He turned on the light as we entered his room, my eyes wandered around his neat bedroom. I stayed at his door as I continued staring at the dark blue walls covered with colorful wallpapers.
“ You’re such a sweet kid for helping my son” The woman's voice almost echoed in the big room, I realized at that moment why they looked so similar. Her injured son sat at the edge of his bed with his pants rolled up to his knees showcasing the bloody scratches.
“ It was nothing ma'am,” I say as I scratch the back of my neck. She grabs something from the desk, it’s a band-aid pack that she gently puts on his bloody knees. When she is finished she picks up the leftover plastics from the band-aids and proceeds to walk towards me.
“ You two wait here, I will call your parents and grab some snacks to munch on” she quickly left the room and the thing left of her was the sound of her heels.
It has always been like this when it comes to my nightmare, it’s like a broken record that repeats the same dream over and over again. I always wake up at that part leaving the rest as a mystery.
Hot water from the showerhead hit my skin and traveled down to the bathroom floor. I keep my eyes closed for a moment. I turned off the water and blinked a couple of times before I walked out of the shower. I put on a white robe tightly around my body. I walked into my room and went straight into my grey closet. My clothes for the day were not hard to find since I put them together before I went to the gym this morning. Without wasting any more time I entered the kitchen.
There was a sinking feeling that has been lingering ever since I woke up. I drank the icy water feeling the cold liquid travel down my throat, soothing the heavy sensation in my chest. Last week I saw the stalking situation as silly as I was on a rowing boat where I decided where I’m headed. Yesterday I realized that I might be on Titanic and even though I can see the iceberg, what good will that do? Jump into the cold water? I would just be aware of my coming death.
I left the cup in the sink and walked to the living room. With the remote in my hand, I turn on the tv. I settled down with the morning news, a lot of things have been happening lately in this country. I tuned in as I prepared for today. I rolled out the yoga mat and started to stretch my aching limbs, a routine that has been keeping sane and a chance to disconnect from past events. I turned to face the big glass wall that is showcasing the busy city.
“ An officer arrested for the murder of a teenager” The female newscaster's voice filled the rather empty room, I look at the reflection of the tv in the glass wall and a big cruiser appears behind the woman. I have been following that case closely and it took the system an awful time to serve justice. A wave of grief and relief punches me hard in the guts, we as citizens and the system have failed our kids. Justice is truly a bittersweet word, a band-aid on a bullet wound.
The buzzing signal brought me out of my trance, I bent down and picked up my phone. The screen lit up, a message from Atlas Security.
‘We’re outside ma’am’ A message I have become familiar with. I sent them a quick response back and made my way towards my closet.
I was once told that your back could be your downfall, I understand that today since I woke up on the hard hotel couch with a sore back. I certainly wandered in my sleep because of that dream, a dream, or a so-called night terror I have been suffering from for about thirteen years now. Nowadays, I barely have time to see my therapist because I have become too busy with preparing to govern our company. at least I made some progress since I stayed inside the hotel room.
I ran my fingers through my hair that needed a cut soon. I slightly tucked in one side of the white long-sleeved shirt into my black jeans, I pulled up the black tube that's on top of the shirt.
I double-checked the items in my purse, the last time I didn’t double-check I forgot my keys. I put on my shades, everything seems to be in there so I head out to work.
When I open the door I see Ruben standing in the hallway, the next-door neighbor greets me with a jawn. His watery brown eyes and slow blinking reveals that he was tired, probably because of our previous workout. He turns his head to the side. His dampened dark hair brushed a bit below his eyes at the front and the sides were shorter, barely reaching his ears.
”Well look at this you’re finally out on time,” He said while nonchalantly clapping his hands, I roll my eyes in response.
“ I know you’re not talking about me”
“ I would wake up earlier if I slept as well as you” He replied as we started to walk away from our doors.
My gaze was stuck on the tall frame that made its way towards the elevator. I frowned upon his words, slept well? That has become a foreign word in my ear.
I brushed his comment off and headed towards the elevator. When I entered the elevator I made sure to stand on the opposite side from him.
He pushed on the basement-level button, he turned his body towards me. His gaze was now focused on me.
“ Quit staring, It’s rude don't you know?” I said as I folded my arms, I felt my eyebrow rise on its own.
“Owens, You should invest in locks or a chain for your feet,” He says while copying my posture. I frowned upon his words, why the hell would he suggest that. I narrow my eyes and stare at him for an answer. Next time I get an opportunity to fight this man, best believe I won’t hesitate to take it.
“ No, because you seem to have a habit of giving me a heart attack in the middle of the night” He continued explaining when he saw the judging expression on my face. His words hit me like cold water on my face, dammit Rachel. I suppress the urge to hit my head on the elevator wall. This is when I should change names, get surgery and disappear from the earth. I didn't even question him further mainly for my own sake.
The elevator doors open revealing two familiar men, Mr. Smith and Mr. Grant. They moved to make a place for us in the middle to walk on.
“ Hello ma'am and sir,how are you feeling today,” Mr. Grant asked as his eyes moved between Ruben and me, both of them gave me a half-smile which I returned.
“ Better, thank you for asking,” was all I could utter before the ground started to shake. Mr. Grant and Mr. Smith moved quickly in front of us as they scanned for any danger. It didn't take too long to find the source of the disturbance. We could hear ear drumming screams from a group of people. They were running towards us while holding banners of a young man.
“ The car is over there” Mr. Smith in front of me orders us to move quickly towards the car and away from the elevator that seems to be their target, Ruben stays close to me as we follow the alert men in front of us. I feel a light touch as we brush against another group coming from the parking lot.
“ We will always love you” they harmonically shouted, that shit sent thrills down my spine. We thankfully made it to our car where we were met by the other bodyguards who proceeded to usher us into the car safely. I sigh and place my hand on my pulsing heart.
“ What is on your back?”