IRON IS MY UNDOING

Mydhili R. Varma

This isn’t my territory. Not my regular hunting grounds. Deep in the southern part of India lies the remains of a kingdom of jungles and thick groves that has inspired legends. Legends of a fearsome supernatural being. Legends about me. I have travelled here from far, all the way from the jungles of south India.

I go by many names. The locals call me Yakshi, the vengeful blood sucking spirit from the days of yore.

I don’t belong here in Fox Hollow but I am getting used to this body I am in. Megan – that’s what they call her. Her, me, us.

Megan’s consciousness is somewhere deeply submerged under mine. I call the shots with this body. I keep getting told my makeup preferences have changed. I am all for the red lipstick and heady jasmine perfume Megan had kept unused. It isn’t her style, I suppose, because Dylan, the manling who wants me to call him my boyfriend, insists I have turned hotter.

It took me a little getting used to but I have fooled everyone into thinking I am a sixteen year old high school student and Dylan’s girlfriend. In reality, I am hundreds of years old and much more evolved and powerful than the body I am in. Heck, I even have a temple in my name back where I come from. You see, I was in a benevolent form in the temple as a near- goddess, granting wishes and all. But they don’t know I have memories from hundreds of years ago. Memories of being wronged. Memories that stir vengeance in me. Memories of the vengeance that turned me from a mortal woman into an immortal being thirsty for blood.

And then one day I sensed him. Scarface.

The man who ripped my heart, turning me into a blood-sucking Yakshi in the first place. Vengeance simmered in me and I had to leave the sanctum sanctorum of my temple in search of him. I followed him all the way to Fox Hollow. I know my wrongdoer is near. I have followed him through centuries, waiting for his rebirth. I can almost taste him in the air – he is that close. I will have my vengeance soon. But until then I need to feed. My palate favors blood. Blood warm and gurgling as I tear open my prey with my fangs and claws. Blood right off the body of a petrified prey.

But I need to keep a low profile here and not arouse suspicion. So far nobody suspects a thing about me. Not even Dylan. And I need to keep it that way until I find the man I am after.

I have learnt to go about my daily routine as Megan would and keep my senses on high alert at the same time. When nobody is paying attention, when they are snug in their beds asleep, I creep out from behind the curtains, from under their beds and from inside their headboards and walls. And I feed on them by simply touching my prey with the tip of my nail and sucking their blood through it. Nobody will know a thing. The last two deaths in Fox Hollow were my doing. I left no trace. No blood. Not even skin abrasion. I had the doctors scratching their heads. That’s how I prey these days. Quiet and untraceable is my MO. I walk amongst these manlings under the light of the sun and in the darkness of the night I prey on them.

My phone beeped. It was a message from Dylan.

Ready for the carnival?
Abs!! You?
Yup. Pick you up at 4?
Yeah
Don’t bring Ross k
He’s such a bore
K
See you at 4

I have been looking forward to this carnival since the beginning of summer. If the man I am after is in Fox Hollow he will be at the carnival like the rest of the community. Few more hours and my thirst will be met.

When my doorbell rang at 4, I sighed happily at the mirror and went to greet Dylan. After some mundane display of affection we drove to the grounds of the carnival.

The place was a sea of people. Off-putting, smiling people.

But I feel change is in the air. My search is about to end here. Everybody is taking in as much fun as they can and I am feeding on their blood one tiny prick at a time. Undetected, unstoppable. I’ve learnt something from the vast experience, immortal that I am. Shadows are my best friends. My cover. Even around a string of lights I can find darkness. My world.

I have a strategy. First thing I have to do is keep a low profile. And hunt sparsely. I use my ally, the shade. So far so good. No alarm calls. I just have to get a little closer to my feeding requirement. It’s all in the timing of that gentle prick.

NOW.

That’s my ninth today.

With every prey I become stronger. More confident.

Suddenly my senses begin to tingle. He must be close.

I loosen my hand out of Dylan’s and sneak away, following his scent. I weave through the crowd, dizzy with the smell of his blood driving my steps.

I don’t realize I am at a secluded corner of the ground when something grabs my neck from behind. A paralyzing shock runs through my body and I figure out that I am under the grip of an iron hand. The hand obviously belongs to someone who knows I am a Yakshi. It’s got to be someone who knows iron is my kryptonite.

I struggle and catch a glimpse of a scarred face. The very face I have been after for centuries.

‘Scarface,’ I croak. Those are my last words as my captor holds me against the trunk of a tree and rams a nail through my head and into the tree.

Days give way to months and months to years.

My body pinned to the Strychnine tree with an iron nail that burned through my flesh, I lay in painful wait. For the fateful day a saw would run through the wretched tree and it would end up in blocks in the hands of some carpenter whose assistant would hopefully pull out the iron nail that has become my undoing and release me from this cursed captivity.

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