*Achoo* The chill night breeze brushed up against my wet body, sweeping away any heat my body generated.
“Hey, can’t you do anything about my clothes? I am freezing here,” I said to the floating boy clad in flames, Dee.
“I could but you see, I cannot interact with this world at all,” and to prove his point he entered the water. And just like he said, nothing happened to it. No sound, no vapors. He just went straight down, and did not come back. I couldn't care less about what he was doing, he had already proven himself useless, again. But right then, a weird fact hit me, “Wait, if you can’t touch me, then who carried me out of the river?” As if on cue, something was thrown over me.
“Oh, you are awake,” I heard an unfamiliar voice before the towel thrown over me was properly arranged over my shoulders by someone. A woman, probably in her late twenties, with a similar towel placed over her wet shoulders appeared before me.
“Are you the one who saved me?” That was the only conclusion I could reach.
“That is correct. How are you feeling?” she squatted down at my level and pressed my abdomen between her palms, “You fell in the center, so I could not reach you immediately. You may have breathed in water. Now take a deep breath.”
I did as I was told and inhaled as deep as I could. “Any difficulties in breathing?” I shook my head to her query and she released me from her press. “Although, you already coughed up some water, it is best to be safe and have a proper check up as well,” she advised while seating herself on the grass beside me. After that she grew silent and only kept staring at the other side of the lake.
“Um- Thank you very much for saving me,” to counter this awkward silence, I said whatever I could think of.
“Huh? No need. It was just my duty,” she answered almost subconsciously before going back to staring at the scene. After a few seconds, she murmured, “It is so bizarre. Two almost unlikely incidents occurring simultaneously. What do you make of all of it?”
“I don’t know. I just never imagined something like this could even happen,” feigning ignorance was the best way I could react. Even though it was impossible to pin anything on me, I still preferred to stay out as much as possible.
“That is what makes it so weird. But what makes it truly bizarre is the fact that people actually claim that the train had reached the station on time. A few of the passengers even said that they remembered passing the barrier and then a few minutes later, they hit the very same barrier.”
Sweat started rolling down my freezing body and my heart beat got faster. I knew it was impossible to actually comprehend this bizarre turn of events and trace them back to me. But my body still reacted when I heard this from somebody else’s mouth.
“Ah, this is so weird that it is annoying me,” she furiously scratched her head and then as a notion of giving up, she straightened her back over the grass. “No point thinking about it anyways. It is better if I use this opportunity to stargaze.” She laid in a relaxing pose as if the concentration she had just now was a lie.
She was the carefree type, no doubt but I was the cautious type, “So, why did you save me anyway?”
“Does there have to be a reason? You see a person caught up in a disaster, you try to save them obviously.”
“Yes, but for someone drowning quite a distance away, people would most likely try to call for the police. Also you just said you did your duty when you saved me. But you are clearly not from the police. So-”
“Ahahahaha!” my words were cut off by her sudden outburst, “You are one of the overthinking types aren’t you. Don’t make it sound so complicated. If you want to ask, just ask directly. Yes, I am a private detective. So, I work for a private organization and not for the government but our work is more or less the same.” Even though she said that in a casual manner, I still felt somewhat humiliated.
“Don’t overthink about pointless stuff and just enjoy your life. You are young now but you won’t even realize when this youth fades away.” she said to me before going back to gazing at stars, “but either way, this view is gorgeous. How come there are almost no people here when it is such a sight to behold?”
“Hoshi no machi is almost a ghost town. The only people that live here are either living here for generations or have no other choice. There is a third type, but they don’t live here.”
“Let me guess, they come to work here.”
“You wish. There are no workplaces here, The third type are of suicidals.” I could feel the eerie in the atmosphere creeping up.
“Well that is a real shame. Personally, I would not mind living here,” she got up, “but I have my own missions.”
*Woooo* sirens wailed as a patrol car appeared on the road.
“I called them here, they should take you home. A situation like this is best handled by the feds. And since we normally don’t see eye to eye, I better take my leave. I was staying just to see if you are ok” she said as she started leaving.
She was an eccentric lady that definitely took everything at her own pace. It was only after realizing that I did not even know her name that I found out that I was no exception.
After a few questions and a quick checkup, I was taken home. My stepmother, Amaaya, was pre informed and was waiting for us. I was soaking wet, so I went straight to the bath while Amaaya had a discussion with the police.
I stood in front of the mirror to get a good look at myself. Ever since the incident, I felt that something had changed, but all I saw was the same dull face and gray hair at the top. Only my irises felt more vividly red than usual. As if they were ingrained with the crimson I saw at that moment.
I took a bath, changed into my pajamas and went straight to bed. Now that I noticed, Dee has been gone for sometime.
“Dee,” I whispered in a quiet voice.
“What is it?” immediately I got the response and the Jinn emerged from the ground.
“Where were you?” I asked even though I did not really care.
“I had heard that there was a ball of fire beneath the Earth. Surely, I could not believe it until I had seen it myself. So I went to see it.”
“(Why did I even bother?)”
Knowing that Dee had not gone anywhere and was still going to bug me the next day, I closed my eyes.
“Well, today was quite the day. I am still surprised you managed to find a wisher so soon.” Honestly I was surprised at the coincidence myself.
“Hey Dee, do Jinns have a brain?” I asked in a feeble voice.
“How rude. We have plenty of intelligence even if you don’t want to admit it,” despite my serious question, he still took it as an insult.
“That is not what I meant. I mean if you have a physical brain like humans or not?”
“Of course not. We are not like you earthly creatures. We don’t need any physical organs to stay alive. No brain, no heart, no soul either.”
“I see. Then I guess you won’t understand.”
“Understand what?” Dee tilted his head.
“That feeling when you know that no matter how unlikely it is for something to happen, it will happen. Like when the teacher picks someone to answer the only question that you don’t know. Out of six rows and eight columns, there is a one in forty chance that he will pick you, yet you know that it is going to be you.” My eyes were getting heavier and my voice started to slow like a toy which is low on batteries, “I felt the same. That out of every reason for the murder of Weinstein brother, it was a wish. And for all the places he could have gone undercover in, he chose this city. I believed in the potential of the human brain to know things unconsciously that we did not even know that we know. So…. so.” my words started breaking, “I made…..a gamble.”
The accumulated fatigue overtook my brain and for the first time in years, I went into a deep sleep.