The rattling winds were colliding with the window panes and the rain was pouring down in sheets. All she could see was her reflection melting away with layers of dust and thick streams of water that were cascading down the glass. She sat in a café, sipping her coffee staring out of the window. The blood-stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with a blue scarf. The blood started to congeal like mucous that would eventually dry on the steel. The droplets were seeping into the corners of the scarf turning its color from bright blue to burnt brown. Though blood defines life, at the moment the fetid odor was choking the exotic aroma of the freshly brewed coffee, as though to remind one that it was not a regular day.
Yes. It was not. Not every day did a disheveled, disoriented female with raindrops dripping off her unkempt tangled hair strands, darting red-rimmed eyes with red minuscule threads, trembling lips, throbbing pulse in the neck, heavy breathing, bruised knuckles visit the café. She wore a watch with a broken dial, damp grey splotches of absorbed water on shirt turning into dry white blots, stained trousers sticking to a long deep cut on right calf; all illuminating the shocking halo around her. That day the coffee was surprisingly stronger as all morning customers were alert. They were staring hard at her as if she was an alien, a lowlife who did not belong to the elite cocoa society.
Now the scarf was hard and red with small pale blue dandelions scattered on the edges. The malodorous smell of blood was prowling like a tiger, moving surreptitiously around the scarf, and was using the whiff of coffee as a camouflage to mark its territory. She took another sip to stop her mind freezing over with panic. She knew he would come. And, all of a sudden, stream of thoughts like wild horses, started galloping in her brain. Each thought like cannibalistic sharks ripping each other. She wanted to squeeze her eyes so hard that it would destroy the images imprinted upon them and calm the lava-like fire licking at her nerves. However, she couldn’t. She tried to stay awake. Her eyes were bulging out due to her intense efforts. Then all at once, it came in a torrent. Blood. Scream. Shadows. Punch. Stabbing. Running. Falling.
An hour later, after gaining consciousness, she strained to focus on the inverted human figure in front of her. She could feel the sweat bead moving up along the nasal septum and felt the restrictions on her legs which were bound at the ankles making her hang upside down. A tall athletic man was sitting at a distance on a green cushioned armchair sniffing the same blue scarf.
“Welcome to my abode… I was afraid that you didn’t like my hospitality”, said he while putting the scarf in his pocket. He moved closer and squatted to come face to face with her. With her blood rushing to brain she could still make out the deep wound on his neck which she inflicted last night. Staring venomously he stood up to untie her to carry her to the sanctum. He made sure that all exit points of the basement were perfectly secured. This time he couldn’t leave any loophole for her to escape.
He dragged her through a hallway into the sanctum. One thing that made the girl curious, even in her tired state, was the black image on the spotless white wall of the hallway – the image of Arjuna at the back of the chariot and Lord Krishna driving the chariot with five horses- the chariot representing the physical body; the five horses representing our senses; the reins symbolizing the mind; the charioteer representing the intellect; the passenger representing the soul.
She continued to marvel at the imagery and wondered about its significance in that dire moment when life could evade her senses forever. She was still contemplating the action plan when she found herself kneeling before an idol in the center of the grey-walled sanctum. At first, she was aghast, in the next moment; all emotions drained from her as she saw that the features on the deity’s face were not artificial but real human eyes, nose, ears, and tongue. All organs had been stuck to the face by the sheer adhesiveness of the blood. She looked around to wrap her mind for further surprises. Concentrating on the structure, she found that the deity was a hermaphrodite – a person that has both male and female sexual organs. The torso had breasts and two hands were protruding from shoulders to form a lap. The hands were covered with human skin with each palm holding a small heart and brain.
“Feel blessed that you got another chance to come to the vicinity of the divine Ila. I hope you recognize the blue eyes on her…”, he smirked. “Don’t they remind you of Yug, your son?”
On hearing this, her throat constricted as if a vacuum was created within her. Yug’s memories swirled around her. Her eyes welled up to the brim and a loud wail of agony resonated in the cracks of the ceiling.
“Nah! Crying would not give you relief. The sprinkling new life in the universe is born from the remnants of old wrecks. Grief, blood, suffering, dejection-an ordinary person can become unconquerable by walking on this path. Once you control your senses, then no one can harm you or your fear. And this end of the former you would be the beginning of the new you.”, he orated with his hands wide open as if an actor on a stage addressing his audience.
“You swarm of vile.”, words sprouted from her mouth in between gasps for breath. “He was a child.”, she pleaded with rage.
“I know he was a child. A baby born with both ling and yoni. A child whose sacrifice for the greater good would grant me command over my sanities and desires. And with the blessings from Ila, I then would finally have the energies of both sexes while you, who was born in the Dhanishta Nakshatra would make me invincible by your life. And I am not that brutal. Here take this scarf of Yug. It will ease your pain.”
He pulled out the blue scarf from his pocket, sniffed it, closed his eyes in its intoxicating effect, and threw it to her. “I will not behead you with an axe as I did to him. I will give you the pleasure of dying by the same knife which skinned your son and last night, you snatched it from me carving a wound in my neck. You almost killed me.”
He grinned at his last statement and threw away the axe mocking the human touch associated with death. Hitting her hand on the ground to induce pain, she held the scarf near her and constantly moaned wretchedly trying to deny the fact that Yug is no more. Her cries became deafening and though his sadistic soul had enjoyed them so far, he now ignored them and stepped towards the deity. Bowing in front of Ila, he took out the knife from the lady’s bag and dropped its blade in an inverted skull with blood as a cleansing ritual. He closed his eyes, stretched his hands, removed his shirt as if under a trance. His motions were fluid. His body was adorned with the marks of self-infliction for penance and renunciation.
Lifting the knife from the skull he turned abruptly to find that she was not at her place. A barbaric monster took over his expression and he yelled with spit flurrying out of his trembling mouth, “You can’t run this time.” He held the knife tighter to strike at the first instance. He crushed his teeth and swore to call her out. At that flash, he heard a strong thud of two units striking with great force. Before he could grasp he saw the axe blade beheading the deity making it collapse and behind the idol was she, standing with fury oozing from each neuron of hers. Hair flying, menace lurking in eyes, tears rolling down the cheeks she let out a loud bellow and jumped to plunge the axe into his chest. She repeatedly struck him with it and kept on bawling. Now and then she would call out Yug’s name and strike him harder. Finally tired she dropped the axe and took the knife to dash it through his heart.
Blood filled his mouth and spewed out from the cuts. Remaining last breaths, he continued to stir and chuckle. “Death is not a stoppage. The struggle of existence is the synonym of human nature. Eternal darkness is the absolute truth and the end is the beginning. This end of me can never be the fate of my thoughts. You’ll find me in every one. I will return because without me your mere existence is futile Kalki.”