Yellow Mama Archives II

Arnaav Bellani

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

You and Me


By Arnaav Bellani


I looked into the dark eyes.

They were whirlpools of pure blackness. As if the entire darkness of the universe, which stems out of the whitest of lights, had been compressed into tiny spheres. You could get lost within the darkness. It seemed to call out to your soul, giving you promises, luring you in, and then springing a surprise that would suck out the light from your life. They were the eyes which had not just seen suffering but revelled in it. They were the eyes of a murderer.

We should start at the beginning. Agatha Christie once said that a mother’s love mercilessly destroyed everything that dared to stand in its path. She said that and I felt it. I believed it. A mother’s love was like the flitting whisper of a tree, like an earthy lisper of wind, like a crisper version of fall. It was so selfless that you almost couldn’t enjoy it for fear that you didn’t deserve it. And perhaps I didn’t. But I enjoyed it, nonetheless.

My mother was the most beautiful creature on the planet. She played ball with me. She…told me not to do it. Begged. Pleaded. Cried. Held me in my arms and refused to let go. And I should have listened. Isn’t that what they all say? Listen to your mother or you will regret it later. The waves of regret drowned me every day. Each lilting, frothy sound told me not to do it, but I did it anyway.

I killed my mother.


In Macbeth, Shakespeare referred to a guilty mind as filled with scorpions. I believe that too. I can feel the scorpions of my deeds crawling over my brain, showing me the image of my dead mother with that damned bullet hole, and stinging me with their deadly pincers. Oh, the pain, the blood, the scent….

The scent of my mother’s decaying body is the most horrid. I can’t get it out of mind even though I know its imaginary. Even though I know that it is my tiresome mind playing gruesome tricks. Even though, somewhere in my mind, I knew that it wasn’t me who was responsible for the bullet hole. It was the person in front of me. He of the damned eyes from Hell.

I am a journalist. As with most people, my life had changed from being a junior journalist on a crappy channel to hosting my very own debate show on prime-time television. But one thing had remained constant. My obsession with Juan Ramirez, the most notorious gangster in America. It was said that not a single gun was sold in New York without one of his informants knowing. If you happened to be his enemy, and brought a gun, he would ensure that you never got to use it. Ever.

I am not certain if obsession is strong enough a word. I lived and breathed this person. I challenged him on national television, tore him apart on television, and pleaded with him for an interview. One interview, where I would tear apart the ratings like he tore apart humans. It would be the pinnacle of journalism. A macabre spectacle for the world to see. And it would see me get that Pulitzer Prize, oh yes. I would be famous. And I would get the answer to a question that often eludes us. What makes a criminal?

The world made me a messiah. They called me the face of journalism. They bellowed as I hollered at the camera. They saluted my bravery. They slobbered at my feet. Together we dared Juan to respond. He had to respond. Criminals worked on vanity. More than the crime, it was the power that intoxicated them. How could Juan not respond?

Juan responded by having my mother shot.




“W-What makes a killer, J-Juan?” I couldn’t recognize my own voice. The eyes. Those dark orbs seemed to be reaching out inside of me and raking away bits of my soul. My hand trembled as I held the tape recorder, aware that I was making a fool of myself in front of all the people watching this live debacle. I cleared my throat, mostly to calm the vicious medley of murderous rage and fear engulfing me.

“Circumstance with a touch of romance”, Juan said chuckling. He was lounging on the chair facing me. Without a care in the world. Mirroring me and my every move. There was a reason behind this. Oh, there was a reason behind everything this vile person did. “For me… no”, he suddenly sat up, and subconsciously, I did too. “No…no. Not like this.”

I don’t know how it happened, but I was suddenly holding a revolver. An ugly piece of metal that bore the obnoxious arrogance of one who was accustomed to playing God.

“You would do anything for the ratings,” Juan said, giggling pathetically. He looked positively demented. “So, let’s play. Bet your viewers, who were clamouring for this interview, would love that.”

“Play what?” My mouth had gone dry.

“A cute little game,” Juan smiled. “Russian roulette.” He waved an identical gun mockingly at me. “After every question, we will take a shot at ourselves.”

“That w-won’t be necessary.”

“Oh, but it would be,” Juan cooed. “You slobbered at my feet for this interview. Now, we do things my way, or your dear audience will see you for the nasty coward you are.”

“At least, I am not a killer,” I said. But I didn’t feel an ounce of that bravado.

“We will see about that,” Juan said. “You will play, or I will shoot you. That would do a number on the ratings.”

“You can’t do that.” Even as I said it, I knew it was crazy. Since the past ten years, the police had not been able to catch this guy. I was sitting in an unknown location. Of course, he could shoot me. I would be as dead as my rotting mother.

Juan smiled, pointing the gun menacingly. He was aware of what I was thinking. He leaned forward, and I found myself mimicking him. “God decides who becomes a criminal. So, why don’t we let him decide which one of us nasty criminals gets to live?”

“I am not a criminal.” I watched as his finger flirted with the trigger and closed my eyes, groaning in fear, and gripping the gun through sweating fingers.

“That’s right.” Juan laughed eerily again. He brought his gun and placed it on his head.

I watched not just him but also myself in horror. It was as if my soul had abandoned ship and was now watching me raise the forsaken piece of metal to my head.


“Nice,” Juan chuckled. “Now we can move on to your first question in peace. A killer is made by circumstance. We are all killers. Some of us are just lucky enough to be given the catalyst of circumstance.”

I was still breathing heavily, unsure of what had happened. Sweat coated my forehead, and my heart rammed its head on my rib cage. “Lucky,” I managed to say.

“Indeed. Nature works on killing. From the lurking lion to the stalking snake, they all embrace their true nature. Why is it wrong when a human does the same? Killers embrace the instinct granted to them by God himself. Killing,” he giggled pathetically, “is sacred. And the biggest irony of it all is how people call us madmen. We, madmen, are the sanest of them all.”

“Disgusting. Not all of us are killers.”

“Ah, but you are.”

My breath hitched. “I am not.”

“You are a mass murderer. I kill mortal bodies, while you kill spirits. You don’t think your media trials, based on no evidence, is murder?”

I ignored the nonsensical critique. “Not a gun is sold in New York without you knowing. You have allegedly committed close to a hundred murders. How does such darkness reside within a human?”

“You are forgetting something.”

It was easier this time. And that was scarier. Knowing you would die someday is horrid, but making peace with the fact that might happen in the next few minutes is truly vile. And it was easier for Juan, no doubt. It was obvious that his gun was empty. He would take great pleasure in making me shoot myself on camera.


“Darkness exists because it finds a shelter in human beings. And what is darkness? It emerges from the light, and what you call darkness, I call light.”

“Killing people is your light?”

“Embracing myself is my light. Killing my mother, who wouldn’t let me drop out of school to become an actor, is light. Killing those who wanted me to fit in is light. Killing…is light.”

“You killed your own mother!” I exclaimed horrified.

“You see, we are the same,” Juan was sitting exactly like me. That was how he messed with people’s minds. And he had begun once again. “You and me. There is no difference.”

“There is a world of difference,” I cried.

“There is no one who is white in this world. There is a killer inside everyone. What matters is if you are brave enough to embrace it. I did. And so did you.”

“NO,” I screamed, finally having enough. “I DID NOT KILL MY MOTHER. YOU DID.” Tears burst out of my eyelids. “I can still see her b-body. Still smell it decaying. You shot her.”

“It’s okay,” Juan whispered soothingly. “True courage does not involve throwing accusations on television against defenceless people. It lies in embracing yourself. You shot your mother.”

“Why?” I asked tiredly. My head hurt. I wished the gun had discharged. “Why would I do that?”

“Not a gun is sold in New York without me knowing,” Juan said, giggling again. “You said that. You knew that. You brought a gun because you thought I would notice. Your mom tried to stop you. So, you killed her because you knew then I would absolutely notice. All for a measly interview.”

“You are mad. What do you see when you look into a mirror?” This time I didn’t hesitate. I wished for it to fire. Wished for the tender arms of death.


“Do you look into the mirror?” Juan asked.


“What do you see?”

“It speaks,” I whispered weakly. “The mirror speaks. It shows me my dreams.”

“Exactly. The mirror shows us not just as we are but as we would want to be. It speaks. It shows. Sometimes our dreams and sometimes our nightmares.” He leaned forwards. “Don’t worry. It gets easier.”

“What does?”

“The first murder is the toughest. After that, it’s just a joyful ride.”

“Mum had bipolar and schizophrenia. On top of multiple illnesses. If killing her served me, it’s what she would have wanted.”

Juan laughed the loudest he had till then. He choked on his own saliva and coughed, his body curling up despicably on the sofa.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I shot him. He was right. It did get easier the second time.



My phone rang.

“Yes,” I said picking up.

“You wanted to know what makes a killer,” a voice said. “I am ready to give that interview.”

“You don’t need to,” I whispered. I looked at the shards of broken glass, and the bullet hole inside the mirror. “I know.”

The smell. It was suffocating me. I would have to open the damned windows. But before that, there was still one last round of Russian roulette to be played.



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Arnaav Bellani is a third-year engineering student at the University of Toronto, with a keen interest in writing short stories, poems and novels. His stories have been published in 101 Words magazine and Corner Bar Magazine.

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