An internal strife gnaws at my soul, scratches it… Bleeds it and slowly… As small rubies start trickling down from it, it starts to feast on the pain, on the fear and desolation that screams out from its voiceless mouth…

Just as I broke into the house I broke the glass vase standing on the window ledge too. Chill spread through my spine, as I barely managed to control the jumble of swears tumbling out of my mouth.

I stood still for few moments; biding my time… hoping with all might that the place would be deserted… But I was still on enemy’s land and there was no safe haven in the circumstances. A click in the next room confirmed this. I flicked open my eyes and immediately afterwards a door creaked followed by the unmistakable sound of heavy footsteps falling down. My heart plummeted. I was fatigued beyond recovery. This war had taken its toll on me… I could barely put up resistance to the torturous, yet continuous struggle it was making me go through… And suddenly, a new smell disturbed my sweat laden nose, which made me realize full meaning of the phrase “wetting-the-pants”. I had always been skeptical of such stories, believing that true grit and bravery does not piss in the boots… But then, I realized that pure terror and frustration makes you do things you jeer at normally.

I slumped down on my back… defeated and disgruntled with the life and its continuous battles. I gave up, and now just sat in anticipation of that impending bullet to whiz out of nowhere and hit the back of my head, liberating me from this torment once and for all. Just when I was going through all those memories of happier and peaceful times, an image flashed in front of my eyes. And the force of its power was so strong that it seemed to have stopped the fluttering wings of time for once. I sat down, and stared at the possibilities with my mouth agape. And then, jerked my hand into the bag in a frenzied search for my new lifesaver.

But I think luck had just evaporated like water vapor on a hot stove… because the more frantically I searched for the gun in my bag, the more it evaded my grasp. Finally, when my hands hit its steely body, I swear I could have jumped up and down like a ping pong.

Only the next second, when I pulled it out and saw what I had procured, I realized how you can be fooled by destiny, as a bastard gets done at a brothel when he is hell drunk and immersed in sadness.

The slick shiny steely body that I removed from my bag was no smoking gun, but an old fountain pen my grandfather had given me before going to his war. Till date I kept it as a source of inspiration, as an object for obeisance, looking at which I thought of the many glories even I would have had in war and death.

But all that evaporated when I saw that pen in the moment of my imminent climax, when I was juxtaposed between death honor life and desperation.

I came to the resolution that it won’t help my case much if I just sat there and did nothing. I had just got up to search something else for attack when I saw a pair of burning blue flames in the darkness of next room. Only the next second; when it moved into the shoot of light bursting through the tiny hole of window, did I realize that it was not fire but icy cold eyes which were looking at me.

There are tales of hypnosis in the oriental culture. Then there are tales of Medusa and Basilisk in the Grecian lore. I believe all of them have a little bit of truth, because if there are no freaky lizards or mythological monster-ladies in real life, there are pairs of icy cold blue eyes, set upon a huge scrawny face gazing at you from darkness. And trust me, they are no less petrifying.

And if I had thought that only pair of blue icy flames in darkness was going to finish me off with a heart-attack, I was wrong, because when he moved further into my line of vision, the gravity of my predicament surfaced completely. He was seven foot tall. His each arm was as thick as a giant python’s body, with bulges on his biceps as if those pythons had swallowed biggest rodents in the world. His midriff was as wide as a rhinoceroses, and all his limbs seemed to posses the agility of bullock’s knees. His head could have easily fit into the skull of a full grown male African lion. His short cropped hair accentuated a forehead which would have killed Materazzi had it been on Zidane’s head.

I must confess that I was so scared that even sweating or wetting my pants did not occur to me. I just stood still and watched the oddly calm beast enter the room and close in on me. From his back pocket, the glint of real gun shined on my eyes and I could just feel mingle of helplessness and irony trickle down my back.

Just when I thought my time was up and he will simply unholster the gun and shoot out my guts or brains, whatever catches his fancy, he moved away into the corner of the room. Split second later, another yellow light, darker in this case, filled the room as he opened the refrigerator and removed a can of beer!

If you can’t imagine my shock, I cannot register it. It’s like the noose turning in and giving out just when the executioner pulls the lever. He simply moved away, leaving me choking out of breath with emotions.

Then I started to weigh my options.

I was in his house, at his mercy, and most importantly his enemy.

He was the one in charge, having a big beefy body and more importantly a loaded gun.

Even if I somehow attacked and even hurt him a little, the chance to hit a lethal blow with a diminutive nib of a fountain pen was as good as me living up to a ripe old age.

And yet then when I was all set to chant my last prayers, that urge and thirst for survival hit me like a freight train. I wished to live. I wished to be victorious. I wished one more second of peace. I wished a death of choice, not incrimination. Suddenly the world got instable as the walls crumbled and ceiling broke away and windows rattled and earth split and I ran and ran and ran and reached my enemy and jumped upon him and pushed the nib inside his neck and hit the jugular once twice and again as I stabbed and stabbed and stabbed till blood rose out of a small scratch and then its stream widened so that what was a trickle spouting in one second became a stream spurting in another and it splattered around as the beast swayed here and there so it soiled the walls soiled my hands soiled my face but mostly soiled my writhing soul which twisted in deep rooted agony which shuddered my hands but I could not stop now because a soul lost was no big price in bargain for a life gained so I started punching and kicking the huge head and its bald pate while his icy blue eyes did nothing but stare at me dolefully with some surprise even and a strange glint that resembled blind resignation and painless strength and I realized the horror of it all so that I let out a gasp of wail and a shriek of despair which stuttered my footsteps and I stumbled down on my fallen bag and madness took me over so that I clenched my throbbing head and I wished it would stop hurting and beating so much that I thought it would burst and a shrill cry escaped my lips but my ears heard no sound and yet my head kept on paining so much that tearing apart my hair seemed insufficient so I started to tug at my bag and wrenched it open and tore it side by side and length by breadth and out tumbled my lost gun and I lurched at it and pointed it at the now smiling face of a faded monster whose skin was turning pallid and the flames were seeming less icier while the face remained the same like before a face which had been kicked and punched and stabbed and cursed and recoiled off him while even when my shivery hand pointed the gun the face remained strangely clear and lucid even happy for all I knew so much so that his smile did twitch a bit and his stare remained as dumbfounded as it was throughout as it was then as it would have remained so if I would not have pulled my finger and let off the trigger and hit the bullet and split his face in middle so that his smile vanished and flames crumbled into embers and brains spurted out of his head and wriggled near my feet.

After what seemed an eternity I also dropped down and shirked towards the wall, again fearful and uncertain of what might happen. After all that blood and brains and killing of icy blue flames, I was back to what I was when I had entered in the house. The undeniable futility of it all usurped me like a coiling snake and stung me with its venomous fangs. What was the whole sense of it?

Was I free now?

Would I be able to live?

Would I ever be able to look into another pair of human eyes?

Was this victory?

Will this ensure my peaceful death?

Doesn’t the end of my enemy marks my own end?

Was it possible to have an identity now?

I opened the magazine and saw another bullet sitting smugly there.

A bullet was all it took me to kill a life…

A bullet won’t it take now to finish my own?


Sahil Khamosh said…
Wonderful narrative flow, specially that one para which was one long sentence. I did have a little difficulty understanding your character though, he is a soldier isn't he? Its his job to kill, then why would he consider taking his own life? In general I've noticed that you do have a tendency to keep your basic characters pretty ambiguous and multi-dimensional. Call me orthodox but I prefer highlighting just one or two traits of a character in a short story. Anyways, its your character, your perception, great read.
One request, pls use another font color and a bigger font size, its a pain reading through the whole thing like this.

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