Suicide is an ultimately selfish act. It is an illusion to assume that it gets rid of pain. It does not stop the torture. It passes it on. Like a burning building in an urban street, the fire will, inevitably, spread. The hurt multiplies, and spreads outwards to others.
-- Excerpt from ‘Living A Philanthropic Philosophy’ by Hari Patel (B.A.), Page 63, Unpublished
"Ash, open the door this instant!" a mild soprano called. Her face was pale, though black make-up accentuated her eyes. The young woman crouched upon her knees in the elegantly furnished hallway, fiddling with a locked door.
Clunk! . . . Clunk!
She leaned into a jump against the door with all her might, and it came toppling off its hinges into the hardwood floor of the old, Victorian house.
Ashok sat comfortably on the sofa, his tiny feet in cute little sandals. Lord Ganesh bounced up and down on his knee, and he giggled happily.
Kali Patel was crouched before him, leaning back against a footstool, "The neighbours' daughter is coming over for a nice little play date, hun!"
The door came crashing down, splintering in half yet taking the tarnished hinges off the wall with it. Long ago, the fire-damaged wood had rotted. Now, it lay there beneath the young lady. She was unconscious, lying peacefully in an angelically white dress. It clashed dramatically with her make-up and blackened hair. A small, trail of blood dripped from the corner of her mouth.
Misses Malcolm was an elderly woman. Ashok could only remember photographs of her. She had straight, white hair and wrinkly pale skin. His mind filtered through what little, remotely Celtic knowledge he had, All she needs is a beard, and she could star in MacBeth!
He continued to play with Ganesh, bumping him up and down happily on his knee for exercise, and to keep up appearances.
"Gran--nh-o!" A baby's shrill voice. "Nooo..."
'Grandma, no!', perhaps? He looked up. Misses Malcolm was holding a baby girl. She had the whitest blonde hair he had ever seen, in tiny wisps. Her smile, when she saw him, lit up the room with shiny red gums. No teeth, not yet.
"Ashok, nooo..." she murmured, as she came to. Her stomach churned at the smell of rotting blood. Wearily, she stood, and tears began to fall. It was not a pretty scene.
She seems eerily happy, Ashok noted, as he watched her imitate him.
The young baby girl bounced Ganesh on her knee, duplicating the exact movements of Ashok. And suddenly, she stopped. Turning to him, she cocked her head to one side with another bright, toothless smile.
Then, she took a bite out of the elephant-headed God's trunk, while squeezing his stomach so that he squeaked.
That's not normal! She's trying to tell me something.
Miss Patel and Misses Malcolm were not paying attention. A tea kettle was set out, and the fine cup and dish set was out. Kali was pooring a glass, while the girl's grandmother was admiring the Indian designs upon the cups.
"Tell me something!" she screamed, shaking his body, "Say something, Ash!"
The dried blood reeked. It left an indelible stench, which transcended the marijuana smoke, old perfume, sweat and bodily odors. The room was a disaster. She couldn't take it all in.
Reaching for the lamp, her trembling hand knocked it off the table. The antique, ceramic lamp was already missing a large chunk of once-golden finery. It hit the fallen door, and smashed into several sharp, white pieces.
Slivers of broken, rotting wood. Chipping flecks of dark, green door paint. A bent, copper lamp frame. A tangle of wires: black, white and red. White and blue pieces of what was once an ornate, Malcolm-family heirloom. A single, thick cord extended from the wreckage towards the electrical outlet, behind the end table of the bed.
"Arghhh!" she let out a high, shrill scream of frustration. Yet, this was not a Gaelic banshee, warning a family of doom. No, this was a mournful, agonized, young woman. She could not bear to look down upon the bed, where she lay atop his body. Yet slowly, her eyes began to adjust to the dark, smoky room.
He giggled, and understood. I am not alone, in this.
The babies looked at each other, wide-eyed and smiling.
She struggled, and it was a whisper. Yet, she was older than he was, "Yeeeew... yew paasshed awwn... weee pashed awn!"
We passed on.
Ashok replied as best he could, with a random array of indecipherable noise.
Her screams ended, and he did not reply. The colour was draining from his darkly tanned, Indian face. He lay beneath her, as limp as a discarded toy. Reason filled her mind once more, and she put a finger to his neck.
There was no pulse.
She wept. Tears fell softly, leaving more black tracks of make-up down her face. The young lady shifted her position, as a sharp, cold piece of metal dug into her leg. She slid down the bed, over top of the corpse, finally taking in the scene for what it was.
Two tiny, pale hands pulled upon the cushioned, red left hands of Lord Ganesh. In his hands, were a plush axe and flower. Also, a pair of brown, human hands pulled upon the god's right hands, bearing an ankus goad and a beaded necklace. Between them, Ganesh's head wobbled with indifference. The crescent moon upon his forehead sparkled brightly.
We aren't pulling enough to break him, but this sure is fun! she thought.
Then, forcefully, Ashok pulled the stuffed, divine rendition to his side of the couch. The elephant goad in Ganesh's upper right hand was very familiar; a hook.
He grazed it across his shirt, mimicking what had happened, just to get the point across to her.
Tears welled up in her eyes, and she wailed.
Damn! Ashok thought, I'm sorry, Cait... I... thought you'd find it funny...
The grown-ups looked up from the scrapbook, and put down their teacups. They stood, and rushed over to see what was the matter. Both babies were still on the couch. The brightly colored blocks beside them were toppled over.
Ashok put down the stuffed elephant god, offering it to Caitlin.
She continued to wail, shrieking away with her minute lungs. It was the high-pitched wailing of a banshee, incessant. Surely, this was an omen.
The faded, red sheet was tangled between their legs. Her movement caused fresh blood to ooze from his self-inflicted wounds. The white dress was now stained with blotches.
Below her, the limp body lay peacefully. It was oblivious to the torment she felt.
Moonlight did not make its way past the linen veil of the window. The red bed sheet was riddled with cuts, and now seemed like a wizened shroud. The sharp metallic piece managed to shine, from behind the smoky air and dried blood.
Innocently, the orange, plastic bottles on the end table were fallen upon each other in disarray. A tall glass of water was the only remaining object upon the table that had not yet fallen.
I musn't. Caitlin breathed, I must--
It was another handful. Not such a courageous one. As her hand lifted from the fray, smaller pills fell between her fingers. And there it was. A large, black pill.
It reminded Caitlin of a giant, black ship out of science fiction. Her hand trembled, down to her black, painted fingertips. It was jostled, and rolled over. Yet, it remained palmed upon the edge of a scar, a diagonal scar across her open palm.
It has no inscription. She glanced down at the desk side, Nor does its jar.
Her voice boomed, sending a shriek echoing through the large, Victorian house, "Why, Lord? Why Ashok?"
Its flat, black surfaces had no milligrams inscribed upon them. This was no pharmaceutical.
This is what killed him.
The water in the glass was still sloshing about from her sudden movements.
Do not tempt me, Lord.
It was clean. Pure, inviting.
Do not tem-- Gulp!
Her palm fell back from her mouth, and it was empty. Then, she set the water back atop the table. And, finally, Caitlin Malcolm collapsed upon the bedding in exhaustion.