It was the dead of night. The sun had since set, taking the day with it. She hated the darkness because she had an inexplicable fear of the dark. She was sitting at the only table in her very meagre room, staring at the vials on it. She picked one of the them up with a shaking hand. Two drops was all she needed but, she opened it and poured all its contents into the bowl containing her oatmeal. She picked up the spoon and stirred, willing her hand to lift the food to her mouth.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on her door and she jumped, the spoon clattering back into the bowl. Who could it be at this late hour? She sat quietly, hoping the person would go away but the knocks continued persistently. She sighed; she could always poison herself later. She walked to the door, leaning lightly on the wooden frame.
‘Who is it?’ she asked warily.
‘It is I, Lasher’ a male voice answered quickly.
She opened the door slightly, poking out her head,
“What do you want?” her voice was emotionless.
“I found out where they buried him, it’s near the tomb of his father, and I have prepared our transportation”
She shook her head,
“No, I do not want to see his tomb, I have done enough damage, surely you understand” she whispered.
“Do not be silly! We both did the damage, his blood is on our hands, I need to pay my last respects and so do you. It is only just, you owe him that much!”
She realized this was one of those times when Lasher displayed his tenacity for persistence; she sighed again.
“When do we leave?”
“Now! It is not very far, we shall be there by noon, I got a cab, but we need to pay him.”
“I will get my veil and the money.” She closed the door behind her; going to her single bed she reached for the small corner where she had hidden some money.
Counting the notes she needed, she picked up a black veil; she was in full mourning attire, mourning the first and only man she ever loved. She tied the veil, carefully covering her scanty scattered hair and then turned to the door. In afterthought, she turned back to the table, picked the second vial and hid in the small pocket of her dress. She carried out the poisoned food for disposal.
Lasher was waiting impatiently outside. The old man had always been like that, and his impatience was ageless.
“Is that food for the journey?” he asked, she shook her head.
“It is bad, I want to throw it out” she said, not knowing how she would tell him it was poisoned.
They both made their way to the hired cab outside the compound. There was a strong gust of wind blowing, predicting that a storm was soon to come. It played with the sand and quickly erased the imprint of their footsteps. She looked back at ground as they disappeared, wishing it was that simple to erase her deeds…
* * *
“Tell me the secret behind your power, how is it that you can kill people with your mind?” she had whispered in his ear, as her hand played with a particularly long string of his dreadlocks.
They were in her house on her king size bed. The room was decorated expensively but tastefully and at the same time, very feminine and very seductive. He was in a half lying down position facing her while she was sitting up resting her back against the pillows at the head of the bed.
He smiled, taking her hand from his hair; he turned it upside down and bent his head to kiss the middle of her palm. She snatched it away quickly; that singular simple act had distracted her in the past she was not going to let him get away with it again.
“Why do you want to know?” He asked, his brow was raised questioningly.
“I need you to confide in me, as proof of your love to me. Tell me the secret behind it, because you are like no man I have ever met.”
He looked at her for a while, as if he was trying to be sure he could trust her and she returned his gaze with her most blank look.
“Tell me, my love,” she said as she put his head on her lap. He seemed satisfied with her expression of love so he said,
“I’ll give you a clue; I am like the Israelite from the tribe of Dan.”
“Tribe of Dan? Wait I have heard that before! It is in the Bible, isn’t it? Surely you jest! This is the year 2073!”
“You read the Bible?” He inquired with a smile.
“Of course I do, don’t change the subject, Mr! How is it that you have this ability?” she asked again.
“You know I’m the only child of my parents, my mother waited many years before I was born. Just before I was conceived, a messenger of God appeared in my mother’s dream, telling her that I would be born, that I had to be promised to God from birth. Flowing also from that promise, I have never cut my hair because that is where my strength lies, it is also the reason I do not drink alcohol.”
“But we met in a club!” She said with a little laugh.
“I know, I was drinking juice.” To be fair she had never seen him drink alcohol, so she could not refute his words; she had only made the assumption based on the circumstances of their meeting.
She did not doubt him, the strength of his mind sometimes scared her, but she knew he would never hurt her, just as she knew without doubt that he had just told her the truth. They fell silent, enjoying the quietness of the night while she caressed his head till he fell asleep.
“Lasher!” She called for her most trusted servant quietly even though he was a deep sleeper.
“Bring me a pair of scissors.”
“What shall you do with it? Do you want to stab him in his sleep?” he asked with alarm.
“Hush old man and do as I ask quickly before he awakens!” she whispered urgently.
Then he brought the scissors and handed it to her. When he saw she was about to cut his hair, Lasher understood immediately.
“Wait! Are you sure of what you are doing? You have tested him in the past and he has lied to you three times, he may not be as forgiving this time if you are wrong.”
“He told me the truth, this time I can bet my life on it, there was sincerity in his voice that I had never heard before.”
Just when she was about to cut the first lock of hair, he tried to stop her again,
“You don’t have to do this, you can tell him the truth” Lasher said as he nodded in the direction of the sleeping man.
“The truth? It’s either Angela or him? Does Angela not deserve life too? I have to choose Lasher” she reached for the hair again.
“What about your love for him and his for you? Surely that has to count for something.” This question was almost inaudible but she had heard it, her hands stilled.
“I do not love him and as for his love for me, he will get over it, I need my baby in my arms again,” she replied her voice devoid of emotion, but her hands started to shake as she tried to cut the first lock of hair again. Lasher seeing the inner struggle on her face, took the scissors from her and cut the hair all by himself while she watched with anxiety.
When it was done she sighed and picked up her cell- phone, it lay on the bedside table; she took a deep breath before she dialled a number.
“I have found out the secret behind his power and he is a threat no more, you can come for proof.” Then she cut the call and said,
“It is done Lasher, shall I be free now?” she asked him, Lasher had no answer, but he saw the torture in her eyes.
“Be gone before they arrive, I need some time alone with him”
When they were alone again she stroked his cheek softly, as if trying to remember this moment forever.
In a short while, five soldiers entered her room. President Arthur always sent his minions to do his dirty work; they waited patiently for her to rouse him.
“Awake my love! You have some visitors!”