Color Me Dead

By: Esha Aphale
(@eshalikestowrite on Instagram)

Picture credits: Fine Art America

Her gait, her appearance and the hour of the night earned her catcalls and whistles from almost every man on the road. She bared her teeth in response, and the men mistook it for a smile. She was a creature of the night, just not in the way the men on the street imagined her to be. But she let their imagination run wild, gently smiling to herself.

They would never know the truth unless they tore their eyes from her, pulled themselves out of their fantasy-addled minds and actually took a look at her. 

Everyone wears masks and disguises themselves, but she had mastered the art of showing every aspect of who she actually was without getting caught. The palm-sized ‘Gemini’ tattoo on her neck was practically an autobiography – a footnote into there being more to her than what she showed the rest of the world; there was another side of her, another face, facade, mask, something she donned whenever she did what she was best at: men. One of her hands was still wet and dripping of the liquid it was coated with. She scowled to herself but winked at a taxi driver whose eyes were fixated on her skimpily clad body. Without a word, she climbed into the back at the cab telling the taxi driver her location in the huskiest voice she could muster. 

The ride was long which gave her plenty of time to think about what had transpired a couple of hours ago. Her body was still sticky but she bore the scratches that ran the length of her thigh and back with pride. She had finally done it and had savored every little second until it ended. That’s when the emptiness and feeling of deflation set in but there was a euphoric high to balance that out. 

“Fun night?” The pot-bellied taxi driver asked, slyly winking at her through the rear mirror. He reached out to adjust it so as to get a better look at her. Shifting in her seat, adjusting her dress so that there was very little left to imagine. 

“You could say that…” She smirked. Could he be her next conquest? He seemed easy and desperate, and she was addicted to the feeling she had felt a couple of hours ago. It didn’t hurt that he resembled her father, with his balding head and his empty, grey eyes. This way she could work out the anger towards her father and quench the thirst that dominated her senses. Killing two birds with one stone, she thought and giggled at the little pun. Who said murder lacked humor? She checked her phone. The screen was cracked. When did that happen? Another memento from the best night of her life. She hoped that the scars would remain, as a badge that proudly proclaimed that she had finally become a woman. 

Enough, she told herself. Reminiscing could come later. There was an easy target in front of her and knew that even if she didn’t put in the effort, she’d get what she wanted but the tease thrilled her more than the act. She wiped her hand on her dress (wearing red had its perks) and slid her hands across the taxi drivers back. His eyes widened and she moved closer, her hands draped around his neck. She could feel like pulse-quickening and his Adam’s apple bobbing. A soft moan escaped his mouth and she grinned to herself — the feeling of euphoria was back. The cab had already come to a halt, the driver knowing, or so he thought, what was about to happen. He couldn’t believe his luck when she climbed into the front seat and onto his lap. 

She could feel his breath hitching and quickening, with her arms still around his neck, as he slithered an arm around her waist. She scowled and started placing her hands around his neck. Softly, at first and then tightening her grip with every passing second. This is the part she enjoyed. Locking her manic eyes with his confused ones, she briefly felt sorry for him — he reminded her of a puppy and she didn’t want to strangle a puppy to death — but she definitely didn’t mind the murder of men like him.

His arm started clutching her waist even tighter as tightened her grip, pressing down on his Adam’s apple with her red, glossy nails. He was almost there, almost dead; she could practically see the light slowly and surely fading from his eyes; she didn’t take her hands off his neck even when his eyes rolled back and his breath was long gone. Instead, she stayed there for a few minutes, savouring the feeling. 

This wasn’t as satisfying as the first one. At least the first one had put up a fight and turned it messy and difficult for her. But that’s what they all say, the first murder is always better than the second one. A few more minutes passed. She got out of the cab, retrieved her clutch from the back seat, reapplied her lipstick and placed a visible kiss on his cold cheek. She stood there examining her handiwork when the feeling of emptiness returned- the high of murder only stayed that long. Ignoring it, for the time being, she checked her surroundings. She had been impulsive with this kill, letting her emotions and instincts take over her, not caring about witnesses but thankfully it was a deserted area. Hopefully, no one had seen her and even if they had they wouldn’t have guessed what she’d actually done. 

She struggled with the hood of the cab for a while, her hands were sore and sticky but she had to eliminate all the evidence. Once it opened, she pulled out a matchbox from her clutch, lit a couple of matches at once and threw them in. Smoke had started making its way around the car and it was very obvious that it would explode. She had to get home soon; two murders were enough for a first-timer. She would return the next morning to see the carnage, the murderer always returned to the murder scene anyways. 

As if someone had pressed a rewind button, the scene went back to the way it began — with her walking alone on a dimly lit street. Only this time she would actually go home instead of seeking out her next victim. She was a creature of the night, just not in the way the men on the street imagined her to be; in the way that she was her own instrument, and murder was her art. But she let their imagination run wild, gently smiling to herself. They would never know the truth unless they tore their eyes from her, pulled themselves out of their fantasy-addled minds and actually took a look at her. And that pleased her a lot. 

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