Authors: Yarro Rai
Never meant to be
By Yarro Rai
Copyright 2015 by Yarro rai
Names, character and incidents depicted in this books are product of author’s imagination or are used factitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, organizations or person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
First of all I am an ignorant man and I used to think that my writing is enough but . . . you know . . . so
First and obvious the almighty god (Jesus) he has a weird ways of working in my life. My parents (especially my Mom) I know we had our problems but I am a writer so it was always meant to be a tough ball.
My two close friend who helped me finically Sanjay (our Raju) and Mani (Our young mani). If it wouldn’t for you I never would have fulfilled my vision for this book.
My first official Editor Stacy juba, she welcomed me openly in the professional world. She will always be special.
My other editor and hell of a beta reader Cate Hogan, you will not regret working with her.
Editor no 3: Andrea Reisenauer the brilliant copy editor.
My cover designer Hari Abriyoko I had very specific vision for my cover page and he helped me to achieve that. Cheers to him.
And who else . . . oh! Off course you the one who read my full acknowledgment and is going to read my novel. Thank you!
Table of contents
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars
For me there exists no fiction all my characters are my dead friends and the stories I write are their memories. There is no fantasy. – Yarro Rai
It all started like this:
“Johnny, I think we should write about us.” My fingers played with his hair as his head lay in my lap.
“What? Why? Let's just make love again.”
A soothing, cold breeze accompanied Johnny’s rough voice as he stared at the long grass waving in the wind.
“I'm not kidding. I'm serious. You write your diary, and I'll keep mine. We won't show it to each other until we're old. Then we'll know what we missed in each other’s life.”
My eyes were also staring fixedly at the long field of grass that shone in the moonlight. Johnny slid his rough hands through my arms and down to my stomach.
“Why do you want to write about us?" His warm breathe tickled my neck.
“Because, Johnny, birds can't write about themselves, nor can flowers. Because I want the world to know how we loved, how we lived. I want the world to know our fears, our vulnerabilities, and our madness for each other.”
A few moments of silence passed.
That’s how it all started. I never expected that Johnny would confide in the diary alone, and stop sharing his secrets with me. Nor did I realize I would read the pages long before we’d grown old.
If people were books, then Johnny would be a mystery novel. So how was it that I met my first mystery novel?
Our first physical contact was when he punched me in the gut and I puked my lungs out. Literally. But why it happened is another story.
During the summer of my fourth-grade year, I got into the routine of wandering around with my parents looking at building sites. My parents were new business tycoons. They were taking the market by storm, and my dad insisted on taking me with him. He believed in firsthand experience, because one day I was going to be their successor. I hovered around them with security walking around us. My parents continuously discussed the buildings. I think they were looking for a place to build their new office. So, to distract my mind from that corporate world, I turned my attention to various things around us, like how a group of kids was running and playing in the street, the way they laughed and giggled and jumped on a garbage pile like a bean bag. It looked a little gross, but fun. The urban mess of horns, metal and the constant murmur of people tickled my ears. A cobbler’s hand moved so swiftly as I watched, and he held the brush like a sword while he sliced grime onto a shoe.
Then I saw a street musician resting his head against his violin and moving it as he played the high notes. Somehow, it got my attention. He was playing mysteriously, and mysteries always attracted me.
I stopped and stood near him with a few other admirers nodding their heads to the rhythm. He took such joy in playing that he didn’t even open his eyes. I gazed at the wrinkles on his neck as he moved his body rhythmically.
After a few seconds, a sudden rush hit me. I realized that I had spent more than just a few minutes standing there like a fool. I looked around, and my parents and the security guards were nowhere to be seen. They all were gone.
All I could ask myself was, “Where am I?”
The children were playing and running in the street, the same helpless cobbler continued his work, and the fantastic musician suddenly looked menacing. It’s strange how your perception of the world changes with your circumstances. A strong current ran from my toes to my forehead and awakened every cell in my body. For the very first time, I was on my own, an eight-year-old girl lost in the crowd. I had nothing except a bag on my shoulder and a chocolate bar in my hand.
I looked around and realized how fast the people were moving. Their force started to drift me with them like a thin leaf. Usually, there were personal guards around me to maintain some space. But that day I was on my own, with no sign of anyone looking for me.
“They don't' know that I'm lost yet. Now what will happen to me?!”
I never heard my heart banging against my chest so fast, even when I won the school marathon.
I remembered my mom watching the news filled with stories about the bad people living on the streets. Shrinking with every passing second, I suddenly felt somebody tugging my hand. First, my feeling of despair turned to relief. I assumed it was my parents, but I was wrong.
That was the first time I encountered him, Johnny. His rough hands on mine. He had scars on his little face, a flat hat partially covering his eyes and wore a red checkered shirt with ripped jeans. His physical appearance was nothing less than a hero living in poverty, which intrigued me, but I soon realized that he wasn’t holding my hand. He was trying to snatch my chocolate.
Could he do that?
I looked at him with a mixture of surprise and disgust, which made my grip tighten. All of my fears and desperation oozed through my eight-year-old nerves. I wasn’t going to give up that easy. I was taking karate lessons, after all. As I looked into his deep eyes he swung me around as if we were playing a game.
I suddenly felt a strong punch land on my stomach. It shook every one of my internal organs, and I nearly felt my guts crumble until I fell to the ground, forcing me lose my grip on the chocolate. I fell, vomited, and he took the candy bar.
"Bad boy!" I shouted at him, hoping I could make him feel bad. He just walked away. I burst into tears.
“Why do I have to be so lost?” I thought helplessly. My warm tears blurred my vision and ran down my cheeks. For a moment, I thought I should chase him, but I shrunk back with the fear of everything unknown on those streets. I wiped my tears and scanned through the sea of people.
, I said to myself.
But it wasn't.
All of a sudden, someone tugged at my hair. I turned around and saw a group of small boys surrounding me. Was this their practical class on how to become a gangster? I knew I was their lab rat. Then someone tried to grab my bag. I quickly turned. There were four of them. Drawing from my three weeks of karate knowledge, I took up a karate starting position, hoping I would scare them away. It didn't work. Instead, it gave them the idea that it was good opportunity for them to try and test their kicks on me.
Then, like a hero from a movie, Johnny came back. He threw pebbles at them. He had a pocketful of them. One of the boys took a hit near his eye, and then they started to cross fire. I just sat there, covering my head with my hands. Johnny was outnumbered and they were starting to close in.
Please don’t leave me and run away
Please don’t leave me and run away
. I prayed to myself as they shot stones at each other. My nerves fired off with every hit and sound I heard. Just as they seemed about to win the fight, Johnny brought out his wild card: a knife.
That was the first time I saw a knife in the hands of a nine-year-old boy. Even he didn't seem to know what to do with it. But luckily, it was enough to scare the other boys away. They scattered and ran down the nearby alleys.
I noticed his deep eyes staring at me, the very same eyes that had spotted my chocolate bar. They seemed to reflect the look in my own: a little guilty, and a little vulnerable. He brought out the candy bar from his pocket while biting his bottom lip. He looked at me and at my handkerchief wet with tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably.
Don't talk to him
Remember, he's a stranger
He's from the streets where boys like him grow up to become criminals
He didn't say anything. He just held out the candy bar silently, offering it back to me.
Don’t take the chocolate back, he could've drugged it
And don’t look at his hand
no, not his face, either
not even his jacket
look to the right. Hide beneath your handkerchief ...Oh, he's bowing his head
He's saying something. What’s he saying?
I was still sobbing.
“You want to see some magic?” His eyes gleamed. He must of expected me to say yes... And I did.
He brought out a coin from his pocket. He showed it to me quickly, and everything looked normal. It was just an ordinary, dirty coin. He then held it with his left hand, just between his first three fingers. He transferred the coin to his right hand and asked me to blow on his right hand. I tentatively and gently did as instructed. He opened his right hand, and it was empty.
“Huh? Where's the coin?”
He smiled proudly at my amazement.
“Show me your other hand?”
I opened his left hand but found it empty. His hand was rough like a weather-worn stone. Not even the old maid at our house had such rough hands. We looked at each other, and before we could say anything, my mom’s voice came from behind.
“Honey, where the hell have you been? We were so worried! Didn’t I tell you to stay close? I mean, we can’t babysit you constantly!" I quickly tried to wipe away my tears before she could see."You have to be strong and clever from now on. Otherwise, how will you be able to handle the company your father and I are building some day? Do you know how much time we wasted trying to find you?”
My mother ran over and pulled me back to safely. I was back in a cage. My dad hugged me, and I hugged him back. There was a collective sigh of relief.
As we walked towards the car, I remembered Johnny. I looked back, but he wasn’t there. I frantically scanned the crowd until I saw him. He was hiding behind a group of passersby.
I smiled and waved to him before hopping into the car.
After reading the first diary entry, Latif looked around the room. There were papers lying strewn everywhere, newspaper clippings stuck haphazardly to the walls, and a large board with a to-do list scribbled on it. Then he glanced at Stella. He wanted to hold his thought longer before speaking, but he couldn't resist the temptation.
“We should've taken the celebrity news column. It’s much easier to get news. And if not, then it’s easy to create it. Now here we are, stuck with the diary of some mysterious young CEO. How do you know what we're reading is authentic?” Latif raised his eyebrows.
“Well, I'm not sure. But isn’t it a great lead that Johnny and Esther were childhood friends? This'll blow up the media.” Stella positively remarked, hidden behind her laptop. “You're not sure about these diaries, either, are you?”
“I am, but what will you think if the evidence you stole based on some source turns out to be a fluke?”
stole it. Where did you get it from again?” Latif craned his neck in order to better see Stella.
“Oh, you wouldn’t believe it...from a tree house,” she lit a cigarette.
“A tree house.” Latif repeated, hoping she might tell him a little more about the two diaries.
“Yeah, I overheard Edi telling the cops about the tree house.” Stella let out a puff of smoke into the small room.
“You mean Edi, the suspect in the case? Johnny's friend?” Latif coughed and fanned his hand in front of his nose to clear some of the smoke. He knew he couldn't protest. He was just an assistant, and Stella had a knack of getting into trouble and then churning news out of troublesome cases.
“Yup, that Edi. so I decided to check it out myself. And believe me, it’s true. They did have a hideout. It’s a few minutes’ drive from the city, where the population starts to thin a bit. There's a big grass field and a small stream nearby. It’s private property, but I jumped the fence, and surprisingly there was no real security. Sure enough, there it was, right in the middle of the field. I climbed up to the tree house, and man, was it messy. But for some reason, it seemed like it had been kept that way to not disturb the memories. I wasn't sure who lived there--if anyone at all--so I started looking around and found the diaries. I had to sneak out from the back door, because when I looked out the window I saw Esther coming, which made me really sure that we're on to something here.”
“Wow...Yeah, if she hears about it, then you know what'll happen." Esther owned nearly half of the city. "But you know that the media and even our own channel will hang us if this turns out to be a fluke. I sure hope we're on to something. How come nobody knew that his name was Johnny and that they were childhood friends?” Latif looked over at Stella again, skeptical.
“Okay, Latif. Just read what Johnny wrote.” Stella passed over the wrinkled red diary she had been reading--the one with less writing, “and I'll read what Esther wrote. And then we'll join the pieces together and figure this out.”
Stella took the blue diary from Latif, Esther's diary. Latif handed it over, hoping it would somehow turn out to be a good story and boost his career.
The loud roar of thunder rumbled from outside, and suddenly rain started to pound against the building.
“Shit. my plants'll die now. To hell with this rain.” Stella looked outside the window with smoke trailing through her teeth. She put out her cigarette on her desktop and then leafed through a few pages of the small blue book.
“Okay, this looks interesting.” She was about to start reading, but then she caught sight of Latif out of the corner of her eye. He was staring at the rain outside the window.
“You want to jump out of that window?”
Latif jerked back to his senses at her comment. He turned to the tattered red book.
Stella's cell phone beeped. It was a message from an unknown number. She clicked on the message and sighed.
Just destroy the diaries. I'll pay you.
She stared at the text as the rain outside began pouring harder, as if the skies were trying to say something but falling short.
The room was dark, and the only thing visible were my hands tied to the post with my naked body resting on the bed. I was twelve years old again. I could feel the wrath of a nameless man circling around me with a stick and slowly touching my bare back. Then I felt the stick slash against my skin forcefully, again and again.