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  • Writer's pictureAmr Abbas

Awake/Asleep: Part 3 Act I

Read Part 2 here.

Skip to Part 1 here.

The Curious Cave of Robinson

“Things like that can take some time, I can tell you that from experience, Mrs. Williams,” I said, stroking my chin carefully as I observed the woman sitting across from me.

“Missus.” She said, a smirk curving her lip. “Missus Williams,” she repeated as she shot me with a glance that made the blood flow into my cheeks. Good thing I had a good poker face, or so I liked to think.

“Of course,” I said, “Missus Williams. You see, what you are talking about is a case that has gone cold some twenty years ago. Even if you have suspicions, it would be very difficult to trace it. And a missing person report does not do much. You know how those things work. You report the case, the police do nothing until some time has passed. If you are lucky enough for it to be taken seriously, the best you could get is a search party. Now, that’s twenty years ago. Even if you are confident that he is still using his real name, which you are not, it could take a lot of resources to find out his whereabouts, if, of course, your assessment is accurate.”

Williams arched a brow. She huffed without audible noise. She shot me another glance that was, unlike the first, cold. “Are you suggesting…”

Before she could continue, it was my time to interrupt her. “Please, I do not wish to spend your resources or your time pointlessly, I am merely saying that it could all end up in vain, and instead, your wallet will be significantly lighter.”

Once again, darts of piercing frost shot my way. She rose off her seat. “I came here because I was told you were one of the best. Obviously, a misconception. The only thing that was wasted was my time coming here!” She said sharply and reached for her purse.

I leaned back slowly. She did take the extra second to gather her belongings, an extra second meant desperation in her case. Why would she be digging dirt on a man who disappeared twenty years ago? I cleared my throat and drew a smile on my face, looking at her.

“It was not. Sit down, Ms. Williams. You are still on the clock even if you decide to leave now.” I said, calmly. She shot me another one of those glances and she sat down.

‘Good girl,’ I thought, as my fake smile turned into a smirk. “Before I accept the case, I will have to know a few things. Some of which I do not normally ask my clients.”

She stayed silent as I continued to speak, “First of all, why? Then there is the question of why you would want to dig dirt on this case. What’s the connection? Certainly, you are by no means related. But you are invested in Robinson’s case, you know an odd number of details for someone who was barely ten by the time.”

“12.” She responded. “I was twelve years old when Robinson disappeared.” She paused for a moment, hoping that I would spare her any more queries, but I watched her carefully, waiting for her to finish. “And if you must, it was my father who was handling the case. He passed away shortly after…”

It was no fluke or stroke of luck that I missed that detail. The inspector’s name was Richard Blake, and she was Marianne Williams. I could not have guessed that on the spot.


It was not long before I started researching the case. Richard Blake died on the eve before Christmas of 1998. His death came due to a heart attack at the age of 31. The age explained the reason why she did not carry his last name, too. Thirty-one with no prior history of a heart condition. Perfectly healthy, as the report said. From the two photographs of the man, it was difficult to imagine that he had any self-destructive habits.

Certainly, the reaper works in mysterious ways. I was not convinced that the man’s death was foul play. For all I know, he could have ended his own life and the police would have just dignified the case by calling it a ‘normal’ death. The most problematic issue was Robinson himself. Why was it so important for her to find him, or whatever that may have happened to him?

The ink ground upon the paper I was holding. I liked to doodle whilst researching. I may have ended up being an artist had I spent more time drawing. Maybe that would have spared me the misery of cases such as the case.

I should have known.

What I sketched turned out to be rather uncanny. It looked like nothing at first, little post-it notes scattered around, each with a shape of its own. I thought that my mind was playing tricks on me at first. I will get back to that later.

With a few calls, and a phone call here and another there, I was able to obtain the file of the Robinson cold case. There was no way that the kid would have survived in any way. But I kept on digging.

5th of August 1998
Martha and Albert Robinson visited the station. They say that their boy, Frank, has gone missing. It has only been 6 hours. I told them that there is no reason to panic. Young teenagers will often be late.

As soon as they left. I sent a couple of paroles. The boy is nowhere to be found.

6th of August 1998
Frank has been gone for over 24 hours. A search party went to look for the boy. Nothing.
Is it connected?

7th of August 1998
There is a place in the woods. Albert called it the cave. He used to go there with his friends. I cannot find the place. None of his friends know its whereabouts. They say only Albert knew how to get there.

17th of August 1998
I found the cave…

That was the last note from Richard Blake…


Something was brewing in the air. Something strange. The sky looked different. The woods looked different as if distorted by something or someone. I had a torch in my hand, and I kept my handgun ready at my side.

I was scared.

There was something about that case that rubbed me off the wrong way. The woods were never kind to me, and no matter how many times I’ve been there, there was always the feeling that I was lost. I never appreciated that piece of nature. Had it been the sea or the sky or the mountains, that would have been a different story.

When I wandered into the woods, it was still daytime. The sun was bright in the sky, although it was unusually cold for August. The orange rays of the sun washed over the washed-out leaves, and they flew around as if mesmerized by a trance. I walked through the woods, unsure of what would befall me; unsure of what would be found. There was no way I could access Frank’s cave. At that moment, I reached the conclusion that Richard Blake may have gone mad…

I should have known.

And then the leaves began to rain from the sky above. The winds blew from all directions. The sun blew out like the flame of an unwilling candle stuck in the wind. But there was light in the midst of the dark, light that I could not decipher just yet…

A chuckle brought an end to the calmness that enveloped my soul. It was not strange, but rather soothing, warm; a soft childish laugh of a woman, a familiar voice, but the laughter died away, it came from afar and it traveled even further away.

And then came the voice, a voice that I identified as Blake’s; hoarse but warm and kind. He spoke the story of what transpired with him in those very woods and what I have not heard, I read on the veins of the leaves that fell from the skies above. Glowing with words that only my eyes could read…

This is what Blake told me…

Read Part 3 Act II here.

Part 3 Act I of Awake/Asleep was written by Amr Abbas.

Cover picture by Amr Abbas.


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