Tobi’s world tilted and righted back into focus. It was just a thought and he felt weak with relief. Leah was still tied up in the chair and Zik was circling her now. Tobi knew what he must do and he didn’t hesitate.
“Zik stop!” Tobi shouted, stopping Zik midway with a knife in the air. “I know how you feel, believe me I totally know what you are going through right now.”
“You don’t know nothing” Zik growled, the manic glint back in his eyes. “Don’t you dare tell me you know how I feel. You don’t! None of you know that! Do you know how I cried every night for a saviour hoping for a miracle which never came? He was brutal. He was rough!” Zik grounded out his eyes misty with pain and tears. “I would beg and pray and beg again yet nothing ever changed. I looked at you everyday hoping you would see through my smile at the pain within but you didn’t. Then mother died and that was the beginning of the end. He had no restrictions any day or any time and could come as often as he liked. So I ran away and it was then I made up my mind to make others feel the pain and agony I felt. They should feel it too!” he shouted, going crazy.
He began to throw things around and scratch his head vigorously. “I’m in pain,” he said through clenched teeth with so much anguish and bitterness that Tobi was taken aback at the depth.
“Zik?” he called out hesitantly, “I can help you. Remember how we played soldiers and civilians? I can still protect you. You remember your request then? I can still remember it. Please let me help you, it’s not too late,” he begged as he looked at the agonized features of his best friend.
“No!” Zik said with vacant eyes, “you can’t help me. It’s too late for anybody to help me now. This is the only way I can make it all right,” he said with a determined jut of his chin as he picked up the knife again and approached Leah. “Zik no!” Tobi yelled, “I still have the jewel with me, you can take it and start a new life elsewhere.”
“You still don’t understand, do you?” Zik said with a sad smile, “I don’t need the jewel, I never needed it. Nothing can ever bring back my childhood. Nothing! So it has to end this way.”
Tobi’s heart constricted and his breathing came in short gasps, he lunged for Zik and they both fell sideways as they struggled on the floor. Tobi tried to get the knife out of Zik’s hand but Zik’s grip was too strong as he tried to stab Tobi in the chest. The knife was tantalizingly close to Tobi’s heart now, just a few inches away, when a gun discharged nearby and the two jerked visibly.
It became unclear as to who was shot. Few minutes later, it became clear as Zik gasped in pain surrounded by the pool of his own blood. Leah at the background, a steady grip on the gun she just fired and a shocked expression like she couldn’t believe she just shot the gun.
“Tobi…. why…?” he tried to form the words but blood kept bubbling in his mouth.
Suddenly the boy apparated out of thin air and knelt down beside Zik’s body. “Don’t die without knowing me,” the boy whispered, placing a tender hand on his face. Zik’s eyes wore a confused look. “You know the words, say it. You’ve virtually fought against me all your life. I’m the big guy up there.” Zik’s eyes opened with awareness. “Yes yes,” the boy said, “just let me in. I am the son and I can assure you of the peace which eluded you in this life. Time was running by and he was losing a lot of blood still he managed to croak.
“What…” blood sputtered. “…words?” More blood sputtering.
“You know them already, they are written in your heart and you once said them long ago. Long long ago. You can still find the peace your heart seeks for. Just let go, surrender to me,” he said with a tender glance.
“Please…” Zik struggled, blood bubbling out of his mouth. “Please… I need you… come in,” he said with a last sigh as he gave up the ghost. The peace which eluded him in life, he found in death for her died with a peaceful smile on his beautiful face. Tobi held Leah tightly as they both watch the scene before them tears streaming down their faces as they watched their beloved friend give up the ghost.
Tobi mourned. For what had been and would have been.