“Oh no, oh no! What have I done, what HAVE I done?” she said pacing up and down the cosy room, sweat beading her forehead in the cold winter afternoon and her eyes looking at it in disgust, confusion and sadness.
“Alisha, now what’s the use of feeling so distressed. You have done what you have done!” hissed Alaina, her eyes fixed at Alisha’s, trying to gauge her feelings. Her real feelings.
“I have done it? I have done it? How can you be so sure? I can’t believe it,” Alisha closed her eyes as she said these words averting her gaze away from it. It was lying on the floor, its horrendous face facing the floor. Alaina moved towards it, trying to touch it and make it face toward the front.
“DO NOT touch it,” said Alan as he entered the room. “Don’t be as foolish as her, Alaina. Have you no sense?” he said sternly. “What is done is done. I came as soon as I could. Now, the more logical thing would be what to do with it,” he said looking at the ceiling, as though thinking of a plan. Alaina, Alan and Alisha knew each other since a long time. Bad and horrible childhood had brought them together and since then they had not left each other’s side.
“Why are you both calling him, it?” Alisha said wiping tears off her big brown eyes which were now swollen. Tears flowed down her rosy red cheeks. Even in sadness she was as beautiful and breath-taking as ever. Just like the day she met him. Him who was now it.
“He is not alive. We are talking about a lifeless thing, so we will call it it. Wouldn’t we?” said Alaina in an aggravated tone. “It looks awful. We need to do something as soon as possible. We have already spent half an hour in this charade and we have around one and a half hour until the maid comes and finds us in this mayhem. What will we do then huh? Take care of her too?” said Alan as though he were the only ‘sane’ person in the room.
Sane means of a sound mind, not mad or mentally ill. It is a word that could describe Alan or Alaina, but it would definitely not be an appropriate word to describe Alisha. Having spent days, weeks and months at the therapists’ office, she couldn’t claim that she is, in fact, ‘sane’. She detested going to her ever-so-cheery therapist in his drab office sans any colour or life. She was ‘insane’ – certified insane. Certified by the ugly yet cheery therapist. People believed him and his PhD but no one believed her when she tried to convince them about her normalcy.
He or now it never believed the others and got married with her anyway, enduring all the opposition he faced. Shunned by his family and friends, he found solace in a small town in the mountains, where it was cold all around the year. Winters were dreadful and he should have thought better than moving to this town as cold and sunless is not a weather where sanity thrives. Why would he do that? Many asked him, but he had no concrete answer. She just believed him and never left the house, while he toiled hard somewhere, she didn’t know and most of the times returned at odd hours. She never questioned him- where he worked, why he was late, why he wouldn’t come back for days altogether, why would he hit her when she made mistakes. She never questioned him, she just believed him.
Her sanity was the talk of the small town, so small that everyone knew her and everyone thought they ‘knew’ her. She went about her business but people kept claiming that they heard hysterical cries from their home. It sounded unreal to her. Their home was big with a large garden in the front and a picket fence surrounding it. The garden was full of floral plants and a vegetable garden and there were a few trees surrounding their home. So how would her voice travel all the way to the neighbours, many yards away. He agreed to that notion and told her to ignore them and their vacant claims. He told her that they both and their love were enough for their survival and they didn’t need anyone else. She revered him more than any other human being she ever had. She cooked his favourite meals with the fresh vegetables from their garden, decorating the rooms with ruby red carnations and bright orange gerberas and pure white lilies. And now he just lay there on the ground with his face as white as the lilies and his body as lifeless as the gerberas when they wilted.
“What are you thinking, Alisha? That man you revered, you killed him, why?” Alan’s words brought her back to the tense moment in the present. She couldn’t reply, it was as though her face was closed shut and sealed with an adhesive. Nope, it just couldn’t open. “I’ll tell you why,” blurted Alaina. “He was abusing her. Yes, you heard it right. You didn’t know it; I didn’t know it because she didn’t bother telling us her pain. She didn’t want to believe that the person she put on a pedestal next to God was an abuser. She caught him red handed with that godforsaken woman who lives at the far end of the town. The woman fled at the first chance and then when Alisha demanded an explanation from him, he laughed loudly. She had never seen this side of him ever. A side she never wanted to see in her worst nightmares. He called her cuckoo and told her that even if she outed him to the society no one would believe a cuckoo head like her,” Alaina stopped her narration to look at Alisha whose eyes were dry. Her tears were gone and she had a morose expression on.
“I remember now. I remember his face, laughing at me, mocking me. He was describing all the things I have ever done wrong. He told me that he had struck a deal with my parents as they didn’t want me to stay with them anymore and if he married me, they’d give him half their property. I was so foolish to believe him when he proclaimed to me that he wanted to be with me for love,” she snorted. “For love, for goddamn love!” her voice was now as high as the mountains surrounding her home.
“Shush, lower your voice,” Alan whispered. “Now you remember all this? What else do you remember? Do you remember taking his life? There are multiple stab wounds all over his body. So much so that his face and eyes are also not spared. He looks horrendous, horrendous!” snapped Alan.
“Horrendous, yes, I know this word. He called me horrendous. He said that in my cuckoo world, everything is horrendous. He said that God gave me all the beauty in the world but compensated it by not giving me a proper and functioning brain. Who’s looking horrendous now, huh?” sneered Alisha. She no longer felt like her stomach was churning when she looked at it. The hideous sight was no longer disconcerting.
“It’s not a time to be sarcastic, Alisha. Come back to reality and think of what can be done,” demanded Alaina. “I do not remember whether I killed him,” Alisha retorted.
“You did! I saw you hacking into him when I reached here. His eyes were long closed, his breath long gone, but you continued hacking into him with the kitchen knife. You said that his laugh, you couldn’t stand his evil laugh and the mockery in his eyes, so you hacked them too. I felt like vomiting at that sight, and I did too. It took me a good ten minutes to figure out the damage you had done. Yes Alisha, you did kill him,” Alaina’s eyes were focused on Alisha. Tears welled up her eyes and a drop made its way through her face. Her petite frame was shaking with fear, disgust and alarm. “I didn’t imagine that you’d possess a power like that. You, a 5-feet-3, could kill a burly six feet man. In fact, you could kill anyone was beyond me,” Alaina’s eyes were now looking at Alan as though for confirmation. “Although things that have happened her are beyond anyone’s imagination, we need to come up with a plan. We need to bleach this place down and take care of the body. The only issue is that people have seen me coming here in my car and they would suspect me first when they figure out that he is missing. They’ll check my car and even though we clean up everything thoroughly, there could be chances of finding some evidence linking us to him,” Alan put his face in his hands and probably wishing for a Hail Mary.
“We can roll his body in this carpet and take him to the river in my car and dump him there. I came here early and I don’t think anyone saw me coming here,” hoped Alaina. “That would be risky too. Burying him in the garden in the broad daylight is also out of question. Alisha, can you please suggest something?” demanded Alan. “You ask as though I go on killing people for a living. I don’t even remember killing him. I am accepting Alaina’s words as I might have not been in a proper mental state at that time and she definitely was. I am as confused and disoriented as you both, probably more,” Alisha retorted.
“Ok, what if we torch the place with him inside? Burn everything. Then no evidence will remain. No body, no evidence, no crime. What do you both think?” Alan said satisfied with his idea. “Yes, that’s brilliant. People think you are in crazy-town anyway. You can claim that you left the gas stove on and forgot about it and when he returned, he turned on the kitchen light to fetch some water from the fridge and you were outside tending the garden when you heard a huge explosion and ran away from it. Yes, that’s a good story. That will definitely salvage you, Alisha, and us, too,” Alaina looked at both of them with hope.
Alisha pondered over the suggestion for a moment and finally said, “Yes, it is definitely a genius idea and people will definitely believe it. You both can be each other’s alibi and defend yourselves saying that you were at the movies together. Let’s buy the tickets online immediately. It will be admitted as proof as the crime is yet to happen in the eyes of the public,” her eyes almost gleamed and then she realised the severity of the situation and turned to look at the both of them for approval.
Her jaw dropped as they were nowhere to be seen. They had vanished in thin air. She was terrified and unable to do anything alone when she remembered their suggestion- “torch the place”, “you are a cuckoo”, “people will believe that you made a mistake”, “the gas stove explosion killed him”. Yes, she will do that. She went to the kitchen and put the stove on. She had to wait a few minutes till the gas spread everywhere in that room and then she would go outside with a matchbox, light a match and throw it in through the window- and boom, the house would burn to a crisp. She dragged his body to the kitchen floor and came back to the bedroom to check herself. She saw in the mirror. There were two mirrors on the either side of the room. When she looked at her right in the mirror, she saw Alan showing her a thumbs up and when she looked at her left in the mirror, she saw Alaina waving at her. They both were always there for her, standing up for her, even when the rest of the world conspired against her.
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