Nikita

Nikita was driving around town in her vintage red Cadillac, the bright sunlight reflecting in her 50s style pointed sunglasses. The gentle breeze was playing around with a few lose golden hair strands which were peaking under the polka dot scarf tied around her head.

A lively jazz song bellowed from the radio and her crimson painted lips were moving along to the crooning voices of the singers. Driving down the wide palm tree lined avenue, Nikita looked like a character from a movie scene; a beautiful lady in a beautiful car punctuating the hot air with her beautiful voice.

Some may have even thought she was a celebrity. Seeing a red traffic light ahead, Nikita reluctantly slowed down to a stop.

And it all started all over again. The piercing eyes of the pedestrians crossing the street annoyed her. She felt that their curious stares were invading her personal space.

But things were about to get worse. Small rectangular shining objects started to appear out of pockets and handbags. “They call them smart phones,” Nikita thought as she recalled how much she disliked technology.

The devices’ owners would get closer to the car and pose for photographs. Some would even touch or lean on the bonnet. Her blood was rising and just as she was about to start honking and revving up the engine, the driver of the car in the adjacent lane waved at her shouting something.

Nikita turned around to face him and tried to focus on what he was saying. But as soon as she saw the man’s face a wave of cold sweat swept through her body. The colour from her face was drained save for the red lipstick.

She took off her sunglasses with a shaky hand and two words tumbled out of her mouth: “You’re alive?!”

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What the boy did – Part 3

“So when are you going to stop pretending dad?” Ethen burst out as soon as the kitchen door was shut. He couldn’t hold it in anymore. “You may have fooled everyone but not me. I can see what you are doing to poor Tommy.”

“And what exactly am I doing to him?” Albert responded coolly.

“Exactly what you did to me when I was his age! You better stop pretending dad or I’ll tell everyone!” Ethen was on the verge of screaming.

“OK! OK! Calm down. You should know that I am not your dad. Your mother had an affair with my best friend who turned out to be an investment fraudster and you are the product of their frivolous behaviour. How do you think I felt, huh? I could never accept you as a son and you will always symbolise your mother’s betrayal in my eyes.

I have not laid a finger on Tommy, he is just suffers from generalized anxiety disorder. You are simply jealous because I will never love you like I love him. Now that you are old enough to understand I am telling you the truth – I despise you with all my heart!” And with those last brutal words Albert walked past Ethen back in to the dining room.

***

The dinner came to a quick end soon afterwards. As the party gathered on the front porch for the last goodbyes of the night, Ethen felt shattered from the earlier revelation. He didn’t feel the cool  breeze on this warm night. Neither did he notice the midnight sky full of stars.

Although the blind rage that had engulfed him in the kitchen had waned, he was now submerged in a cold sense of ruthless vengeance towards Albert. He felt like a homeless dog that had taken a good beating by the owner of the house in front of which he had slept and begged for food for years. Utter betrayal and disbelief were running through his veins and his mind was clouded with hurt and anger.  He knew he could not live with these feelings and had to come up with a revenge.

Ethen called his father into the house under the pretense of offering an apology. He knew he had to act quick. Having left the gas stove on and shut the windows earlier that evening, he guided Albert to the kitchen and carefully engineered the situation so that Albert was leaning against the cooker.

Ethen offered him a cigarette, knowing that this was one habit the wretched man was not able to give up. Just as Albert was about to light it up, Larissa burst in.

“Gosh! It’s a bit steamy in here. Let’s get some fresh air in, it’s so lovely outside!” she said as she walked past the two of them. As she opened the sash window, Albert lit up the cigarette and the gas around him caught fire.

For a moment it seemed as though his face had exploded into a fire ball. Then the flames disappeared as abruptly as they had come thanks to the drift of air coming in from the opened window…

***

“So how do you two know each other?” the girl with the squeaky voice asked, her eyes shifting from Ethen to Larissa and back again as the group were walking towards the table.

Both of them looked at each other and Larissa could see the fear in Ethen’s eyes.

“Oh, he’s just an old flame,” Larissa said with a sly smile on her face.

Ethen let out a muffled sigh of relief and wondered how things would have turned out had Larissa not walked in on that faithful night.

What the boy did – Part 2

As he casually strolled towards the girls, Ethen cast a quick glance towards the table where he had left his belongings. He was pleased that no one had decided to take it and that he didn’t have to think of a new pick up line.

Ethen was just about to ask the girls if they wanted to share the table with him when the caramel blonde girl spoke.

“Hello Ethen. Long time no see! I’m surprised you recognised me!”

Taken aback, Ethen took a while to respond. “She does look familiar,” he thought. “Wait, isn’t she dad’s ex-stepdaughter? Yes, that’s right!  No wonder she looked familiar at first. Gosh, what do I do now? This is going to be so awkward.”

Realising that he had been silent for slightly too long Ethen said slowly, “Yes, Larissa. Good to see you again,” the hesitation in his voice was obvious. He forced a smile and continued, “You’ve coloured your hair – looks nice. How’s Tommy doing?”

“Now if you only talked as fast as you walked!” said a squeaky voice to his left.

Ethen spun around only to see the same bespectacled girl who tried to get the table earlier.

“And if you intend to stand around here chatting all day you might as well free up the table. As it is we’re already under so much stress with these exams, we don’t need the extra pressure of finding a decent place to sit,” she went on.

“Oh give him a break Susie!” said the girl sitting on the floor next to Larissa.

Ethen kept quite, his eyes darting from one girl to the other. He was disappointed that his ‘chase’, as he called it, ended in such an unfortunate way. Now he was stuck with three girls, one too many he had bargained for.

As Larissa stood up and looked him in the eye Ethen felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand. His heart was pounding – will she reveal his secret to the world? And then a wave of memories hit Ethen out of the blue. He remembered the last time they were together. That was 7 years ago at what was then his father’s new townhouse.

Ethen was 18 and about to start university. Larissa was just 12 and yet to find out the dark side of her new stepfather. The two families had gathered together upon the request of the man in question. Albert, then 45 years old and recovering from his first mild heart attack, told them how the experience had sobered him up and he claimed to have given up both alcohol and gambling for good.

He was a changed man, he said. And he was about to start a new life with his new wife and stepchildren in their new house. Ethen did not believe a word of what was said at the dinner table, although he noticed that his mom seemed convinced. Or perhaps she was so smitten with her very own new husband, and the luxury lifestyle that came with him, that she was willing to believe anything is possible.

Either way, he sensed something strange that evening. An air of tension in the room, despite all the happy smiley faces. He took a closer look at Larissa’s younger brother Tommy. The boy was seated as far as possible from Albert and avoided eye contact with everyone but his sister. This reminded him of his own childhood and how he had tried to distance himself from his father and the regular beatings.

Ethen decided he had to have word with his father. He was 18 now and a responsible adult. When Albert offered to do the washing up, Ethen volunteered to join him in the kitchen.

What the boy did – Part 1

She was wearing black skinny jeans even though it was a hot and sunny day. On her feet were black ballerina flats and her shoulders were covered by a lightweight grey tee. Her caramel blonde hair, tied in the now so fashionable messy pony tail, was dancing in rhythm with her step. She was walking fast towards the university library with a friend, a pile of books in her hands and a megawatt smile on her strikingly familiar face.

“Is she studying for a test or working on an essay?” Ethen thought. He followed suit and burst through the automatic doors. His gaze darted to and fro the packed space. It was exam period and the library was teeming with life. “C’mon, c’mon. Where are you?” he muttered to himself. As usual, Ethen was impatient. He rarely knew what he wanted, but when he did he always had to have it immediately.

“Ah there you are!” he thought when his eyes spotted the caramel blonde ponytail. The two young ladies had decided to occupy a corner on the floor near the staircase door. With backs against the wall and feet crossed, they were laying out books, notes and pens. He looked to the left of the pair. All the tables, and even the benches and colourful bean bags, were occupied by an army of first and second year students preparing for exams.

A group of raucous boys brushed passed him on his right. He looked in the direction they had come from and spotted the table they had freed. He also spotted a girl with glasses so big they reminded him of an insect making her way to that table. But Ethen wasn’t going to let her have it. He was closer and taller than her. This meant his steps were bigger and he could get to the table quicker. As their eyes crossed paths both of them sped up. It was a split second duel, but one which Ethen won easily.

He dumped his bag on the table and threw his jacket on the chair. He then made his way to the toilet. He had to make sure he looked immaculate before approaching the two girls. He also had to decide on the best pick up line.

Ethen stood in front of the mirror. The face staring back at him was pale and narrow. His piercing green eyes were inspecting his almost perfect smile. His teeth were white and perfectly aligned courtesy of the braces he had to wear for two years in his teens. His thick black eyebrows were almost obscured by the just as dark mane sitting on his head. A lot of people said he looked like his father – something he disliked, but had gotten used to. His old man was a violent alcoholic and a gambler and Ethen knew he was better than that.

He decided to play it safe and to ask what the girls were working on. Perhaps offer them his help. He was a veteran after all; a PhD student who spent a lot of time buried in books. “I’m sure there is something I can help them with,” he smiled to himself as he left the loo and headed in the girls’ direction.

The Test

Sometime in the future there will be a blogger who writes stories without typing but by using electrical neuron impulses. Who will have the time to type in those days? It will be all about flying cars, holographic touch screens and new bio-artificial intelligence.

But until those days come to be, the blogger is stuck here on this publishing platform typing away…