Undo that shadow
(for zadudet1’s contest, final round.)
God is great. His creations too. All his creations, except the creature that is prostrate in front of me. Blood gushed onto the floor in more fluidity than it will inside the veins. Through the cut made by the device I’m holding, it darted out cheerfully, wetting the white tiled floor. I can still feel my hands shake. Along with my hands, the kitchen knife that has blood dripping over its silver face is also shaking.
The man is long dead. The moment I propelled the sharp edge through his stomach, he gasped, coughed and struggled to life. An innocent soul I was, all these days that even seeing someone suffer in a movie will reduce me to sympathy. Or at the worst, will feel very low if accidentally should I stomp on an insect. But now I’m seeing in live such a scene, yet I smirk at it. A ghoulish smile lingered over my lips. The man before dropping dead saw me in a way that reminded me of Shakespeare. He slid in an amorphous manner, quite amoebic. I thought his eyes cried out, ‘Et tu, Brutus.’ Where technically, I’m not his Brutus, and he’s not Caesar.
I’m not unconscionable a being like that which lay in front of me. I’m righteous – mostly. But now I’ve committed a murder. A MURDER! The six letters haunted me more than the actual crime I have committed. After all, words are powerful. Words have life. Words assembled properly only will turn into mantra, and mismatches will make it evil-powered mantra. All these thoughts raced inside my mind while I stared into the mirror.
Mirror, my best friend every morning, now doesn’t grab my attention. Being a teenager, I spend too much of my time in combing my hair again and again, and trying out different styles, which anyway will get clumsy before should I reach my college. Though I know it, I can’t help it, but give in to my hormones. The volatility of my hormones deserted my equipoise.
I saw the corpse. He’s a lusty beast. I know he’s been into ‘going-to-the-whores-habit’ for a couple of years. Well, not just a couple, as far as I know, for about ten years at the least. I can’t understand what he had achieved in these ten years with whores. He’ll spend money like water* but yet something kept on muscling up his affluence. I never cared about it. As long as I’m getting paid my school fees and given three basic needs – food, clothing and shelter. I loved him despite everything he did. I don’t know if he repeats my love.
I saw my little sister curled up in the couch. She’s unconscious and was bruised. Scars decorated her arms and a few cuts appeared on her forehead. This man, who I killed just now, is the culprit for her unconsciousness. I closed the distance between us and tried to wake her up – with the knifein my left hand. She didn’t wake up. No use. Tears ran down my cheeks. Why give the cops the trouble to get into the home? Let me go out. I made my way out. Yes, I’d informed them over phone that I surrender. They’ll be here in any minute.
I sensed a strange feeling as if my mom is patting my head – seeing my mom smile unanimated. She’s looking at me sternly. That’s weird. She can’t come out of the grave. That too, after nine lonely years. I’d once wished her to come back. Not anymore now. I’m a mature person. Not the same kid, who would believe that mom would come back from her cage to tell bedtime stories. I no more want bedtime stories but only maternal love. Oh, it’s her photograph! Flipping the photograph on the table down, unable to face my mother’s angelic eyes, I slowly filed out of my home.
Earlier, I cheerfully barged in into our house. I mean “house”, not “home”. The vision froze my life. I felt my heart singe at the sight. I saw this man fully drunk trying to seduce my little sister. This man, I’ve known since my birth. This man, who is supposed to be my role model, but never had been the one. He’s almost naked and he’s about to get my sister undressed. She showed no signs of vitality. I couldn’t compose myself. I threw my bag on the floor and ran to stop that guy before he could rape her. I hollered, ‘Hey! What are-‘
Though out of sobriety, he tossed his head in the direction from where the sound originated. He seemed to be terrified seeing me. I pushed him instantaneously off to a safe distance as if it’s my reflex action. He tried to fight me back, but ended up in vain. I’m not stronger than him, but I’m fairly conscious. He’s drunk. I spoke not a single word but kept on dodging him and tried to lock him. I can’t believe I’m fighting this man. He cursed me in all the swear words human had invented till this date. I cared not. I don’t want to hurt him, at the same time, want my sister’s safety. I thought he would give up after fighting a considerable time.
Oh what have I done? I pushed him more forcefully and he got slumped onto the wall. His already red face turned redder. What’s he doing? Oh he grabbed the kitchen knife that lay on the table – kept to cut the apples. With a swift leap, he made the knife towards me. I dodged it in a hair breadth distance. Before he could regain his composure, I quickened my hands to snatch the knife off his grip. His hold wasn’t good; he just gave in very simply. I stood before him with the tool in my right hand. My face with a frowning look.
He mumbled something – his words aren’t perspicuous but I’m perspicacious enough to decipher the meaning. He said something like he’s about to kill me the same way as he had killed my mom nine years before. What? He killed my mom? I never knew it was a murder. All I knew was one fine morning, she wasn’t there to nudge me to go astir. What I knew is that I’m told that she will come no more. What I’m told is that she’s dead. What I didn’t know then is that ‘What is death?’ I never imagined that that was the end of all. But anyway I grew accustomed to it.
The moment my eardrums received those words, I felt my eyebrows jump in rage, eyes turn red, teeth rattle and my blood become hot. I didn’t even spend a single second after his words sank to death. Not a second. Before I realised what had I done, I saw the drunkard slither slowly to death. He fell to ground prior to which he extended his hand trying to grab hold of me. I stood shocked seeing his fall. He exhaled his final big breath and gave up his ghost. Blood gushed out of his stomach. I wondered how he escaped the tentacles of law after butchering my mom. I then composed myself that he, after all, is a big gum in this city. Will the cops ever accuse a big business magnate? Probably will never. They always were supplied with loaves and fishes in a schedule – once a month. Corruption!
I came out. Still in my right arm lived in blood, the steely knife. I heard at a distance the siren. How plastic a life does the cops have! They can never weigh the good and bad side of a case. They’re not allowed to. They’re the modern slaves. Whatever their higher official should say, they have to do it. They can’t research if I’m good or bad. Docility at it’s best – of course, officially. At this moment, a million thoughts swarmed in my mind. What will the world say? What will my sister do after I get arrested? How will I ever explain her this situation? What will I get for this? Will I ever be able to come back?
Three or four policeman descended out of their cars. One of the men shouted out, ‘Who called us? Who’s the one who killed his own dad?’
His voice echoed throughout the entire street, and our neighbours emerged out and enjoyed being the honourable spectators. I raised my left hand and yelled out, ‘Me!’ Just a single word. A single word that is going to decide my future, or maybe, decide my death. I saw them advance towards me with a handcuff. My brain poured in lot of thoughts again. What will my sister do when she returns to consciousness and finds that I was arrested? When will she be up? Will I have to live my life in prison? I shouldn’t live blatantly. I considered the options. Should I slice my throat myself or should I comply to getting handcuffed?
I’m now standing in the grass lawn. Undecided. The sun is almost in its peak. Before me, lay on the ground, is a black silhouette – stretched off its actual dimensions – my shadow. Only one. Tears trickled down my eighteen year old eyes, when it twinkled me to one of my most precious moment. I saw me and my mom. Two shadows. My mom holding my hand. One to one, pointing at something and telling something. Though I don’t remember what it is, the two shadows froze in my mind. I decided to slice my throat rather than to get killed by the law. Suicide! I finally wished I could undo that shadow.
A/N: *money like water – a regional phrase used in south India, to infer to one’s extravagance in expenditure. Means ‘wastes money.’ And yes, I guess, the expressions must be classified archaic since water nowadays has become scarce.