Dread Has No Face
“Thank you, Robinson. The last-minute emergency must have been a bother to you.”
Sara smiled at dark-skinned and brown-eyed handsome. His dark hair was hidden behind the blue uniform cap.
Robinson shook his head. “No, Ms. Hussain, not at all. I’m glad you called, although, I was surprised to find you in a phone booth.”
“Cell phone’s off-limit, you know.”
He smirked and saluted her off. “Goodnight, Ma’am.”
Sara nodded and stepped back to give the black sedan some space to move as Robinson drove out. Sara sighed and turned to her right to see the boy, Dom. His eyes were wide and jaw was almost touching the floor as he faced the giant of a house before him. Sara smiled at his reaction toward her another home, Villa De bellísima.
The beauty resided just on the outskirt of the busy city. Surrounded by nature, the contemporary and modern duplex structure stood with pride and honor, just like its owner. The walls were a contrast between rich beige and comforting white. A big, blue pool in front of the house complimented the front yard in a gentle yet sophisticated way. The indoor garage and the front garden on the left side of the building was well hidden and separated from the poolside area. The main gate was parallel to the garage and that was where both Sara and Dom were standing.
Sara gave him a few more time to admire the view. Her heart warmed to see someone compliment her creation even though they were just watching it. She cleared her throat and Dom snapped out of his daze to look at her.
Dom nodded before walking beside her. The sky was still roaring out there. It could rain any moment now so they had to walk fast toward the house. They jumped up the white stairs and reached the front door. The door had both fingerprint lock system and calling bell. Dom saw Sara inserting her finger on that small machine attached to the door. The scanner beeped with a green light and the big white door opened on its own.
Sara smiled at him and motioned him to come inside. He followed Sara in silence. He was watching his steps on the polished tiled floor before the sensory lights turned on. Dom looked up to witness another kind of beauty. But, unlike the soft white outdoor, the inside was a haven colored in dark gray and deep red with a little touch of white.
The walls were coated gray with dark granite around the glass fireplace. The floor was off-white complimenting the red sofa set that paired with a black coffee table. A large LED TV adorned the sofas adjacent to the fireplace. The dining and the kitchen space was open. It was on the farthest corner of the room, all modern and contemporary and dark. There was a hallway on the right side of the area and a staircase adjacent to it to go upstairs.
While Dom was busy admiring the place a small petite woman wearing a dark blue shirt and black pant entered the room. Her gray hair was pulled up in a tight bun and a smile adorned her wrinkled face that widened upon noticing the owner of this place.
“Greetings, Ms. Hussain. It’s quite a surprise to see you.”
Sara smiled. “You are saying as if I never come here ever!”
She let out a soft chuckle. “Well, if you count a visit once in a three month then sure, Ms. Hussain. By the way, who is this lovely young man?”
Sara looked at Dom who was wearing a blank face. Her brows slightly furrowed to see the sudden change in his expression.
“He’s Dom, Ms. Margaret. He’ll be staying here for a few days.”
Margaret gave Dom a heartwarming smile and a nod. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Dom.”
Dom replied with a curt nod before looking at Sara. She took it from there.
“Margaret, show him his room and call Dr. Deblanca first thing in the morning. I’ll come back tomorrow to check up on him so prepare my room as well.”
Margaret schooled her features before nodding. “Of course, Ms. Hussain. Right away.”
Sara turned toward Dom and smiled before patting his stiff shoulders.
“You’ll be fine, Dom. Trust me. No one’s gonna hurt you here. I won’t let them,” Dom looked down but didn’t say anything. “Ms. Margaret is a good woman. She will take care of you, okay?”
Dom looked up at her. His big, blue eyes were pleading her. For what? She didn’t know. Perhaps, he wanted her to stay or it could be something else. However, she went with her first assumption.
“I’m coming back right in the morning, Dom. Promise!”
His eyes lost the warmth and held a certain coldness in them. Dom only nodded before facing Margaret back. She smiled.
“Come here, Mr. Dom.”
Sara watched Margaret usher him inside the house before letting out a deep breath. More question swirled inside her as she saw Dom. There was barely any answers or any proof; only assumptions. The madman’s words were still ringing in her ears. Light and darkness. Good and evil. Saravi and... Who?
Who was he? Who wanted to ruin her and why? These questions burdened her but what could she even do? There were problems and obstacles all around her. People were wearing masks. Who was to believe, who was to not?
Sara felt herself drowning in a dark ocean. She couldn’t swim it out in the raging storm; only could try to stay afloat. But big waves wanted to swallow her. There was hungry, bloodthirsty shark down there somewhere. He was waiting for her. He was waiting for one mistake to happen, just one slip up and she’ll be under his mercy.
“No,” Sara whispered. “No! Whoever you are, I’m not letting you win. Not now, not ever! Even if I have to sacrifice myself.”
Ravi jolted awake from his sleep. His whole body was coated with a thin layer of sweat. His breath was ragged and uneven. His eyes red and puffy from the tears he had been spilling before drifting off into the slumber. He could feel his heart in his throat as he remembered the events in his dream. It wasn’t a dream. It was a bloody nightmare!
“What to do now? She’s not responding well,” Someone said in an anxious tone. He was wearing a white coat.
“That’s your problem. Boss gave her five more days.” Another man gruffed. He was wearing a black suit.
“It’s not enough! She needs time to heal. She’s barely responding to the meds.” He cried out.
“Well, then cut her out.” He shrugged.
The first man shuddered. “The hell you mean ‘cut her out’, James! She’s been through hell with him you know it.”
James scoffed. “So? It was her job to deal with Damien. He got her and she knocked out. I’d say Boss is being generous with her, Siddique, otherwise we’d have thrown her across the bridge and be done with her.”
Dr. Siddique stood speechless. James scoffed.
“Come on, man, don’t gimme that look! You know the drill so act on it. Want to save her, give her your fast meds and make her ready by the fifth day.”
James walked away, leaving a stunned Siddique by the bed. The beeping machine filled in the silence as he looked at the pale, fragile woman on the bed. His whole body was shaking when he gripped the bed stand.
A guttural growl tore through his lips as he punched the closest wall he could get.
“Bastards! All fucking bastards!”
Ravi closed his eyes to take a shaky deep breath. His throat was dry and scratchy. He looked away to find the water jug empty beside his bed. He groaned and pulled the duvet off him before jumping down on the cool floor.
He grabbed the jug and walked out of his room. The lifeless, dark hallway flickered with light as thunder bolted out in the sky. The eery feeling this silence brought always made Ravi want to crawl back in the bedroom. But, his basic needs demanded his attention as well so here he was venturing through the suffocating hallways.
He descendent down the stairs when he felt his skin prickle for some reason. Ravi stopped on his way and tried to sense the environment. He furrowed his brows. What made him feel like that?
After a few minutes, Ravi decided to ignore the feeling and walked toward the open kitchen and dining area. The kitchen and dining area was separated from the living room and the staircase with two steps in between the areas.
Ravi walked up to the dining room and placed the jug under the water filter. He turned it on before moving to the fridge to bring out a bottle of cool water. He turned off the filter to grab the jug in one hand and bottle on the other one.
Ravi walked back to the table to put both the jug and bottle down when he heard a faint noise somewhere in downstairs. The same prickling sensation bothered him. This time he pressed his lips in a thin line. He focused back on the task only this time his ears were perked to pick up any kind of difference in the air.
He took his sweet time to pour the cool water to the half-filled jug and waited until the jug was full. He closed the jug lid before putting the bottle back in the fridge. He walked back to the table and pulled out a glass from the glass-stand. Another noise perked his ears and this time it was from upstairs. Ravi moved his eyes up for a blinking second before pouring the water on the glass from the jug.
Ravi slowly brought the cool glass against his lips before gulping down the cold water in one go. He sighed and slammed the glass down. His eyes wandered back to the knife-stand beside the sink on the kitchen counter.
He grabbed the glass and walked toward the sink. he twisted the water tap and washed the glass. He angled his body as if he was reaching for a towel, only his fingers grazed the handle of a sharp fruit knife and discreetly pulled it closer to his dark green t-shirt and tucked it safely inside the white pants.
Ravi took a deep breath and closed the running tap. He cleaned the glass and threw the towel away before turning around. His eyes roamed around the living room. Nothing was out of place. There was nothing wrong in the scene. It was a regular lived living room. But, Ravi knew better.
A faint smirk graced his lips before he walked out to the living area. He was standing in the middle of the big room. His eyes landed on the big floor-to-ceiling window on his right side that covered the entire wall. It was providing the breathtaking view of high-rise buildings and the brewing storm.
“Storm,” He whispered as he smirked.
Without a second thought, he threw the glass across the room and smashed it against the floor. The deafening silence turned into a chaos of noise and footsteps as Ravi felt surrounded by men all around him. They came out from behind the columns, rushed out of the doors and jumped down from upstairs. They were wearing black business suits, their faces were covered in a black mask and they were all armed. Their guns were pointed at him.
He looked at each and every one of them before giving them a warm smile.
“Wow! I have so many guests in my house and I don’t have anything to offer them at the moment. How rude of me!”
They didn’t move or breathe. Ravi sighed as his hand grazed the front side of his hip where he had hidden the knife.
“You people aren’t much of a talker, I see,” He started to walk around the sofas and heard the united clicks of their machine guns. “Well, then allow me to warm yourselves up.”
Nobody anticipated the swift roundhouse kick that made the masked guy flying around before knocking on the floor.
The war had begun.
The living room had turned into a hell ground in the next second. All the guns roared together. Bright yellow lights flashed in the room. People screamed profanities. Ravi Hussain stood no chance against them. He should have been as good as dead. But, things died down in the next second when they realized that Ravi Hussain was not amongst them. What! What happened?
The firing stopped. Flashed lights turned off and silence grazed the again. Ravi Hussain was gone. How? When? They looked around.
“Why did you guys stopped?”
All the heads whipped back toward the kitchen. There that man was, standing against the kitchen with a smug smile on his face. How did he get passed such mass of men and when? The team seemed to crack their cool. Ravi could literally smell the odor of confusion in the air.
But then, they didn’t know what he knew. They had no idea what that middle age of a man could do and that was the fun part. They saw Ravi roll a red apple in the air. Where did he get that?
“What? Want some! Here, catch!”
He threw the apple and banged one’s head with it before ducking down and rolling on the floor. The rain of fire was already started. They saw him roll across the dining table but none of them saw him stand up. Instead, they saw a flash of something speedy striking toward them and one of them let out a guttural scream. He flew away only to get stuck against the wall.
Panic seized the team as the scene unfolded before them. They blindly started to fire and run around the room. Ravi moved with the speed of lightning and delivered them sweet punches, sometimes a jab, uppercut or a roundhouse kick. He was invincible. The armed men faltered. Their movements were unorganized and scattered.
Who was this Ravi Hussain? How could he do this? He wasn’t supposed to be attacking them! They were armed, fully packed and he... He was supposed to be a weak, old man who dyed his graying hair.
Ravi left their questions unanswered as he kept serving his unwanted guests. At one point, those men started to back out. They were slowly getting out of the house, although, they kept firing at Ravi Hussain. Nobody cared to know if they were shooting right or wrong. Their fear got the best of them and that was what Ravi wanted.
He wanted them at his mercy. He wanted them to be confused and scared. That was why he dared to show a hidden part of his ability to them. They didn’t need to know that it was all his brainpower doing the job. Being born with such an ability to control the brain was both a gift and a curse. Only a few people in the world could do that.
Tonight, Ravi decided to turn his ability into his strength. He showed them he could move in a flash within a second when all he did was concentrating on his brain. He commanded his brain to slow down the movement motion for his eyes so that his body could get time to move faster than the actual timing of the action. When his eyes detected the slow motion of his enemies his body reacted faster. That was how he managed to trick them into believing the unbelievable.
Ravi saw them retreating back through the living room windows and upstairs. But, he couldn’t let all of them go away so easily. He grabbed the closest man by his collar and pulled off his black mask. The poor guy was literally shaking, at this point.
“Who sent you?” Ravi growled.
He shuddered but kept his lips sealed. Ravi growled again and punched him across his face.
“Who. Sent. You? Speak!”
He was trembling like a leaf. But, decided to dare open his mouth. “I-I won’t t-tell you. Y-You’re a monster.”
Ravi quirked his brows. “Monster! Now, I’m a monster, huh? You guys will keep my wife and torture her till death and I’m the evil here! Well, good. If you want to see what this monster can do than go ahead.”
Ravi pushed him down and straddled him before bringing out the knife from his hip. He placed the sharp tip right above his neck. His veins were visible. His body was shaking as adrenaline rushed through his body. He was electrified with the feeling of epinephrine.
"Speak," His voice was low, cold and firm.
Ravi saw tears in the corner of his eyes. His lips trembled.
Before Ravi could ask who, he felt a searing pain on his left arm that made him move away from the trembling man. He rushed to stand up and stumbled on his way toward his group. Ravi tried to ignore his pain and commanded his brain again. But, his eyes blurred and he held his head which gave the daring man ahead enough time to shoot again.
He was about to press the trigger, targetting Ravi's head. There was no mistake in his movement. The death of Ravi Hussain was certain. The death of the father of his master's nemesis. The master would be so happy, he would reward him and it would be easy to crumble Saravi Hussain into ashes. He smirked in triumphant.
His fingers started to press the trigger when his knees buckled and he cried out. The gun dropped on the floor along with him. The fresh, hot pain blinded him for a second. He looked up to see his attacker only to find a seething Saravi Hussain pointing a gun at him. As soon as their eyes met, another bullet ran in the air and he groaned touching his right shoulder.
He tried to move his left arm and reach the gun he dropped. But, before he could get it he saw something rush toward him from his peripheral vision and next thing he knew, a vase shattered against the floor after hitting him square on the same side of his shoulder.
He crumbled on the floor and soon a gun was placed against his head. Blood was oozing out from his open gash. A searing pain ran through his body. His eyes were blurry and breathing was ragged when he looked up at the living goddess of hell.
Her brown eyes were molten dark chocolate. Her brows furrowed, lips pressed together and nose scrunched in possibly disgust. He expected him to hit him when she raised the gun in the air only to stop. She took a deep breath as her eyes burned into him.
"Leave!" The hot lava in her voice was as clear as a day.
He didn't need any more hints. He groaned as he tried to scurry past the livid woman. He quickly managed to rush toward a window and jumped down.
Sara closed her eyes and breathed out before looking back at her father. She was finally seeing him after so many days only this time she was witnessing a broken man. This man was the one who Sara had never seen in her life before. She had seen him smile, determined, hopeful, even full of sick optimism but never this... Hurt. It broke her heart beyond she could handle. She felt tears prickle in the corner of her eyes.
Sara blinked them back and schooled her features before rushing toward the man she called her father. He was still holding his head with one hand and supporting his body with the other one. She carefully held him and helped him back on the sofa.
Ravi groaned as his body dropped on the soft surface. Sara rushed in the kitchen and turned on the lights before boiling the water, fetch a clean white towel and a clean knife. When she got things ready she rushed back to the living room and turned on the lights there as well. She sat beside her groaning father and held him.
"Dad," She whispered softly.
She smiled when Ravi grunted and looked at her. Two molten pair chocolate collided with each other after a long time. Many unnamed emotions swirled in them.
"Hold still, Dad. I got you."