Friday, February 05, 2010

Chapter 4: Master

A tear took birth at his left eye and ran all the way down. On the tombstone it succumbed to its destiny. It wasn’t the greatest of forts to lie in, but it was all he could manage. He had worked all morning and all afternoon to dig up her cradle. This was where she would lie forever. This was where she had ended. It was surrounded by palm trees on all sides. Somewhere close a road ran through the haze of trees. On one side of the palm trees lay the sea now silent and assuring. Dusk was approaching. His star had gone down and now the sun was going down. He spread his palms in front of him and reasoned. They were filthy. And what stained them wasn’t just mud. His clothes were smeared with the blood that marked his past as a milestone to his future. Would these wounds heal? He doubted it. He had cremated what he could but could he bury his own very mind? Would he ever forget? He was afraid not. And he was right. The burden of hypocrisy was too much for him. He fell to his knees and looked up at the sky. Fragments from last night’s skirmish played before him as his emotions danced to the snap of their fingers and the hiss of their tongues. She had stuck close to him and she faded away in the light of their love. And with every breath that passed he died with her. On one side he raged with anger and on the other he was filled with remorse weakened by the very presence which had once brandished his cup with joy. Now he was fissile and vulnerable. He frantically started digging up her grave hoping that he could plug life into her the same way he had snatched away a few last night. As he did, the cross she had made him wear last night fell to the earth. He wound it around his hand and continued, thinking it was a good omen. His hands were soft. The continued digging and varnishing had taken their toll. The cross electroplated with gold was made essentially on copper. Seeking the middle of his palm it stuck itself in on account of the continuous movement of his hands. He never stopped. And it continued to sting. It went deeper and deeper. His eyes watered and his breath quickened. The cold was anything but subtle. Yet he, in the middle of his search felt nothing. Night came and then came rain. The cold water felt sweet against his skin. But he didn’t want to feel anything. All he wanted was her to open his eyes. But for that he would have to take her out first. But his body was failing him. His blows grew weaker and weaker and his brows slower. His exaggerated sense of power was failing beneath the load of his pain. He shouted for strength and then he howled. His subconscious didn’t fail him. He was the werewolf again. But now he was strong enough. She was gone. Raging he ran headlong into the trees. His strength was back. That night many a tree were felled.
He woke up sometime later smelling fish. His nerves denied him of all movement and it pained everywhere. His skin smelled of herbs and stung as if he was on fire. There was something warm near his legs. He felt it even though the pain was astounding. A soft hum of music was playing somewhere close. As he opened his eyes he first saw the straw ceiling and then the mud walls. There was a fire burning near his legs. A battered chair lay in one corner of the humble abode. On the chair lay the radio. Sunlight streamed in from the doorway. Till something cut it off. The something was so bright that his eyes pained to look at it. Yet he couldn’t close them for the fear of being attacked.
He stepped in and his eyes focused. He was an old man he noticed. He had long hair and a long beard both white and grey. He wore white trousers. Around his left leg was a ring made of black steel. He walked to him and caressed his forehead. At his touch they both knew each other’s secret.

“I am your master.”