Dying To Live

  • 09 Dec - 15 Dec, 2017
  • Annie Zahid
  • Fiction

Another ‘No!’ was heard; this time not by Damian because Lexie was being taken away, but by Lexie because Damian had just been shot. The guy who had shot the bullet looked as pale as Damian and cursed incessantly while stomping one foot on the ground.

They were just a bunch of reckless wannabes who had somehow gotten access to weapons. They all looked nervous but still very arrogant before this, but now they looked panic-stricken and afraid. The guy who had fired was still getting cursed at by his fellows and was now gripping his head in panic when the other goon got off the ground and shouted at him to get in the car. He didn’t move straight away. Instead, he kept looking at the blood pooling out of Damian’s body and onto the ground. Another shout and a tin can thrown at him made him run and get into the car.

Noises could be heard outside the street, which was understandable because except for this block, the rest of the area was pretty much industrial and busy. And the gun shot had echoed. Some people, including the manager of the Waffle House appeared on the edge of the street, but both the cars managed to escape.

Lexie had Damian’s head cradled in her lap; he was lying on his back with his face towards the sun. He was trying hard to keep his eyes open, but Lexie’s tear-stained blotchy face was getting blurry, and he was losing feeling in his limbs. He couldn’t decide if his head felt light or heavy, but the peacefulness that always seemed to come with passing out decided to sweep him in its arms, Damian couldn’t bring himself to fight and he let himself go.

The next moment that Damian was aware of was when he was being hoisted into an ambulance. He opened his eyes about a millimetre and let them fall shut again. He had always hated the noise an ambulance’s siren made whenever one happened to pass by him. He discovered he didn’t like it any more even when he was inside it either.

Lexie Campbell’s unlimited prayers for her brother’s safety and Mrs Campbell’s seemingly endless chant of “Please don’t let my dear son die, Oh God! Please!” went unnoticed and unanswered. Mr Campbell seemed ready to make a deal with the devil just in case God wouldn’t answer. However, neither their love for him, nor the doctor’s countless efforts could save Damian Campbell from dying.

Lexie was devastated. She grieved for months. The first stage of her grief, right after she got the news from the doctor, was doing what anyone who loses someone they love do; denying it happened. Then came anger at herself for not being able to save him. After that was anger at the universe for not compromising with Damian and Lexie’s plan of always sticking together. They were born together, they did everything together – she cursed the universe for they should have died together too.

All of that was followed by a crushing, soul-splitting pain when she realised that she would never be able to see her brother ever again. She would not be able to talk to him, or laugh with him; she would not get to watch him getting married nor get to be an amazing aunty and spoil his children.

Her grief prevented her from packing up and putting away all his stuff. Or let anyone else do it. She didn’t go in his room for months. She avoided looking at his stuff. She locked the apartment up and came to live with her parents for some time.

After crying till she felt like she was physically drained of any tears, she went back to the apartment. It was disrespectful to Damian’s memory to leave his stuff unattended to.

She had thought she would be physically unable to cry any more than she already had, but she was proven wrong once she started going through his stuff. His favourite coffee mug, his favourite shirt, his favourite cologne which he loved but she hated. One by one, she put everything away in organised, unmarked and unnamed boxes. She did not need to mark them, for she would always know them.

At the end, all that was left was his furniture and his electronic gadgets. He had told her that she was to seal all his accounts if something were to happen to him, and he had trusted her enough to let her know all his passwords, so she did not have any problem in accessing his gadgets. After posting a short note on each of his social media accounts, she started uploading important documents and stuff to the cloud and drive.

Going through different folders, she found a folder which was also linked to an app on his phone. It was a series of what looked like weekly diary entries, dating back to about four years ago.

From the looks of it, it was a type of a journal he had kept. It seemed very personal, and no matter how curious she was by nature, she would not have violated his privacy by reading it. She would not have read the entries if they were not addressed to her.

A lot of ‘Dear Lexie’s’ and ‘Love, Damian’s’ were read. He had narrated in the journal his past four years for her, knowing she would find it sooner or later. The more and more she read, it became apparent that Damian addressed them to her to get a burden off his chest, but never intended for her to actually read them.

The entries started from the week he had figured out what the numbers meant, and ended with him saying that he was going to go meet Chad and see what he had to say.

After reading all of it, Lexie put two and two together and understood for herself what Chad had said to Damian.

She was supposed to die, but Damian found a way to somehow save her. He had found death’s secret. A secret he wasn’t supposed to find out. And after that, he had exchanged his life for hers. And that’s why he had died, so that she wouldn’t have to.

This exchange affected Lexie too.

Lexie was not supposed to live, nor find out Damian’s secret. Now she was the new harbinger of death after her brother. This was her price to pay.

Lexie Campbell managed to save a lot of lives in her lifetime. Not as much as she would have liked to save, but still. However, she didn’t die while doing that. She was now old and satisfied with life. At the age of 56, after finding out all that she could have about the mysterious supernatural countdown and using that knowledge to her full advantage and saving a lot of lives, this is when Lexie Campbell felt like she had made her peace with life. Death was kinder to her than it was to her brother, and gave her a 100-days warning. And when the clock on her wrist struck 0 and death showed up to collect her soul, Lexie Campbell died with a smile on her face. •