“Over the past few years he’d seen a lot of things; destiny, prophecy, magic, monsters, fate. But he’d never yet run across a coincidence.”
Mira hastily untangled herself from the papers on her desk, knocking down a few pens in the process. By the time the teacher was near her she had managed to tie up all her supplements, her tired sweat falling on a few. She clean swept all her belonging into her pouch in one go and got up to dust herself from the mania of this thing called exams. Behind her Zeke, drawl in his movements, got up too and stretched himself. With his bare abdomen showing, many girls hung back to drool.
“Finally done,” he yawned, rubbing his hand on his pokey beard. They had been preparing for weeks and weeks for this.
“I wouldn’t breathe this soon,” Mira replied. Many girls gave her a stink eye, thinking Zeke was talking to them. But of course Mira always knew. “These were just the preliminary exams, Zeke. Think about our finals.”
“Whatever bro, you can’t say you don’t feel a little relief.”
And Mira didn’t deny that.
It was crowded in the corridors, exams always did that to the college. They weren’t even in the normal classes that they used to sit in. Mira and Zeke were talking about nothing interesting really as they walked down together. Indeed, if she wanted to talk about anything interesting Zeke would be the last person. Right now he was talking about the pros and cons of wearing a polka dotted t-shirt, and Mira was just nodding her head waiting for rescue. But at least, he was an alright guy.
Then she saw her, the tiny, plain brown haired girl. She was shoving her writing pad into her bag and it made Mira light up like a Christmas tree. “Amelia,” she whispered, but the girl and her were divided by a vast sea of people. Zeke caught the name and began to look uncomfortable. “What’s wrong?” Mira asked, pertaining to the look of his face.
“Is it necessary for you to hang out with her all the time?”
Mira’s cheeks’ turned hot. “Zeke, can you even hear yourself out loud?”
“Do you always answer questions with questions?”
“Well, then,” Mira stomped her leg. “I don’t have friends. Not the right ones at least.”
“Okay, fine I get Pari and all – but you can forgive them right – that’s what friends do. And what about me?”
“Zeke…” Mira said patiently. “If you were my friend you would have no difficultly mixing around with Amelia.”
“Don’t. You. Dare. Say. That,” Mira breathed slowly. “You’re just like the rest of them – a judgmental freak who can’t count straight to ten. I thought better of you, kinder even. BUT NO.” And then she stormed off.
Amelia had just gotten out of her class, and was sorting her things out putting them in her bag when Ashfaq-Ul-Zuah tapped her on the back. She turned around, and his hand messed up her straight hair, as he normally always did. He said he did it to annoy her, she said it was because he was secretly jealous of her hair. “Stop it you,” she giggled, and then in a great effort began leveling her hair.
“How was your f**king exam?” he asked, waving out to some people at the same time. He was famous.
“F**king don’t care man, exams over, bullshit done with, party time.”
At that very same point, she saw Zeke making his way to the alcove at her right. There was a notice board there with the details of their oncoming lectures. As he pushed through the crowd attempting to read the notice, it was prominently visible how all the girls there tried to stick to him as closely as possible. Even though Amelia would have loved just that, it was all beneath her to actually do it.
“You coming right? My f**king amazing pizza party!”
“Oh, yes,” Amelia, replied hurriedly, hoping Ashfaq hadn’t seen her staring. “HEY MIRA! HERE!” Then she called out. Mira hugged the duo, and shrugged off any lasting anger from a minute ago.
“Pizza party, remember?” Ashfaq said, snapping his fingers at Mira.
She replied, “Of course.”
It wasn’t like anyone actually needed a reason to party. But the end of exams always accounted for the biggest hang overs ever. The club was brimming with the under aged, neon lights blinding the eye and club stamps on every arm. Jennifer and Jai were sitting at one corner, and maybe that was the only area in the entire place that seemed subdued. Jai was trying to explain his erratic behavior, but Jennifer was no more concern about anything other than kissing his bruised neck from the injury. It made Jai wince in pain.
Zeke was sitting atop a bar stool, slowing dunking into his glass of preferred medicine. Remembering that just two weeks ago he had had his major fight with Beaula, and try as he would, he couldn’t stop moaning about it. Next to him, Reese was trying to woo him, but Zeke hardly noticed. From the corner of his eye he saw Nadia sitting casually with her boyfriend’s arm slung around her. Nadia, smart girl that she was, wasn’t even drinking.
Then she saw those three silly girls – Pari, Alisha and Naya, dancing like crazy harlots with their drinks spilling on the floor. They were definitely having the best time in the club. Pari shouted out for another round of drinks, and the waiter only obliged with his eye on their cleavage. Naya blew a kiss towards him, and the waiter smirked. Zeke rolled his eyes, and turned to his drink – when suddenly, he saw a fine point flash light. He turned around on his stool, and tried to trace it. It was definitely a camera, he could tell that much. But in the crazy lights, and the number of drinks he had drowned down, he didn’t know if has just imagined that. But then he saw Jai, at where he had seen the flash. Zeke’s brows furrowed and he turned to look at the corner where Jai and Jennifer were making out. Two Jai’s in one place? That could mean only one thing.
Pari felt four violet vibrations from her back pocket that jolted her into attention at once. She unlocked her phone, and clamped her mouth before she could start sobbing.
Amelia and Ashfaq were trying to keep their ‘party’ up to the mark. But when it was a two person mission, it became a little difficult. It wasn’t as if Ashfaq had invited anybody but Mira and Amelia (He couldn’t pay for pizzas for 20 people really.) And they were really content with it being just the three of them. But Mira hadn’t turned up yet and the two had already started their second pizza.
Amelia was lazily going through Ashfaq’s facebook. She had scrolled so far, she had reached his time line from a year ago. Suddenly a picture caught her eye, a girl posing with Neal Ray Gellar. But she thought it was his girlfriend, and so didn’t ask Ashfaq about it.
“OH F**K,” he shouted, Amelia winced. “Mira just texted saying she’s not coming. Some stomach pain.” Amelia looked at him sadly, feeling let down too. “It’s okay, more pizza for us.”
Ashfaq was quiet. “Were you and Neal close?” Amelia asked suddenly.
He looked at her, incredulous, “What kind of f**king party question is that?”
“I- I was just curious. I’m sorry.”
Ashfaq’s face softened.
Then he said, “You know, this year there have been a lot of f**king bad things happening to people. It’s so damn weird. Nadia broke her nose – and everyone said it was revenge. During the match, the opposition team purposely maimed Jai… so f**king weird. You’d think we’re being targeted.”
“A haunting by Neal’s ghost?”
Ashfaq smiled sadly, “I f**king wish. This thing seems made of flesh and blood.”
“You think someone is messing around deliberately?”
For a moment Ashfaq didn’t say anything. Then he murmured, “It’s been on my mind since a while. We just have to find out who.” Amelia shivered, and they got to it.
After about four pizzas and some twenty cans of coke, Ashfaq felt his phone ring. He excused himself from where they were sitting, Amelia and him staring at the laptop screen. “This be the AH-mazing Ashfaq-”
“I don’t have time for that!”
“Listen, I’m going to give you my mother’s phone number – will you be able to hack it and delete some pictures?”
“Is this Pari?” Ashfaq asked into the phone. “I can if her wifi is on-”
“WELL DO IT THEN!” Pari shouted. “Some freak sent my drunk dancing pictures to my mom’s phone! And then texted me about it! THE NERVE! You need to remove it before she sees.”
“-If she hasn’t already,” Ashfaq muttered.
“Trust me, if she had I would be dead already.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll do it,” Ashfaq said.
Pari seem to relax a bit, “THANK YOU- THANK YOU ASH-”
He cut the call.
Amelia was looking at him, puzzled. He sighed slowly, “I think… the devil has struck again.”