Saturday, August 20, 2011

MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORIES Part 25 - GOOD BYE MRS MORRIS


MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORIES Part 25
GOOD BYE MRS MORRIS
Short Fiction 
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From My Creative Writing Archives: 
One of my earliest short stories - a horror thriller. I am sure you will like it.  

          
I waited in anticipation overcome by tremors of trepidation, secretly hoping that he would not come.

But he did come. 

He arrived right on the dot. Sharp ten o’clock at night. Exactly as planned. 
                       
He said nothing when he entered. 

But the moment I recognized him I started to tremble. 

He looked at me, a fleeting glance, but he did not seem to notice my fear. 

Then he turned around, as if he had forgotten something. He took two quick steps and bolted the door. 

Hoping to conceal my emotion, I began to speak in order to gain my composure: “Please be seated, Sir,” I said. “Would you like a drink?”

“Whisky and soda,” he said, loosening the knot of his tie, as he moved towards the sofa. He sat down and gave me an appraising look.

I took my time getting up from my chair, taking care to make my movements deliberately slow, in order to hide my fear and nervousness. I walked towards the fridge, my back turned in his direction, but still I could feel his eyes piercing me. 

Soda, glass, opener, ice-bucket and a bowl of peanuts ready on a tray, I opened the liquor-cabinet. At first my hands instinctively touched a bottle of cheap whisky, but then I hesitatingly picked out a bottle of the best premium whisky. After all this was a first-class client. And maybe his last drink. Let him enjoy it.

I carefully set the loaded tray on the table in front of him and sat down on the chair across. I poured him a stiff drink and opened the bottle of soda.

“Put lots of ice,” he said, in a commanding voice. And then, as an afterthought, he added, “What about you? Why don't you have a drink too?”

“No,” I said handing him the glass, “I don’t drink on duty.” 

“Duty?” he laughed and looked me in the eye. 

He took a sip of the whisky and closed his eyes with a gesture of fatigue, as if waiting for the whisky to caress his brain. 

His was not an unpleasant face. In fact he looked quite handsome. 

“Without any effort I could go straight to sleep,” he said with his eyes still closed. Then suddenly he opened his eyes, looked directly at me, and with a mischievous smile he said, “But there is plenty to do tonight, isn’t it?”

“Yes indeed,” I said to myself. “There was certainly plenty to do tonight.” 

In my mind’s eye, I tried to visualize how I was going to do it.

The man shifted on his seat, took out a wallet from his hip pocket and stylishly extracted ten crisp red thousand-rupee notes and put them on the table in front of me. 

I did not pick up the money. “It’s okay,” I said. “It’s on the house.”

“On-the-house? Who said so?” he snapped angrily.

“The person who sent me here,” I answered.

“What else did he say?”

“That you are a very special guest.”

“And?” he asked.

“That I should be very discreet. I should not even breathe a word to anyone.” I paused, and then I said, “It’s okay. You can trust me.”

He smiled and said, “Take the money. I always pay for everything. I am a man of principles.” 

Suddenly I could feel the venom rising inside me. A Man of Principles...my foot!

Hypocrite. That’s what he was. A Bloody Hypocrite.

Where were his principles when he had killed my husband and concocted lies that it was a gruesome accident. And then quickly disposed off my husband’s body at sea – into the Davy Jones’s Locker.

Murderer. That’s what he was. An unscrupulous mendacious murderer.

Tonight he was going to pay for it.

Everything was in my favour.

I had recognized him. I knew who he was. 

But he did not know who I really was. 

For him I was just a nameless face. A one-night stand. To be used, discarded and forgotten. 

And though he could not possibly realize it, it was he who had reduced me to this. 

And now he had unknowingly walked right into my hands.
“Is it enough?” he asked, pointing to the money on the table. 

“My normal rate is fifty thousand,” I said. I wanted to embarrass him for I had glimpsed into his wallet when he took out the money. I picked up the thirty thousand rupees from the table, tucked them in my blouse, and said, “But for you, it’s okay.”

He smiled, looking intently into my eyes for a few seconds. Then he gulped down his drink, got up form the sofa, came around the table and stood behind me. 

I sat still, waiting for his next move. 

He put his hands on my shoulders and said matter-of-factly, “Let’s go to bed.”

When I woke up, for a moment I could not imagine where I was. The silence was so intense that I could hear my heart beating. The room was not quite dark, for the door of the bathroom was partly open, and the light inside had been left on.

As I turned and I saw him lying beside me, I felt a sudden flush of passion. It was after a long time that I had really enjoyed it. But I quickly controlled my feelings and carefully observed the sleeping man.

He was breathing steadily, like a man immersed in deep sleep, fully satiated. 

But I had to be sure.

“Hello,” I whispered near his ear.

No answer. He was dead to the world.

 Very slowly, very silently, I slipped out of my bed. I slowly bent down near the bedside table, unplugged the two-pin electric plug from the socket on the wall and carefully coiled the wires around the base of the table-lamp.

I picked up the table-lamp in both hands holding the plug carefully, and stood for a while, looking at the man to see whether I had disturbed him.

His breathing was as regular as before. 

I took a couple of tip-toe steps and halted, took a few steps more and waited, and so on, until I reached the bathroom door. 

Then I quickly went inside the bathroom and locked the door.

I yanked out the wires form the table-lamp, and with my teeth, removed the plastic cladding from the open ends exposing at least two inches of naked copper on both the wires.

I smiled to myself. 

In my hands was a weapon of death. A set of coiled wires, one red and one black, long enough, a two-pin plug at one end and the other end exposed, naked.

I retraced my steps, tiptoed, leaving the bathroom light on and the door a bit ajar, so that I could just about see slightly. 

I put the plug in the socket. 

Then I uncoiled the wires, carefully holding one wire in each hand, a few inches away from the naked exposed copper, my hands apart.

I switched on the electric switch with my left toe, got on the bed and slowly advanced on my knees towards the sleeping figure. 

The man was lying on his back, fast asleep, oblivious, dead to the world.

I decided to aim for his eyes. Simply thrust one live wire into each eye. 

Hopefully death would be instantaneous as the electric current would flow though his brain.

Even if he did not die instantaneously, at least he would be rendered unconscious and then I could take my time to kill him.

The live wires had almost touched his eyes when some invisible force seemed to have grabbed my wrists.

I froze. I felt a turbulence of conscience. 

Yes, the pangs of my conscience had frozen me into physical inaction and conflicting thoughts flooded my brain.

“I don’t want to be a murderess. What do I gain? And then what’s the difference between him and me? What about his family? Why should I make them suffer for no fault of theirs? And maybe what he said was indeed true; that it was just an accident, like he had reported,” said one part of me, pulling my hands back. 

“Revenge! Vengeance! He deserves it,” desperately urged the other part of me, pushing my hands forward. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Do it now. Fast!” 

And then, as the darker side of my brain prevailed, slowly my hands started moving forward.

Suddenly the man started turning. I panicked and in a reflex action I instantly pulled my hands back. 

In the confusion, the naked wires touched. There were sparks and then total darkness. Short Circuit - the fuse had blown.

My blood ran cold. There was no movement from the man. 

I tiptoed to the bathroom, retrieved the table-lamp, kept it on the bedside table and tucked the wires underneath. 

Then I lay down on my bed as if nothing had happened. 

The centralized air-conditioning was still on, but the bathroom light had gone off. 

Probably only the local light fuse had blown, but I did not know where it was.

I had muffed up a golden chance. The man was lucky to be alive. It was his sheer luck. 

But I knew I would try again. Again and again. For he did not deserve to live. 

And with these thoughts I drifted off to sleep. 

When I woke up in the morning, I saw that the man was still fast asleep. 

The dawn had broken and the sun was just above the horizon. 

I opened the window and let the sunlight in. 

“Who’s that?” he asked, startled, adjusting his eyes to the sunlight.

“You must go back to your room now,” I said. “Someone may notice.” 

I walked towards the sofa, picked up his clothes and threw them to him.

He dressed hurriedly and quickly walked to the connecting door between our rooms. 

He opened the door, paused for a moment, and then he turned towards me and said, “Good Bye, Mrs. Morris. They told me that you’d kill me. I came to find out. But killing is not easy. Yes, killing is not easy. You can take my word for it.”

With these words he left my room, silently closing the door.

I sat in dumbstruck silence. A deathly grotesque deafening silence.

I never saw him again. I never want to. For I have never felt so scared as I felt at that moment - and when I think of it, a tremor goes up my spine and a shiver perambulates throughout my whole body and I resonate with fear.
 

VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

If you liked this story, I am sure you will like the 27 stories about relationships in my latest book COCKTAIL  
To know more please click the links below:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
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Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm

Email: vikramkarve@sify.com          

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