The evening news channels have been going berserk over the video of a 47-year-old woman, Monee Sreekanth blabbering, sobbing and cradling her mutilated dead husband.
Tonmoy messaged Mansi, “Hey, remember the nice travel agency lady we met during our trip to Uttarakhand years ago? She committed murder. Just switch on the TV. It’s all over the news.”
Mansi was astonished. A self-made entrepreneur, Monee could have easily been a source of inspiration for all young women who dared to dream about security and independence. She was intelligent, friendly and amazingly kind. But as people often say, looks can deceive. The gruesome images and the video flashing on the screen made no sense. The video exhibited bestiality at its prime. Monee had destroyed her future in a moment of weakness.
Mansi had visited the memory often. She and Tonmoy had not properly planned their trip. It was a writer's retreat, held somewhere deep in Uttarakhand, in a secluded country house. Monee sat next to her, on their flight to Delhi. They went about talking and they clicked. She told them about her travel agency and offered to get them a cheap, comfortable passage to Uttarakhand. They parted the next day with smiles and promises for future meetings.
Having lost touch though with time, she became just another pleasant memory; a kind, helpful and inspiring woman. The thought Monee could be a killer was indigestible for Mansi. Half an hour later, the channels had censored the video and images to appear tasteful to the viewers. However, it didn’t stop the constant buzzing nag deep down in Mansi’s heart.
All said and done, the video of the wailing woman clutching her husband’s body still had the media by its toes. A week later, the police found her wrists slashed and a sorrowful expression forever etched onto her face. Monee had silently committed heinous crimes of homicide and suicide. Her case gained further leverage and secret Sherlocks began snooping around for the real story behind Monee and Vedant Sreekanth. But with no conclusive proof of all the numerous made-up theories, the hype fizzled out.
A year past the incident, Mansi came across an article on the web. Monee’s mother had finally given a statement. A week ago, she had received a letter. It was from Monee and explained her actions.
An ideal of absolute wholeness; the perfect human.
People were unaware of the horrific truth.
He was the predator for he feasted.
I had come proclaiming love;
Alas! devoured for my fate was sealed;
I had entered his domain that consumed every being.
My life was a movie reel played in repeat, a part of a no disclosure agreement until the web of oxytocin wore out. The mind planned out a perfect approach. But hesitation worked out ways to filter out memories, sort them into categories: the good and the bad. The good; there was none of that in that pile. Nothing could stop those horrific dark closets from opening up at night to reveal red-eyed demons. No amount of light could ease the shadows. Stop them from encapsulating me into their wombs.
Our first encounter was a match-making group date. Two years down that lane he had silently mouthed, “You are a very special person and I love you.” The moment was magical, and the butterflies sang out of my stomach, “I am crazy for you too.”
A story stylishly calligraphed onto thick handmade paper, but somewhere along the line, the brush broke. At times our gazes would collide, lighting up the same fire within, burning us both from the inside out. A string of moments spent together, welling up to release a band of colours to form a rainbow. But they flash by, leaving behind nothing in their wake. Years later, when you finally snooze the alarm no more but switch it off instead, only to realize that every sunset is the beginning of a new dawn.
Finally, out of slumber; I am awake. He remains oblivious to this.
Every day, my exhausted, bruised body drags itself and slowly crawls under the sheets seeking respite. I hum to his rhythmic breathing, his chest movements paced slowly. A soft faint sound emitting from his lips as he sleeps on peacefully with ease. His obsession with keeping me chained, locked away from his true self, was justified. He was afraid. Scared out of his wits, for he worshipped for power. Never to satiate, as bloodthirst and power devour every being from within.
How can I stay away?
He has no idea that I have the key to my cuffs and the locks on the chains. Maybe locking me up meant binding up the demon inside him. But, in this process, he had created the devil itself. I am here to consume him.
It is dark outside. 10 minutes past 3 am. Today, I will release him from his continued guilt.
Suddenly, it was crystal clear. The media became frenzied over the letter. Some defined her actions as justified, some purely devilish. A few others felt sorry for the necessary burden she had to carry. The truth was, a smile was trapped, a flower withered and adversity birthed a demon. Monee was a bright star but her light fizzled out and desperation led her to a moment of weakness, to seek peace in an extreme, unjust world. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe now her cries will echo on those streets desolated due to the fear of a monster created out of a lust for power; power over an innocent’s life.
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