Her legs hurt. That’s all she could think of. It was as if she had been walking for hours. But she couldn’t remember how long it had been.

Where was she? There was a weird familiarity with this place. She knew this road. She had walked on it before. The angle at which the light from the street lamp hit the shrub below it, she had seen it before. The memory of the image brought a sense of unease to her… or was it fear…

Despite the tired legs, she started walking faster, almost as if running away from some unknown follower. Looking behind, there was no one, but she knew that someone was there. She turned around and suddenly she was at the stairs to the subway. “Subway?”, she thought to herself, “Where did the subway come from?” But didn’t stop. It’s like her brain did not give her thoughts any time to process the change or scenery. She quickly went down, two steps at a time, just shy of breaking into a sprint. She jumped down the last 3 stairs at once, and suddenly she was stuck. Couldn’t move her legs anymore. She looked down, they were tied. So were her arms. She was sitting in a chain, tied up.

“Hello”, she called out. Nothing came out. Again… “Hello”.. same result. She knew that she had said it. But she couldn’t hear anything. No, that wasn’t right. She could hear the water drops – falling one at a time. The rhythmic beat reminding her that she could hear fine. She screamed, nothing came out. Or at least she didn’t hear her own voice.

“Wait a minute, the scenery has changed again”, she thought to herself. First it was the road in Pilani… yes that’s where it was… the familiar street that led to the girl’s hostel, then it was the New York subway, the 40th street entrance under the Comics store, right next to Smoke shop, where her friends used to buy their vapes from, off 7the avenue, and now this room. This nondescript room, with no windows, no doors, at least not one she could see, it could be behind her. She tried to turn around to look for the details of the room, then caught herself mid thought. She’s sleeping. All she needed to do was wake herself up.

“Ok, you have seen Inception enough number of times, get one of those falls and you will wake up”, she thought to herself. “I am stuck on a chair, can’t really jump or fall from here. He did a good job this time.” But I am smart, I can make this chair topple. She tried to rock it left and right. It moved, made a noise, but didn’t fall over. She tried again, slightly more action, but the same result. The dripping sound stopped, and she felt the hair at the back of her neck rise. She knew he was behind her. She felt the panic hit her, and she started shaking the chair harder. He was walking towards her. She couldn’t see him, but she knew it. Just as she felt a sticky hand touch her shoulders, the chair tipped and she fell.

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