Max Arena

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Light and Pancakes

9am, 5th August (3 days later). Light and Pancakes

A soft light slowly filtered into Kris’ senses, but from where, she did not know. Nor did she much care. All she knew was that it was peaceful and quiet. No storm raged about her and it had not been like this for a very long time.

The light grew steadily brighter and a different world slowly began to take form. A large window full of seamless blue sky filled Kris’ vision, a slight wafting breeze ruffling the lace curtains either side of the space. The peace infused her.

Then she smelled something. Something delicious. Kris searched her memory for the aroma and found it. Pancakes. By now she knew she was awake and that could only be good. Bright blue sky, pancakes and no pain inside her mind.

Turning her head to look around, Kris discovered a massive bedroom. She did not recognise any of the furnishings or fittings, but the total serenity overcame any hint of uncertainty. It just felt safe and that made her actual whereabouts unimportant.

Laying her head back down on the pillow, Kris watched reflected light play across the ceiling, dancing and flickering in a random and carefree pattern. The chatter of parrots sounded through the window and behind it all, there was another sound, something familiar. The sea.

A twinge of fear pricked inside her. The storm was coming back. Kris’ eyes flicked around the room again, waiting for the roar to rise and crash, but instead it stayed in the background. The waves did not rear up. The sea stayed calm. The world held its peace.

’It is the real ocean you hear,’ sounded a soft, familiar voice, its rolling baritone as musical to her ears as any classical symphony. Kris lifted her head and found Abdullah sitting in a large, ornately carved and upholstered chair beyond the foot of her bed. ’The sea in your head is silent and calm. You are safe, Kris. You have found your way to shore.’

Kris did not know what to say, so all she did was look at Abdullah’s kindly face, absorb it and attach it to his words. She was safe and Abdullah was here to prove it. He spoke again.

‘You were adrift a long time,’ he said. ‘Three days have passed since you left us, but you have returned. Your strength has brought you to safe haven and with just a little more recuperation, you will be free of your fears forever. Of that I am sure.’

Kris still did not know what to say and then her senses reminded her of something else.

‘Pancakes?’ she asked with a blend of uncertainty and hope.

Abdullah smiled, his features softening even further. ‘I apologise,’ he said. ‘Pancakes are perhaps my one true weakness and I have just indulged myself. However, if you wish, I can have some more sent up in just a few minutes?’

‘You’ve been here the whole time?’ Kris asked quietly.

‘Not the whole time. Elsa, Max and Joseph, and even Millie and Jason have been sharing the vigil. They all care very much about you, Kris and will be overjoyed to know you have awoken.’

Kris looked at Abdullah a little longer, unable to break her gaze from his face. He appeared so calm, so tranquil and something else? Secure. That was it. Secure. Like Max, the world revolved around Abdullah, not the other way around. Abdullah affected the world. It did not affect him, but the difference between Abdullah and Max was that Max acted physically, whereas Abdullah always remained passive, his calm, soothing demeanour belying his true strength and his true power. In many ways, Abdullah was far stronger and far more powerful than Max could ever be and as this man sat quietly in his chair at the foot of the bed, his pristine white robes draped around him and his hands resting comfortably on his crossed knees, Kris knew that it had been Abdullah who had brought her back to shore. It was Abdullah who had saved her from the turmoil in her mind. How, she did not know, but deep in her heart, she knew it had been him, sitting quietly at the end of the bed, undoubtedly praying to his god and just watching. A sentinel. Her sentinel.

Kris let her head fall back to the pillow and returned her view to the playing lights on the ceiling. It was time to start living again.

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