Posted: 18 October 2005 at 8:07pm
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Two weeks had passed since the night of the ball, and every night Kripa fell asleep to thoughts of that night. Her dreams were haunted by the shadow of a man who danced her across the room as a wind dances across an open valley. The feelings of the night would rush back in and her breath would often escape her.
She was plagued during the day as well. She tried to keep her mind occupied by working on some of the most difficult experiments possible, but her thoughts often lapsed back to that night.
Today, she found herself humming the familiar tune while absently stirring her flask. She did not realize her best friend had joined her in her laboratory and was waving her hand in front of her face.
"Hellooooooo . . . Earth to Kripa, come in Kripa!" Alliyah laughed, still waving her hand in front of Kripa's face.
"Oh! Sorry Alliyah, didn't see you come in," said a surprised Kripa.
"What are you working on?" inquired Alliyah, sniffing at the now boiling cauldron. She snorted after a strong pungent odor stung her nose. "Ow, ow ow . . ." she cried.
"Waft Alliyah, you're supposed to waft . . . You could have sniffed up something dangerous!" laughed Kripa as she watched her friend take in the pain in her nose.
"What is it?" said Alliyah nasally as she pinched her nose.
"Oh I'm just coloring some old socks . . ."
"Gross! Well let's go, I'm starving." And with that, the two girls vacated the laboratory and proceeded down the numerous hallways to the lifts of their office building. Kripa was the head of the science division in the Department of Research and Development. She had been promoted after her experimentations with the cancer potion.
Every week Kripa and Alliyah met for lunch at their favorite restaurant in London. They both liked to escape the monotony of life on occasion and sought solace within parts of London.
Arriving at the lobby level, Kripa and Alliyah exited the lifts and moved towards the crowd formed at the front door. Security was tight at the office and there was only once section within the entire building with which you could leave from.
Kripa and Alliyah stood in line, waiting for their turn to leave. Kripa was talking to Alliyah about her current research when a tall man with brown hair appeared in the arriving section. Alliyah followed her friends gaze to the young man.
"Oh, Angad. . . Still sniffing around the office, I see," said Alliyah coldly.
"What do you mean?" Kripa inquired.
"Like father, like son, right? Dillip was always in here buying his way into everything. I suppose the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, by the looks of it," Alliyah replied, still watching as Angad Khanna walked determinedly towards the lobby security counter.
"I'm surprised you didn't know Alliyah, dating Prithvi and all. Angad works here," Kripa said, turning her attention back to her friend. Kripa knew that Angad was nothing like his father, a fact many people had failed to see.
"Prithvi hardly ever mentions work. He says he'd rather keep work at work and keep life separate," Alliyah answered, shrugging.
"I guess that makes sense," Kripa replied as she stepped into the security check section and then waited by the front door for Alliyah. Alliyah followed her lead and stepped into the section as well.
Out of the corner of his eye, Angad Khanna noticed the two girls disappear from the lobby. He preserved the neutral expression upon his face although inside he was feeling rather disappointed. Another opportunity had passed in which he didn't speak to the girl of his dreams.
* * *
He walked resolutely towards his office, thoughts of that night still lingering on his mind. He understood that night had changed everything and he could not go back to the life he had before.
Before that night, he had resolved himself to watch her from afar. Since his days at school, he has cared for her from a distance. He was never close to her, was never her friend. He resented the actions he took as a young man. He was brainwashed by his father and could not see the truth as easily as others.
It was only during the few days before the final battle occurred that Angad had learned the truth. He had joined the enemies willingly months before. He was branded with their symbol and was his father's pride and joy, or so he thought.
It was only when he intercepted a letter for his father that he realized his father's true plan. Angad was going to be sacrificed for the greater good, by Angad's own father, so their so called "master" could infiltrate by having him spy. Angad finally understood what it meant to be working for the enemies' side. There was no glory, no honor.
It was on the school grounds where the final battle came to pass. Students, professors, and anyone else who believed in all that was good were present that day. Under pretense of evil, Angad stormed the castle with the other bad people. Only when the battle began had he rid himself of his disguise to reveal his true self.
In the end, while his father met his fate, Angad met his. His father stood before him, laughing maniacally. Anger coursed through Angad's body, manifesting itself in his words. It was not hard for him to kill his father. He knew he would never forgive Dillip for what he had done to him and knew an eternity in hell wasn't penance enough.
He fell to his knees in utter despair as he watched his father's lifeless form fall to the ground. His eyes were blurred by the tears that welled inside. When his vision returned, his focus turned to the other lifeless forms around him. The smell of blood and death hung heavily in the air causing bile to rise in his throat.
As the chaos subsided and as survivors started congregating, Angad stood upon heavy legs. He could not move his body. He stared straight ahead at a young girl staring back at him, her eyes boring into his. She stared into his eyes and for the first time in his life he hadn't hidden his feelings. All the pain that had been building from years of abuse finally had been released and Angad cried an honest cry while the girl with soft brown eyes watched on.
She had been the only one to witness what he had done. From that moment, Angad felt an inescapable bond towards this girl. Although she did not recognize it for what it was, she understood that from this day forward nothing could be the same.
Angad sat at his desk and filtered through the files sitting on his desk. He knew that today was the day. He had a new plan, one he had been forming for the past two weeks. He could not wait any longer, today would be the day.
He reached into his desk for some paper. He got out a pen and paused. Sudden determination spread across his face as pen met paper.
* * *
Kripa returned from lunch feeling refreshed. She and Alliyah had spent the hour discussing various topics but eventually landing on the inevitable Ė that night.
"Kripa, you've been so distracted lately. Care to tell me what's going on?" Alliyah asked after the two girls had ordered lunch.
"Distracted? Me?" Kripa said removing her focus from the window to her friend.
"Yeah, you! It's not like you to be off in la-la-land. If anyone has their head on their shoulders, it's you!" Alliyah laughed.
Kripa knew exactly why she had been distracted as of late. She did not know how to tell Alliyah about the stranger that had invaded her mind.
Kripa could not suppress a smile as she thought of the stranger. He was mysterious and intriguing; she wanted desperately to know who he was. She wished someone else had seen him to verify that it had really happened. That she had not been dreaming.
"You've met someone, haven't you?" Alliyah said, her eyes shining while her eye brows rose up and down. "Oh! You did! I know that look . . . I taught you that look! Who is it? Why are you laughing?"
"You are too funny Alliyah. What makes you think I met a guy?"
"Why else would you have that goofy smile with your eyes glossed over like that?"
Kripa was stuck. There's no way she could write this off on anything else. It was common knowledge between all girls that this look meant serious business. She couldn't believe she had let herself reveal so much.
"Okay, listen, I'll tell you everything but you have to keep it between you and me," Kripa said after her quick deliberation.
Convinced that she was going to hear something incredibly good, Alliyah leaned closer and nodded in agreement.
Kripa proceeded to tell Alliyah every detail from that night right down to how good he smelled and how his skin felt against her own.
Alliyah squealed in delight. She had waited so long for Kripa to meet someone that made her feel the way Prithvi made her feel. "Kripa that is so romantic! How could you not know who he is? He didn't tell you anything?"
"Nothing and it's driving me crazy! It's like he's got me caught in this magical lasso, I can't think about anything else," Kripa confessed, shaking her head at the ridiculousness of it all.
"So strange, he must have been watching you all night to move in so quickly. I bet you know him," Alliyah said, her brow furrowed the way it gets when she's trying to figure something out.
"I don't know anybody would have done that to me," Kripa said truthfully. She did not know many men, especially young men, who would have pursued her like that.
"This must be driving you nuts," Alliyah said softly, watching the torment flashing in Kripa's eyes.
"Like you wouldn't believe," Kripa answered honestly.
They finished their lunch discussing the details of the situation, hoping to find any clues. Although nothing could be solved, Kripa felt better now that she had told somebody of the night. Telling Alliyah about that night helped her to relive the memory in greater detail, renewing the feelings within her.
She was not sure what she felt now, as she returned to her laboratory. She felt foolish to spend so much time thinking about someone whom she had never met. She had spent the most amazing night of her life with a man to whose identity she did not know. If anything, she felt frustrated and even more alone than before. Why didn't this man want her to know who he was?
After finishing up the afternoon's tasks, she gathered her papers from her desk and slipped them into her briefcase. She was lost in her thoughts and did not notice the unopened letter that lay on top of her papers.
* * *
Kripa decided to walk to the park just down the street from her apartment. She enjoyed walking around the pond in the evening, as the sun was setting. It reminded her of her final days at school. She would spend a lot of time at the lake, thinking, dreaming of the future. After the battle, she had a renewed sense of what it meant to be alive. She dreamt of a beautiful life where she had a man to love and who loved her in return. She dreamt of success and of feeling fulfilled.
She had the success she had dreamt of. She finally felt at peace over Tina's death. She knew she would be proud of her and that was more than enough for her.
But something was still missing, she thought as she walked in the direction of her apartment. She was alone. Sure she had friends who loved her and her parents had survived the war, but she still felt alone.
"Kripa, dahling!" Anitha cooed as Kripa walked through the door.
"Hi Anitha, what's that smell?" Kripa asked, hanging her coat in the closet.
"Dinner! We're having Chinese," she said pointing to various take-out cartons.
"Dahling, you are an absolute doll," Kripa replied in the same drawl that Anitha used previously, digging into a carton full of chow mein.
"Hey, do you have my socks?" Anita asked after finishing off her second egg roll.
"Oh yeah, they're in my brief case," Kripa said pointing towards the spot where she had dropped her bag.
Anita got up to retrieve her socks. She returned carrying her socks and a letter. "You had this in your bag, aren't you going to open it?" she asked.
"Oh, I didn't realize I had a letter," Kripa said grabbing for her letter.
She opened it and immediately her breath caught in her throat.
Not a day has gone by in which I have not thought of you. The memory of holding you in my arms and kissing your sweet lips plagues my dreams. I wish that we could meet in the light of the sun, free from the shadow of night, but I know that it cannot be. I am a slave of the night and belong no where else.
Please be my source of light, save me from the depths of the night . . .
Remember the music of the night.
The Man in the Mask
"What is it Kripa?" Anita asked, watching the color return slowly to Kripa's face.
"N-nothing, nothing . . ." Kripa said as she got up from the table and went to her room. She sat down at her desk and gathered some paper. A few minutes later she returned to the kitchen and to a confused Anita.
"Can I borrow a pen or pencil?" Kripa asked.
"Sure, on one condition."
"You tell me what was in that letter!"
After letting Anita read the letter, Kripa sent off her own letter before telling the tale of the ball for the second time that day.
ok that is part 2 hope you all like it!! ALso i need to explain something. THere was a war in the past of my story and it was because the wwealthy people didn't like the thought of sharing stuff with lower class people and all. It will mention the war a lot so keep this in mind. Also it turned out to a big war, but what happened is more important. Hope you like it!
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