Monday, October 18, 2010

The Tunnel

The man awoke. He could not remember falling asleep. The only vague memories he had were of a fight, a flight of steps, a ledge and drowsiness. Everything else was fuzzy.

He looked around. It was late night. He was on a high ledge in a long, dark tunnel. A naked yellow lamp shed a dim glow of light in the distance.

Somehow he felt different. Good different. Except for a slight numbness in his throat, a few bruises on his limbs, he had never before felt more alive or alert.

He sensed her before she even came into his sight. Her delicate perfume and the smell of her hair filled his nostrils with a heady aroma. He could hear the soft musical sound of her footsteps and quite surely, the rustle of the wind through the folds of her dress.

He was suddenly acutely aware of his own heartbeat.

The light from the lamp caught her. He inhaled sharply. She was exquisite. Her hair softly rose and fell onto her shoulders with her every step. The sight was so mesmerizing that he stared transfixed.

It was only then that he became aware of the other man behind the pillar. The discovery had taken this long as all his senses had been captivated by the vision in front of him. Just as the other man started to move, the light of the lamp caught the hilt of the dagger in his hand.

The glint of light spurred his enthralled body into action. Without any conscious thought, he leapt from the ledge; landed on the ground cat-like and rushed between them before either had moved two feet.

The swiftness of these actions took all of them completely by surprise. The mugger was the first to recover and within the blink of an eye, arched and threw his dagger.

The man, still operating on auto-pilot, ducked instinctively. He closed the distance between them and struck out once. And just like that, the fight was over.

He slowly turned around. On its way past him, the dodged dagger had made a slight graze on the girl’s cheek. They were suffused with a dark pink color now. She stood there motionless, wide-eyed with trembling lips.

His senses went into overdrive. His heart threatened to burst a hole through his chest. He felt a deep heat rise to his head. He eyes saw red. He could no longer breathe. The only thing he knew for sure was that remaining there any longer would make his rescue completely meaningless.

He turned and bolted blindly. A seedy bar was the closest building. He stumbled into the nearest stool. The bartender, dexterously wiping glasses, didn’t even look up when he asked:

‘Blood or wine?’

The man did not reply. He did not need to.

The bartender took one look at the bite marks on the man’s throat, reached for the nearest bottle of blood, and pushed it across.

The label read on the bottle read – ‘For Vampires Only’.

6 comments:

Mathangi Raghuraman said...

The label on the bottle read – ‘For Vampires Only’.

Dha said...

Damn! Thank you
The label on the bottle did read that.
But unfortunately that makes it only 499 words :P

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