As narrated by Meez:
Find a busy place! Need to find a busy place!
My feet pound on the asphalt, my breath coming short and fast. Fear keeps me going.
I take a left and finally find myself on a busy street.
Glancing up and down, I see a ladies clothing boutique and make a mad dash for it.
Shoving the door open, I barge in and lean against the door, trying to catch my breath.
“Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing?” asks a stern voice.
I lift my gaze and find myself looking at a middle aged woman. Her hair is pulled into a tight bun and crimson lipstick is smeared on her lips.
“I.. I.. my.. urm..”
I whip my head around.
“What are you doing here? This is a female store, dude.”
I look at her urgently, trying to give her a message with my eyes.
The lady with the lipstick looks back and forth between Dee and I.
“I’m really sorry, Ma’am. My brother suffers from terrible anxiety. I can’t go out without him worrying that I won’t come back,” Dee says to the lady, looking sympathetically at me.
What the hell?!
“Oh, I.. I’m sorry,” replies the lady, uncomfortably.
“That’s okay. You didn’t know,” says Dee, giving her a small smile.
She grabs my arm and we go outside.
“What the bananas was that?” I ask, grinning.
“I can ask you the same thing!” Dee answers, slightly annoyed.
She looks across the road, scanning the area nervously.
“Dee? What’s going on?” I ask again, my grin fading.
“Listen to me,” she starts, a hint of urgency in her voice. “Your dad is two streets away. Go to him and stay there. I’ll explain later. Tell him I’m cutting the time limit to 15 minutes; he’ll know what I mean.”
I stare at her, trying to register her quick spoken commands.
She did not just speak to me like I’m a frikken 2 year old!
“Meez! Go!!” she almost yells, pushing me slightly.
“But.. I don’t.. understand,” I say uncertainly.
Wtf is going on?!
Her jaw clenches… She takes a deep breath… And this time when she speaks, her voice is calm, slow, and as sharp as a blade. Her gaze pierces mine.
I turn on my heels and hurry off.
As narrated by Amz:
For a moment, I forget how to breath.
My throat goes dry.
A huge, tight knot forms in the pit of my stomach.
The lights are suddenly too bright and my lunch threatens to rise up.
My eyes, wide with fear, are glued to Ali’s jacket.
He has a gun. Oh my God.. He has a gun.
His words ring in my ears, and I have a strong urge to use the toilet, despite having went just before I came.
“Good day. Can I take your order?”
I snap out of my daze.
Looking up, I see a young waitress standing to the side of the table, pen and notepad in hand.
“Just a glass of water, thanks,” says Ali, dismissing her.
He returns his gaze back to me.
“Now, where were we?” he asks, flashing me a smile.
“You were telling me our meeting is over,” I say sweetly, getting up.
I don’t know where the confidence comes from, and it startles him too.. but only momentarily.
He grabs my wrist.
He won’t shoot you, calm down. You know this man. He isn’t a killer.
“I don’t think you heard me quite well, love,” he says coldly.
“Don’t call me love,” I say, narrowing my eyes at him whilst trying to free my wrist.
“Do you perhaps prefer -”
“I prefer Amaani, thanks for asking,” I snap, cutting him off. “And let go off my hand.”
He smirks, amused.
“Sit down, Amaani,” he says slowly, letting go of my hand.
“What do you want?” I ask for the third time.
“We’ll move on when you carry out the first instruction.”
‘Listen to him, Amaani. You don’t have much of a choice,’ says the voice inside my head.
I place my phone on the table in front of him.
“That’s better,” he murmurs.
The waitress appears.
“Anything else? We serve the best mochaccino,” she says, placing the glass on the table.
I cough, trying to get her attention.
“No,” answers Ali.
She turns to walk away, but Ali stops her.
“Actually, yes. I’d like you to please not return, nor send anyone to this table.”
I try again to get her attention with my eyes, but she scurries off.
“Who the hell are you to speak to her like that? Her boss?” I ask in disbelief.
He ignores my question, placing the glass of water in front of me.
“Now that we’re alone,” he begins. “Let me explain to you why you’re here.”
He won’t shoot you. Just stop thinking about the gun. He can’t use it here. There’s too many witnesses.
“It’s about time,” I mutter. “Go ahead, once upon a time…”
His eyes narrow dangerously.
Shut up! You’re being stupid.
“Sorry,” I say apologetically. “Is it ‘Long, long ago’?”
Now he’s going to shoot you. You’re asking for it. The gun is probably silenced. He’ll fire and make a run for it.
I don’t know why I’m provoking him, nor do I know where I’m getting the courage to provoke him from, but I like the effect it’s having.
He thinks I’m unafraid. It’s also making him angry. People make mistakes when they’re angry.
“I don’t appreciate your snarky comments, kid. I’d advise you to shut your mouth and listen without interrupting.”
I fight back the urge to pass a comment.
Nodding silently, I press my lips together.
“Good girl,” he murmurs, touching my cheek.
Ignore it, ignore it, ignore it.
I don’t move.
“Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?”
My phone vibrates and the screen lights up. Meez is calling.
Ali slides his finger across the screen, rejecting the call.
Before the screen goes off again, I glance at the time.
The fear I’ve managed to keep at bay rises, threatening to take hold of me again.
It’s only being six minutes!
How on Earth am I going to survive another 14 minutes?!