Crime Drama Romance
Irene woke with a start. She had just dreamt of....her death. She had seen Drake trying to strangle her, and nearly succeed, had it not been for her awakening. Her inside filled with writhing, her emotions convulsed at the very thought of Drake and his betrayal of her love. She had loved him with all her heart, and what had he done to her? Used her. Used her. Used her. Used Irene.Her jaw suddenly set hard, and her heart turned to stone. “I, Irene of Archmouth, vow to avenge my once-existent love for Drake”. With this she picked up her stiletto and with a sharp flick of her wrist, plunged it tip-first into the dartboard on the wall opposite her. In the shadowy light of the morning Irene’s features seemed to have multiplied in their beauty. Yet her expression was one of trouble and of anguish, nevertheless, of determination and of vengeance. Her deep brown eyes darted from here to there, her perfect-set teeth showed from a scowl above her perfect chin, and her golden hair hung loose on her side, brushing by her high-set cheekbones. “Drake shall pay dearly for what he has done”, she said to herself. Had he actually loved me, he wouldn’t have had to die, not by my hands, she thought. She put on her specs and stormed out of the room.
Rhaegar cut the phone with a smile playing on his lips. He knew his words would have an impact on Irene, and not a small one. He was proud of the way he had manipulated his words to seem like those of concern, while under the mask was nothing but pure slyness and deceit. It would be really hard for her to get over the words she had heard. All that talk about Drake using her for his purposes, how his love was fake, how he only wished to profit from her devotion to him had surely had its effect by now. Irene would be planning his death at this moment Rhaegar thought. Let her do it, for this will be the last plot she ever makes. Once again, looking at his success in the mirror, and seeing proud grey eyes set firmly in an unshaven face with peppered locks, Rhaegar smiled, switched the lamp off, drawing the bedsheet over him, waiting for the next sun -- almost the last for Irene-- he thought, and drifted off.
Drake sat high up on the hill. His clean shave shone in a match with his brilliant black eyes. His hard set jaw clenched tight as he thought hard. Under the full brilliance of the moon, his silvery blonde hair blew over his face with the breeze, but he did not bother to put them aside, for he knew that do what he might, they would come back with the breeze, just like Irene’s suspicions. He had overheard Rhaegar’s provocations, he had intercepted Rhaegar’s call, owing to the skill a crony had taught him in high school. He had connected himself as a mute third person to Rhaegar’s call to Irene, and had got to know about the cajoling. How Rhaegar had played with the nuances of English, how he had almost convinced his love to hate him and nearly succeeded. But deep down inside him, Drake still believed that Irene loved him, and would realise Rhaegar’s intentions. His faith in Irene was unsurmountable, he believed in her still. But what Rhaegar had tried to do, it filled him with a feeling so strong that hatred would be too feeble a word to describe it.
His temperament was commonly appreciated, but on this occasion it flared. He picked a sized boulder and threw it down the cliff. How he hoped Rhaegar would die under that. Long hours passed, nor food nor drink entered him. He sat there, on the edge of the cliff, looking over Archmouth’s splendid scape, and vowed “I, Drake of Archmouth, vow to eliminate Rhaegar’s for what he has done”. He stood up, reaching six feet three, facing the Moon, which seemed to laugh upon him from high up there in the heavens.
Little did Drake know of the crouched figure that eyed his silhouette from a distance, face covered and dagger poised.
Rhaegar had awaken early, and was on his phone since then. He had forgot to have breakfast, hadn’t cared to dress, nor to open the door when his someone had knocked. He sat staring at his phone screen, waiting, waiting, waiting. Frustrated, he flung his phone on the bed. Rhaegar had given up on Irene’s texting. Finally, when his patience wore off, he picked up the landline ringer and dialled Irene. “Yes, this is Irene. Please feel free to drop a voice mail.” Damn it. No contact whatsoever. Last night’s amusement and satisfaction of provoking Irene had worn off like a weak hangover, and Rhaegar couldn’t bear to wait. Either he could sit out the eagerness in his tool-shed, or.... He could take his Q7 for a ride to Irene’s. Only one option remained.
Irene wondered who it could be at this hour of the morning. She went to the door, opened it, and found herself staring into Rhaegar’s grey eyes. She almost tripped over the doormat, but regained her balance and tried to make it look like she was adjusting her dress. She welcomed Rhaegar inside, and made him a cup of coffee. To this, Rhaegar said “Must say, you’ve got a good coffee.”
Irene stayed silent
“You know, I’ve been thinking since quite a while about how Drake--”
“Don’t take his Name!”
“Oh, well. I see you have become pretty repulsive of him. I wonder what caused so.”
“I welcomed you as a guest, and you have angered me by speaking of that flagitious man.”
“I beg for your apologies, but I am still curious to know about the cause of this hatred”
“You need not meddle in my affairs, and now, get out of my house!” Irene exclaimed. With this she glanced towards his face, and a sudden awe overtook her. His perfect smile, his well-set features, the grey eyes that shone softly as she looked into them.
“Well, if you wish so, Irene. Archmouth shall never speak of me visiting you ever again.” Rhaegar put down his unfinished cup of coffee, turned towards the door, and started.
“Stop!” Irene called.
“Yes? I thought I was to get out of this place, wasn’t I?”
Irene had not intended to stop him, but somehow the brief moment which she had spent in his eyes seemed to not let him go.
“I-I just- wanted to ask something.”
“And what might that be?” asked Rhaegar, with a smile dancing on his face.
“I-I’m not sure.”
“Well then, I take your leave.”
And Rhaegar strode out into the open air, smiling at his Q7
Drake worked busily at his worktable. Every now and then he would crumple a piece of paper he would be working on and chuck it across the room, and start scribbling frantically once again on another sheet. He sitting there was a truly intriguing sight. His table littered with drawings, blueprints, detailed sketches, pencil shavings, writing equipment, paperweights, piles upon piles of books both closed and open, and of course, Drake himself, desperately trying to hatch something out of all that. A closer view of his handwork revealed his work on poisons, close and long-range guns, daggers, bombs, grenades, mines, spear shafts and blades, swords, and any other weapon ever mentioned in those piles of books. Along with that, in another pile of sheets, were blueprints of Rhaegar’s house, maps of his locality, lists of places he frequented, like his favourite coffee shop, his favourite fast food corner, houses of his relatives, and so on. On yet another sheet were Rhaegar’s tentative times of the day when he did a particular activity. His wake-up and sleeping times, his mealtimes, his hours of internet surfing, his phone call details, service provider, computer and smartphone model. But what attracted the most attention was the huge piece of paper pinned in front of him, a foolscap with an image that looked like a crimson splotch on an unshaven face with peppered locks.
Irene sat staring at the closed door for some time after Rhaegar had left. She kept thinking of those perfect eyes, that killing smile. Yet time and again she would shake her head vigorously to get the thoughts out, for she had to concentrate. “I can’t afford to think about Rhaegar when on the other side I plan to take revenge, to kill him whom I once loved. This will only serve to deter me,” “Drake wouldn’t have wanted me to -” She stopped and screamed. Flaming, Irene then went to her computer, opened her social media account, and typed ‘Rhaegar Bloodworth, Archmouth’
Rhaegar slumped down on his sofa. He had had a pretty good day so far. Icing on the cake, Irene actually had started to hate Drake to the extent of hatching his death, dearly following Rhaegar’s plans. And, after all, he had anyways planned a short and painless death for Irene. His self-extracted rattlesnake-poison when added to her air freshener would do the trick, owing to the fact that even very small doses of it sufficed. He planned to do it soon. Not long after, his sofa took over, and Rhaegar fell asleep, and encountered a dream.
He was in a dark alley, and found it unknown territory. He could see a bend up ahead, and ran for it. He turned the corner, and landed in another alley almost as dark as the first one and nearly twice as long, but with taller buildings on either side, and a narrower road. He frantically dashed forward, trying to get out of this maze, when suddenly something stopped him in his tracks. He just couldn’t bear to go any closer. There in front of him, Irene’s glowing figure stood smiling at him. Her brown eyes glowed with supreme radiance behind her shapely round specs. Her smile nearly melted Rhaegar, and her beauty was one to behold. Rhaegar slowly advanced toward her, step by step, never leaving her face from his gaze. He was almost there. Up close, she seemed like a goddess. Spotless skin, high cheekbones, golden-blonde hair, brilliant brown eyes, perfect chin, neatly arranged teeth, shapely nose and a capturing smile. He was very near now. He extended his hand to touch her face, and was an inch away. And then he suddenly woke up. Still half-dazed, he took the vial of rattlesnake poison and threw it into the dustbin.
‘13 dead in Archmouth due to rattlesnake poison, without any bite marks’ read the headlines. Drake continued to read. ‘Among the dead are a housekeeper, a domestic maid, and several pedestrians, among others. Animals were also harmed. Near the site of the mass death, which is a garbage dump, a large flock of migratory terns was found dead. Police are on the trail, but have no current suspect. The Central Police Force expects to catch hold of evidence soon.’ A picture of several policemen wearing oxygen masks and searching the landfill accompanied this news article. Drake tossed the paper over to the fireplace and watched it burn. As the last of its embers died out, Drake realised what he was wishing for. For Rhaegar to be one of the 13. It had not been so, but Drake was determined to make Rhaegar face the same fate as the policemen in the long-burnt photograph.
Irene couldn’t help admiring Rhaegar’s rugged perfectness. The way his face seemed to melt her heart right out of her was startling. But she closed his social media profile to concentrate on her murder plan for Drake. How he would be drunk over her in the pub round the corner of his alley, how she would throw the stiletto from the back window of the pub to stab him straight through, how she would relish his last breaths from the secrecy of her position behind the window, how satisfied she would feel after she had done the deed.
Her phone beeped. She checked to find a text from Rhaegar, and her heart skipped a beat after reading the message. She could not control her tears, albeit those of joy. How had this miracle happened? How had Rhaegar... How had he... How... She just didn’t believe her eyes. Rhaegar had texted her. And this text meant a lot. The text had been the best text of her life. The best thing of her life, even. The text said I love you.
Rhaegar smiled at the blank screen of his phone. He had just texted Irene. Satisfaction overcame him, and he opened his phone just to see his text message again, just for the sheer joy of his confession. But he was startled by a message. Irene Vaughn, 5:37 PM: I love you too, it said. He sat staring at it for some time. Miracle, he thought. And that was when he read the next message. Help me. Help me, Rhaegar, my love. Help me kill Drake.
Drake sat reflecting on the hill again. He still thought about how Irene used to love him, how he was happy, until Rhaegar came in. It was all because of his cajoling that Irene had left him despite his true love. But Drake sitting there reminiscing was a different sight this time. This time, instead of the pallor of the moon, there was the gilded glow of the Sun. And instead of the boulder, there was grass. ‘Wonder how the world can move on, how grass can grow on land covered since ages by an inanimate thing, how the Sun and Moon can continue tirelessly, how the ships can dock every day at the harbour when someone is in such misery,’ he thought.
Let him reflect upon his deeds one last time, and then he’ll never breathe to as much as blink thought the crouched figure, face covered and dagger poised.
Bianca rose from her watch position while Drake still sat on the hill. She took off the scarf she had used to hide her face, and replaced the dagger in her belt. The bright spring sun shone down on her. Her aquiline features were ones to behold. The perfect, determined stare of her upturned, emerald eyes, the she-wolf tinge to her cheeks, the gentle russet colour under the healthy golden-tan skin, the creaseless forehead, and the dimpled smile would have twitterpated the hardest of hearts. She stealthily strode forward towards the hill, approaching Drake form the back. She retied her scarf and took out her dagger. She advanced slowly, warily watching Drake. She came closer, and lifted her dagger to strike.
Drake though he heard a shuffling behind him. He turned just in time, and the dagger missed his forehead by half an inch. He looked at the assailant and froze. He did not know her, but he felt instantly at ease in her presence. Even she seemed to be in a trance. Her hand that clutched the dagger still stayed in front of drake, and her free hand was still as a statue. Drake blinked, and the trance broke. The assailant tried to flee, but Drake’s strong arms caught hers. Drake stood, and faced her. “Who are you?”
“Rhaegar, how did you change?” she spat out spitefully
“What? Rhaegar?” Said Drake, hatred boiling inside him just at the mention of the name.
“You...aren’t Rhaegar?” the assailant asked doubtfully
“I am Drake Shadowend. Who are you, I ask again, and what relation do you have with that accursed person?” he said, finally letting go of her arm.
“I...I am Bianca Lancaster, and as it has become evident, hate Rhaegar.”
Drake saw an expression in her eyes when she said the last word, which closely mirrored his own.
“And I assume you also want him to die?”
“Also?” asked Bianca
“Also” answered Drake.
Bianca puzzled over her encounter. How has Rhaegar changed so much? She thought No, it can’t have been Rhaegar, he would never have borne my presence...It must have been someone else, she concluded. And Rhaegar couldn’t have been this striking in his appearance even in my dreams. Bianca had fallen head over heels for Drake. His ocean-deep black eyes and how his strong arms had caught her from fleeing from the hill. And he had wanted to kill Rhaegar too. She couldn’t help thinking about him, and how both of them had asked for each other’s help to kill Rhaegar, and in unison. There was another thing she couldn’t stop thinking about -- her father being jailed after being double-crossed by his partner-in-crime, Rhaegar Bloodworth.
Irene entered the payphone cubicle. She punched in Rhaegar’s phone number and inserted some change. Rhaegar picked up immediately
“Rhaegar Bloodworth speaking”
Irene’s heart melted in the dazzling flame of his voice
“I-Irene here” she said with some difficulty
Rhaegar stood listening, his ear to the handset, his heart to the one on the other handset.
“Rhaegar, I-I want to kill Drake. I want to...to avenge my love for him, I want my revenge. I....”
“You shall have it. And I shall help you have it.”
“And what might your plan be?”
Your call has been cut due to some technical difficulties. Please try again later. said a mechanized voice that sounded a bit too familiar, disturbingly. Irene shook the thought out of her head, hung up the receiver, and walked out of the payphone cubicle. She started towards Rhaegar’s house, determined to know his plans. She had walked less than half a mile before she bumped into a hooded woman. The impact made her turn, and the woman continued without apologising, or even a second look. Irene turned back around to continue, and found a Q7 waiting for her.
Rhaegar felt awed sitting next to Irene. He couldn’t resist peeking at her once in a while. He was more interested in her beauty than the steering wheel. Her full lips, her flawless nose and her faraway smile, how her specs made her look younger and dumber than she actually was. No one could have guessed she was a to-be murderer. Rhaegar thought he saw her hand reach for something in her bag, but paid no attention to it. He looked back ahead, for there was a narrow alley to the right where he had to turn, and stopped the car to find it. He heard a loud noise, like a bang, and felt a sudden pain in his heart, and all the way through his body. The last thing he saw was Irene’s divine, alluring face splatter with blood, her features twist into a pout and her eyebrows raise, like she was about to blow a kiss, and then everything went black. Rhaegar thought he saw her smile before his head slumped down. Nobody could have guessed she was already a murderer.
Bianca couldn’t believe her ears. Drake said he had talked to Irene and laid bare the sinister design behind Rhaegar’s plan, and that Irene, whom Bianca had an impression of unforgiving and evil under a beautiful mask, had actually agreed and crossed sides. And moreover, Drake had convinced her to kill Rhaegar, the one she had fallen in love with. That Drake had hatched a plan of such calculativeness, how he had planned the payphone call together with Irene, how he had been listening throughout and cut the line at just the right time, how he knew Rhaegar would be there for her. He had known how deeply one could fall in love with Irene. Of course, Bianca thought. He loved Irene. Bianca shuddered at the thought. She had loved Drake since the moment their eyes had met at the hill, and had thought that he was hers. But now that Irene was back, she felt insecure about her possession of Drake.
“Bianca, are you here? You’ve been staring out of the window for the past couple of minutes.”
Bianca snapped out of her daze. “Yeah”
“Can you believe it? Rhaegar is dead! Dead! Ha ha!”
“Um... yeah. And Irene is on our side”
“Yeah” said Drake with a smug look on his face
“And she...she loves you?” choked out Bianca
“Well... I don’t know. Maybe” Drake said pensively, it was his turn to look out of the window for a couple of minutes now. Bianca didn’t see him smiling.
Drake was just smiling when his phone rang. A peppy ringtone rang through the air. Drake picked up the phone before Bianca could see who was calling. He glanced at the screen. Bureau Headquarters, it said. Drake picked up and listened
“Agent Shadowend, updates on Bloodworth?”
“Eliminated” said Drake
“Collaboration with fellow undercover agent”
The now-familiar voice hanged up, and Drake sighed. Drake smoothed his face, and turned to look at Bianca.
“Ahem, may I enter?” asked a honey-sweet voice.
Drake smiled and replied “Oh, consider yourself at liberty, Irene”
Irene could sense Bianca burning with jealousy. She smiled flirtatiously at Drake, enjoying Bianca’s expression. Irene knew Bianca was on the threshold, and even a small move would trigger her. She deliberately went and sat close to Drake, despite there being ample of furniture in the room.
“Excuse me, I’ll be back” Bianca said, and walked out of the room, leaving Drake alone with Irene.
“Well, finally.” Said Irene to her only remaining audience.
When Drake didn’t answer, Irene frowned. “What’s wrong? You seem worried”
Drake’s finger gently traced her forehead. “Don’t frown. My heart likes you better the other way”
Irene pushed away his hand, and asked again “Drake, tell me. What’s wrong?”
“I’m don’t know what to do”
“Hmm...What about Bianca?”
“Irene, my love, you know she loves me. I can’t leave her, nor can I commit to her. I can’t even tell her the truth”
“I see. I can help”
“Leave that to me” said Irene. She picked up her phone, and dialled the police.
The doorbell startled Bianca. Without thinking much, she went to the door and unlatched it. Quick as lightning, a bunch of lady constables rushed in and got hold of her. They half-dragged her pleading figure across the lawn of her house, and forced her into the back of the police van. Bianca was confused. What had just happened? What were they arresting her for? What wrong had she done? Where was Drake? Where were they taking her? Before she could utter even one of these questions, she fell unconscious.
One Year Later
Bianca woke up. It was Freedom Day for her. Her golden-tan skin, and aquiline features had damped down, but she was sure she would gain them back. She took one last look at the high, barred window of her prison cell, and heard the unlocking. The constable led her out to the head inspector, and he handed Bianca her Prison Release File. Bianca brushed back her neatly-combed hair, and walked towards the gate. Her emerald eyes still shone the way they did one year ago, but the shine had changed from love to hate. “I’m coming” she said, and strode out into the open.