Previous – Nothing Happened
“Emilian?” Misa asks me.
Her sigh is long and solemn. “Where do you think your mom is?”
I shrug. “No idea.”
It’s been eight hours since someone snatched my mother in front of Grim Systems. We’ve laid in my bed for the past hour trying to process it.
Well, Misa is.
“Ugh, I feel so bad. I wish I could’ve done more to help save her or something, you know?” She smashes a pillow over her face, moaning and groaning into it.
Misa cares a lot. That’s not a bad thing, assuming she isn’t careless, but she could’ve gotten hurt or worse chasing after the people that took my mom. I still can’t believe she did that. She’s braver than I thought.
“Don’t feel bad.”
I snatch the pillow off her face. Misa’s flowery robe is open somewhat, and her nakedness beneath surprises and hypnotizes me. “Don’t feel sorry for Khiana Grim. You helped identify a killer.”
Great. I said too much.
“Who?” she presses.
“I received a file earlier today that contains some disturbing information.”
Her eyes grow larger. “What kind of information?”
“You won’t like it. And trust me, I’m only going to show you because you deserve to know.”
I hand her a black file from my nightstand. “Turn to the tab labeled Fortune.”
“Okay…” Her hand trembles as she flips through the pages. “Um. It’s all blank. Is that normal?”
“For now. The video will appear when you focus on the page. It’s the same mind process we use for our university tests.”
“Oh.” Misa whispers, holding the file up to her face.
“And remember, you won’t like what you see.” Her gray-blue eyes shimmer as she stares at the page. “I’ll give you some privacy.”
She throws the file down. “No.” Her fingers dig into my thigh, stopping me from leaving the bed. “Stay with me.”
“Honestly, I shouldn’t…”
“Hm.” I hate to see her worried. Her beautiful eyes get me every time. I’d do anything for her. “Alright…”
She focuses again.
In the center of the page, a red circle appears and quickly grows, coating the page edge to edge in a solid red hue.
I watch Misa’s face. In a few moments, she’ll be in tears. I know, because I memorized the video she’s about to see frame for frame.
It begins with a man standing on a quiet sidewalk at daybreak as the rain stops. He’s in a hooded yellow raincoat, black pants, and black shoes. He holds his palm in the air, possibly to check if it’s still raining.
When the light flashes for him to walk, he removes his hood, looks both ways, and crosses. Suddenly, a speeding silver car plows into him and drives on. Thrown high in the air, his body slams down and rolls before coming to a complete stop in the middle of the street.
His motionless body lays there for three minutes until a passerby stops and comes to his aid, followed by the authorities soon after.
Heavy rain begins.
Authorities drape a black sheet over the man’s body, then wheels him away.
Misa wipes her eyes. She closes the file and sets it beside her.
“Why do you have this?” She asks.
“Someone sent it to me.” I hesitate. “It’s legitimate.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I know the person involved.”
She shoves the file away. “You’re scaring me.”
“That was your brother, Micah, in the yellow, wasn’t it?” I ask.
Her lip quivers. She nods.
“I got him that raincoat. He loved it because it was bright enough for cars to see him walking.” A steady stream of tears slides down her cheeks. “He got hit anyway.”
If Misa is my future, we’ll make it through this. It’ll eat me alive if I hold it inside.
“The driver was my mother.” I blurt out.
Misa stares at the file, then at me, shocked. “No. That’s not… Wait. What?”
“The car in that video was registered to my mother, Khiana Grim. You can see her behind the wheel when you zoom in. There is also personal correspondence I have from her confirming she was in Fortune on Crown business the day Micah died.”
Misa grabs the file and looks again. Her anger is potent.
“You see why I don’t feel bad for her?”
It’s true, I don’t.
“Your mom killed my brother!” she snaps.
“I’m so sorry, Misa…”
I sit beside her. She flinches from my touch.
“What the fuck!” She looks confused, angry, and hurt. I’ve never heard her use foul language before.
I back off quickly, giving her space as we remain in bed, sitting in silence.
“Nothing makes sense anymore…” Misa finally says, wiping her wet cheeks. I hand her some tissues. “I wish you didn’t show me that.”
“Then what? Hold this secret in everyday?” I grab her hand tight, but she snatches it away, balling it into a fist. “I will never do that to you.” I take her hand back, keeping it with me. “I saw your inquiries to Fortune Authorities. Hundreds of requests from you asking if they caught Micah Honey’s killer, and all they said was no. No cameras, no witnesses, no justice. They lied. This is a cover-up.”
“A cover-up? What—?”
“I think my mother being taken is connected to Micah’s death. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in the life he lived. It would help if I knew who sent that file.”
“You can’t find out who sent it?”
“Of course it is. Ugh, life is so weird. Since Micah died, everything feels scrambled. Like out of sorts. Shocking and odd.” She sighs. “I can’t think anymore…” She falls back onto the bed. “I’m so tired.”
“Maybe it’s us.” I turn off the lights and open the window, letting in the fresh night air and moonlight. “Maybe we write our lives as we live it. Everything, everyone around us. You wanted to find your brother’s killer, and you did. I hated my mother, and now she’s gone.”
“But what kind of person hits someone and keeps driving?”
“Khiana Grim. She’s a darkness that clutches your heart and squeezes it dry because she only cares about herself. Fuck her. Bad things happen to bad people.” I breathe in the fresh air. “Ahh! I feel so free without her here.”
Misa sobs into her pillow, clutching it at her chest.
I lie beside her, wrapping her snug in my arms as she cries and cries.
“Nothing can take back Micah’s death. No apologies, nothing will bring him back, I know. But I promise, Misa, I will do everything in my power to help your heart heal for the rest of my life… If you’ll allow me.”
Misa seizes my hand, squeezing it tight.
It’s all I need to know.
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