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Fated

Ryan studied his hands as he woke up, from what it seemed to be a very long sleep. He was still not entirely certain if he was awake, trying his best to gather his thoughts which were tangled into a spaghetti of confusion. The place where he was now sitting was the floor of some sort of a factory, lined up with huge machineries and conveyor belts. To his right was an exhaust fan, through which the sunlight came through at an oblique angle, making lined patterns on the ceiling. He again looked at his hands, a pair of hands which he was seeing for the first time in his entire life, and struggled to come to terms with the truth that was proving too incredible to believe.

It was a cold evening in the streets of Trieste, when Ryan had asked his girlfriend Naomi to join him for dinner, in a restaurant he never thought he could afford. The occasion demanded something special, for he had been secretly planning and saving for this day for a long time. Finally the time had come, and he was waiting in the table overlooking the misty streets, the diamond ring in his pocket giving him company.

Only streets away, Naomi had just breathed her last in the smashed Chevrolet, lying within a cordon of yellow police lines.

The first few weeks of knowing the truth had been a dreamlike state, as Ryan groped through the days, immersed into a blunt disbelief. He had known hours after the accident had taken place, too late to see her for one last time, too shocked to go and visit her home. Gradually the feeling was replaced by a dread, a hopelessness and grief so enormous that everything started falling apart.

And then finally one day, he made his decision. The once fantasized 'time-travel' was now almost reality, although still in the prototype status. He signed in for an experimental travel, going through painful sessions of counselling and warnings. He was to travel to a parallel universe, approximately at a time before the accident. But there was more than a catch.

Now looking at his hands, Ryan realised what the scientists had warned was actually true. The travel into a parallel universe meant shedding one's own identity; like being reborn. He was not to be known as Ryan anymore, but someone else.

He walked out of the building, trying his best not to catch anyone's attention. Outside, the sun had just gone down, the streetlights lazily turning on. He walked up the roadside, towards the kiosks of newspapers and magazines and grabbed a copy of The Daily Herald. His mouth gaped open as he stared at the front page.

7th September. Ryan could never forget the fateful day that changed his life forever. Instinctively, he looked at his arm to check the time but he had no watch. Without paying for the newspaper, or asking for the time, he made a full sprint towards the main street. Time was something he could not afford to waste.

The streets were not crowded as usual, being a weekend. Ryan bolted towards a taxi which had stopped at the corner. The passenger getting off was an old lady, conveniently taking a long time to settle the bill. His adrenaline must have reached its crescendo, when Ryan opened the door and grabbed the driver by the collar. With a swift move he forced him out of the car, jumped in, and stepped on the gas. Even before he had turned the corner, the police sirens sent a chill down his arms.

Keeping the fear from gripping into his system, he pressed harder on the accelerator, keeping in mind his ultimate objective. He has lived the same day twice in one life, and he could not afford to lose this opportunity. Naomi had to be saved, at all cost, even if that meant defying God and His laws of fate.

Ryan could almost feel a delirious sense of accomplishment, as he sped towards Naomi's Apartment in Elmsville. He could feel the police cars gaining behind him as he raced towards another intersection. The car had already gone halfway past when he realised he was supposed to turn left, and so he tried, only managing to curl into the wrong side. There was a dead weight of terror in his arms as he rammed into the side of a black Chevy coming from the opposite side. In the split second before he was mangled to death, he knew…

'…Naomi, a university junior, was killed along with two others in a car accident last evening. Her car was hit by a speeding taxi, near Elmsville intersection, and all three occupants of the two vehicles died on the spot. According to police sources, the taxi had been hijacked shortly before the accident. The police are yet to identify the man…'
18/09/05
The Daily Herald

By Tausif Salim


Book review


The Magic of You

Daring pirates, languidly handsome lords, sneaky Chinese villains, and tempestuous belles…what more could a romance book need?

Introducing Johanna Lindsey's “The Magic of You”. This book is apparently part of a series about the controversial (and fictional) Malory family, which is loaded up with 'dashing rogues and rakehell adventurers, and ladies of uncommon beauty and incomparable spirit' as the blurb goes. I haven't read the other books, but if they're anything like The Magic of You, then I definitely want to.

This one deviates from the traditional boy-meets-girl plot. Warren Anderson, part-owner of a fleet of merchant ships, is the surly eldest brother of Amy Malory's uncle's bride (try saying that with your mouth full!) Considering that Amy's uncle had practically eloped with Warren's sister, and at some point come to fisticuffs with our poor hero doesn't make him a happy relative.

Amy, at the tender age of seventeen, has made up her mind that she will marry Warren. Never mind that he hates her family, never mind that he's old enough to be her uncle, and never mind that, having once had his heart broken, he's sworn to bachelorhood. As resourceful and headstrong as any of her infamous uncles, she's determined to have him. Warren, once he figures out her intentions, is determined to have absolutely nothing to do with her. Of course, he hadn't considered an important thing: the lust factor. Amy, however, will have all or nothing, so it's literally a clash of Titans in this most entertaining read. I'll leave it to you to read and figure out who wins, but I must warn you of some interesting twists that completely change the course of the story and keep you guessing till the very end.

Likeable characters, witty dialogues, comical moments and adrenaline-pumping adventure are woven together by Lindsey's crisp writing style. In fact, if I praise this book any further, Avon Romances should pay me for marketing their product, so I'll wrap it up here. This one I got from abroad and it costs some $5.50, so I don't know if it's available locally, but I suppose you could always place an order with Amazon through Omni books or Words n' Pages.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


 
 

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