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I had dared to reveal my love for him when my parents tried suggesting suitable men for my hand in marriage.
They were horrified at first; to think that their darling daughter had sealed another's lips with hers and locked hands with someone while walking down the cobbled path to the city garden.
I am twenty six years old: what can I say?
The date and time were fixed so they could poke and prod him at length.
Even though my parents were the ones who would do most of the talking-- I could tell-- they were anxiously setting straight every piece of furniture at home, dusting the shelves endlessly and stocking the pantry with things I have never seen.
The last time I saw cookies in the left cupboard was on my eighteenth birthday. The time agreed upon came and flew away. An hour passed, then another.
He did not come.

My parents knew better than to tell me they told me so, but the finality in their voice was unmistakable. Once again, I had disappointed them.

That evening, I got a phone call informing about a man who miraculously survived and walked away.
His daughter had died because there was no cure.  He rocked back and forth in his seat, mindlessly fiddling with controls.
Money couldn't bring her back. His screams couldn't. Could his death?
A world without his Anna was a shithole.

He swerved his copter to the left.
It seemed to fly closer to the ground than away. Eventually, the cause was clear: there was little fuel left. In the throes of his grief, he had forgotten to check something as essential as oil.
He lived already in the world of the dead.

Miraculously, and this is what the locals say, his helicopter landed frightfully close the beach-side bus station at Jebaque, light as a sea gull's feather. He stepped off in a daze and walked.

Meanwhile, an old comrade of his recognized him in the hubbub of the maddening crowds and offered him a ride to the local trade fair with him. This friend knew nothing of the daughter, or even the fact that she once lived. Their bus tutted away.
A swarm of old wiry men with salt and pepper beards was collecting around the deserted machine; That is when I reached the beach, only to find two men trying to cart still useful parts away to sell.

I asked them of a man who beat death. They said he rode a bus to the fair a while back.
This couldn't be.
I staggered a little. Forward, backward. Were they trying to lie to her?
I hear the news. I tremble.

'Please help me find them.'
They stopped dead in their tracks.

'Please. Please. Please. They are my life!', I kneeled in front of them. Eventually, the man notices my distress and asks the frail man on the bicycle to drop me near the palace gates.
They clicked their tongues and left. Except the man with the bicycle.

What palace?

Anyway, the massive gates open and he furiously pedals us into a building where we could hear someone taking my precious friends away.

Dangerous staircase followed blind turns. The structure of the building we were in was monotonous; I now knew when to expect to turn left. That sense of earned familiarity still failed to calm my nerves.

Eventually, we manage to get out. The elephant troops on duty were led by the youngest recruits. I thought they would give us away. I died a million deaths as I saw them crawl  towards us. To my surprise, they ensconced us inside their trunks and crawled outside the palace gates to lead me to my friends. This was surreal. For the elephant troops to defy the Countess?

The senior elephants were soon notified of the intruder, following which I heard deafening trumpets seeming to invoke the blessings of their Lady and the Corin gods of war.

Meanwhile, my friends popped from the third floor caught just in time by a team of very fluid gymnasts.

I had a boulder in my throat every time they caught one of my friends. My precious mates.
These gymnasts wore faces contorted with pain.

One of them, a middle aged woman with platinum blonde hair reaching the nape of her neck, she held me by the shoulders and shook as she let her tears out.

'I can see the colours of your death, it is imminent, it is soon, but promise to be brave Dae Lahn, it is not vain. Your unparalleled wisdom has led us all to our new fates and you shall help us realize them, but you die!'

She whispered the last word as her lips leaked saliva from the corner and she helplessly collapsed into a heap.

Dae Lahn.

Why do I know you? How?
A peculiar attribute of where we stood was mirrors.
This area had mirrors for walls.
Before I could think any further, their faces dissolved in an abrupt shriek of blinding light.

My hands and feet felt bound. There was a hardness under my buttocks, they ached.
As I regained vision, I saw myself everywhere.
Mirrors. More of them.

They were everywhere. I could hear someone sobbing softly, till a booming voice ordered,
'Her time's up! Take her back to the ward.'
Wrote it out in a frenzy in a day. I'd love to know what you think :)
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