Everyone in Jakar knows that Karma has always defended his village from monsters. But suddenly his friends and neighbours are angry with him and accusing him of crimes he knows he didn’t commit.
Karma suspects he has a doppelgänger who is terrorizing the town, but no one believes him. His friends Chimmi and Dawa and even his mother do not seem to trust him.
But with every monster in Bhutan suddenly turning up in Jakar, will he be able to stop his adversary in time?
Karma Vs The Evil Twin is the third book in the Karma Tandin, Monster Hunter series. Set in Bhutan, it is a rollicking adventure that will keep you riveted till the very end!
When I got to school the next morning, half of my classmates stayed far, far away from me. The others clustered around me and glared. I stood at the edge of the assembly ground, trying to look normal and succeeding in looking awkward.
Chimmi pushed his way through the crowd. At least he wasn’t glaring. ‘Karma,’ he whispered. ‘I don’t think people are happy with you.’
‘Why?’ some kid parroted.
That was when the shouting started. ‘Psycho!’
‘Why would you do that?’
As more and more students joined in on the shouting, I found out all the horrible things that I’ve supposedly been doing. According to the angry mob, I pulled up flowers from flower beds. And broke guitars. And threw mud on family dinners. Uh.
‘That wasn’t me,’ I said over and over, but no one was listening.
Principal Ngawang charged on to the crowd. ‘Step aside,’ he said. ‘Get ready for assembly. Don’t start arguing.’
The crowd grumbled a bit, but they split up anyway.
I breathed a sigh of relief. At least the principal had my back.
Then he glared at me.
‘If I hear you pull one more prank against this school . . .’
Great. Even he thought I was destroying everything.
‘I won’t,’ I told him.
‘Thank you.’ And he marched back inside the building. For emphasis, he slammed the door shut behind him.
The words ‘Karma wuz here’ were spray-painted on the wood. He didn’t see it. Yet.
This was a major mystery, the kind that only happened to people like me. Someone was pretending to be me. Someone was trying to take over my life.
A large microphone poked me in the face. ‘What the . . .?’
Do you have any comments?’
That was Priyanka Subba, our school reporter. She was the president of the newspaper club, and she took her job very, very seriously.
‘Hi, Priyanka,’ I said. ‘You look . . . different.’
She glared at me. ‘Yeah. I’m not wearing my hair in pigtails.’
‘Oh,’ I said. That explained it. She always wore her hair in two long pigtails, one on either side of her face. Now, her hair was pulled back, tucked on to the back of her kira.
‘I wonder why,’ she said sarcastically. She pulled up the side of her hair, revealing that someone had cut off one of her pigtails.
‘Looks . . . good,’ I said.
Her mic hit me in the face again. I think it was intentional. Clearly, she thought I had given her the unfortunate haircut.
‘Nice save,’ Chimmi whispered loudly. I forgot he was even there.
‘Listen, Priyanka,’ I said. ‘I’m sorry, but . . .’
‘Don’t apologize,’ she said. ‘Don’t say anything. I’m a reporter, remember? I’m impartial.’
Like I said, veeerry seriously.
‘Which brings me to my next story. Here.’ She handed me a photo. It was blurry, but it showed our school’s new recycling project, and it showed a boy trying to destroy it with a crowbar. The boy looked exactly like me.
The project was a giant metal structure that sorted paper and plastic waste on to bins. It was a special initiative funded by the government, thanks to a proposal from our science teacher Mr Pempa. Every student at Jakar Higher Secondary School helped out to make this happen, and now some kid was trying to destroy it with a crowbar.
Priyanka put the mic right against my bottom lip. ‘Comments?’
The boy in the photo looked like me (a lot), but I knew it wasn’t me.
‘That could be anyone . . . with my exact height and build and hairstyle.’ When I said it out loud, I realized how lame it sounded.
‘Yeah,’ she muttered. ‘Anyone.’ She handed me a second picture of the incident. This time, the mystery boy was looking directly at the camera.
And yep, it was definitely me.