… and she put down the phone and started sobbing, eventually breaking down in the sofa. If only she never let him go, he wouldn’t have gone missing in the middle of the Indian ocean. Each tear of hers, dropping into her lap was filled with remorse and regret and a fear of never seeing him again.
I yawned as I stretched myself flexing my arms and neck as they seemed heavy. I felt that I needed an exotic massage in one of those spas that they advertised all over the internet.
I sighed and looked at the clock on my desk which had a sticker with my name stuck to it reading three letters KAY. 02:17 ! ‘Oh my, It’s late’, I thought and put my pen in the pen stand and collected the scattered papers on my desk and piled them to the right corner and placed a paper weight over them.
I felt like I reached a milestone when I finished the fourth chapter. I never had an urge to finish a story I’ve ever written, I guess I still have that folder somewhere in my cupboard with half-finished drafts of my stories. ‘Ah! that’s the last thing you want to think about’, I slapped my forehead.
I heard a noise behind me, outside the window. Some scuffing and scratches. I dismissed it as it could be a late-night visit by the mongoose which usually looks through the window, twitches its nose and ruffles its fur and bounds onward doing what it was destined to do.
I checked my phone, a Lumia 520, outdated but I’m satisfied with it. No notifications. I then picked up my coffee mug to take a sip, but as I put it to my lips I realized it was empty. I guess I emptied it a few hours back! Aah! Just when I needed it. I felt lazy to brew up some coffee so instead I set an alarm to wake up early next morning for I had to finish another chapter tomorrow… today to be precise.
I got off my study chair, set it in its proper position, took a deep breath and walked towards the washroom but I felt something odd behind me. The feeling you get when someone’s looking at you. Some social neurology stuff I read somewhere, I don’t remember exactly what. ‘It’s just your subconscious mind playing tricks’, I re-assured myself. I relieved my bladder which seemed to never end!
I closed the washroom door behind me and wiped my feet on the door mat and looked towards the bed and I yelped! ‘Oh damn!’
My heart skipped a beat as I saw Twig sitting in my study chair reading my draft with his spectacles on.
He looked up, without any expression and said,” Hi.” I was shocked but managed a weird smile and returned the courtesy.
I squeaked, “How? How are you here? Why?”
To which he smirked and said, “ Huh? Why shouldn’t I?” I could detect spite in his voice. I didn’t know why but he seemed furious at me.
“Umm, I don’t know, What’s wrong? What do you want?” I mumbled, partially scared, stupefied, to be honest. I reached out to the end of the bed and sat on Captain America’s face on the Avenger’s printed Limited edition bedsheet.
Twig turned the chair around, faced me and used the bed as a footrest he then said, “What you did, it’s unfair! Do you know how bad Anita must be feeling? How could you make me tell her about Dan going missing so bluntly? What about me? Huh? Ever gave a thought about me?”
I was about to reply when he continued, “I’m the protagonist here, and why do I have to be a sidekick in my own story? I helped Dan and Anita together through their tough times, and they were just getting together and now this?”
“I… I don’t know how to reply. I guess I’ll change the dialogue between you and Anita. I’m sorry but I just wanted to capture the depth of the situation and your emotions. I know it’s painful, but isn’t it why you are the protagonist?”
Twig scowled but I continued nevertheless “You are the one who’s supposed to go search for Dan! I’ve got a plan for another twelve chapters, and yes I guess I won’t let you down.”
Twig picked up the stapler from a drawer and started playing with it. “Hmm… You know I’ve had feelings for Anita right? After all, you are the author, you are writing about us. Please don’t let her suffer.” His voice was jittery, I could sense that he meant what he said. And somewhere deep inside I felt envious towards Anita for having such a good friend; I just never had any that close.
Scratching my forehead, I replied, “Yes, I’m not planning to let her down. She really is a strong woman and I believe she can hold her ground. I’m sure she’s going to try her best in finding Dan and you… Not even for a moment do you doubt what you can do Twig! You are the man! It’s up to you to find Dan come what may!”
There was a flicker in Twig’s eyes. A flicker of hope I assumed. He seemed to be more confident now. Like a fire burning from the inside, he seemed determined to find Dan. ‘Phew! Lucky this guy is easy to deal with! He sure is going to get into trouble for being so easy to manipulate’, I thought and with that, it was my turn to be excited.
“Pass on the notepad and the pen, will you?” I asked Twig pointing towards them on the desk. I got an idea and I had to pen it down before I forget what I thought. Poor Twig doesn’t know what I’m thinking and what’s in store for him. I stifled an Evil laugh inside my head.
Twig said, “It better be good okay?”
“Trust me, it totally is!”
“Hmm… So you’ve got another sixteen days until NaNoWriMo ends. When do you think you’ll be done with us? You know, these fourteen days, were magical! I feel so lucky that you are writing my story, sometimes I felt bad when something bad happened, but well that’s life. Anita always says right? Take life one step at a time… I guess we misstepped and we need to get ourselves on track.”
“Yeah, she gets philosophical at times. You know what? She’s really lucky to have you as a friend and I’m pretty sure you’ll be a good one too! I wish I had a friend like you in reality.” I sighed at the prospect of not having a friend I could be with, but Twig, he seems good and I somehow felt completely comfortable with him.
“So, I guess you need to catch some sleep?” He said looking at the clock 02:58. You need to wake up fresh. And yeah, please don’t let nothing happen to Dan! Please!” Saying this, he turned off the lights, pat me on my shoulder and left.
I stared into the darkness. I could see weird shapes and designs in front of my eyes which were trying to adjust to the darkness. I looked out the window and saw Twig walking away. I kept looking as long as he was visible. I took another deep breath and slept, the last thought in my head was ‘I hope days are always like this!’
Ten days passed on like a chapter of a Murakami book. Magical! Twig never turned up since then. But I made sure he’s satisfied with what he’s doing and I have to be honest that since I spoke to Twig, I sort of was partial towards him and I distanced Anita and him in their search for Dan.
Twig’s been through a tough time though, but I made sure he did well and I think he’s pretty happy with what he’s doing. Else, I believe there’d have been another visit from him giving me a piece of his mind.
I’ve got two more chapters to complete, but I’m done with today’s quota. I don’t feel sleepy neither am I tired. I’m planning how to begin the next chapter and I believe, rather I hope this chapter would be the highlight of the book.
Looking out of the window I see the dark branches swaying with the wind, I look away as it reminds me of how lonely I am in the world. I roll to one side of the bed and made myself comfortable when I felt some weight by my side.
I held my breath for a while and waited for the weight to disappear and give me a signal that I was over thinking but it wouldn’t budge. I turned around slowly and to my surprise I found Anita making herself comfortable under the sheets.
“Whoa!” I yelped. “What’s going on!!! Why are you here? What are you doing in my bed!”
She looked up with her tear filled eyes ruining her mascara she wore during the day. She was beautiful. Beautiful enough for me I can say. I knew she looked even more beautiful when she was concerned or crying, but this was the first time I saw her up close. I couldn’t stop her from crying, but I just kept looking at her.
Assimilating all her features in my brain so I could describe her better. I so much wanted her to smile, but words just wouldn’t come out. I wish she would look better while smiling. ‘It really is sad, unfair actually that she, after all, is a character in my story. Very unfortunate that I can’t do justice to her. It isn’t her fault that she looked better sad instead of smiling. How screwed is my head that I can’t even describe a character to be happy!’ I thought.
“Kay,” she sniffed trying to stop herself from crying. She inched closer and held my hand. “Please, please let Dan be safe! I tried to take it all that was happening. I just can’t take it anymore. Please. Let everything be done.”
“Hey, please don’t cry. I’ll try my best. I’ll try to get him back to you.” I hated myself for what I said. I knew he was safe. That was the plan all along. But why did I lie to her? Why didn’t I tell her the truth? Is it the dogma of an author that made me do it? The fact that I can’t tell anyone about what’s going to come next?
I took a deep breath and sighed while she came closer and put her head on my chest. I was so very pretty sure that she could hear to my heartbeat! And realizing the fact my heart seemed to be skipping every other beat. I’m pretty sure that the Mongoose who visits daily would be scared to tread anywhere near my room because of the tremors my heartbeat caused.
“They said they tracked him down to the island. But they weren’t sure if he’s alive or not. Twig’s gone with them!” She looked up to me and I looked into those eyes filled with pain. ‘Oh, those beautiful eyes.’
She looked straight into my eyes and said, “I know you know everything. But just, oh, just please tell me. Give me a hint, a message, anything! I just want to know that he’s alright! I love him and you know it! Please …” pausing midway she put her head into her hands and started crying.
I got up and gave her a hug. It was then that I felt it. The desire to be with her forever. I wanted her and she had to be with me, forever! I knew it, I felt it from within. I could make her happy. I could describe her beautiful features while smiling too if she were to love me instead of Dan. I just wanted to be loved.
Loved by Anita for all the desolation I have to endure every day! Isn’t it why I started writing this? To give wings to all my fantasies? All my cravings?
But wasn’t Dan again a fragment of my fiction? How would he deal with this? Could he bear it? Was I doing right? To want her? Was is lust or love? I didn’t know and decided that time would take its toll and reveal the truth.
I felt her phone vibrate. She looked up to me surprised. She saw the caller ID which was an unknown number. I urged her to pick it up. She picked it up and screeched with happiness!
She screamed everything out loud. Twig called up from the satellite phone from the ship he was on for the reconnaissance mission. Twig was telling something about the island where they could visually see a column of smoke. It was good news, great news! They were scrambling a few boats to reach the shore line and search for Dan.
She fell back into my arms in ecstasy. She hugged me tight for so long that we started to fall asleep. She was in my arms, I wanted her and I knew that I would do anything to have this feeling forever. I knew Twig would never accept this, But I wanted Twig to understand. I wanted him as a friend but somewhere deep inside I knew everything would be alright!
I never knew when we fell asleep, but I knew it would be one of the best sleep I’d ever have.
I opened my eyes as I heard noises from a distance. I could still feel Anita but I looked around and I saw no one. What I saw, I couldn’t believe. It was a beach and a few supplies by my side. I saw a burnt wood. The fire seemed to have died down and it was early morning as I could see the sun on the horizon.
I saw a lifeboat come towards the shore. I jumped high in ecstasy and bliss to have been found. Twig was there shouting as much as he could as his voice was drowned by the sound of an approaching helicopter, “Dan! Dan! Dan!” He got off the boat and came running towards me.
I was weak, for I felt like I hadn’t had a proper meal for a month, yet tossing all my weaknesses aside I ran and he hugged me, “Dan! I’m so happy you’re alright!”
And there I stood, without hugging him back, I realized ‘But, I’m Kay, aren’t I?’