His feet were numb with cold and he walked barefoot on the granite floor. Dark clouds were looming over the starry night. A very strange mist hung in the air and the continuously blowing wind whipped him square on the face, as if giving him a promise of a tomorrow that would never come. But it would, he thought. He had it all laid out now. His plan was fixed, his mind focused and determined. He closed his eyes. 'She deserves it…' he chanted though he was still hesitant. He knew that it would be hard, close to impossible. He now stood in front of a mirror and scrutinized himself. A black tailcoat paired with a red tie. He looked perfect, just like Count Dracula. The very thought made him smile. He shook his head in disbelief. In a crucial time like this, he couldn’t afford to let himself go. He straightened up his shoulders and took a deep breath. He took hold of the little crucifix sitting on the chair by the mirror and wrung the thread around his head. He muttered a silent prayer. ‘Forgive me my lord.' he whispered. The clock chimed ten. This was it. It couldn't wait any longer. He heaved and gulped in a mouthful of air. He moved swiftly over to the room at the extreme end of the long damp corridor. The room, with an oak wooden door looked like death welcoming him. It was ajar and yellow light was flooding out like wisps of smoke from a half lighted cigarette. His stride was smooth, his expression inscrutable but as serene and handsome as ever. Without a moment of thought, he pulled open the door. Yellow light blinded his eyes. It was as if he was in a quest with millions of people watching him. Audience. Crowd. Cheering people. Judges questioning his ordeal. His knees buckled at the thought of being caught. He steadied himself again. As his eyes adjusted to the sudden change, he found a young girl of about eighteen with auburn hair and eyes as green as the lake where they had gone ages ago for a picnic. Her face broke into a smile, revealing her diamond white teeth. So beautiful, he thought as his heart fluttered with excitement. She got up from the stool she had been sitting on and went up to him, to give him a hug. Fragrance as good as freshly blossomed Lillies made him want to embrace her forever. Hold her as close to him as he could. He stroked her head very gently as if it would break if he did it any harder. They hugged for a few more minutes. He broke free and kissed her temple. 'I love you.' he whispered. ‘I love you too.' she replied back. There was a tint of hollowness about her voice, a tad of guilt and shame. It was as if she was nervous that she would lie. She looked down. ‘James, I’m sorry. I told you that it was too much for me. I didn’t-‘, she broke off and burst into tears. James stood there, watching her cry. Watching her fake it all. ‘But why?’ he whispered in her ears. Bile rose in his throat. This was going to be so much harder. She looked up at him alarmingly. ‘Why did you do this? You deceived me. You got married.' There was pain in his voice. His lips quivered. A drop of tear fell down on the hearth. James quickly wiped his tears. No way, he wasn’t going to cry. He couldn’t give up now. It was too late anyway. He looked up at the girl standing in front of him, begging him to understand. All the memories of the wonderful time that they had spent together came rushing back to him. Their first kiss, so sweet, their romantic dates, walking on the beach underneath the moonlight, the first time he’d made love to her… and then, the way things had started to get out of hand. Haywire. It was as if he couldn’t control the situation. She had started ignoring him. And then one day, he heard that she was getting married to a businessman. He couldn’t believe his ears. No way could his Mary get married. She couldn’t do that to him. They had sworn undying love. Till death do us part. But she did get married. She didn’t waste a second to break his heart. To throw back the time they had spent together and move on. The very thought made James furious. His blood boiled within his veins. He looked away from her pleading face, disgusted. ‘I’m sorry' she sobbed. How could she be so naïve? So dense? ‘No, I'm sorry.’ He whispered back and took a deep breath. It all happened in a spur of moments. A knife emerged from within his robes and pierced deep into her stomach. She screamed. She tried to pull away but couldn’t. She was tied in a bundle of arms and found no means to escape. Her blood flowed like liquid fire, burning her long gown. Her eyes were large with fear and regret. And pain. And then, she faded out. She dropped down on her knees, in a pool of blood. With one last moan of pain, she died. James looked at the entire scene with satisfaction brimming in his eyes. Everything was done. He had taken his revenge. He dropped down on his knees and wept. Then, he took the bloody knife and cut the wrist vein. Searing pain shot through him and he closed his eyes and the blood, hot against his palm, trickled down his hand. Till death do us part. A scream and a moan of pain. That was it. He dropped dead beside her. Hoping that they would be together again. Hoping against hope that he would surely meet her. In heaven. And this time, she was going to be his again. Forever.
January 2, 2011