The lights of the night club were blinding him. Blue, purple, yellow, green blinking insanely under the rhythm of electro music, a nasty noise in his ears, shouting alongside with the chaos in his head.
He tripped almost falling from the sidewalk and dropped his backpack. Didn’t bother picking it up. White dots and red dots danced in front of his eyes, and to his amusement fitted perfectly to the music now left behind him.
The security of the strip club across the street raised an eyebrow suspiciously. He probably thought him to be drunk or drugged, or both.
A car honk made the man’s hearth flip in his chest. Some Mercedes was cleaning his way on the street, chasing the crowd back to the sidewalks.
Is this how rabbits felt when being chased? Imagining every little, unimportant movement to be a terrifying sound, a prediction for danger?
He pushed himself into a few people, who immediately shouted something to him.
Mind block. He didn’t hear.
He was too afraid to think anything else but how to escape, where to run.
With Death catching up on you there aren’t many places you can go to. And for what he knew the bony Ripper could be waiting on the next corner, or reflect his sharp smile in any showcase.
“I’m coming” screamed a voice in his head
He constantly looked over his shoulder but the night had turned all faces into one ugly grimace, one grinning face, a black canvas with white teeth and glimmering red eyes.
So he ran, and ran, and ran, racing with time, hoping that if he runs fast enough the day will come sooner and salvation will be somewhere in the morning light.
But time as always had nothing to do with ones survival once he’s been damned. Then it’s over before it even began.
16 hours earlier. India, Mumbai 09:15 AM
The tour guide gestured, and waved a yellow stick in the air trying to center the attention of the tourists towards her. For a moment it seemed as if she was talking to absolutely no one. They all just stood there, people in t-shirts and shorts, feeling like melting under the hot sun. Some of them moved, dragging their feet on the dry ground only to show some signs of life. Probably the voice of Alice – their tour guide for this expensive vacation – was reaching their inner mind, and the words were being registered on some level of understanding, but this was as far as it went.
She couldn’t blame them. Six years in the business and honestly she had learned that tourists tend to a – start shopping in the very last-minute gifts for family and friends and b – have the amazing ability to slack and just start admiring the surrounding, expressing nostalgia for a place they haven’t even left yet. She sat on one bench, looking at her watch – there was enough time to get to the airport and catch the plane before it flies off Mumbai.
Alice just sighted and opened a bottle of water. Then her attention got caught by one of the tourists. He was standing before one souvenir stall, just staring at it. Philip was it? Yes that was his name. Alice thought she’d seen him there fifteen minutes ago, standing there not buying anything .She shrugged her arms
Back at the stall Philip, a tall blond man was tempted in purchasing a small encrusted jewelry box and a pair of earrings for Betty. She had a thing for such sentimental, useless stuff. He made his mind and pulled his wallet out of the backpack. While handing over the money his eye sight crawled once again on all the souvenirs. From key holders saying “Welcome to Mumbai” and fridge magnets in the shape of India, calendars with sights from the city, to rings, earrings, bracelets and t-shirts, a bronze coin stood up with its different nature. It wasn’t money valued and it seemed to Philip too old and a bit rusty. The stall owner searched for change, and Philip took the opportunity to reach a hand a touch its rough and ancient surface. He didn’t know why but it felt like he was doing something wrong, forbidden.
– You no touch that if not punished by *Lakshmi. It’s bad luck foreigner.
– I’m sorry… – Philip saw fear in the man’s eyes and quickly draw his hand from the coin.
– Poor man. Bad luck man.- the stall owner came closer to him – Fool man, death will now come. **Mrityu will follow you until you die. Run, run!
– Sorry – repeated Philip not knowing that else to say and moved away from the stall.
He saw his group assembling near a bench and with few fast steps stood by them.
– All right people listen up – Alice lifted the yellow stick high – Time to go home. Please keep up with the group, don’t get separated. Try to move together through the crowd, because if someone gets lost we won’t be able to get on the plane. Come on now. To the taxi’s.
“What are we – kids?” Philip heard an elderly man say.
Soon after that he got into one of the taxi’s with the very same guy, but not being able to listen to his rumblings put on his headsets and played some music. It was a weird end of the trip, with that scary death prediction the salesman gave him, but Philip thought “what the hell, advertisement can be freaky sometimes”. He didn’t believe in such things. The memory flew away faster than the taxi was driving. Another song began making Phil smile and enjoy the ride even more – Stevie Wonder with Superstition. Irony ey? He sang the lyrics in mind happy he’s going home.
“Seven years of bad luck Good things in your past…”
*Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddes of wealth
**Mrityu in hinduism is Death, the End of all Life