She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window looking at the world pass by without any need to respond. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf.
The flashes of his body lying in the pool of blood in her apartment just fifty meters away was stuck in her eyes. Even while she sat here in the middle of a crowd she could hear nothing but their own conversations in her subconscious. It seemed like a different zone and the only sound she could hear was her own screams.
“Mam, was it you who called us?” the man in bright white shirt and blue jeans walked up to her table. His experience guided him to zero down the right person almost every time.
She looked at him with her pale and expressionless eyes.
“Police” her voice was faint and exhausted.
“Yes” he noticed her protruding belly. “Inspector Kabir” he said. She looked innocently nervous. Can she really kill? He thought to himself.
His black eyes narrowed as he took the chair next to her. It always worked to get into the victim’s zone as close as possible. It challenged the thought process and helped him read their body language. Not for nothing he had a bright track record in dealing with criminal cases.
She noticed that he was well built with his ivory skin adding to his handsome jawline. Since when did they hire such smartly dressed officers she wondered? In spite of the fact that he met all kinds of people through his profession this woman had something remarkable about her. She didn’t seem to be ordinary, neither did she seem to be someone who could murder. She had eyes that were different shades. Shade of a black hole that was sucking him instantly into themselves.
“So you want to surrender. Why would you do that in a coffee shop? Where’s his body?”
“I could not stand his dead body. I ran out of the house and decided to walk towards the police station. As I crossed this coffee shop I realized this was the place where I had my first coffee with him. I was exhausted and thought would rather have my last coffee with his thoughts here.”
“So, what now?” he was curious. The woman had lovely hazel eyes and her hair were tied in an untidy bun. The mole next to her upper lip added dimension to her already defined face. Her eyes were sad but she still looked beautiful. It seemed to him that she was in a family way.
“I don’t want to die.” She had tears in her eyes. “Though I am not sorry for killing him.” She paused for a second. She sipped her coffee.
“Coffee?” she asked him.
“I will get it” he got up and ordered for a cappuccino for himself.
“Tell me.” He noticed her plump lips though dried still promised to be delicious. She looked so pale that he instinctively wanted to hug her. He scratched his nose reminding himself that he was on a work call.
“I couldn’t help it. Ishaan, my husband was a childhood friend. He was deprived of a father. As a child also he was drawn into all types of brawls and unnecessary attention. His mother used to beat him up. He was known to flirt with women, have sex with them and use them. I loathed him ever since he was in school. I don’t remember how and when he made me his target. He would follow me wherever I go.” She rubbed her collar bones with her fingers. Surprisingly it created some tingling sensation in his neck. He sipped his coffee avoiding her gaze for a second conscious of giving away his parallely running thoughts.
“I was a very studious girl. How much ever I avoided him he would not let me forget his presence. Library, School bus, road, grocery shop, he would stalk me everywhere. Gradually I noticed that it used to give me a strange kind of pleasure to realize that the most popular guy was kinda going mad about me. My friends felt the same way.”
“As I walked towards my house after our regular classes everything took a new turn” She suddenly went so picturesque that Kabir could actually visualize the entire scene as she told him word by word.
“Hey, Maya” she heard someone calling from behind. Her heart started pounding as she recognized the voice that touched her ears.
She was slogging for final exams and hence the extra classes. The sun was about to set and she should have been home by now. Only if she would not have stopped for letting her friend copy her notes.
“Stop.” He almost ran to catch up with her.
“Hi” he looked straight into her jittery eyes. Her heart seemed to be pumping all her blood to her cheeks.
“Why have you been avoiding me?” she felt he was closer than he should have been. Despite of that she didn’t move. She liked the hissing tension between them.
“Why would I?” she barely could move her dry lips. She had to lick them to bring out words.
“Whoa” he was letting his silence embrace her.
“You know I like you. Don’t you.” His face seemed to move closer. Maya’s head was spinning. She felt as if she was hypnotized and her logical brain was shut. She learnt how butterflies could have crawled like a snake on some one’s body. Soft, beautiful, colourful and exciting.
“I … I …”
Before she could complete her sentence his hands clasped her cheeks. Her lips parted. She felt his tongue making way into her dry mouth. His lips kissing hers softly. It felt as if they almost flickered on hers.
Kabir was a little startled when she suddenly became quiet. She had narrated the scene in so much of detail that he almost forgot she was a murderer.
He sighed. He promised himself that he should find a woman soon before he turns into a sex starved day dreamer. For god’s sake the woman sitting in front of him was hot even with her almost eight month pregnant belly. He wanted to take her on the table there.
“Now can you come to the point?” His tone was irritated as he was conscious of not giving away his sexual nervousness.
She sighed and looked out of the window while her one hand played with her light brown hair.
Everyone around me told me that I am making a mistake but love as you know has no rights and wrongs. I was trapped. I was hooked to the drug called love and it engulfed me.
As soon as we married I realized that he had multiple masks. He was sick. He just wanted to marry me because that was the only way he could win over me. He left his job. We had no money. He would beat me up. I had to conceal my bruises. He sold all my jewelry to buy cocaine. The powder was killing the man inside him and turning him into a monster. He started hallucinating. He would lock me in the house for days together without food. I don’t know how I survived. He was addicted to the white poison and perhaps I was addicted to the white light of love.” Tears rolled down her crimson cheeks.
He sighed. He felt he would have killed such a man himself. How any man on the earth could hit a body like hers? It was carved to touch, to dip into the pleasures of love. Why would a woman like her take so much abuse in the name of love?
“For Christ’s sake why would you live with him?” he heard himself spurting out.
“Love, officer, is a deadly trap. It is the only fire that can burn you inside out. Love has given birth to timeless criminals and hopeless victims. Sometimes I felt I made love to him but he just had sex with me because I was familiar and convenient. I decided to have a baby thinking everything will change.”
She burst into sobs. He held out a tissue paper to her. Her fingers brushed his as she took it from him. He couldn’t gather what was wrong with himself. He wanted to hold her hand and pull her to himself that moment. She looked so fragile.
“Nothing changed” she said as she took control of her breath. “I survived his torture as his wife but I couldn’t take it as a mother. He pushed me in one of our ugly fights and kicked on my stomach. That was it. In a fit of anger I picked a knife that my hands laid on and slit his throat.” She pointed at the sharp knife peeping under the blue scarf. Kabir’s experienced eyes had already noticed the faint blood stains sticking to the scarf. Anger leapt from her eyes for a second or two before they were sad and lifeless again.
Kabir burnt in those flames in those few seconds as he saw the deep red passion in those otherwise pale eyes.
“But see what I did. I didn’t want to kill him but I ended up killing all of us. My child. I took away his right to see the world even before he is born. I have no one who will understand me, help me… No one, nowhere…” and she burst into sobs.
Kabir noticed his hand on hers and even those tears looked like acid drops falling on his raw skin.
“Can I come from the washroom?”
“Sure” he twitched his lips.
When ten minutes passed by and she didn’t return he got uneasy. The coffee shop was in a shopping mall and had two entries to make it convenient for its customers. There was no way she would call police and then run on them. What the fuck was she taking so long in?
Twenty minutes. He can’t wait for eternity. ‘Oh shit’, he realized she took her bag and the knife with her. He panicked and walked towards the washroom. He had barely knocked at the ladies door that sprung open for him. There she was in all her glory. What the hell was going on? She stood their topless, with her pink nipples, swollen and calling her pretty at that moment would be demeaning her. She was astounding.
“What have you been up to” he whispered walking towards her.
“I couldn’t breathe. I thought I would choke” her hands touched her own lips moving slowly from one side to another.
He couldn’t resist holding her. “You ok?” She hugged her and burst into a soft sob. A naked goddess wrapped around him. What was he supposed to do?
“I am so sorry. Can’t you save me? I have suffered all my life. I don’t want my baby to suffer. I don’t want to die.” She sobbed as she hugged him harder. It was a mind assaulting pressure that Kabir felt as she pressed herself against his manhood. He heard his inside shrieking and before he could silence that commotion in his mind he was kissing her.
He pushed her against the door as it slammed pinning her under his own weight. His kisses were maddening and she seemed to reciprocate the same intense heat. Kabir was hungry enough to take her pants off and gentle enough not to hurt her stomach. He slid into wetness as her body sent out shudders of desire. His mouth claiming hers and before he could realize they both stood spent there in middle of a roaring coffee shop.
As he gained back his senses he was embarrassed to look straight into her eye. Did he just exploit an already messed up, tortured beautiful woman for satisfying his cheap lustful hunger. She was sobbing as she wore back her clothes. The fire had turned into snowy dew drops of guilt. No, it was not lust. Love, she was right, is a trap and you never know when it takes you.
“Maya,” he held her. “I understand what you have gone through.” He kissed her lightly on her forehead. “Now listen to me carefully. I can help you and give your baby a life. I have not felt like this for a woman in a long time. There’s a lot I would like to share but not now. As of now give me this knife, let me clear up all evidence for you. I will show it a drug overdose case and you can go scot-free. Let me handle this and I will see you right here next week, same time, and same day. Until then we will not communicate with each other. I am going to take you as you are, a little flawed and broken but amazingly beautiful and mine.”
“Really, will you help me baby?” Maya couldn’t believe her luck can turn around in a fraction of a second. She looked at him with gratitude in her eyes. “You know what Kabir, my mother always told me that if you mean no harm to anyone, God will take you through finally. You are God sent. I was sure if I had done no wrong, Lord won’t be so unfair to me.”
“You are right, honey.” He whispered. “Everyone pays for their sins finally.” He locked his lips once again with hers for a honey dipped moment when they heard a knock at the door.
“Ah the lady had an anxiety bout,” he pointed at her belly as walked her past the surprised looking girl waiting out.
As Kabir entered the place of murder, he saw a hassled old man trying to fumble with a body lying in a pool of blood.
“Hey, who are you? What are you doing here?”
The old man got up with a jerk. Kabir noticed that he couldn’t see. What was a blind old man doing here?
“Who are you? What’s happening here?” the old man sounded lost and confused.
Kabir walked around the room where everything was kept as it was never touched by anyone. It seemed as if the body was brought and kept here as per some design.
“Will you tell me what’s happening?” the old man had to strain himself to speak. “Why isn’t my son responding?”
“Your Son?” why didn’t she talk about the father-in-law.
“Why is he on the ground? Are you a doctor?”
“Sir, I am a police officer and your son is killed?”
The old man fell on the sofa next to him.
“Why on the earth would anyone do that? He was a simple man?” he whispered.
Kabir was unable to comprehend. He felt as if his mind was hallucinating and a parallel world was running next to him.
“Can you call my daughter in law? She is travelling for work. I believe she would be in South Korea right now?”
“Was he in South Korea? In the name of Christ, was he just fooled by a beautiful looking enchantress?”
He looked around for a second and ran back to the coffee shop.
“Where’s that woman” he banged the cash counter.
“The one who was sitting here with me” he pointed at the table where he was drowning in limitless temptation few minutes back.
“Oh the lady who was about to have a baby.” He smiled. “She waited for you a few minutes when you left and then handed over this note to be given to her husband. I assume that’s you sir. She said you might come back looking for her since her phone was switched off?”
His eyes popped out as he looked at a neatly written letter on a fragrant pink paper. Damn the woman.
I am sorry but I had to do this. I was bored of living with that stupid man for a couple of years now. The only thing I married him for was money and I had planned every minute detail to manage this insurance amount and walk out of the country. My passport is already stamped and I am already in South Korea as per dates. Ah! the old blind man must have told you that. They both had just each other to themselves and no one but the old man would have been a dent in my plan. Here I needed official help. Now that you have wiped off my knife and fucked me to your satisfaction, I guess you have no choice but to help me. If you try acting smart then a simple test would prove that you molested me and in a fit of rage killed my husband. That would be my plan B. Yet I suggest let’s not try and make it difficult for us because like you know it would be a never ending court battle. We both had fun and eight hundred crore is quite an amount so I would share some with you. Please find two cheques worth a crore each. I am sure you can figure out how to grab the money. Keep one and use one to send the old man into a rehab or wherever. Thanks for your help. You sure were god sent. Next time keep your horses in control.