The S Girl

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Test of Willpower

It’s been black since she opened her eyes. No, not all black because there were shadows dancing on the ceiling. She could also hear the noise of burning wood along with some ticking sound coming from somewhere. With a pounding headache and groan, Sara slowly sat up from a plain wooden cot. Her hair was disheveled and the top was wrinkled. However, she couldn’t care less. Suddenly, she jolted up in her seat.

Her senses and memories were coming back while she looked around the dark room. The walls and floor looked like made of stone or dark concrete. This room had a wooden bed, a bedside table, a colorless wardrobe made of steel on her left. A metal door on the front wall which was closed currently. Woods burning in a fireplace on her right and right beside the bed, there was a window. Sara noticed a strange thing about the window. It was large, had two crimson curtains hanging from a metal bar above it. It also had grids attached to it and certainly made of glass. But the fact was that the outside of the window there was a metal layer to block the view.

Sara furrowed her brows. Her headache was still lingering there, but not as much as before.

“Why would someone place a metal plate there unless...”

The realization hit her right in the gut.

“That Bastard!” Sara seethed with anger.

She looked to her left to leave the bed while a scrap of paper on the bedside table grabbed her attention. Sara picked up the paper.

How was your sleep, Ms. Hussain? You looked really tired by the way. Anyways, I’m honored to inform you that you wouldn’t be able to leave the room at the moment. Probably, not even in this life... I can practically see the frown on your face there. It’s really amusing. Anyways, so you won’t be able to leave because there’s a clock ticking underneath your bed which I set to thirty minutes. Once the clock hits zero... Well, the rest will be a history. Brace yourself for the inevitable, Saravi! - Your Intruder

Sara threw the paper and jumped down to crouch to see under the bed. A gasp left her mouth when she noticed a black digital clock ticking and the leftover 14 minutes and 37 seconds showing there in the bright red light. The first thing Sara did was to take some time and wisely calming down her fast beating heartbeat. Then she stood up and went to the door to check if this was some kind of prank or not. When she touched the metal knob, Sara backed away flinching, letting out a squeaking noise. It gave her a shock.

“Who the hell electrocutes the door on his right fucking mind!” Sara mutters while shaking her hand.

“Of course that Intruder bastard, who else!”

But this made Sara realize that this wasn’t a prank, it was real. That black eyed bastard really planned to kill her. But she won’t give up, not without a fight. Time was running out and she had to do something real quick. At first, Sara looked around the room to find something wooden to break the door. However, she had a slight realization that this won’t work. The door must be really strong. The intruder wouldn’t want her to get out that easily. Sara shook her head.

“Nope. Won’t work”

So, instead of looking for something to break the door, Sara decided to think other ways. She was pacing around the room, thinking at the speed of a tornado. Suddenly, an idea popped up in her mind.

“What if that intruder was here instead of me?” Sara muttered.

“What if, in case, some enemy locked him up in his own trap of a room and left him to die? Wouldn’t he think of his safety first? Sure he would. So, before making this room, he should have thought about putting some secret mechanism that would help him get out of the place safe and sound. Something hidden, something both easy and hard to find.”

Sara’s eyes widened. If her theory was correct, there was a faint hope that maybe this was her chance of survival. Sara immediately started to work. At first, she searched each and every corner of the room. Sara knew the time was running at the speed of horse and she could be wrong in her guess. But a little bravery and risk were ten times better than sitting like a coward and waiting for death.

Sara had the idea that he would install the mechanism in some unsuspicious corner of the room. She just needed to find that place and activate the mechanism. Sara threw away the bed sheet and pillow after combing through them. She searched under the bed while looking at the time. Before getting out of the bed, she noticed the time read 5 minutes 15 seconds. Sara searched each and every drawer of the bedside table. She moved it to look behind the table. She found nothing. Her last chance was the wardrobe. She took a deep breath before wiping the sweat from her forehead. Sara moved to the wardrobe and tried to open it.

To Sara’s frustration, it wasn’t opening. Sara pulled harder this time but it wouldn’t budge. Doors jammed on their way while opening. Sara stopped trying to open and decided to push it. Maybe a miracle would happen and she’d find some clue behind this metal box just like at Melina’s. Sara went to her right side to give it a push. God knows, how much time was left. She tried harder. But just like its door, it won’t move. Sara huffed and left the wardrobe. She was breathing hard. Grief and depression slowly started to consume her mind.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing!” She said through her gritted teeth.

There was no way out then. She was stuck here until time runs out. She’d have to die here like a defeated, like a coward. The case will remain unsolved. Her enemies will roam free. Dead girls and their family won’t ever get justice anymore. Her family, her mom, her dad, none of them will ever see her again.

“And all of this will happen because of him!” She spat venom at the mention of the man she hated at the moment like no one else.

The ticking of the clock was now irritating her ears. She rolled her eyes at the bed. Then, as if a small light source in a dark tunnel, Sara’s eyes moved to the fireplace. Her chocolate brown eyes reflected in two fires in each of them. The time started to tick rapidly at the moment, probably reached leftover two or three minutes. Sara firmly shook her head.

“Cowardice is not in your dictionary, Bitch. Die like a winner!” She whispered, but her voice stated it bold.

She moved across the bed, striding to the window. She pulled the curtains to the point of ripping it apart. Finally, the curtains dropped on the floor along with the metal bar that kept them in place. Sara got rid of the annoying curtains from the bar and threw them across the floor. She took the bar and went to the fireplace. She placed the tipping part of the bar between two of the long iron fences of the fireplace. Sara used all her remaining strength to push the bar. Forcing it to bend against its physical nature. The bar was strong, heavy and hard to move. But they weren’t stronger than the woman’s deadly willpower.

So at one point, the bar had to accept its defeat. Sara managed to bend the bar to the point that it looked like it could grab something. However, she managed to break those two fences along with that. Just then, as if on cue, the rapid ticking turned into endless beeps. Sara quickly picked up the bent bar and rushed in front of the fireplace. The heat was becoming painful in the close proximity of the fire.

Without wasting any more seconds, Sara’s right arm that was holding the bar entered through the fireplace. She bit her lower lips harshly to stop crying at the burning pain she was feeling under her arm. The tip of the fire was centimeters away from touching her flesh. Sara could feel her skin boil. Fresh hot tears started to run down her eyes, yet she refused to let out a single muffle.

Sara shoved the bar right above the fire, hitting the front wall of the red bricks. She made the bar wander around for a couple seconds before hitting its back wall. There, Sara found something stuck between her bar. She pulled down the lever along with releasing an unbearable scream because the fire finally managed to contact the skin. The clock went wild at this point. Sara left the bar and quickly sprinted toward the door. This time no electric shock greeted her when she touched and turned the knob.

Sara opened the door and rushed out of the door before closing it behind her. Sara leaned against the door. Her breathing was heavy and it was dying to grasp fresh airs. Her hair was irritatingly clinging to her face. Her body was all sweat coated. The ticking was stopped. Sara waited for another breathless moment to see what happens. She heard some weird noise, but couldn't place it with her knowledge. She frowned. Nothing was happening.

"What happened?"

She turned around and slowly opened the door. She dared to enter the room. Next, she was stunned to see colorful glitters scattered around the floor near the bed. Sara rushed to the bed and bent down only to gasp louder. Where was that ticking clock? Before her, there were some broken pieces of the clock and glitters were piled up there. Sara's eyes darkened. Her breathing was becoming heavy again. But this time it wasn't for the previous tension.

To make the matter worse, she heard an ear piercing laughter looming through the room. Sara didn't need to look up to see whose deep voice was having the amusement of his life. After what felt like an eternity, the laughter died down replacing with clicks of the tongue.

"Oh, man, that was hilarious! You looked like you've seen the worst nightmare of your life, Ms. Hussain." He chuckled and continued when Sara spoke nothing.

"I thought you were clever enough to get that the whole thing was nothing but a test of willpower, of course with a fake threat though." He grinned with no shame.

Why would he be ashamed? He hadn't done anything wrong except a little arrangement of punishing and testing Sara for her attitude before. However, a Sara with no reply to his witty laughter somehow set him off. The man cautiously stepped a few toward Sara as she decided to stay rooted in her place.

"Saravi?" He raised his brows in confusion.

"What's wrong with her?" He thought.

Sara slowly moved as she stood up and faced him. Her dark eyes found his midnight black ones, but her facial expression was neutral. While Sara locked her gaze with the man, he gasped noticing her black and burnt arms.

"W-what happened to you?"

Sara slowly took a step forward, her eyes never leaving his.

"How did she get burnt! Don't tell me that woman shoved her arm right into that burning fireplace. Seriously, what was she thinking? God! Is she this stupid to turn off the fire? The switch was in the wardrobe, dammit! Wait, the wardrobe. It... Did it jam? Again? Shit! Shit! Shit!"

"Saravi, look..." Before he could continue, he was yanked forward to Sara as she pulled him by his navy blue button down shirt.

Next thing he knew, the strong, 6'3" inches man was lying down on the floor groaning like a wild animal. He clutched his crotch for dear life, enduring the pain beyond his imagination and experience.

Sara watched him silently until Mrs. Karzai entered with her gasp and cry. She rushed toward her master calling him and asking for his well-being. As seen, he was far from being okay. Sara sighed inaudibly and clenched her fists to steady her burnt arm which was still shaking in pain. Sara wiped off the tear stains from her face and rushed out the room without uttering a single word.

Actions really speak better than words.

Ravi was restlessly pacing through the living room. His eyes stuck on the phone and dialing the number of his wife for the umpteenth of the day. Even in the full-blown air-conditioned room, he was sweating like he was standing before the sun. It was beyond midnight and Sabrina still hadn't returned. Many worst negative thoughts were consuming his minds as Ravi wiped off the sweat from his frowned face.

After trying for the last time and still getting the same 'The number you've tried is currently switched off' Ravi threw off the phone on the couch in angst. Next, he collapsed on it, bouncing off the couch. He also tried to visualize Sabrina many times by now but it wasn't working. How could his brain follow his command when Ravi's mind was disturbed. He needed to calm down his mind, but nothing would do the trick, not by any chance. Frustrated, now Ravi had the only option left. He quickly picked up the phone and called the only reliable person he could reach that moment.
While gripping his phone tightly to his ears, Ravi prayed silently for the person to pick. After the sixth ring, finally Ravi heard the desired person.
"Hello, Mr. Hussain," The male voice whispered.
"Arup, sorry for disturbing late this night. But there's something important I need to talk to you." Ravi said with desperation.
"What is it, Mr. Hussain?" Concern was evident in his voice.
"Sabrina's missing, Arup. Her phone's switched off for hours. I don't know what to do. I called her hospital and they said she left early in the morning hour. Some of them saw her running through the hall."
Arup sighed, "She must have heard the news, I guess."
"Yeah, I also think that. I knew this day would come when she'd Sara's secret job. I just... I didn't expect her to find the news like that. I was planning to tell her after this case was solved. But..." Ravi let out a deep breath.
"We should contact the police, Mr. Hussain," Arup suggested.
"Do you think I haven't thought about the possibility? I did Arup and next, I was worried that they would even listen to us or not. You know how these policemen are!"
"You'd never know if you don't try. I think we should go to the police tomorrow. We've got to find Mrs. Hussain at any cost."
Ravi smiled a little at the determined voice of the young man.
"Thank you so much, son. I really appreciate your selfless efforts in helping me. You are a very good man."
"For Sara and her family, you'll always find Arup available, Mr. Hussain. She's my best friend after all."
Ravi nodded, even though he knew Arup couldn't see him.
"I'm sorry for disturbing you at late night, Arup. Though, thanks for the talk. I really needed it."
"Mr. Hussain, please, keep aside the formalities and try to get some sleep. We're gonna have a long day tomorrow." Ravi heard the sniffled yawn on the other side.
He chuckled, "Sure, boy, as you say. Take care."
"Good night, Mr. Hussain."
"Good night, Arup."
After the talk, Ravi felt a bit relaxed. Letting out stress through talking always helped him. He leaned back on the couch and thought about trying the visualization for another time, but as soon as he closed his eyes, tiredness took over his conscience and he fell into the trap of deep slumber.
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