Dying To Live

  • 02 Dec - 08 Dec, 2017
  • Annie Zahid
  • Fiction

They had to park their car a street away from the Waffle House because of a road blockage. However, they decided to not dwell on it and planned that they needed to have some fun after last night’s stress. So they called their friends to the Waffle House too. They were already late for breakfast but had it anyway and decided that they might as well wait for their friends’ college and work timings to end. Damian called Chad and Jesse too, remembering how pleasant the time spent with them was. Jesse was as sweet as ever and Chad wasn’t problematic anymore.

They sat there idly and waited for their friends. Chad came but Jesse couldn’t because he had a day shift at the local hospital’s Emergency Room again. Lexie was shocked to discover that Damian got in touch with Chad after all these years. She was even more shocked when she found out that he was with Chad all day yesterday. Much to Damian’s discomfort, she recalled last night’s happenings to Chad who got extremely worried for Damian.

After assuring Chad that he was ok, and after the rest of their friends had arrived, introductions were made. Lexie flagged down a waitress and they all placed their orders. Good thing for them was that despite popular belief, the Waffle House didn’t sell only waffles, there was also a wide range of savoury dishes on their menu.

This party of 10 people had a lot of fun and despite being adults, made a lot of noise in the Waffle House. They managed to get a surprising amount of disapproving glares from the rest of the customers present in the short span of about three hours.

Lexie declared that as his punishment for worrying her so much last night, and since she didn’t have any money on her and asking their friends to pay was simply wrong as they had invited them (the friends protested on this part and expressed their wish to pay for themselves), Damian had to pay for the whole party and didn’t mind doing so. It was the opposite, really. He was all too happy to not fight with anyone on the bill and gladly paid it as his treat.

After that, they waited untill all their friend’s had left and made sure that those who did not have a car caught a Lyft or Uber back home. Genuinely happy and well-fed, they walked down the block to where Lexie’s car was parked in the backstreet.

Damian noticed some sketchy people standing at the edge of the street they were in. They kept glancing at their direction and talking in hushed whispers with mean looking faces.

Damian expressed his wish to drive and surprisingly, Lexie agreed to let him drive and threw her car keys at him. When Damian caught the keys, he felt his heart leap and an increasing heartbeat. Not because of fear or panic, but because of a rush of adrenaline through his body at seeing the number 0 written on his own wrist. He should have been feeling scared, after all, he was going to die. But the only thing that scared him in that moment was how unafraid he was. Maybe, his fear was masked by the adrenaline rushing through his body in that moment, or maybe, he was ready for death, and unafraid of her.

He glanced at Lexie’s wrist. Nothing. He glanced back at his own wrist. 0. A hope sparked in his heart. He might just save her. But it meant that he was going to die. Somehow, he felt like he already knew this today when he woke up. He felt like this is why he had decided to meet all his friends today. Because somehow, he knew. The same voice as the previous night echoed in his mind: “You weren’t supposed to know.” This time though, the voice felt familiar. And Damian felt like he knew what was happening. He had tried to mess with death’s plan, so death decided to make him its plan.

They couldn’t go back out of there as the only exit was now blocked by the sketchy people. For some reason, the thought of defending himself and Lexie, or trying to escape, felt impossible, especially at the first sight of sunlight gleaming off the barrels of the guns and the hilts of the knives that the people were now holding and pointing towards them.

Damian felt like he had made his peace with life and would not mind parting with it. He felt like this was the moment he had been waiting for all his life; the moment he dies. He knew they weren’t going to shoot since shooting meant everyone around the area will hear the noise and come to inspect. They were just using the guns to scare them into surrendering without causing a commotion. And since things could go wrong if Damian acted recklessly and he would never put his sister’s life willingly at risk, their plan worked.

With a pounding heart and a shaky smile, he told his sister how much he loved her. The ringing in his ears disabled him from hearing her reply or what the goons were now shouting at them. He slowly raised his hands up and moved himself in front of his sister, subtly shielding her with his body. With slow, precise movements, he took out his wallet, and placed it with the car keys on the ground. Lexie did the same with her purse and rings.

The numbers on their wrist clearly told their fate, but Damian foolishly tried to save his sister by making careful movements so that the other party doesn’t shoot at them. Raising one arm very slowly in a defensive manner, he started speaking, “Just let us go. Take all of it. We won’t tell anyone.”

“Damn right ye won’t!” shouted one goon. “We’re taking everything.”

Damian didn’t protest as one guy took everything from the ground and unlocked the car and got in the driver’s seat. With a gun pointing at Damian and one at Lexie, they made them move aside as the rest of them piled in Lexie’s car and another one which Damian hadn’t noticed before. There weren’t any guns pointed at them anymore and Damian was about to breathe a sigh of relief when a guy with a particularly nasty looking grin came forward saying, “We take the car, and the girl, too.”

As soon as he made a grab for Lexie, Damian made a grab for him with a shout of protest. Damian stood in front of Lexie and pushed the bearded goon off of her. The goon fell to the ground and one of the other goons panicked and shot a bullet without an aim. It hit Damian’s side.

to be continued...