“You thought you could run, meu doce?” Captain Luiz snaps as he flies the helicopter over the mountain ridge.
His sea-green eyes drill the hatred he holds on so tightly to directly into my withering soul. Some of his black hair falls over his face making my hands twitch to reach for it. I once loved playing with those strands. I once felt love coming from those eyes. I once loved this man. Now only pain, regret and despair sit in the suffocating air between us.
I face out the window watching the world glide by as my captor brings me back to the land I once called home. Soon I will call it my grave.
Father will not show me a kindness this time. I killed his son, my dear Anjo. He was the pride and joy of the family, now, he is nothing but a rotting corpse in the jungle below. Food for whatever scavenger or insect feels desperate enough to feast on his toxic hide.
“No, I just wanted to give you the chase you love so much.” I quip back, giving him the cheeky smile he knows soo well. I see him glance ever so slightly my way before focusing on the vastness of blue and green before us. That simple look makes me think back to the last night we were lovers.
The sweet scent of flowers and spices flowed in the air, and the fire illuminated the pagoda. Luiz held me down on the couch, grinding his hardness right on that spot all us women love. Our breaths intertwined along with our fingers. The only thing keeping us from entirely giving in to our most primitive desires were the guests not even twenty feet away.
“Meu doce,” quietly slipped from his lips as the desire built between us.
“Minha vida,” I responded just as softly. I felt his weight lift off of me, causing me to open my eyes.
“Come, your father is boasting about your brother. It will give us enough time for me to pleasure you properly.” The sparkle in his eyes told me his goal. Release…
“Why did you do it, Telma? He was your brother.” His voice ripped me back to the hell of reality.
“You know why,” I answer curtly.
He knows. How can he not? He was there with my brother. He probably helped cover it up. My stomach churns at the memory of the blood and carnage left behind that day. I only came in after the screaming had stopped. My brother’s loyal guards held me back. He held me back while they echoed around us. Catia’s screams. Catia’s pleas. Then silence. I felt the world drop from under me when I entered that room. My sweet Catia, my best friend, lay on the bed gutted like a fish. Her unborn child ripped from her belly and placed on her chest. Anjo stood over her, sneering, covered in blood.
“He had to.….” again, his voice bringing me back from my memories.
“No! No, he didn’t,” I yell. “He could have hidden her. He could have married her and told our father to go screw himself. Hell! He could have killed our father! He could have done anything else. Yet, he decided to brutally murder her and make a display of her and their child’s bodies.” I let a tear fall but only one. I would not break. I would be resilient. “Now, father has a choice. Kill his last breathing child, or let me go.”
“There is a third option you have yet to think of.” He again looks over at me. His eyes drift over my body.
“Please enlighten me.”
“You are to marry me.” I stop breathing. I stop thinking. I stop existing.
Marry him…the man, my ex-lover, who stood by and let that walking corpse of a brother kill, torture, maim my best friend. Does he think this is merciful? Mercy would have been not pursuing me. Mercy would have been a quick clean death. This will be…I stop my rapid thoughts and focus on the benefits of this plan. Ultimate revenge.
Revenge on everyone who helped bring about the travesty that haunts my dreams. I can’t be too eager or quick to agree to this arrangement. Now the question is, do I go about this slowly or all in one swift chop of the executioner’s blade? Taking them all out one by one would send a thrill down to my core, but many would catch on. No, the best way to get all involved is at my wedding reception. Now how to go about it? Poison, explosives, fire?
“You think I would willingly marry you, touch you, show you affection?” I scoff for good measure.
“Yes. Why not?”
“Well, for one, I can’t stand you. Just being in your presence causes me to become sick.” I gag for a bit of dramatics.
“I will help you remember why you loved me, meu doce.”
“Oh, I remember clearly why I loved you. Unfortunately, I also remember what made me fall out of love with you.” I twitch my eye with a scowl.
Two weeks of being locked in my room. Two weeks of sleeping next to the Captain. Much to my surprise, he promised he would not touch me until our wedding night. He wants to court me. Woo me. He does hold me close at night, whispering how happy he is for me to become his wife. Tomorrow is the day. All my planning has come to fruition. An old friend Cassie has acted as my dress designer. In reality, she is a master chemist who works with the IRA. She and I have concocted a plan that will release a colorless, sweet-smelling gas into the venue. This will slowly enter the guests’ systems and shut down their bodies.
“Will you let me kiss you tomorrow, meu doce?” I turn to look at Luiz. His hair is still damp from the shower, he forced me to join. A few droplets of water linger on his smooth chest. He truly is a specimen to behold. If only he was not there that day, then this would have been a blissful moment.
“Yes, you can kiss me at the end of the ceremony.” He smiles and cups my cheek.
“I knew you would start to feel for me again, Telma.” His eyes sparkle with hope and love. I almost feel sorry for him. He leans in and kisses my cheek. “Eu te amo minha esposa.” (I love you, my wife.) I feel a tiny flutter of my heart. The sincerity in his voice touches that long-forgotten space in it that was set aside for him.
Cassie and her “assistant” help me with my wedding dress. It’s store-bought, but a seamstress friend of Cassie has fitted it and put some modifications making it look custom. They tell me the canisters are all set and will start venting half an hour into the reception. I thank them and give them a hug. They quickly leave when we hear a knock at my door.
“Filha, você está pronta?” (Daughter, are you ready?) I turn and lock eyes with my father. The man who orchestrated all this turmoil. It started with him forbidding my brother from dating Catia. Then arranging a marriage for him to another prominent family. By that time, my brother and Catia had been dating for over two years, and she was six months pregnant. Anjo begged father to reconsider and allow Catia to become his wife instead. I don’t know what was said between father and son, but I know the outcome. Screams, blood and two innocent lives lost.
I nod and follow him out of the room. Down the stairs and approach the ballroom doors. We stand there ignoring one another. There is no reason for him to show any sort of love, compassion or fatherly sadness about his only daughter getting married. I am a legacy bearer. My child will carry his bloodline. The music hits the crescendo, and the doors open, revealing the hall filled with guests. They are already seated at banquet tables that are conservatively decorated. Making the area look chic and elegant. Down the aisle splitting the room is Luiz, handsome as ever. He stands to the leftof an elerdly gentleman who seems to be presiding over this shotgun wedding. I walk to a melodic song that sounds familiar. Though my father is along side me as I make my way to my future husband we do not touch or acknowledge each other. It’s a façade for the crowd.
I approach the elevated stage and step up to begin the pleasantries. The elder says the normal opening statements “Dearly beloved…” yada yada yada. The captain never takes his eyes off of me. Even as he is spoken to, he just stares. I see that love again. That flutter hits my heart again, and I almost slam my chest with a fist to make it stop. Stupid human emotions. We come to the vows, and now you hear our emotional state behind them. Mine is cold, as if I was ordering a glass of water. His have promises and passion. I can only imagine what the witnesses think. Rings are exchanged, and we come to the part I have been dreading…the kiss. What kind of kiss is he going to give me now that I have given my permission for this act to happen?
“I love you, Telma,” Luiz says softly as he slips his arm around my waist and his other up my back, clasping the back of my neck. He pulls me in close and gently places his lips on mine. At first, I think, ‘Huh, this is not too bad.’ I begin to believe he is not going to take advantage of this small gesture I have permitted. I press my lips back, allowing myself to feel his love. Just for this moment, I travel back to before all the trauma and just sink into his embrace. He parts his lips, and I feel my bottom lip between his teeth. I gasp ever so slightly, and he releases my lip and presses his tongue in. I open more to accommodate him and intertwine mine with his. The fantasy breaks as we break apart, feeling a hand on our shoulders. My father stands almost between us, a stern look across his face.
“May I suggest leaving that kind of display for the bedroom.” Luiz apologies and I just nod. I still feel the pressure of his lips on mine as we walk to the head table. Dinner is served, and a few speeches are said. I wait patiently for the time the canisters will release the death all in this room deserve. Right as I get the first whiff of the toxic gas, Luiz takes me to the dance floor. We waltz around the space smiling at guests as we skirt the edge of the wooden floor. The scent becomes more robust, and I see people start to weave and bob. I also feel the effect of the poison and stumble a bit. Luiz’s arms hold me up, but I feel them weaken also. Soon I sink to the floor, not able to breathe in fully.
“Meu doce!” the captain yells, falling to his knees next to my body that now lays on the floor. I can see he is not too far behind me. Like I said, all in this room deserved death. Even me. I didn’t fight hard enough; I didn’t save my friend.
“Say your confessions, Luiz. Justice for Catia has now come. No one…will…survive.” His eyes widen, and I see him shake his head.
“No justice was needed.” He falls to the floor, gasping. I feel my body being dragged back and see the hall and the body of the man who I once loved get smaller and smaller.
“Telma! What….what have you done?!” I hear a familiar voice say. This must be where I am judged. God has sent my friend to give me his punishment.
“Catia, I’m glad God sent you to meet me. Even if I know where I will be going.”
“Chica, no! I’m alive! Don’t go.” I feel wetness fall upon my face. I release my final breath and allow death to take me.
I hold my friend close and watch the light, the fire, leave her eyes. I look towards the door where the hall is and see the lifeless bodies sprinkle the area. Some are in their seats, others lean over tables and in the middle of the dance floor lays the man who orchestrated my death.
He was supposed to get both siblings to safety. I don’t know what happened, but Telma took things into her own hands and killed my husband, her brother. Then she somehow gathered the resources to take out all who she believed helped either my death or the ones who covered up knowledge of it.
Luiz had contacted me after seven months, warning of Telma’s break. He tried to get to her before she killed Anjo. Unfortunately, the good captain was too late. We both agreed I would never reveal myself, and he would save her from her father’s wrath by marrying her. It would break her even more if she knew what she saw was fake, and she killed Anjo for no reason. So he would keep the truth to himself and suffer her hatred.
I lay my best friend’s head on the ground and walk away from the scene before me. The only good thing about this whole ordeal is João, my son, is now safe. We are safe to live our lives without hiding. I will mourn the loss of my three friends, my family. I will live with their memory close to my heart.
I will tell my son of his father, who loved him and me so much that he was willing to leave the money and power behind. I will tell him of his Uncle Luiz who helped us live and sacrificed his own happiness to ensure our safety. Then I will tell him of his Aunt Telma who loved us soo much she took vengeance on those who wanted to hurt us. Who not only sacrificed her life but her soul, making it possible for us to live.
~ The End
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