I reached the city of Belmount after a long tiring journey. It’s a quiet place very far from where I used to live. At first I thought that it's impossible to work in a place like this. But later I realized that it was not a bad place because it was really a peaceful area where people were really friendly. I was recently transferred from another city and was new to this place. But here i met Mr. Tom, a man of almost my age, very active, kind, gentle and friendly. He was a person with a great sense of humor. Later I came to know that he also worked where I was going to join the next day! We became friends on our first meeting. Slowly we became very good companions and i shifted to his place one day. I moved here before my family because I just wanted to check the place first just in case. As Tom lived in an apartment building on rent, he had no problem in sharing some room with me. I was highly pleased because he was the only person i know more than anyone in this new place. Tom and i used to pass our time playing chess and solving puzzles and riddles. He was very sharp at these things. I could hardly keep up with him. I was interested in these types of things too. So we had a great time together. I loved reading detective books and that’s why Tom used to ask me a lot of riddles. Mostly they were real hard but somehow I always managed to answer them and impress him each time. He the most wonderful person I know.
Oh! I think you all might be wondering why i am telling all these things in past tense. That's because my closest companion is no more. He died in the most mysterious way. I heard about his death last week when i got a small letter from him which was written by him just a few days before his death. But he couldn't send me. I left his place a long time ago. As i advanced in my job and got a promotion, i started living here in this city with my family. So, as i was saying, his servant brought the news of his death to me and handed me a letter. It was the last memory of my friend to me. I couldn't think of anything that moment because of that shocking news. But after a few days i remembered about that letter and opened it with very high care because i didn’t want to damage it at any cost. But when i opened that letter i was literally shocked! It was truly written by Tom because i have seen his handwriting. It contained some weird things. It seemed to be almost like a riddle. The riddle goes like this:
"The king checkmates the queen;
Seek for the unseen;
The bishop was afraid,
Check & mate is fate."
After reading this my mind was filled with several questions. First of all, haw can king checkmate queen? Second, what is unseen? Third, why the bishop is afraid? Finally, what does Tom want to say through all these? I didn't know what to do. But soon i decided to drop by at Tom's house for further information. Because i am sure that Tom was trying to tell something very important to me through that letter and that riddle. I made up my mind to solve that riddle at any cost. Anyhow, i reached there and met his servant. I asked him about Tom’s death. There i came to know that Tom died while he was in sleep. His death is still a mystery. Because all the symptoms indicate that it was a natural death. But somehow I couldn’t believe that it was a natural death after getting that letter from Tom. I went to his room where we used to play chess and spend time together. His room was just like before. Nothing changed in his room. Everything was still there except Tom himself. I felt real bad and couldn't stop my tears. Suddenly i saw something different. I noticed that the chessboard on which we used to play chess had some pieces missing. And without any mistake i easily figured out that the king, queen and the bishop was not there on the board. I looked for them everywhere but couldn't find them. Then i asked the servant again that if he noticed anything strange about Toms behavior in past few days. He nodded and said that his master seemed to be a little tensed after the incident that happened to their house owner who lives upstairs. After some more questions i came to know that the house owner and his wife suddenly disappeared. No one knew where they went. But more surprisingly i heard that the house owner returned that morning but without his wife. So i decided to drop by at his house for a little friendly visit. I soon discovered that the house owner was not pleased to see me. His appearance and behavior seemed really suspicious to me. And it seemed that he is not shocked at Tom’s death at all. I just couldn’t believe in his words that he didn’t know anything. So i couldn't stop suspecting him. I told Toms servant to inform me whenever their house owner leave home. Surprisingly i got a chance and went to investigate like a detective just in case. I went to his room quite easily because the servant had a duplicate key. For he often went there for cleaning purpose. Anyway, i searched every single places and papers and suddenly noticed that there was a pair of boot hidden behind the shelf which had mud under it. I took it out and also discovered a rope. I took both of them with me as evidence. I asked the servant if the house owner liked gardening. The servant said that he didn't liked gardening but he liked to scroll through the forest path near that house. I instantly went there and found out what i was searching for. Near the forest path i saw a little empty space where the soil seemed to be loose. After digging a little with my hand and i found out those three pieces of chess missing from my friend's chessboard! All of a sudden I found my answers to all my questions! The king was the house owner who checkmates or killed his queen or wife. My dearest friend Tom witnessed all these but then he or the bishop was afraid that the killer might kill or checkmate him too! And that’s exactly why he wrote this letter because maybe he saw what was coming for him in the future. My poor friend called for my help but it was all too late. Without losing any time i informed the police immediately. They found the dead body of the house owner's wife there and arrested the house owner. I gave them the evidence and also the rope which i suppose was the murder weapon. Later he also confessed that my friend saw him doing this crime and so he killed him too. He used a special kind of poison which he brought from another country which killed him in his sleep and nobody came to know about it. Police instantly took further action and arrested him. He was given punishment for killing his wife and my friend Tom. I am glad that i caught the murderer but it will always be a matter of great sorrow that i couldn't save my friend Tom. May be he had deep faith in me that I could catch the murderer and bring justice and that’s why he made that riddle. It was indeed check & mate at last……
*** This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental***