After a long drawn out and high-conflict divorce, Mahika decided to take things to the next level and go out and meet someone new. She had been single for almost three years now and longed to find a companion, a kindred soul. She would often go out on dinner dates with suitable prospects on the insistence of her friends, but no one ever seemed to tickle her fancy. She did not just want to be someone’s love interest, rather she wanted to be with someone who could make her feel secure, safe and protected.
And then one fine day, while Mahika was waiting for one of her cousins inside a hotel resto-bar, in walked the most handsome man she had ever seen. He had an air of elegance and intrigue about him coupled with a touch of sassiness and brashness. He did not seem to be like the many men she had recently met. She instantly started wondering why he was alone.
His intense dark eyes, hooked nose and a sharply defined jaw-line had Mahika entranced instantly. With his brutally handsome features, the mystery man exuded a sensuality that could make women folks cluck. Not being able to take her eyes off him, Mahika looked him up and down. He was immaculately dressed and very well groomed; surely he would have women falling at his feet, I know I would, she thought smiling to herself.
Mahika drew in her breath and let it out slowly and gently even as she watched him from a distance for a few more minutes. She wondered how she could possibly bring herself to his attention without being too obvious, she longed to be back in a loving relationship. She tried desperately to attract his attention; she even bumped into him hoping he would start a conversation. The mystery man just smiled and made his way to the exit. Mahika followed close behind just catching a glimpse of him getting into a red sports car.
Thereafter, Mahika would return to the hotel’s resto-bar each week hoping to see him but he was nowhere to be seen. Three months passed ever since and she had almost given up all hopes of seeing him again. Then in he strolled, he sat down at the bar and ordered a drink. She looked at his smart suit and well groomed hair, I am not letting him go this time, she thought to herself.
She walked over to where he was sitting and pulled out the chair next to him. The mystery man introduced himself as Nirav and offered to buy her a drink. Mahika was so excited at finally getting his attention, she could hardly speak. They spent the evening talking and she was amazed at how relaxed she felt in his company. As the evening drew to a close, she was delighted when he asked to see her again. She was quick to hand over her phone number to him.
On Saturday afternoon the following week, Mahika’s phone rang, it was Nirav. “Would you like to accompany me for a movie and popcorn tomorrow”, he said. Mahika gritted her teeth in frustration, it was her best friend’s wedding and she couldn’t possibly let her down.” I’m sorry, Nirav, but I really can’t make it tomorrow as I have to go to a friend’s wedding”, she replied. Nirav seemed disappointed, “Well, maybe next time”, he said and hung up.
Two weeks passed by and Mahika thought Nirav had forgotten her, perhaps he thought she wasn’t interested or just didn’t like him. Then on Sunday that week, her phone rang, it was Nirav. “Hi Mahika! Would you like to accompany me to the beach today”, he asked. Mahika couldn’t believe what bad timing Nirav had, she had been in bed for a week with food poisoning. “Ummm… I’m so so sorry, Nirav, I’ve been sick all this week. Maybe we can meet next Sunday” she said.
The next week came but there was no call from Nirav and she became upset. She had started developing an interest in him. She so wanted to talk to him and would always stare at her phone to see if he had called her up.
Then unexpectedly, Nirav rang two weeks later. “Hi Mahika, would you like meeting up for coffee this evening”, he asked. Mahika hesitated, it was her grandfather’s death anniversary and she could not possibly go out on a date with him.
Nirav hung up and Mahika burst into tears, she’d ruined it, she never thought he would contact her again. A month passed by and as Mahika sat relaxing on the sofa the phone rang, it was Nirav. “Would you like to accompany me to the zoo this Saturday” he asked. Mahika couldn’t contain her excitement; she was free to see him this weekend and quickly accepted his offer.
Nirav picked Mahika up in his sports car and as they walked around the zoo, he picked a flower, “This is to remind me of you”, he said as he placed the flower in his pocket. As they walked among the birds in the zoo, he picked up a feather, “This is to remind me of the place we visited” he said and popped the feather in his pocket with the flower. They had a lovely day together and as Nirav dropped Mahika home, he ran his hands across her cheek to her diamond earrings, “They look beautiful on you, they will always remind me of your beauty”, he said smiling.
The next day Nirav called up Mahika again, “Would you like to come over to my place and we can have a meal and maybe a glass of wine”, he asked. Mahika jumped at the chance, she could see herself becoming closer to Nirav with each date they went on. As Nirav drove up to his house he leant over to Mahika and said, “I think you should stay with me forever”, and laughed. As Mahika entered his house, she could smell the incense burning, the smell flowing throughout the rooms.
Nirav sat Mahika on the sofa while he entered the kitchen “Would you like a glass of wine while I prepare things”, he said. Mahika stood up and walked over to Nirav, “What are they?”, she asked as Nirav pulled out three jars and put them on the table. “They’re my memory jars”, he said. “Mahika looked puzzled. “Memory jars?”, she said. Nirav pointed to the first jar, “You take a jar and fill it with things from the past that you want to remember and keep forever”, he said.
Mahika looked at the first jar, it contained a movie ticket, popcorn and a pink button. The second jar was filled with sand, seaweed and a small gold bracelet. The third jar contained a few cookies and a coffee mug. Then Nirav smiled, “I have a present for you”, he said, holding out a delicately wrapped gift. Mahika started unwrapping the present, it was a glass jar filled with a flower and a feather.
“What is it?”, said Mahika putting the jar onto the floor. As she bent down a dark shadow covered her, she looked up to see Nirav standing over her, his arms raised and in his hands a blood stained axe. “It’s your memory jar, but it’s not quite finished yet”, he said snatching a diamond earring from her ear and throwing it into the jar.
Mahika screamed as a wave of fear swept over her, she covered her head to shield herself from the blows, even as the axe rained down on her. With her heart pounding right out of her chest, she let out incoherent piercing screams. The axe soon cut down deep into her throat severing her larynx. All that escaped through her lips was a gush of blood.
As her blood soaked body finally lay on the floor, Mahika could see Nirav pick the jar from the floor and put it next to the others in his collection.
Nirav showered and dressed, he put on his best suit and combed his hair in the mirror. He smiled at his reflection,” Immaculate”; he said as he picked up his car keys and headed for the resto-bar once again.