Thursday, April 28, 2005

The settlement

An old short story...

The Settlement

The settlement proceedings were almost over. He tried to obstruct almost every step of it. His lawyer employed every legal loophole and every delay tactic possible, but she remained patient and determined. She bore each of his antics with calm aloofness. He wanted them to be together; she didn’t. She had other plans; she would get a new job, a new life. She just had to get away from him. But it was this letter from him which puzzled her. He wanted a last meeting before the final hearing. He said he had something important to talk about and asked her to meet him at the corner restaurant.

As soon as she entered, he held her arm and suggested they go for a drive. She was curious and agreed. He drove too fast, much faster than he usually drove. He must be tense, she thought. He said nothing till they reached the hill. “Let’s walk to the top,” he said. She remembered. It was their favorite haunt before marriage. They used to spend happy evenings here, just enjoying each other’s company.

She stood by the cliff. He had tears in his eyes. “Don’t leave me,” he pleaded. “I can’t be with you anymore,” she replied, her voice flat, devoid of emotion. He seemed to be thinking. At last he seemed to have made a decision. She noticed that his tone had changed; even the way he looked at her was different. “If I can’t have you, nobody else will,” he said. She was alarmed – they were all alone. Slowly her alarm turned to fear and soon she was terrified. He had a kitchen knife in his hand and was slowly advancing toward her. “You’re smart enough not to use that, “she stammered, “You’ll be arrested for murder as soon as they find the body.” “You’re right,” he replied, “all I’m going to do is push you off the cliff and the police will think you committed suicide.”

She had just the hint of a smile in the corner of her mouth. “I don’t think so,” she said. ‘I don’t know what made me do this, but I’m glad I did,” she said, taking a small hand gun out of her purse. “You have no chance of killing me now, I’m going to walk away from here and you can do nothing about it. If you take even one step further,” she pointed the gun at him,” I’ll kill you and claim self defense. The police won’t do a thing against me.” He grinned, “My life is already ruined because of you,” he said, moving forward. “I’ve wanted to kill you for a long time’” she said, “and you’ve given me a wonderful opportunity to do it. For what you’ve done to me, done to my life, I’m going to kill you, and you’ve no escape.” She pulled the trigger in the next instant.

“She just went crazy,” he explained to the police, “she shot at me and missed and then lost her footing and fell off the cliff. I didn’t even touch her. She just went nuts.” The police were considerate; the case file was closed after a cursory investigation. Some of the members of the investigation team were able to take their families to popular hill-stations that year.

“Target practice and better understanding of the physics of the recoil,” he thought to himself, “and she would have been here instead of me.”


priti said...

Hey dude, is this original? Coz its quite good. Please add "know" in the line, "‘I don’t_what made me do this, but I’m glad I did".

iNFiNiteSaDNeSS said...