Every so often while being lost in the dark abyss of my thoughts, I find myself indulging in the reminiscence of the memories of my past; moments bound loose like the pages in an old leather binding. Turning them with delicate care, I still find myself reading every line, revisiting every character. Memories, the remembrance of which makes my heart wish for the pages to never end. My only tether to sanity.
The most precious treasure that I cherish with my life yet with each flip I struggle not to cave in to the desire of setting every page alight.
Oh, the irony of life!
And now, here I am, reading those pages yet again, desperately looking for some clue to connect all the dots. My mind goes into a frenzy, failing to find the answer to that one question that I had been incessantly asking, Who was he?
Frustrated beyond measure, the brunt of it is taken by the folder in my hands that was supposed to be the key to finding the answers to all my queries. Instead, I end up with more unanswered questions. All that hard work for nothing!
“Where did he fit in? Why did he have these?” I think to myself as I’m scanning the items of the black bag sprawled like puzzle pieces across the wooden floor of his room.
The picture was almost complete except the final piece was nowhere to be found. A gaping hole stared right back at me, with the end piece nowhere in sight.
The end piece being him.
“So he was indeed sent by them,” I mutter angrily, kicking the bag whose contents I have been itching to explore. Feeling defeated as I make my way to put everything back in its place, my gaze falls on, what looks like, a journal.
Crouching on the floor, I picked it up. I run my hands over the brown hand-embossed leather that, for some reason, looked familiar. I try to recall where I have seen it before, but nothing comes to me.
I could feel butterflies swarming in the pit of my stomach, not being sure if I wanted to take a peek. Every fiber of my being was screaming at me that whatever was in it would be my undoing. But I needed answers, and time was not on my side.
My fingers subconsciously reach out to fiddle with my necklace like they always do only to find nothing around my neck. I bit my quivering lip, feeling a pang of sadness in my heart.
The necklace was gone, so was my only ray of hope.
It was given to me by someone I deeply care for. Even though the circumstances under which I was given this weren’t ideal, it did make me feel closer to him when he wasn’t around.
My heart has been grieving its loss ever since, and this moment was no exception, but then my mind knows that now is not the time.
I shake my head in an attempt to clear the fog of doubts wavering my resolve. No matter how bitter the consequences are, I can no longer run fearing it.
Where else could I go anyway?
Taking a deep breath, I tentatively flipped it open. I have to admit that a cliché part of me expected to be greeted by the owner’s name written in an intricate cursive font, but I’m met with an unforgeable chicken scratch instead. Even in this fucked up situation, a chuckle manages to escape me.
“A.J,” I read the scribbled text out loud.
Were those his initials?
I scan the first few pages, that proved to be of little interest to me until something catches my attention and the wheels start turning in my head.
This couldn’t be, could it?
With each word, my eyes widen and the dread intensifies. This was not looking good. It couldn’t be him. My heart wasn’t ready to accept it.
I close the journal quickly, not being able to read any further. The more I went on, the sicker I felt. I had never felt more disgusted in my life than I do now and my eyes had witnessed things far more sinister.
My feet seem to have frozen in place, not being able to process the new information that has come to light. But I knew, the journal entries showed only half the picture. There was more to this.
My eyes frantically roam around, looking for further clues, until they stop to notice something that brings a distinct memory back.
I know what I have to do now.
AFTER SOME TIME
“No, this is crazy!” I muttered to myself for the umpteenth time as I look at everything lying in front of me, seeing it in a new light.
Pieces are finally falling into place, but the new picture formed being nowhere close to the one I had initially developed in my mind. It was far scarier.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! What is that supposed to mean? This is fucking crazy!” I mumble to myself as I’m pacing back and forth, panic clawing at my throat.
This explains almost everything. Almost.
But still, there are gaps in this story. He had nothing to gain from this. He was never a part of it. Yet, somehow he was, as the contents suggest.
The journal. I have to read the rest of the journal!
“Where is it for fuck’s sake?” I scream in frustration as I try to find where I had put it last, before ransacking this room. I glance at the clock and it was almost two hours now. This looks bad. I have to hurry up.
“Oh, there it is!” I sigh in relief. Running both out of time and patience, I stride my way towards it and begin to flip the pages in haste. Just then, my clumsy self manages to drop it in a hurry and when I do, something slips out of it.
I crouch to pick it up, the journal on the floor forgotten, and when I flip it over, my breath hitches while my hands flung to cover my mouth as an audible gasp escapes me.
My feet stagger a few steps back, the shock of it all hitting me like a tidal wave.
I can’t stay here anymore!
Without giving the messed up room a second glance, I run downstairs, bolting straight for the locked door. In a fit, my fists begin ceaselessly banging on it, in the hopes that someone would come and take me away from all this.
“Let me out! Let me out! Please! I’m begging you, let me out! Someone, anyone please help me!” I cried out loud with every last bit of my strength which I knew, was futile. It didn’t work when I had first tried, there was no reason for it to work now.
Shoulders slumped, I collapse on the floor. Streaks of angry tears marred my face, my determination shriveled like a dead flower.
I felt hurt. I felt betrayed but above all, I felt scared. Scared of what this actually was and meant.
So, is this the reason behind everything?
It took me a while to put two and two together, but when I did, that’s when all hell broke loose.
Three years ago, when I had escaped the nightmare that my life was, deep down, I knew the ghosts of my past would come chasing after me, whispering in my ear that my end was near.
But, never in a million years, would I have ever thought it would come back to haunt me in his form.
And truth be told, I probably deserve it.
A/N: Hey everyone! First of all, a big thank you to you all for giving this story a chance.