LUCIDATION

Lucid-clear.
Lucidate (c)-make things appear or clearer.

For the hidden power contest

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2. Date gone wrong

 

I glance over the front seat. Apparently, it’s no less than a pig sty. Empty coke bottles and stale pizza ‘leftovers’ lay on the seat next to the driver’s. A party. Mild stench of smoke and alcohol fills my nostrils and any moment, I can be nauseous.

I try not to think about the smell and turn to the driver. The loud-mouthed, drunk Spaniard is presently howling at the other drivers. In the midst of the honking of cars, I can hear Spice Girls booming loudly.

I am jittery and maybe a bit light-headed. Peculiarly, my mind is occupied with organic chemistry equations.

I look at my watch. Oh God! Only ten minutes left. I open the car’s window and slowly, peep out. Cars lined up unevenly- that’s all I can see. It could extend for miles-the next traffic signal is more than four blocks away.

I take a deep breath and before the odour of rotting pizzas, smoke and liquor can enter my nose, I try to calculate.

The café is a couple of streets away. I could make it if I take some familiar shortcuts. I can reach on time and after all, a quick jog is better than suffocating in this mess for God-knows-how-long.

I get out of the car quietly and bend towards the driver.

“Thanks,” I say as I hand him a set of crisp notes.

His blood-shot eyes give me a cold stare and he turns to see the notes.

Don’t worry I’m feeling generous today, I think. After all, I got him into this traffic jam.

He smiles revealing his yellow, stained teeth, and says, “Gracias, senorita.”

I quickly make my way through the traffic. Vehicles parked haphazardly make it difficult to walk but as they are not moving presently, I’m relieved. I dodge a few cars and manage to get on the pavement. I rush past the commuters and finally, get onto the main boulevard.

The thought of finding Adam fuming on our first date, really sets my teeth on edge. Although his eyes speak differently of his temper, I don’t want to take any risks.

The boulevard is less-crowded. I run past the shops, halt for a minute or two to catch my breath and continue my course.

After ten minutes of running, I look at my watch. I’m late! I take a turn at Wally’s Bake Shop and see Adam standing-waiting outside the café. Before he can turn towards me, I pace quickly and stop in front of him-only to pant.

“Kate, what are you doing?” He looks at me-utterly confused.

“Sorry…”Words barely audible. “I…didn’t want to miss the…date.”

He stares at me in an as-a-matter-of-factly way.

“Calm down. It’s okay. I’m not gonna run away,” he smiles. “I know we both are nervous.” His words are indeed soothing.

I give an uneasy smile. “Shall we?” I ask and he holds my hand leads me into the café.

I peer around. The café isn’t crowded but I pick a table at the corner to avoid prying eyes.

Adam and I sit uncomfortably and after ordering the refreshments, I look at him carefully.  

His clear, blue eyes provide a sense of warmth and kindness. His clothes aren’t bright or flashy but he looks good in his pale orange jacket. He isn’t the strong type but I feel secure when he’s around.

“Well, did you see the movie I told you about?” He tries to start the conversation.

“I didn’t get time to watch it,” I reply. Movie sucks actually. I don’t want to be rude.

“Well, I’d say it was pretty boring actually,” he remarks after having understood my expression.

After an hour or so, we step out of the café and head out for a walk. Somehow, I can’t seem to remember the rest of the conversation. I guess it wasn’t boring but…the terrible coffee must have truly boggled my mind.

It’s a blur and yet, I can’t believe that I’m out with him. Before I do anything stupid, I remind myself that it’s indeed happening.

We take a turn at Wally’s, pass the wall decorated by ‘Wanted: Carl Wilson’ posters and finally, slow down towards the park.

“What are you planning for this Saturday?” he asks.

I gaze at him blankly for a moment. “I’m free!”

Oh no! What have I done? I have to attend my sister’s recital.

“Cool. ‘Cause I’ve got the tickets for that One Direction concert. We’ll have a blast together,” he smiles.

I remain silent at his remark but my eyes are still fixed on him. I don’t want to disappoint yet.

While Adam is going on about the Red Helmets, I pause and do the unthinkable.

“What if you and I trapped in a room together and only one of us could get out?” I blurt out. I wish I could’ve controlled my mouth but I’ve been meaning to ask him this.

“What?” He hasn’t heard my question.

“I said…” I begin to stammer. “What if…you and I are trapped in a room and only one of…us could get…” I pause. “Out?”

I feel very stupid at my doing. Jenny, my sister, her silly questions are just so…stupid and silly and they get into my head very easily compared to chemistry notes.

Adam stares at me and gently, takes my hand.

“Of course, I’ll be the one will stay back in the room,” he whispers. His pure voice makes me feel secure.

A little smile escapes from my lips as he puts his hand over my shoulder protectively. I look at his face. His white, broad visage is always beaming. I could anytime get lost in his blue eyes. His strong yet tender hand placed on my shoulder compels me to think that I will be always safe and protected under his watch.

I move closer to him and…when it’s about to happen, I feel a sudden yet mild spark.

******

‘C-H-three-C-O-O-H  plus  C-two-H-five-O-H  gives  C-H-three-C-O-O-C-two-H-five  and  water…’

I swallow hard and look at the road ahead. My head aches. It feels as though someone is pounding my body. I can’t help but sweat. I take a deep breath trying to fix myself back. Adam’s hand on my shoulder seems to be getting heavier and heavier every minute. I remove his hand politely and try to focus on my walking.

The road looks as good as it can be; so does the sky. A rapid wave of tiredness overpowers me and I stop. I put my hand over my forehead and try to calm myself. What is happening to me?

Adam notices that I’m not with him and he returns to me.

“Kate? Are…are you all right?” he asks-worried.

I remove my hand from my face. It’s turned red, I’ve noticed. I am gasping for air in the cold and my head hurts…still echoing with this strange thought.

“Adam, I don’t know…what happening to me,” I pant. I breathe again and say, “I…my forehead is burning…like hell. I… can’t….”

I hyperventilate. Adam holds my hand but he seems to be slipping away.

“Calm down, Kate,” he says-his voice showing some panic.

I try to remember how I came to this point and yet… I can’t. This place isn’t familiar. Even Adam is a stranger to me.

Do I even know him?

 I look around searchingly. Watching people do their work or just stroll around calms me a little.

“Kate, let me take you home,” he suggests, nodding carefully. I shove him aside and look out.

Before my breathing worsens, I suffer a violent jolt and instantly, Spice Girls is ringing in my ears.

I turn left trying to make out from where the tune is coming. Instead, I see a mob of angry commuters marching towards me.

“What…?”Adam looks up trying to figure out something.

“Adam!” I scream as I find an armed man-a familiar criminal drawing closer to us.

Adam wastes no time in dodging Carl Wilson- the man from the Wanted posters. He falls down with a loud thud and his bloodied knife spills out of his hand. But he does not hesitate to stand up to attack again.

Adam’s grip over my hand stiffens and I realise that it’s not only Wilson but also the others who are circling us-maybe to attack us.

Strange aroma of cheese fills my nostrils and before I can understand what is going on, Adam pulls me. Now I’m being dragged away from the scene. With my head throbbing, my heart thumping crazily, my feet surprisingly do not protest.

I let go of Adam’s sweaty hand and continue to run on my own. I turn back and find that people are still trooping behind us-to get us. They are quite away from us, and when the thought of victoriously escaping could come to my mind, a sudden stumble renders me mute and shocked.

Adam rushes to me; he moves the number plate away from my feet and helps me get up.  Before he and I can scuttle away from here, yet again a violent pull astounds me. Adam reaches for my hand but the manic mob is consuming.

Faces-especially apathetic, emotionless ones peering down at me, really sets my teeth on edge. I manage to get up but the huge wall of people is presently preventing me from getting to Adam.

I don’t bother about the headache now for a different problem has occupied my mind.

 People are encompassing me and any moment, they can strike me like white bloods cells when encountered with a foreign body. A hand emerges from behind the barrier and tries to grab me but in vain. A moment later a number plate materialises. I clutch the plate tightly as the barrage begins to close in. I puff for air again in this packing. I can’t even sense Adam-whose hands are tightly holding mine.

The crowd is cornering me and before Carl Wilson surfaces from the front. Before the sharp blade of his knife can even touch me… I suffer another intense blow.

******                                                                 

Warm breeze is humming in my ears. I know I am surrounded by people but I hesitate to open my eyes. My sweaty hands are grasping onto a set of clammy, cold hands. Even the chilliness of the metal plate can be felt. I inhale slowly and a whiff rather-a mix of alcohol and pizza enters my nose. The smell compels me to open my eyes and I find myself hovering mid-air.

I am surrounded by body…or bodies and I have no idea if they are lifeless or not, however I am still grappling with those hands.

My head feels dizzy, my body is still unaware of the current condition outside and I suppose my subconscious or the earth’s gravity is playing tricks on my baffled mind.

A piercing scream erupts from my throat as a sudden sensation of free fall conquers me.

I am falling…breaking away from this surreal reverie, hoping that a tranquil stream of water below will break the fall…..

*******

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