As narrated by Rameez:
“THERE!!” I yell again, pointing. “DAD, GO!! THAT CAR!!”
Without hesitation, dad is once again moving, as quickly as he stopped.
All the tiredness and shock evaporates, leaving me wide awake and alert.
“Seat belt!!” commands dad, as he rapidly closes the gap between our car and the Merc.
I lean a little back, hastily pulling the seat belt across my chest.
My eyes never leaving the car in front of us, I try to buckle it into place.
“Dammit,” I mutter, unsuccessful.
Forcing my gaze away from the road for a second, I clip my seat belt into place, then lean forward in my seat again.
“There’s only one person,” I point out, squinting.
“And he knows we’re following,” I add a moment later, as the Merc suddenly picks up drastic speed.
“Go, go, go!!” I yell, my hands gripping the edge of my seat.
The X6’s powerful TwinPower turbo engine roars above the sound of the racing E-class Mercedes in front of us. Unleashing its concentrated power of 330 kW, the needle on the speedometer slowly inches closer to its top speed.
“HE’S GONNA TURN!!” I yell at the exact moment the Merc suddenly takes a turn at breakneck speed.
Yelling above the scream of the tires, I grab the handle on the inside of the door to keep myself from flying out of my seat as dad barely breaks before taking the turn.
Adrenaline coursing through my blood, my heart beating almost as fast as we’re going, I don’t let go of the door handle.
“He’s heading for the highway!” I yell as we drift around another turn, barely missing the side barrier.
“I know!” replies dad, his voice tight with concentration. “Don’t yell!”
Dad’s hands are clasped so tightly on the steering wheel, trying to control the magnificent power of the beautiful beast, that his knuckles have gone white.
A thrill rushes through me as we take another turn, the squealing tires now accompanied with the smell of burning rubber.
And then, we hit the highway.
Well lit and fairly quiet, this time, dad doesn’t hesitate in pushing the X6 to its limits.
But neither does the driver of the Merc.
Dad floors the accelerator and I hold on tightly to the door handle, despite the way it hurts my hand.
Couple seconds later, we’re right at his tail.
And then, finally we’re alongside him.
“Dad you have to get him to stop!” I say, unable to see anything through the illegally dark tint.
Dad scoffs, then laughs briefly.
I look at him, slightly surprised.
“Seriously Rameez?” he asks. “And how are we suppose to do that?”
“I don’t know. Can’t you run him off the road or something?” I ask, turning to look at the car beside again.
“Can’t,” comes dads curt reply. “Not at this speed. We’ll all die.”
We fall silent, just about managing to stay alongside the Merc.
“So now what?” I ask, my heart beat a little more controlled now.
“Call Sulaimaan. Tell him to come with back up,” replies dad.
But I barely hear him, the gears in my mind suddenly spinning with an idea.
‘Don’t be mad, Meez!’ warns a voice in my head.
‘It’s worth a shot,’ argues the other voice.
‘Don’t you dare, Meez!’ the first voice speaks again, dead serious.
‘Just do it,’ urges the second.
And so I do.
Hitting the button, I will the window to roll down faster, before dad realizes what I’m doing.
But he’s already guessed.
“RAMEEZ!!!” he shouts, turning to look at me and almost losing all control of the still speeding car under his control.
“STAY ALONGSIDE HIM!!” I yell back, ignoring his warning.
Standing slightly, I turn my body and reach out through my open window, praying desperately that his doors aren’t locked.
“RAMEEZ, DON’T!! GET DOWN!!” screams dad.
My fingers briefly touch the shining silver door handle of the Merc before the driver moves his vehicle away, out of reach.
My heart racing, blood pounding against my eardrums, I ignore the voice screeching in my head.
I lean further out the window and grab the Merc’s door handle.
Without thinking further, I pull with all my strength.
The door flies open and I’m sent sprawling back.
Dad screams as I knock into his arm, snatching his control on the raging X6.
Hooters blare but the loud sounds seem soft and distant compared to my thumping heart.
Fighting to gain control again, dad yanks the wheel to the right, hard.
Much too hard.
The whole world spins and I close my eyes, screaming.
A moment later, my whole body is jerked forward, then, too quickly, to the side.
Lifting my hands in front of my face, I scream again.
Pain shoots through my shoulder as it slams into the door.
“RAMEEZ GET DOWN!!” I hear dad shout.
The sound of glass shattering follows and then the car comes to a dead stop.
Ignoring dad’s command I lift my head, slowly moving my arms away from my face.
I turn to dad, praying he’s okay.
But, before I can say anything, he shoves my head down roughly.
From the corner of my eye, I see him duck too.
And then, it’s raining glass.
I feel a sting of pain on my neck as a piece slices my skin.
My nose touching the leather seat, I feel a tight knot forming deep in my stomach as realization dawns.
This guy just killed a girl not too long ago.
And from the looks of it, he doesn’t mind writing two more names on the rest of his bullets.
Once again, ignoring the voice screaming in my head to think straight, I reach for the button to unlock the doors.
The adrenaline pumping through my veins overpowers the pain I should be feeling as I push the door open, jump out and run straight toward the guy.
My body collides into his sooner than I thought it would, and an audible oof sounds from him as he falls.
On top of him, I punch his face, trying to buy myself time to get the gun out of his hands.
But, he barely feels the punch it seems, because he sits up underneath me, throwing me off his chest.
Elbowing him in the stomach as he tries to get away from me, I grab onto his hand holding the gun, struggling to keep it pointing away from me.
Unsure where my sudden strength is coming from, I wrestle with the strong man.
“DAD!” I yell, wondering why he isn’t yet helping me.
My arm burns as my opponent twists it, forcing it behind my back at an odd angle.
He raises his gun.
Stretching my neck at an agonizing angle, I reach for his wrist….. with my mouth.
Biting hard, I release all my anger, pain, and grief through my teeth.
I hear him shriek loudly before his fingers uncurl, dropping the gun.
“DAD!!” I scream again, kicking the gun out of the killer’s reach with my foot.
Finally, he is there, casually picking up the gun and removing the chamber before tossing is over his shoulder.
I scream in pain as my opponent’s fist smashes into my jaw while twisting my arm tighter behind my back.
My vision blurs and my stomach churns as everything spins in front of me.
And finally, just as I think my arm is going to snap and my head is going to explode, someone pulls him away.
“Breathe!!” a voice shouts in front of my face.
I obey, wincing in the pain it causes.
I breathe deeply again before sitting up.
Sirens wail, getting closer by the second.
I look towards the road, which we are now a couple of meters away from, and see blue lights flashing.
Knowing the night is far from over, I push aside the pain, stand up, and head over to where a small crowd has gathered around my dad and the killer.
My mind discerns the fact that I somehow have still not registered his face at the exact moment my eyes connect with his.
I swear under my breath, my eyes widening in shock as my mind places his familiar face.
“No way, no way!” I mutter, moving closer.
“IT WASN’T ME!!” he’s yelling, trashing under dad and another person’s hold.
The police car stops, its siren still blaring deafeningly.
But somehow, I hear him above it.
“I SWEAR ON MY LIFE I DIDN’T KILL HER!! I WOULD NEVER HURT HER!!”
A cold feeling of despair washes through me as I shake my head, terrified at how abnormally loud he’s yelling.
“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME!!”
“Stop screaming,” dad says, his voice calm, controlled.
“I DIDN’T KILL HER!! OH GOD, PLEASE, YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME!! IT WASN’T ME!!”
Everything about the way his pleading – almost as if to convince himself – contradicts his words.
“I know. I believe you,” replies dad.
But I do.
Of course he didn’t kill her.
After all, he is the only one who loved Lubna almost as much as Faizal did.