Run... Kill him and run. Just run. But kill him first
.- Athul DeMarco
The room was dressed in dark, even though the sun outside was making the tar melt and dance to its unflinching tune. Black plastic around the VHS tapes and the shiny plates of CDs accessorized the darkness.
‘Please!’ the man pleaded, clutching his gut, the green shirt changing its colour to black under his tightened palm. Blood oozed from his broken nose, merrily mixing with the spit which bubbled and frothed from his lips. His plea was muted and lost under the loud banshee screams of the naked woman lying on the bed cowering and hiding her modesty under a blanket. Modesty which was until a few minutes back was being recorded under the expert direction of the man pleading for his life.
The man, looked at the young boy, all of fifteen years of age, dressed in white shirt and navy blue trousers, chappals, two sizes too small for his feet, the bloody kitchen knife firmly clutched in his left hand.
‘You are going to kill your own father madarchod!’ The man screamed in pain as he willed his body to slither away from where the boy was standing.
‘I told you not to do this’ The boy calmly replied as he flung cassettes and CDs on the wall, sending splintered and shattered pieces of plastic flying across the room. The woman continued screaming and sobbing in the background.
Having destroyed all the cassettes and CDs which caught his attention, he walked over to the screaming woman and yanked the floral printed blanket off her naked body. She held her hands up reflexively but the boy, calm as he was swiftly swished the razor sharp blade he held in his hand. The woman screamed louder as the knife tore open her skin, exposing the white muscle on her forearms. The boy caught the woman’s hair, the woman screamed, begging the boy to spare her. The father, screamed abuses at the boy in the background. Without a forewarning, the boy ran the knife along the young girl’s neck. Blood gushed like water from the tail of a water lorry. The man stopped screaming.
The boy stepped over his father, slapping his father and forcing him to look into his blood splattered face. The young boy could see the fear in his father’s eyes. The boy cleared his throat and spat on his father’s face before plunging the knife in his father’s heart. He repeated the action twelve more times before he was satisfied. The only sign of emotion the boy showed was the slight curl of his lips.
The boy, removed the gold watch his father was wearing before standing up over the dead body. He surveyed the room, as he removed his white school shirt and vest which were now dripping red. He wiped the blood off his face, chest and fingers before flinging over his dead father’s body.
The boy looked at the time, quarter to one, as he slipped the wrist watch on his hand. He walked over to the kitchen, picked up the canister of kerosene and liberally sprinkled it around his house. He pulled out a newly washed white shirt off the hanger. Looked into the mirror and combed his hair into place. He looked around for his running shoes and slipped them over his sockless feet.
He stood up from the stool and surveyed the room once again. Satisfied, he pulled out a box of matches from his trouser pocket and stuck it.
He hurried as the bus driver pushed the gear and jumped aboard the running bus.
‘Saale! You want to die or what?’ The conductor yelled at the boy, who cheekily smiled back.
‘National Games Village’ the boy extended his hand with the five rupee coin as he climbed inside the bus.
Thick black smoke rose into the sky, trying to challenge the sun.
‘I thought you wouldn’t make it on time’ Salman yelled as he saw his best friend get off the running bus.
‘Quick, the coach has been throwing a fit all morning’ Salman ran up to take his friend’s backpack.
‘Armaan!’ The boys heard their coach thunder, ‘Get warmed up!’ he bellowed.
‘Yes sir!’ Armaan promptly replied as he took off his shirt and trousers, revealing his bare chest and white running shorts. Salman pulled out the shiny violet jersey from Armaan’s school bag.
Armaan walked up to the beginning of the starting line. He stretched his legs, his chest still heavy from the fast sprint he had done from the bus to the stadium.
He spread his legs apart and oscillated his weight, stretching his inner thighs. He looked around to gauge his competition. Strong, lithe bodies glistened with sweat under the punishing sun. New shiny studs stitched to perfection around their feet. He looked at his own feet. White canvas shoes the inner side of the sole worn out from all the abuse the shoe endured.
‘Gentlemen...’ A man dressed in a white t-shirt, brown trousers, black whistle hanging between his bulbous breasts walked in front of them.
‘Wait for my call. Two false starts will mean instant disqualification’ The man instructed as he walked over the sideline.
‘On your marks’ the man yelled as he pulled out a gun and loaded it with a blank.
The eight boys crouched and took position behind the white line. Sweat dripping down their noses and backs.
‘Get. Set’ The man raised his hand with the gun held aloft over his head.
Armaan lifted himself off the ground and balanced himself on his toes and finger tips. His feet dug in hard, trying to find the grip he wanted on the red coloured synthetic turf. He looked up and saw the red ribbon sitting taut on the horizon. His mind flashed images from a life he had put an end to in the morning.
The gunshot echoed as white smoke bellowed out of the gun barrel.