Sleepless Night

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‘I did it!’ he declared hesitantly. Striding in, he directed himself towards the wash basin. The water from the faucet washed away the only evidence that indicated death; the blood droplets shone grotesquely on the pearly white surface of the washbowl. The boy volunteered nothing more but his reticence was justifiable. It was his first after all. The first: the hardest. His cadaverous eyes were the only traitors that gave away his nonchalant façade and resuscitated old forgotten memories in me.

I had stumbled in through the creaky door of my one roomed grubby loft that night; eerie silence and lifeless possessions had greeted me. I made dinner but hardly ate. Every time my thoughts drifted a few hours back, I would break into a cold sweat. I had one what the insipid do, I had done what sadistic recreants do – I had unjustly claimed a life. Only one thought impregnated my mind; only one frightened face permeated it. A strange turbulence was shaking my peace of mind. ‘Should I have killed that woman so brutally for mere thousands; and do so without knowing why?’

I tossed and turned in my bed afraid to close my eyes. Visions of her mangled corpse haunted me; her screams roared in my ears almost deafening me. Had I been that desperate for money that I had stooped to heights of disgrace? Where was my conscience when I was murdering her? Why did I not stop when she pleaded? I felt disgusted with myself! It was as if I had turned into a barbarian and my actions today were my bane for life.
This raging battle kept me up for hours refusing adamantly of ever relenting. It was then that a deep inner voice that leapt to life vigorously. ‘Why do you even care’, it hollered. ‘These people have been equally cruel to you. Was it your fault that you were illegitimate? Was it your fault that your parents abandoned you? Was it your fault that you were never welcome anywhere no matter how hard you tried to fit in?’ Even I was surprised by my audacity. What I did was what I was supposed to do, what I should have done. I had spent a long enough impoverished life being shunned by society for matters out of my control. Why should they live with everything when I had nothing?

The exodus of my guilty conscience marked the end of the little benevolence that I had and pulverized the good in me replacing it with something heinous. My thoughts turned bestial and my insolence became my weapon. I stared at the riches I had acquired and pocketed them without shame. I then turned into an incorrigible insurgent refusing to let guilt prevail.

The cacophonous guffaws of my inferiors to the inebriated banter cut through my reverie like a chainsaw and brought me crashing back to reality. I used to be the beleaguered one thirty years ago now I was the belligerent one; I was the one who had everything from mansions to Brooks’ Brothers to countless Lamborghinis. I was now an adept assassin; a murderer; a nightmare. I chuckled at the boy sardonically knowing that tonight will be his first – and last – sleepless night. I am nothing but evil’s beau today; nothing but pure ignominious notoriety. Maybe I am Machiavelli who vanquished the seraph; maybe I am Lucifer himself.

Maryam Naveed

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