The black of the night gave way to light. It was just another normal winter morning. The birds chirped just as usual and the sun hid partly behind the clouds, glancing at the grass once a while, which partially covered with frost, occasionally turned back to look at the sun. The morning dew on the leaves was still as fresh as it could be, and the dogs on the street lay lazily without barking at the pedestrians who passed by them. As she woke up, she heard the bustles of cars and trucks from down somewhere. It was going to be another long day for her. Sometimes she wished she could just keep sleeping and not do anything else on a Sunday. But clearly, that was not possible. She went downstairs and looked around the house, clothes piled up on the sofa, a cup of coffee spilled on the floor staining the carpet, breadcrumbs on the table, and a half-finished bottle of fine Irish whiskey. She drew the curtains to let in some light, and sprayed a bit of the freshener to nullify the smell of cigarettes which seemed to be coming from everywhere. Slowly she staggered into the kitchen, finding the cupboards half-open, an untouched packet of chips lying on the floor, a coffee mug splintered into pieces. A slice of pizza was still left in the box, and the tap was open, so she went up to it and turned the knob. At the opposite end of the room, the television was playing songs on MTV. She lowered the volume; she wanted to sit for a while and catch up with the news, but there was hardly any place to sit. She smiled wryly and went back to the bedroom. The last week had been hectic for her, with five assignments in seven days. She took out her phone and checked her appointment for the day. Then she undressed herself and threw her blood-stained clothes carelessly upon the bed before moving into the shower. There, beside her clothes, slept the corpse of her latest client, Mr Jacob.
Once she had showered and dressed up in fresh clothes, she started with her daily chores. She cleaned up the bedroom, bundling up the blood-stained sheets that she would need to throw. She folded them one by one and put them neatly into a polythene bag. Then she took out a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and an old rag from her bag. She dabbed the rag with the solution, and slowly but carefully removed the stains from the study table and from the floors around, where the blood was now turning brown. Had someone else been around, he could have pointed out that there was a blotch remaining at the corner of the bed where he was lying now, but she missed the spot. Rag and solution went back into her bag. She looked at him one last time and planted a kiss on his lips. Then she went down and cleaned up the kitchen. As she moved out of the house, she picked up the blood-stained knife from the table. It would be her souvenir from last night. Had she been more observant, she would have spotted a man standing on the other side of the road, clicking a picture of hers.
She needed to move fast, if she were ever to reach on time for her appointment. As she sped up the highway in the newly acquired BMW, her thoughts went back to the night before. She had put up a good show, and she had fought bravely. If only Jacob realized what was going to happen after he was tied to his bed, he would have never agreed. She let out a smile as his face came to her mind: the grin slowly fading out from his lips and the horror creeping into his eyes. He had tried to put up a good fight, but a businessman with his hands tied pitting himself against a trained martial artist were as good as a deer surrounded by a pack of lions. The odds were clearly not in his favour. He tried to shout for help, but she bit his tongue, and then he fell quiet. That was almost the end of it. She plunged out a knife from her side and quickly stabbed him thrice in his chest, after which she untied him. She did not want him to die a handicap. She could not be so brutal. And she was amazed at what she saw, for Jacob was man enough to still try come back at her. He staggered and pushed her against the table, and clenched his fists around hers. But he had lost too much blood by then. He only wished to have not drunk so much. The whiskey was doing its job pretty well, and he started feeling dizzy again. He picked up a cushion to hide his face as she came back at him. Knife struck cushion as sword against shield, and in moments his face had gained more scars than she had ever put on anyone. He fell back onto the bed, mumbling words of despair. She solemnly closed his eyes. And then she had a sound sleep.
She was about to reach the other end of the city. Her appointment was scheduled at eleven in the morning, and she had a good thirty minutes to reach. She called in at her office, and the secretary picked up the call. “Please mark a sick leave for me, today, Miss Donnett,” she said politely. “Sure, Mira,” she said, and added, “Get well soon,” before she hung up. As she came nearer to the sea, she started feeling better than before. She stopped by the sea for a while. She liked to visit the beach between subsequent appointments. It gave her solace. She had learnt a lot from the sea. Like the sea which took its colour from the sky, never trying hard enough to change. She believed in being controlled. Like the sky which controlled the colours of the sea, and the moon which controlled the tides, controlling when the sea be angry and when it be calm, yet the sea hardly revolted. But when it did, it did with all its might, flooding the cities and washing the sand of all its memories and the sand castles were washed and the letters people wrote in the sand of being together forever, they were all washed out. It seemed strange to her how the sea could be so tranquil and so ferocious at the same time, and how it could manage two opposite characters so well. She had always tried to do that, manage both her responsibilities with all her will, yet it seemed sometimes that one was slipping away to make way for the other. She saw a flock of white seagulls flying across the sky, and the sun gleaming blissfully over her. The clouds were gone, and the day was happy. She saw children holding hands and walking on the sands, barefooted, and she saw an American woman riding a camel in the distance where the sand met the horizon. A vendor came by, and she bought a scarf. A blue silk scarf, just like the sea, she thought. She glanced at her watch, and saw it was time she moved on.
She sped up her car, and reached just in the nick of time. She went in, and took a seat at the end of the aisle. Having order a crème latte, she sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. She took out her phone and checked her messages. Somebody had sent her a picture. As she took her last sip, she saw a man in a black suit coming out of a car and heading towards the café. He was the same one as in the picture. As he entered, she stood up. They came face to face, and she shook hands with her next client. “Good to meet you,” she said. “Good to meet you too,” he replied, “I hope you know how important this day is for me.” She replied, “Yes, I hope you don’t start hating me by tonight,” and they both laughed together. Had he been observant, he would have noticed how her voice stiffened when she said that line. Had she been observant, she would have seen a man on the other side of the road, clicking a picture of them.