This story is selected as Editor’s Choice
“Writing a story is not easy as one thinks. Making one is homologous to creating a universe. We fabricate our own universe and add reality to it. To write a perfect story, you need to delve into the character’s world, walk in his shoes, see through his eyes and breathe the air he breathes. Feel his pain. Feel his happiness”.
My father’s advice, when I told him about my decision. He badly wanted me to run his textile company but I refused. He was a great man. Like all fathers, he was a great inspiration to me. He helped me walk the thorns of life and bared the pain for me. He helped me to see things differently. For all those who asked “Does God exist?”, I replied ‘yes and he is right in my home’.
But that was years ago. Things have changed now. I fear it had changed for the worse. It was time for dusk. Sun slowly sank into the red copper sky. Birds returned to their nests. Natural light dimmed off to evoke artificial lights. I was writing my novel, most probably my last story. So, I named the book “The last story”. I loved the title as it spoke of something that would finally disappear. People fear death but ironically, the same people love reading books about apocalypse and end of human race. ‘Quite a funny world we live in’. My Mac notebook was running out of charge and I barely have one and a half hours to finish my novel.
This story was formed as a by-product of my ruthless wrath that occasionally disturbed me. The incitations of my anger was a young guy of mid 20’s. ‘Rinkesh Shah’. I first met him in a literary award function held two years back, to honour me. It was a time when I was in peak and all the other ‘competitors’ were sloping down the mountain I conquered. He barged through the crowd to meet me. I assumed that he wanted an autograph of mine. Later, I realised that he wanted to write a novel and asked for my help to assist him. I could have but I refused. The refusal came up with nasty language speared on him. It didn’t end well. From my refusal arose his literary knowledge from the deepest part of his cerebrum. From my refusal fell the literary knowledge I had. Jealousy filled my mind. I came up with a couple of stories but they sounded cheap and worthless to the ears of the agents and producers. My father used to say “Success doesn’t exist. It is just an expression”. I never paid heed to his words. So, I had come up with a gritty story that would bleed Shah’s gut and spit the brains out of his ‘brainless’ head.
‘The last story’ reveals the darkest secrets of a man that one would ever show up. The protagonist pukes out his darkest of emotions that was haunting him for a long time. People say humans are born for a purpose and each and everyone helm a destiny that they have to fulfil. He feels he was born without a destiny. He breaks down to tears often when he sees people enjoying a better life than him. He feels it is quite foolish of our ancestors to make a feather-weight cotton- and balsam- made pulp sheet as a medium to access any property in the world. World cries for money, studies for money, works for money but he has other ideas. He decides not to live but all of sudden he discovers his destiny. He asks himself whether it is a destiny formed on his own or is it actually the one that is supposed to be his.’
I have heard drivers say that they sometimes hate speed breakers laid on the road; it breaks continuity, flow of the vehicle. My father used to say “A road without a speed breaker is a road that turns out to be fatal”.
‘My protagonist doesn’t complain. He decides to remove them rather than driving on a plain road. He starts his mission. He decides to kill the person who intervened in his life unnecessarily. He chisels his head with chainsaw brutally and smiles when warm blood splatters on his face. A day he can never forget, his first act of sin. An eerie feeling ran down his spine. He realised he just killed the guy who brought nightmare into his life. A moment to cherish but the excitement slowly drops down as seconds pass by. He begins to doubt his conscience. Guilt hung heavy on his shoulders. He sits opposite to the headless body and seeks apology from the dead. He also wonders why the death of enemy brings joy first but later loses its shine. ‘What was there to feel guilty about? I killed the devil or……….am I the devil?’
This didn’t stop him. He compromises himself that the destiny still awaits him. He reaches his pale yellow walled house. He hears a whisper ‘murderer reaches his home’. His eyes widen and pupil gets dilated. He replies back. ‘I am not a murderer. I did what I was supposed to do’. He hears a sweet feminine voice.
He looks at a beautiful girl in pale colored skirt and wrinkled tops standing in front of him. Her beautiful brown eyes reflects his pale guilt-coated face.
“Dad, what happened?”
He watches her beautiful pink lips move as she speaks.
“Nothing. It’s nothing, sweet heart. Where is mom?”
“She has gone shopping. She will be back in an hour”.
“Is the dinner ready?”
“Mom kept the food on the table”.
“Can you serve me, dear?”
She nods with a charming smile and picks out a dry plate to lay food. The protagonist admires her duty as a daughter and slowly examines her beauty as a grown up woman. Libidinousness blinds his eye and his identity as father. He touches her hand and feels the tenderness of her body. She smiles at him and asks whether he is in a cheerful mood. He nods his head slowly and stands behind her. He gently massages her shoulder. His daughter starts to feel uneasy about her father’s attitude and gently picks his hand off her. This irritates her father and he bangs her head on the rickety table. He comes close to her ear and mutters, “You are mine”.
I felt I needed a break. I looked at my watch. The long hand was ticking its way to eight. I needed a cup of coffee, a hot one. I called my wife, Reema for coffee. I realised she was not home and made myself a steaming hot hazy brown colored coffee from my coffee maker. My fingers ached and cried for rest but my story was pulling me to its universe. ‘Ha, the joy of writing story!’ . So, I resumed my story.
‘The protagonist rapes his daughter brutally and kills her, leaving helpless on the cold concrete floor. He sits on the chair and looks at his dead daughter. He wonders how silent death can be. There was pleasure for a moment. A divine pleasure and it died out like death. ‘End is synonymous to silence’. When the pleasure dies out, he realises he has done the greatest crime a man can ever commit. He collapses on the floor and watches her daughter’s sour turned face. Her wet lips feebly moves.
The protagonist begins to pant. He slaps his face. Tears soak his cheeks. He realises that mistakes can never be undone. He grabs a bottle of cold water on the table and pours it on his face. “You are a dirty bas*ard! You raped your own daughter!” He whimpers and cries out loud.’
Suddenly, I heard my mobile ring. ‘I hate people perturbing me when I am in middle of creating my universe’. I simply ignored the call and continued my work.
‘It is late night. The protagonist hears a door knock. He finds himself lying on the floor for the past one hour. He builds up his strength and gets himself standing on his own legs. He opens his door to find his lovely wife posing with shopping bags. She greets him with a hug and steps in. He gets hold of her hand. She turns back in surprise because she has ever been touched so affectionately by her husband. He gives a gentle smile at her.
“Honey, Can we go for dinner?”
“We have food, darling”.
She gives a broad smile and accepts his request. She then asks him about their daughter. He convinces her by saying that she has gone to her friend’s house. He pulls her out of the house to save his own ass. He is now a murderer caught for an unforgivable sin. He still feels that it is part of his destiny and theirs to die. His wife says she will wear her favourite shawl for this special occasion. Before he can stop her, she rushes into her room. She opens her wardrobe to pick her shawl. Her hand slips the shawl when she tries to drape it over her neck. As she bends down to pick her shawl, she witnesses her daughter’s body, her clothes torn lying cold under the bed. She screams in outrage. She turns back to see his husband standing next to the door manicuring his finger nails with kitchen knife.
“What have you done?” asks his wife in a broken voice.
“Just did what has to be done”.
“You bas*ard. You son of a bi*ch”.
“I had enough of you. You never brought me happiness”.
He picks a 0.44 magnum revolver from his pocket and shoots right into her heart. All he can feel is the rough handle of the revolver. He feels less pain than the previous murders he committed. Memories of his wife and himself enjoying sunshine and the joyful ones flashed in his memory. Death of your beloved ones can carve out the most beautiful memories you cherished in your life time with them. He smiles and sits on the floor. Stream of emotions pass through him. He inhales the air that carries the scent of dead. He picks up the gun and aims it right into his throat. Finally, his cruel destiny has been fulfilled. His life was a one big joke. He has killed three innocent souls. ‘ What have you sought ?’ asks his conscience. He bursts into tears. ‘Everything has an end and end is silent, as silent as a vacuum’. He pressed the muzzle of the gun deep into his throat. ‘Goodbye….. everyone and spare me for the sins I perpetrated’. ‘
Just then the door banged open. A man in casuals holding a revolver stood motionless and slowly knelt down the floor. The author was lying dead with his head shot down and a revolver was dangling from his hand. ‘No! No!………’ , he whimpered and tears rolled down his cheek.
Later the room was examined by the police. They found two dead bodies wrapped in a plastic sheet under the bed. The man in casuals looked dead-pan and stared at the laptop in which the story was written.
Hemanth wiped his tears off and turned back to see a fat police officer in tight kaakhi uniform.
“She called me. I…….I….. should have acted fast”.
“Hemanth. I am sorry. No one expected this….. Not even them”.
“My sister never did any kind of harm to him and he mercilessly brutally raped and killed his 15 year old daughter”.
“Gross. Real gross …and yet another shocking news, someone has killed Rinkesh Shah and I believe…..”
“Why did he do this?”
Hemanth sniffed heavily and gave a woeful expression.
“He didn’t do this……… His character in the story did”.