The year 2070
“Greetings Mr. Mortem. I have a consignment for you. I have transferred 1000 Mahans to your account. Consider it as my ‘Hello’. I will transfer 1000 more if you accept this task and 1000 more on the completion of it.”
The note has no undersigned name. There is one more note attached to it, having details of the target.
I get this kind of “consignments” every month. Every month for 15 years now. Yes, I have been bringing death to this world for 15 years. The first time I did that was when I was 10. My dog bit my arm. I got angry. I stabbed his neck and as I slit his throat, his barking turned into squeaking and finally, he went silent. Then I let him bleed till his body was drained of all his blood which flowed in the sewer. I looked straight in his eyes while they lost their shine. I did that in front of 50 people. Nobody cared back then. Nobody cares now. People stopped caring since humans removed humanity from this god dammed planet.
They say it was 50 years ago. We, humans, eradicated all the diseases from our planet. They came up with ways to make our body perfect. They made it so perfect, that it became immortal. No one could die anymore. No heart attacks. No cancer. No AIDS. If someone gets injured we could replace and repair every freaking organ or part of the body. Death no longer lingered in our streets like fog in cold nights.
Within 10 years, the human population swelled like rodents. Governments collapsed. Countries started wars for air to breathe and water to drink. At last, every system was declared obsolete. There was one government to govern all. One ruler to rule all. Everyone used the same currency now-Mahans and laghus. The first thing that was banned was reproduction. Humans cannot give birth to new humans.
This is how humanity went to hell. We cannot bring life to this planet. We cannot bring death to this planet. I entered this world when someone broke the former rule and I survive in this world by breaking the latter.
Ironically, the people who gave birth to me named me Vita, which meant life. I never knew them. They were taken away when I was 3. I was raised by The Mushahas. They are known as rodents of human beings. After my incident with my dog, people started calling me Mortem, which means death. People started giving me 20-50 Laghus for injuring someone. Soon I was hired to kill people. I was told to do the same thing I did to my dog. People discovered that once our body is completely drained of blood and kept as it is for a few hours, it cannot be brought back to life. Over the years, I have discovered some more convenient ways than that. You could burn someone till their bones melt, or bury them long enough for every part of their body to decompose.
I always get such requests in letters. I have never had any visitor in 15 years. Nobody knows my real name. I have no history, I have no future. I have no friends, I have no enemies. I am the one who brings death to this lifeless world.
*Someone knocks the door*
“Is Mr. Vita there?”
I haven’t heard that name in ages. I should be cautious. Where’s my knife?
“Who is it?”
“I am here to meet Mr. Vita.”
“That’s not what I asked you, girl.”
“I am Kibo. He knows me.”
I have heard that name before. Do I know her? Or am I finally losing my sanity? I should open the door and see.
Petite, pale and passable looks. Who is this girl?
“Vita? Is that you?”
“Who are you girl? And how do you know that name?”
“I am Kibo! Don’t you remember me? We were both raised by rodents. You left after your infamously famous incident. May I come in?”
She just let herself in a contract killer’s house! But I do remember her now, faintly though. We were kind of friends. It was when I was not a loner. When I was not Mortem.
“What do you need?”
“What is the only thing that you have to offer?”
“I don’t have time to fool around. Get to the point.”
“I guess he did something terrible to you. Just tell the name, wire the money and leave.”
“It’s not a ‘he’ and nothing terrible was done.”
“I don’t care. Name. Money. Leave.”
“Money has been transferred already. And it’s me. Do it tomorrow morning.”
I won’t lie. My saliva has turned bitter and I am having the same feeling I have had every time I delivered a consignment. Hatred. For the person that made me do it. For myself for doing it.
“I told you I don’t have time to play. Leave right now before I actually kill you.”
“That’s why I am here. Let’s discuss how you will do it.”
She said that so casually like it was perfectly normal and sat on my couch!
“Why do you want to die?”
“Because there is nothing to live for.”
“Heartbreak? Bankruptcy? Or both?”
“No. No. And no. I have no purpose in this life and honestly, no one has. What are we living for? People can earn millions, but for whom? There is no one to leave it all behind for. I can jump from the top of a building and live. Even if I smash my head, it will be repaired. I just see people roaming around living their miserable meaningless life, wanting to get out of it but are too scared to do so. Too frail to live. Too terrified to die. I don’t want that anymore. I always imagined what it would feel like if I knew that I am going to die tomorrow. Every pinch of air I inhale would be full of passion and exhale disgust. I will feel the rain touching my skin and I will appreciate every drop of it. I will laugh till my lungs sting with pleasure. I will cry until my eyes are sore. I will come to you tomorrow now. Be prepared.”
Two hundred and twenty-one. These are the number of lives I have taken away so far. Four hundred and forty-two. These are the number of eyes I have gazed into before closing them permanently. All I have ever seen in them was regret and urge. Regret for not doing the right things at the right time. Or regret not loving enough. Urge for listening to someone’s voice for one last time. Or urge to hold someone and tell them how beautiful he/she is. I don’t know what Kibo’s eyes will show me tomorrow. Remorse or satisfaction? Urge or fulfillment?
I know who that is this time.
“How are you my kind, sir?”
Kind? The person who is going to bring an end to her life is being called kind?
Her lips are curled up but cheeks have trails of tears engraved like a dried up river. Her eyes look so deep today that I could drown in them. Her pale skin seems to flush with blood. A lot of blood.
“How was yesterday?”
“Let’s get this over with. I have lived my life now.”
Yes, she has.
“Sit on this chair. You want something to decrease the pain?”
“No. And don’t cut my throat. I still want to take a few more breaths.”
I have nothing to say. I tie her to the chair, her arms to the armrest. I take my knife and make a long cut on her left arm. I can feel her gaze fixed on a drop of sweat on my neck. But she does not flinch. I feel numb as I make the second cut on her right arm. As I shear her skin, the drop of sweat creeps down to my back. Blood rushes down her sliced hands in two streams making their way via the legs of the chair and converge to form a red pool in the rusted vessel she is sitting in. She gasps and her skin turns paler every time she does that. She smiles at me as I look at her lips. Blood is flowing from her arms and tears from her eyes. I gather courage and look into her eyes. I see content and gratitude. As her eyes lose their depth and heart starts to rest, her life is coming to its conclusion. She inhales one last time and exhales words.
“Thank you! You are a good man Vita. I hope it’s beautiful on the other side. I hope to see you there someday.”
I close her eyes but they still glitter like stars. I touch her lips as her words linger around me. I pick her up and place her inside a coffin. I sink in my couch and think about what I have done. I look in the mirror right in front of me.
“You don’t bring death to this planet. You are death, lingering in the streets like fog in cold nights.”
Originally posted on my blog: A boy with dreams
Published by Jaydeep Bansal