Chapter Four 

The greater amount of these I hand out, the better. I grasped the missing persons posters tight in my hand.

 

"Hello, I'm Detective Eastdale with the SAPD," I said, while I hand the owner a flyer, and he surveys it over. "Can I post this on the door of your business please?"

 

"Yes, no problem at all, please go ahead," the man said. "You'll find her, I'll pray for you both -- I'll show the info around to my customers too," he ensures.

 

"Thank you so much, I'm trying to get the word out to all the businesses, buildings and residences in this locale. Please be on the lookout for her, very much appreciated. Thank you kindly and have a great evening." I walked out the door and I notice a young man coming out of the store, so I stick my hand out with a poster for him as well.

 

"Young man, how's your night going? I asked.

 

"Malachi," he introduced himself, as he outstretched his hand to accept mine -- what a nice young gentleman.

 

"She's been gone for over two weeks now, and her mother is reeling," I revealed.

 

"Terrible, I'll ask around, mind if I keep this, sir?" he asked.

 

"Please, do, thank you and take care. Here's my card if you find out anything I would appreciate a call, yes?"

 

"Yes, sir, will do." He turns away, inserting the poster in his sack.

 

I've been to the restaurant and spoken with some people in the vicinity -- and I picked up the videotape. I figure I'll hand a few more of these out on the way back to the office. Something on these tapes can tell me how far you made your way, I sure pray.

 

***

 

Been watching the tape for about 10 minutes now, and I find her. She's wearing white jeans and a puffy blush coat. She's carrying a stack of books. Wong's Chinese Restaurant is closer to where she was going, than it is to the school -- you almost arrived, so what happened?

 

I’ve re-wound and re-watched the video numerous times, visually investigating some other people every time. An older woman perches on the bench, one man with a cane, trudges by, along with another young man. Wait -- I know that coat. The man I spoke with outside of those lofts, but I didn't jot down his name, dammit. I'll have to go back and ask him again. He is walking right next to her -- maybe it slipped his mind, and this video will refresh it.  I glanced at my pocket-watch -- not too late, so I take my vest and hat and head back over to the condominium. I will hopefully run into the young man again.

 

***

 

What a lavish building, one of these new fancy micro-abode types. Sheesh, extravagant -- too rich for my blood and too small, I like my cozy ranch house.

 

"Excuse me, sir?" I see him still sitting outside of the building on a bench. "Are you sure you didn't see this young lady? Me, I've been going over some film and it shows you and her standing outside of Wong's the day she was last seen."

 

"Yeah, and I'm sure it shows a few other people too, are you questioning them as well?"

 

He takes the sheet and grazes it again, with an outstanding look, a few times -- he is absorbed for a while.

 

"No, sorry pal, have not -- pretty girl though. So unfortunate. I didn't even know that was her I was standing near, or I would've said something to you earlier -- I was just waiting for my food, man." His tone claims different from before, as he hands the paper back to me.

 

"No, you keep that, got plenty. In case you want to show anyone else in the building, or if you want to take another look-see."

 

"Will do."

 

I post another to the bulletin board in the lobby and leave.

 

"Goodbye."

 

He motions and goes the other way. That young man seemed a bit strange, but many of the younger folk do these days. I run up to a few people and hand out some more posters, someone must have seen this young girl.

 

I stick a sign on every store window, from the school to the library and I ask everyone along the way. Still, nothing -- but I take down some clues from a few places. They're also going to let me look at their security cameras from the day she was last seen, that will give me something, I'm hopeful.

 

A couple of weeks passed, since her mother last saw her, police officers did a canvas of the whole neighbourhood. They got a few tips, but they led to nothing, which is why the case was given to me. 'They'd like my expertise,' they said. This is dire because I don't have anything -- got about as much material as them. I'm sure someone knows something.

 

***

 

I look at the clouds outside my window, while I stretch out in bed. The shadows of the trees shift, making my heart shutter, it heightens the locks on the back of my neck.

 

Hans should be back to give me my meds for the night, I can't sleep without them. I'm always looking over my shoulder because I'm solo in this world. No one believes me, so what's the point in being vocal?

 

I'm adrift in the shadows, then I notice him come in, but I don't turn around and stay facing the outside. I’m accustomed to him rushing in, giving me a jab, handing me some pills and shooting right back out the door.

 

The door clicks locked, and he never even shuts the door usually, what's going on?

 

A plastic bag goes over my head, encasing my skull, as I do my best to take in a breath, but I can't. My own stifling air bounces back at me.

 

"A little reminder," a voice I pegged – it’s my brother. "Keep hush, or I'll silence you, permanently."

 

His hands are around my neck, squeezing whatever air is left in my airbags, out. This is it; he is going to finish me this time. Someone is talking, some ways down the hall. Air refills my lungs, and in an instant, he is gone -- as immediate as he got here, he vanishes.

 

The door swings wide, this time it was my doctor. Finally, he's here to give me my nightly medication.

 

"You're shivering, yet sweating profusely, is it too hot in here?" Hans asked me.

 

I don't answer him, I never do, but he always talks to me. He supplies me with my array of pills, my shot, and he turns down the heat. I'm quivering, how did he not see him?

 

"Wonderful dreams to you, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!" he kids, while drawing the door closed.

 

That saying irritates me, Bobby's the fucking bedbug, and I am going to be bit.

 

***

 

"Long time no see, Claude, I hope all is well with you?" I asked, while I stand to greet him. He's an old, dear friend, who works in the university's forensic hub.

 

"How are you healing? Claude asked. “I’ve heard about what happened to you, that’s so scary, indeed!"

 

"Exactly why I’ve called you here, Claude," I explained. "I'm not out of danger. I believe to have found new evidence, and I need your help to find out more."

"Are you sure about this Hans, looks quite clear someone already doesn't want one person poking around. I don't think they'll be so happy with two."

 

"One of these molars are not Bobby's. I knew that one of those choppers looked paler than the rest -- like it didn't belong. That was my first clue." I explained. "I had it tested and my assumptions came back true – it's not a match to the other teeth. Can you tell who’s it is, possibly? Also, how it came out -- did it fall out, or was it pulled?" I asked, in utter shock at what I’ve discovered.

 

"So, what is it you'd like me to do, Hans?" he inquired. "Yes, I can tell you that, then what?"

 

"I need you to access the forensic database for me. I want to do an analysis on the DNA profiles of Ducas and Bobby, to see if anything comes up in recent times. I want to learn if he is in fact, still existing, but I only have limited access -- but you, you can allow me in farther. I also want to see if any other DNA profiles come up from testing this one single tooth, I want to find out whom it belongs to -- Ducas, Bobby, or someone else?

 

Please, I need your help, something is going on. I suspect Rockleigh is up to no good as well, I think that is the reason those people attacked me in the first place. They beat me and took some test results from the electroshock sessions with Mr. Blake -- things are all connected Claude, I just know it!"

 

***

 

Never have I seen anyone so gorgeous, so stunning. Not beautiful in the way you're thinking, not in the way everybody thinks -- in the way I think, she's real. She flashed a smile at the clerk, and it brightened my day, even though she isn't even smiling at me. She's overloaded and doesn't see me, thank God -- I'm not that creepy guy, I swear, even if I'm him now, momentarily. I do kind of feel like a lion stalking his lioness in the wild though.

 

Her scent hypnotizes me, I'm standing right behind her in line. Never seen her around here before, but I'm glad I didn't miss seeing her today. Caught up in the ramblings of my mind, I don't even register that the cashier is asking me if I'm ready.

 

She turned around to leave, and I walked up to make my purchase -- we collided. Her chocolate bar and pop spilled out of her hands, and I fumbled my wallet. I bend down to gather everything and so does she -- again, we entangled.

 

"I'm so sorry, I'm such a bumblefoot!"  she spoke.

 

She brushed away the loose falling fibre, as they descended from her ponytail. It landed around her face and framed it.

 

"My fault, I too, am a bumblefoot." I laughed nervously; I can feel my face getting red -- what's a bumblefoot?

 

She followed my gaze up and our eyes meet for the first time -- we can't look away, but we both don't say a word. We connect eyes, for what was our little, tiny infinity.

 

"Buddy, are you going to go or what!?" The impatient asshole behind me, complained.

 

"Go ahead, sir, my apologies." My hands give him permission to proceed first, accompanied by a bow. When his back is turned, I present him with the bird.

 

Laughing, I turn back to her, but she's already gone, so I don't buy anything and run outside to the store's front hoping to meet her still. She was out fumbling through her bag, with a smoke in her mouth.

 

"Need a light?" I asked, handing her my lighter before she can even respond.

 

"You can keep it, I have a few." It was my only one.

 

"I know I have one in here, somewhere," she said, while she stops looking through her purse and takes mine.

 

"Thank you." She takes a long drag and I also take out a smoke.

 

"Got a spark?" I ask her with a grin and puppy-dog eyes.

 

"Thought you said you had a few?" she chuckled.

 

"Oh, I do, not on me though." I take it back for a second and light my cigarette.

 

"I come to this store all the time, but never saw you around before."

 

"Moved here a few months back."

 

"Like it so far?" I asked her.

 

"I like it more and more every day." she giggled, while she looked me up and down. She smiled, and this time it was for me.

 

Was she flirting with me? Fuck, I hope so! Why am I so awkward around girls I like? Kingston? He was so confident with these types of interactions; it was so fucking easy for him -- he'd run this situation.

 

***

 

Shadyside Park, simple yet romantic. Too many people don't value the little things, and they accept money over magic. Lust over love, attention over effort. I treasure magic, love and action -- the real, authentic gifts in life. I'm glad she enjoys coming here, some girls would put their nose up at the idea of a juncture at the park. Not this girl though -- one of the many reasons why I love her. She's different from the others, and I believe the world broke the cast making her. "Handsome, come back down to earth, what are you thinking about so passionately?" I don't see her coming because I'm all up in my thoughts about her.

 

"Aloha, cuteness,"

 

"Hey, you," she stretched out her arms for a squeeze.

 

"How was your day?"

 

"It could have been better, but it could always be worse. How was yours?"

 

Her positive attitude is something I need in my life. These other girls are always so negative, and they evermore make everything about them. Not Nylah though -- when she asks about how your day was, she likes to know.

 

"It was good, I hung out with Kingston, played some games, went to work. You know, same old shit, different day scenario."

 

Her phone vibrates, her dad is phoning her, and she takes the call. This girl would ignore her phone habitually, and she sets it on vibrate when she's with me, but it's her father.

 

Then I see her beautiful face slant -- the smile that was here only a few moments ago has disappeared and is replaced with a frown. Tears cascade down her cheeks -- what's going on?

 

"All, OK?" I asked, perceptive to the fact that it can't be.

 

"My mom, she's – she's dead! We've got to go, now!" she jumped up, and started looking for a taxi.

 

"I'll come with you!" without any hesitation I get up, we search for a ride -- but nothing, "I can call one, going to take about 10 minutes or so though."

 

A cab comes out of nowhere, and we whistle for it, the street was empty a minute ago. I put my phone away, and we scooch into the car. "SAM-H, please hurry!" she spoke quickly.

 

Her voice trembled -- it bothered me a great deal to see her like this. She begins to sob uncontrollably.

 

"No, oh no! I can't believe this, everything is my fault, all my doing!" she wailed.

 

"What's your doing? What do you mean, Nylah?" I asked her.

 

"My dad said that my mom collapsed. He doesn't know CPR, and my little sister is too young to know it. He rushed to the phone and called 9 1 1 and the ambulance took about eight minutes to show up. They performed CPR and used the defibrillator on her, but they said it was too late. She died -- but what if I was still living at home and didn't move out? I moved out only six months ago. For those eight minutes, I could have been performing CPR on her, I could have been saving her. She begged me not to leave, but I did," she confessed.

 

"Nylah, my condolences. I'm so sorry about your mom, but it isn't your burden, baby girl. Don't blame you, please -- you don't know if it would've saved her."

 

"You don't know that it wouldn't have!" she snapped. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to bark at you."

 

"No need for sorry, beautiful. I'm here for you, I got you." I promised her.

 

She snuggled into me, crying into my chest, my heart breaks for her. How can I take her pain away? I can't -- but I can make sure that she doesn't go through the suffering alone.