one more inspiration with Caleb Carr's book Alienist

 Angel Of Death

 

She was always wondering why she is doing this. Getting up every morning at five o'clock, running to catch first bus, traveling to another part of town then working hard ten hours a day  for small pay making hamburgers and smelling like shit, taking care of her  kid and  drunk, lazy, unemployed husband... Did she deserved that ? What she has done wrong? Why god is punishing her? It was not so bad on the beginning of her life. Dissent working class family, good grades in the primary  and high school. Some future in the distance. And than she met him, fall in love and on his false promises. Little girl came very quickly and, also, life in small, rented apartment without running water and heating in Skopje's suburban Chento. He changed abruptly becoming bitter, disappointed and most of day, drunk. He lost his job, his confidence and his love for her if there was any. She still have feelings for him. Some mixed emotions that are not definitely love anymore but something else, maybe pity, hate, ... Who knows? She asking her self all those questions every single day without getting properly answer. This day was not different than others. She sighed quietly and jumped from bus crowded with surly, sleepy people.

*

She entered in to the sandwich bar, closed the door behind  and started changing clothes. In one moment she  caught herselfstanding in front of mirror watching  reflection of the woman inside . In her thirties, curving in the way of the woman that age doing. Breasts still straight but not for long . Face- pale, tired and sad, with remains of beauty which was started leaving her because she don't have time for herself. Big, bright  brown eyes. Sad like her face.  She bite her  lower lip, combed her hair in the ponytail ,put red soft cap with company logo on her head and started cleaning mess left by girl from night shift. Girl always left place messy because she can do it. Because she was sleeping with owner. Old story and you can't beat her. In one moment, she noticed brown  paper bag on the floor leaned on the wall. Bag was with big Cyrillic letters "TABERNAKUL". She remembered that this was a name of the largest book shop in the town. Carefully, she picked up the bag. Inside was a  book. She pull it out very slowly. It was long time ago when she was holding something like this in her hands. Book was brand new. On the front cover was written with capital Latin letters " ALIJENIST"- KALEB KAR and  photography from nineteen century. A man in the long, black cloak and top hat  walking empty street. She turned cover  and start reading short contents inside written on Serbian language. It was about serial killer in  New York on the beginning of this century. Odd but book was world wide famous and with lot of  good reviews . She put her back in to the bag and  decline her behind bar. It was expensive book and somebody will be soon  asking about her. Maybe will be nice to read it but not now and definitely not when boss is here and she saw him how, with his long steps, approaching the  bar .

  It was almost ten in the morning  when Chinese bells on the entrance door tooled again announcing that somebody just entranced . She raised her view from bag of frozen french-fries she just trying to open. In front of her was standing tall, dark man in long black coat and red wool shawl. His eyes were black like night and sparkling with some different light. He had most beautiful smile she ever saw. She wake her up and put her ordinary, customer-only smile.

"Yes, how can I help you?, she said firmly.

"Yes. A-ha. I think I forgot something here last night.", he said with deep, baritone voice without removing smile from his face.

"Like what?" Her customer-only smile faded away making space for real one. He was real handsome and she couldn't help herself. 

"A book.", he said slowly watching her straight into her eyes. She felt how blood rushing in her face and her throat became dry. She quickly sink behind bar trying to get some air and fix herself. What was going on with her? She took deep breath and  raised her up with brown bag.

"Check this one.", she said and pass him the bag. He pull out a book from the bag and nodded with head.

"Yes. That's my book. By the way, how many books you have there. I mean,  behind your  bar.", he asked watching her. She start laughing. First time after  so long.

"Not too many. Actually, yours was the only one."

"I see. I am Aleksandar", he said and offering to shake hands.

"Marija", she returned wiping her hands with paper towel.

"Do you like books?", he asked pulling bar chair closer to the bar and than he sat on her.

"Yes. But I do not have enough time and especially money for books. And my boss don't appreciated reading books and newspaper during working time."

"But you are alone here. And there is no customers, like I can notice."

"He will be back soon and customers come mostly about lunch time. And I forgot to offer you something. Do you want some coffee? I am ready for my third.", she said smiling.

"Do you have green tea?" I am not really into coffee."

"Sure. What kind? I have with mint, lemon?", she said turning back to the shelf on the wall.

"Green tea with mint will be good.", he answered. She stretched herself  to reach the box  felling his look on her body. She blushed again. She cleaned her throat and turned back.

"So, this book. What is about?", she asked pretending that she don't know making a tea and coffee .

"It is an excellent book. It is about New York on the beginning of the century and they first serial killer. I read book on English couple years ago. Now I want to see how they translated book on the language I know."

"You are from Serbia?, she asked puzzled with his excellent Macedonian.

" No. Once upon a time I was studying architecture in Belgrade. We do not translate that kind of books on Macedonian. I don't know why?"

"So, what is alienist? The book title? What is that mean?", she said pushing hot cup toward him," Be careful, it is hot."

"No problem.", he grabbed cup with both hands and blow steam from top," Alienist is name for psychiatrists because in that time they called people with mental problems alienated. Estranged  from society and from himself. The main character in the book is psychiatric. He is very important for solving a case. He representing new age that arising. Off  course, there is a beautiful woman- first police detective and some historical persons from that time like future American president Theodore Roosevelt, who was in that time police chief in New York. It is very interesting and good written." She was spelled by his voice. This handsome stranger started again some flames in her. She felt nice after so many time. She observed his long, cultivated fingers with manicured nails, how holding the cup of tee, asking herself for moment how will be touched by them.

" I will loved to have enough time an read it. But I do not have. Sorry.", she said and turn her view to the coffee.

"No, no. Listen! I have idea. I will left you the book and than I will have excuse to came here and drink some hot tee an talk with you about book."

"That is nice", she said and raised her right hand with wedding ring, " but I have some obligations besides this work, you see."

"Don't worry. I noticed that. Me too. I am engaged. There will be a wedding next spring." 

"Congratulation.", said she with little disappointing in her voice. He throw glance on his wristwatch.

"Listen, I need to go. But I will come for some cup of good tea. How much I owe you?", he jumped from chair and pull out from  pocket money. His shawl fall down. He smiled and put hundred denars on the bar and then bend to grab the shawl.

"See you", said he wrapping his shawl round his neck.

"See you", she answered. Then he left out. She didn't noticed money on the bar. Just smell of his expensive cologne  and the shadow of his presence. She went to the door watching him jumping in the taxi. Then she turned back. Brown bag was on the floor leaned on the bar. She smiled.

*

Next couple weeks went very fast. He was coming  almost every second day. His present suite her very well. She start reading book and she liked very much. Then they talk about her. She like his strong masculine smell and appearance. She start feeling very live. Desirable again. A woman again. Her husband did not noticed small differences on his wife. Neatly combed hair, lipstick, glitter in her eyes. Maybe he does but he did not say anything to her till was enough food, drink and cigarettes on the table. Soon she started to open up herself in front of this total stranger, start talking about her situation, her fears, desires. He was quiet listener. He was everything what she needed in this moment. But she knows deep in her heart that this situation will not last forever and that soon he will propose something and that she will be ready accept -he asked her to see her after the work and she agree. They meet in the café "If", little, hidden place across the street. They started meeting each other almost every day after the work. First they talk about book and  then somehow they start talking about her life and her husband. How is she frustrated with him, trapped. And how she do not know how to escape because this was Balkan and her family don't give a damn about her and how her husband is aware of that. Slowly, unnoticed by her, every meeting was finishing with talks about her husband and how big anchor is he in her life. And one day he offered her solution to her problem. She need to get rid of him and he will help her. She need to kill him and he will help her to make perfect crime. She was astonished, scared, but she didn't run away. She was spelled and already deep caught in his web. On the day  they decided  to kill her husband they became lovers.

*

Life was start spinning around her. Faster and faster. She didn't have any control of him. He had. Every time after they make love he  started asking questions about his husband- what are his habits, about job, friends... She told him everything that she knows. Then one time, she mentioned her husband part time job with his friend. His friend was distracting silver from old celluloid and x-ray films. Very toxically matter. He jumped from bed. This was the right thing. She was watching his muscular body how convulsed. He was thinking for couple seconds then  he turned to her and tell her how to kill  husband. Mercury poisoning! Only she need to do is to put in his drink or coffee  a few drops of mercury from thermometer several times and wait. He explained her what will happened and that she do not need to worry because our doctors are incompetent and nobody  will find out. Nobody will find out especially if she told him that he work with toxic materials.  She agree like in delirium. She done exactly what he said. After one month her husband was gone. After one month Aleksandar disappeared from her life.

*

Telephone ringed. She jumped from the bed and grabbed phone. Little girl muttered something in the sleep. She kissed her in the forehead to calm her down and run in the kitchen.

"Yes?"

"Marija?" She trembled. It was him.

"Aleksandar where are you. It was such a  long time. Where have you been? We are in trouble. Police have start investigation. His mother asked for new post mortem. We are really in big trouble. We are..."

"Marija!", he interrupted her, " Marija, listen. You remember book. Alienist? You do, of course."

" What book got to do with this situation?", she asked franticly," It is real ,fucking life and..."

" O yes.", he interrupted her again," Book is very important for us." His voice was cold, almost unrecognizable." I will explained to you. Do you remember on the end of the book when  they found his apartment and  human heart  in the  wooden box. His souvenir."

"Common, Aleksandar, you are frightening me.", she said quietly.

" Don't be scared. You see, I also collect  human hearts. But I do not like to kill people. It is messy business. Somebody always is  doing for me messy businesses.", he laughed, "Any way, your heart  belongs to me now. Forever. It is my souvenir but I do not want to keep it  in the box. I want it to be live."

"This is weird. You are scared me. This is not a game. It is me, Aleksandar", she said with low voice , " I can go to jail. Don't talk like this, please."

" Maybe you can go? Maybe you don't? Who knows? . But , do not forget that I made you a very big favor. I change your miserable life and  I showed you possibilities of different one.  So, be grateful. You  have  your life whatever this life would be. Your husband do not have any. He is dead.  I have my 'heart in the box' and I think that we both have what we want, what we desired. So long Marija. We will never see each other  anymore. "  Then the telephone line went dead. She was standing in the cold, empty kitchen watching through window first snow  falling on the tree. She hold tightly telephone receiver Her wrist  become white, without blood. Tiny, child voice was calling her name from dark room. She didn't hear him. Only sound of the open line.

 

 

 


Submitted: June 21, 2013

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Comments

NiqueGiovanni

Oooooo!!Woah! I really like this ! ! I like how it captures you in the from beginning to end! Brilliant. My book is a mystery slash horror, and its called Hunted Read it if you want, but I will love to read more. You should make it into a novel

Fri, June 21st, 2013 7:26pm

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