The knave

He has needed you from the moment he first saw you. At first the attention was light and flirtatious and you thought it gave you joy. Then he became more demanding, wanting to walk by your side and watch you while you were sleeping…till he became an indelible part of your life. He came along for movies and parties, even accompanied your family on vacations. Till you realised you are only one of his many conquests. He was hurting you and you had been fool enough not to see through it. He is eating into you, bit by bloody bit.

So you told him to leave.

But he wouldn’t.

He’d sneak back into your life with false promises and placebos and you could not get rid of him. You know you have to do something about it.

***

It is evening, you are quietly sitting at the water’s edge, deep in contemplation. It is time.

You rise, the water slides off your body as you shake your head and pull on a pair of shorts and a shirt over your wet swimsuit. It is completely still and the wind has dropped, nothing stirs. From behind you, where the house lies you can hear the sounds of your children as they animatedly discuss their day, bits of music come to your ears. You turn towards the house but pause and turn away following the narrow path among the overgrown grass. There is no birdsong, only an ominous silence as the stony old path twists and turns away from the house biting into your bare feet … till you reach the ruin of the old out-house that no one ever visited. You climb the few steps, noticing how the weeds have choked the entire step and think nothing of it. Stones, bricks and broken walls greet you and you enter the cavernous dark. You know there are snakes that inhabit the ruins and you are afraid, but you know you cannot turn away. Not now.

You make your way in the semi-darkness till you reach the short stair-case. A narrow shaft of light falls from between the leaves of the Banyan tree that has made it’s home on the outer wall. You climb the stairs slowly, your heart is beating wildly even as the stench of decay assaults you. You know what you will find.

***

There he is in front of you. Tall, misshapen and just as grotesque and ugly as you remember. To think that at one time you had found him attractive. He looks at you pleadingly, his eyes glimmer hope. The chains clank as he pulls forward but you know they will not give. He rattles his chains; he is, all at once, demanding and pleading and you  almost forget and give in. But something stops you. Maybe it is the recollection that he now threatens your world, your very existence?  He’s always needed you, he is saying, he will never leave you.

But you finally have him locked up. You know that if he becomes strong he will once again run your life, he will once again ruin the life you have been clawing to reclaim. For, if he is strong, he will break the chains that bind him.

You look at him with loathing. Even pity.

***

So what will you do with this Knave, this killer, this terrorist who would riddle your home with bullets if he could?

Will you feed him?

Or will you let him starve to death?

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