Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Reeking smell of FEAR – A short story.
He warmly sighed. A content smile slowly creased the parched end of his dry lips. His old eyes gleamed stark amidst the dark and inert settings. He finally will be a happy man. Finally, a completely satisfied man. He shook his head, slowly laughing to himself. Victory will suit him just fine. A few seconds he reveled. Reveled in everything, he has done to make this happen. To make this happen. He gritted his teeth, gnashing them with a savage gulp of maniacal grin. He was invincible. His planning, impeccable. He will have the last laugh.
Ha! Even the gods, it seemed were in his favor. He calmly looked around himself. A more perfect setting couldn’t be asked for. An inky night, moonless, starless and shapeless. An old steel mill. Shut down quite some years ago. Completely fortified. Each nook and corner of the dilapidated structure guarded rather heavily. Military trained henchmen armed with the best in hand held weaponry patrolling every inch of what remained of the broken down paths. Everybody alert, adrenaline pumped and ready for him. But then, he knew his arch enemy just too well, that this will not stop him, will never stop him. But then he did not want him to be stopped. Did he?
He wanted to kill him, once and for all. To trap, the ghost that he is. Make him bleed. Break him into pieces while laughing at him. He wanted to smell fear on him. The reeking, rancid scent of it and for that he needed to trap him, hook him with the perfect bait. One that is just juicy enough to bite, one that is truly an exultant price, for it to be a mere sham. A living and breathing bait planning its own capture. He smiled looking at himself in the faded out remains of a nearby mirror. A living trap, custom made for his rival, waiting for his scent, for his arrival to snap close the gates on him. For his arrival, salivating at very thought of his capture.
And what an arrival it was.
An arrival unseen; a threat undetected. In the shadows, in the distant echoes, in-between the pauses, he arrived. A predator for his prey, his eyes reading into everything, the thugs with guns, the heavy patrolling, the mill a remnant of its past glory, fingers of cobwebs everywhere, the air ventilations coughing up a mild breeze, the crisp new electronic surveillance installed. Each and every single piece on the board ready, his opponent waiting for him to make his first move. He closed his eyes, darkness engulfing him and in shadows, he began to move into the fray.
A few seconds paused, unfolding into a few long drawn minutes. Nobody heard him. Nobody saw him. Nobody sensed him. And then it happened. From the roof something, no someone fell. A shrill harrowing shriek followed by a dull thud, one that splintered legs and broke a few of ribs. Still alive, spilling blood on the dirt crusted floor, he began to cry for help. The surrounding men gathered and stared at him half stuck with horror and half with fear. How? How did he do it?
“He is here” Coughed up the wounded man just before he concussed, passing out.
“Spread out” They shouted to each other.
“If he is here, then let’s bug him out.”
Amidst all the voiced concerns, their eyes couldn’t help but exchange their unvoiced fear.
In the control cabin, he simply smirked. And so, after all the waiting in the world, he has placed his first pawn on the board. But then, it’s now his move, his counter move. He pulled and played with a few knobs on the control panel in front of him. The monitors threw up multiple images of the mill. His men moving around in well coordinated groups, searching for him, patrolling in a well coordinated manner, good he thought to himself. They still held their ground and were doing everything they were paid to do.
Hopefully, he thought, with all this electronic surveillance and gadgetry, his men did have a chance, at least a chance. And then like clockwork, the entire panel of screens went blank, their feed cut.
“Hmhm.... Lovely.” He sighed. “The next logical step indeed.”
Silence is ominous, if your own heartbeats are all that remains to fill in its despondent blanks. And it was in such stillness of space and time, every single one of them guarding him were picked off. Like fog, the silent assault spread from one corner swallowing it's way covering entire belly of the factory. His hands itched in anticipation. He will soon be here, in my clutches. A few drops of sweat rimmed around his brow and for some vague reason it bothered him. And just as he wiped it off with the back of his hand, lost in thought as to what he was missing, he realized with a calm jolt, he was there, he was there with him at last.
And then he knew that he had him trapped. With a malicious relish he took a deep breath and simpered at his opponent still cowered with the shadows, his eyes alone sharp pondering him.
“Do you know I hate, hate, HATE” he paused. “The names they give you? Pathetic pussies.”
He looked up at the roof with a contemplative grin. “I can understand” he said “understand why the villain feels compelled to elaborate his schemes at some point in the movie to someone. It simply feels glorious. Like fucking gods. Do you get what I mean, like fucking gods!! Huh?”
“Oh and don’t you worry, I have already killed you, took care of that quite some time ago. All it took was some meager quantities of hydrogen cyanide, good old prussic acid and of course a few generous teaspoons of it here and there.”
He paused and looked into the eyes of his opponent with uncouth hate.
“To trick you into coming here, to make you strain yourself taking out my men, who were all dying anyway along with me, to take me, ME” he paused with a wicked a guffaw. “ME….. Already slowly dying with each breath I take, all the while knowing that the same air is going through your lungs. And that’s the beauty of my trap. You see, I did not want to just kill you. I want to fucking escort you unto death.”
“I knew you are one careful bastard. I knew I had to risk it all to get to you. I knew that I will have only one shot at this. And that why I took too much care, too much fucking care on not to let you know that the air vents were actually slowly spewing the gas. In small quantities, extremely small quantities, with every single second you spent in this mill, working through my men, quite some fucking skill there, I must say and it was then, you breathed your own death. It just required a touch of insanity to put you down. Don’t you think?”
He finally paused and quipped with a melodramatic flourish. “Come, let’s die together.”
“So, you have killed me??” The calm unaffected retort from his opponent hit him in an uneasy spot.
A gnawing pressure grew in the back of his stomach, slowly snaking its way to his vapid breaths. A vague notion that something was wrong; completely flawed about the entire scenario, something he just was not able to put his finger on, something that his opponent has noticed. His face tensed, a few pearl drops of sweat ran along the length of his cheek. What was he missing? What was he….
And then he saw it. Right in his face, his perspiring face, the air-conditioning vents were not moving. Then the gas, the gas has not been circulated.
He turned and looked at his enemy and smiled ruefully. So, his opponent has noticed that new air vents, guessed their need and must have put them out of their misery. So, much for the plan. but then, that's not all, he still had the ace under his sleeve.
“No, I have not killed you. NOT YET”
He yelled infuriated and turned to his final plan. And just then, with a dry distant bang, the entire mill fell into darkness.
“hahahahaha…….. Good move, asshole." He bellowed. "You blew up the fuse box, but my last move, of course explosives are powered up by remote batteries. We are all going to be fucking blown to hell. Even you cannot escape this. The blast will even release all the stored up Cyanide. Nobody gets out of here alive. Hahahaha…..”
And then he felt it in the darkness, his cold stare breathing upon him. His hands flailed searching for the detonator which was no longer there. And then he realized too late, the fuse box, the sudden darkness and his opponent’s stubborn watchful calmness, all a part of the bigger design. He waited for him, fucking waited for him sitting there, to realize his first trap gone awry and give away his final plan, the location of the remote controller, which he deftly turned to as soon as he realized he was tricked the first time, only to be tricked again. He slumped to the ground lost.
And then he heard his voice, the voice of the dark knight himself.
“You want to smell fear OFF me.” His opponent paused. “Do so, I AM FEAR.” His crude voice grated into the pores of the night, resonating alone with the darkness.
He simply couldn’t help shaking, laying there staring at the ceiling. No wise comebacks. No more plans. No more nerve.
The knight slowly dissolved into the stillness of the night, his cape flowing into its darkness.
I am a fan of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and I am quite excited about the last of the trilogy- The dark Knight Rises- to be released in another week. In a sort of commemoration of that, I wanted to pen a story with Batman as a character in it. Batman to me is an iconic character and my most favorite of the super hero genre. He has been interpreted by so many in some of the most exquisite comics and movies. I just hope I did some justice with my portrayal.
Since I wanted the story to be grounded and realistic, I simply avoided referring to Batman until the end of the story with his name (Dark Knight). Also, I wanted batman to hold a sense of mystery and depict him as an unstoppable force, hence I chose to tell the story from the villain’s point of view.