Time To Test
Silence. It was what she felt all this time as her bare feet was caressing the soft dark grass as she walked on them. Her fingers trailed the rough wooden surface as she passed the trees on her way. The soft white fabric of her knee-length dress was moving with the motion. Her dark-as-night hair softly stumbled on her back as she moved forward.
It was dark, completely dark. But she could see the way. How? She couldn’t tell. She just walked forward. The world remained silent until the woman reached the end of the grass line. Rough ground welcomed her as she left the trail of the forest behind. The first step she took on the ground created a noise. But it wasn’t the noise of a foot colliding with the ground. Something dropped down, or maybe someone.
The woman, startled, turned back. She gasped as her chocolate brown eyes widened. She saw a tall, dark silhouette standing in the dark corner of the forest. A shiny pair of eyes silently observed her. The woman didn’t wait a second. She rushed to the owner of those eyes. But before she could reach, the shiny eyes vanished in the jungle with fast speed. And, the chase began.
The woman moved to her fastest speed. She couldn’t miss his sight. She had to catch him, at any cost. She had waited for the moment from the very beginning. She had to get him. He was the mystery, the answer she had fought for, risked for. So, she used every inch of her strength. But he wasn’t an easy competent. He wasn’t going to let her get him that easily. She would have to fight hard if she even wanted a glimpse of him.
A ghost smirk appeared as he took curves after curves, circles after circles and twirled around the never-ending forest. The woman was still behind him. They didn’t know how much time has passed. Was it minutes, or hours, perhaps? Who cared? Winning was the most important for both of them, at the moment. But like every chasing, it had to end at one point. The woman saw him take a final turn to the right to a tree. When she reached there, she saw nothing, absolutely nothing.
Her breath was heavy when her hand grasped the tree. Her other hand was trying to soothe the pain that the fast beating heart caused. Momentarily, she felt her vision blurred, head spinning. She was on the verge of fainting, but somehow she didn’t. She managed to stand straight and looked ahead. What she saw then, made her confused. She furrowed her brows as she walked toward the wide, open field where something white was shining. It was bright and got brighter as the woman walked toward it like a moth flies toward the fire.
Surprisingly, her eyes didn’t hurt even in such bright light. She boldly crossed the space, determined to know the reason for its existence. When she reached the spot, the light started to dim down. She gasped as she saw the secret unfolding before her. There was lying a human body, dead. She couldn’t, it was a male or female because the body was nothing but a puddle of rotten meat from head to toe. There was no skin, no face, not even the hair. What was more surprising that the body had no smell, let alone the stink of dead flesh. What was happening?
Such horrific sight made the woman unknowingly step back. She kept backing away until her back collided with something. She instantly turned back to see the same pair of shining eyes. His whole body was strangely covered in a silhouette. Even in that close proximity, she couldn’t see his face. However, she didn’t forget to furrow her brows, silently challenging to fight.
Both of them held each other’s gaze, not letting themselves distracted for even a mere second. It was as if a life or death situation. Two fighters were ready to fight. One was armed with his claws, the other was armed with nothing but only herself. It was time to test to see who had the real strength, who would win this game. The Beast growled as Saravi moved to attack, eyes still glued to each other.
She was struck with an intense headache when Sara first opened her eyes. It was almost like a hangover. She grabbed her forehead as she trailed the fingers, trying to soothe the pain.
“Oh, God! This damn head!” She groaned as she slowly sat up on her.
It was still night on the outside. Probably three or four in the morning. Everything was silent, uncomfortably silent like her dream. It was strange how recent nightmares or dreams affected her in such an unreasonable way. But this time, it was far more intense and painful. Sara couldn’t think of any explanation for this kind of body reaction. But she was certain these headaches were not happening because of her special abilities.
It was true that she had inherited some extraordinary abilities from her father; She never had any similarities with his ones except for the mind reading. Both of their abilities had been different just like two different people, thanks to the strange gene structure of the Hussain family.
Thinking of her father, Sara’s mind drifted off to the heated conversation they had before.
“No, that’s not going to happen,”
“It will and I’m coming back.”
“Don’t be irrational, Woman.”
“Irrational? Dad, I’m coming back first thing in the morning. The discussion is over!”
“Don’t dare using that tone, Saravi!”
A long pause from both sides.
“I’ve been trying to help you out here, girl, both me and Arup. We are trying to solve this mess as much as you are.”
“Let me finish! So, you think you coming here would be wise, huh? I expected better from you, Sara. Just think for a moment. What good it’d bring if you come back to the city without clearing up the mess there? You’d only mess it up even more. So, listen to me and go back to doing your job. Leave your mother’s matter to me. Arup and I will take care of it. Remember, Sara, keep calm, be calculated and stay in control. These will help you to keep your focus straight.”
“Alright. You want to look after Mom’s case? Go ahead. But let me tell you one thing. Next time I contact you, I need full detail of the situation. And, you owe me an explanation for sneaking into my room. Don’t forget that.”
“Same rule applies to you as well.”
“The deal Sealed, Saravi Hussain.”
“Good. And, Dad?”
“Take care of yourself.”
“You too, Darling. Don’t stress out much. Always remember that we are fighting together.”
Sara sighed. She felt better than before. That painful headache was slowly fading away. It was another mystery why these sudden headaches disappeared as soon as they came. She closed her eyes to take a deep breath. And, when her chocolate pools were on view again, they landed on her right.
“Nights never end sooner for me. I wonder why?”
Her velvety voice rang in sarcasm as she looked at the empty sofa.
“Are you done?” the man asked.
“Y-yes, Sir,” Another trembling male voice replied.
With his expensive black suit was getting soaked by the rain, he didn’t pay any attention there. His expression was hard, cold eyes seeping through the other man’s eyes.
“Good. Clean up the place well before the sun rises. I don’t want any trouble.”
“As you say, Sir,” The man said, his eyes on the ground.
The suited man nodded before turning around.
“Pardon me, Mr. Rahman,” The man halted in his steps and looked back the shivering man. It was because of rain or him, hard to detect.
“Yes?” His authoritative deep voice made the man shrunk back reflexively.
“I-I was asking that wh-where are you taking him from here?”
Instead of verbally reply Prince leaned close to the pale-faced man.
“Curiosity kills the cat, Mr. Joynal. You know that right?” His voice was barely above the whisper.
Joynal remained frozen on his spot, not daring to move a single limb. Prince moved back from him. With a satisfied smirk, he went back on his way, mercilessly crunching the leaves and splashing the puddle. When he disappeared from Joynal’s eyesight, he released a long-held breath. He wiped off the rain from his face and hurriedly made his way through the woods. He quickly needed to leave that suffocating hell.
All the way to his home, Joynal continuously kept looking back, even when he was inside the cab. He was sweating profoundly even in the shivering cold night. The cab driver, though, thought it was rain, he was furiously wiping off his forehead. Rain does have certain advantages. And, Joynal was thankful for that.
When the cab reached his building, Joynal quickly paid off the bill and rant to the ground floor without asking for the change. Who could think about money when his life was hanging by a single thread? Joynal couldn’t tell how he reached his floor or to his flat. The only thing he knew was that he was panting hard, keeping his hand on his fast beating heart as soon as he stepped inside his flat.
His throat felt dry. It was desperately in need of water. Joynal reached for the nearest light switch. As soon as the whole room was filled with bright light, a deadly scream resonated the whole flat. Joynal was clutching his shirt for dear life as his wide eyes looked at the person sitting comfortably on his plush brown couch.
“Hello, again, Mr. Joynal,” Sara smiled as she eyes the scared man.
“M-Ms. H-Hussain?” Joynal uttered.
“I’m extremely sorry to scare you like this. But what can I do? Duty calls. Anyways, may I have some word with you?”
Her calm voice unsettled Joynal even more, he wasn’t even moving. Sara very softly lifted up a glass full of water from the table and stood up. She gave the glass to the trembling man along with offering a small smile.
“Thought you’d need it. So...”
Joynal quickly grabbed the glass and swallowed till the very last drop. When his breathing came to normal he asked the first question.
“How did you...”
“The backside of the building, water pipes, and then your generously open balcony helped me. Thanks to them. Now, I know what will be your next question. Before I answer that I want to know something from you.”
“Where are you coming from, Mr. Joynal?”
“W-What are you talking about?” He looked away from Sara.
“I’m repeating for once and for all. Where did you go this late and from where are you coming now?” She crossed her arms.
“W-Why should I tell you about my business? Ms. Hussain, please leave. You are invading my personal space.”
Sara looked at him for a while before letting out a soft chuckle.
“So you won’t budge, huh? Very well.”
Sara backed away from Joynal only to touch her backpack and bring out a small, black, wireless recorder. Without letting him speak anything she played the recorder and let the sound consume the room. The rain played a good background music at that moment.
“... Mr. Rahman?”
“I-I was asking that wh-where are you taking him from here?”
“Curiosity kills the cat, Mr. Joynal. You know that right?”
If Joynal was pale before, he turned white now. Sara’s stilled gaze penetrated his soul for the lie he spat through the teeth.
“Care to explain this?” Sara motioned toward the recorder.
Joynal gulped down a dry lump. There was no escape now. He had to confess now. But his life was already at risk, what if speaking the truth would cut that remaining chance?
“They’d kill me.” He thought.
“Don’t dwell on it, Mr. Joynal. Speak the truth.”
Joynal shook his head at which Sara sighed.
“You want me to force you? I don’t want to do that, Mr. Joynal, nor you’ll like the result afterward. So, please cooperate with me cordially.”
Her threat seemed to work because next, Sara saw him slump his shoulder. Sara smirked slightly. Pressure always worked on people, especially when they were the victim.
“The quicker the better. So, are you ready?”
After a considerable amount of pause, Joynal stiffly nodded.
“Good. Please.” Sara motioned him toward the couch, she was occupying before.
Joynal walked robotically toward the couch and slumped down. Sara joined him. When both of them were seated comfortably. Joynal started.
“I have been working in the forest for the past thirty years. This was owned by the Rogers. Daniel Roger’s father founded the picnic spot forty years ago. Back then, it was used for the family outing only. Soon, it was opened to the public and it turned into a full-blown successful business. Everything was alright.” Joynal sighed
I still remember that day. A week before Anita Roger’s birthday, some people came to the picnic spot, saying that they were renovating a certain part of the forest. They strictly restricted us to enter that area during the whole renovation process. Nobody pried either. It was the owner’s forest after all. However, the day before the birthday, the renovation was complete. On the very day, a truck came to the spot delivering a black metal box. It was seven to eight feet in height as long as I remember.”
“A box?” Sara asked as she raised her brows.
He hummed in response.
“This time, I was curious. I wanted to find the reason for such secrecy. So, I secretly followed the box carriers even though it was highly restricted for us. Curiosity almost killed me that day. Anyways, so, I followed them deep in the forest. Thankfully nobody noticed me going there. Once I reached the area which got recently renovated, I was quite stunned to see how they managed to make an underground doorway. It was buried there under some leaves and shrubberies. They put down the box on the ground and opened the lid.” Joynal paused coming here.
Sara narrowed her eyes, “What did you see?”
“I-It was big, too big, covered with long black fur. Its eyes... my God! It still gives me shiver. I swear it wasn’t a human. But, it talked, even walked like a human. Then... Then it saw me. That burning gaze. I couldn’t take anymore. I ran away from there. I was so shocked that I didn’t notice how I stumbled to the ground and fell down. When I looked up, I saw it... him. He was looking at me. I swear it was going to strangle me. When his hands were mere inches away from me it stopped moving because someone said ‘stop’. It was Daniel Roger himself. Beside him, there was another man standing. Later I came to know his name was Prince Rahman.”
“I knew that handsome dude was a bug underneath!” Sara inwardly scoffed.
“What did they do next?”
“That day, I was sure I was going to die. I begged for my life, promised to seal my lips, oathed to stay quiet. After that, they spared my life. But warned me that if I even open my mouth, they’ll finish me.”
“Do you know what they did with that... thing?”
Joynal slowly shook his head and sighed.
“I’ve broken that promise and now, they’ll find me and...” His voice broke in the end.
He silently sobbed as Sara offered a gentle pat on his shoulder.
“Nothing will happen to, Mr. Joynal”
Joynal looked up at Sara in disbelief.
“I’ve just signed my death sentence and you...”
Sara took his palm and placed a crumbled paper there. Then, without any goodbye or greeting, she walked toward the balcony on the left side of the small beige living room. Joynal watched her till she jumped down the railing and disappeared in the air. A tired sigh left from him.
A black SUV was parked right beside the building. A man in a black suit watched the rain outside of his tinted car. He saw a woman figure crossing the boundary wall with an efficient grace. Her high tailed hair bounced as she looked at both sides of the building. Her gaze fell upon the car too. It lingered there for quite a moment before she decided to move to her right. She quickly ran away from there.
The man smirked. “Always so dangerously curious, aren’t we? You really should watch your back, my dear Saravi,”
He lifted up the phone from his lap. His finger trailed on the blue screen before he pressed it against his ear. His eyes never leaving the building. While taking a soft breath, he motioned the driver to move the car. He spoke only one word after the car moved out of the residential area.