Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Succubus

The restaurant was murky. It was almost as if a mist had invaded it. Thankfully the food was delicious. Even my Father seemed to be enjoying his tofu pho. My Mother looked a little displeased with the ambiance but then again being displeased is her usual state. I leaned back in my chair, quietly content, gazing around at my aunts, uncles and cousins whom I had magically brought together for a meal. For once my family seemed cohesive. Suddenly a commotion drew my attention and I spotted Nek and Wenerd staggering into the restaurant and noisily hailing a hostess. I stiffened. The duo always spelled trouble. I watched them out of the corner of my eye as they were being seated at the far end of the restaurant. I suddenly felt some tugging at my shoes underneath the table. I lunged down expecting the worst. But it was only my four year old cousin trying to play a prank. I urged him to try that with someone at the next table. As I lifted my head out from underneath, I smelt smoke. My first reaction was to curse Wernerd and Nek who I am sure started puffing away in spite of the non-smoking signs. Then the smoke thickened and I knew there was a bloody fire in the place. I jumped on to the table and tried to urge my family to leave. They strangely seemed content to ignore the smoke and eat in the burning restaurant. Kicking a few plates over did the trick and they soon tried to join the panicking exodus. As I was walking across tables towards the entrance, I spotted the Succubus emerging from the smoky interior.

She still looked stunning, impeccably clad in a figure caressing outfit with her red hair framing the fire in the background. As the blood in my veins froze, my first thought was to get her away from my family. I leapt from the table into thronging mass of humanity swelling at the door. I spied Nek and Wenerd still clutching their whiskey glasses trying in vain not to spill the alcohol but yet get out. I somehow weaseled my way out. I hit the asphalt running without giving a thought if any of my family was trapped in the fire. I knew I had to draw the Succubus away from my loved ones as she was infinitely more dangerous than the flames. So I ran like hell.

Confusingly I soon found myself panting along the Malecón. The sky was a startling blue. Looking across the bay made me desperately want to stop and stare. But I heard her footsteps behind me so I quickened my pace as I snaked along. I must have running for a good twenty minutes when I suddenly couldn't hear her footsteps. Coming to a dead halt and a 360 degree scan confirmed that she was no longer following me. She had sprung her trap and I had fallen for it. My family and friends were at her mercy now. I frantically flagged a cab. Strangely the driver had never heard of the restaurant so I yelled out the intersection in frustration. The traffic was sparse but the minutes it took to get there stretched out like pliant rubber. I stumbled out of the taxi after shoving way too many bills in the driver's face. In spite of the rudeness, he seemed happy at being over paid. I looked around the area but couldn't find the restaurant or any eatery except for a place that seemed to attract a lot of people but did not clearly state their cuisine. The place was called Coppelia and it only served ice creams. The line for getting in was pythonous. I ignored the queue and wandered around the million tables. Each customer had something like ten bowls of ice cream in front and they were stuffing their faces like there was no tomorrow. Not sure why but I suddenly figured that the ice cream would calm the pounding in my head and help me think. I made my way to the top floor which was strangely devoid of people. I sat down at the empty table overlooking a strangely familiar courtyard which had an old Japanese house from the 17th century. A chocolate ice cream appeared before me and I started eating. I then saw someone dressed in a hakama emerge from the house with a wooden stick. He then proceed to perform a few stretches and casually perform a few kattas. I got up to take a closer look and realized that it was Sir Twilight. Watching that man gracefully go about his kattas and eating the ice cream magically calmed me down. I would have stayed there forever but then I woke up.

The bed was dank with my sweat. I peeled off my soaking t-shirt and wandered in to the living room of my apartment dog tired as if I had really run miles. In dreams you run faster and longer but you lose even more energy than in  the real world. I logically decided that to be the reason for my fatigue. The makings of a good cup of latte was almost in place when the door bell started to buzz impatiently. I continued making my coffee hoping whoever it was would just go away. The buzzing became a pounding on the door. I cursed as I went to see who it was. It was the Succubus dressed exactly the way I pictured her in my dream. I almost panicked and opened the door. It would have been curtains if I had. My head started to pound again, begging for the coffee that was almost made but time was precious now. I turned on my computer and Exailed the soundtrack of Twilight Samurai. Knowing it would weaken her I turned up the volume and took off my gold chain. I placed it inside the vial of my pen and set it on fire with Dragon's breath. Magic runes written in gold were the only thing that would stop her and that too only if she read it. I allowed the music to wash over me as I went about writing the runes. The pounding on my door continued. Another minute and it would give away. I calmly finished runes,  folded the parchment and slid it through the mail box. The banging stopped. I then heard her pain and felt her scream as she faded away. She was foolish enough to read it. But to make her go away permanently I would have to write runes in my own blood and ingest them. The needle of the syringe was blunt but I forced it in to my throbbing veins.

And the days went by like paper in the wind...

The lights of bar beckoned and I could already taste the beer. I staggered in like the drunk I would soon become. It needed a few drinks to make me walk straight these days. I plopped my self at the bar and gestured the bartender over. My gesturing froze for a microsecond as I recognized the serving wench. It was the Succubus. It must have been 20 years since the dream and though Succubuses never age, the days had not been kind to this one. Blood runes have a way of doing that. I acted as if I had never seen her before as I ordered an IPA. She quietly poured me the beer and then proceeded to stare me down. I nonchalantly sipped my ale in silence.

"Don't tell me you don't know who I am, you bastard!", she suddenly blurted out.
I gave her my best confused smile and feigned ignorance.
"Think hard, you fucker. I am sure you at least remember the pleasant nights", she yelled.
"I don't have a clue as to who you are lady", I said, trying to show some annoyance at her swearing. That was met with even more curses and the lack of reaction from me was pissing her off even more.
"Lady, please calm down. I was in an accident a few years ago and had amnesia. There are huge chunks of my past that I don't remember", I said trying assuage her with some Oscar worthy acting.
Looking genuinely shocked by this revelation, she asked, "So you don't remember anything about me?"
"Apparently I only remember the good bits from my yesteryears", I replied and walked out.
This time I heard her scream...

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