It was a warm Sunday morning in the mid of summer. Aiden had already overworked and worn out after a frantic week at his office. He slept through the night like a rock. The morning light glistened in his tan skin. Aiden was six feet tall with messy brunet hair and deep chocolate brown eyes. He was rational and earnest in the works he did. Aiden woke up from his bed and looked through his mail.
“God! NOT AGAIN,” he said, groaning in distress and pulled the blanket over his head as he dashed the phone back and closed his eyes again. Aiden couldn’t sleep as his stomach growled. He stood up and raided the entire refrigerator, but couldn’t find anything to eat. He put on his shirt and track and went out to get breakfast.
It was 8 AM on Sunday morning. The diner looked calmer than usual because no one would wake up at 8 on a weekend. He had the usual breakfast with coffee and felt alive after the dose of caffeine in his blood. “Thank you.” He greeted the waitress and left the place.
On his way back home, unlikely the whole street looked composed and the vacant roads seemed bizarre. Suddenly, he saw an odd building in the opposite lane of the street. “It was never here before. Was it?” He gaped, then crossed the road and took a closed look at the board outside of the shop, which read ‘object d’ art’. It was a bookstore in the middle of nowhere.
“Maybe I didn’t see it before,” he thought to himself.
The whole facet of the book store looked distinctive. The interior of the store enthralled Aiden. He saw people reading the books here and there, who had a confused expression about the existence of the bookstore as him. It had a collection of vintage books and he loved the place as it reminded him of one of his favorite horror movies. He flipped through book after book in the entire history section. The smell of the book simplified the value of it. Every book was a limited edition. The history of the English monarchy had always fascinated him.
His cell phone rang. “Shhhh.” Someone from the back of the book rack shushed him. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Hey! Call you later.” He hung up the phone abruptly. “Do you have another copy of this?”
He heard a distant mellow voice asking him a question, and he turned around. It was a girl. A beautiful girl in a pastel-colored dress. Overdressed for the morning. Her auburn curly hair cautiously curled. Her hazel eyes twinkled in the morning light and her chiseled face gleamed in the vintage bookstore. She looked surreal and Aiden couldn’t take his eyes off her. She held an amused reaction as her beauty stumbled him.
“Excuse me!” She waved back at him. “Me? No, you’re mistaken. I don’t work here.” That the most stunning girl in the world thought of him as ‘A guy who works in a weird bookstore’ embarrassed him. She blushed and said. “Well I know.” “You know?” Aiden beamed. She nodded and flushed again. “Man!” Aiden murmured. She is blushing for you, he thought to himself.
She looked straight into his chocolate brown eyes. Their eyes met. Aiden never felt like this with anyone. He has been with many girls before, but he wasn’t in love with anyone. His relationships flickered like rain in a tropical country. He looked at her again, her wide hazel eyes were already looking into his.
When four eyes met, love was born.
“And you are…?” Aiden prompted the conversation, but a loud bang interrupted.
People screamed. He couldn’t understand what was going on. It happened before he could realize it. A bullet punched through the girl’s right temple. A stranger shot her. She fell down on the floor and blood streamed from her head.
“Oh my God,” Aiden cried. “Why? God!!! Why?” he screamed in agony. He looked at the shooter in despair but the shooter looked disturbed as he wasn’t sure why he shot the girl from the bookstore.
Aiden couldn’t save the girl or the people who were running here and there. He looked around, and they flooded the bookstore with blood. At last, the gunman pointed the gun at Aiden as he was the last one standing and he panicked before he even moved.
AIDEN WAS SHOT
Aiden found his love and death at the same time and at the same place.
It was unbearable. He howled in pain, he couldn’t breathe nor move. He felt like someone had tied his entire body with a cord. He heard his own pulse, and it was fading slowly. His legs were ice cold, and the coldness had spread into his entire body. He couldn’t bear the pain.
In the mayhem’s midst, he heard a distant voice from the radio, “Local gunman shot the people like it was a video game. People posted it online. And the police reported that the gunman was mentally unstable.” The news anchor reported. Confused, Aiden rested his head down as he closed his eyes. Finally, he let go of himself.
iPhone’s ringtone screeched.
“Oh my God,” Aiden gasped. He couldn’t breathe. He opened his eyes and searched for the phone that rang a minute ago. He held his chest. He couldn’t move. But he didn’t feel the cold anymore. “Oh my God! I’m alive,” he screamed with joy. He looked around and realized he was in his home not in the bookstore. He found his phone and checked the time.
He rubbed his eyes harder. He couldn’t believe it.
“Argh! It was a dream,” he sighed. “Thank God.” He stood up from his bed and sat down for a while as he recollected his dream again. “It wasn’t a dream. It was a Nightmare.” He was glad that it wasn’t real. But it felt real to him in every sense. His stomach growled as he was hungry. He raided through his entire refrigerator, as he couldn’t find anything. He put on his tees and tracks to get his breakfast.
He went to the diner where he usually eats. Unlike in the dream, he saw people having their breakfast in the diner. He sighed in relief and sat down in his seat.
“So, what’s your order, sir?.” “The usual,” he replied. “No, wait..” He heard the same mellow voice before. He looked up to see the face of that voice. It shook Aiden. “Usual? Sorry, I’m new here. Can you repeat your order, please?” she asked.
Aiden trembled and stuttered as he stood up to leave. “No I’m not hungry.” He hurried to the exit and left the place. He ran as fast as he could. He couldn’t breathe as he stopped.
“The same girl with the pastel dress. Same hazel eyes,” he murmured. He didn’t know if the dream haunted him or the girl. “Both,” he mumbled. “Love is my nightmare.” He sighed in relief and ran for his life. But how far could he go? He would never know.
My name is Aysha Nasrin and I go by pen name A. N. Born and brought up from a small town in the southern part of India. My physical age is 27, but my mind hasn’t aged in the last 7 years. I’m a homemaker and mother of two beautiful boys who never fail to make my day.
Periodically I wrote in the notepads of the phone, it started off as an escape from reality, then it turned into a hobby and now it became a part of me. I was part of three published anthologies and I got an Instagram account to connect with other writers. Instagram Id @whenshewrites_an
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