A haze of grey mist circled the houses, the shattered window panes, the broken pavements. It was almost as if smoke could still be seen rising from the embers of the fire that had set everything in a dance of cries and burns earlier in the day. I walked along the ill lit road, softly smiling to myself.

A long time ago, longer than I now care to remember, when man had first entered the valley of Sugardale, I was the one who welcomed him. I made the sun shine brighter on his fields, I brought the rain in time every year and I made sure that the volcano did not wreck havoc on the picket fences that he built, and all the while he prospered under the illusion that he was the one creating all that he sowed.

I was the one who made the land sprout an endless supply of sugarcane, giving Sugardale its sweet, sweet name.

Yes. I created this town, and it was a beautiful town. But it wasn’t complete till the arrival of Mrs. Durley. She arrived here a few years after Sugardale attained its sugary glory. She was distraught with grief over the sudden demise of her husband and two sons in an untimely accident. She spent all of her savings and bought a small home at the edge of a small sugar field that she bought. Her plan was simple- to mourn the loss of her domestic life and live and breathe her last feeling one with the almighty. I liked her plan. But I hated how sad she was. Each day, her grief made me hate myself and love her more. Though I wasn’t there and was far too young to have done anything about her children, I would fight with father over Mrs. Durley’s fate.

‘But Papa, she is the most kind-hearted soul I have ever seen. Always feeding the monkeys and the dogs. She even nursed a sick eagle back to health. Why did her sons die? Why wouldn’t anything happen to Mrs. Blington’s wretched children?!’

My father gave a hearty laugh.

‘Son, I am merely a clerk and have a rather mechanical job.. I can’t fight with fate. Ask god why he killed the poor Durleys. I couldn’t even intervene with your fate when God decided to kill you.’

Well, if I could not bring back the dead, I could certainly change some things for the living. In the next year, Mrs. Durley’s plot of land produced the best sugar in the entire district. Each year, the Durley sugar began feeding more and more of the market demand. The uncaring woman did not even know when she turned into a powerplayer from grieving widow. Sugardale was the undisputed haven of Sugar in all of the lands and Mrs. Durley was its undisputed baron.

And then something happened that often happens to rich powerful women. Mrs. Durley’s undisputed influence was challenged by the demonic Mr Weaver. With avarice in his eyes and Satan in his heart, he convinced the superstitious people of Sugardale that Mrs. Durley was a witch.

I stood there, with tears burning my eyes, as Mrs Durley was burnt alive at the stake, her screams stabbing my already bleeding ears.

I could not s save her from the flames. But I could plunge everyone else in the fire. As Mrs. Durley breathed her last, the volcano that Sugardale stood next to erupted, and its fury destroyed everything- the sugar, the roads, the moronic witch hunters, and Weaver.

Now, a haze had settled over the town. I stared at the rampage, at Weaver’s burning corpse, and smiled. I felt icy fingers encircle my wrist.

I could feel Mrs Durley smiling next to me. Together, she and I will rebuild this town.

For I am death and she is my eternal mistress.

About The Author

Raghav Chopra

Work in progress. Between the luminosity of lost dreams and the nebula of nightmares

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