Tap, tap, tap.
Irritation coursed through Nora as the incessant tapping continued. Clamping her mouth shut, she ground her teeth together, restraining the urge to murder the soon-to-be victim, seated before her. Her hands tightened around the armrests of the chair she was seated in until the whites of her knuckles became visible.
Right eye twitching in irritation, her hands unconsciously lifted, making their way slowly towards the throat of the man sitting in front of her.
“Please state your full name and age.”
His voice broke through her thoughts, startling her back to reality. Suddenly aware of the crime she was seconds away from committing, she lowered her hands back down.
“Excuse me?” she grated, somewhat thankful she hadn’t been caught in the act.
“Please state your full name,” the officer repeated in blatant exasperation, the tapping of his pencil increasing by the second. Nora’s irritation grew but she still managed to answer his question without reaching over his desk and wrenching the godforsaken pencil out of his hands.
“Nora Lucile Castro.” She glared at the wooden pencil, wishing she could just break it in half. Four days had passed since Robyn’s accident and in those four days, there hadn’t been a word about Sam’s disappearance. After hours of searching the building, but to no result, the friends were left with no other choice but to contact the authorities. Even after the police had searched the area nothing had been found that could leave a clue as to what had happened to Samantha.
Nora’s anxiety levels shot through the roof and she had become an insomniac within a short span of time. She had no clue if she should feel relieved that she wasn’t having any nightly terrors anymore because of it or upset over the fact that no matter what type of medications she took, nothing could get her to fall asleep. Exhaustion had finally taken its toll on her and once healthy-looking skin was now a sickly pale color with a slight greenish tinge. Her eyes were bloodshot and no amount of concealer was able to erase the dark bags that were prominent under her eyes.
Nora still couldn’t begin to comprehend how she could have been so blinded with her own grief that she failed to notice that her own sister had been missing for hours. Nora was not only Samantha’s legal guardian, but her parent as well, thus Sam was her sole responsibility but within the blink of an eye she’d disappeared. The guilt and worry were tearing her apart from within.
Nora had vowed long ago that so long as she lived, Samantha would always be her number one priority. A promise so sacred that nothing else ever mattered to her because to Nora, the moment Sam was born, not even God himself mattered. Before her loyalty to any higher being, came her loyalty to her family. After all, Sam had never been just her little sister. They were parent and child and both of the siblings were aware of this fact even if it was never explicitly stated.
The moment she first held Sam in her arms and stared into her breathtakingly clear eyes, that’s when Nora knew that she would do anything for that child even if it meant giving her own life. After her mother passed away, Nora raised and cared for Sam as her own, taking on the role of her surrogate mother and giving her all the love and attention she had to offer. Admittedly before Samantha came into her life, Nora’s relationship with her parents had been strained for a substantial amount of time, even more so when her mother’s illness had been caught late into her pregnancy. Nora had lashed out at the unfairness of the situation
“You can’t blame them,” her mother had said. “I know you’re upset Nora, but this was what I’d been wanting for so long. After so many miscarriages, I... We could not have known I would relapse. It was my fault for not getting the proper checkups. So whatever happens, you can’t hate your sibling. He is your family and someday he might mean the world to you too.”
He. Nora had laughed bitterly in response at her mother’s slip of the tongue and moved to leave the room only to pause for a second as she reached the door. “What… what was the point of it all if you won’t even live long enough to see your child grow.”
“We don’t know that for certain,” her mother had argued adamantly. “The doctors said I still might have a chance as long as I start treatment as soon as I’ve recovered from labor.”
At the time Nora felt her mother’s worries were unfounded. She did not blame the child so much as she did her mother’s selfishness. Nora couldn’t understand why her mother hadn’t been content with the child she’d had already. She’d even begun to wonder if she was not enough, simply because of the fact that she’d failed to have been born with an extra appendage attached between her legs or better yet if this child was simply being used as a last-ditch effort to repair a marriage that had long ago begun to fall apart. Nora had figured that if that were the case, then she couldn’t help but feel sorry for her unborn sibling. A vindictive part of her had even wished that the child lying dormant in her mother’s womb would be born female. How ironic would it be for the son her parents had long since coveted to not even exist within the realm of possibility, Nora had reasoned.
Shortly after Sam’s birth, Nora’s mother had fallen into post-partum depression in the months that followed after Sam’s birth and had refused resoundingly any form of treatment. Thus, her mother’s cancer caught up to her, and as expected her mother fell victim to it not long after her youngest daughter’s first birthday.
Almost nine years later, Nora had to agree that her mother had been right in one aspect at least. Sam truly had come to mean the world to her, which was why Nora could no longer resent her mother for her behavior all those years ago. Now Nora couldn’t help but find herself at a loss without Sam.
The past few days of her disappearance seemed like an eternity and Nora couldn’t so much as bring herself to go to sleep much less go to work. As a result, she’d ended up having to call herself sick, but after a week of not showing up Nora was quite certain that she’d already lost her job by that point. Nora had gotten to the point where she chose to roam the streets surrounding the hospital at night instead of drowning in despair at home, knowing that her inability to sleep would only cause her to begin to imagine horrible scenarios regarding her sister’s disappearance.
Despite this, her nightly strolls didn’t help to ease her frustration at all, rather her desperation had instead begun to consume her slowly to the point of suffocation. An entire week had passed and yet there was still absolutely no news about Sam’s disappearance.
“So I understand that you are the mother of the eight-year-old child Samantha Isadora Castro who disappeared on November the 3rd between the hours of 5:30 to 7:00 pm correct?” the officer questioned in a somewhat condescending tone, interrupting Nora’s reverie. The man eyed her in close scrutiny before fixing her with a judgemental look, which did not miss Nora’s attention.
“No. That would not be correct. However, I am her legal guardian if that is what you’re inquiring about,” she clarified irritably.
“That so?” he brushed her off dismissively, “Moving on, in the report, it says here you were both at the hospital visit—”
“I’m sorry but c-can we just pause for a moment? Just a quick second if you don’t mind. You see, I’m a little curious as to how it’s possible that not once in this entire week have I received a call regarding my sister? Have you guys even begun to search for her? Because it sure as hell doesn’t seem like it based on the fact that you have no news so far on my sister’s whereabouts, otherwise we wouldn’t be going over all of this again.” Nora cut him off before he could go any further. She was tired of having to answer obvious questions, and tired of having to call the police department every day to find out if there was any information about her sister. Each second that she spent away from Sam, without knowing who took her and what might have happened to her had driven Nora to desperation.
At the moment, the only thing keeping her from losing her sanity was the thought of finding her sister no matter what the cost.
“Miss I understand that you must be worried but please keep in mind that it’s important that you exercise patience. There are a lot of other things going on in the department and I can assure you that we’re doing our best to—” He sighed, not bothering to withhold his eye roll, only to be cut off once again.
“So what you’re telling me is that there are more important things right now than the kidnapping of an eight-year-old child?” Her face twisted in disbelief.
“We don’t know that yet. We can’t just assume that your sister was kidnapped, there could be plenty of other logical explanations as to why she might have disappeared.” The officer scowled in frustration, his wrinkles becoming more prominent against his round face, slamming his pencil with his greasy fingers onto his desk as Nora interrupted him once more.
“Oh really? No, please, go ahead. Enlighten me. Tell me, how would you explain my sister’s disappearance?” Her tone darkened, as she attempted to suppress the anger that was threatening to spill.
“Look Miss, it’s too early to make any conjectures but you should take into consideration that someone really close to the two of you was hurt. How can you be so sure that the kid didn’t just wander off in a moment of grief?” he pointed out to her in distaste.
“What the hell kind of bull-?” Nora’s words drifted off, as she stared at him incredulously, her eyes practically bulging out of her head.
“You know what? Forget this. I’m done here.” She snorted before grabbing the pencil he had slammed on his desk and snapping it in two with one hand. The man stared after her in shock from the sudden outburst as she got up from her seat and walked away, throwing the metal door open and slamming it shut behind her.
Nora stalked away from the office in fury. Stopping in front of a glass door to catch her breath, she balled her fists in an attempt to calm herself down. As she attempted to recompose herself, Nora couldn’t help but overhear whispers of a conversation being held a few feet away from her, behind the door she stood in front of that had been left slightly ajar. Two men appeared to be in deep conversation with each other. One of them looked to be in his late thirties and the other was a noticeably younger officer, who was much shorter than his companion. Nora’s curiosity was somewhat peaked with the manner in which they were trying so hard to remain inconspicuous. Taking a few steps closer to them, she strained to hear what they were discussing.
“That’s sick,” the younger male muttered under his breath.
“I know, I spoke with him yesterday and he was there when they performed the autopsy. Apparently, the rumors are true. Some of the bodies are burned from the inside, but have no obvious signs of any other outward damage besides the markings carved onto the skin,” the other man insisted.
“How is that even possible? What kind of degenerates would do something like that to a human being?” The shorter man snorted in disgust.
“Probably has something to do with those Kailohkian bastards and from what I heard, the chief is trying real hard to keep this quiet. I’m assuming that the kid who disappeared down at the hospital isn’t going to be showing up anytime soon either with all of these bodies piling up. Well, at least not alive that is… It doesn’t help that they found absolutely nothing in the surveillance footage either. It’s as if she just disappeared into thin air.”