Dying To Live

  • 11 Nov - 17 Nov, 2017
  • Annie Zahid
  • Fiction

Damian’s Sunday was spent mulling over Jesse and his return trip from the land of the dead. His mind conjured up all the theories with which this could be explained. One such theory stood out the most, that maybe dying and returning to life is somehow the answer. This was too absurd a theory, even for the harbinger of death. But since he could see supernatural countdowns on people’s wrists, he figured he wasn’t the best person to decide what’s possible and real, and what’s impossible and unreal. The only way to confirm this theory, he decided, is to find out if something similar happened to Tanya and Chad.

Monday arrived.

Standing outside the workplace of Tanya Deyes, which was the town’s bank, Damian pep-talked himself into doing something he never ever thought he would have to do. Not after getting out of the hellhole that was Coldbridge High School, at least.

In order to secure a shot at saving his sister’s life, he was going to meet his least favorite person, who bullied him and his twin sister relentlessly in school, but that wasn’t the worst part though. The worst part was that he was going to have to be nice and friendly to her.

Once inside, finding Tanya was not a sweat. He walked up to the person who seemed the most likely to throw a slushy at someone’s face, and voila!

Tanya had changed considerably since he last met her, he noticed, but the air of arrogance and the judgmental look in her eyes was all too familiar.

“Good afternoon, sir! How may I help you?” asked Tanya, looking as unwilling to help anyone as ever. He had come under the guise of inquiring about opening a foreign currency account so he asked her about it. He tried to hide his bitter smile when she addressed him as ‘sir’ instead of ‘loser’ or ‘Demon Campbell’. When she looked up at him, he could see the faint recognition in her eyes. It was almost non-existent, but it was there. After she informed him of the procedure which he had no interest in, she told him she would direct him to another staff member who had given him the form, and then she proceeded to ask, “What did you say your name was?”

Hearing his name seemed to have clicked something in her mind. Recognition flashed in her eyes and the slight, taunting smirk that played on her lips made Damian curl his own lip in disgust. Schooling his expression and feigning excitement, Damian said, “Tanya, right? Fancy meeting you here.” He cringed at his poor choice of words as soon as those words left his mouth.

“Umm, yeah! I kinda work here,” was her sarcastic reply.

No kidding, Sherlock, Damian wanted to say, instead, he settled for, “Yeah, I can see that.”

The next half an hour was tortuously painful for Damian, as he pretended to be friendly to Satan herself. But he thought he deserved an Oscar award for his acting skills since Tanya bought his i-have-forgotten-you-used-to-put-gum-on-my-seat-and-throw-slushies-at-my-face-and-I-wanna-be-your-friend act. Tanya ended up being the one giving him a form and helping him fill it, unaware of the fact that he was going call in later to have it cancelled. She was being slightly more friendly and likeable this time around than she ever was in their high school days. Damian managed to get the idea of a hang-out into her head and very awkwardly, they exchanged numbers.

2 weeks later

Damian Campbell drove down Marine drive, with no particular destination in his mind. His sister only had 70 more days to live. He only had 70 more days to figure out a way to save her from dying.

Tanya Deyes wasn’t a very open person. It had taken two weeks on his part to break down Tanya’s walls and fake friendliness in order to get her to open up to him. And even then, she hadn’t revealed much to him. However, she did say that she faced a near-death experience where she felt like she slipped ‘in and out of this world quite a few times.’

It was enough to throw another spark into his pre-existing theory a little, but not enough to fully confirm it. Even though he had previously decided that he wasn’t going to talk to Chad, but now it seemed like the only logical step to take next.

Chad Covey could either confirm or destroy the theory that dying was somehow the way to save oneself from death. At this thought, Damian slowed down the car and shook his head rather fiercely at the absurdity of it all. Not the most (or at all) likeable, Chad was still an open blabber mouth who would tell anyone anything. Damian knew where he lived and he also knew that he will just have to talk to him for about half an hour without losing control and punch him straight in the face, for him to tell Damian all he needed to know.

However, as simple as it seemed, Damian couldn’t find enough courage in himself to do it. What if his theory was wrong? What if Chad said something completely different from what Tanya and Jesse have said to him? What if Jesse, Tanya, and Chad survived due to sheer luck?

‘Dying and coming back to life is the way to save yourself from death.’ As ridiculous as that idea was, it was his only hope. What if Chad took away his only hope at saving Lexie’s life?

He steeled and readied himself for anything Chad could possibly say, and decided that no matter what Chad says, not talking to him at all wasn’t an option. He should just get it over with instead of wasting more time worrying. Here goes everything, Damian thought to himself as he took a turn towards the place where Chad lived. But then he changed his route a little and decided to have tea. The tea would help soothe his nerves a little, and he decided he deserved the help.

Standing outside Chad’s condo, he admired the place a little, while internally cursing systematic oppression and prejudices. Instead of spending more time dwelling on his hate for capitalism and racism, he rang the bell. The sound of the doorbell disturbed the peaceful evening for it was very loud… so was Damian’s heartbeat.

Only after ringing the doorbell did he get anxious about explaining the reason for showing up unannounced to the house of a person he wasn’t the least bit friendly with. The idea which had been floating around in his subconscious mind made itself known with a pang of guilt in his heart. Not a lot of time had gone by since their high school batch’s in-charge Ms Posey died of old age. The class-fellows weren’t on the best terms with each other, but they all loved their in-charge. Some of his initial guilt was eased by the fact that whatever he would say about her death would at least be genuine. He was brought out of his thoughts when the door opened to reveal a very grumpy-looking and very tall Chad.

to be continued...