Have you ever had a nightmare?
Not a simple one. A so terrible dream you only want to scream, but there is no voice leaving your lips?
So strong to make you completely paralyzed in pure terror? So intense you only wish it’s indeed a bad dream and to wake up in our comfortable bed?
I had. And everyone experienced it.
But what would you do if you fall in your worst dream by being awake?
Few people may understand my words, so I’m making it clearer.
That night was cold and the humidity was high. I never liked humid places, but, at least for the time being, we decided to live there. Our apartment (on the ground floor of a condo) wasn’t well connected with the city center, nor so interesting, as it was located in the periphery, but we were happy. We didn’t need anything more than each other.
Of course, money were a factor, as “we can’t eat love”, he would say, but our situation was just good.
He was a skilled lawyer, who was trying to adapt to that new situation and get known to people. As for me, I was working in a library as librarian assistant, for the time being. It was only a part-time job, true, but I was giving my best and hoping to be soon given the possibility to work full.
We couldn’t afford luxuries and it was fine for us.
It was really hard to get finally together and we really didn’t care about trivial things. But it was indeed true, that both of us had the plan of taking care of our families too, so we were working harder for that to happen.
It was a routine, after ending my shift, to take the bus and reach him.
I never dared to enter in his workplace, so I just waited outside for him to come.
As always, I sit on a bench, only some meters away. Then I gave a look at my watch: it was 5:50 pm.
‘Only ten minutes’ I thought, raising my head and looking up to the sky.
Then a funny smile appeared on my face.
‘I would be lucky it it was really only ten minutes!’ I kept smiling ‘He always overworks himself out’.
I breathed my air off in my scarf. I closed my eyes for a bit and i smiled again when I found out that he was the first image I could find in that dark smoke.
A warm hand on my head made my eyes open almost instantly. I would recognise that touch among millions, but as I dozed off, my instincts weren’t that bright.
“Aki, are you feeling ok?”
He soon touched my cheek.
“I’m fine, I was only sleeping” I said, looking at him.
He looked tired.
“I thought you have fever and passed out. Don’t wait here again” said he, worried.
I just made the “no” sign with my head and took my tongue off.
“You forgot this” Then I took a scarf from my bag and carefully dressed him with it.
“Let’s go home, you crazy girl”
He took my hand and started walking. It wasn’t a gesture he was used to do, so he didn’t do it very often. I blushed a little, closing my fingers on his hand.
They were years we knew each other and, still, I couldn’t help but falling deeply in love with him day after day.
I imagined myself still blushing at 70 for his kiss and I laughed out loud.
“I don’t even want to know what’s going on in that mind of yours” he said, approaching the car.
I smacked him lightly on the shoulder and pretended to be offended, with a smile on my lips.
He stopped his steps and gave a light kiss on my forehead. My cheeks were still red when we entered in the car.
A car was something we really needed as we lived so far from the center.
During our ride I asked him how his work had been and he did the same. Then we stopped in a parking lot to have some groceries.
“Hey, you wait here, oki?” I said, noticing he was already unfastening his belt clip.
He looked puzzled. Usually, if we were together, we did it together.
“You’re tired. Just wait here some minutes. I’ll be back soon” I said, turning on the radio.
He then nodded, knowing there was no use trying to convince me on that.
“Should I add something else?” I asked, showing him the grocery list.
“Nope, it’s ok as it is. I’m waiting for you”
The list making was important as we had to be careful to not spend too much and to stick buying only things we needed.
The supermarket wasn’t really crowded that day. I went to the vegetable section and started to take the veggies we needed.
An old song was playing in the shop. I could recognise it, as it was one of my favourites.
“I tried to go on like I never knew you I’m awake but my world is half asleep I pray for this heart to be unbroken But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete”
I started humming quietly after the song, while taking food.
Then, as i took the milk bottle in my hand, a thunder lightened the sky. I could only hear the noise and it was enough for me to drop the item on the ground.
As soon as I was going to take it again, I noticed a man walking in my direction. I didn’t usually look at people, but this time was different.
Only by looking I could sense that something was wrong about him.
He was wearing jeans, a black shirt and dark coat. A cigarette was set between his lips and there was a medium length scar under his right eye.
He looked at me when he noticed I was staring, so I quickly took the milk bottle and stood up again.
I could heard his steps approaching me but I did not dare to look again. I just thanked the door when it opened again, as the man, then, decided to walk away.
I felt a hand on my shoulder just in that moment and it made me jump.
“I’m sorry I startled you”
It was him.
I felt relieved and looked again on my left to be sure that man wasn’t there anymore.
“It started raining and there were thunders too, so I-”
“Let’s go home” I hurriedly said.
I felt uneasy and I didn’t know the reason. Maybe my obsession with horror movies was making me paranoid.
Yes, it was like that for sure.
Nothing was going to happen.
‘That poor guy had a scar and was stared by me. I made him feel uneasy. Why am I the one feeling that way?’
My other half mistook my silence and my actions for my thunder phobia. And it was ok, as explaining would have made him feel worried too.
For the rest of the ride back home, he held my hand, caressing it with his finger and singing soothing songs.
“Do you feel any better now?” He asked, just after turning the car in our street and slowing it down.
“I’m perfectly fine” I said, smiling.
He parked the car and asked me to wait inside as he was going to take the umbrella in the trunk.
I wasn’t fast enough to block him, that he already went under the rain and got wet. He came, then, by my side and opened my door.
“You got all wet” I said, touching his hair and white shirt.
“Let’s go to get warm then” he said, circling my shoulders with his arm.
But destiny had other plans for us.
As soon as we reached the door, I held my breath as I saw it slightly opened. He put a hand over my lips, covering my mouth and then made a “shh” sound.
I nodded and my heart started pounding loudly. He was about to open the door, when I held him back from the shirt, miming a “No” movement with my lips.
“Don’t worry. Stay here” I read, then, on his lips as reply.
Someone entered in our house and he wanted to go in too? We should have called the police. He knew why we left the country and still was being so impulsive.
He entered, being careful to not make any noise. Once he was inside he turned the lights on. I followed him and noticed there was nobody in the entrance, but that everything was a mess.
Drawers were opened and what was inside could be found on the wooden floor. That was a theft. But whatever they wanted, it couldn’t be found there.
We didn’t’ have any valuable objects or… the stored money!
They didn’t have much stored or ‘worth of stealing’, but they were working much for those.
I soon moved to go to the bedroom, but he caught my arm, his glance staring into space.
“What is it? I’m going to che-”
“We’re not alone” he said under his breath.
At those words I froze. I looked at him, catching his hand. I stood in silence, awaiting to hear noises from the other rooms.
In that moment I also realized I forgot my bag (and so my phone) in the car. I cursed in my mind and I squeezed his hand.
“Let’s go” I said, with almost no voice.
He was thinking something, but I couldn’t understand what. He looked serious. And of course a normal person should look like this in a similar situation, but I felt that there was more in his mind.
“Please” I added, as to push him.
He, then, nodded and tightened the grip.
In that moment, someone came running from the bedroom. He had a black cap on his head and it was difficult to see his face because of it and the unpredictability of what was happening.
My lover instinctively put his arms around me, but what happened next was totally unexpected.
The man run away from the entrance door, without even looking at us. Usually thefts ask where the money is or ask for more, isn’t that right?
‘Probably he just got scared. Maybe he was a newbie’ I thought, relieved.
But it wasn’t the end.
The hand that was grasping mine, suddenly left. He went outside too, after him.
“Wait!” I exclaimed, totally overwhelmed, running behind him too.
It was raining harder and the piercing cold again welcomed me, but I couldn’t feel it this time. I looked at my left and I saw them. In that moment my mind had to decide what to do.
Going too and being sure to not lose them or going on my right, where the car was parked, to call the police?
I decided to take my right. Calling for help was the proper thing to do for now.
After opening the door I jumped inside the car, frantically searching for my bag. But something else caught my eyes; something that I did not notice when I entered in the car before. On the back seat there was a pile of documents, perfectly ordinated. I read the headline of the first one and my heart jumped: I recognized them.
Was the thief searching for them and that was why my lover went after him?
I immediately left the car, taking their direction. I didn’t even realized that I forgot the reason I entered in the first place. Nothing was more important than finding him now.
The asphalt was wet and the road dark. There was only a faint light coming from a lamp. I run several meters but I couldn’t understand where they went, as I didn’t hear their steps anymore.
I was about to call him, when I heard some voices. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, so I just approached them. As I walked, I understood they came from the garages below. I descended and I saw a glimpse of my lover’s face, lightened by the moon.
I reached him, touching his arm, and he looked quite alarmed I was there too. He thought I had gone to ask for help, probably.
His look was telling me “What the hell are you doing here?”
And as reply, my face was telling him “Do you seriously think I would have left you alone?”
We could just understand each other by looking.
A third person was in front of us, but I couldn’t see his face as he was giving us his back. But in that moment he faced us.
I opened my eyes wide like they were betraying me.
My lover looked at me, puzzled.
“Do you know him?”
“We just met in the supermarket one hour ago, didn’t we?” said the man “You took a good look at this too” added, pointing his scar.
He took a step toward us.
“What do you want?” my lover asked, in a harsh tone.
“You know very well what I want. And what we didn’t found in your house” he said, smiling.
“We don’t know what you’re talking about!” I said, trying to persuade him “If it’s money you want, we have very less saved, as you saw”
“Don’t play dumb. It’s documents I’m talking about”
I swallowed, and took my lover’s hand. He left it opened.
“We don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re mistaking us for other people, sir. We don’t have the documents you search” I kept saying, wondering the lack of response from my lover. He looked again in a contemplative state.
“Kim Yuki” The man said, looking my lover directly in the eyes. “He has those documents. Are you sure you don’t know him?”
My grip tightened.
“We don’t know anyone by that name. Also, if you enter in our house again like that, we will call the police.” I kept saying, acting as a totally clueless person “So, now, we’re going” I said, hoping to end the encounter like that.
“I’m the person you’re searching. I’m Kim Yuki”
I looked at him and squeezed his hand, like saying “Are you crazy? What are you doing?”
“Now, if you let her go, I can say to you where the documents are” Yuki said, leaving my hand and looking the man.
Several seconds passed and, then, the man broke in a loud laughter. He took some steps away, and then talked.
“Do you think you can make a deal with us?”
He faced us again, but this time, he was playing with a knife in his hand.
“You better don’t forget who we are”
“I’m not saying anything, if first she doesn’t go away from here” said Yuki calmly again.
“Do you think we can’t find those fucking documents alone now that we found where you live? You arrogant prick!” the man said, while running toward him, the knife in hand.
My heart skipped a beat and I immediately positioned myself between the two men, my arms opened wide, as to protect him the best I could.
For a second I saw the knife toward me, but then, I suddenly found myself on the floor, pushed, by one side.
“YUKI!” I screamed, as soon as I realized he pushed me down and so was in danger.
My heart got lighter when I saw that my love wasn’t hurt, but got anxious again as they started fighting.
My eyes followed him and then the men and then the knife and I moved forward, uncertain on what to do.
As Yuki nudged him behind the neck, he looked at me.
“Don’t do anything! Just go away!”
His expression was worried and was trying to say to me that he couldn’t concentrate well if i was in danger.
I closed my eyes and turned on the other side. I never felt my heart that heavy before. I tried to not listen to the noises they were making behind me.
I had to ask for help and fast.
Since they were blocking the entrance, I had to reach the other ways out, so I started running toward them.
I couldn’t let my worries dominate me now. I had to help him in the ways I objectively could.
But a big figure, in the dark, blocked my way. I went closer to it, and I felt hope rising again in me.
A sudden loud noise paralyzed me.
A slimmer figure fell on the ground and the black cap fell from his head.
I found myself trembling.
“The secret is to get rid of anyone who knows your dirt, before they can use it against you” The big man said, putting the weapon, away. “Don’t you think so?” he added, affably looking at me.
I could still hear the noises behind me. I hoped Yuki wasn’t hurt.
“So…” he started again, walking toward me. As he did it my feet went backwards. “Do you mind disclosing me about the documents place? If it’s a young couple like you, I could make an exception and let you two go”.
I looked the dead body on the ground. He barely looked 20. It was a certainty that they would have killed us also if I spoke.
My back touched the stone wall behind me and I felt lost.
“There is no way you will let us go” I said, looking him in the eyes.
I counted till 3 in my mind and tried to run on my right, but he caught me and laughed at my poor attempt. I, then, tried to kick him in the balls, but again, it was useless.
“You are surely bold to attack me like that”
In that moment, I realized I didn’t hear the sounds anymore. They ended fighting. My head turned on its left, waiting for any sign.
“Oh, I’m curious too to know who won” the man said, amused. “Anyway, whoever comes, I’m going to just pull the trigger” he added, taking his gun again.
I looked at it, in horror.
“Oh, but you can change that. If you don’t want for him to die, you only have to tell me where he keeps those documents”
Anxiety was killing me. Not for the choice to make, but to know if he was alive.
“Aki!” I heard his voice calling me and I let out a sigh of relief.
My other half was alive.
I almost felt without energies as fear was eating me the whole time.
“I’ll tell you, so put the gun away” I said, looking the man straight in the eyes. “If you hurt or kill him, you better kill me too as I won’t say a word”
In that moment, Yuki emerged from the dark.
“Aki!” He exclaimed as soon as he saw me. He was relevied. When he head the bang he tought I was been hurt.
He had different red signs on his face and blood was coming from his arm.
“Yuki” I whispered, looking worried.
“Well, well, well, so you survived in the end” the big man said “That’s good.”
“I’m telling you only if you let us-” I started saying.
The man pointed the gun on my head and Yuki stepped forward.
“I should check if you aren’t tricking me first, right?”
“They’re in my car. You can check it now. Just let her go” said Yuki, looking highly anxious at that gun.
The man took his phone and immediately called.
“His car. Tell me if they’re there. Now” he was ordering.
I looked Yuki and he looked back at me. There was nothing to say if not “I love you”.
“Good” The man ended the conversation and put his phone back in his coat. “Thank you for being collaborative” he said, smiling.
“Now let her go” pressed Yuki.
“I remember to have said to let you live, not to let her go”
“If you touch her, I swear-”
“I’m not saying I’ll kill her either.”
At that point we were just confused.
“I’ll take her just as you took those documents and make me search for you for years. I think you know how much money and credibility you made my company lose” the big man sounded serious for the first time “As you tried to destroy what was the most important thing to me, I’m going to make you live without it. Killing either of you just won’t do it. You two will have to suffer for life”.
I never saw Yuki so angry. It was like rage was possessing him.
The big man took my arm and smiled. I looked Yuki and, though I was confused and scared, I tried to reassure him.
“Everything will be fine. Yuu, believe me please” I tried to smile “Nothing is going to pull us apart. Just look forward our next mee-”
I was interrupted by the man, who pulled me from the wall.
“Enough with the farewells.” And with that, he kept pulling me apart from my love.
His eyes were a mix of rage and emptiness and I still tried to make him calm.
‘Don’t worry. We’re alive at least. We will find each other again. Please, look after yourself while I’m away. I love you and will forever love you”.
I could not see him anymore now.
He was hidden in the darkness again.
I could let my tears flow freely now.
I didn’t know what would have happened in the near future. But I knew that I belonged to Yuki and Yuki belonged to me.
We found each other once and we would have found each other again… and again. I believed it.
‘Till i can again take your hand, wait for me my love’