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Connoisseur...Coffee...Or Blood!

Connoisseur...Coffee...Or Blood!

When the twinkling trinket of stars are ghastly scrapped off from the brimming breasts of the sleek night sky and drowned into the waters unknown, rises the creatures of the dark, lurking below the lamp shades to HUNT us for their LUST for blood!! The world calls them Vampires but WE call them Blood Connoisseurs! By the way, I am Samay, an average small-town man with a doomed career in the periphery of the hospitals as a medical officer! My everyday routine has either a prelude of heart wrenching cries of the diseased or silver coldness of the dead! The two things that keep me stretched through these like a lady during love making are coffee and the smell of blood! Though I haven’t graduated to become a connoisseur but definitely I can easily fit into the cup of a Coffee Lover; but do not mistake me as the Bloodsuckers considering my other fascination for God’s sake! Oh my! Where are my manners! Did I just forget to mention that I am a married man, that too to a bonny dame with a bronze skin shimmering like gold under fire, a sharp nose and deep dark almond eyes! Wasn’t I smitten enough by her that she decided to throttle my heart by bringing in our sweet little girl Anaya 5 years ago in this world! Sometimes I feel even a cup of good old coffee with loads of cream in it doesn’t do any good to a man drowned in the ocean of love for family! Our life in the garden city, with its amorous climate was skating smoothly over a patch of frozen water until a crack in the platform decided to say hello! The heinous howling of the red landline telephone in the virgin hours of the dawn made me almost crawl towards it. Mounting million curses upon the caller I also flipped open my mobile only to see 20 missed calls to alert me about an emergency at my hospital; a 50 something lady who was admitted due to “dengue like fever” few days ago was MISSING! Next day, resisting my temptations to devour the melancholies of monsoon over a delightful cup of black intoxication, I reported back to work with a detour to the police station for the last night’s incident. Little did I know that the sight which was waiting for me there would awaken my urge towards my true calling! I hastily stepped inside the police station and marched ahead pushing the small crowd of the officials aside that had gathered there by then. The junior officer beckoned me over to a body still as a rock lying beneath the white sheet! With my heavy feet I dragged myself there and pulled over the sheet to see the face. What I saw was not something I had expected! In front of me there was the dead body of the lady patient who had disappeared from the hospital!! It was just not that which was disturbing; it was the appearance of the body which startled me! The eerie peacefulness spread across her face, gave a feeling as if she was never alive, as if she never had the bright red fluid running through her veins! There were no other injury marks or any evidence which would reveal foul play. The cause of death was provisionally being said as heart attack which I doubted. The other two things which inseminated my thought was the odd ancient devil shaped tattoo on the nape of the neck of the dead woman and the lingering familiar fragrance. I could feel my veins tense against my skin with throbbing blood inside. Perhaps this death was that trigger which led the long dormant chord of my long lost identity of a hunter to begin strumming frantically. Being the medical officer in charge, it was solely my responsibility to do a RCA of the entire case while coordinating with the search team launched by the local police. My career was at stake. My sleepless nights were taking a toll on me. But to add to my surprise, I could see not a single dusty line of worry on the smooth face of my dear wife. However I considered that as relief as I hate women wasting their beauty over petty issues involving a man’s work. The only thing which was time and again crucifying my conscience was a thought or let us say a premonition! A premonition that could convince every mortal to willingly give up the lengths of blood from their vessels and replace with plain water! “The return of the old ones! The return of the pale ones! The return of the Blood Connoisseurs! VAMPIRES!” Few days later, while rehearsing our weekend rituals of journal entry (of course me) and learning new words from the morning print (of course Anaya) respectively, we all were trying to play the role-play game of a perfect family amid the chaos in the city. It was that time of the day when I could let my eyes and my body burn with volcanic desires of lust without physically advertising it! My pretty mouthed wife was surely a PhD holder in the subject of coffee! But what fascinated my sweaty skin under the threads was her way of devouring it! Her white bone-china cup always had the good luck of breasting a fine, deadly brew of Devil Mountain Coffee all the way from California! She never used milk, but just a cube of sugar which she stirred into her cup with her perfectly manicured slender fingers and later used her delicious tongue to wipe off the stain from the red nail paints! But this morning in particular had other plans! My wife had just poured in the coffee when Anaya rushed towards us almost toppling the hot brew upon her! A new word had caught her whims and she wanted to announce that to us. She excitedly spelt out, “MURDER”! Such a word coming out from a kid her age was disturbing indeed. Anaya’s mother shook her tiny shoulders firmly and cupped her away to her room completely ignoring the incident! The word did manage to poison my peace though! Soon the hunter instincts kicked in and I was looking for clues! The images of the dead gentleman displayed under the headline “MURDER or MYSTERY” stated his lesser body age comparatively than the previous victim. Though the remarkable point was the tattoo! It was time I now knew to set foot towards my secret mission! Without any further delay I activated the sleeping cells in my circle and contacted the discreet society of predator hunting once founded in Norway a few centuries ago. The Samaritans were all ears about any and every rumours about these murders. The officials were clueless as the post-mortem reports failed to confirm anything except the absence of blood in the bodies. But I could see what others couldn’t. I knew THEY had re-invaded the city. I knew the garden city was to witness more and more bloody affairs. I had to bring my family under the wings of confidence so that I could protect them from the impending doom. I decided to unveil these bloody unrealistic truths to my wife. Meanwhile, I had also managed to lay my hands on a few of the latest and ancient tools to hunt down the vampires in case of emergency. Next morning, at the breakfast table I narrated the entire situation to my wife. Like all others, she too made a mockery out of me! She brushed off the existence of Vampires and Vampire Hunters just like she would do to the already clean cushion covers. I couldn’t help but withdraw inside my cocoon and prepare to wage a war against the predators! This time behind me was my family! The secret weapons which I had seeded from Norway found me on scheduled time. Very secretly I hid them in our basement garden behind the porch keeping them a secret from every soul except my own. The box of weapons contained 2 daggers with ancient manuscripts carved on them, a large cross and a Rosaline glass bead string and 4 syringes with a fluorescent blue liquid in each of them. The syringes were the latest improvisation; they were to be stabbed into the chests or neck of the bloodsuckers to relieve them of their dark duties and let them evaporate into the eternity. There was an old crumpled paper in the box, which I intended to read but was interrupted by the vibration of my phone. I had to report back to the hospital after a long hiatus. Amid these turmoil drenched days, I could hardly concentrate on my bread-earning duties. Though scatter-brained, still I managed to hold on to an important cue overlooked by the media and regulators! If my equations were not schizophrenic, then my math suggested that all the deaths that had happened in recent days were within 500 meters of each other! It was frustrating! Ah! I was so close to the truth yet I was not able to stick my hand to it! These days mostly I would only get to watch my girl sleep. We hardly interacted as my schedule and my mental peace was indeed resting at peace! What I really appreciated was the level of endurance and patience my wife had shown during these tough times. Neither did she complain nor did she let Anaya do so! When you are blessed with such an understanding mate you can let the epicentre of your tempestuous mind stick to the exact topography you want to. Guilty at my heart, I decided to spend the Saturday evening with my daughter solely. But due to some silly metro strike, I reached home very late in the evening that too to an empty house! I was about to switch on the lights when I stumbled upon Anaya’s toys. A familiar scent gave my lungs an atomic attack! Before I could sum up, my attention walked towards the sticky note with shaky handwriting on the refrigerator. It said,” Daddy, we are at Pandora’s café“. I was still running my fingers on the note when my elbow did the crime! There went the pieces of the bone-china tinkling down like tiny beads of pearl! The luck didn’t favour the cup this time!! Next morning I was again back at the office when a small text crawled into my mobile. It was my daughter. She wanted me to see her ASAP. I assumed it was just some of her innocent demands. Little did I know that I was about to curse myself till eternity for my assumption! On the other hand, I was about to join the shreds of the puzzle only few pieces were yet to be scavenged out! But I was confident that the death game had begun and it was being played by none other than the ancient predators; who could cause such a catastrophe so smoothly. The day had ended long back and I was packing my bags when I got a call. I rushed back home. The door was wide open; the antique lampshade was rolling on floor with a flickering light. Broken pieces of furniture had consumed the neatness of the house. I slowly headed towards the bedroom, where the sight of a mother holding her lifeless, pale daughter in her arms seemed like the darkest of the dark nightmare running live! My existence had come to a screeching halt! My ears felt hot, a bout of cold sweats smeared my body like washed-out pearls on the seashore. Nothing made any sense anymore; the only thing I could feel was the rage! A huge lot of it! It was like the molten core of earth had escaped its prison and found its way in my nerves! That’s when my senses proved their loyalty to me! The familiar smell and the ancient tattoo on the nape of the young neck stood out distinctively dazzling like a burning piece of red coal! Without a second thought, I shifted to fetch my secret weapons and vowed to seek them till I terminated each of the bloody blood-suckers! I was sure that my hideout was safe as a prison! Then how the hell could my weapon box be empty! In front of me were 4 empty syringes. Rest all was gone! My neurons were about to explode that’s when my eyes fell on the two crumpled paper balls a little far away! I handpicked them and in the low light of the street lamps I read and couldn’t stop! One of them was known to me! It was a paper from my daughter’s drawing book with a sketch of a woman and a shaky handwritten word,” MURDER”. The other one was a note from the secret society of Vampire Hunters, Norway. It said, “The clan is not active yet. One of the oldest of their kind has risen. Males of their kind hunt in a pack, while the alpha females hunt alone. The savagery of the alpha females reaches the epitome with the blood of a new born or a 5-year-old human. They hunt between 12 am and 3 am. Identification: 1. A particular scent specific to each one. 2. Any form of skin carvings resembling a tattoo on the neck of the victim!” A voice in my head guided me to the place. I aimlessly drove to the right location. The glimmering facade read, “THE PANDORA’S CAFÉ! Unveil The Known!” Just then a distant grandfather clock struck thrice ripping apart the pregnant silence. Holding the crumbled pieces of Anaya’s last sketch with my trembling fingers, I walked in….. In the dimly lit corner of the café surrounded by the tall stools, a figurine facing her back towards me sat while her perfectly manicured slender fingers with red nails stirred the cup of bone china…. The menu board hung by the door read, “Devour your Devil Mountain Coffee from California exclusively between 12 -3 am! Do not Forget Your Crimson Lust!” All the while, the exact sensual defrosting of my senses had begun which I longed for on every weekend back at home! The familiar scent of rich, complex, intoxicating black liquid was drowning me in their clutches! My mind failed to comprehend thereby, “Connoisseur? Coffee? Or is it just BLOOD?”

Author : Dr Shritama Das ( Banglore, India )
( Instagram Handle : @storyteller_shritama )
Lable : Inflame Story


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