(Day 15 – Death Row Meal. This piece sounds so dark. Must. Write. A brighter piece. Soon.)
“So Mister F – what are you in here for?”
“Oh, you know very well what I’m here for, L. I am sure you’ve heard of my reputation.”
“Well, I have. A little. I keep to myself and my victims, you see. Make them curl up into a tiny ball. Make sure they stay that way. I don’t usually have time to keep up with the evening news.”
A snigger. “Yeah, you are like that. Well, I sometimes prey on your victims too. Maybe you’ve seen me around.”
The waiflike fellow peered at the burly six-footer through the dim light of their enclosed chamber, trying to recall if he had seen that black eye-patch before, those intricate tattoos. And then he remembered. Maria de los Reyes.
She was a fine girl, regal as her name. She had just started university but was very far away from her family and friends, making her very vulnerable to his advances. Every night, he would come and visit her. He’d stroke her face with his icy fingers, whisper delicate lies to her unassuming ears, and paint a world of endless darkness around her. But she had met someone, a boy, a charming youth who pulled her away from his grasp. L couldn’t visit her anymore. Her state of lovesickness created a shield around her. He tried to reach out but that boy was always in his way. Until that night. The night he decided to give it one last try. He snuck into her room but he was also there. With those tattoos. With that dark patch over his left eye. With those muscular hands clasped around the girl’s slender neck. And she – she was looking at him – yes, him, for she must have seen L come in – and he – yes, him, with his stealthy MO – he had blown her a final cold kiss of death from that dark corner from which he stood hiding. That was the night he said goodbye to Maria.
“You were there.”
“Hrrmmm?” Mister F tilted his head questioningly. “I am always around.”
L decided to change the topic. “So, what will you be having?”
“Soup. Made of blood. Entrails. A piece of chilli. You should try it. It’s delicious.”
“Sounds good. But I’ll be having my favourite. Cold porridge. Stale bread. A glass of water.”
“Sounds awful. Tsk. To each his own.”
“Yeah. To each his own.”
The two waited in a thick blanket silence, pondering through the minutes before their last meal was to be served. L was thinking about his past victims. He wasn’t sure of what Mister F was musing about.
“How’d you get caught? Who brought you here?”
A grunt. “This stocky boy. I forgot his name. Mum died. Father up and left. Only child. I had all these lies to feed him. I had all these uncertainties laid out before him. I guess I underestimated him. Was just about to pull a sack over his head when he called the officials. That was that, I guess.”
“Stocky boy. Hmmm. I met a kid like that. Same sit.” L laughed sarcastically. “A boy like that sent me here too.”
He was sure he’d be an easy target. After all, all the people who mattered had left him to fend for himself. He had no family. His friends didn’t know how to console him. Just a few nights with him would surely send him off to sure death. But just as he was about to plant his lethal kiss on the boy’s forehead, something inside the lad shifted. Stubby hands pushed L forcefully away and he suddenly found his frail body limp against the bedroom wall. And then the police came.
“Hey, that boy. He wouldn’t happen to go by Maurice, would he?”
“Maurice. Maurice. Maurice. Ahh. Well whadya know. Seems like we met the same chap. Seems like he’s the one who got you too.”
“Yep. Small world it is then.”
Silence enveloped the two once again. It was strange how the same boy had sent two of the most wanted criminals to prison. Maurice was an easy target. Very elementary. But because they had both underestimated him — they had not counted on his inner strength — there they were, waiting for their death row meal.
A uniformed guard flung their chamber’s door open, letting a blinding light come streaming in.
“Mister Fear, your blood-paste soup is ready. Mister Loneliness, your porridge and bread are all set too.”
“Well, L. Best we start eating our final meal. Bon appétit. ”
L nodded at Mister F. “Bon appétit, Mister F.”