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The woman pulled off her cloak. Reaching behind, she unclasped the dress and slipped it over her shoulder. A look of ecstasy came over the large man’s face.
The fourth winner of our November 2019 Muse of the Month contest is Pavi Raman.
She walked down the road, acutely aware that the men were following her. The black dress billowed in the night air, as she stepped nimbly over the cracks in the sidewalk. 10 feet behind, the men kept a steady pace, reeking of fried onions and cheap liquor.
Ugh. Alcohol. In her line of work, she’d seen more than a fair share of drunks and losers, who didn’t think twice before getting behind the wheel or punching a woman. Grimacing, she pulled her cloak closer.
Ignore them and they’ll leave you alone.
The catcalls began, as the last of the daylight leaked out of the purple sky.
“Hey…you there. Hey, baby!”
“Look at her ass! Woo!”
The woman swore under her breath. So much for ignoring.
“Hey. Stop a second.We just want to talk to you!”
Something hit her back. What felt like a pebble turned out to be a beer cap. Damn it! DAMN IT!!
The woman turned and peered into the dark, her amber pupils dilating in the moonlight. 3 men, all over 6 feet tall and built like tanks stared back at her. One of them was struggling to stand straight and kept shoving his hands into his pants.
The woman stepped back. She still had a shot at escaping. All she needed was a distraction.
That’s when the largest of the men walked towards her.
“Come on, darling. Don’t be shy. We just want to play for a bit.”
It wouldn’t help to show weakness. With her head high, the woman took a deep breath and glanced up at him. She wasn’t a stranger to violence, and though it was hateful, she understood how it was an inevitable part of the darkness.
“Say baby, how much for an hour? You look like you’d be worth at least 50 bucks.”
His buddies cheered like they’d heard the funniest joke. Grinning, the large man continued.
“You know what. I think you’ll enjoy this. I mean, we haven’t started, and you’re already panting.”
Two more steps and he was right there in front of her. Up close, he was even bigger.
One last time. I can beg one last time.
“Please let me go. Please. I’m late for work.”
Quick as a flash, he pulled out a switchblade. “Now you know it isn’t fun, unless you scream a little.”
His buddies stared at her, tongues darting out of their lips in anticipation.
The woman peered around. They were in the middle of two large buildings. Dirty alleys snaked off to either side, lined with boarded-up storefronts. Not another soul in sight. A person could scream for hours and go unheard.
Sighing, she stepped left, into one of the alleys. The men followed, whispering under their breaths and unzipping their pants.
“Start taking off that dress now,” the man pointed with the switchblade.
The woman stopped in front of a door.
“Ali’s Butcher shop. Est.1967.”
How perfectly appropriate.
The woman pulled off her cloak. Reaching behind, she unclasped the dress and slipped it over her shoulder. A look of ecstasy came over the large man’s face. She wriggled her left arm out and let the dress drop to the trash covered alley floor.
The sickle came out first and then the knife with the serrated blade.
Evil looking blades swung, hitting flesh and then bone. A hundred specks of blood flew into the night air, stark and beautiful against the weak moon. The woman grunted and moaned and hunched over.
The sound of small bones crushed under powerful hands. The woman threw her head back and shrieked, pinpoints of red inside her amber eyes.
Much to her surprise, the smallest of the three men died last. He quivered on the floor, steps away from her dress as the last embers of life were snuffed out of his eyes. At the perfect moment, she unhinged her jaw and sucked his soul out.
Something moved at the top of Ali’s butcher shop. The raven cocked his head and cawed.
“There you are, you stupid bird. You know better than to leave me on a busy night.”
With a lazy eye on his mistress, the raven ruffled his feathers.
“Yeah, yeah. I know we’re late.”
The woman looked up at the moon, nestled halfway up the sky. If she rushed, she would make it to the highway in time. A lorry with a drunk driver was almost certainly going to hit a family of four returning from their vacation.
It was her job to save that family. It was also her job to make sure the lorry driver crashed into the concrete barrier and died.
Humming a strange little tune, the woman slipped on her dress. Fiery tendrils of red hair fluttered in the night breeze, as she fastened the cloak over her head.
And with one last look behind at the mangled bodies, Dhuma, the goddess of Death glided out of the dark alley. She had a full night ahead of her.
Editor’s note: In 2019 our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month got bigger and better (find out how here) and also takes the cue from the words of women who inspire with their poetry.
The writing cue for November 2019 is this quote from the poem Lady Lazarus by poet and author Sylvia Plath, whose 87th birth anniversary on 27th October 2019 had a Google doodle, and who was once described in the New York Times Book Review as “one of the most celebrated and controversial of postwar poets writing in English.” Her semi-autobiographical book, The Bell Jar, is a must read for any student of literature and feminism.
“Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.”
Pavi Raman wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations!
Image source: shutterstock
I'm a proud wife and a warrior mom awaiting my certificate in "Advanced helicopter parenting". An avid coffee enthusiast. A physician in another life.
My hobbies include reading and writing, then nitpicking what I read more...
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