The Man in Black


Today, her body will be found.

I know how it is going to happen. I can picture the look on their faces, frozen by shock and fear. I can imagine the feel of evil their minds will bring forth. I can hear the gasps of despair and anxiety.

The shrill ring of the alarm clock will rouse the persnickety Adam Chamberlain. By 6:15am, he will be at the study, going through the papers he will need for his presentation for Connell Construction Company, his perfectly manicured fingers hitting command keys on the computer system that never leaves that table. Adjustments will be made to the introductory part of the paper, as the thesis statement written by the intern under him ceases to be enough for his brainy self anymore. And unconsciously, his hand will slightly graze the wedding band that never leaves her fingers, but his consciousness, although surprising, will not take note of it. I had made sure of that.

It will not take long for him to notice that he cannot hear Bella’s usual Latin music that always blasted through the stereo while she makes breakfast.

He will call out her name loud enough for her to hear. It will echo through the walls of the apartment, and come back to him unanswered. Maybe Bella is in the store room, and can’t hear him. Or she is already done with breakfast and is in the shower. A thousand logical contingencies will come to the fore of Adam’s mind. And he will settle down to continue the boring exercise. But as twenty minutes passes, and repeated calls go unanswered, other more unsettling contingencies will come to his mind.

I suppose he will walk to the kitchen first. I see him cautiously looking behind, in case one of the probabilities that cooked up in his head happens to be correct. The area is a very safe one, but possibilities aren’t meant to be ruled out. At least, not in Adam’s dictionary. I picture him nervously clearing his throat and saying, “Bella? Bella? Is this some kind of joke? If you think it is, then you’re wrong, because I’m not laughing. Bella!”

He walks into their bedroom next, and he calls out again: “Bella? Are you in the shower?” Out of annoyance, he will put his hands through his already slicked hair, scattering its style in the process, as he thinks of his unfinished preparation for his big presentation, and the fact that he is almost running late for work. He opens the door leading to the bathroom.

Then he looks through the doorway. He sees Bella Chamberlain, and he is no longer worried about something as inconsequential as a presentation or any form of work-related issue. He is torn between shouting, crying and getting the hell out of the apartment before he throws up.

I will be watching from the window of the cafeteria across the street, reveling in the brightening of the day, and in the confusion and devastation pulling up on the faces of the spectators out in the street.  The urge to go out there comes upon me, but I am not stupid. I know the rules. I know every car that passes by and every face that stares will be studied, and expressions read. So instead, I sit and order for a refill of my tea. I stir teaspoons of honey into my cup; I love honey. And I love everything to have the attributes of honey. Sweet and perfect.

The sirens come screaming in. So far, so good.

Today, her body will be found.

The signature, a perfect image of a masked-up man in black, will be found beside her too.

And they will know that we haven’t left yet.

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