Click here to read chapter-5

So, as I was telling you, Stella and Alex were friends since they were toddlers. The friendship that their fathers had for years only pushed their bond further. If I talk about their relationship, Stella was always the spoiled, stubborn child and Alex was like a responsible and caring dad to her. Stella would demand the most impractical things and Alex would always counsel her about the practicality of the situation. I just wish that Stella would have heard Alex in one of the most important decisions of her life.

“Stella! Stella! Look at the toy my father gifted me!”

“Wow! Alex, this car is amazing! I love it!” Stella stared at the car with eyes full of amazement accented with want. Alex, as usual, was quick to read the deep desire her eyes tried to hide.

” You like it? I know you like cars!”

” I absolutely love it Alex!” Stella, the enthusiastic five-year old tried hard to look into Alex’s eyes as she said this. All she could manage was a clumsy gaze as she stealthily looked at the plastic treasure that Alex kept in front of her.

Was Alex convinced? I don’t think so! It only made this five-year old kindergartener more firm on his decision.

Alex looked at his car for the last time and said, “Here! Have it! This is for you!”

As Alex said this, he was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful emotional roller coaster that Stella just went through. Her eyes went from want, to greed, to excitement and to guilt at the speed of light.

” What do you mean?” She gasped, almost immediately and continued, “……….No……..This is you present……..I will not…………”

“Stella! It is not for me, it is for you! I was just making sure that I bought the perfect gift. I told my father to buy this for you.”

Alex, unlike Stella, was not the most expressive child. This attribute, though considered unusual at times, did him numerous favors at that moment. How did a child hide his disappointment and covered it with joy? Only Alex would know!

It took some time and some white lies but Stella was finally convinced.

“Thank you Alex! You are so sweet.” Stella was very happy. Let’s say,that is just Stella!

“By the way, how is aunt now? She told me that once she will be fine, she will cook my favorite pasta for me.”

” She is fine now. It was just a minor fever! I think she is planning to invite your family on an Italian dinner tomorrow.”

“Yay!” exclaimed Stella and immediately started coughing.

“Wow! You have a terrible cough!” Alex touched her forehead, “…..and also the worst fever ever! Did you visit the doctor?”

“No! Actually, dad is out-of-town and you know, mom is always busy with work. I don’t want to trouble her.”

” Are you kidding me? You did not want to trouble her! Stella does not want to trouble people! This is the biggest lie I have ever heard from your mouth! Just admit that you are scared to visit the doctor. Scared of injections! Right?” He giggled as he teased her.

Stella looked away to avoid giggling with him but finally burst out laughing.

” Come, I will take you to the Doctor!”

“No! No!” Stella screamed pulling Alex to another direction.

” Stella! No Doctor! No pasta!”

” You are a terrible person!”

“Yes I am!”

Alex held Stella by her waist, her arm around his shoulder and started to walk towards their family clinic.

“I am ill, not injured! I can walk!”

“Shut up!”

Stella giggled. Alex was being such a dad.

“Madam! We have reached the hospital.”, said the driver of the ambulance, pulling Stella out of her memories. She looked around, realizing that she was in an ambulance with a badly injured Alex. A tear trickled down her cheek as she thought that.

Stella quickly ran to the reception as they were taking Alex down the ambulance. She was shouting crazily. “Emergency! Emergency!”

He was quickly taken to the emergency ward. In no time, he was surrounded by machines and Doctors. It was concluded that he had to be operated upon. There was a sudden rush in the hospital lobby. Everybody ran around in panic as a stretcher transferred Alex to the operation theater. Standing there, helpless, looking at her injured friend, made Stella’s heart ache.

The light above the operation table got switched on,but everything went dark for Stella! The nurse handed over a syringe to the Doctor and he quickly injected it in Alex’s arm.

“Ouch!”

“Come-on! Stella! Don’t act like a baby!”

“But Alex!”, a teary-eyed Stella looked at Alex.

“Shh…..Quiet…….Doctor, when will her fever go away?”

“A week! I have prescribed some medicines. Make sure that she takes them regularly.”

“Don’t worry Doctor! I will make sure that she follows her prescription.”,said Alex in an affirmative tone, beating his chest like a soldier.

The Doctor smiled. “I must say Ms. Stella, you are very lucky to have such a caring friend like Alex!’

“Ms. Stella!”, a hand came on Stella’s shoulder, interrupted her thoughts and pulled her back to the present.

“Yes!”

“Some forms have to be filled regarding the patient you just came with.”

“Oh! Okay!”

Completing all the formalities gave Stella a break from the entire emotional turbulence that she was going through. When all the forms were filled, she avoided going back to Alex and rather chose to step out in the open to get some fresh air.

Sometimes you wish to go back, to go back to the point in time where you chose to travel on a different road altogether. You wish to go back to the turn where you decided to leave everything behind. You wish to cherish those relations again , which were broken by you, mercilessly, to let yourself free to fly. You wish! But, Alas! That is all that you can do!

Stella was sitting in the front lawn of the hospital,sobbing! Someone came running to her in panic.

“The Doctor is calling you, QUICK!”

Stella was able to sense the rush in the person’s eye. It prompted her to run! Every single step added to her worry. The fear of the worst started creeping upon her. She ran even faster!

“What happened Doctor? Is Alex fine?”

“Actually…….He is critical…..Many bones are broken…….He has a head injury too…….but the most worrisome thing is that……he has lost a lot of blood and his blood group is very rare! We don’t have enough blood of that group in the blood bank! Do you know any of his relatives who share the same blood group with him?”

Panic gripped Stella as the Doctor said this. She started thinking quick! The Diary!

“Don’t worry Doctor! I  have the phone numbers of some of his relatives. I will try to do something. Please try to save him!”

Stella rushed to her house. She found the diary in her cupboard. She quickly picked her phone and started calling every single number, one-by-one.

The numbers were quite old. Some were abandoned now, some unreachable,some switched off and the few others who picked up the call did not seem interested in helping!

Tears filled her eyes. She grew pale as she disconnected the last call. Her fear started to grow up on her.

Was she going to lose Alex forever?

Will Stella be able to find a blood donor? Will she be able to save Alex? Who were those people who tried to harm him? What are they up to?Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read chapter-4

Her head was throbbing with pain.She felt powerless.Trying to shift around in her position,Stella laid there unconscious.She slowly started to open her eyes but immediately covered them with her hand as the moon-light from the opposite window was falling directly on her.After a few moments of lying still and thoughtless, she again tried to get up.It was like a war but she managed victory.She crawled to the nearest wall and laid her back against it.

The hit was bad.She gently examined her forehead to find out if she was bleeding.She was!

“Oh god! The cut has to go before John sees it. It would concern him.”

As she stood up slowly and started to walk she immediately remembered –THE CONSIGNMENT.

She rushed back to the hall, the package was gone! The turn of events gave birth to a lot of questions. Who was that man? How did he get inside? Did the consignment belong to him? Was he here to take it back? This entire confusion was making her head hurt even more.

“Okay! I think I need some fresh air and I would need some bandage for my cut.”

She locked the house, checking all the doors and windows once again and then went outside to explore her hometown. Stepping outside sent the memory trail running again. Although a lot had changed in her town, things were still same enough to allow her to dive deep in nostalgia.

Walking down the road, her eyes stumbled across the town park. She stopped-by to take a closer look. Somehow, nothing was changed in the past seven years. Same benches, same lighting, everything was same.

“Are you sure?”,said Alex with a worried look.

” Yes!”, affirmed Stella in the rudest tone possible.

“Why don’t you understand Stella, your parents are not selfish, they……they are just emotional about you.”

“You don’t understand Alex. It is suffocating and I cannot take it anymore. I have a life, a dream. I want to build a grand career.”

” Do it, for sure, but you can’t just abandon your parents like that! You are their only child. Talk to them, convince them, take them along. Don’t just run away like that!”

“Stop being an emotional fool, Alex.”

“You are a fool!”,said Alex grabbing Stella by her shoulders.

She pushed him away aggressively and ran away. Needless to say, even after seven years, Stella still regrets that conversation with her best friend. She never ever talked to Alex again. That was the last time. Alex was her childhood friend. They knew each other even before they could speak. It was a very special bond.

Thinking about it now, standing right at the place where it happened, filled Stella with guilt all over again. Alex was correct all along. Stella gave out a deep sigh.

” Still thinking about it?”

She abruptly turned around to find a tall,pale and dark-eyed man standing to her right. It took her a few seconds to recognise him. It was Alex!

Curly hair, pleasant smile and an accent that still flaunted his Italian roots. She immediately broke into a smile but it soon turned into a hesitant and faint one.He sensed the hesitation.

“Don’t worry! I am not mad. Sorry to surprise you like that.”

“No! That’s fine. I am glad that we met again.”

“In town to sell the house?”

“Yes. How come you know?”

He stopped for a second with a confusing frown and then continued, ” The lawyer that you are dealing with is a close friend and by the way, your house is quite an anecdote in the town.”

Stella gave a nod.

“What is that cut on your forehead?”

“Oh! I fell down. I was going to the medical store to purchase some bandage.” Stella smiled as she said that, trying hard to conceal her lie. She definitely did not want to worry Alex just a few moments after their reunion.

“Strange! I was also going to the medical store. Let us go together then…..that is…..if you would like?”

“Yeah, sure! Why not?”

First few seconds of the walk were silent. Then, to break the ice, Stella started talking about the weather.

” It is quite cold, right!”

” Yeah.” He gave an awkward and uninterested reply.

The silence gave Stella a few moments to analyse everything that took place. There could have been no way that Alex was just casually there at the town park. It was opposite to the way to medical store from his house. And also, that confusing look on Alex’s face when Stella asked her that how did he know about the deal! It all screamed out loud that something was fishy. She was not exactly suspecting him to be the man in the house but there is some link between him and that man.

Busy thinking, Stella did not even realise that they had already reached the medical store. They both went inside, still silent. Purchased the supplies and exited the store.

When they stepped out, Stella abruptly stopped Alex.

“What is wrong with my house?”

” W…..what……N….nothing.” He stammered, adding fuel to Stella’s hunch.

Now she looked him straight into the eye. “Alex, you need to tell me. The consignment, that man…… What is wrong?”

” I don’t know anything Stella. Why would you even expect me to know?”

” Don’t tell me Alex that you knew about the deal just because your lawyer friend told you. There is no person other than you who could have had the key to the house. I checked, there were no break-ins.”

” You are still the over-thinker that you have always been. You…..”

” Over-thinker?”

” May be any of your relative kept it there. It has been seven years Stella, may be it was always there and you forgot. You are a journalist, I know, but I don’t think that you should try to find a story in every single part of your life!”

” Alex you….”,she started angrily only to be interrupted by Alex.

” Oh come on Stella! What is wrong with you? We have met after so many years! Let me walk you back to your house and answer all your questions along the way. Fine?”

He reached out to pull a paper out of his pocket. As they turned around, a man came and gave Alex a tight slap. He snatched the paper from his hand and it got torn into halves. Four more man joined him. They pushed Alex onto the ground and started to beat him.

Stella tried to intervene but was pushed to the ground. Her knee started to bleed. As she raised her eyes, she noticed that one of the shoes had the same eagle mark as the man’s shoe that she saw in her house.

Before she could have looked at his face, they left, leaving Alex behind, bleeding and unconscious.

Time seemed to have stopped around Stella. Panic gripped her. The man from the medical store quickly called the ambulance. Everything seemed less important now. All that mattered was her best friend.

What was the connection between the events in her house and Alex? Who were these people? What did they want? Why did they beat Alex? Find out in the upcoming chapter of “When I walked through….” Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every-time we release a new chapter.