Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Midnight Masquerade

She was beautiful. And she was a little high on champagne. They were not celebrating anything particular; except perhaps their new found love for each other. They had dined at the ‘Casablanca’. A very expensive retro restaurant with the food as outdated as the d├ęcor. Yet, those who moved in circles similar to those of hers, frequented this place. The champagne though, had been good. She had wanted to drink some more, “I am high on life!” She had announced on a bubbly giggle.

He had stopped her. He didn’t want her drunk. He wanted her happy and alive and very aware of everything that was happening to her. He wanted her to glow with the happiness he was bringing her way. He told her as much. Her smile had wavered and then vanished. A fresh sheen of tears had appeared in her heavily made up almond eyes. “I don’t believe anybody can love me so much!” She whispered brokenly. She had then leaned across the table and kissed him.
He had been embarrassed. He didn’t like being the center of attention. He particularly hated the thought that a kiss, in a place as public as the celebrity-frequented ‘Casablanca’ could easily become tomorrow’s headlines. But he didn’t tell her that. He smiled into her eyes and watched as she settled herself on the white couch again. Her red skirt, rode a little higher up her thigh. She followed his gaze and then smiled mischievously.

He told her he stayed close by, so they decided to ditch the taxi and walk through the park which separated the two blocks. The black carpeted sky was smudged by a cloudy silver moon. The white light made her pale skin glow . She looked almost angelic. But even the moonlit sky could not soften the toughness within her. Her firm mouth, slightly wrinkled at the corners from all the smiling and her strong nose which highlighted her determined stance, looked tough always. He liked the strength in her more than the softness which defined her feminity.

She walked two steps ahead of him, her face turned skywards, soaking in the rays of the moon. Her hands were neatly folded behind her back. Even in that moment, away from the world, just with him, she could be nothing but perfect. He followed her, her red jacket draped on his arm. Her silk shirt was transparent thin and he could trace the outlines of her bra with naked eyes. He felt himself go hard with need. But he maintained his distance.

They stepped out from the shadows of the trees. The marble girl who held the fountain, looked funny as she just stood there shouldering nothing but thin air. He found himself turned on enough to trace the curves of the stone girl as well. He was so lost in looking at the lifeless form that he didn’t notice she had stopped, till he bumped into her. He mumbled his apology and stepped back.

She smiled at him and stepped closer. “Have you ever kissed in moonlight?” She asked him huskily, bringing her mouth closer to his. “I have always wanted to…” she planted her lips on his.


***

Her skin was perfect to touch. Soft, like unused velvet. She was kissing him with the abandon which only one secure in love can display. He returned her kiss with practiced expertise. He wanted her to moan in pleasure. He wanted her to be really happy. He wanted to take her to dizzying heights of ecstasy, so that all she would ever remember was him. She would always remember him anyway.

He laid her flat on the concrete bed of the fountain and began stripping her clothes. The park was quite and the only whispers were of the wind rustled trees. Emboldened by the alcohol in her blood stream and excited by the thought of making out in the open, she matched his passionate pace. He removed his shirt and used it to tie her hands behind her back. She struggled against the knot, dying to put her hands on his skin. She was writhing with pleasure and he was getting more and more excited.

Finally he stripped his trousers. He was hard and erect. She wanted to touch him. She made an attempt to get up, but he pushed her back. He began stroking himself and watched her eyes droop with desire.

“Take me in your mouth?” He asked huskily.

“Oh yes!” She pleaded.

He just continued stroking himself refusing to give in to her pleas. He was enjoying her longing. He wanted her to long for him. She was strong, yet now she was weak with a need for him. Adrenaline surged through his body at this feeling of power. He started stroking himself faster. He was panting with pleasure. This was no longer about her it was about him.

“Take me now!” he commanded as he pointed his penis towards her.

For the first time, her eyes snapped open. He watched as fear crept slowly into them. She tried to free her hands again. She tried to move her legs, but they too were firmly pinned under the weight of his. He dug into her hair and snapped her head back. She winced her eyes in pain.
“Stop!” She screamed. He used that chance to thrust his penis into her mouth.

Her eyes widened in horror. He smiled into her eyes. A very malicious smile. He thrust himself further. He could feel her throat make way for him. And then she began to gag. Her eyes began to water. The look of fear turned into plea. She tried to shake her head. But his hand held her firmly in place.

He thrust deeper. Her throat revolted and he could feel her spit enveloping his penis. He threw his head back and groaned in pleasure. He continued pushing. She made gurgling noises. He drowned them with his moans.

And suddenly there was just him. Her body went limp; her mouth still around him. Her flailing feet stopped. She stopped struggling with her knots. Her eyes were still wide open and staring at him. He watched as her black irises stared at him and then slowly ascended to hide under her open eyelids.

And then he had an orgasm.

***


He was sitting on the concrete slab beside the fountain. The ACP had been right. He had retched. He was now nursing coffe from a plastic cup, trying in vain to banish images from his mind. The forensic team had taken the body, or the head or whatever you could call it away and was now gathering possible clues.

He knew they would be a dead end. Just like Kirti Shah’s case had been. That was like two cases in a row. Everybody knew this ought to be a serial killer. But only three murders could classify a case as a serial killer. They would have to wait for one more. Would that be another seven months?

He took a sip of his still hot coffee. He remembered seeing photographs of Shivani Mehta in newspapers. She was beautiful. But somehow that was not how he would remember her. He would always remember the head.

It was clean shaven. The job of a perfectionist. Her head had been stripped off all hair. Her unseeing eyes were wide open. The tear path down her face had been traced by a black marker. Her lips had been painted red and sticking through her mouth was a brown dildo. It was about ten inches long and deep inside her. White liquid had crystallized around her mouth, making it appear like semen spurting from the dildo.

The white marks ascended down to her neck to merge with the red of the blood. And that was all there was. There was no body. Just a head severed from its body. A hunt of the park had revealed no body.

Where was the body?

In the same place at the body of Kirti Shah.

And nobody had a damned clue as to where that was!



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Following a Dream

She pressed down on the horn and forced her car to scream at the high horsepower vehicles screeching to a snail’s pace. She hated the early morning traffic almost as much as she hated being bothered by inconsequential dreams. Why had he popped in her dreams out of the blue? When had she last seen him? Twelve years ago? If she thought about him now, she could still see him as that awkward, bespectacled geek who glared angrily at her from across the class.

She allowed herself a tiny smile. Egos flared higher than the New Year eve fireworks those days. He had expected her to apologize for ruining his concentration by whispering non-stop during the science class and she had asked him to go fish! They had never quite mended that rift.

Which is why it unsettled her to see him float across her dream last night. He was no longer a kid. He was still thin, his cheeks drawn, his spectacles perched over his long nose, his face unsmiling. But it was his eyes which spoke to her. They had not been glaring at her. In fact he was not even looking at her. He was looking away from her at something she could not see. Suddenly he turned to look at her.

His eyes were vacant. The emptiness eclipsed the hope in his eyes and pushed their sparkle to an almost invisible existence. He looked at her and recognition dawned. She watched transfixed as the fast slithering hope suddenly gathered force and fought for a space in the hollow of his dimmed eyes. The struggle was brief and lasted only for a few seconds. From behind the fingerprinted glass of his over-used spectacles, his eyes shone with a radiance which would put the best of solitaires to shame.

But that’s where the transformation ended. He had not moved, even his lips were set in a rigid line as if determined not to smile. His lips quivered and she realized he was trying to say something. She leaned in closer to hear better. He let out a loud piercing, painful scream.

She woke up with a start.

She darted angrily between two cars and stepped on the gas pedal. Why had he figured in her dreams? She had not met any old friends to relive school memories, she hadn’t looked through old photographs, she hadn’t even thought about school. So why had her sub-conscious dredged him out of some buried grave and retouched his existence in her dream?

She passed the old school gates like everyday. The school had changed locations. They needed bigger buildings and larger playgrounds. The small space she remembered as school was not big enough to accommodate the increasing demands of an educated world. Weeds had sprung all over the playground. The building itself cracked at the walls and sported wayward branches of wild trees. She was tempted to pull to a halt and visit her childhood just once again.

There was a meeting scheduled for nine to review the progress on the Birla project. There was interview scheduled for ten. She really did not have the time to stop and pander over the past. But she was tempted.

“What the hell!” she thought as she eased her car to a halt near the curb. Everyday was loaded with meetings and things to do. It would be alright if she got late one day. She had so buried herself in her corporate climb that she had never found time to get together with who she was or who she had once been. Now seemed like a good time.

She crept through the half open gate and gently found her way around the twigs and grass to where she remembered her classroom to be. Her heart thudded so loudly that it threatened to shatter the early morning peace of this deserted space. What was she so excited about.

She emerged in a small clearing and was surprised to find that she was not alone. The blue dupatta fluttered carelessly in the breeze as her unidentified companion continued staring ahead. A twig snapped beneath her three inch heels and the girl with the dupatta turned to see who it was.

The two women smiled at each other. Their differences apparent in their common circumstantial existence.

Jigyasa,” she smiled, as she introduced herself.

Tamanna,” she smiled back.

“Did you study here?” Jigyasa asked, tempted to linger on in her childhood just for a minute longer.

Tamanna shook her head and pointed ahead, “My husband did!”

Jigyasa followed her finger to see a man sitting some distance away on the stairs of the main hall. She could not see his face. She watched Tamanna lovingly watch her husband who seemed lost in a world of his own in this private space.

“He must’ve loved school!” Jigyasa smiled.

“No,” Tamanna laughed, “He hated it! The only memories he had of school were of being bullied.”

“Oh!” Jigyasa frowned.

“I know,” Tamanna said, “ beats me too. Yet for the past two days he insisted he had to come here. He would not tell me why. Said he could not explain the reason in words. He just had to. So here we are!”

“That’s sweet of you to accompany him on his flight of fantasy,” Jigyasa joked.

“It didn’t feel like a flight of fancy,” Tamanna said seriously without looking at her. “You see, my husband has lukaemia. Everything has been tried and tested. Nothing seems to work. We are left with one option. A bone marrow transplant. Yet, it is not an option at all! Nobody can seem to be the donor. Everybody, brother, sister, cousins, aunts…. The most remotest of friends have had their blood tested. The bone marrow is just not the same!”

Tamanna’s voice cracked as she struggled to control her tears. Jigyasa just stood there unable to move and yet with no idea of what she ought to say.

“He said he hadn’t lost hope yet,” Tamanna continued, “ he said, if he came here, he would know just what to do.”

That moment the man looked up.

Jigyasa stood frozen in her dream. She watched transfixed as he looked at her with the same intensity of her dream. She watched as his lips quivered with the effort to say something which would match the renewed hope in his eyes.

She gasped and took a step backward. Tamanna frowned and looked at her. She followed her stare to meet the hopeful look in her husband’s eyes. She looked from Jigyasa to her husband and back. She could feel the air stir with some undefined emotion.

Jigyasa turned on her heel and fled. She jumped into her car and zoomed towards work. Her mind was a crazy riot of thoughts. She didn’t want to sort them, she couldn’t. She wished she could stop the million questions from choking the sanity out of her mind.

She pulled in the parking lot of the hospital. There could be only one supernatural explanation for everything. She walked to the reception and asked for him. Tamanna was waiting for her.

“I think we should get my blood tested,” Jigyasa announced.

Three weeks later Tamanna called Jigyasa to let her know the transplant had been successful.

“Why did you come there that day?” Jigyasa asked

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Tamanna sighed.

“Let me guess,” Jigyasa said seriously, “ You followed a dream.”