Updated: Mar 14
If you have not read chapter one, go check it out! it's awesome!
Jezebel mourns for her fiancé Arjun, her father, Arthur George drops her off to a date with Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu lost his brother Parikshit two weeks ago and receives a message from his father ‘The lawyer has agreed to take the case son.’ Jezebel leaves unexpectedly. She meets a mysterious black cloud called Saman who tells her “to get his life back, you have to take a life that loves you.”
Chapter 2: Afterglow
12 days later
“Is this the Sun?” said Abhimanyu, staring at a street light outside his home. ‘No it’s not idiot! Wake the hell up’ he thought, while slapping himself. “Stand straight soldier! Hey dad I’m falling!” he screamed at the main gate. “Hey look! I’m tall enough to look above and beyond the gate dad! I’m the only one who can do that, the only one”
His legs gave up; he was on his hands and knees.
“The only one” he murmured, wiping his tears away.
‘Get up brother’
Shock jolted through his body, “Parikshit!”. He looked up, though all he could see was an empty street.
“Won’t you give me a hand brother?” asked Abhimanyu, crying lone.
‘I have to get up now, street is not my bed, yet' he chuckled. Abhimanyu got up, now a bit steadier. He opened the gate gently. He did not want to wake his family up. Quietly he walked through the veranda, hushing himself up all the way. The fragrance of raatraani mesmerised him, certainly an upgrade over his own odour, probably the only thing he liked about that veranda. He walked up two stairs to the inner door. ‘I hope it’s open’ gently he pushed the gate open. Lights were off, mist of phenyl was all over. Abhimanyu saw unrestricted path to his room. He thought, ‘Hush and let your big steps carry you.’
His dad rolled in his wheelchair across the room. Abhimanyu stopped.
“Where were you?” asked Raman.
“Let mom sleep, we’ll talk tomorrow dad.”
“I am awake for a reason. The lawyer visited today. We are taking this case Abhimanyu.”
“Hurray! Let’s wreck all that’s left as well captain!” he chuckled.
Raising his voice, Raman said “Aren’t you drunk! Aren’t you wrecking yourself?”
Some words hurt, but Abhimanyu knew what was coming. He shrugged his shoulders in dismay and said “I don’t know dad, I know you don’t care so let’s not pretend you are a teetotaller.” He took two steps closer to Raman and said “besides, how do you think we are going to pay for this shit. More debt?”
“Your brother deserves justice.” Abhimanyu was impaled with remorse.
“So, death is all it took for you to finally notice him”
“Listen to me closely son, you’re not the only one to have lost someone. We have to stay together to give justice to our beloved, I lost my brothers in the line of duty son, and I don’t know if any got justice.” Raman said, trying to persuade him. Abhimanyu pointed his finger at Raman and said,
“Killer is what you are dad. If it wasn’t your stupid service, he would not have killed himself.”
Raman clenched his fists. All of his life he dedicated to service. After losing both his legs, he became a career counselor. He used to be an excellent soldier, expert marksman.
“All you are is a pathetic, no good, selfish, nihilist. If you had any respect you wouldn’t waste all your life in remorse, staying out all day and night, going on dates and drinking booze.” He turned his wheelchair around.
Abhimanyu smirked and said, “Thank you dad” he retraced his steps back to the door and said, “Please tell mom to stop cleaning his room” as he walked out. A loud thud closed the door behind him. He was on his knees yet again, weeping. “I wish it was me parik bhai” he said, trying to hold his tears down.
They are never departed, through memories who aglow.
Body parted, what remains is their afterglow.
Silence of the night was broken by Abhimanyu’s phone.
‘Jez sent you an image.’
‘What would you say if I asked you to come over?’
‘I’d say sure! On my way!’ he messaged.
‘Wait what! Really! Great!’
‘ ;) ’
“Can you smell it?” said Saman, waving his hands to take in a lungful of boiling souls, he continued, “Crispy, yet sour, demented, yet greasy. All this gloom reminds me of my days in hell, place so dreary even shadows were obscure. The flavour of poor tormented, repugnant souls jam-packed into narrow, abhorrent little hole.” Referring to murky room he was in, with obscure light enough to see silhouettes of each other.
“I don’t know. Have never been there” said the tall shadowy man appearing from the darkness behind him. “Lately I feel, that I know nothing about you” he continued.
Saman began rousing the giant beanpot,
“Lemony, juicy taste of malevolence and misery. Soupy, rich, refreshing, raw. Oh, I wish I could have more.” He took a deep sniff. “Bring me more oh mere human, bring me more!”
“Forgive me” Jezebel said while she set down portrait of Arjun on her dresser. She took a closer look of herself in the mirror, applying the all ‘no makeup’ look foundation. Her hair was braided into a very messy updo. She wore a long white night-shirt and no bottom. She applied her favourite French Nina Ricci perfume. She leaned in closer to the mirror to apply a light lip shade, where she met her eyes, as if questioning herself.
She stayed still and clenched her fist as her fingernails left a mark on her palm.
“They blame me for Parikshit's murder” said the shadowy man.
“Delightful news human, now their souls will scour the very fabric of justice. This is one of the reasons why I chose you”
He turned, floating closer to the mysterious man. Saman’s black rugged cape was gliding through the black mist. The red talisman around his neck was the only thing visible. He said, “Your decades in court and my company has taught you well, you make the innocent pay for others’ sin, see them torment each other to a point of no return, kill each other.” Saman looked deep into his eyes and said,
“Bring me more”
Jezebel was standing right in front of the main gate outside her mansion, when Abhimanyu came pacing with his bike. He was wearing a black sweater and casual jeans as usual. His curly hair and strong physique were something Jezebel always liked.
“Hello Mr. White T” she said as she exposed her neck towards him.
“Hello to you too Ms. Only White T” he grinned as he parked the bike right out.
“It’s really cold, want to come inside?”
“Sure. Although, cold seems better right now if you ask me.” He said, as he looked at her.
Jezebel blushed. She pointed her hands towards the gate. It was a long walk through it to her house. Her father has a fancy garden, a big herb growing unit, parked cars and what not. Abhimanyu followed her. She began moving faster and gestured him to hurry up as well, moving ahead of him, faster with each step. She pressed the input pin of the gate and it popped open with a green light. The lights were dim but bright enough for Abhimanyu to see the grand mansion, but he somehow wasn’t interested.
She started moving quickly towards the narrow stairs to her living room, she made sure he was behind her. She climbed the stairs as fast as she could, while she stopped abruptly, hoping he will crash into her.
Nothing happened, she turned around only to find he was sitting on stairs, looking down.
She went down to him, sat beside him. She looked at him and knew those expressions. She held his hand and asked, “What have you lost today?”
Saman said, “They molest, they oppress, and then grieve for their loss. I lost my child, my only daughter to a drunk who came into our house to loot us. An innocent child sleeping in her room. I mourned day and night for her, all my life I did all but wrong in my life, until I killed my wife to get my daughter back” he turned around and started stirring his pot again. Silence pierced the dark room.
Saman continued, “Loss gives me breath, it sows me into the hearts of those meek souls.” Pointing to the talisman he said, “and this sows me into you.”
“Do you know what’s the most beautiful feeling?” he asked, looking into her eyes.
“I don’t know what feeling describes the way I feel about right now, nothing is more beautiful than holding a loved one’s hand” she said, looking deep into his deep cocoa coloured, passionate eyes “what do you think it is?”
He looked down and said, “Maybe, knowing those hand will forever be together.”
Sudden remorse jarred her. “Maybe” she said.
They both held hands, their eyes met, silence cut through their hearts.
She leaned in.
“Why have you brought her into this? Have I not given you enough?”, said the shadowy man.
“You will know in time. For now, focus on your case, Arthur George.” Said Saman.
A sudden jolt opened Arthur’s eyes. He felt the rush of blood going to his head. He looked closely at the talisman in his hand. He reached out for the glass of water beside his bed. He got up, walked up to the almirah.
Opened it, kept the talisman inside and said, “Bring me more...”
To be continued
Chapter 3: The Secret
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