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Short Story

Wanted


 I kept staring at the sun sinking into the great ocean. I looked down at the newspaper that I held in my trembling hand. The face on the front page sent a shiver along my spine. “WANTED”. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down, tears rolling down my cheeks. I kept staring at the face next to mine, a face I’ve seen since preschool, I suddenly burst into laughter looking at David’s dark face. I was afraid I am going crazy; it has been a week since I committed the murder.

David and I were the best of friends and stood by each other at every point in our lives. I still remember the day we were suspended from college after gluing our class teacher into his chair. Amidst all our parents’ advice, he laughed and said, “Next time, we glue our headmaster….and oh! Don’t forget to use superglue.” But as all other things we too changed with time. “Best friends forever”, that’s what we used to call ourselves. Yet this friendship ended in such a tragedy, with so much hatred that I realized that it wasn’t your enemies that could hurt you the most, but the ones closest to you.

I met Shanya in the university. It was love at first sight. Those days were full of excitement and playfulness. We used to stare into each other’s eyes for long hours, but neither made a move. It was David who helped me write my first letter to her, it was David who backed me up every time I met her, it was David who accompanied us when we went for the movies, alas  it was he who fell in love with her. From the day I proposed to Shanya he stopped answering my calls and then one night, the night that changed my entire life, I drove to Shanya’s and who do I meet on her porch…my best friend! Anger took over me. We fought. I didn’t realize the power of a knife and the fragility of a life until that moment. It did not take a split second for death to take over. It did not take a split second to take away the two people closest to me. Anger, one second and a knife were the only qualifications necessary to receive the title, “WANTED”.

Running away and hiding for a week was tiring enough. But there was this one thing I could not hide away from. Self-consciousness. It was much stronger and painful than being imprisoned or being killed. It felt like being eaten alive. Shanya’s face keeps haunting me and it isn’t that pretty fair face with a dimpled smile that used to brighten my day but a pale, horrified face that keeps tearing me apart. These memories slowly killed me. I felt so sick of myself, I kept washing the blood off my hands but that stain was permanent. It is quite unfair I think….David suffered only for seconds and I on the other hand have to suffer my entire life.

Have you ever had a chat with a wanted man? I doubt it. This pain I am going through words cannot express. It is not as easy as it looks in the movies where murderers earn big and keep going. But it is when you have to hide from the world, including your own parents that you get all sorts of ideas, to perform, to show one’s talents to the entire world. Graduation was just two weeks ahead. All the things I will be missing. Oh! What a mystery this life is. We collect things, make bonds, try to get ourselves a reputation etc. but can lose it all in a split second.

That was when I thought of it. “Yes, it’s time!” said a voice in my head. “Don’t even think about it!” said another. It was the hardest decision in my life and most probably…. the last.

I stared down at the waves crashing on the foot of the cliff. The sea was so rough my feet wobbled. The moon was hiding behind the clouds, unable to watch the scene that was to follow. I looked at the torn pieces of paper lying around me, for a moment I saw myself, torn, broken and something that can never be fixed. Freedom was waiting just fifty feet below…. I jumped.

 

SACHINTHA PILAPITIYA


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