Somewhere in the early hours of dawn, I had the same dream again.
I was in the desert. I remembered the place. It was in Jaisalmer, with an abundance of sand dunes and camels. I’d been there three years ago, the last family vacation we had taken. Even in the dream, I felt hot, as if the sand was radiating heat.
Initially, I was alone. I kept gliding forward, just reveling in the expanse of golden sand and clear blue sky. But then, I saw my parents. They were searching for something. They were yelling, their faces were worried. I stopped, unable to walk forward. Then, some inexplicable force, made me take two steps backwards. The more I tried to fight it, the more I kept walking backwards. But my parents didn’t look at me. They just kept going in round circles, shouting….someones’s name, maybe?
Finally, I brought myself to a stop with a jerk.
“Kartik!” I finally heard the name clearly. I turned on my heels.
Standing right in front of me was Kartik. He looked just like he did when he went missing- more handsome than I was beautiful, fair-skinned with smooth hair and rimless glasses. Before I could say anything, he put his hand on my mouth in a way that frightened me. He then put his finger on his lips and smiled maliciously. When h let go of me, I turned around to find my parents. They were still circling me, looking for Kartik.
“He’s here!” I said to them, but they couldn’t hear me. And when I turned around to face Kartik again, he had vanished.
I woke up, my palms sweating. I had seen the same things in the dream so many times, but had never gotten to know what happened after Kartik disappeared. Usually, I just woke up before I could see any more.
I looked at the clock mounted on my bedroom wall. It was six. I took a moment to steady myself and then forced myself off the bed. Today would be my first day of college.