Fiction

Past Striked The Present by Nermeen Naveed

After listening to his words, I felt the ground slipping away from under my feet. It felt like history was repeating itself by playing its sick games with me, again. I knew that he was waiting for my reaction while the others waited for my reply but I was so consumed by the sense of déjà vu that I couldn’t give any of them what they wanted. I knew my face was blank, giving away nothing – not even a slight glimmer of emotion – and my eyes were cold and hard, looking inhuman; not even giving away a quick flicker of the humanity supposed to be present in me.

Physically, I was there with them in the actual world, but mentally I was somewhere else. I was remembering someone and a certain situation that he entered. I could feel my friends shaking me and tapping my face begging for me to speak, familiar with my supposed condition now. However, the stranger standing not-so-far away from me was not worried, but trying to figure out a way to pull me out from my trance-like state. But the truth was that I didn’t want him to, because I knew that he’ll soon find a way to do just that, and that would break away every single piece of my sanity which I’ve just about collected together by going through the most convulsive agony. It took everything in me not to break through my sagacity and lash out at his approaching figure which was coming towards me in slow motion, almost teasing me about the wrath soon going to be unleashed on my very existence.

They didn’t know his intentions, but I did. How could they not see that he’s the monster? They know everything so why can’t they figure out his ugly face behind the mask that he always seems to wear? They are familiar with his mask as well, so why aren’t they stopping him from making his tantalizing approach towards me? They know that he’s a threat to my constructed prudence; they know that he was the reason for the fall out of my sanity and my continued nightmares, so why are they allowing him to rip my lucidity apart, again? My friends, why aren’t they saving me?

I witnessed him crouching down on the floor, in front of me and his hands making their way towards me. I could hear myself screaming but none of the people in front me seem to be bothered by it. It was almost like they didn’t hear me screaming.

I felt his hands caressing mine but the touch was foreign. It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t leaving a nasty trace behind on me. It wasn’t making me feel deride with myself. I wasn’t disgusted with the mere thought of my existence because the touch wasn’t from him, it was foreign and my body registered that.

I jolted back into the world of reality and looked at my hands which were firmly gripped in the big rough ones of Emerson.

Emerson. It was Emerson. My body registered his foreign touch which acted as my anchor for the moment and brought me back from the happenings of the past disturbing my present. It was Emerson, not him.

I quickly drew my hands away from his as if they were burning me and took the glass of water from Ison’s hands. The water soaked up my dried throat and calmed down my heart rate. I looked up to see everyone’s worried expressions except for Emerson’s. He was not worried, he was confused. He was trying to figure this out.

I was currently not in a position to make sense of anything so I hungrily passed the glass towards my friends. As if understanding, Emerson took the glass from my hands and went into the kitchen to bring more water for me, giving me some alone time with my friends.

Before I knew it, I was pulled into a hug by Estevan followed by all of my friends. They soon released me and I saw that my three friends were crying.

“You went so pale and you started sweating out of nowhere. You weren’t answering us. For a moment, it almost looked like you were paralyzed. Like…like you were having a nightmare in your fully awakened state. What happened, Alessa?” Isobel asked, trying hard not to burst into tears.

I just shook my head and wiped her tears. Then I pulled her closer, rested my chin on the top of her head and hugged her, all the while thinking over her words, ‘It seemed like you were paralyzed.’

Like you were paralyzed.

It seemed unreal. I felt myself squirming, screaming and hyperventilating so how can I be paralyzed?


This piece was a response to our weekly prompt, ‘Paralysis’. Follow Nermeen on Instagram @bonafides.nn.

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