“So what do you think?” The image asked, smiling.
Dave didn’t even flinch a bit- he was accustomed to the imaginary transformation of his image. The other part of his mind, probably the rational and stronger part was once again talking to him through his reflection. It usually manifested whenever his intent pricked his conscience- just as it was doing now, and to make him see that there was justification for it.
“Not bad.” Dave replied.
“It’s our day once again.”
“Yep.” The real Dave stressed with his visage contorted to indecisiveness.
“So what’s the catch?”
“I have been thinking, maybe I should stop you know.”
“Oh come off it, we don’t have to keep arguing on this every time.”
“I mean is there a sense to what I’m doing? Today is supposed to be the day to show love. It’s not- ”
“How can you show what doesn’t exist?” His image interjected.
“What do you mean?”
“I have always told you that that word is just a word, the connection people believe it implies does not exist. The sooner you get that into your thick skull the better.”
“Why then does the word exist if the connection it defines does not exist?” Dave announced triumphantly with a feeling that he had made a point that couldn’t be refuted.
“Love has an entirely different meaning to what people believe today it means. It has been stretched from a simpler definition to a more complex one. You should know by now that people like to live in fantasies, it seems to be the only way they could escape momentarily from the harsh realities of life. So instead of grasping reality, they choose to amplify its meaning in order to convince themselves it actually existed and not an illusion. That’s the main reason everybody has his/her own version of what love looks like. Hence only the vessel can know the signs as they say and since I have known you I can’t say I’ve felt you feel a passion more potent to the one you feel anytime you snuff someone’s life out.”
“I don’t quite agree with you on that.” Dave insisted.
“Have you ever asked yourself, if it does exist why the wars, why the murder… you should know the answer to that one though, why the betrayal, why the divorce?” The image spoke angrily looking as if it would leap out of the mirror and shook him till he understood.
“It’s inevitable, it’s the human nature.”
“Exactly! We are born predominantly to hate, believe me when I say it’s the only thing that brings about development, otherwise, civilization will become stagnant. Nature justifies anything that resulted from hate, even in your case.”
“Absolute rubbish! Do you even remember Marthin Lurther King, St Valentine- the reason for today’s celebration, Jesus Christ and a whole lot of others who has in one way or the other preached about loving one another?”
“And what was their fate- they were murdered gruesomely, and in no way does the rest of the world practice what these individuals preached about.”
He always did this, Dave thought, twisting stuffs to suit his argument and he did it so convincingly that it’s hard not to agree with him. Dave was losing and he knew it. He had to think up something fast before he won him over again.
“What exactly are you arriving at?” Dave stalled.
“What I’m saying is that some people have realized the importance of letting others dwell in their fantasies because at that state they can easily be manipulated and deceived. That word is just a weapon people use to swindle their deluded preys. You’ve always craved for that connection with a woman because you’ve never had one and they took advantage of that. Look at you now; you are a living testimony to what I’ve just revealed to you.”
Dave stood before the mirror, eyebrow furrowed and deep down in thought. He dug up layers upon layers of memories from the grave of his past, looking for a reason to keep on fighting, searching for something, just one proof to flaw those arguments.
The image’s face lit up with a smile as if to say “I’ve got him where I want him.” It knew precisely what Dave was doing and knew it would only get him to see things its way.
“Are you telling me that there is nothing wrong with what I’m doing?”
“Look around you, there’s hatred everywhere. What was done to you, what you do to them, like I said is justified. There is nothing wrong with that.”
“Hmm! There is some truth in what you’ve just said but I feel guilty anytime I do that.”
The image roared with laughter, “at least that’s what still makes you human.”
“And what does that make you, a cold hearted bastard.” Dave spat out looking riled.
“Yep cold hearted but not a bastard.” It said amidst laughter. “Look, Dave developing such soft spot will only add salt to injury. It only makes you prone to hating yourself and having a feeling of worthlessness. Give back to the world what it has given to you- that’s the law of nature. In your case it hasn’t been fair to you and you shouldn’t be fair to it too. And you know that that is the only thing that makes you happy, or do you want to plunge back into your own personal pit of hell that I have raised you from.”
Dave stared at his reflection and it stared back at him. He fought weakly now, if it made him happy why the sleepless nights? But it’s better when compared to living a life of misery day in day out. He gave up.
“You are right.” He affirmed.
“Of course I’m always right. You just like fighting with me… So what’s the plan?” it asked, excited at his change of mind.
“I don’t know. I’m nervous.”
“Don’t be, you got me and the Ricin we prepared. The poison won’t kill her instantly… let’s say 36 hours after she had taken it. Even if the Police bother about tracing it, they won’t be able to connect the dots.”
“Ok… how do I give it to her then?”
“Just leave that to me. You have to get going, it’s almost 12 and my hands are itching already.”
Dave glanced at the wall clock, completely taken over by his friend now. He still had enough time to get there without being late. She deserved some courtesy from him at least. She had suggested she come over to the hotel but he refused, cooking up lies about not wanting to be deemed promiscuous by his boss but he actually did not want to leave any trail and the other reason would have freaked her out.
She met her impending fate when he ran into a friend, in Unilag, where he was hired as part of a team to install wireless access points 10 months ago and she was standing there with him. He got the signs and quickly dove in. Eventually he was able to convince her he was better than his friend- an easy catch if he might add. Coincidentally, she happened to live in Festac. The town had had its share of bad news. This one shouldn’t be something new.
He took one last look at the mirror and then picked up his gadgets from the table. He locked the door as he left the room. He then strode over to the elevator and punched the key pad on the elevator wall. Moments later he was deposited at the lobby of the hotel. On stepping out of the elevator, he made a face as he noticed titillating couples of different mixtures- young and young, old and old, old and young, even of the same species troop into the hotel to celebrate the day in grand style. He moved over to the receptionist and turned in his room keys. He nodded back at the security man by the door as he walked out of the lobby into a taxi he had ordered earlier.
Sitting at the back seat of the taxi he let his eyes drift back to the portico of the hotel. Its circular pillars were decorated with red ribbon and inflated balloons to mark today’s event- an advertising strategy adopted by most hotels to lure people into the building during such occasions. Apart from the money they were making, they were also facilitating mass infidelity and adultery, a notion that had always disgust him not because of the sin but because he loathed the act… it always reminded him of what he could not do. His gaze shifted to the placard hanging just at the gable of the portico which says, “At Sunfit hotel we have all that is needed to show love to your partner. Come show some love now.”
“Take me out of here.” Dave instructed the driver. He smiled crookedly as the taxi sped away…..