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Betrayal

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#6: Blade of Karma.

She seemed to have grown accustomed to these moments now. To the voices that arose when she thought of blood and death, screaming to the silence that was forever broken in her mind. She remembered the first time it happened, being completely engulfed in the act rather than her rationality. The machete was sharp, sharper than most of the tools in her uncle’s shed. She admired how it fit in her palm perfectly, like the handle was specifically designed for her. The python seemed asleep, taking in some rest after swallowing an entire calf, all the way up to the horns. It barely moved when she inched closer to it, her heart pulsing with excitement. She had become a huntress, a sword of vengeance, a weapon meant to conquer other weapons, and she wielded herself to the sky, basking in all that was gore & glorious, taking down monsters in the swift of her judgment. Minutes after, the head of the serpent was gone. She sliced down the blade along the length of its body, trying to see if she could somehow save the calf, but was rather disappointed to find it dead.
***

She was 15 when she saw the bruises on her mother’s face, a bloom of purple and red around the bags of her eyes, as she spent countless nights watching stars pass by, the ones into the sky and the ones that lingered in front of her, dining with the ache in her head. She was never around home those days, spending most of the time at the refuge of her boarding school, where she wouldn’t know of the beatings she took from her father. She came home earlier than expected that day, her mother perched on the kitchen counter, nestling vodka in the fragile ends of her lips. Mrs. Diana Lall was beyond her tears…beyond the quake of her anger…beyond the broken and jagged ends of her self that was living in constant pain, both outside and inside. She couldn’t look at her daughter, couldn’t tell her what had happened. But there was no point in saying anything when the eyes could hear anything the body spoke.

It was no easy task with a human. The head is help by stronger neck muscles, and even in death, it fought as hard as it can to keep itself attached to the spine.
“I need a bigger weapon”
She realized, after spending hours trying to cut off her dead father’s head. The revolver she found in the glove compartment in his car was faster at killing than a machete, but it lacked the enthusiasm of killing altogether…of sating the dragons of her anger from tearing at the sanity of her mind…at the desire for vengeance that she lived for.

“There’s an axe at the back…”

Her mother called out from behind, watching in mute silence as her daughter exacted 3 years of pain on her husband. They had planned it out carefully, at least they thought they needed to. But he came home drunk, staggering all over the house while he broke everything he touched. He was in his violent phase, throwing dinner plates at the mother of his child while he branding her all sorts of names. He didn’t hear her daughter come from behind him, couldn’t do anything when the chair hit him from behind, bringing him back from his drunken stupor and into the world of pain he had created. The white of his eyes shone in the dark, fear crushing his pupil down into a small speck.

“NO! Please…don’t do this! I’m sorry!”

The gun weighed heavy on Mrs. Lall’s hand. A little heavier than how she thought it would. But it was no matter, this was a night she wouldn’t look at stars, but send them into the heart of the beast swiveling on the bedroom floor. The gunshot was loud, sparks coming out of the barrel like miniature stars of fury, sending to darkness the ghost that haunted her living life. They cut out his head 15 minutes later, the first 12 wasted on the futility of using a kitchen knife. The remaining limbs of his body followed suit 5 minutes later, and by the hour, they had gathered his pieces together in a trash bag and gave him a solemn 5 minute funeral over more vodka and cigarettes.

“TJ…”
Her mother called at her, relief shrouding the exhaustion in her voice.
“Thank you.”
“Anything for you mum.”
***

She met Luna during her college tenure. She was preparing herself for going into the police academy, and having a friend at the time felt like a good release from the hard training and studying she had to endure everyday.
“I feel like I’m in a boarding student during the day and a military student at night.”
She told her one day through pillows soaked with sleep and thoughtless dreams.
“Why do you want to be a cop?”
She asked then, curious about her choices. She remembered the snake in her Uncle’s farm…the beast of a father in her mother’s home…
“I like the idea of being a defender of the innocent. To exact the hand of righteousness on crime. To be the gavel of justice itself, or the blade of Karma, that sounds like something I’d like to have on my resume.”
“Whoa! That’s deep. I was expecting something like your dad being a cop too but that will do”

She laughed then, so simple…so innocent…she was a butterfly, and daylight blinded her from the bat that reigned over skies she has never flown in. She found herself laughing with her…at her…at the ignorance that was so majestically her bliss…she laughed, at the simplicity of the innocent.
“Well, that’s a story for another day…”
***

She watched her that day, broken…a scattered reflection from the million glass pieces of her mirror eyes as she liquid orbs fell through the blush on her cheeks, tearing the scent of joy she had been wearing for months on the lining of her sky-blue eyes, drowning her world in silver.

“I found Sin with Kat some 3 weeks ago. They seemed to be arguing, so naturally I asked why they were on each other’s neck at the eve of my wedding…
I found out they were having an affair for 3 straight months, and she wanted to confront me saying she wasn’t going to let me have him by myself. What kind of sister says that?! And during all that, he says nothing! He doesn’t even look at me! I couldn’t believe it, so I walked out.

Yesterday I get a message from Kat saying he’s decided to move in with him, and that he’s making plans to marry her now…”
“Hey don’t think on it too much. Look, if you want you can come live with me, stay away from everything else and just focus on your healing. I want to be of help to you…
“Hey! Hey Luna! Are you listening to me? … Lu I know what he did to you was wrong, but you have to let me in, I want to help you. You have to let him go. I have to see you letting him go.”
***

The room was silent, dark under the gaze of moonless eyes. It was no hard task getting into the house. Everything was intact. Pictures and figurines stood next to graying walls, unable to shut their eyes close from the intent that snaked into the tranquil of their world. She found her bedroom, the door refusing to stay closed to her deathly presence…

She took out the syringe in her pocket, put its needle lips on her skin as poison left its mouth and into her bloodstream. She roused from the deep pools of her slumber, her eyes meeting the mask she wore. She saw her scramble to her feet, trying to push her attacker away, but the drug was already settling into the nest of her mind, pulling away the roots of her consciousness.

“Kat!”
Another man walked into the room then, hands clenched to a kitchen knife. She pulled out her gun then, the muzzle tip attached to a silencer that muffled the noise with every squeeze of her trigger. She made her way to the man, taking the knife he dropped and plunging it into his gut…his chest…his neck…going deeper as her rage took the better of her. She stopped when his head rolled to the ground, the body as lifeless as coffin nails.
“You should have stayed asleep, not walk into a girl’s room in the middle of the night. I guess chivalry really is dead”
***

Things started to go wrong when she received a call from Chief Inspector Said.
“Detective. Hope I didn’t bother you today. I could use your help in something.”
She had been feinting sickness to plot her next move with Sin.
“No problem at all Chief. What can I do for you?”
“New information just came up from the forensics…”
*The fingerprints*
“…We found fingerprints in the crime scene. We can officially declare the deaths as a homicide, and right now our lead suspect is your friend Luna Valentine. I’m bringing this to your attention because I know she’s your friend, but I have to take her in nonetheless.”
She saw her sprint off into the rain, her talk with Sin evidently having gone down the drain.
“No problem detective. I’ve just seen her leave, you’ll find her on her walking down my street alone.”
“Alright, thanks. I appreciate it. Also, there’s something else that you need to know. Lab results came back and it turns out Katherine Valentine was carrying a child during her time of death.”
“What?!”
She didn’t know that. She wasn’t told anything about a child. An innocent life, washed off by the sins of her mother.
“Yeah. She was just one month old though. Didn’t she tell you guys?”
A month old.
“No, I wasn’t aware.”
Anger wound a noose around her voice.
“That’s weird. We found message threads between her and her sister. I’ll talk it over with her, I’m already on the way there.”
***

She has never taken an innocent life before… She felt tainted, blemished by the fault. She was in her assigned duty car, driving up to the street she knew Luna would be following after days of watching her take walks around the suburb. She left her car a block away, walking down the length of the remaining distance to where she could see the chief’s car, blade in one hand, gun in the other…
…The Chief didn’t have time to shoot, her blade keen to meet its intended mark, leaving him sprawled on the floor, shock engulfing his sanity in the short burst of seconds…
…Luna met her full blown punch, driving her into the ground faster than she could react …
…Three more stabs at the detective…
She brought out the chloroform-soaked the handkerchief & put it on Luna’s nose as she was about to scream, trying to get her unconscious as fast as she could and carry her to her car. She was out within 15 seconds…

Sin came running from the corner she had emerged from, her surprise slowing her reaction. He was sprinting away when she pulled out her gun and squeezed the trigger, the first bullet hitting the wall, the other whizzing into invisibility as it sailed into thin air.

She reached for the Chief’s radio com
*Officer down. I repeat, officer down. Chief Inspector Said has been stabbed. Suspect currently running down Second Street into Shire Park. Suspect is armed and dangerous. Shoot on sight.”
***

She found him running into the main road, a pack of police behind his trail firing shots at him. He was looking to take out a motorcyclist and run away on the bike.
“Not a chance!”
Ramming him was a clean kill. He was dying before he even hit the ground. She stopped the car between her & the coming officers, temporarily blinding their line of sight. She tucked her mask deeper into her jacket and pulled out the blade that tore through the Chief’s torso, placing it in his hand before the officers got to her.
“Nice work detective Lall.”
An officer said as he came in panting, gun out of his holster and aimed at the corpse in front of her.
“Call it in”

#5 Secrets in the Grave.

The dead lay still,
Dislodged from the moving habits
Of the living
By the scythe of death,
As silence followed the absence of their souls
Into veils of the nether-realm,
Where stars are
Shadows
Of a phantom dark.
They slept on the fields of eternity,
In blade-less grass beds
That never felt
The coldness of the sun…
The dark of the moon…
The storms after summer…
Or the decaying warmth before winter…
The dead remained motionless
As they collapsed from
Time-held shells of their mortal coil
Into an ending of
Bones & dust,
Becoming unnamed figures
Of the non-living
Carrying tombstones
Where they put their crosses,
As nails let coffins
Keep the living away.
She looked on at their becoming,
And like the silence
She saw them off without words,
Or hymns,
Or sorrow,
Or sympathy,
For they were ill-fated bearers
Of her secrets,
Damned
To take it with them
To the hell
Where her demons lay.

***

Sirens wailed into the heavy air as police cars whizzed past him, splashing dead rain onto the walls of curiosity in his mind. Anxiety was as thick as the sky, while the wind plucked leaves from where uneasy butterflies hung on branches, fleeing from the chaos of the world. He could feel his own pulse throb through the linings of his shirt, pleading with him to stop running & keep his feet on the ground. His lungs burned from perspiration, chasing the very air that rushed past his face. He was on a full sprint, looking for turns, alleyways & basements that would throw away the policemen on his tail, but it seemed as if there was no way to shake them off.
***

He stood in the light drizzle, taking in the intoxication of jasmine scents left behind by the empty air where Luna once stood, flirting with the nasal trance as he fought off the urge to run after her, to go down on his knees and beg her for forgiveness. He lost himself in the slow of time, between the seconds that he stole to either decide or let go, but when the pendulum swung once again, he found himself tailing the phantoms in the musk of her perfume.
***

He dashed into a new corner now, where the road narrowed into a bridge. A river roared beneath the walkway, splashing on its stone-soaked banks like a water dragon as it struggled to bring down the wooden aperture to the floors of dead rock beneath it. He looked back & saw five more police officers had joined the chase now, making the corner he just came from and taken aback by the fury of the river.
“No time to think now…”
He made his way up the archway, his footsteps heavy on the aging foothold. The river seemed to grow bigger once he made it through the first few feet across, tumbling every now and then over water from both the ocean skies above & the river dragon below, having to do all he can to keep himself from spraining his legs. A quick glance back and the officers had made it to the footwalk as well, guns drawn from their holsters and aimed at him…
“FREEZE! DON’T MOVE!”
***

It seemed like it was mere seconds ago that he traced the path she had taken, snaking through empty roads of the leafy neighborhood and abandoned play fields, her hair falling off from the shelter beneath the white maven she wore. She rounded into a distant corner just as a police car was steered next to her, but he was still too far off and blinded by the corner walls of the building.
“Must be something to do with the investigation, looks like the Chief’s ride…”
He slowed down his pace then, his instincts telling him she would definitely tell the cops he’s been lurking and he didn’t feel like spending the night at the cell…

***

He almost laughed at the remark, seeing how he ended up with an option he literally wanted to run away from since the beginning.
“Stop and get killed by law enforcers or run and manage to escape them and find a way to think everything over…”
He sprinted onward, the other side of the bridge opened out from the short horizon the arch of the bridge had made.
“I can do this”
He panted heavier now, his breathes coming shorter to him. He could feel his asthma fighting through the wall of sheer will he had built up to keep himself from collapsing.
“No…not yet…”
***

He felt like he had left behind a lifetime of memories now. The spontaneous burst of each moment escaping through his line of sight…the sudden scream…the sound of two bodies scuffling…his realization of the wrongness of the situation…the sound of a man yelping in pain…the sound of his footsteps as he ran to where Luna had disappeared into…the sound of the first gunshot…him making it to the corner…the sound of the second gunshot…him seeing a masked figure over Luna…the surprise that held him to place as he realized what he just stepped into…the rush of bullets past his face as the figure rounded toward him and fired a couple more shots…fear pulling him into a sprint back around the corner again as he dashed to hide his open back from the gun of the attacker…
***

He got to the end of the bridge in time and made for the forest that opened up into an eerie dark. It was harder here to maintain a sprint when the ground rose and fell without his notice. Barks of trees sheltered him from his pursuers’ guns as they fired at him incessantly. His chest however, was burning holes through his torso, and he couldn’t even maintain his speed when he wanted to run faster. In the silence of the trees he could make out their footsteps as they rushed behind him, the thought of losing his life the only reason his legs needed to keep moving forward.
The police cars were suddenly behind him, not to protect him, but to run him over.
“What the hell…”
“Don’t let that murderer get away. We’ve been given orders to shoot on sight”
He had barely made it over a nearby fence when he heard the police guards shouting.
“They think I killed…?”
He had made his way through the flood of wood and branches into open space, the road ahead still busy with cars as they dashed back and forth into and out of the neighborhood. He could feel his asthma rising, drowning him in the heaviness of his own chest as his heart raced to keep blood flowing and his legs running…
“Just a little further…”
He made the steps up to the road when one of the officers fired a shot on his right leg.
“Argh…!”
He stopped then, falling down to the tarmac. He turned to see them coming closer as they made their way past the clearing into the open field. With a monumental effort he stood up then, seeing a motorcyclist come up his way.
“Now or never…”
Before he could do anything he felt his whole body get rammed by what felt like a hundred iron bulls, as he suddenly plunged upwards into the soar sky, then down again on rough tarmac…
Pain…
Too much…
Can’t breathe…
He turned to see what happened, finding a black figure come out of another police car…
Headache…
Images growing more blurry…
Liquid in his mouth…blood?
The black figure squatted beside him
“I got him guys, over here!”
He raised his eyes, saw a mask being tucked into a jacket…
His life flashed before his eyes…Spilling milk on his mum’s carpet…doing drugs in his teens…dropping out of school…the first big money he ever made…his first kiss…
The first time he fell in love…
Luna…
He felt himself ooze away from the world, away from all the chaos that erupted around him, into tranquil nirvana. It was funny how everything that felt so important seconds ago, seemed like trivial issues now.
The dimming finally steered him into a full dark…
Light became shadow…
And he could do nothing as the release came to him as swift as the last words of the living met his ears…
“Nice work detective Lall.”

#4 The Reaper.
Sunburned eyes watched on
From above the peaks of her shoulders
While she pricked the feet of
Pilgrim clouds,
Releasing silver blood onto the
Waiting palms of the
Rising storm.
The world lay at the edge of the horizon,
At the threshold where
A thousand suns
Fell victim
To the endless rage of hell,
Whose fires burn
Black
Over the scarlet blood of
Sin-rich graves.
She watched the becoming
Of her vengeance
Shatter
Diamond pieces of her soul,
As chaos adorned
The fury
That crowned the skies above her with
Lightning thunder,
While the rain rushed forth
To scavenge pieces of her victims below
Like they were grim reapers
Drawn
To the damned.
She blessed their end with the peace in her gaze,
Listened to the silence in their screams
Quench her requiem,
& in the finality,
She discovered new pools of
Satisfaction
Where she could drown
Her demons.

***

He arrived like her pain, unexpected, unwanted, unshakable. The smile beneath his eyes was meant to be soft, but she knew first hand of the forked tongue that sat lazily behind the river of his mouth, swirling in the poison of the words that sat at the banks of his lips. He stood as a representation of everything she ever wanted, and a culmination of the betrayal her desires dealt her, stripping her off the joy of living as she sunk into oblivion.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes. Life is devastatingly taking a toll on you”
He spoke once more, his words like ghosts of the skeletons in her closet.
“What do you want?”
She asked, anger shaking like the silver orbs balancing on her line of sight.
“Can’t I swing by and say hallo? Say I’m sorry? About Kat and everything else?”
“Not if you know whatever you’ll say won’t work on me.”
“Luna I’m not out to deceive you…”
“Ha! Where have I heard that before?”

They stared at each other then, collecting everything that was left between them, taking what they wanted from each other; him a look at how she was doing, her to destroy every bit of him that was still breathing. The knife in the kitchen seemed to be shouting her name now…
“Will we ever get past this?”
“There’s no we anymore Sin. Didn’t you get the memo?”

She walked away then, her legs engulfing stride after stride as she made distance from the devil behind her shoulder…and the knife left on the kitchen counter. She didn’t dare turn when he called out to her, seeking to get the haven of her solace rather than to battle with her anger and the murderous intent screaming in the back of her mind. The wind roared in her ears, taking out strands of her brunette hair into the steady drizzle of rain, turning it darker than the circles around her eyes.
She had been walking for a long time, walking to a direction she was yet to know. The street she blindly took was empty, abandoned by the warmth of human crowds and left to the shallow beat of rainfall on dark drums of the tarmac. There was no tune, no music in the noise, she had walked into a destitute avenues; a mirror manifestation of her memory lane where plagues accompanied her reminiscence. She turned into a corner right as a car pulled up in front of her.
“*sigh* what now?!”

She looked on as chief Inspector Said came out of the car, lips tugged to the waist of a cigarette. He seemed to be too old for his job, but then again she was surprised when Tiffany told her he was just 35.

“Ms. Valentine, may we have a word please? It concerns your sister, Katherine.”

She froze then, taken aback by the fragility of what was being told. It seemed as if the world was filling the void of emptiness inside her with pain, and she was yet to know how to drain it all out.
“What’s going on?”
She asked, tension tying double nooses around her neck.
“Come with us to the station, it’ll be more convenient there.”
She felt agitated then, almost as if he was intentionally letting anxiety crowd her lungs.
“Just tell me what is wrong.”
“We’ve collected evidence that incriminates you in the investigation and we need you to come with us back to the station to answer a few questions.”
“What do you mean incriminates me?!”’
“Our forensics found your fingerprints all over the crime scene, couple that with the death threats we found on her cell phone sent by you last week.”
“Excuse me?! Wait are you insinuating that I killed my own sister?!”
He watched her then, reluctant to draw her away by force, but not at all against it as well.
“Ms would you please come with me?! I understand why you are angry but let’s not do anything irrational that will aggravate the situation any further than it already is.”

She put her hands in her jacket-pocket as she tried to make sense of the situation without having her hands grow numb in the cold. She felt something jab her palm from one of the pockets, a slight distraction that pulled her away momentarily from the officer.
“Ms would you please put your hands where I can see them!”

The Chief looked alarmed, too alarmed. He was walking closer to her as if to apprehend her, and in response she pulled out her hand together with the blade she carried on her hands. The inspector pulled out his gun & aimed it straight at her chest.
“Put that weapon down!”
“What are you….this isn’t even mine I swear!”
“PUT IT DOWN!”

A new figure rounded the corner she came from earlier, blindsiding the inspector with a blade thrown to the space on his chest. She turned to look at the attacker just as she got punched square on the jaw, knocking the gravity out of her feet. In the breath of a second she was down on the ground, her head whirling around as dizziness gripped her where her head had began to ache. She looked up, trying to make sense through the haze in her vision, seeing only a shadow figure in a mask stab the chief once…twice…thrice…the body in front of the attacker jerking with every slash from the knife…
“Someone! Somebody hel…”

The words hushed from her lips as her attacker gripped her mouth, a handkerchief perched on the tip of her nose as she was forced to inhale a bitter substance. Her vision grew more out of focus then…her mind slowly shutting down as the darkness that never left her finally engulfed her. She felt her body grow limb…her head heavy as it grazed rough corners of the pavement…her eyelids shutting her off from the light of the sky…and as she fell off from the world, the masked figure stood above her, sending gunshots into the plunge of her release, reaping her with death-scythe precision into the silence of the unknown.

THE PAIN OF BETRAYAL

By Lubnah Abdulhalim

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

I remember when I was thirteen years old, my closest friend decided to replace me as her best friend with another girl. I was apparently so hurt at that and wrote her a two paged letter filled with so much bitterness and was listing down all the sacrifices I did for her sake and the way she didn’t appreciate. As i was writing the letter, my mother appeared and saw it. she read it through and gasped with astonishment, ‘you carry all this load in your heart?!’ and i cant forget how much she scolded me for concentrating on friendship that much instead of my studies as i was a candidate by then. All in all, my point is not at how my mother scolded me or what happened after that. Many years later now, I look back at that situation and wish that the only betrayal that could ever exist was like that one whereby an innocent thirteen year old is filled with bitterness because her best friend replaced her.

As someone once said, ‘every man faces seven enemies in his lifetime; sickness, hunger, betrayal, envy, greed, old age and finally death.

As I grew up, I realized how naïve I was and that the world is actually like a battle field. so many wolves ready to attack you just the moment you trip. The saddest thing about betrayal though is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from the people you loved the most.

As John Le Carre said ‘love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’ No one could ever dispute this fact that betrayal only happens when you love, because you trusted in the first place. Of course you wouldn’t trust your enemy right? therefore, betrayal never happens with your enemies, it only happens with your loved ones.

We live in a world where you can’t really trust anyone completely. It takes years to build trust and yet, just a few seconds to break it. We live in a world whereby you can’t even trust to leave your wife alone for some few hours, in the fear that another man, probably could be even your neighbour, takes over your place just the moment you leave.

Betrayal has led to so much pain. They say time heals all wounds but they forget that the scar will forever be there. People may forgive but will never forget the deep pain they felt and of course, nothing will ever be the same again.

Sometimes, a mother betrays her child. One would wonder how? but haven’t we seen all those many children appearing on our televisions, with deep cuts, burns, mutilated body parts just because of a small mistake they did? Yes, she betrayed her child. He trusted her, he knew she would never want any harm for him, he knew she would protect her and what did she do instead? she was the one holding the knife, the one holding the flame ready to burn, the one holding a panga ready to chop…the one who put the poison in his food. Yes, that is betrayal. When a father rapes his own daughter and maybe, she even gets pregnant and the girl lives the rest of her life being haunted. Life will never be the same again for her.

Betrayal is when we all put our trust and hope in that leader. As we die with hunger and thirst, we still had the energy to stand up and have faith that change will come with this leader. It is that kind of hope that never dies and we all vote for him, thinking we would never be hungry and thirsty again. But alas! greed is all he ever had.

Betrayal is when you love someone so deeply and just suddenly, they shatter all your dreams into small irreplaceable pieces of glass. Even picking up the pieces will cut you once again so you let them right there with the undying hope that they would realize what damage they caused and maybe…just maybe come back.

Betrayal doesn’t only break your heart, but also darkens your soul. You will never forget the pain and many have changed due to that kind of pain.

Trust is like a mirror, once broken, you may try to repair it but no matter what you will always still see the cracks. So be very careful on whom you trust and value the people who trust you and keep up to their expectations. Don’t disappoint them for giving you the most valuable thing they can ever offer; TRUST!

You are not a fool that you trusted, that you loved, that you had faith…they are the fools for lying to someone who trusted them. So forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you!