by Ratnika Singh
(Karaikal, Puducherry, India)
The Bliss skyline looked glorious from so high up. Standing on top of one of the tallest skyscrapers Mist gazed at his city, his home. The night sky glittered like a diamond tiara on one of those wealthy black heads. The city lights couldn’t overpower the natural glitz of the universe this high up. The sight of what he thought to be heaven, calmed him, soothed his mind, but total peace still eluded him. His black shirt felt too tight even though the top two buttons were open. The breeze made it flutter around him and still it felt somehow restricting and he itched to discard it. He sighed. Even his usual escape wasn’t working these days. The desire to fly away and leave everything behind was strong today. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back as he took in a deep breath. A strong gust of wind made his electric blue hair blow up in his angular face. He opened his eyes and straightened again. His steel grey eyes sparkled with determination. Pushing his bangs roughly back, he turned around to walk back to the world, a world that quite literally awaited him.
As he entered through the double glass doors, people turned and stared. Mist sighed again, “This never gets old.” He straightened his spine and put his hands back in his jeans pocket. If they wanted to look, he would give them a damn show! His trademark smirk in place, he swaggered into the hall as if he owned the place. Hell, he actually did own this place, along with hundreds of others in the city. Being the top honcho of the building business had its perks. Being the face of the night clubs and parties around the city and the most sought after bachelor of the city were a few of them. It was usual for Mist to be the centre of attention. He was used to the eyes turning in his direction, some with envy, some with admiration and a lot with desire. Nobody saw his inner turmoil; his outer appearance was all they knew about him.
His entry had raised the standard of the party up a few notches already. He lazily strolled towards the bar. The sea of people parted for him and a path cleared automatically. As soon as he reached the bar, the sassy bartender moved towards him, sashaying her hips and with a seductive smile on her purple colored lips. “And what may I get for you tonight sir?” she slurred to him. Obviously she had been smuggling a few drinks for herself the entire night. He grinned and said “Shots.”. He needed to get wasted tonight. That alone would clear his damn mind when it was in a state like this. Tomorrow was the day he had waited for this whole time and now that it was here, he didn’t know if he had the courage to do what he wanted. So for now, he needed his mind to empty out. Keeping his inner demons at bay, he almost inhaled the shots as soon as the over clingy bartender kept them in front of him. With the drinks inside, he began to notice his surroundings. The neon blue decorations and the dark red corners of the club looked exciting. He noticed Charlie’s Angels playing the music from the band corner. Next his gaze snapped on to the redhead approaching him from the right. Dressed in a black sequined fitting mini dress with her long red hair lying in contrasting waves along her back, she looked like a dream, a vision. This is why he loved getting drunk. It made him let go and relax. It gave a dreamlike quality to all that was hauntingly real. He smirked towards her in invitation. “Wanna dance?” she whispered against his ears. “Sure.” He said as he led her onto the dance floor. The silver disco ball cast shadows and then weird shaped light over them as they moved to the beats. He knew she tried to talk to him but he ignored her. He wasn’t in the mood for conversation. He had no idea who he was dancing with and he didn’t care. Sometimes oblivion was bliss and tonight he just needed to let everything go.
Mist woke up the next day with one hell of a hangover. As he lay on his king size bed in his penthouse facing the Shaun river, he tried to remember what he could of last night. There wasn’t much to remember anyway. The night passed as it usually did for him. God, he was tired of this life. He wished he could find some meaning, some purpose behind this pointless existence, well, apart from the one he already had which would most definitely lead to his doom. The need to escape for good and let everything go was so strong that it was almost a physical pain now. He grumbled as he got up and prepared for his day ahead. His movements were slow and sluggish courtesy of the head splitting headache he was harboring. Getting drunk hadn’t worked. His dreaded day was still here and he was still painfully aware of this fact and all his surroundings.
It happened as he was knotting his tie. The flashback was so strong that it almost made him stagger backwards. He saw her so clearly for a moment, tying
his first tie ever, that he raised his hand to hold her once more. But then the vision vanished. He still remembered that day with vivid clarity though. He wasn’t rich or famous or the guy every girl wanted then. He was nobody and she still loved him more than life itself. Zen, her name still made him shiver. As he thought of his last day with her, he could easily remember her fingers trailing down his arms, her lips and her smile which could make his days brighter, her bubblegum pink hair that shone under the sun and felt like wisps of cloud between his fingers. But then he could also remember how her still body had felt in his hands and how her warm blood had felt flowing through his fingers this same day 3 years back. An earth shattering shiver wracked his core and he fell on the lush carpet. Clutching his head in his hands he desperately hung on as nerve wrecking sobs after sobs burst out from him. After all these years, it was still the same, the pain still hurt as new and the raw wound on his heart still bled.
An entire day with his staffs and business partners squabbling over market prices and property taxes did nothing to calm his nerves. He missed her and there was no avoiding the fact. He could wait no longer. Tonight was the night, and he knew this in the depths of his very being. As soon as evening drifted into the night he escaped to his favorite destination, the roof on the skyscraper. It had started three years ago on this very night. As he saw Zen change, he knew things had turned forever and it would never be the same again. He also knew that the Rulers would go to any length to keep their secrets buried. So, he had dreaded this moment from the day he had held her limp body in his arms and watched her last breath shudder through her body. The laser shots in her body had never been explained but he knew the truth.
As he let the high wind whip his over-shirt across his body he let the truth sink in again. They weren’t going to keep him a prisoner in his own body anymore. Tonight he wanted to do this. Tonight he was getting back his freedom one way or another. He had waited a long while to gather the courage for this. Now he knew that the longer he lingered the weaker he became. He knew that this may be his last time up here and what he was about to do was one hell of a risk, but if it got him closer to Zen he was ready to do it. With a slow and painful breath he climbed on top of the railing lining the roof. A moment later he was on the other side of the railing and holding on to it with one hand. It was time to accept his true nature and he was prepared, societal norms be damned.
He inhaled and as he exhaled, he let his grip loose.
126 floors up.
Gravity did the rest of the job and pulled him downwards.
102 floors up.
His hair whipping upwards, he felt at peace for the first time in life.
85 floors up.
He closed his eyes and let go.
63 floors up.
With a rush like no other, power zinged through his veins.
56 floors up.
With a cry of torn cloths his shirt ripped off his back.
50 floors up.
Two glorious wings unfurled from beneath his skin and his body jerked in mid-air. With a wingspan of about 6 meters across, his body easily reversed course and swooped back up in the air.
58 floors up.
Nobody could stop him from being himself again. He opened his eyes and for the first time in Bliss, he truly understood what it meant to be in bliss.
69 floors up.
For the very first time in three years he grinned with true joy in his heart.
76 floors up.
Now he knew how Zen must have felt.
82 floors up.
The first laser shot pierced straight through his heart.
71 floors up.
The second shot ripped through his right half. He still grinned.
60 floors up.
He now knew exactly how Zen felt in her last moments. His wings had retracted back. For the Rulers he was back to normal again, in his heart there hadn’t been a more bitter lie.
53 floors up.
After feeling real for the first time, the absence of his wings felt all kinds of abnormal to him. He didn’t mind. He was finally going to find peace.
27 floors up.
The city’s golden boy was going down. He wondered how they would explain this.
5 floors up.
He looked at the five moons in the sky for the last time. They were forming a perfect heart in the sky today. It happened only once in every 17 years. His timing was right. He would finally find his one true love on the Eve of Love. He closed his eyes, the smile still in place.
1 floor up.
Zen was waiting for him and he had no plans to linger here anymore.
Peace held him with the loving arms of a lover.
0 floor up.
Mist could finally let go.