Tag Archives: Fiction

The Vanity of the Mind #3: The Redemption

The story so far…
1. Anathema
2. A damsel in distress

The Redemption

He nears the house. He sees the door and the pitch darkness inside. The Black Hole. Only this time, the door looks circular. The black circle grows as it nears him. It moves towards his forehead.
He hears a cocking sound.

“BANG! You’re dead.”

He came back to his senses.
The lady was aiming the muzzle straight at his forehead. It was his own gun.
“What the…”

“Didn’t expect this, did you?”, she asked with a smile, “Didn’t expect me to be the anonymous assassin who is going to kill you.”
“But I was paid to kill you.”
“Don’t you get it? It was me who contacted your agency for this contract.”
“It was a trap, wasn’t it? A decoy so that you could get to me. But I praise your fortitude to plan my assassination with my own weapons.”
“I knew you are weak. A person doing this job should have no relationships. He should have no heart. You were so in love with me.”
“But why no weapons?”
“Oh come on! You would have known the moment if I’d carried any weapons. Besides, I wanted to prove that I’m the best in business.”
“So have you proved it?”
“I will, in due time.”
“Have you ever played Russian Roulette? How about playing it now? Too bad we don’t have a revolver. You hold the gun against…”
“SHUT UP! Don’t play games with me.”

The hitman laughed menacingly. She grew confused as her smile faded away.

“Good guess. I indeed was intending to play games. As a matter of fact, I did expect you to betray.”
He opened his left hand. The bullets were in his hand.

She pulled the trigger frantically.
Nothing but the sound of metal hitting against metal.

“Give the gun to me. I’ll teach you how to shoot.”
He grabbed the muzzle. She didn’t even resist. The cartridge was empty. It was a deadlock situation.

“How did you know?”, she asked.
“Our dialogue sounded like something straight out of a Sidney Sheldon novel. Sounded too trite to be honest.”
“Lets do something which is less of a cliche. Lets play Russian Roulette then”, she had to buy as much time as possible.
“Yeah. Lets.”
He pointed the gun on her forehead instead of his own.
His arced lips were becoming straight, “An assassin should never listen to her heart.”
She looked into his bared left hand. There were only three bullets.
She suddenly realised, “Shit!”

“BANG! You’re dead!”
The silencer served both the purposes.
It made a tranquil silence of the gunshot.
It silenced her.

The hitman opened the cartridge. There were 4 bullets in the lower slots. He put back the three bullets in hand into the top-most slots.

The lady lay in the linen-covered floor, an exact hole on the middle of her forehead.
It was over. He walked away with his paycheck.
The mind won the battle. The urban legend was redeemed.

Courtesy: Thanks to Sanjeev for the constructive criticism on the last chapter.

The Vanity of the Mind #2: A Damsel in Distress

The story so far…
1. Anathema

A damsel in distress

He was pushed to the back seat of a helpless moderator who was about to witness a heated debate.
The heart and the mind were arguing. How could he not listen to either one of them?
The mind. Cunning manipulator.
The heart. Excruciating torturer.

He came back after quenching his thirst. But his thirst for an answer was still not quenched. The curtains were open and the soothing lights from the moon were falling inside. The warm doona was glowing bright white in the silhouette. Under that was a beautiful face, no less than the face of an angel, because it was glowing with twice the aura as the moon. His gaze quickly went again to his silenced pistol kept in the bedside table.

Please…No…I can’t do this…
I love her.

Did I really ever love any one? Did I really care about any one?
Do I know what love is?

All I know is that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life..She is my sole solace from all the misdeeds I do.

Misdeeds? Or deeds? There is nothing wrong in taking life.

How can I take life when I can’t give life?

I don’t care. All I know is, this is what I’m good at and this is what I’m paid for.

But how can I? How dare I hurt such a person as her?

Because she asked me to.


Don’t I know?

The world then zooms to an alternate reality…what has already happened!
The assassin and his lady love are conversing. The heart and the mind are watching.

Assassin: I didn’t expect you outside so soon. You like parties.
Lady: I like to be in your company for as long as I wish.
L: Care for a smoke?
A: No thanks.
L: As usual.
A: We should stop meeting like this; these chance encounters make me feel insecure about myself.
L: Chance encounters? Heh. You have been hiding so many things from me.
A: Like?
L: Like what you do for a living.
A: You never asked.
L: I didn’t because I didn’t want to know.
A: Very well.
L: But I found out nevertheless. I’ve seen you hide that pistol of yours inside your tuxedo.

The hitman frowns.

L: I’ve known that the one the world thinks as an Urban Legend, is the world for me.
A: Still you love me?
L: Yes.
A: Why?
L: Because I’ve seen a heart of gold in you.
A: But I have a mind of stone.
L: But I see your heart in your eyes whenever your eyes see me.
A: Look. I’ve tried to tell you several times, but faltered every time. You should stay away from me. It is not safe.
L: How can one stay away from one’s shadow?
A: I am the shadow of the people I kill. I cannot be with you.
L: Then kill me.

The assassin frowns again. How the hell did she know?

A: That is the stupidest statement I’ve heard in ages.

A cheshire cat grin comes on her face. He senses her signal. He leans forward. He feels her satin-like skin. They hear the song played in the background.
I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky
I swear like the shadow that’s by your side

They kiss.

The heart and the mind come back to the present.

That is just a passing statement. Not good enough a reason for killing her.

It’s not finished yet.

They zoom to another reality.

The assassin and the lady are in the bed. He is lying on his back, facing the ceiling. She is lying sideways, her head rested against her left arm. Her other hand is caressing his chin.

L: Do you love me?
A: I don’t know.
L: That’s one honest answer.
A: But you are the only human I care about in this earth.
L: Then why did you come here to kill me?
A: What?
L: I know you are here to kill me.
A: I di…
L: I’ve seen the concentration in your face today. Today is the day you are going to make another hit. I don’t mind it being me.
A: I don’t get it.
L: I’ve been running away from them for so long. They want me dead. I’m tired. Tired from running. You see. I’d rather die in your hands than from the bullets of an unknown person.
A: Are you not afraid?
L: Not when you are around. I only have one request. Hold me close to you until I die.

The assassin doesn’t know what to say. He can’t keep his eyelids open. He feels sleepy.
What is happening to me?
He wakes up in an unknown place. He walks across the street, but this time it looks a bit familiar…The road laid with stones. The medieval buildings. He is back in his dream.

The Vanity of the Mind #1: Anathema

The story so far…



He woke up, startled.
He felt disoriented. He was gasping.
What was it that he just said? Who did he ask for help? Why did he need help from anybody?
What was it that he just saw? Do dreams have any meaning?
Questions! They come like bullets from a machine gun whenever they come, not giving time for you to answer, suffocating you. By the time you are ready to answer, they are gone.

He came back to his senses.

That was nothing but a bad dream.
No! Dreams have meanings.
A conflict of thoughts!

His .44 caliber Desert Eagle was lying on the bedside table, fitted with a silencer. It symbolized his gagged mouth. He had no one to confess to. His life was that of a solitary eagle, a cursed one.

He was the assassin.
He wasn’t sure how many people he had killed. But he was sure of something. If God existed…if heaven and hell existed…he had a sure seat in hell.
He killed for money. That was his food. That was his destiny.
“Destiny. A word coined by some prick who wanted to justify his deeds and explain his losses.”
“Who’s there?”, he shouted as he looked around.
No one! That voice seemed to come from inside him.

He checked the time in his diamond studded Rolex watch kept by the bedside table. He could afford expensive watches and suits, thanks to the handsome money he got for each contract.
It was 4 in the morning. He looked at his gun. Creases formed in his forehead. His eyes were showing hatred. Hatred towards his gun. Hatred towards his profession. Hatred towards himself.

“This is not hatred. This is confession. You are confessing to yourself, because you have no one else.”
“Who’s that?”
“I’m your heart.”
“What the…”
He got up. He needed some water. This was insane.
It was about to get worse, because someone else just barged in.

“Don’t listen to your heart. It will make you weak”

The Vanity of the Mind: Prologue

He walks across the street which doesn’t look too familiar. It is a crowded street, but the faces are blank. The roads are very clear, but the surroundings aren’t. It is as if someone has blurred out the borders of a picture. The road doesn’t seem to be asphalted; it is a walkway which looks an old-fashioned one with polished stones on the ground. The buildings too don’t seem modern; most seem to be festooned. They look blurred. Are they really constructed like that? Or is it a trick that his mind is playing?
His mind laughs cynically…”Fool!”

He then spots THAT building. It is not a separate standalone edifice, but still, it looks clear in the hazy virtual reality he is in. Why so? He knows not. It is a part of a chain of buildings which don’t seem to be separated, but continuous.

He turns towards the building. He senses the ominous artworks in the wooden roofs. He sees the black smoke rising out of it’s chimney. But he doesn’t see where it is going. It disappears into the infinite universe. He squints into the building through the open door. It is pitch black inside. It seems to have nothing; a black hole. Is it really a black hole? Is it true that anything would be sucked inside? Is it so tempting that anyone who passes by would go inside but never return?

He is tempted. Little does he realize that this is his last temptation. He has two choices. If he makes this choice, there may be no return. Still he goes inside. His mind resumes that cynical laugh. He doesn’t step inside; he floats. His feet doesn’t seem to hit solid ground. He frantically tries to get out through the door. But it’s too late. There’s no door. There is a sphere of darkness around him. For the first time in his life, he’s afraid.