Matter Of Life And Death
Matter Of Life And Death
Julia Gonsalves lived with her maternal grandmother, Rita Demello in Goa. Her parents died in a car crash, when she was hardly five. Somehow, she survived the tragedy, and her grandmother became her guardian. Rita showered all her love upon her granddaughter. However, she was stern with her whenever Julia was up to any mischief.
Ten years passed peacefully. Julia was a brilliant student and excelled in all the subjects. Her grandmother had raised her with strict discipline. She didn't allow her to mingle with boys. She expected Julia to come home immediately after school. Julia never disobeyed her grandma.
Rita wanted to give her all the comforts of life. Julia attended Martin's Higher Secondary school and Junior College.
This school charged an exorbitant fee. Rita was under the impression that high school fees ensured a good education and safety for Julia.
Julia was an ambitious girl. All the teachers liked her because she never got involved in any kind of controversy. She had a limited circle of friends. She avoided talking to boys as much as possible. When she entered her sixteenth year, she became an epitome of beauty and grace. She preferred wearing a long skirt with a full sleeve blouse. Her friends ridiculed her for being old fashioned. She didn't care for their sarcastic comments.
Her best friend, Susie Gomes, was a big flirt. She had many boyfriends. She belonged to a wealthy family. Her parents were busy minting money. Hence, they hired a nanny to take care of her. Susie never had any moral values. She was a spoilt brat. She had no siblings and craved for her parents' love.
When she started growing up, she found solace among her friends. She started dating young boys, as soon as she turned sixteen. She lost her virginity after discovering the pleasure of sex.
Julia's friendship with Susie began when they were in first grade. Susie's nanny had forgotten to keep her lunch box in her school bag. Julia shared her lunch with Susie.
They became best friends. As luck would have it, a crack developed in their relationship. Susie started consuming alcohol and drugs. Julia was worried about her. She gave her friendly advice to quit drinking and taking drugs. Susie lost her temper and said," Who are you to advise me? It is my life. Did I ever ask you to get yourself a boyfriend? Why are you so concerned about me?"
Julia felt abashed and stopped speaking to her. Julia's growing popularity among her fellow students added fuel to the fire. Susie was now jealous of her friend. Her parents often compared her to Julia and criticized her every move.
Susie wanted to humiliate Julia in public.
She thought of an evil plan to serve her purpose. Her male friends had often pestered her to get Julia into bed with them. They had offered her a substantial amount in exchange for Julia. She warded them off, citing her close friendship with Julia as the reason.
One day she approached them and accepted their offer. They were eight guys who had ditched their girlfriends for her.
Susie called her gang members to hatch a plan for Julia's downfall. They stayed back in their class after school was over.
Susie addressed her boyfriends," I have a brilliant idea to tarnish Julia's image. I will invite her to my house for lunch on Sunday. I will spike her drink with a sedative. You can carry her to my bedroom and enjoy sleeping with her. I will record everything and upload it on the internet."
Fortunately, Julia overheard their conversation. She had come back to retrieve her purse that she had left behind in a hurry. She waited patiently in another classroom until they left.
Julia fetched her purse and went home.
She greeted her grandmother without any enthusiasm. Rita sat beside her and gently stroked her hand. " What's the matter, honey?" she asked her," Who offended my darling granddaughter?"
Julia hugged her and burst into tears.
She told her everything about Susie's plan to ruin her life. Rita was fuming. She consoled Julia and said," I will handle this situation on your behalf. Accept her invitation, but tell her that you would visit her after ten days. Don't let her know that you are aware of her conspiracy."
Julia appeared to be puzzled. She didn't probe her grandmother and went to prepare tea.
Rita had a dark secret.
She practiced occultism and conducted seance. There were two rooms in the basement. She used one of them to contact the departed souls of her husband and daughter. She always kept it locked. She was also a brilliant sculptor. She used another room as a studio where she carved marble and clay statues.
Rita started working on her new mysterious project. She became secretive and avoided long conversation with Julia. The latter started wondering about her grandmother's strange behavior. Nevertheless, she didn't pester her grandma in this matter.
Susie invited Julia for a sleepover as per her plan. The latter accepted her invitation and said she would come after a week. Susie was frustrated with Julia for postponing her program. Nevertheless, she managed to smile and pretended to be her friend again. Julia went home and reported her discussion with Susie. A week passed uneventfully.
Finally, the day arrived when Julia was supposed to leave for her friend's house.
Julia started getting ready for the party.
She chose to wear black jeans with a white t-shirt. She tied her hair into a ponytail and quickly applied lipstick and mascara.
Rita knocked at her door and said," Wow! My granddaughter is so gorgeous. I am sure guys will go bonkers after seeing you. Drink this hot cocoa before you leave." Julia blushed and kissed her grandma before sipping the cocoa. Julia said," I don't think I can go, granny. I am feeling drowsy."
Rita locked her room after helping her to get into her bed. She came out and shouted," It's time for you to leave. Do keep me updated after finishing your job." Another Julia emerged from the secret room. She looked stunning in her sky blue mini-dress. Her dress barely covered her thighs. She winked at Rita and asked," Do you like my new look?" The latter gave her approval and asked her to leave. Rita dialed Susie's mobile number, asking her to pick up Julia. Susie arrived shortly in her Mercedes Benz. She let out a small whistle after seeing the modern version of Julia. "Wow!" she exclaimed, " I never imagined I would see you dressed up like a model. Where is your bag of clothes? I thought I invited you for a sleepover. Don't you need spare clothes to change?"
Julia replied, " I am not coming to stay with you forever. I thought I would wear your spare pajama for a night." Susie simply shrugged as Julia sat beside her in the car. They reached her palatial house within fifteen minutes. Julia followed Susie, who pressed the doorbell. Her butler, James, opened the door and took her coat. Susie's boyfriends surrounded them and shook hands with Julia. They drooled over Julia's new look, completely ignoring Susie. A pang of jealousy swept over Susie. She pinched Tom to remind him of their plan. Tom said," Guys, why don't you allow her to breathe? I am going to get her a drink. What would you like to have, Julia?"
" I am not thirsty," snapped Julia, " Let's get down to the business. I know that all of you are lusting after my body." Susie and her friends were speechless. Julia faced Susie and said, " Since you are so eager to make a porn video, I am going to strip right away." She was standing completely naked in front of them. Tom licked his lips and unbuttoned his shirt.
Julia flashed a brilliant smile revealing her pearly teeth. " Come to me, my darling," she hissed like a snake and squeezed her breast. Worms started wriggling out from her nipples. She developed rashes and blisters, as her admirers and Susie watched in horror.
Her face emitted a foul smell of rotten flesh. Her body crumbled into several pieces. Suddenly, a beautiful woman appeared before them. She looked like an angel. She resembled Julia. She smiled at them and said, " Don't be afraid, children. Julia is not dead." They looked at one another without uttering a single word. Susie asked her," Are you Julia's mother?" The woman nodded and started speaking," You must be wondering about my presence here instead of Julia. She overheard your conversation to ruin her life. So, I came here to rescue all of you from the path of self-destruction. I am not going to give you any lecture and bore you to death. I am going to take you all for a short trip into your future. You will witness the outcome of your current lifestyle in the years to come."
She asked them to close their eyes. They seemed to be spinning like a top and held each other tightly. Julia's mother, Sandra, made them open their eyes. All of them were standing outside a luxury apartment. Sandra asked them to watch the proceedings in absolute silence. Susie was astonished to see her older version. She had dark circles under her eyes. She had become obese with a prominent belly. A fourteen-year-old boy opened the door with a resounding kick. He was furious. He threw his school bag on the couch and stared at Susie senior. " Who is my father?" he exploded in anger," You have not answered my question until now." She gave him a vague reply. He lashed out at her," Don't give me a bullshit reply. Everyone in my class calls me a filthy rich bastard. It hurts me a lot. Children in our society look down upon me as if I am a shit. Are you a whore?" Susie watched herself crying. She couldn't answer her son because she didn't know about his father. Susie and her friends were getting tensed up after watching the emotional outburst. However, they were invisible and mute spectators. The teenager hurled out a volley of abuse before running out of his house. They hurried after him. Unfortunately, he jumped in front of a moving bus and got crushed to death. Susie screamed her heart out. She pleaded with Sandra to take them back into their past. After their return, Susie promised Sandra that she would not indulge in sex before marriage. The latter also advised her not to consume alcohol or drugs. She took them on a trip to a hospital where a drug addict was undergoing treatment. There were puncture marks all over his skin. He cried out in pain and desperation. " I want drugs. I can't live without it," he yelled out. The chief doctor called his assistants and nurses to hold him tightly while he administered an injection. The patient dozed off to sleep after his emotional outburst. Susie and her friends understood what Sandra was trying to convey through this visit. Sandra said," I want to show you something before we go back to our place." Their final journey ended outside an orphanage. The warden cracked a whip and made the children slog like slaves. Some of them were cleaning toilets. The children cried for food after finishing their tasks. The warden asked the domestic help to serve them thin gruel with stale bread. Susie and her friends almost burst into tears after seeing the poor kids. Sandra addressed them," Children, do you realize how lucky you are to have your parents with you? They provide you with all the comforts of life. They don't expect anything from you except that you should study well and be financially independent. All of you wasted your time by indulging in unhealthy and dangerous activities. I wanted you to see the future implications of your current misdeeds. Had you succeeded in humiliating Julia, she would have died. You would have ended up in a juvenile home. Your parents would be ashamed of you. Please focus on your studies and career. Don't let your mind wander away. Your parents have pinned high hopes on you. Don't let them down. You are like my own children. Promise me that you will mend your ways. Don't discuss anything about my visit to Julia. She would be upset."
Susie and her friends promised her to turn over a new leaf. Sandra felt happy and blessed them. She vanished out of their sight.
They kept their promise by asking for Julia's forgiveness. She was pleasantly surprised and agreed to help them with their studies.
Susie managed to win back the friendship of the other girls. Life became beautiful for Susie and her friends, including Julia. Sandra had convinced Rita that Susie and her friends had reformed. Sandra vanished into thin air.
Rita and Julia continued to be best friends forever.