Saturday, 26 October 2013

Of Friends and wrong assumptions

My dear friends!
This is dedicated to you people, with all my love!

Lately I've been doing some thinking, ever since my eyes were opened to the fact that I've made some wrong assumptions about my friends. Turning 26 this year, I'm one of the few friends who are yet to marry and in no rush to do so [believe me!]

Anyways, I always had a close knit group of friends, we had the best of times, hanging out. Things started to change when my friends married. Their priorities shifted, their husbands came first and initially I found this a bit difficult to adjust to. I couldn't talk to them whenever I wanted, I couldn't hang out whenever I wished. Earlier, I'd classed them all under categories [see below] but recent events have led me to reevaluate stuff. These were/still are different categories of the married friends.

The One who's too much in love

Honestly I didn't believe this category existed, but it does! One of my closest friend's world revolves around her husband, even after 4 years of marriage. I rang her up the other day, asking if she wanted to have dinner with me sometime and her answer was she likes having dinner with her husband. This left me speechless to be honest, and I replied, 'Don't you have dinner with him everyday? We haven't met in a year, it's only one day.' Giving up, I invited her husband over too only to be told dinner for them is something special that the two share. Apparently I didn't understand because I am not married. *speechless*

The One who become Aunties overnight

This kind is seriously annoying. Since the day they're married, they make it their mission to get all their friends married. Conversations with them usually start with, 'koi rishtay aye hain?' and end with 'shaddi bohat zaroori hoti hai, you don't know what you're missing out on' and stuff. Occasionally, they also talk about how important it is for a girl to get married in this moashrra and that they pray for you five times a day that you find a partner of good seerat and be as happy as they are. They also feel the need to pity you if you tell them you do not have any rishtas to consider, koi baat nahi yaar, meri bhabi ki cousin ki shaddi 30 years main hoi, bus keep trying. Agar tum kaho to main kissi rishtay wali say baat kerun? OH GOD! Save me from this!

The Susral lovers

All they do is talk about themselves or their life in their susral. To them, their issues are more important because, didn'tchaknow? they're married! My issues are stupid and baseless because I'm single and my life involve things like my job, and career. They talk about their susral at length, each boring event/birthday/shadi of every nandh, phuppi and bhabi, names you haven't heard before, people you're not familiar with. Itty bitty gossip about their susral, things they bought with their saas etc. No I do not want to know your saas got a hair cut or bought the same designer lawn as you.

The Newbie Moms

This kind rarely talks of anything other than their kids. They find it hard to cope with the pressures of being a mom and ask for advice from anyone who's available. How they're not pooping enough, how she eats too little, how he doesn't sleep on time, or wakes up too early. How she spits out her date and raisin flavored baby food. How she didn't get enough burpies today. Each story would end with them asking me, what do you think I should do? And I'd go like...errr, I don't know, ask your mom? The newbie mom also refuses to hang out with you since they can't seem to bring their kids to cinemas or restuarants and they don't want to leave their babies at home, even though they live with the baby's dada dadi.

The Know it All Moms

Just because they've had a child, they're certified experts at child raising. If you even dare to suggest something regarding the child's upbringing, watch them turn into fire breathing dragons. They expect everyone to love their kid as much as they do, be they pooping, burping, throwing plates and breaking china. One of my friend kept complaining about her 1 month son having rashes and irritated skin. She had him wearing itty bitty designer jeans [now jean cloth is tough and not breathable]. I suggested changing his pants, something softer and breathable, which wouldn't irritate him and she went crazy mom on me. Told me to mind my own business and she was the mom, therefore she knew better. In other words I should just shut up until after I've had a child. This other friends child has a habit of picking up things and smashing them on the floor, I find it bothersome that she doesn't stop the child from doing it, specially when they're visiting. My friend's 2 year old broke a vase at my best friend's house, all the while her mother did nothing to stop it. Of course, it bothered me and my best friend [who by the way is also single] the little one then started going after other glass items. My best friend only asked this mom to keep her daughter at her side. That did it, she made such a fuss over it and didn't speak to her for 3 months! When I tried patching things up between them, I was very angrily told that, 'Main nahi berdasht ker sakti koi meri bachi to badtameez kahay, tum abhi nahi samjhoo gee kyun kay tum maa nahi bani' -.-

The One's who forget you

This kind ditches their old friends in favor of new ones, they become closer to their husband's friends and their wives and socialize with other couples. They'd meet you once in a blue moon, or run into you at shopping malls or restaurants, and that too very formally. They act all mature and sophisticated and usually frown upon the carefree ways of the single ones.

The Gossip Queens

Don't get me wrong, I love gossip but not the kind these girls have to offer. They'd gossip about their other married friends, their bhabi's, and of the most personal kind, issues in the bedrooms, fights and arguments. Honestly,  I don't know these people, why do I care if they're sleeping in separate rooms? They thrive on such kind of tit bits and find it amusing. They often discuss their sex life too, with way too much info most of the time. Then they want to know interesting stuff happening in your life and cut you off if you try to tell them about some work related issue. Soon they label you as boring and eventually stop talking to you.

The Ones who keep it cool

I don't have many friends like this, only one in fact. She's always available to hang out, she has no issues leaving her kids with her in-laws or her parents place. She wants time away from her husband, she likes to talk about other interests like movies, music, world news, no mention of her kids or husband other than in passing.

Having said all this, my friends might have changed but they're still my friends at heart. There's still a little part inside them that remembers the good old days. As I recently witnessed, I fell rather badly ill the past 2 months and all my friends, [and I mean all, be it the husband lovers, or the know it all moms] were super concerned about me, they'd ring me up every day, make plans and visit, cheer me up whenever they could. It kind of reminded me of how things were back when we were all single and then it kind of hit me. They might have changed a lot, but so had I. If they had become self absorbed, I'd become distant too. I had stopped sharing my problems with them, stopped discussing personal things, I had basically shut them out. We're still close knit, perhaps not in the same way as before but just an evolved kind. We can still depend on each other, share our problems and unburden on each other's shoulder.

xo



Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sharing something I wrote a long time ago, I quite like it.

I never came up with a title for this one but I did just now. 


 'Remembering Chacha'

During my childhood years there were a few things I was really passionate about. Building houses out of cardboard, playing football, visiting Chacha and listening to his whimsical tales. His name was Raice Morgan but we all called him Chacha, which meant uncle in my native tongue. I was very fond of him, all the kids were. My friends and I would find excuses all day long to hang out at his place. He was a retired war veteran, with a twisted sense of humor which made the adults disapprove of him. His house was full of interesting things; there were war muskets and old scary looking books, a big collection of wall clocks, maps of places I had never dreamt of visiting, scrolls in other languages, dark and sinister looking paintings (some were nude too). My parents didn't like my visiting his place, most of the adults used to call him the Senile Bastard. 

I had told him that once and he had laughed gleefully and said 'I'll tell you what. I'd love it if you call me that young man.' He had winked. 

'But what does a Senile Bastard mean?' I had asked innocently. He had laughed his wacky laugh once more and rumpled my hair with his bony fingers. 

'Run along now, you'll get the meaning in due time.' And I did, I already knew it was a bad word and I was awed beyond belief at the fact that someone wanted me to call them that. 

I was 12 years old now and already knew how to curse fluently in five languages, had tasted alcohol 12 times, smoked 8 times (even Chacha's antique pipe given to him by an Arab Sheikh or so he claimed) I wonder what would Reverend Sendiye say if he found out about my so called notoriety. I was his star pupil at mass every Sunday. Our parents had already seen this coming, and my father had adamantly refused to let me see Chacha anymore. To quote him, 'That man is a dog; he needs to be locked up somewhere! All he is capable of doing is turning our innocent kids into cads like him!' and then in an undertone,'….that Bastard…' which had made me snicker but my father wasn't so enthusiastic about my reaction. I had gotten a beating that night and was forbidden to see Chacha from then on. 

Those endless conversations with Chacha had also taught me how to rebel and be stubborn. So I came up with a plan, there was a bridge near my house and it was always secluded. The only time the bridge showed some sign of life was on New Years Eve when it was all lit and twinkling. It was probably a fifteen or twenty minute walk and we could easily meet up with Chacha there. I managed to hand the note to Chacha explaining our place of rendezvous while shopping at the grocery store. He was buying cigarettes and I was buying candy. 

I told him, 'You'd die if you don't stop smoking, you sick fart.'

He guffawed and said, 'Oh it don't do me no harm. Quit being a little pansy you miserable fag and grow some balls.' 

The cashier was scandalized. I guess she would have never imagined a twelve year old and a seventy year old talking to each other in such a manner and hurling one swear word after another. That's what I loved about Chacha, he spoke to me like an adult and often treated me like one too. He never gave a damn about anyone's opinion. But it was always like some kind of role-play. We'd just pretend to be cool and say stuff to each other, but deep down I knew how to respect my elders and speak in a civilized manner. At least I thought I knew. 

……………………………..

The first day of our secret meeting took place when the sun had sunk. We were all giddy with excitement as we sat down on the bridge. Chacha finally appeared and sat with us, we had a great time and he told us many stories, tales of horror and adventure. Every week I'd look forward to our meetings on the bridge, time passed and before I knew it, my friends moved away while some lost interest. Soon I was the only one meeting Chacha, I liked it better this way. We could talk about other stuff too, anything I liked…my studies, how I hated my parents and the crushes I had on my class mates. I was almost thirteen when Chacha told me the story of that bridge. That was a memorable night for me, I was to leave for boarding school the next day and I was very excited about it. Unlike most of my friends, I didn't find the prospect of living in a hostel, under the scrutiny of a miserable warden so depressing. To me it was the perfect beginning to a new adventure, a giant step towards the freedom that was to come in my life. This moment signified my dreams, my hopes, my aspirations and the eventual path I'd choose to lead. We sat in silence, listening to the sound of crickets while occasionally talking about some random thing or person.

It had just occurred to me that the time I spent with Chacha would probably be the time I'd miss the most when I was away. I'd miss the scent of his spicy cologne and the strong smoke of the cigar he liked and most of all I'd miss the grown up conversations I had with him. Thinking about it now, I could almost feel the tears clogging my throat as I cast a glance at him. He seemed to be very preoccupied tonight and there was something different about him. I hope he wasn't feeling sick again. 

By the passing years, his health had deteriorated and his stories had become more imaginative and exaggerated. I had heard talks of him visiting the psychiatrist but dared not to ask. You didn't talk about things like that with Chacha. He hated talking about disease, his dead wife, growing old and dying. I was worried about his health and tried getting him to stop smoking. But he was a stubborn bastard, never listened. 

I wanted tonight to be fun and special since I was going away and I had sworn to myself that nothing would ruin this moment. Breaking the silence, I said, 'So Chacha, it's just like old times. How about telling me one of your spooky tales tonight?' I said as I played with his lighter.

'Are you sure Pansy? You wouldn't pee in your pants?' Chacha sneered at me and guffawed. 

'You old fart, I'm not a kid anymore. Why should I be scared? And I hate it when you call me Pansy.' I said, trying to sound all tough. 

'But you are my Pansy. OK, here goes. I haven't told this to anyone. It's about this bridge…' Chacha lit a cigar and I watched him in fascination.

'The bridge that we are sitting on right now…?' My voice was an octave high now, try as I might I was slightly disturbed. 

'Yes sir. This very bridge, do you know what they say about it? They say that when a person is depressed or has negative thoughts, this bridge makes them dream weird things. There's a spirit that lives below in the waters, it's probably the cause of this.…'

'A spirit…! Is it a bad one?' I interrupted before I could contain myself.

'Hush now, it's my story. Let me finish it first. Now I've heard a lot about those dreams and weird things but I never believed it, until 'that' happened. When I was 42 years old, I saw a dream or a hallucination. Anyways, it really isn't a spirit that lives under the bridge but some kind of ethereal creature, at least that's what I think it was. Been a long time now, but it sure was surreal. I was walking alone, lost in thought. That hadn't been a good night for me, you see I had just buried my wife the other day and was still suffering from the blues. I had a bit too much to drink, so I was staggering and I don't remember much. I decided to sit up here and finish the last bits of my wine before heading home. But before I could do that I think I passed out and that's when I dreamt. I dreamt that I had decided to kill myself, and I jumped off the bridge. It was scary, I closed my eyes as the wind rushed by me. I was prepared to die, waiting for the cold waters to embrace me. But they never did, I passed out then and when I came too, I was resting under the bridge and a figure sat across me. It was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her eyes were this bright blue of the sky; they shined brighter than the sparkling water about her. Her dark curly hair framed her face and she looked as though she had stepped out of some children's fantasy book.' There was a pause as Chacha took a satisfying puff of his cigar. 

'The first words out of her mouth were, "Settle down Mister and listen to what I have to say and you shall not be harmed." It was then I noticed her eyes were almost hypnotic. Her nails were long and polished, almost claw like and suddenly she didn't look too pretty to me anymore. Her skin was ghastly white, there were dark circles under her eyes and for the first time in my life I was scared. She spoke again then…"You are the next chosen one,"'

'Chosen one for what…?' I interrupted again and bit my lip.

Chacha gave me one of his patronizing stare. He was not too pleased by my constant jabbering. I fell silent once again and looked down at the dark shadows in the river under the bridge. It was eerily still, as though waiting to be disturbed by something or someone. Instinctively I moved closer to Chacha.

'I don't remember much, but that woman was wicked. She sat there and told me how she was my new master and that from now on my soul belonged to her. Upon my death I'd not go to heaven or hell, but live under the bridge to do her bidding like a minion since she'd saved my life and mind you she has a lot of minions, they prowl around late at night looking for forlorn souls of little spirits to ensnare. You can almost hear them at night, more clearly when you are upset or depressed. Have you ever heard tiny bells jingling at night, far away in the distance?'

'Sure, sometimes but I reckon my ears are always ringing,' I said. 

Chacha could see the fear in my eyes but he chose to ignore it, 'She liked having little sprites around her, and she was fond of humming for them. They circled about her even as she spoke to me, making a halo around her. I thought she was divine…'

I snorted and said, 'You were definitely drunk old fart…' 
'Oh hush, I wasn't. She was incredibly lonely and wanted me to be her companion…she seemed to have taken a liking to me'
'You were so dreaming! No lady in their right mind would want you as a companion!' I almost shrieked with laughter.
'She was no ordinary lady, she was quite bold both in her dressing and her manners' Chacha said with a glint in his eyes.

'Scantily clad you mean…?' I teased him.
'Well yes, you don't believe she was there and took a fancy to me?' Chacha said with a smile in his voice.
'Of course not, since it was just a dream anyways…' My voice trailed off.
'Don't be too sure pansy, I could toss you down there and you could see for yourself if it's true or not.' Chacha wagged his eyebrows and guffawed.

'You old fart, you really are crazy.' I said, shaking my head.
'She told me kids on the verge of puberty are her favorite, she would love to teach you a lot of things….'
'Oh, shut up! You old pervert!' I laughed, this time I knew Chacha was joking.
'You wouldn't laugh so much if I were to become that crazy woman's companion now, would you?' Chacha smiled as he got up and patted my head.
'If you do, I'll make sure to rebuild this bridge once I become an architect so that you two love birds could live happily ever after.' I teased him again.
'Please do that, and make sure to put lots of lights so that when I'm drowning in misery in the murky waters, missing you I'd look up at them and say, "Damn, that makes me happy!"' Chacha said dryly. 
'I'll throw pebbles down there for you to catch so that you won't feel alone and you could throw them back at me!' I chuckled. 
'Also throw down a bottle of wine sometime' he said, joining in the fun.
'I see you're warming up to the idea quite nicely, maybe you could steal a kiss or two from that pretty Mistress once in a while…' I said, impertinently.
'Why you miserable pansy…' Chacha roared with laughter and I joined him. We didn't care how loudly we laughed. It was the best night I have had in a while.

We walked at a leisurely pace and to be honest I didn't want tonight to end. I promised to write him a letter from school each week and to give him full details and descriptions of everything. I finally decided to ask the question that had been bothering me for a while, 'What would you do if it really wasn't a dream Chacha?' 

'Then I'm screwed, aren't I? I don't know Pansy, I guess I'd be more than happy since my final destination wouldn't have been heaven anyways.' Chacha said, almost seriously. I laughed again, he never took anything seriously.

'It's all about the scantily clad Mistress of mine anyway. Don't worry, it was probably my old geezer fantasy. It didn't make much sense anyway. Why would she want a companion? If she's so pretty she could've gotten any man she liked. Perhaps it was just my lucky day or she knew of my legendary skills in being ladies' man' Chacha said, amused at my confusion. He smiled and winked at me.

'Yeah, you and your legendary skills,' I said sarcastically, then added, 'Take care of yourself while I'm gone and don't smoke too much,' 

'Ah! Piss off, you. I can't live without smoking, you know that!' Chacha said, feigning a hurt look.

'Don't you dare die while I'm away Old man!' I said sternly and hugged him. He hugged me back and promised that he won't.

……………………………..

16 years later


It felt odd to come back to my ancestral home, back to my roots. Every time I came here I could hardly recognize it, so much had changed. I had been working on the rebuilding of the bridge for almost a year now and tomorrow would be the inauguration. It was my first solo project and I was very proud of it. 'Mr. Mekaal, I have checked out the schedule for the following week and all the arrangements have been made for tomorrow. We can head back to the hotel now,' my secretary informed me. 

'Thanks a lot Mary, you go ahead. I'd like to stay for a while' I smiled and watched the car disappear into the night. It was a pleasant night, fragrant with the smell of jasmine. A strong gust of wind blew as I stood on the bridge, reminding me of the long forgotten days that I spent here with Chacha. I shook my head in disbelief. May God rest his soul but he sure knew how to feed cock and bull stories to children. Sometimes I wondered if there was any truth in his tales. I hope so since much of his image was based on them. I smiled fondly as a vision of Chacha appeared in my mind, smoking his beloved cigar and talking about lewd stuff. 'Senile old Bastard...' I said, the smile still lingering on my lips. I extracted a cigarette from my pocket and lit it. Winter would be making its appearance soon enough I realized, as another gust of chilly wind blew past me. I sat down then, just like I did in the old times and cupped my hands to light the cigarette. 

I better cut down on my smoking if I don't want to follow in Chacha's footsteps, I though grimly as I inhaled in the pungent aroma of nicotine and tobacco. Sadly he hadn't been able to keep his promise since he died three years after I went to boarding school. I gazed down at the shadowy waters and I could hear the faint whisper of waves. Soon, this place wouldn't be quiet anymore. There was a big shopping mall a few minutes away and recently a big cinema chain had bought land around this area. I stubbed out the cigarette butt and picked up a handful of some small stones and pebbles, probably left on the corners from the time of construction. Absently I threw them in the lake, liking the ripple they created. I glanced at my watch and stood up; it was almost 11 pm, time to head back I thought. Dusting the seat of my pants, I began to leave and I heard it then - the sound of a stone ricocheting off the pavement. 

I turned around and saw a medium sized oval stone lying on the side under the lamp post. Was it there before? I wondered in surprise as I bent down to examine it. It was perfectly oval and smooth, mossy on one side, exactly like the ones found near the lake. I picked it up and could almost feel the dampness of the moss. Smiling like a little boy I pocketed it as I walked away from the place where I had created my fondest memories. 

……………………………

Been awful long

I have not forgotten this place, truly I have not.

It sure looks like it. I'm sorry.

Work has a funny way of sneaking up on you and stealing all of your free time. I really should stop proclaiming that I'm married to my work. Do not want to give it any more ideas.

It already hogs all fun out of my life. Anyways, by the time I got done with work, preparing to welcome a month long vacation during which I'd lose myself into the world of fiction and visual cinematic, I became sick.

Rather badly.

The vacation never happened, all I got was weeks of being bed ridden, depressed, and just blah.

I still feel pretty Blah! This illness is taking way longer than expected to leave my system. Yep, that's me. Viruses can not seem to resist my charm.

Wish it were the same way with people! *chuckles*

To cut my whining short, I've been feeling better lately. At least enough to want to write, and read.

Maybe go back to reviewing too. I can feel a build up of snarky comments inside my mind. Among other things.

So here I am, whether you want me or not.

You've been warned. ;)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bling it on!

HOOT!

Blueberries and Plums

Make up

Make up


Chanel
nordstrom.com


Tarte lip stick
tartecosmetics.com


Nars cosmetic
$34 - liberty.co.uk


Fragrance
$75 - davidjones.com.au


Prada
$39 - chemistdirect.co.uk


Necklace
etsy.com


LORAC makeup
beauty.com



Till death do we part



Selene Arthur woke up to the shrill ringing of the alarm.

It was 12 PM.

Groggily she scrambled out of bed and dragged her feet to the bathroom. She felt as though her legs were made of jelly. As she showered, her gaze fell on her reflection in the clear glass and she hastily averted her eyes. There was a hint of fear in her eyes every time she looked that way. She glanced down at her hands and could see a web of thin blue veins. She sighed, if I carry on like this, I'd die one of these days. I need to get out. As she dressed, she could no longer ignore looking in the mirror. With a grim look she quickly began dabbing herself with makeup. She paused in the middle and almost glared at her reflection. A pale looking woman of about 40 stared back, her hair was slightly graying, her puffy eyes sporting crow feet on each side.  She put on her over-sized sunglasses and put on some red lipstick. Her effort didn't go wasted; the makeup had taken 5 years off her face.

Things hadn't been going well for Selene lately, she'd been dropped by her modeling agency and word was about that the modeling world was about to bid her goodbye. She just wasn't young enough, like her makeup artist had informed her last Tuesday. Ever since then Selene had been moping around, hiding indoors and getting drunk. Way to go Selene, she thought sarcastically.

As she walked past a huge billboard of an A list modeling agency, she gave her blonde head a disdainful toss. I can't believe they dropped me as the cover girl for that skank, she scowled at the image of the smiling young girl in her twenties and proceeded to buy a newspaper from the stand. Lost in her thought, she walked to the café a few blocks away.

They think they can cast me aside just because I'm old. I'll show them who's old, they know nothing about me…those bastards, she thought with a smile that was frighteningly whimsical. Her eyes widened as she realized the course of her thoughts. No, that will never happen again, she told herself fiercely. Life hadn't always been this good for Selene, there was a time when she had been feared and considered psychotic. She had once been involved in some weird incidents but that was all in the past. She had a new life, a life that was good and satisfying. Life was great!

Is it really?

Yes, it is.

Then why are you sitting here jobless rather than working for some big shot clients?

[Silence]

How do you know that you don't hunger for beauty anymore? It's a part of you no matter how much you deny it…

No, it's not. I'd never do something horrible to anyone ever again…

But it's not really horrible, is it? They've treated us like animals, don’t you think we should return the favor?

There is no WE!

Well yes, you're right. We are one. We don't want to look old now, do we?

It's really none of your business. Leave me alone.

Glowing skin, sparkling eyes and rosy lips….don't you crave for that?

Stop it now!

I know what you want, and you shall get it.

Really now? That's amazing! [sarcastic]

Do you know who I am?

[silence]

Ah, so you do know.

'Ma'am, here's your tea,' the young waitress smiled as she set the tea and some other assortments on the table. Selene looked at her, almost enviously. Her badge read 'Sandra Carter' and Selene smiled a hollow smile as she looked at Sandra's healthy pink skin, her delicate hands and her sparkly eyes. The waitress smiled again, showing Selene a smile that would have put the sun to shame.

'How old are you?' Selene asked before she could stop herself.

'I'm 16….have a pleasant day Madam,'

'Oh yes, I think I will…' The crazy smile was back. 

*********

"HELP!" Sandra Carter panted as she came to face a brick wall in the alley. Her eyes darted in all directions, looking for a way to escape. She tried hiding behind the trash cans, dear God, please don’t let me die. I'll be good from now on. Please save me. She prayed. Her heart beat doubled as she heard the sound of the footsteps approaching. Her shift had just finished and she was on her way back home when someone had started following her. Panicky, she'd dodge and darted into dark alleys to throw off her stalker. Please let me be safe, don't let it be a stalker or some deranged killer. Suddenly a shadow fell across her and she looked up to the looming figure above her. Sandra screamed, that quickly turned into an agonized whimper as she was hit on the face with a very powerful blow. Blood gushed out of her nose and mouth. The shadowed figure grabbed the lapel of her coat and lifted her off the ground. Wildly, Sandra tried kicking her attacker.

'Really? I don’t think so,' the shadowed figured was amused as it lowered the girl and pushed her down roughly with enough force to make her head bang against the giant trash cans. For a moment the deathly silence of the night was shattered by the sickening sound of metal and skull connecting. The dark figure chuckled and bent down, ' You are lovely indeed,' and then slid a black glove off of her hand. They were wrinkly hands, with thin blue veins that garishly stood out against the pale skin but manicured and polished nevertheless, no doubt belonging to a woman who was once beautiful. As the girl whimpered the figure put her finger tips to the girl's mouth. 'Be quiet, we don't want this to be painful, do we now?' She looked at the young girl and laughed, wicked and cruel.

Sandra's eyes widened as she felt something draining out of her and suddenly she started screaming hysterically. She didn’t want to die, not so soon, not alone. Not yet. Above her she heard the woman throaty laugh "It is your life that brings me beauty and youth." Sandra's screams echoed through the dark alleys for a split second and then no more.
She realized her legs were trembling and she glanced at her ungloved hand.

This isn't enough, we need more.

No! I think it's enough…

It is not. Let's find another one.

Far away in the distance she heard a girl's laugh and became alert. With one swift motion, she climbed up the wall and vanished into the dark night.

*********
[NEXT MORNING]

'Who do you reckon this cougar is?' one junkie asked another, pointing to the corpse near the trash cans.

'Don’t know mate. She's wearing a waitress uniform…'

*********
Selene Arthur woke up to the shrill ringing of the alarm. She'd had a good night's sleep, she sat up in bed, her eyes alert and happy. She glanced outside, perfect, it's sunny.  She ran a hand through her silken blonde hair and smiled. She got out of bed quickly and went to the mirror. Her eyes widened at her reflection and she shook her head, like trying to wake up from a nice dream.

Oh love. You aren't dreaming.

It can't be. What the hell? How…how did this..?

Don't you remember last night? You were fantastic.

'Get away from me. This is just a bad dream, all of it is a bad dream. I didn't do anything 
wrong, I swear I didn't!' she sobbed, her voice guilt stricken for even her brain couldn't put down the memories of last night as a bad dream. Those were real.

Why are you so surprised?

Damn you! I hate you!

Selene?

[sobbing continues]

Don't cry my love. I'll never let you be hurt again. I'll never let anyone hurt you anymore! I promise.

[silence]

Serene? Why are you so surprised? This is what you wanted, isn't it? I'd never do anything you didn't want to.

Yes…

Look at us. Don't we look lovely now?

We do.

The End

Little Black Dress