One Night Affair

by Prerna Shetty

She didn’t know why she had picked this particular bar, but here she was, sipping on her third glass of gin and tonic while scanning the room. Her friends had told her to find someone who’s quite unlike her type because this was supposed to be a one-night affair only.
Knowing how falling in love came so easily to her, and what a mistake it had been the last time, she had decided to finally give in to their whims. What could possibly go wrong? Well, she could always carry a can of pepper spray just in case.
As she mindlessly looked around, her eyes rested on him, gazing at her curiously. Upon grabbing her attention, he gave her somewhat of a boyish smile and walked up to her.
“Hey, can I buy you a drink?” He asked.
She studied him closely and found she could be remotely attracted to him, depending on how the night turned out. He was taller than her, with a lean frame. The blue cardigan he wore, brought out the colour of his eyes. There was something very gentle about his demeanour that she couldn’t exactly place a finger on.
“Well, may I?” He repeated.
Snapping out of her stupor she gave him an awkward nod.
“I haven’t seen you around before. Are you new to the city?” He inquired.
“𝑰𝒔 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’” 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒅𝒐?” She thought but decided to humour him for the sake of the adventurous night she had promised herself.
“Well, you could say that. I’ve lived here for a few years but haven’t been the sort to explore much. I like keeping to myself mostly”
“Oh, I get what you mean.” He said. “Especially in a city like this where everyone is too busy to check on you, but swift to judge you the moment you take a wayward step, it’s difficult not to feel lost or abandoned.”
“π‘Άπ’Œπ’‚π’š! 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕 π’ˆπ’π’• π’…π’‚π’“π’Œ π’‘π’“π’†π’•π’•π’š π’’π’–π’Šπ’„π’Œπ’π’š,” she wondered.
She had already pegged him for a loner by then and her heart went out to him. However, it was at that moment perhaps when she decided this will definitely be a one-night event. She couldn’t carry the burden of her own loneliness, let alone someone else’s. But who knows? Maybe they could both get something out of this by dawn.
As the evening dragged on, she realized she’d grown fonder of the glass of G&T she was holding onto with her dear life, as compared to this stranger who wouldn’t shut up about how he just didn’t feel accepted by this cruel society; and how she was so different from the others who wouldn’t even give him a chance. “𝑱𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒉𝒆𝒓 π’π’–π’„π’Œ 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒂 π’‡π’†π’π’π’π’˜ 𝒅𝒆𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒔𝒐𝒖𝒍 𝒐𝒏 𝒉𝒆𝒓 π’‡π’Šπ’“π’”π’• ‘𝒐𝒏𝒆 π’π’Šπ’ˆπ’‰π’• 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅’ π’†π’™π’‘π’†π’“π’Šπ’Žπ’†π’π’•,” she sighed.

“π‘΅π’†π’—π’†π’“π’Žπ’Šπ’π’…” she snapped in her head as she gulped down her drink and blurted out, “So your place or mine?”

His house was dimly lit. Yet, one couldn’t say it was devoid of warmth. Family photo frames on the wall, a vase with daisies in it; it exhibited a sort of delicate grace. She almost expected his mother to enter through the kitchen door with a tray of freshly baked cookies and some milk.

That’s when she noticed the wardrobe in the corner. Its door was slightly ajar, so she caught a glimpse of a beautiful sequined dress and a few pairs of high-heeled pumps scattered around it.
“𝑫𝒐𝒆𝒔 𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂 π’ˆπ’Šπ’“π’π’‡π’“π’Šπ’†π’π’… 𝒉𝒆’𝒔 π’„π’‰π’†π’‚π’•π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒐𝒏? π‘΄π’‚π’šπ’ƒπ’† 𝒉𝒆 π’π’Šπ’—π’†π’” π’˜π’Šπ’•π’‰ π’‰π’Šπ’” π’”π’Šπ’”π’•π’†π’“.”
“𝑫𝒐𝒏’𝒕 π’π’—π’†π’“π’•π’‰π’Šπ’π’Œ π’Šπ’•. π‘»π’‰π’Šπ’” π’Šπ’” 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’•π’Šπ’Žπ’† 𝒕𝒐 π’•π’‚π’Œπ’† 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’Žπ’π’“π’‚π’ π’‰π’Šπ’ˆπ’‰ π’ˆπ’“π’π’–π’π’…. π‘»π’‰π’Šπ’” π’Šπ’” π’šπ’π’–π’“ π’π’Šπ’ˆπ’‰π’• 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’šπ’π’– 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’”,” she convinced herself.
Perhaps, being inebriated had clouded her judgement to the point of letting her desperation make excuses for any unexplainable scenario at hand.

She was drawn back to reality when he tucked a strand of hair away from her face and handed her a glass of wine. Then he gently caressed her palm and led her to the next room. As he eased her onto the bed, staring admiringly at her, she noticed a tear escape his eye.

Her thoughts were at it again, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t make a big deal out of this situation.
But it was too late now for second guesses and she’d have to deal with his emotions in the morning, or she could just sneak out once it was all over.

He made his way on top of her with an almost ethereal tenderness. Just when she thought he was leaning in to kiss her, he reached under the pillow and drew a knife.
He was sobbing now.
“I’m sorry.” He cried. “I wish it didn’t have to come to this. But they just wouldn’t accept me for who I truly am.”

She didn’t know whether there had been something in the wine or it was the sheer terror that made it impossible for her to move. Her eyes grew wide with dread as he started chanting something under his breath in a language, seemingly ancient.
His voice grew louder until the alien words escaping his lips reverberated across the room. Her last vision before everything went dark was watching him take the knife and with one clean swipe, slash his throat.

She was confused to find herself standing at the foot of the bed within seconds, a spectator now to the madness that had ensued. His body had fallen limp on a feminine silhouette, the mattress slowly turning into a canvas of red blotches.
She took a step towards the couple, only to discover that the woman lying motionless beneath his corpse, was none other than herself. Panic gripped her as the realization of having lost possession of her own body, eventually dawned. But before her trembling hand could reach out to even try reclaiming it, the familiar face she’d seen every day in the mirror for so many years, opened its eyes, stared right past her and with a triumphant smirk exclaimed, “IT WORKED!”

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