Dying To Live

  • 25 Nov - 01 Dec, 2017
  • Annie Zahid
  • Fiction

Chad noticed Damian’s distressed state and after inquiring about his health and getting an incoherent answer, decided that perhaps Damian was tired and sleepy. So they both said their goodbyes and Chad saw Damian to the door.

Once inside the safety of his car, Damian put the key in the ignition with shaking fingers. Heaving out some deep breaths, he started the car and drove it a few blocks away from Chad’s house. Parking it at the edge of an unfamiliar street, Damian allowed himself to have an anxiety induced breakdown. He kept getting the same feeling he had gotten sitting in Chad’s living room, that somehow he wasn’t supposed to know how to trick the countdown. Jesse, Tanya, and Chad also tricked it, but unknowingly. The same thought seemed to be echoing around in his brain again and again. However, the strangest thing was, that the thought seemed foreign. As if it wasn’t his own. It felt like someone else was warning him over and over again that he knew something that he wasn’t supposed to know… that he knew too much.

It was around midnight, when he was alone having a breakdown in his car. If something were to happen right now, he wouldn’t be able to defend himself against a cat, let alone a thief (or a group of them). Still, the darkness and loneliness of the night wasn’t what caused goosebumps to appear on his arms. It was such an eerie feeling that it sent shivers down his spine. He was sweating profusely now, and breathing more rapidly than ever. If someone were to see him like this – pale, heaving, and sweating buckets – they would break the glass of his window and call 911 to save the ‘dying’ man.

With a ringing in his ears, and his heart pounding in his chest, he knew he couldn’t drive back home or stay out here alone. So with great difficulty he picked up his phone to dial his sister’s number, only to see he had four missed calls from her.

Feeling guilty about worrying her, he couldn’t bring himself to worry her more by making her drive all the way out. Worrying about how worried Lexie must be brought back some sense and feeling into his body. Mustering up enough strength from God knows where, he started driving his car. He had to turn on the GPS because of his disoriented state even though he knew the way back home.

Standing on the steps to his apartment while waiting for Lexie to open the door, he felt like he was going to pass out. There was what felt like a block of ice in his throat and his body felt too heavy for him to handle. When Lexie threw open the door, he looked up at her face with heavy-lidded eyes. Her face was red with anger, and fear. She was shouting something at him but the ringing in his ears had returned full force so he couldn’t hear her. He tried to speak but couldn’t make a sound. Her face and everything else was getting blurry. Was he crying? He wanted to check but he couldn’t feel his face or arms.

When Lexie motioned for him to come inside the house, he tried to lift up his foot to take a step. Instead of walking into the apartment, he fell face first. The last thing he heard before passing out was Lexie’s scream which sounded to him like she was screaming his name from under water, and then he heard the same intruding voice in his head saying that he wasn’t supposed to know so much.

Sometime later when he regained consciousness, he was lying in his own bed. Lexie was curled up on the chair beside his bed with a tear-stained face, and their parents were both present in the room as well. He was grateful that they didn’t bombard him with questions straight away, instead chose to be quiet. Sitting up with some difficulty, he gestured for Lexie to pour him some water from the bottle on the nightstand. His mouth was as dry as sand.

Drinking water cleared up his head a little and it didn’t feel as heavy anymore. Then he leaned back against the headboard, looking at his family and waiting for the onslaught of questions they no doubt were going to throw his way. He, himself was trying to recall what had happened last night. Lexie was the first one to question in a voice heavy with emotion, “Where were you all day yesterday?”

He took a deep breath and answered that he was at a friend’s.

His mother was the next one to speak up. “You could have informed your sister that you were going out or were going to be late…” his mother cut short her rant and took a shaky breath, coming forward to hug him. That was followed by his father hugging him awkwardly from the side and both of them telling him to be more responsible. Damian assured them it was no big deal, his blood sugar level was very low and he didn’t notice, which caused him to pass out. It took some apologising and sweet-talking to get Lexie to let go of her frustration and anger and to forgive her brother. Then she came forward for a hug as well.

After pestering him about his diet plan and health, his parents finally left after he promised to cut down on junk food and start eating healthy. However, he realised his parents were the least of his worries because Lexie had been holding off her questions in front of their parents so that she wouldn’t worry them and then she let it all break loose.

Last night had been the last straw and now all of the pent up frustration from the past weeks came to the surface in big, angry bursts. Her voice could have easily been mistaken for a banshee’s because she was shouting so loud, demanding answers from Damian for his weird behaviour.


“I already told you I was with a friend.”


“Why would you check in with my friends though? I go out all the time.”


“LEX!” Damian’s patience snapped and he also started shouting.

Lexie pinched the bridge of her nose and tried to calm down. “I know you are your own person and you can take care of yourself but you didn’t tell me that you were going out. You didn’t text. Or call. Or answer any of my calls. You went out early in the morning. I was bound to be worried when it was 4am the next morning and you were nowhere to be found!”

“I’m sor… wait hold up! What did you say? 4am?!”

“Yes, you absolute genius.”

Damian was shocked beyond belief. He had left Chad’s house at about 11pm. Apparently, his breakdown had been very long and he hadn’t realised that.

“I’m really sorry Lexie. I went out with an old friend from school and then we ran into another old friend and we got carried away. I didn’t realise how late it had gotten and informing you completely slipped my mind. I’m so sorry, I never meant to worry you like that.”

A few more promises and a fake story of catching up with high school friends later, he was forgiven, and Lexie was going to drive them to the Waffle House for a very late breakfast.

to be continued...