The car began to slow down. I could see the very faint outline of the check point at Ghostel. A thought vague and weakly tugged at my mind. I decided – as I had enjoyed the conversation – to ask him,
“Earlier, I said, ‘Life is like a house.’
When I spoke of forgiving my spouse,
You spoke of mercy and a mission to abort;
I don’t know what that was about.”
He smiled that ruefully smile that he had when I first saw his face in the rear view mirror. I was suddenly reminded of the terror-faced guard.
The driver slowed and parked the car. I felt sure the Cross (Police in Qastivity outnumbered by crime as in everywhere else but the Cross are the local militia used by and as the Police authority) could see us from their check point.
I was about to ask why we had stopped. A feeling of dread was creeping across my skin as he killed the engine and switched on the inner lights. They revealed a revolver pointed calmly at my crotch. I sat very still. He said,
“Long ago on this same land,
I caught my wife in a stranger’s hand.
But just before I unleashed my wrath,
They died escaping down this path.
My anger mounted, I sought release;
But flings were pain and just a tease.
I poured my rage on men like these,
They spread flirtation like disease.
I am a leopard, this road is my cage.
I end all those who swagger my range.
Their suits litter my bushy stage;
And yes I find forgiveness very strange.
Once I met a man like you,
Some other time, a woman too.
A silly thing they made me do
I made a promise I’ll keep with you.
To spare the good another day,
And take them safe from harm’s way.
I am the death you’ve dodged today
So throw your valuables my way
I am reluctant and not quite eager
So I will make with you a wager.
Be quick! Flee my perimeter.
And may GOD see your life longer.”
Petrified, I slowly began to devalue myself. I took out my wallet and shiny silver necklace I knew he had seen. I even took of the Maplet. In my terror, I didn’t care about its significance. Then I put them beside me and exited the car.
He started the car after adjusting his aim. As soon as his head lights came on, we both – at once – saw the Cross Hilux coming up the road. As I had earlier thought they had noticed us and had tried to slowly – too slowly though – creep up on us. He did a crazy U-turn and sped off in the direction we came. The Cross increased their velocity and darted past me after him in an instant. I watched them till the bushes blocked them from my sight.
Then I turned and started walking toward the check-point. I wondered if Dew was still with her lover. She had to be, I thought. On the other hand, here I was recently spared by a murderer. Hurray!
I had only walked a few moments when they accosted me. Three Cross.
I felt a little relief at seeing them but that quickly receded.
“The day is bright yet full of evil,
…For good things to not be nocturnal.
State your name with proof and quarrel,
…Before we turn your trouble plural.”
I replied as calmly as I could,
“I have been robbed, I have been robbed;
I met with you before I sobbed.
Your comrades have gone after him,
And here I am all that I seem.”
They took me to their station in Mega to write a statement and call the Resort. I only wished Dew was still there I knew she wasn’t.
I knew it in my bones.
Who are you? What happened to you? What were you doing out so late? What is your phone number? What is your wife’s name? What was taken from you? Could you identify the taxi driver if you saw him? Etc
I answered all their questions as politely as I could, all the whole thinking what a good time Dew must be having in contrast. The philosopher, Sean Carter once said, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’, I remembered as they put me in a room to wait for an emissary from the Resort.
The Cross examination had reminded me that in my initial hurry – I had lost my zeal by now – to tail Dew, I had left my phone in the room in the Armor. When the Cross called, it rang in the empty room. I also remembered I did not close the door to the room.
So there I sat, in the room they had left me in and Dew comes in. She closed the door and leaned back unto it staring at me like a child whose mother had just goofed. She was so beautiful.
Then I had my second doubt about my doubt.
If she asked me what grounds my suspicion was based, what would I say – A feeling? Even to me that was ridiculous.
She was beautiful.
Suddenly she came and sat across from me and held my hand.
“Everyone has more than one doubt.
Not without cause these feelings can sprout
But why do you harbor rather than shout?
Murdering trust rather than speak out.”
I looked away from her accused eyes feeling rightfully accused. I replied, with as much conviction as I could muster,
“Does an archer with one arrow shoot carelessly?
In the dark with one match, is a candle lit so easily?
I needed evidence a little concrete
…To not appear a jealous half wit.”
She shuddered suppressing a sob. Sometimes the expected still stings unexpectedly. She said,
“And did you find your evidence?
Did you find any proof of my pretence?
What questions have you answered tonight?
But put yourself in a difficult plight.
It is said, ‘The truth is bitter’, but is it really a surprise? As her words got interpreted by my brain, I was surprised. I was getting angry,
“You left our bed without a word
And here you sit, your tongue uncured.
Instead of re-established trust
You fuel my fire and freeze my frost.”
She didn’t waste time in replying.