As narrated by Dee:
I slip my feet into a pair of sneakers and pull on a hoodie over my T-shirt.
It has a familiar scent, a fresh fusion of the sea and a rain-forest.
Only one person I know smells like that.
I smile, inhaling deeply.
Tugging my beanie lower, I pick up my phone and head out.
The sun is setting, and a slight chill is in the air.
Scanning my surroundings, I cross at a robot and make my way down a busy street, hands tucked into my pockets.
I don’t know where I’m headed, but I walk as if I do, past cyclists, dogs on leashes and crowds of people.
Birds are chirping as the sun sinks lower and the sky slowly loses its light.
A coffee shop catches my attention and I make my way inside, purchase a steaming cup of hot coffee before making my way out again.
As I close the glass door behind me, I catch a fleeting glimpse of someone watching me.
I pause for a moment to look around, but I see no one familiar so I carry on walking.
My legs don’t seem to tire, walking on and on at their own will, turning in any direction, no destination in mind.
It’s getting darker now and the chill in the air has increased. It occurs to me that I should head home.
But first, I want to drink my coffee.
I sit down on the side-walk and lift the cup to my lips.
The hot liquid slides down my throat, warming my insides and making my heart sing.
A gust of wind blows and I notice the birds flying in a V – homebound.
I should get going too.
I drain the last bit of coffee from the cup before disposing of it.
To my right, I feel someone’s eyes on me again.
Quickly turning, not to miss them this time, I scan the now much lesser crowd of people.
An old man walking with a stick.
A jogger running with his dog.
A group of friends laughing heartily.
A middle-aged couple walking quickly, deep in conversation.
And then I see him.
Our eyes meet and my heart stops for split second before rocketing to a frenzied pounding.
I spin on my heel and run.
The sun has disappeared and the sky is suddenly completely black.
When had that happened?
My feet pound against the asphalt as I run, dodging people and once almost falling over a cold drink can.
The wind has picked up and is now howling.
I don’t seem to remember that happening either. It was still pretty fine when I had been drinking my coffee.
Then, suddenly, there’s a cliff. In the middle of no where.
The row of shops, the roads, the people, everything comes to an abrupt end.
I skid to a stop, my breathing fast and shallow.
Sheer terror and paralyzing panic makes it difficult for me to think.
I watch as he closes the last bit of distance between us and I notice that he’s not alone.
Paapa and Fuaad.
My blood runs cold.
I open my mouth to scream but there’s no one around, the many people I’d seen early having seemingly disappeared.
“Deeyanah, Deeyanah,” he sighs in mock pity. “How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t run from me?”
Fuaad smirks at Paapa’s question.
My heart is racing and my whole body shakes in fear.
They take a step forward in unison.
I take a step back.
“Leave me alone,” I say, my voice strong yet low.
“After all this time away from you, why would I want to do that?” asks Paapa.
They step forward again, and involuntarily I step back.
I don’t know how close I am to the edge but I dare not glance back and move my eyes off them.
But a moment later, I do, my brain registering movement behind them.
I see him heading towards us, and my heart leaps with hope.
Keep talking, don’t look at him, don’t let them notice.
But Zee is moving slowly, care-freely, seemingly unaware of the situation.
Paapa and Fuaad have taken four steps forward and I’ve taken four back.
And when I move to take the fifth, my foot meets air.
Floodgates of panic open as my leg hovers, unable to be put down.
“Zee!” I yell, no more worried if they notice him. “Hurry!!”
They turn around and glance at Zee indifferently before turning to me again.
“He is not on your side,” says Paapa.
It’s as if he has shot a heated arrow into my heart.
“Wh.. what.. do you.. me.. mean?” I gasp.
They step to the side, allowing Zee to stand between them.
His scent hits me; a fresh fusion of the sea and a rain-forest.
“Zee,” I say, my voice a trembling whisper.
His face is blank and his hands are clenched into tight fists at his side.
I try to catch his eye but he refuses to allow me. All I manage to see is a glimpse of raging emotions.
Something is wrong.
“Zee,” I say again, my voice a little stronger this time. “Look at me.”
He lifts his gaze, his eyes meeting mine.
But now they’re blank. Dead.
Terror squeezes my heart, wraps a hand around my throat and pricks my eyes.
“What did you’ll do to him?!?!” I yell.
“Answer me!!” I scream, rage giving me a burst of courage.
No one does.
“Zee!” I plead, moving forward towards him.
“Don’t,” he warns, his voice empty.
“What happened?” I ask gently, touching his face, ignoring his warning.
He grabs my hand and takes a step forward, forcing me to step back.
“Zee! No! What are you doing?!”
He ignores me, repeatedly stepping forward and forcing me a step back.
“Paapa!” I yell. “Stop him!”
But Paapa merely watches.
Hot tears stream down my face as I yell in agony at my merciless predicament.
My legs are dangling over the edge now, the only thing holding me up being Zee’s hand.
I reach to grab him with my other, but he moves away, preventing me from doing so.
“Zee! Look at me! Why are you doing this?! You’re not thinking! What did they do to you?! Don’t listen to them! You can’t do this! Please! Zee, please!”
He lets go and then I’m free-falling, my scream the only thing that follows me.
I land with a thud.
Groaning, I open my eyes slowly.
For a long moment I simply stare, and then my mind registers.
I’d been sleeping, dreaming.
There was no cliff, I had simply fallen off the bed!