The Cobra Woman and Her Visitor (Short story)

By Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe


She sat before him on the cement corner bench, took her legs up and asked in a challenging tone.

The man remained silent for a moment. He thought that her feet were disproportionately longer. But she was a tall woman, he argued to himself. He liked small women with small feet like of Japanese women. In old stories he has heard that they bind the feet since tender ages to get that effect. She had applied dark coloured cutex on toe nails. He was in doubt whether it was brown or maroon.

She lifted her feet to his face and asked, "You want to suck it, fetish?"

He smiled. He was not foot fetish. Neither her feet were sexy to him. She lit a cigarette. "Want one?"

He silently took one from her pack. She had big hands, long fingers and trimmed nails with cutex of same colour.

She threw a gold colour lighter to him.

She looked drunk a bit. They say she drinks hard. A sign of sorrow or distress hid in her eyes. Nonetheless she was not so cheerful.

They smoked silently. She tried to blow better smoke bangles. Finally he spoke. He was an ordinary man of her apparent age, late twenties or early thirties. Good looking, shabbily dressed but sharp odored man. Shaved face and hair trimmed to quarter centimeter. She liked that aroma though one might say he stank.

"I want to talk about cobra."

"Are you media man?'

He shook head and puffed smoke out. "A lover FOR snakes, I mean, for she-snakes."

He didn't know if there was any feminine word for snakes. He didn't recognize female pythons from any physical feature. It was sheer mental something.

"Cobras?" She asked with a sign of enthusiasm hidden in carelessness.


"I've not met them."

"Bitches. So cruel." He said shrugging. "Tell me about cobra."

"It's bygone." She replied showing no interest looking at the lawn before the empty clubhouse. Afternoon sunlight reflected on the grass leaves richly soaked in the morning watering. White parapet wall, the sandy footpath, white tiled spacey veranda, the big armchairs, huge clay pottery, all looked sleepy as same as the drunk girl on a bench at the corner. No leaf moved in wind. She might have bathed after a late wake up and her lose hair was still a little wet.

"Few can understand." She said.

"Same with me." Said the man. "But I am bad too. I kill them. I have killed a dozen now."

"Why?" She asked.

"They come in the night, into houses, into rooms in search of love. They cry. They plead. They sob. Finally, they hate and revenge. I kill before they bite."

"Mine is different." The woman said.

"You love them?"

"Perhaps, yes. But I am not sure. It's different. Different from human stuff, human thinking."

The man had read reports about her love with a cobra. She was arrested by police with the cobra and later they released her alone.

"I was drunk. I laid in the sofa over there. He was with me." HE meant the cobra.

"He was afraid of people. He didn't like this. I wanted to take him back to my village. He liked to be in the anthill and come to my room in the night. But I stayed there on and off, perhaps once a fortninght. He weeps crawling near my bedroom window. I was afraid somebody might kill him. He was so naive."

"Doesn't he hate?"

"Hate, perhaps, you know, it is different. No human stuff."

"Yes, that's true. That's the word. No human stuff," the man looked elated like an inventor, here an inventor of a word for a strange idea or a concept." They bit me twice. Fully in love. My kidney failed. I was on machines."

"It's terrible. But I like pain. I like if someone kills me brutally, savage-like."

"Did he bite you?"

"Once. He was smaller then. Less venomous, perhaps. It made me sleep, sleep, sleep. They thought I was too drunk."

She was caught by police in the nightclub as she was lying on a sofa drunk and tired after a 'cobra dance', a phrase used by the club manager to introduce it.

"He didn't like this dancing stuff. He was about to bite me in rage. We rested and compromised in sleep"

She lit another cigarette. Gave one to the man. They lit them with the golden lighter and smoked.

"Last one that loved me was a real bitch," the man said. "She nearly charmed me to sex with her. She was coiling round my leg when I felt like killing her. I was shivering. I detached her impatiently and threw her in abhorrence. She couldn't believe it."

"Then?" she asked.

"She thought it was game. She sprang back smiling and spitting venom like a loyal dog peeing when fondled by the master. She whiffed like an angry cat."

"My god!" She was now fully engaged in the narration like a character of it.

"I caught hold of the club with trembling hands. It almost slipped out of my hand due to sweat of panic. I pounded her. Missed head and hit the neck. Flesh coughed out of the torn skin. You know, she was so beautiful, shiny like a fresh apple in her prime youth. Perhaps virgin."

"Did she like it?"

"May be, but I'm not sure. You know, we humans can't understand everything."

She nodded.

"She wriggled in pain, dying, yet trying to approach me. Love, hatred, pain and death. I pounded on her again and again. The club sank in but also bounced like a ball on a wet pitch. I don't know if she moved but I repeatedly missed the head. Soon she was a heap of half-ground flesh stuck through a rod, but still alive in head, looking at me in love. I saw tears in her eye. Do snakes have tear?"

"I don't know. I think they have no blood. Nevertheless, I like such death. Pounded to a gunny bag of flesh or chopped like onion. Slowly, slowly to the last breath, you know, in the sluggishness of pain," the woman said, they called her Cobra Woman.

"Yes pain is like alcoholic drowsiness," he said adding "I felt it when the second she-python bit me. Can you give me another cigarette?"

They lit.They smoked.

"What are you?" she asked.

"Nothing special. Odd stuff."

"Human stuff!" She smiled for the first time. They both laughed.

"Carry on," she said.


"The story."

"It's almost ended. OK, but she understood the betrayal before she died."

"How do you know?"

"I know. All the rest too died like that. You know, it's not human stuff."

She nodded approvingly.

The cobra was disowned to her. They say they handed it to zoo. She went there but he was not there. She could scent him if he was there.

They say she has a cobra tattoo on a secret part of her body.

2012 - 09 - 03


  1. Goats are being sacrificed to Kaali
    King is away with his sons by side
    Yet, venomous cobras are everywhere
    You are the only one who doesn’t bite me!

  2. I waited in a queue
    For a long time
    To get a chance
    To warship sacred relics
    For a better life next time
    Then this story came
    In the front page of new bulletin
    I am happy to know
    That at least you
    Have a friend that does not bite you!

  3. "In the front page of news bulletin"

  4. Excellent writeup with nice language. Good Para.


මාතෘකාවට අදාළ නැති හා වෛරී අදහස් ඉවත් කිරීමට ඉඩ ඇති බව කරුණාවෙන් සලකන්න.