I Won't Let You Die Angel (10 page)

BOOK: I Won't Let You Die Angel
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Chapter 16


exclaimed as her glowing eyes continued to gaze at the shining stars. That moment,
her eyes were the prettiest thing in the world, even prettier than the stars. I
couldn’t help myself from admiring her innocence. She rushed towards a raised dais
about her height and began to lift her legs to climb, her hands reaching to top.

are you doing? Stop it, you are going to hurt yourself.” I gripped her wrists firmly.

“I… I want to touch the
stars.” She tried to free herself from my grip fruitlessly.

“You can’t touch the stars.”

“No, I can. I want to….”
She cried and started beating her legs.

“Ok, ok, stop.” Seriously,
this girl will be the end of me. I circled my hands around her waist and lifted
her upward so that she could sit on the dais.

“Yay!” She clapped her hands
together. I lifted myself up and lay myself beside her. She lifted her hand in the
air and tried holding the stars, trying to pull them down.

“Stupid stars; I hate them.”
She mumbled angrily.

“Why do you hate them? They
are pretty. They always shine.” I stared at her, waiting for an answer. She turned
her face towards me and placed her head on my arm scooting herself closer. The soft
warmth of her body induced something totally foreign in me.

“Fireflies are better. These
stars shine only above, they never come down. But my pretty fireflies glow in the
jar, and they are always with me.” She was lost in her thoughts. I did not interrupt
her, I too got lost in my own train of memories.

After a moment she pouted
towards the stars and continued, “On my seventh birthday, I asked my dad for an
unusual gift. I wanted seven stars for myself, which would always shine for me.
I was so intrigued by their light that I always tried to touch them from my window.”

“One night, I stood on my
terrace wondering why I couldn’t touch them even at this height. I hated them for
being so far away. So I asked dad to gift me seven stars. He didn’t say anything
at the moment, just darted out of the house. I was worried that I had gotten him
mad. But when he came back, he held a jar in his hand with seven fireflies inside.”

“He gently put the jar in
my palms and kissed my forehead mumbling
Happy Birthday. These will be with you
always, shining for you, giving you light even in the darkest of times
. He told
met the jar was specially designed by him to make sure they survived inside it.
Since then, I always kept the jar, freeing the fireflies every four months and refilling

There was an extended absence
of sound. Finally, breaking that unnerving silence, I asked, “But what about the
fireflies, weren’t they held captive.”

Captivity does not always
equate to endurance,”
She said with grave seriousness, well, as much seriousness
as a drunken girl can muster.

“They were my motivation.
They had the capability to give light to someone’s life. They were the cause of
my happiness and the catalyst for my interest in science. They would feel proud
of it. They would feel honored to save someone’s life’s goal, because that seven-year-old
little girl would have been lost thinking she couldn’t achieve what she wanted,
she would have given up hope if not for the fireflies.” 

She snuggled her head closer
and added, “But you don’t need to waste your time on those stars.
You could always
be with me, always and I will… I will shine for you.”

I lifted my eyes in surprise
feeling overwhelmed by her words. Never in my entire life, had I felt this much
emotional attachment to someone. My entire life had been a blur of crime and the
underworld. I never questioned any of my actions, never hesitated in my work, never
gave a second thought about anything, and always had been sure about what I was
doing--never before Janet.

I don’t know when that happened,
when this strange girl who just had been an assignment had infiltrated me so deep
down. I have been with lots of girls physically, of course, but never felt any emotional
strings attached. Janet has shaken that string. Her innocent face, pleading eyes,
silken hair, petite waist, everything rings a bell that I never wanted to touch.

The way she talks about
science, about her passion; the way she is never afraid of me though in underworld
I’m known for my terror; the way she ignites a flame of goodness inside me, makes
me do things I never dreamt of doing, makes me laugh, makes me feel guilty, everything
about her is shaking my heart to the core.

I never thought this pretty,
innocent, carefree girl would hate stars. Don’t all the girls love stars? I like
stars, they always give me solace. Looking at the stars has always eased my discomfort.
But, Janet hates them; hates them because they are out of reach. Now she’s saying
she’ll give me light, that she’ll shine for me. Can I believe that? Is something
left inside of me that can evade the darkness I am engulfed in? Could she be my
shining star, my

I turned my head towards
her and found her sound asleep on my arm; her hair has fallen across her face covering
her closed lids. I lifted my hand to her face and removed the curls to reveal her
angelic face. Slowly, I cupped her face into my palm and kissed on her forehead.
I moved my arm and wrapped it around her, holding her closer; and closed my eyes.
After so many years, I knew I would get sleep free of nightmares.

Chapter 17


“Stop those noises! My head
is hammering!” I shrieked loud.

Neil loomed over me, “Last
night, you were all lovey-dovey to these bells.”

The realization hit me,
memories came flooding back. Oh god, I acted like an idiot last night. I squirmed
towards Neil and he was enjoying this way too much. I pushed him away from the top
of me and tried to sit.

I clutched my head; this
was the worst headache I ever had. Even UC’s entrance exam didn’t give me this much
headache. Some amateur was experimenting with photoelectric effects and the reverse
of it by bombarding photons on the crucial part of my brain. “Huh… what’s this?”

Neil snorted, “This is called
a ‘hangover,’
You would understand if you had recovered from your
overnight amnesia.”

He slipped a glass of lemon
water into my palms. “Here, drink this. You might feel a little better,” he said,
stifling a grin.

I grimaced, “You don’t need
to be sleazy about this. It happens. Big deal? By the way, where did you steal this

“You forgot, we’re in church.
I asked, not stole, politely from a priest.”

I groaned, “Don’t tell me
you spilled the beans and broadcast about a drunken girl on the rooftop.”

“I’m not as crazy as
you are. Besides, you yourself quoted, ‘God’s my best friend.’ I guess he’ll
forgive us for a little here’s and there’s.”

I hid my face in my
lap. Neil poked my arm, “Come on, Carl’s waiting.”

Carl was leaning
against the SUV drinking lemonade. I giggled inwardly. He noticed us
approaching and straightened, “Where the hell have you two have been? We need
to get out of here, like right now.”

We stuffed ourselves inside
the SUV and it roared to maximum.

“What is it?” Asked Neil.

Carl smiled sarcastically,
“Oh, nothing new, same old; bad goons chasing, mad psychotic Storm, furious Majestic
ordering shoot on sight for you two, blah, blah.”

I fiddled with my bracelet.
That reminded me to add one more thing to the “ask Neil list.” “We have a shoot-on-sight
tag on our heads. Crap!!”

“And that’s why you need
to go home as soon as possible and contact the police. It’s the only escape we can
think to have now. We can’t possibly keep running. Your safety tops the priority
list,” Carl said in a tiring voice.

“Wait a minute, I need to
go home? What about you two?”

Nobody dared say anything.
“Don’t you even want to know what Storm wants from me?”

That got Carl’s attention.
“They want something you have.”

I groaned, “Oh, thanks,
Mr. James Gold, that bit I figured out myself. He wants my pendant.”

Neil swirled around, “What?
But why??”

I rolled my eyes, “You know,
I was kind of busy deflecting his harmful blows, I forgot to ask. He would have
told me if had asked politely.” 

“You know, being sarcastic
will not help the situation right now”, interceded Carl.

“All right, do whatever
you wanna do.” And then I sealed my mouth from further conversations. Neil and Carl
went on and on about what to do, who to contact, how to drop me home, etc., etc…My
head still hurt, and all I had consumed since morning were four cans of lemonades.

Time flies, sceneries changed,
Lady Gaga turned into Rihana, and I dozed on and off from sleep in regular intervals.
Soon I’ll be a slave to car-lag. At some point Carl took our leave to contact his
trusted circle with a really warm goodbye. I wonder what’s up with him. Sometimes
cold, sometimes all warmed up. I shrugged at the idea and concentrated on the fact
that we were not on the highway, but were now headed towards what looked like… an

Neil pulled into the parking
lot. “Are we going to fly?”

“Not we, you, you’re going
to catch this flight” he handed me a flight ticket, “and you’ll go straight to the
authorities in your hometown, and you
leave without any protection.”

I stared at him completely
baffled, “Wait… wait a second. What’s all this. You need to explain myself.”

He wouldn’t look me in the
eyes, “Which part of this needs an explanation? You’ll be safe once inside the airport.
In Berkeley, authorities have already launched a search operation. You just need
to contact one. They will take you to your dad. You’ll be safe, you’ll be home.”

With that, he stormed out
of the car. I followed him soon after. “If you are be really worried about my safety,
you’d come with me.”

He snorted, exasperated,
“And do what, surrender to the police? Is that what you want? But forgive me, Miss
Kanet, I have no intention of doing that.”

I flinched at his use of
“Miss Kanet”. “I’m not asking you to surrender. We can keep running, dodging them.
You said you’re the prince of the underworld; you surely would have a hell of a
lot of soldiers. Carl’s with us and…”

He grabbed my shoulders
in a not-so-gently manner, “And what? What will
do? You’ll elope with
a terrorist, become an underworld princess, and keep running from your life’s passion,
and your family? Huh? Tell me, is that what you want from your life?”


“See, subconsciously, you
know it, too, that at some point we will have to part ways. Why not now when we
have an opportunity? I’ll confuse their tracks, you’ll be safe.” His voice had lost
its unusual harshness and became softer with each spoken word.

I stepped out of his grasp
and faltered. No, this is not happening! I ransacked my brain for some idea, some

“You… you can come with
me. Nobody knows you kidnapped me. I won’t not tell anybody.”

He snorted, “Of course,
you won’t tell anybody. But did you even think for a while that if
be able to join my world, why would I want to join yours?”


“No you didn’t. How would
you? You must have thought that I was some grief-stricken orphan child, who had
no other option than to indulge in crimes and the underworld, who could not find
a way out, who hates his work, but couldn’t walk away, or who saw his family and
everything being snatched away and now wants revenge and hence became a criminal.
If you had such speculations, you are highly mistaken. I’m not someone who was mercilessly
dragged into this. I was born into it. I love my life, my work, whatever it is.
You were just an assignment for me, Janet Kanet, which went hugely wrong. And now
I’ll have to pay for two days of compassion.”

My mind was in denial, it
could not take this much. I swiped away the random curls of my hair as the bracelet
on my wrist jingled. “You gave me this bracelet. I don’t even remember when? But
you gifted me this in substitution of my pendant. Are you saying all this was for
nothing? That I was just a burden, just a menial assignment which you were skeptical
about even taking in the first place? That you feel nothing?” My voice cracked and
tears camped in my eyes.

He looked at me with so
much swirling emotions that I couldn’t decipher what he actually wanted to convey.
He was saying one thing but his eyes were speaking something different.

“I have to do this, Janet,
I need to. You, your life is full of light. I don’t want to be the reason of impending
darkness over you. You are better off without me, without all of this. You and me;
we belong to two different worlds. Two worlds which can co-exist together, but can
never collide.”

He cupped my face, “You
gave me the light no star could ever give. The last four days with you were the
brightest days of my life. But that was it. You need to stay away from me for your
own good.”

I blinked back the tears
welling up. “Look, we need time to figure something out. You can’t leave me cowardly.
You can’t just walk away.” I cried.

He took a few steps back,
“Actually, I can and I am.”

And then he turned around
and did walk away.

Watching the retreating
figure of Neil gnawed at an unknown part of me. Something twisted inside me; the
pain and the anguish I had never felt before were now crushing me. Now I understood
what it meant when Nicole once quoted, “You realize the degree of importance of
a certain person in your life only when you watch him walk away”. And it was true,
more authentic than Einstein’s photoelectric effect, more approving than Newton’s
laws of motion, and more phenomenal than earth’s elliptical orbit.

I sank down on my knees,
tears now rolling down my cheeks flawlessly, without any surface tension. I sat
there, whimpering my heart out, my favorite song’s lyrics now haunting me. I always
listened to it, enjoyed it, but never understood the depth and the pain. But now
it seemed vividly clear.

What hurts the most, is
being so close

Having so much to say,
and watching you walk away

Never knowing, what
could have been?

And not seeing that
loving you, that’s what I was trying to do.

Seconds passed, minutes
ticked by, and I lost the track of time.  I had not even fully recovered from my
emotional breakdown yet, when something brushed the back of my head. Then the harsh
realization hit me hard, I was at gunpoint. The next voice jolted me to the core.

“Hello again, my dear sis,
I bet you’re as pleased for this reunion as I am.”

I faced my outrageous step-brother
and his three other accomplices skeptically. I couldn’t take four over-powering
men on my own, even if I somehow managed to pry a gun away from one of them. If
Neil could have been here…

But Neil is not here. So,
I’ll have to deal with this my own. “What do you want Sam?”

He managed to look glum.
The other three surrounded me from the east, west and south. I was trapped, great!
“Pendant, Janet, now.”

“I told you, I don’t have
it.” I shouted, totally exasperated.

“Then you have no reason
to live.” And just like that, he shot me.

BOOK: I Won't Let You Die Angel
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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