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Navya Kataria


The apartment was… dingy to say the least. Not what I expected at

all. Stepping off the white tiled path, I stepped onto the scruffy,

snuff-coloured carpet. The cacophony of car tyres, making out with

the harsh bitumen underneath them as they rushed past, was

drowned out by the thick, lead-plated doors swinging closed

behind me.

In the centre of the room, a single, sombre-blue lampshade was

perched upon a mahogany table (that had seen better days) adjacent

to a flimsy tape recorder. The light illuminated the elegant, yet dark,

figure sitting before me. Her arms, which were resting on the table,

were folded squarely near her willowy body as if they were guarding

a close-kept secret. Bringing the lit, acrid paper to my lips, I puffed

a cloud of smoke. Desperately, my rose coloured lips then assaulted

the edges of the tobacco cigarette enjoying how it burnt an eager

path from the back of my throat down my esophagus, bringing me

closer to death, to freedom by the minute. As the stranger’s mouth

stopped bunching like a drawstring sack, she reached over and

turned the pathetic excuse of a tape recorder on.

“I’ve been expecting you.”

I fought back the urge to laugh as she bemusedly delivered her

Italian Mafia line that sounded like it came straight out of ‘



’. An uninvited smile begged to be released, knocking

sinfully against my lips. It would be wrong. I can’t trust her. I can’t

trust anyone. Above all, I can’t trust


. I took another puff.

“Is the tape recorder really necessary?” I questioned her

stubbornly as I flopped down in the chair in front of her own,

eyeing the way the tape in the prehistoric piece of junk spun around.

“I should have listened to


.” Damn, I shouldn’t have said that.




“No one you need to know,” I defiantly whispered, as my hazel

eyes pierced hers. “Are you here to interrogate me or help me?”

“How about you tell me why a sixteen-year-old girl like you

would need a criminal psychoanalyst?”

Huh, that was unexpected. But then again who am I to crush her

fantasy. She doesn’t know. She’s oblivious.

“Look, I’mmessed up okay, I don’t know.” Yeah, and the extent of

my ‘messed-up-ness’ freakin’ scares me.

“Tell me then. Enlighten me.”

Oh, she doesn’t even know the start of it.