “Basis of what Annie has shared, they have discovered a possibility of tapping into human thoughts through the wave frequency. They claim to know how to access and decode this data”

“So, if Meta-Code is able to somehow get access to human thoughts, it would know in advance, the actions to follow?” asked Jai
“Well, partially correct. They would have to observe a large amount of data at first to study the trends and run simulations. They can then arrive at varying probabilities of upcoming actions. Remember, many a time, a lot of thoughts do not result in actions. All three have to be aligned”

“So, if they get successful, which you claim they have, to a degree; what do they get out of it?”
“Money, control and power.” sighed Param. “Imagine you have the ability to access, observe and analyze thoughts in real and clear form. You will be a living God. You would be able to know possible future actions through multiple data simulations.”

“It’s almost like knowing the possibilities in the future and hence having the power to alter it.”
“Isn’t that what everyone desires?” said Param

Both men went silent for a while. Jai was still grasping the concept. He asked, “So what do we do now?”

“Let’s first investigate, what level of success have they got at Meta-Code and what approach are they using to validate the results…” Param took a small pause, “Unless…”
“Unless what?”
“Unless they are running Human Trials!”
Jai was stunned to know this.
He said, “I did some homework while you were with Annie; I got to know a complaint has been registered against Meta-Code in our Cyber Crime department. I think it’s for the same project which got shelved.”
“Good, let’s get the details and work your way to ensure that we are a part of the investigation team,” suggested Param.

Jai was still confused. He said “Every passing day a new angle gets added, I am not able to place these puzzles together. This magic-world project of yours has made things foggy”

Param was silent but Jai continued “We still don’t know 2 things, what has Greg’s murder to do with all this? and Who is Jaime?” He moved closer to Param, frustration in his eyes “Are you sure of all this? What if, she is messing around with us to derail the investigation?” 

“Then, I would have known Jai. There is a sound scientific basis to whatever she shared with me today.” 
Param continued “Besides, we don’t have many options.” The room went silent for a moment

Suddenly, Param moved to the edge of his chair, he recalled something “You know what, she feels you are Jamie.”

Jai was taken aback by this statement, his eyes started avoiding Param’s gaze, it was an uncomfortable moment; he was not prepared for it. After adjusting his police cap, instinctively his hand went for the hand-gun holster on his duty belt.

Param laughed and said “Don’t worry buddy; high anxiety and heavy sedation can sometimes cause patients to project their thoughts on others. I should warn you though; she hates you fiercely, and by you, I mean….Jamie.”

Jai could only force a faint smile, his defensive stance now eased.

Param continued, “Let’s go to Cyber Crime office now. I shall share what she told me about Jamie, while we are on the way.”

TO BE CONTINUED

– Darpan Jha



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events 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.

4 comments

  1. And the suspense keeps building up!! Waiting for the next one already, to find out the truth about Jai / Jamie !!

  2. Intriguing, interesting story… Loved the simplicity of the writing style

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