Nov 16, 2010

The Gangster

Chapter One
by Najia Navaid

The room was dark, and the only source of light was a crack under the door which let in a sliver of diffused sunlight. It illuminated the dust motes in the air and caused the man's eyes to gleam in the darkness. He could judge by the patter of feet outside, the frantic activity that was going on. He smiled in satisfaction.

It was time.

He got up from the armchair in one fluid movement and adjusted the collar of his leather jacket. He unlocked the sideboard with a set of keys that an onlooker could have sworn had not been in his hand a split second ago.

Someone knocked twice on the door, a code. He felt excited; he could feel his pulse quickening. He picked out a revolver from the sideboard and fingered it tenderly, with the caress of a lover. He slipped it inside the folds of his jacket.

There was another knock and the door was opened. He could see the outline of a man, silhouetted against the door frame.

He nodded at the intruder, and the door was shut again. He knew they were all surprised at his unexpected instructions. He rarely got involved in such matters himself, he had far more important matters to attend to.

But this one was different. She was a pure rebel and he wanted to see her with his own eyes. He wanted the exhilaration of finishing this one off himself. His nerves tensed at the very thought.

He opened the door, and walked outside, without even blinking at the sudden brightness. He was a tall man and well built. He was handsome, no doubt. But there was something curious about his good looks which the men could not quite put their finger on. His hair was raven coloured and coarse, and the skin of his palms was callused. But the most remarkable thing about him yet were his eyes. They were dark, intense, the eyes of a killer. He could reduce his men to jelly with just a look: the look a tiger gives when it is about to pounce on its prey.

He strode down the corridor without even sparing a glance for the men hurrying to keep up with him. he sensed that they were almost tripping over their own feet in their haste to comply. His eyes grew hungry and suddenly he could wait no longer. His companions sensed the shift in his mood, the dangerous energy he was radiating. They glanced at each other nervously.

A tired sun hung above the horizon, just about to set. It was the perfect evening for a murder.


If he doesn't get here soon, I'm leaving, she thought angrily, as she sat at a table looking out into the street. It was getting chilly and the seat opposite her was still empty. I look like a fool, she thought viciously, tapping her nails impatiently on the table; they were fire engine-red, with all the bells and whistles. she had already memorised the whole menu, including the 'Today's Special' and he still hadn't made an appearance. She glanced at the clock. It was pointing at six.

"Preposterous," she muttered to herself. She let out an irritated sigh and leaned back in her chair, her heels clacking the floor at regular intervals.

The cashier glanced at her curiously. After all, she had been sitting alone for the past hour. Not that it was a bad place to be sitting in. It smelled like vanilla and caramel. The walls were coffee coloured and the wall around the counter was a soft pink. Bright lamps cast a warm glow around the room and made her hair gleam like polished mahogany. Her eyes were large and clear. There were cheerful paintings hanging on the walls. And yet they had not affected her mood. She looked grumpier with each passing minute.

There was a tinkle as the door opened and a man entered, bringing in with him a blast of cold air. He was quite tall and wore a black jacket. There was a scar running down the side of his face; it intrigued her. He sat down in the booth adjacent from her and opened up his menu. She sighed and looked away. The street was throbbing with people, as they hurried home with their shopping.

Maybe he isn't coming after all, she thought. She could feel the man over there looking at her. She could feel the heat of his gaze. She turned and glared right back, trying to outstare him. But apparently he was not to be intimidated and held her gaze boldly.

Annoyed, she got up and prepared to leave. It was no use waiting any longer. She scooped her bag up and headed for the door. As she was leaving, she cast a glance back at the man. He had put his menu down and was staring at her without any reservations. She felt a thrill, and the shock of recognition.

But she made no attempt to go up to him, and it appeared as if he had not recognized her yet. She shook her hair back and flounced out. I can't believe it! she thought excitedly and an involuntary giggle escaped her lips as long forgotten childhood laughter sounded in her ears.


Inside, the man sat in the booth, content. His men should have prepared everything by now.

Now I have glimpsed her, he thought. Let the game begin.


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