I'm hiding under the bed and the springs are pressing down, flattening my hair and flattening my thoughts. I can hear screams- loud and piercing and wild and inside I am screaming too- more than they are- I just can't let it be heard.
Someone tries my door and my heart is in my mouth. I might throw it up any second. Will they go away- there's a horrible sound and suddenly the smoke is in my hair and my eyes and my throat and I see the feet walk in. They pace the room and I can't take it anymore. I shut my eyes but I haven't learnt how to shut my ears. The screams are louder and the glass shatters and the smoke is pouring into the pores of my skin and as stupid as it sounds, I really wish I'd had that chocolate cake for dessert. I pick up my phone to send a text. But to who? And what do I say? "I'm okay" is a lie and "I think I'm going to die" is too close to the truth. So I put it down again and close my eyes.
The feet are in the bathroom now and I hear the mirror crack. They've broken the mirror. Does this mean bad luck for them or does it mean bad luck for me? Or both of us? Maybe they'll be killed, which is bad luck for them, but they'd already have killed me first- bad luck for...
I slap myself. Mentally of course, because I don't have the energy to lift my hand. The smoke seems to have sapped it all out. I can't breathe very well either but I can hear my heart beat faster than a hummingbird. Does a hummingbird beat? It flitters, doesn't it?
Why am I thinking stupid things when I am about to die? The smoke has seeped through my skin now and it's mingled with my blood. I can taste it in my mouth. I close my eyes tighter because it makes me feel just a little more alive. I really don't want to die. What I wouldn't give to have a sip of lemon barley or to see the stars or to even breathe the fresh air. As fresh as it gets in Bombay.
The sea. Will I ever feel that piercing stinging breeze that only belongs to the sea and to nothing else? Will it hit my cheek, cutting it open, pouring into me, getting rid of the dust and the dirt and the death?
But I can't feel anything except smoke. And heat. The feet have gone now but I don't really care. My eyes are heavy and I can't breathe properly anymore. I can feel myself tumbling through the darkness.
Will I be in the newspapers tomorrow?