Liminal: 3


…Little shivers ran through my spine as I took a dive in the deep sea of memories. Thoughts I had avoided for weeks were now all over themselves. Filling my head, circling me like a shiver of sharks would to a bleeding prey. My mouth gradually soured and I involuntarily clenched my fists.

Why wouldn’t I?

I was filled with impotent anger and regrets, most of which was at myself. Why didn’t I just let things be? I shouldn’t have dabbled into the so called “truth.” If only we got rid of what we found early enough.

Yes. Lucky was equally interested in knowing all the secrets with or without my influence but somehow, I still felt I was responsible for his predicament. My clumsiness and forgetfulness was always going to lead me to problems; I just never anticipated my dear friend being stuck in a month-long vegetative state as one of them. Or two innocent kids going missing while a third wound up dead –

They could all be dead.

I exhaled loudly, running a shaking palm over my face as I sat up. The old toilet seat groaned a little under me.

I would never forgive myself if those missing children were beyond redemption. Their lives were already on my head.

I adjusted my sitting position, and slid a hand into my back pocket to carefully draw out a dirtied, worn out diary. The heavy musty scent filled my nostrils as I absently browsed through it. The rough pale yellow pages creaking slightly as I flipped them.

The Diary of Secrets – at least that’s what Lucky and I called it. A book originally owned by a different person or so. We had no clue if it belonged to the madman who dropped it at the bus stop we’d found it, or someone else.

It had been after school and the both of us were fooling around at the bus stop while waiting for a vehicle that would take us to our next stop. I was making jokes at the expense of the apple scented body spray that Lucky was recently enamored with. The madman that usual hung around that spot didn’t seem to appreciate our noise and packed up all his souvenirs but one.

It caught my attention as the madman left and I was reaching for it before I fully formed any thoughts. I gingerly picked up the book and almost immediately, Lucky plucked it from my grasp and had it opened, eagerly without second thoughts. Books did things to Lucky that I couldn’t fully explain to others despite years of friendship. I would just shake my head with the understanding that it was just one of his quirks and continue with life.

The book turned out to be almost full and, even stranger, it was almost filled with gibberish. Well, we weren’t exactly sure of that at first, for it was written in a strange language with weird characters but was written orderly and neatly.
We began to explore, and within a few minutes, we started to understand and make sense of the language. It was strangely decoding as we read on.

Halfway into the first page, something hit me. Like an awakening, like a third eye suddenly snapped open on my skull, seeing further and deeper than I ever had. At that moment, I remembered ‘what was and what should be.’ And with all these came intense feeling against promulgation of the book’s contents. It felt like a spell.

The both of us found out that when one becomes truly “conscious” their thoughts tend to explore certain depths of the Truth. The dark forces who are to keep mankind ignorant of the truth are somehow aware of the pike in the individual’s Astral frequency and show up to tie up loose ends. The only way to be safe during such bouts of “consciousness” was to be camouflaged in a place enveloped with melodic hymns of praise to the most Supreme Being.

On the day of our awakening, we were coincidentally standing right next to a parked truck with speakers blaring out a local choir’s recorded hymns. It kept us alive, but we had to live with the memory of the horrors that had tried to seek us out.

Nothing remained the same ever since.
Having this book went on to cause me so much trouble. Because with all of my epiphany, I really wasn’t cured of my tendency for misplacing things. That’s what put those kids and Lucky in harm’s way.
. . . .

3 weeks after discovering the diary; I went to have a haircut right after school. It was a Friday, so school dismissed earlier than usual. I somehow forgot the Diary of Secrets there. It probably slipped out of my pocket as I waited my turn.

I got my haircut and left, not noticing the precious property I left behind – a beacon of death to anyone who unwittingly went through it’s pages without guidance. We faced such a threat on the day we first explored the book. But coincidence and providence saved our lives.
I had an appointment with Lucky the following day. On that fateful Saturday evening, We met in the usual place – an old catholic church not too far from our homes. We had studied the choir’s timetable. They usually had choir practice that lasted 3hrs every Saturday. We were 30mins early. I reached into my bag and found it Diary-less. The contents of my bag was immediately onto the church pew between us.

It wasn’t there.

It could only be in two places, the pockets of my school trousers or inside my school bag. I was sure it wasn’t in my school trouser when I took it off the previous day at home.

Where could it be then?

With a cold wash, the memory of the last time I’d seen it struck me, clear as a bell. The barbershop!

Lucky’s face reflected my growing horror as I stuttered out an explanation. He didn’t need to be told the repercussions of leaving that book lying around in a public place. He was off in a second, heading in the direction of the barbershop and I was barely a step behind him. The barber shop was about 10 minutes away with nonstop running . . .

We were a tad too late.
I saw it all, just a few steps to the poster filled glass doors of the shop. Some kids must have opened and started to read the book. And upon their Awakening, their enhanced consciousness became a beacon of attraction for these agents of darkness. A fissure bloomed out of thin air right in the middle of the small shop interior, splitting through the space like a gash.

A figure emerged from it into the shop. A dark, hulk of a man with no expressions. He easily grabbed Lucky, who had just darted into the entrance and right into the man’s unyielding grip. My friend’s yells ceased with a foreboding suddenness that had me stumbling to a stop just before the door. The man’s gaze bored into Lucky’s eyes and that instant I felt something strange in the pit of my stomach.
My friend who had rushed into the shop full of life and vigor suddenly seemed to shrink, going limp and lifeless. It was as if he sapped Lucky of his human juice and stole the consciousness of my dear friend, scooping it out with nothing but his gaze that burnt with the intensity of ice.

With jaws dropped and legs frozen, I watched. I saw the barber run out of his shop through the opposite entrance as soon as he saw Lucky sag. I watched the expressionless man flick his eyes to the rest of the shop’s occupants. He moved his hand and I saw the nearest kid to him fall, reaching the floor in two halves.
Recalling the dull thumps of the separated halves of the kid falling onto each other on the floor of the barber’s salon. Recalling my uselessness at the scene magnified self disgust.

I watched as the other two children, covered in streaks of their friend’s blood tried to flee, only to disappear into a second pulsing black rip that materialized from nowhere, right in front of door the barber had run from less than a minute prior. The door the kids were aiming for in their escape.

Where was everyone else as these things were happening?
It seemed like the barber’s shop was enveloped in something that made the rest of the world blind to it during the time the strange man was present. It was inexplicable.

I felt just as useless then, as I feel now, seated in the school’s restroom, staring at my shaking hands.

I clenched my hands, but the shaking only seemed to increase and spread. My muscles tightened involuntarily..
Something was wrong.
Damn! What have I done? I opened the book and even if in retrospect I activated my consciousness at the wrongest of places -I must be the clumsiest kid alive- I was sure a fissure would soon appear like it did in the barber’s salon.
My vision became blurry. I felt myself hit the cold dirty tiles, perceiving the scent of disinfectant with a vaguely familiar scent that thickened by the second.

I tried to fight my lightheadedness, I wanted so hard to keep my eyes open.
Was Lucky in here?
Had he woken from coma already and resumed school?
I was sure I felt his presence, but before I could give it any more thought it all went blank . . .

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