“What has the world come to?”, he wondered as he sipped his latte and waited for her. He took a peep through the paper again, just to make sure that he doesn’t miss her. “I can’t decide whether it is the sensational press or the world has turned diabolical” he sighed. There was not an article devoid of gore. Even page three was riddled with stories of hate and conspiracies.
“Ah, there she is now.” It was unusual of her to be that late. She was evidently upset. “Ah, she must have heard about the waitress!” he assumed, recalling the recent tragedy someone she was close to had succumbed. “Let me give her some space”, he thought as he dug into reading the rest of the paper. The crap did not really interest him on the first morning of a beautiful spring. But then again, he had nothing much to do for that moment; he had to wait.
He met her on the campus. She worked at the cafeteria for some pocket change. He already knew her as the brain behind the new electronic buzz on the campus. The student research assistant literally drove the project that her advisers were taking credit for. There were already talks of international acclaim and patents. However, 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 most ladies.
“Sorry, but I’ve got all the coffee I need in here” she smiled as she retracted to her workstation.
“How about dinner then? You got to eat sometime.” He had a plan; a process, evolved over years of practice, to woo women. It never failed.
“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 try again, and again; failure was not known to him. 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. Gaming contests, some spiked punch, a foreign language feature, and a lot of tech talk. She sat at the console playing battleships. She was good at it. He did not have to watch her play to know that. But he did anyway. The guy in the console in front of her gave up and vacated. He had his shot now.
“So here is a wager? If I win, I’ll take you out for dinner. You win, and you’ll not see me again.”
“That’s win-win for 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 couldn’t tell; he wouldn’t care to know. He finally had a date tonight and everything else mattered little.
It was a month since. On the last day of winter, he had her lying in his arms. His eyes refused to blink while they gazed into hers. 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 found a guilty child lying on his lap with fear 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.”
“The dean. I will be expelled. This should have never happened.”
“The dean?” He was amused. What does the dean have to do with her love life!
“We are lovers. That’s the only way I could get the funding.”, she was ashamed, but she wouldn’t show it. She used all the bows in her quiver to pursue her research, her career. He was no stranger to that. He was astonished how he had not found this in his research. He had never been so careless.
“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 on his face.
He plucked the brain out and moved it to the petridish. 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 two month hiatus” 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 genius and replicate it in every human.
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.