‘What has the world come to?’ he wondered as he sipped his latte and waited for her. He peeped through the paper once more just to make sure he doesn’t miss her. ‘I can’t decide whether it is the sensational press or people have truly turned diabolical’ he sighed. There was not a single article devoid of gore. Even page 3 was riddled with stories of hate and conspiracies.
‘Ah, there she is now. It was not usual of her to come this late.’ She was evidently upset. Maybe it was the missing waitress, someone he knew she was very close to. ‘Let me give her some space’ he thought as he went back to reading the paper. He was not interested in reading the crap on the first morning of a beautiful March. Then again, he had nothing much to do while waiting for her to get into a better mood.
She lay there in his arms. She would be easy pickings for a womanizer of his caliber. The month of tryst to get her did not justify his repute. Now he felt that he had finally fallen for her. The time he spent pursuing her made him realize that this love was much beyond the lust he had been lavishing in all these years. He never pursued women for sexual fancies, but he had made a habit of achieving it with every woman that caught his fancy. This girl was different. She had opened his heart to possibilities beyond the act.
He met her on the campus. She worked at the cafeteria for some pocket change. He already knew her as the brain behind the ‘low frequency bandwidth efficient video streaming system’ which created a buzz on the campus. Even as a student research assistant, it was her encoding technique that provided the security and bandwidth efficiency to the system that the professors were taking credit for. She was not the Greek goddess that one would fall in love with easily. Her charms were restricted to her occasional smile and glee in her eye. Her vulnerability made her an easy target for predators like him. Besides, she was the ‘Helen of Troy’ for him, considering his desire for the intelligent woman.
“So, Can I take you out for coffee sometime?” he asked. His charm would have worked on any lady.
“Sorry, but I’ve got all the coffee I need in here” she smiled as she retracted to her workstation.
“How about dinner then? Everyone has to eat sometime.” He had a plan; a process to woo women.
“No, I can’t. I’m too busy to go out on dates right now.”
She was not the easiest prey after all. He smiled as he moved her mop of hair over her face. She had blue eyes, deep as oceans. They were always concealed behind thick spectacles. Always, except for now. Maybe it was her eyes that he fell for, or was it something else?
She had dismissed his every advance with a polite ‘no’. He would not let her rigid stance dishearten him. He would have to try again. She definitely had a weakness he could exploit. It was Valentine’s Day. He could not go wrong today. The fine folk at the ‘Hogwarts for Geeks’ had decided to celebrate it in the only way they knew how. Gaming contests, spiked punch, a foreign language movie and a lot of tech talk. She sat at the console playing battleships. He concluded that she was a veteran at this after looking at her play a few rounds. The guy in the console in front of her gave up and vacated. He had his shot now.
“How about a wager? I win, I take you out for dinner. You win, and you’ll not see me again.”
“Sounds good to me. I’ll miss your annoying presence for sure.” Her sardonic response was an icing on the personality he had come to adore and admire.
“ B5, Submarine DESTROYED. Player 2 wins” the system boomed. Lady luck had been on his side. Or had she lost on purpose? He wouldn’t care. He finally had a date tonight and nothing else mattered.
It was 15 days since. On the final day of February in a leap year, he had her lying in his arms. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. He had changed. She had changed him. He would never want to let go of her. As she came to, there was a sudden panic in her face. He could see a fear akin to that of a guilty child in her eyes. She hurried and dressed up muttering indiscreet expletives at herself.
“Hey! What happened?”
“No. This is not right. I’ll be expelled. I don’t want to get caught.”
“My lover. The dean. I will be expelled. This should have never happened.”
“The dean?” How could he not have known that? He had never been this careless.
“Yes, the Dean. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. This is a mistake.” She was ready to leave.
He was dazed by the sudden turn of events. He knew his deviance from a higher cause had led him to this misery. The love of a woman had blinded him and he had to save the situation before he was too late.
“Wait.” He said. As she turned around, she was greeted with a slash to her throat with a military knife. He was preparing the chain saw as he watched her lie in a pool of blood. She choked on her own blood and he had to act fast. He used the chain saw to rip the skull apart at her temple. He had to watch the pain in her face. It would not let him forgive her for breaking his heart. It would not let him forget his mistakes and repeat the same. He went through the motions without as much as an emotion in his face.
He plucked the brain out and moved it to the petri-dish. He opened the door to the alter chamber where the brains of his past victims were stored. The cryogenics cost him a fortune. But research demanded such sacrifices. And more.
“THE CHAINSAW MASOCHIST STRIKES AGAIN- Serial Killer on the prowl after a month’s hiding” he read the headlines again. He was not a serial killer. He was not a psychopath. He was obsessed perhaps. He was the Scientist that would help decipher the human mind. He was the person who would find the cause of genius and replicate it in every other person.
He glanced through the paper again at the Dean. She may not be a genius. But her brain was a must for his collection now.