DEATH BEAUTY As he lit his cigarette, she knew, the following cough she didn’t have to wait for

. He smiled; the shroud of evening didn’t hide his crimson ears from her. Patting the ledge beside her she motioned him to sit down, and they struck a conversation. She was gothic, a gothic beauty. Her waist long raven black hair had red streaks on them. The kohl around her eyes were just right, her black nail polish suited her. Her painted red lips lusciously stood out. Dressed in black. Perfect. His first thought when he saw her. He worked as a receptionist at a psychologist’s office. At 17 he had the notion of a debt, a debt he had to pay society. Working for free three days a week he repaid back in his own way. It was karmic for him. On a dull Wednesday evening she walked into his life with her mom. As she flipped through a magazine, he couldn’t help but wonder. An unknown urge had germinated inside him. Her mom was a hawk. They made their entrance roughly 10 minutes before an appointment, and she would have a disapproving look each time she caught him trying to steal a glance at her daughter. The girl in question though was only interested in flipping through magazines from the coffee table, till she nonchalantly walked in for her session. Two weeks before the fateful day, the mom stopped accompanying her. He had a hunch; she had a cigarette key chain, and got a confirmation when he saw her toying with a lighter which helped him hatch a plan. Careful manipulations with the appointment list gave him 30 minutes which was time enough to act upon. Confidence was the key word; though he didn’t smoke, he bought an expensive pack. He had boarded a ship, whose final destination was unknown. He let her toy with the magazines for sometime to muster up courage and mustering as much as he could, walked up to her. Though he lacked confidence, his voice was surprisingly calm. He asked her if she would like to join him for a smoke, he added with a deliberate pause then that the psychologist would be late. She was 19, answer to his first question, was in first year of college and liked heavy metal. Though the conversation was like a question and answer session he felt it was going somewhere. He started to talk about himself , she was a surprisingly patient listener, or was she? After she lit her second cigarette she eased up a bit. She titled back her head to face the murky sky and started to talk on her own. In the dim twilight he was not a patient listener, his mind had taken to wanderlust. They say when a man looks upon the face of beauty and beauty stays its hands, he becomes as one dead. Certain numbness had overcome him as he watched her silhouette against the dim light which filtered around her. What attracted him; he neither cared nor hoped to find out. Reason which takes a back seat still tries. Desire and dreams are born and destroyed with every passing moment, it was like wading through a flooded field, he didn’t mind at all. His lips had dried up, so he kept licking them. The twilight, the blue haze from her still lit cigarette, her lucid words and beauty, which he couldn’t define, was enough to cast a spell.

Suddenly she stubbed her cigarette and got off the ledge. He didn’t want her to go down from there. He wanted to hold her back by her hand, but even then the idea to him was preposterous. But he didn’t want to wait another week to see her, didn’t want to wait another moment, a swift anxiety overcame him, he didn’t want her to walk down the steps and into a locked room. He got off the ledge and in his desperation he broke a cardinal rule. He blurted out a question “Why do you come to see him?” She had almost reached the staircase; she froze in her tracks and slowly turned around and walked back towards him. He thought he she was about to slap him. He noticed she was head taller than him. She stopped a feet away from him and stared directly into his eyes, and even in the darkness he couldn’t avert its gaze. There was something piercing about it. Behind him was a four floor drop, in front of him stood a girl with eyes lit up by an insane smile. The feeling that he was trapped didn’t even occur to him. As the darkness around them grew heavier she leaned forward and whispered into his ears, “Shall I show you?” She pulled up her t- shirt; before he could answer and placed his hand on her belly. Her grip was firm yet gentle. With his fingers she traced her bare self. He didn’t see, yet felt felt her smooth skin interrupted by small furrows and indentations. He struggled to fathom what was going on, his mind was blank, yet in a strange way alert. He couldn’t suppress a girlish giggle though his palate was dry with a metallic taste to it. He was stiff all over and sweating yet it was a cool evening which enveloped him. She knew the map off her body well for he realised why she visited his boss. She was enjoying what she was doing; her slow moans scared him, as realisation dawned. The odd furrows were oblong and numerous they ran all over stomach and sides. Her relish confirmed they were her handiwork. SCARS! He shut his eyes and desperately tried to yank away his hand. She seemed frighteningly well versed with her every move, she held her grip firm as she silkily called out the words “Surgical Addiction” and let his hand slip. For a moment she was a statue, silhouetted in front of him and then she nearly screamed, ” RUN”. A part of him wanted to, a part deep inside sounded a warning. But there was another part, a part which had suddenly become self aware. A part which he couldn’t remember for it was never part of his memory nor had it left behind any imprints as it was always in the realm of the darkness of his depths. We are all accustomed to see a shackled form a monster, in front of him was something, someone monstrous, beautiful and free. Yet he knew she was scared, wounded like a man eater who stalks only a weaker prey. His tight grip on the ledge relaxed as he drew himself up and simply said “no”. Her manic smile disappeared as he found courage to look into her eyes. She turned around intending to escape, he lunged for the hand which had imprisoned his and brought it onto his lips. As he placed a gentle kiss on it the darkness surrounding them was complete.

The psychologist stared pensively at her, she was a difficult case, he loved challenges. For half an hour he let her sit on the couch without uttering a word. He was mildly irritated with her for missing the session last week. He waited for her to speak she sat listlessly. He was paid well to make her talk by the girl’s mother; about her troubled existence. As he tapped away the remains of his pipe, he asked her casually,"So, what did you do to yourself last week?” She simply lifted to show the hand which had imprisoned and was imprisoned.

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