HER

She’s dead…

I didn’t mean for her to die, it was an argument – an argument that didn’t stop. She kept going on about Eleanor, kept reminding me how imperfect I was, how my mistakes were unforgivable. What was I meant to do, I screamed my protests, told her it was enough. How many times must one hear they have made mistakes, let alone accept them? But she didn’t stop, instead she kept pushing. Pushing every button I told her, throughout our five year relationship, never to press. And tonight she pressed every single button. So I grabbed the nearest object beside me and hit her on the head. Once and then a few more times after that.

I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing until it was done. Now by my feet lays here limp lifeless body – another mistake staring me boldly in the face. How many more wrongs must I do, before I start to do right? I couldn’t process what was going on in front of me, don’t get me wrong, I knew she was dead, but what was I meant to do now? Was I meant to call the ambulance and turn myself in? Or was I meant to lie and say I found her like this? Either option had the same outcome, that being my life coming to an end. But I couldn’t drag her out into the backyard and dig a hole like in the films, which they make it look so easy to do. Not only was that ridiculous, but it was raining and I wasn’t a murderer, I hadn’t planned for this, so I was bound to get this wrong.

Instead I sat beside her lifeless body and held her hand. Stroking her hair just the way I knew she liked it and sang to her. Sang until my voice grew hoarse, and then I just watched. Watched her watch me. She was everything to me. She was the energy that made me wake up every morning, the reason I tried to become something.

After my family had abandoned me, Savannah took me under her wing, made me a home when there was only bricks in my hands. And look how I’d repaid her. After laying there for what felt like more than a few hours, I stood up and washed my hands. Had to get rid of the blood, the mistakes and every other failure I’ve managed to conjure up in my life. Then I went to the bathroom, unsure of what to do next, but aware something had to be done. The person staring back at me wasn’t the normal face I’d recognised. My hair was tangled and clumped, caused from where we’d had our argument. My skin paled ever so slightly, probably due to seeing a dead body for the first time and then for the fact it was my hands that had been the reason why the body laid there in the first place. The dark rings under my eyes had grown, they were always there, but for some reason, tonight it’d grown – maybe because I was tired, or because I my body knew after tonight I wasn’t going to get sleep for a long time.

But what shocked me the most was my lips. And how they’d curved into a weird shape, baring some of my front teeth. I hadn’t seen this look before and I wasn’t even aware I was doing it. But, it appeared that the person staring back at me through the mirror was smiling, a grim, sinister smile. She looked hungry, hungry for more of whatever had just quenched her desire… I didn’t like the person staring back at me – I didn’t even know she existed until now.

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Countdown [Part 2]

Last night was difficult for Anna and the cycling had only done so little to settle her nerves, which left her too restless to sleep. All night she stayed awake, remembering that night seven years ago. The memories fresh in her mind, reminding her who she used to be and who she is now after what had occurred. Her life was no longer the same. She was no longer the same. She was eroding away in front of her own eyes and there was nothing she could do to stop what seemed to be the inevitable. Dammit, she muttered to herself in her bed. One night was all it took to have her clutching onto her sheets again for dear life, when she was in no apparent harm. She thought about the letter again and the photo and shock inwardly. It was stressful enough to not know whether this was a just someone with sardonic humour, but something in the back of her mind screamed alarms.
The same voice that screamed alarms seven years ago, but she ignored. Anna had learnt her lesson and she learnt the hard way. She’d find herself rummaging through her memories to see if she knew the man in the photo, but nothing came to mind. Instead she’d try to remember the man laying dead in the picture and then remember Detective Sutherland.
There was something about Sutherland that made Anna feel protected. And that alone was what was scaring her. She barely knew the man, let alone spoke to him. But the aura that fed off him was something she treasured, a feeling she had no awareness that she desired, but had wanted so deeply. Anna wasn’t prepared to teach today, with her mind still wandering back and forth between Sutherland and the photo, she wasn’t focused enough to prepared students for upcoming exams. But she was sure as hell she wasn’t going to stay at home, where there was definitely no escape of the events of last night and Sutherland. She began to clear her mind and focus on the paperwork that was stacked on her desk as her students were reading, when the door knocked. She looked up to see Mike standing in her doorway, with that grin that made her skin want to turn inside out.

“Miss Phillips can I have a word outside please?” Anna excused herself from the class and made her way outside, hoping Mike wasn’t trying to ask her on yet another date, because she didn’t know what other excuse to give him to avoid his proposal. It was bad enough he kept asking knowing she wasn’t interested in him, but being her boss made everything more difficult. Mike didn’t know when to take the hint, especially when it came to Anna, and he didn’t seem to read expression very well too. Because if he looked closely for just a second, he would realise every time he spoke to Anna, she’d recoil within herself. Every time he stepped just a little too close to her, she made sure the gap between them was more than big enough to give her the space she needed. So whatever Mike thought he was seeing between himself and Anna was far from reality.
“What’s the issue?” Anna asked looking at Mike. He shrugged, directing her towards a figure that was behind her with his gaze. She turned around to see Detective Sutherland, standing just as large and confident as he did in her living room the night before.
“I have no idea, but I do hope you’re not starting trouble Miss Phillips – you’re too much of an asset to lose.”
She cringed at his comment, knowing what he meant and faced the detective.

 

Sutherland, who had caught every meaning to that slimy principals comment, clenched his jaw, watching Anna attentively to see if she’d received his subliminal meaning. When he saw her slightly flinch and turn away from him, he decided to react the same, there was no need to fight this woman’s battles just yet – even though he wanted to. No matter how much he tried to fight it, it was the first time in a long time he wanted to protect any woman who wasn’t family or his partner. The world was a cruel place, it gave when it wanted to give and took when it wanted to take. He thought of his life only just a few years ago and grew stiff at the sour memories. He needed to pull himself together, this was no time to reminisce on the past and the ‘what could have’s’, instead he focused on the now, and that was finding out more about Anna Phillips and who would send her a picture of a dead man.
“I have a few questions to ask you Miss Phillips, is there somewhere private we can talk?”
Kane wanted privacy, with the principal still lingering around like an unwanted smell, he didn’t want to ask anything that could possibly cause complications to the investigation. Anna looked towards the class and Kane.
“I hope you don’t mind sparing 30 minutes, I’m in the middle of teaching. But after, I’ll be free to answer any of your questions.” Kane nodded then faced the principal.

“Is there a place I can wait until Miss Phillips is finished?” He nodded and began walking down the corridor. Kane could destroy this weasel who thought he was a man in a second if he truly wanted to. Not only did Kane tower over him, but is was clear enough that physically, Kane weighed and worked out more than this principal did. As the man continued down the corridor, leading Kane further away from Anna, Kane dared to turn around to catch one more glimpse of Anna and did he catch an eyeful. Not only did her pencil skirt accentuate her curvaceous body figure, but the shirt she wore grew tighter around her breasts, almost making Kane salivate. Like a dog, because I’m behaving like one. Kane shook his head, trying to focus on the matter at hand. But when Anna hadn’t entered the classroom, he realised she too was watching him. When he caught her eyes staring at him, she disappeared in the classroom without giving him a chance to react. The principal led him to the waiting room outside of his office.

“Sorry,” Kane spoke. “Does Miss Phillips have many friends here?”
“A few,” the principal replied nonchalantly.”She does her job and leaves. I’d consider myself one of those few she classifies as a friend. I’ll always look out for Miss Phillips.”
Kane’s body tensed, this man was more than interested in Anna. It seemed he would do more that the average to get her attention, which made Kane dislike him even more.
Through gritted teeth Kane spoke, “what about teaching?”
“Oh, Anna always goes that extra mile for her students, there’s no doubt in that. She is definitely an asset to this school and losing her would be a major loss for me.”
How much more could Kane take before his primal instincts took the better of him. He took a deep breath and continued.
“So you’d say she’s a good colleague?”
“She’s amazing. Just very quiet.” A woman spoke from behind Kane. He turned around and was met by a tall, slim ebony beauty. She greeted him with a smile and stuck her hand out for a shake.
“I’m Toni, Mike you have a call on line one.”
In a flash Mike the principal disappeared into his office, leaving Kane standing alone with Toni.
“I’m –” Kane wasn’t sure what to address himself as. He didn’t want Anna’s business spreading like wildfire, and he wasn’t sure what the repercussions would be if he told Toni who he was. “I’m an old school friend.”
Toni smiled whilst looking towards Mike, who was now behind his desk, chatting away on the phone.
“Mike’s odd, don’t mind him. We’ve all guessed he has a crush on Anna, but if she’s going to ignore it, then so will we.” Kane looked at Mike then shook his head.
“A little unprofessional, don’t you think?”
“Hell, when it comes to Anna, the man acts like he’s never seen a woman before.” She huffed and continued. “Chasing like a dog without a leash, it’s embarrassing. The man just doesn’t know when to stop.” Kane made a mental note of Mike, and thought to conduct a background check on him when he got back to the office.

“Does he behave like that all the time?” Kane asked, partly to keep the conversation going, whilst wanting to know more about Anna.
“It went up a notch when Anna’s ex split with her…that was years ago now. But ever since then, Mike never stopped trying.”
There was an ex, Kane made another mental note and decided to ask Anna when he saw her. His phone vibrated in his pocket, whilst he was just about to continue his conversation with Toni. He grabbed it, seeing the caller ID and decided that the conversation could wait.
“Sorry excuse me.” He left the building, praying his partner Charlie had some good news about the case.

The Little Girl [Part 1]

Reports had stacked up far beyond what she could even recall gathering. Amongst those were email requests from clients and reporters who had been more than intrusive on Olivia’s work and private information. She wasn’t interested in responding to those emails, all they wanted was to put their noses into places where it wasn’t needed. After hours of categorising her workload she began to put pen to paper when her phone rang. Dammit. She grabbed her phone and looked at the caller ID before answering, Lieutenant Young. Her thumb lightly traced the answer button as she stared at the name. How long had it been, five months? Olivia remembered her last time she’d been with Young, all her insides tighten at the memory. There was always something about Young that had Olivia tense in a way she tried to reject far often than need be. Remembering she’d left the phone unanswered, she picked up the call.

“L-Lieutenant?”

“Olivia.”

The connection that she had questioned for months hadn’t just been an imagination. It was there and still strong as it was five months ago. With a struggle, she put on her professional voice, ignoring how her body had reacted to his voice.

“Is there something I can help you with?”

“Yes,” he spoke with a husky voice. Olivia rejected the urge to feed into her need and desire and let him continue. “I mean, I’ve got a case here and need your help.”

He wanted her and that was obvious. But he hadn’t called for that, something was wrong and he’d called for help.

“I assume you need me now?”

“Yes, if it’s possible?”

Her eyes gazed at the pile that continued to gain in height and ran a hand through her hair. Whether the workload was a mass amount or not, she knew due to the fact that Young had called her, she’d oblige to any request he made. You’re pathetic Olivia, so pathetic.

“Sure, I’ll be there shortly.”

She cut the phone and with an exasperated sigh, stood up stretching her arms and wondered what case Young was working on that would require her expertise. She recently read in the news a case Young had been working on. A child had died in the hands of his own mother, yet the mother was still able to walk the streets free no matter how much Young had tried to put her away, due to her attorney.

Grabbing her car keys, she left her office sure to return after her visit to the precinct. Weary of the poor weather the Cincinnati skies had showered upon everyone, she slowly walked towards her Ford Fiesta, making sure the snow beneath her feet were solid enough to handle the pressure she applied.

It hadn’t taken her too long to reach her destination, which is probably why they called her, she thought, hoping there was more to Young’s invitation. Stop it Olivia, just find out what he wants. She buried her hope deep within a place where she was sure she couldn’t reach and focused on the task before her. Bracing herself for the frosty weather, she got out her Ford Fiesta and walked towards the building. Shaking off the snow, she looked around noticing how busy it was and found what looked like to be the reception.

“Hello.”

“Dr Lint?”

“Yes, is Lieutenant Young around?”

“You’re here.”

A deep voice rumbled behind her, making her turn around. He hadn’t changed. Lieutenant Young amongst two officers made their way towards her, giving Olivia enough time to get a glimpse of how Young had developed over the few months they hadn’t seen each other. Young was the youngest in the force to become a Lieutenant, yet held so much confidence. Whether that was because of his huge frame or his stern face, either or, no one attempted to cross his path. He not only strived to gain the best possible outcome, but he always seemed to have that golden intuition that helped solve his cases. As far as Olivia had known, he had only failed three times to close a case in the eleven years of being a cop and last month was one of them.

“Lieutenant, how are you?”

“No need for formalities, call me Nicholas.”

Olivia only realised how great his frame was after being so close to him. She wasn’t a woman who was dependent on anyone, but being beside Young made her feel small but not in a way which she felt vulnerable. I’ve missed feeling like this. It’s been so long. She didn’t despise the feeling, in an odd sense she enjoyed it, probably far more than she should have. She shook his hand, ignoring the electrifying shock that ran through her body and focused on the matter at hand.

“So what did you need me for Lieutenant?”

He gave her a quick but brief smile, noticing her obvious remark to ignore his previous request and angled her towards the corridor.

“I thought it would be better to let you see first hand with what we’re trying to work with.”

As they walked through the corridor, with the remaining officers behind both her and Young, she tried to ignore the gut wrenching feeling that began brewing in her stomach. She knew all to well that the last time she walked this path was to help solve a child trafficking case, and Olivia tried so hard to forget those memories.

“Another child I guess?” Without looking at her he nodded.

“Just step into this room.” She opened the door and walked in, sighing as she witnessed from the one sided mirror a small fragile girl, who probably lacked nutrition in a large black jacket. The little girl had her fists tightly balled in her laps with her head down, letting stray clumpy hairs fall.

“She’s so young.” Olivia murmured to herself.

“This is both Detective Dorian Moore, the lead detective of this case and his partner Detective Andrew Williams. Both detectives came across a blood bath this evening and the only living thing left is this little girl.”

“Jesus.”

“Jesus indeed-” Detective Moore spoke reaching his hand out for a shake. She took his hand, instantly comparing it to Young’s and then disregarded the thought. “After she was recovered from the scene all she’s done is sit, with her head down.”

“We can’t even get a reaction out of her, she almost seems as though she can’t hear us.”

Detective Williams said looking at the girl through the one-way mirror. She must have been through a lot Olivia thought, definitely nothing she hadn’t come across before.

“We tried to see if she was possibly deaf, but she was still unresponsive.”

“How did you try that?” Olivia asked Moore who seemed to hold a grave look on his face.

“My brother’s deaf, so I learnt how to communicate through sign-language.” She nodded then turned to the little girl who hadn’t moved an inch during their conversation.

“And she didn’t respond to that either?”

“No.” Young had said, closer to her than she had anticipated. She steadied her heart and focused on the girl.

“We tried everything.” Williams said rustling hair that once had been carefully groomed, but now held a rough look.

“Apart from you.”

Trying to ignore the double meaning behind his comment, knowing it was her alone who had caught it, she pushed those disobeying thoughts further away in her mind, and she stared at the child who’d probably seen more than her mind could comprehend and began devising a strategy.

“Before anything I can’t promise to give you any critical information tonight. This girl has probably witnessed too much to even function anymore, my main priority is to get her functioning again, have her involved in idle conversation and then I’ll begin working on pulling out information in relation to the case.”

“Anything is better than nothing.” His voice ricocheted around the room, leaving Olivia vibrating. Waiting until she had gathered her composure, she turned to face Young, who was no more than a foot or two away from her.

“Is there any other aspects of the crime scene I should be aware of?”

Trying to gain an understanding of how she could formulate her questions without pressing any trigger buttons.

“First we need your trust. What we disclose with you cannot be recorded or broadcasted, not until things play out in our hand more favourably than now.”

Olivia gave Young a firm nod, knowing far too well the extent of those bottom-feeding journalists. Once they got an earful of any of her cases, they piled up at her office requesting for a statement, she hadn’t needed Young to go on to understand what he was saying.

“You have my trust Lieutenant.”

With a dark look in his eyes, he looked to his colleagues who shared the same look as he did and took a deep breath, his jaw working as he faced Olivia.

“Nine, nine dead mutilated bodies were found with the little girl. So Olivia tread carefully.”

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Have you ever?

Have you ever had to analyse your emotions ten times over, just to make sure you’re not behaving or feeling emotional for an irrational reason? Have you ever had to question your own mind-set, because everyone around you doesn’t seem to grasp your way of thinking? Have you ever felt crazy because you just can’t understand whether what you feel is reasonable or not? Well I have, and it drives me insane. Why must I feel as though I am the one who has blown everything out of proportion, the one who took everything “too far”, the one who just always seems to destroy the mood with her reactions? I tell you it could make any sane human being feel crazy. Just because people fail to understand the way I process things why must that make me the odd one? I remember years ago when I studied psychology, I was learning about conforming. One thing that stuck in my mind was how incredible it was to see how people would conform to the majority group, just because the numbers were high. Even if the question was as simple as what is 2 + 2. We all know the answer is 4, but if the majority claims the answer is 5, we begin to doubt our own judgment. That is exactly how I feel write now. As I sit here, pen in my hand, scribbling subconsciously on the plain piece of paper before me, I wonder whether because people cannot understand me, I can no longer understand myself. Hence why I have to analyse everything I do ten times or even more.

It’s beyond frustrating when you find yourself in this cycle. Where you feel a way one minute, but instantly question it the next because maybe the majority is right about me. Maybe I am a little irrational. Maybe my thought process is abnormal. Or am I now conforming to the majority? Who says the minority isn’t right? Why can’t the way I think and feel be right and everyone else be wrong? It makes me chuckle slightly as I sit scratching my head, thinking about whether I’m sane or not. A mother of two, is up alone in her study room in the early hours of the morning questioning whether she is sane or not, is a headline that I can’t help but chuckle to. I should have my shit together by now. Almost thirty-five, two children and a husband and yet here I am, wondering whether I’m losing it or maybe it’s everyone else who’s losing it. What irks me is that there is no one I can discuss this with, oh well I could go to my counsellor (whom no one knows I visit) and explain it to her. But, then I might just feel even crazier that I’ve had to go counselling in order to reassure myself that I’m not crazy. Ha, the irony. There’s no freedom, there’s no escape. I’m constantly in limbo with my emotions, constantly going from zero to a thousand, because I’m not sure whether I have a right to feel the way I do or not. And it’s a tough battle. It brings a lot of dark nights, silent cries and fake smiles, because everything just doesn’t seem to add up in your mind. And having two children and being a role model for them, gives me no room to even have time to fail. So I hold everything in, make sure only me, myself and I, see this confused version of me. I make sure all the tears have run its course before I see my children, I make sure the internal battle that I face everyday, is kept at bay when I kiss my husband good morning. I make sure the crazy has gone into hiding when I see my family, because it’s bad enough that people look at you like your crazy, but when you looking at yourself and seeing a crazy person stare back at you – everything goes downhill from there.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun