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Mark felt for Laura by his side. Instead, his fingers met with something crispy - a piece of paper. He drew it in and squinted at the writing:
I've had enough; enough of this insanity. I won't be coming back. Don't try to track me down.
Mark cursed himself. It made no sense whatsoever. But then, Laura never made sense. His limbs felt numb and cold. He sat up wondering what he was up to the previous night. Strangely, nothing hit his mind.
Mark looked up. What a strange sound to be, he thought, looked to locate the source.
Suddenly, he realized it was a voice, and not a sound from some device, which was, in a way, impossible. He lived alone with his girlfriend (Or should we say ex-girlfriend?). He strained his ears. There was nothing, except the hum of the ancient heater.
Again. This time it was a tad louder; almost as if someone was whispering directly in his ear. The strangest part of it was that the voice sounded somehow familiar – a husky and hoarse voice, possibly of an old man. Then it came to him in a flash: the old man from his dreams. He had heard him many a times before, but only in his dreams. As his mind cleared slowly, he recalled last night’s dream: He had heard the old man again. ‘You shall have the power, a power you know not of, and shall have for no more than a day. Tick Tock.,’ he’d said.
That’s weird, he thought, and possibly impossible too. Nature was calling.
Frustration was building up, the reason unknown. Mark felt like tearing up his head to pieces. He gulped down an Aspirin and squatted on the floor, his thoughts back on his ex-girlfriend. Laura was no more than a bed-warmer to Mark, though she wanted more from him. She wanted someone stable in terms of mind and money: a sane man, she’d said. ‘And you won’t get a saner good-for-nothing,’ he said aloud.
The headache was intensifying and the ‘voice’ refused to call it quits. He couldn’t fly, couldn’t squirt webs, and certainly not lift up things in air. He had even tried out some of them, feeling foolish afterwards. Maybe Laura was right, he thought, I am insane.
‘Or probably I’ll soon be,’ he said.
Mark was sitting at his desk, his laptop propped up in front of him. He knew there was no escape. The neighbourhood seemed unusually silent and subdued, as if foretelling a terrible premonition. He looked at his screen:
There was pain in her eyes, anguish in her words. The tears spoke of years of abuse and violence. Her body shuddered as the fleeting glimpses of those unspeakable nights passed by her mind’s eye. Blocking back the memories, she wiped her eyes and grabbed her purse.
‘Going somewhere?’ Merlin asked absent-mindedly.
‘Movie. With Anna and Lucy.’
‘Okay, babe’ Jane walked out silently. Movie was only a pretext; she wasn’t coming back to this hell again.
The cursor had stood blinking at the same spot for the past week. He didn’t have the slightest clue how to proceed next. He knew the end was not far, but the ending itself defied any happy possibility. He knew he had to make this sick, or else it won’t let go of his conscience. I can’t let Jane be a masochist, he mused, and she has to fight back. Jane always reminded him of Laura, he didn’t know why.
Mark ignored it. He didn’t care. All he wanted was to end this pain for once and all. He couldn’t let this draft eat up the rest of him. Instinctively, he replaced every Jane with Laura in the document. At least she can’t escape from my story, he chuckled. Suddenly in a genius of the moment, it struck him – the ending. He knew what had to be done. So, he went typing:
Laura knew she had to end this. She had had enough of this torture. There was no way she could just leave him to prey on another innocent soul. Thus she returned, with a renewed sense of determination and a newfound friend.
Tick-Tock. Mark continued:
She reached hell. She opened the door quietly and frisked in. As her eyes got accustomed to the dim light, she saw him, sitting in his usual place, lost in some thoughts. She could feel her heart thumping hard beneath her chest. She moved forward slowly, careful not to disturb him.
She stood behind him, ready for her final strike. But suddenly, he turned to face her. As terror and revelation dawned in his eyes, she brought down her friend, the axe, on him.
Mark stopped. He re-read the paragraph and cursed his writing. This won’t do, he contemplated, maybe I should re-write the last scenes in Merlin’s point-of-view. As he was thus wondering, he realized his beer can was empty. He turned around to retrieve another one. To his grand horror, Laura was standing in front of him, an axe in her hand. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground, a pool of blood blossoming around him.
Now he knew what the old man was talking about.