Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀
Hope you beautiful lot are doing good!
Few things need to be taken note of in this post as you read. I’ve tried to make them evident, but my ‘editor’ always says that I know the story in my head, whereas you’ll readers don’t, so some things may not be so obvious to you’ll as it would be to me. Thereforrre, I’m just going to mention them here.
Firstly, take note of the times (!!!).
Secondly, Mee’z personality; in his anger there’s no swearing, the strong emotions he feels which don’t poke his ego, and the way he behaves with his mother.
And lastly, take careful note of the message in italics.
Now don’t go and look too deep into the post or anything, but maybe it would be a better idea to read this post in bed, and not between sending your kids to madrassah! 😉
Right, you’ll can go read now. Sorry for the rambles. *hide*
Troubled Illusioner. ❤
P.S. Please don’t call that number. It probably does exist and it might belong to a scary old man.
A peek into the past – Rameez:
“Yes, I’m here at Zee’s and I’m fine. Why?” I ask, frowning.
“What do you mean dad’s not home??” I ask, frowning deeper.
“I don’t know where he is, Rameez, but he’s in trouble” my mother’s shaky voice comes through my phone. “He’s not answering either of his phones, and my messages aren’t reaching him. And -”
“Did you phone the hospital to ask if he’s there maybe?” I ask, cutting her off and getting up, an inkling of fear seeping into me.
“There’s a message on my phone,” she says, ignoring my question. “It says… It says..”
I hear her choke back a sob.
“I’m on my way. Stay safe, ma.”
“What’s up?” asks Zee, looking up at me.
“I don’t know. Mum can’t get hold of dad and she’s panicking. I got to go,” I say.
Zee gets up and stretches slightly.
“Do you want me to come with?” he asks.
“No, I’m good,” I say, jumping onto my bike. “Thanks.”
“Call if you need anything,” he shouts after me as I pedal off.
“Mummy, what’s going on?” I ask desperately, walking into the kitchen to see my mother sitting rigid, her face white.
She passes me her phone, wordlessly.
I read the opened chat, briefly at first, but then slowly, stalling on each word, I read it over and over again.
A horrible feeling of cold dread crawls into me..
Slowly, it rises, tightening my throat, making it difficult to breathe..
My body freezes as shock and disbelief settles into the pit of my stomach..
I sit down, feeling as if I may pass out.
Turning to look at my mother, I put the phone down, my mouth opening to ask for an explanation. But no sound comes out.
I pick up the phone again, read the messages again, hoping desperately that I hadn’t read correctly the first time.
But alas, it reads as it did before, shamelessly the bearer of unfortunate news.
I get up quickly, the chair falling behind me, making a loud clang as it hits the tiles.
Tapping the phone screen I read mummy’s chat with Susan, dad’s private office secretary, one more time.
MUM: Hi Susan. Hope you well. Is Ismaeel at the office? (21:00)
SUSAN: Hello Aadila. I’m fine thnx. No, he only came in this morning. I left at 3 today, because he said he wouldn’t be returning and I’d completed my work for the day. (21:17)
MUM: Did you hear from him after that? He’s still not home.. (21:17)
SUSAN: He called me at around half five to discuss a patient’s scan, but since then, no. (21:17)
SUSAN: Is he not perhaps still at the hospital? (21:18)
MUM: I called there, they said he left at 6 as he usually does… (21:18)
SUSAN: And you called him on both numbers? (21:18)
MUM: Yes… Both are going to voicemail… Messages not going through either… (21:18)
SUSAN: Sounds strange.. I’ll pop around the office and update you (21:18)
MUM: Thanks so much Susan (21:18)
SUSAN: Aadila, boss’ charity event is this Sunday, right? (21:43)
MUM: Yes, why? (21:45)
“Mummy, what did Aunty S say on the phone?” I ask, seeing that she WhatsApp called at 21:45 after mummy’s last message.
“Mummy!” I repeat, a little louder.
“Dad was supposed to withdraw quite a lot of cash today, to spend on his charity event this weekend,” she says quietly.
I open the image Aunty Susan sent after the call.
It’s a screenshot of a SMS she received at 21: 59 pm.
SUSAN: Just rcvd this now.. (21:59)
Attempted hijacking on Fourth Street. White Range Rover with registration PTD 67 CL. Time: 18:23 Witness is unsure if attempt was successful. No sign of victim exiting vehicle. Any relative of possible victim can call witness on 084 576 8498 for further information.
I wipe my clammy palms on my jeans, and quickly join the dots inside my head.
Dad probably left the hospital at 6, and went straight to the bank, because Aunty S said there was no sign of him being back at the office. These people probably knew that dad was withdrawing a big sum and had everything planned out carefully. They made the move on Fourth Street because that’s not a residential road, nor a business road. The church is on that street, with a library, and a spice store that closes in the afternoon. There wouldn’t be many people, perhaps even none, nor would there be any high-tech CCTV cameras to get in their way.
Suddenly I feel angry. Who do these people think they are?! How dare they do this?!
Furiously I punch in the number provided in the message.
It rings for a long time, and just as I’m about to cut the connection in frustration, a voice answers.
I freeze, my mouth going dry as desert sand.
“I thought you’d never call.”
A shiver runs down my spine. The voice is cold, so cold… As cold as drifting snow, and more empty than a rotten corpse.
“Speak so that I know it’s you!” commands the voice.
But words refuse to leave me. They remain cemented at the tip of my tongue, a million questions racing through my head at the speed of light.
An audible click sounds, and then the line goes dead.
Shaking with an unfamiliar emotion of punishing fear, I collapse onto the floor.