The Purple Death

She waited anxiously. She sat on the curb, oblivious to her surroundings, which were full with nothing. It was close to midnight, and the vicinity was clear of people. She was alone, but yet she was waiting for someone…waiting for something…

As an honest academician, Chloe climbed the ladders away from the abject poverty that had cast an ominous shadow over her childhood, only to find herself at the same spot of penury. She was not among the ones who’d blame anyone else for any misfortune that came her way, but rather, she sucked it up. Her father had made severe financial blunders, which caused them dive face first into the ocean of debt, the surface of which felt like thin glass. A dull life with just enough money to live had started to eat her from within, and vacuumed her life out of satisfaction.

Teaching was not something that she saw herself doing, but to make her way through, she taught to the needy, and made money only enough to nourish herself and her small family. She did not complain, neither did she crib over her situation. She fought and she survived, but was robbed of any possibility that would make her happy from her heart. The happiness that appeared on her face was disconnected from what ran in her heart. Fighting for survival and then money, barely enough to keep her alive, made her feel as if she were a hamster running on a wheel. Ending exactly where it started. She was looking for a window out of which she can escape.

She got a job at a public school that paid her in meagre quantities. She was offered a position in a private school that promised her the money that she only dreamt of. However, she knew it in her head that her chase for money will ruin the future of public schools, and soon, there would exist none. Poor kids will remain uneducated, availing a monopolistic advantage for the private giants. Besides, her greed for money was lost. She didn’t think that she would enjoy it like the way she could have if she had more money ten years ago. She continued at the public school.

Frustrated, she went to a place where she usually went when she was low. A jewellery shop. She was browsing things she gave up hopes of owning. However, her desire could not be subsided. She ached for some necklace, or a ring, or a tiara or anything else that she couldn’t afford. The owner knew her and her tragic life since she was a young little girl, who wasn’t dried off of the joy and glee. His life was not as glorious as it was a decade ago, when he could take walk with a straight back.

“This is a new collection!” Chloe stated with a smile on her face, clearly joyed by the glitter of the gold, and the shimmer of the silver.

“It certainly is, Chloe! How are you, today?” The man spoke with an aging voice, rough due an overuse of cigarettes.

Chloe hoped he did not ask this question since it brings her back to reality from this magical land of gleam and shine. “I am doing okay, Mr. Brown.”

Mr. Brown could see the pain beneath her face every time he heard the response. He asked this question every time to read how she really is from her face. It only got worse from the last many times.

“Come,” said Mr. Brown, pointing his hand towards a staircase that led to the warehouse underneath the shop. “I will show you something that will make you lose your senses!” He locked the shop door from the inside and led the way downstairs. He walked with a limp, every step a shot of pain through her legs.

They settled in a room, big enough only to fit two people and a small table between them. However, the walls were full of shelves and drawers where Mr. Brown stored his jewellery. He took out an elegant black box from the topmost drawer on Chloe’s side and placed it on the table between them. He shut the light off, and turned on a small white light that was powerfully hitting the surface of the black box. Curious as to what lay inside the box, Chloe leaned forward towards the table. As the box opened, a magnificent glow of purple washed her face. Her expressions of joy could not have been described better than this purple shine on her face. Mr. Brown observed her face; he could not dig that deep in his memory to a time when he had seen Chloe his astounded.

Mesmerized and lost, Chloe’s amazement of the grandeur of the small purple stone was brought to a steady halt by My Brown’s polite interruption. “This is called as a Blue Garnet. I know it is purple, but that is why this is a special stone. It is blue by nature, but it turns purple every night. It is among the rarest of the stones! As small as this is, selling this will help me earn a fortune.”

“I am sure it would.” Chloe was yet to come out of the incredulity.

“However, there are many stories associated with his stone, Chloe. I need to tell this to someone. If I tell this to a prospect buyer, he will never buy this stone from me.”

Chloe was bewildered. “Why is that? What is the story?”

Mr. Brown cleared his throat. His grey hair shone brighter in the small light in the room. “This stone has changed several hands. I have learnt the reason why. As mesmerized as you were, other enthusiasts were trapped by the charm of this stone, but they bought it. The first owner of this stone bought it from a jewel exhibition in Mumbai. An enthusiast, wealthy businessman bought the stone with a blink of an eye. Now, as if this stone is cursed, the man’s car was slammed by a truck just when his driver pulled off the car out of the parking. The driver survived, the owner of the stone did not.”

Chloe’s eyes spoke of the horror that she felt.

“This stone was shipped to Dar es Salaam, to his only son, who inherited all his possessions. He sold it the First Lady of Tanzania. Her position rewarded her with a lot of money, and his work had her in constant touch with her. She bought it without having to try to sell it to her. The stone has a magical spell that lured the audience into falling for it. It is akin to Siren, who deceptively attracted the shipmen towards her, breaking their boats apart. She choked on her next meal the same day. It is also said that she was attracted to the stone enough to bring it with her everywhere she went.”

Chloe was smart enough to understand what is going on. “Mr. Brown, are you feeling superstitious about this stone?”

“If I were superstitious, I would not buy the stone off the grieving lady who came yesterday. Co-incidences are more powerful than superstitions. Superstitions are merely incidences that humans fail to comprehend.” Mr. Brown stated plainly, expecting her question. “Now, this brings me to the last known owner of this beauty. Mr. Grim. A connoisseur of rare stones and jewels, and more importantly, a man who ridiculed the curse that hovered over this multi-coloured stone. She wanted to sell away the stone, the blasphemy that made her beloved fall off the roof to death.”

Chloe was shocked and puzzled. Dumbfound as never before, her lips were parted and her eyes stared at the table where the black box was placed. Mr. Brown, with his stooped back, was putting away the box with careful steps on the small ladder, placed right behind Chloe. Grasped by the mystic powers of the purple stone, Chloe handled a box of jewellery from beside her in the shelf, and slammed it on the back of Mr. Brown. She smashed the glass and the wood on him and before he could gather his senses around what was happening, he succumbed to the possessed woman who out of desperation put an end to his life. She delivered the curse that the stone possessed.

Now, she waited. She waited on the street. Sitting under the gleaming moon, she waited for the end of the joyless life that she had invited for herself. Every person who has possessed this stone has died, she thought as she ran her finger across the stone, thinking of Mr. Brown who was delivered a release that he needed, now waiting for her own release that would set her free from the manacles of the joyless and unambitious life. “Superstition,” she said to herself, bringing a smile to her face as she ran her hand through the smooth surface of the stone. She waited..

Advertisements

The Boss

The train thundered through the beautiful landscape, only a few kilometres before it made its journey through the mountainous terrain of the picturesque snow-clad scenery. The quietude outside the train, in the serene hills, was in contrast with the environment inside. An old couple in the far end of the coach exemplified the truthfulness of a relationship as they laughed together. A group of young students were on a trip and they appeared absolutely vibrant. A young woman was reading a romantic book, which turned her cheeks red, probably missing her love. Everyone on the coach looked thrilled, except for one man.

A middle-aged man, sitting by himself by the window stared into the depth of the woods from the window. His dark eyes were fixed outside the window for quite some time. He was lost in thoughts, which apparently ate him up from the inside. He seemed to be worried about the what came next and was clearly and quietly expressive about his anxiety.

Frank Gordon, a slightly older man, sat opposite to this middle-aged man; he could not help but notice the growing anxiety on the man’s face. He wore a perfume that had a musty scent. It was very distinguishable and it caught Frank’s olfactory senses. Gordon interrupted his thoughts, breaking the depth of them. “Excuse me, good sir. I hate to bother you, but I could not stop thinking about the nervousness on your face. Clearly something is bothering you. You seem to be in some trouble. Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”

The man stared at Gordon with a disturbing look, clearly displeased with the unwelcoming interruption. The shadows were playing on his face as the sun was setting down behind the hills outside. His dark hair were neatly set and the piercing eyes were not helping Gordon to perceive the ferociousness of his stare any lesser. Frank was a little shaken by the silent aggression, but he maintained his cool.

The dark-haired man stared back outside the windows, squinting a little against the shine of the sun. Frank was feeling disconcerted upon the odd contempt of his honest concern.

“Everything will be alright, sir,” Gordon said with a forceful smile, trying his best to be nice with the man.

He adjusted his hat over his vanishing hairline and adjusted back in his seat. The train arrived at the station, and the impolite man stood up, taking his discourtesy with him. Oddly, even his impending departure did not help Frank attain rest. It had become harder for him to survive the heat that rose out of the disturbing silence that dominated the space between them, and his behaviour bothered Gordon.

The man left through the door, leaving a trail of the musty scent of his perfume. Apparently, Brent was the only one who got off the train. For a moment or two, Gordon was lost in the strangeness of the man that he encountered. Frank’s eyes came wandering to the bottom of the seat where that unpleasant man sat, and there was a black briefcase that he had left behind. Immediately, Gordon looked out in search for the man and he saw him vanishing behind the walls that led to the exit of the station. Compelled by his instinct of setting things right, Gordon picked up the briefcase from under the seat, which was heavier than it appeared to be, and he rushed for the door at the same time when the announcement of the train’s departure was over. He escaped the train just in time as he saw felt the automatic doors close behind him.

“Curses!” Frank muttered some angered words over the fate of his journey. The station he got down was surprisingly small, signifying that the region did not hold a lot of people. There was one small room, made of bricks for the station master, who was nowhere to be seen. The station was as unmanned as the moon.

The sky was glowing purple. Frank, without wasting much time walked briskly on the same path, which he saw the man take. Assuming that he must not have gone too far just yet, he hoped to get the next train, whenever it was. Upon turning the corner at the wall towards the exit, Frank walked out of the glass door and he saw the man boarding onto the backseat of a black sedan that sped down the road as soon as he was in. Everything happened so fast that Frank had no time to call him and deliver the briefcase.

Luck was not in his favour, but Gordon had ample of patience. Frank boarded a taxi that was waiting at the curb, and asked him to follow the black sedan that went ahead. The taxi driver obeyed and after a chase of nearly twenty minutes, the sedan came to a halt in a sketchy neighbourhood, deprived of rich infrastructure, or even decent buildings. An array of short brick buildings dominated the poor side of the town that he was in. Most of the street lights were non-functional and the only few that were lit faintly highlighted the quiet, broken and messed streets of the area. Frank found it odd that a man dressed as professionally as him would have business in the underbelly of a town. Frank felt the discomfort of landing in such a place, but he had to deliver the briefcase, which might be important to the man. The streets were not filled with a lot of people, and the lonely streets in such a shady night served poorly to his comfort. He had come this far, he thought. He carried on.

He got off the taxi, paid the driver and walked behind the man, who just entered a small green door in an alley between two buildings, where the cars would not fit. It got darker there. He watched his step carefully as the poorly lit street did not help him well with the visibility of the possible potholes; maybe even an open sewage hole. Gordon was as careful as he possibly could. He wished he had a gun for his safety tonight. He kept walking and then just as he approached the green door, he heard some voices. He stopped and overheard the conversation. Two men. They spoke about something that shocked Gordon and blew his senses off.

“You’re still on your number four, Brent. Another seven kills in another thirteen hours. What is making you so sluggish?” The voice was rough; the kind that comes with years of addiction of cigarettes.

Gordon was frightened, and considered fleeing from the scene. His morals held him back. There was not a chance that Frank would not act upon the knowledge of the identity of the criminals.

“I lost my briefcase in the train. My weapon is in it, and I cannot carry on without it. I need your pistol.”

Gordon understood that the man he had met in the train was on a killing spree. He shook in fear, he sweat through every pore on his body, but he still did not flee.

“Here it is. Remember, you have to notify Boss as you climb up the ladder. If he doesn’t receive a notification…”

“I know,” interrupted Vergo with an angry grunt. “He’ll kill my family.”

Gordon’s astonishment knew no bounds. He heard the pain in his voice. Whatever he thought about this man changed every few minutes; from a distressed person to a killer to a probable victim. His head spun with the heavy thoughts of having gotten involved with killers. The briefcase fell on the floor with a slam the moment he realized that it had a weapon inside!

The noise of the briefcase falling on the ground was loud enough to alert the two men and Frank heard the rush of their footsteps closing in. Without wasting another second, Gordon left the scene with the briefcase with him, and ran in the other direction from the train station on a pavement that was filled with people sleeping or shooting injections to their veins. After a long run in the forsaken neighbourhood and very less help from the people around in the area, he felt that he had escaped.

Gordon found one man in black hood at the corner of the street smoking a cigarette, who walked Gordon to the police station. It was a small office that lay in the middle of a malodourous compound at the end of the street. He rushed inside the surprisingly vacant office and spotted one room to his left and he barged inside it. The police station was as sketchy as the neighbourhood, but Gordon did not expect a lot from this god-forsaken region where he was stuck that night.

In that room, he was welcomed coldly by a burly man with greying hair and a big built. His thick grey moustache matched his stern personality. Gordon placed his faith in the stern policeman and narrated the entire incident to him.

“You’re the not the first one to have the knowledge about The Boss. He is feared all across. Kids, adults and others; anyone or everyone could be his target. He has a very strong influence over the political parties and gets away with every accusation with not even a scratch. Killing brings him pleasure and he has not stopped doing so in last some months. He has gripped the entire town under his giant web of violence and corruption, forcing everyone into murderers. Even the saints and the priests have dirtied their hands in this town. You came to the right place, here. You are safe.”

“I will leave this briefcase here.” The trauma in Gordon’s voice was overpowered by the anger that he felt rising in his belly. “It belongs to that man I met in the train.”

“I will take care of it. Soon, all this will be over. His strategy of making others kill, provides him a layer of extra protection. Once we get through that barrier, he will be dead as meat.” The policeman was as cold as he was in the beginning. It seemed to Frank that this was not the first time that he was hearing the anger of a citizen. He felt sad thinking about what happened to those people.

Gordon was flabbergasted. “I hope you have a plan in your mind.”

“What would you do when your family’s life is at stake?” The policeman stared at him with his big silver eyes. “Would you not kill to save them?”

Frank remained quiet. He was outraged at the horrid events that shaped that town. He could have screamed at the unexpected series of events that changed the entire story of his day…possibly his life. He slammed the briefcase on the top of the table with little regard to the respect that the policeman deserved. Before he got up from his seat, the door behind him opened with a creaky voice. He noticed a musty scent once again, and his eyes grew wide open. It was the man from the train. He knew it was him. The scent was so strong. Before his brain could register a reaction, Vergo’s large arms grappled Frank’s neck from behind and snapped it hard, rendering him dead.. His head fell on the table in front of him with a loud thud, his hat fell down on the floor.

“That is number five, Boss,” spoke Brent with very little emotions and he left the office where the Boss formed his shelter, disgusted over the depth of planning the Boss could implement for facilitating kills of innocent people. The man in the black hood followed Brent outside the station.

The Boss sat back in his chair, and a devilish smile was formed on his face at the sight of another dead man. This will never be over.

….to be continued