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Beauty and the Beast

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During the 80s, in the rich neighborhoods of Baku, the most industrial and lively city
of Azerbayjan, within the tall manors of the wealthy and the proud, lived a family of great
wealth and prosperity, friends of the president and of high reputation. The father was a
stockbroker, and the mother was of the best-bred women of the country, well-known for her grace and intelligence.
Their teenage daughters, Arzu and Anarges, were one of the most famous belles in the city. One would look at them and feel an astonishment wash over them, for such fair faces are rare to be seen. They had the kind of looks anybody would kill for - and literally so.
For in the city, jealousy and envy were prevalent and often times, one would find themselves under the evil eye of the merciless females prowling through their lives.
Invidia was an attribute shared by almost all Azeri women, and it was the most dangerous weapon they can handle. Many young girls fear the ever sharp gaze of their counterparts, and they must face curses, insults, and heartbreak to keep their beauty while it lasts. But many are unaware of other kinds of jealousies that exist in the nature of humankind.
Anarges was particularly the prettiest of the two sisters, younger than Arzu at only
nineteen, with her pale skin stretched over high cheekbones, slanted eyes of rich hazel
and long, black, sticky lashes that seemed to produce a mascara of their own. Her lips were heart-shaped and dainty, cheeks rosy, her form a slender hourglass figure, utter perfection itself, and her hair was dark as a raven's feather, spilling down her back like
frozen jet. She stole the very souls of the youth who laid eyes upon her, but as many yearned for her, none could ever win her heart or her hand because they were too poor, or too simple.
Except, of course, for Elvan Aliev.
Elvan was a young man of twenty-five or so, a man of immense, limitless wealth and confidence that overrode humanity with unrestrained arrogance. It was him who spotted Anarges first at the family banquet, laughing with her friends. She was in a stunning
green gown of glittering sequins, her hair wrapped into an elegant flower on the side of her head, and the light cosmetics on her face enlightening her features to the level of an angel. Never had he seen such a beautiful person in his life. He was enthralled, lost in the very sight of her. He was only focused on the unnaturalness of her beauty, and at once made up his mind to win her hand.
He approached her in the banquet, and she could see the manner of his standing and the aura of wealth he carried around himself. At once, their noticeable courting lead to
convince her parents to let him marry her, and so he did, happy and satisfied with his lucky catch and good fortune.
Elvan took his new bride to his home, a mansion of fearful heights and great build. He provided her with everything her heart desired, and never held back his generosity when she asked for something. Maids, high heels, furniture and the latest technology. Telephones and televisions of strength and relatively new to their era. But most of all, she asked for dresses and make up, and he never hesitated to let her buy them in abundance.
Besides, she was only beautifying herself for him, he convinced himself. There was much attraction and infatuation in their marriage, as it happens often to those of looks and money, but there was less of the exchangement of character, word or thought.
Elvan hardly knew his beautiful wife, and Anarges barely understood her rich husband.
Elvan also took her to several parties where they were acquainted with many wealthy people such as themselves. There were parties like this almost every week, and at one
such party, Elvan realized that indeed he had made a great mistake in marrying such a girl.
Anarges was dressed in her best clothes, a silver dress of satin and silk that clung to her curves and created an intense image of the finest attire that had ever been seen. Her hair was long and loose and her face shining with excitement as she was introduced to
new people who commented on her looks and made her feel proud and complete. Young men who were unaware of her marriage made advances towards her, asked her to dance, and she complied without any hesitation, to his shock. He didn't fail to see the other young men who were watching her eagerly, or to hear the flirtatious remarks her male admirers. She was soon surrounded by a swarm of fans, men and women,who seeked her attention hungrily. This was not the first time he had seen this occur, but
it would certainly be the last.
Overcome by boiling jealousy, he stepped into the crowd and took her by the arm.
"My darling wife," he said through clenched teeth, "Let us go home."
"But, we have only just arrived!" she protested.
He dragged her out of the party and into their car. He ordered his chauffeur to drive as directed, and they sat in their limousine without a word between them.
Once they arrived, he escorted her to their bedroom, and he turned to her with a glower.
"You have crossed the line."
"Whatever do you mean?" she asked, but not with complete innocence. She played her
game well, always pretending to remain loyal to him when he suspected something, but
otherwise open to all wooing and suggestions of her adorers.
"You know well what I mean, Anarges." he answered, and turned his back to her.
"You are hallucinating, my dear husband." she responded fearlessly, confidence brimming, "I am entirely aware of the intentions of my friends, but I only play along. I
fool them, really."
He laughed rather coldly, "Do you, now?" he stepped forward to her.
"Yes."
"That's good. You are good at fooling them." he smiled warmly, wrapping his arms around her waist and held her close. She smiled in relief, realizing that she had managed to slip by unnoticed. They embraced momentarily, and in her distraction she missed the
hand that crawled into the back pocket of his pants, and drew out a silver pistol.
He pressed the pistol against her breastbone, drove it into her skin and looked into her eyes.
Her pupils dilated in sudden fear when she understood what was happening.
He smiled wryly and kissed her one last time. Then he stepped back, "You are good at
fooling them, but you cannot fool me."
Elvan pulled the trigger. The pistol trembled in his hand and the bullet sank into her
chest. She gasped in shock. He pulled it again. And once more. Until nine times, he had
shot her, and she had went blue with loss and limp with lifelessness.
He liked how the gun complemented her dress, how the blood oozing out of the wound made a perfect
pattern against the glitter and sequins.
He undressed her and cleaned her face of make-up. Beauty so priceless, in a woman so
worthless, he thought. She was everything anybody ever wanted to be, rich, educated and
gorgeous. But at the end of the day, she was nothing to him if not valueless.
Elvan decided to keep her dresses though, even the silver one, and sent it to the dry
cleaners. They were important, worth much money. They were useful to him.
As for her, he tossed her bleeding, naked body into a potato bag, wrapped it tight, and
threw it into one of the garbage dumps deep in the city. There, he was sure that nobody will ever lay eyes on his wife again.



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