The Hunt

Posted by Zubier Abdullah on 18-02-2020

Originally published as part of The Best Asian Speculative Fiction Nov 2018

When she walked into the room, every eye in that place rested on her, as though she was a magnet and we were all iron filings.

Sarika was her name--I found that out later, after my eyes had examined every inch of her body and her face from where I was sitting. A mad wave of desire swept over me and I felt as though I was possessed. Have you ever felt like that? I hope not. It was something which had no hint of romance in it. I had to have her. The last vestiges of propriety and polite behaviour that had been long back instilled into me were cast off, like winter clothes at the beach.

The club was noisy, filled with nameless faceless people, gyrating in time to the dull droning of one hip hop song after another. I walked over to her, drink in my hand, a salacious smile on my lips. I looked around to make sure that she was alone.

I saw no other woman in the place looking at her without a flare of jealousy on their faces. The bartender, as well as almost everyone else was eyeing her. I won’t begin to describe her body because words would fail me. What got me most was her mouth though–her mouth, her sensuous lips that I would have liked to bite into at the first opportunity.

She wore a dress, more like a second skin–a black dress that highlighted every curve on her ample body. It ended slightly below the curve of her ass and it took great restraint for me not to rest my hands then and there and risk being kicked out of the club and possibly into jail. She had a haughty look about her. You know the kind that I am talking about, don’t you? The look women who are used to a lot of male attention have. Even from where I was standing, I could smell her perfume and now as I closed the distance between us it became stronger–a heady mix of sex and springtime, of lavender and lust. When she turned to order her drink, I caught a better glimpse of her voluptuous body and stopped dead in my tracks. My heart was beating hard–a staccato beat double the tempo of the song that was playing. My palms were sweaty.

What was going on? I was not a fresh faced kid who did not have the temerity to ask out a girl for a date. I was a king. I was one who slept with more women than I could remember. My list of conquests was long and various, yet this woman unnerved me. Her skin was pale, paler than the moon on a hot summer night and it seemed to glow as well. Her full figure, her effervescent smile and the way she moved were all sending me wild signals that made me completely irrational. A mad lust consumed me just looking at her.

I had to be careful, I told myself. I had to have her and I could afford no mistakes–not with this much at stake. It had been six months since I had been out, prowling the night in search of prey. My wife was decidedly displeased when she found out about my nocturnal liaisons and there was a massive blowout because of it. She wanted half the estate and custody of the kids. I was willing to let her have the two tykes that I had been cursed with but she wasn’t getting an inch of the house.

I won’t digress too much about my wife--she is inconsequential. This girl though–at that moment, it felt as though my blood was on fire and her seductive looks fanned the flames more and more.

Deep breathes–ten exhales, ten inhales, ten seconds each. A breathing technique I had learned when I was younger–women do not like to be seen with men who are flustered when they talk to them. Even a nervous bead of sweat is enough to put them off. What I’ve learnt is that seduction is a deeply non-verbal dance and that the wrong smell, the wrong tone of voice and even the wrong way of approach can all spell failure. A minimum decorum of calm is a necessity. She fended off the advances of a couple of men who approached her–bespectacled, ill mannered and shoddily dressed–I felt a strange mixture of pity and amusement looking at them. They had no chance–they were mere jackals.

They could not stand against the might of the lion.

I had to make my move though–time was dwindling. She seemed to be waiting for friends. Periodically, she would look towards the entrance and glance at her phone. However, I had decided, if she was indeed with someone, they would not have let her in a crowded bar alone for so long.

I moved closer to her, trying my best to mask the fluttering of my heart and the eerie shaking of my knees.

“Chivas Regal please. For us both.”

The bartender knew me, saw the dame and nodded ever so slightly. He turned back to pour our drinks while I tried my best to look brooding and interesting. I certainly looked the part, the black suit that I was wearing, coupled with the cuff links and the bow tie made me look like someone out of a Bond movie–maybe not Bond himself but one of those suspiciously well-dressed henchmen around the villain.

I hadn’t made my interest obvious till she had noticed me. I waited for that feeling–of being watched, of being appraised, as though I was a fine wine being tasted by a oenophile. Her eyes rested on me–I turned ever so slowly and made eye contact, holding her gaze a little bit longer than necessary. My mind felt as though it was a confluence of two rivers–one a frozen glacier and another a bubbling bed of lava. The inside of my mind was steamy with lust and I had to do my best to hold on to my senses.

Her eyes were markedly different from the rest of her–that first glance told me so. While the rest of her body and the creamy smoothness of her thighs were inviting, her eyes were hooded, like a house with its windows all boarded up. It threw me for a loop, I will give you that. It sent shivers down my spine–that gaze but it only lasted for a moment. I took a deep breath and the feeling, ephemeral as it was, passed without leaving an impression.

She and I got to talking–she was not from around here; from New York, she said. She told me her boring backstory of being a student of architecture and what not and for the life of me--I can’t remember anything else she said. When her lips moved, I wanted to suck on them. Each time, she breathed, her voluminous breasts seemed to mock at me in derision and I wanted to push my face in her teats and be smothered by them. But I didn’t. I had to be cool. I had to keep a level head, let her keep talking about herself and soon enough, the Chivas would do its work.

It did. Eventually, she asked me if we could go somewhere a little bit more private and, when she did, it sent an electric shock down my spine, the likes of which I can only compare to an intense orgasm. But there was something off to the whole thing–a steady undercurrent of fear was cutting through the music and the pheromones but I couldn’t place it then. Perhaps it was nerves–I thought about something embarrassing which had happened to me once, a long time ago, when nerves made me unable to fulfill my quest. Was that it?

She was classy, I would give her that and as she led me out of the club, I could only stare at her callipygian form and drool. She would be fine–my finest conquest.

The club we were in—the Belvedere–was the hottest club in Toronto. The main dance floor acted like a central nexus, and like spokes of a wheel, small corridors branched off, each leading to lonely alcoves designed to afford the maximum amount of privacy. Of course, these private sessions had to be paid for and rooms were allotted by the hour. Normally, when I came here, I would take the girls to my car–the rooms were woefully expensive and some of the girls that I netted here were nothing special. This girl though, Sarika, was a marlin–a prize beyond any other and soon I would have her and quench my lust.

There was always a burly faceless man at the entrance to one of these rooms–you can imagine the kind–works out six hours a day, has forearms as thick as a python and a stony scowl on his face. One such man was there, who was not immediately familiar to me, even though he did tip his head in recognition. That should have been my first clue but it didn’t work like that. Sarika led me inside and I put a hand on the small of her back, just inches above her ass, which was separated from me by a scant few millimetres of cloth.

As soon as the door closed, she pushed me against it, rather hard, I must add. Her lips were on mine with a savage passion that I did not expect. Not that I was complaining of course. I engulfed her scent–that heady mix of lavender and lust is seared on my olfactory memory like a branding mark. I was los–my thoughts and my feelings falling down into some deep well.The thoughts of my wife, of my children and of my divorce rushed out of my mind and became ether. . All that mattered was the heat of her body on mine, her tongue savagely probing into my mouth and my hand resting on her ass, lifting up her skirt to get at the treasure within.

We thrashed against each other like that for a while–the seconds seemed to melt into hours and my mind was overcome with a wonderful bliss. It ended though–after an eternity she dragged me to the bed, my mind reeling from the sensory assault.

“Take your clothes off.” She said, her voice husky and alive with desperation.

A satin bedspread was beneath me–I was flat on my back. She stood there gauging my reactions, as I slowly undid my belt. I was already rock hard.

“Faster. Take it out.” She said.

I couldn’t believe my luck–this amazingly beautiful woman was begging to sleep with me. At that moment, as she climbed on top of me with the lustful stare of a leopard, I felt a wave of fear. A vision passed before my eyes that even today, I have trouble even thinking about. I have heard it said that the human mind will always protect itself from that which will break away its sense of reality but that is not true. No matter how much I wish it, the image remains, burned into my mind like a brand on a steer.

That elfin face–the one that had a thousand people staring at it seemed to change in that one final moment before I penetrated her. Her hair,which was coiffed and streaked with red and white highlights, suddenly seemed alive, green and scaly and reeking of death. Her hair came alive - each strand growing insect eyes that glared at me with a mad revulsion. Her flawless porcelain skin became cracked and pus filled, with pores the size of craters which housed eyes as well–cat-like green irises staring me into perdition.

The worst was her mouth though–her lips cracked up, draining yellow green pus –her malodorous breath had the stench of rotting fruit. Her voice, which was mellifluous till now sounded like the shriek of psychotic birds. I tried to back away–I really did but she was on me. Her hand–more a claw now, seized me by my penis and ...oh..god.

She pulled with an eldritch strength, her insect eyes–all of them staring at me with a wild glee. The pain–it felt as though someone had injected a hot molten ball of silver inside me. My insides were afire and the sound of my screams filled my head. I screamed and screamed and screamed but no matter how loudly I screamed or how hoarse my throat became, her mad laughter was even louder. It filled up every pathway in my brain till it was all I knew.

I didn’t die though. I guess you could say that was some sort of consolation but I doubt it. Looking at me on the street, people can hardly guess my age. My hair is white now, as white as bones and my body is in much worse shape. On a good day, people think I am sixty but in reality, the number is not even half of that.

I know what you are thinking–you are probably thinking that I am senile or halfway to getting there. I wouldn’t blame you. I was like you once, a year or two ago, before that night in the club, before my encounter with that woman named Sarika. It is easier to think that I am crazy because you aren’t sacrificing any sleep over it. It’s a scary thing, knowing that there really are things which go bump in the night.

I’ve thought about killing myself–most days, it passes my mind like a cloud passing across the sun. I would take a razor and slip it across my throat or make two diagonal slashes on my wrist and everything would be okay.

I don’t though. Each day, whenever that dark cloud passes through my mind, something worse follows.

She said something before she ripped it off, you know, something that still remains. “We will meet again.” that’s what she had said. That’s what I don’t want to happen, because I believe that if I end my life, she will be there on the other side with open arms. And open eyes.

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