When I thought this day couldn’t have ended worst, it exceeded my expectations. More than worst, it turned into a nightmare that didn’t seem to end sooner.
I stared with a crumpled heart through the window at door of the hospital ward.
Janice laid in a white bed, her state clutched me in despair. Several of tubes were attached to her body, and a life support was barely keeping her alive.
According to doctor, she would be comatose for how long no one knew. Her state was critical. She had broken ribs, severe stab wounds in her abdomen. And left side of her brain was bruised by the extreme blows on her head. She was covered in blue and violet bruises all over her body.
She miraculously survived it as she in her half unconscious state dialed 911 after her attacker left mistaking her for dead.
“Miss Cowden,” my name was called in a gruff voice. I turned.
An officer with a bulky appearance stood by the side of a gangly one. A contradiction in there appearances was humorous to watch. And in other circumstances, I would’ve laughed on their faces. But not today, not when Janice wasn’t by my side to laugh.
“I’m officer Gerald Stone,” the bulky one said. “And this my partner, Theodore Wilson” He gestured his eyes at the one beside him. “We would like to ask some question about this attack on Ms. Janice Audrey.”
I nodded, “Sure. ” And followed them to the waiting area.
“So where were you when this attack happened on your friend?” Officer Wilson asked, an incredulous look in his eyes as if I was the culprit.
“I was gone to meet someone,” I told.
“Where and with whom?” Officer Stone inquired.
“I was at the cafe Sweet Time near my folks place with...” Derek never showed up so what was I supposed to say.
“With...” he probed.
“Well, I was supposed to meet someone but the person never showed up,” A dubious look crossed the both officer’s face at my answer. “But I met my dad there.” I said to drove off any suspicions from me.
“Do you have your suspicions on anyone?” The gangly one asked.
“Um...No one, she was quite an social and amiable person to have anything against her.”
“Did she mention anything before you went on a date?” The bulky didn’t seem to have any brains. I would’ve preferred if he used the term meeting that I had mentioned before.
I was about to say no when a memory rang in my ears. My eyes narrowed as I tried to recall it. “Ya, she told me she’d a company to attend to.”
“Do you know who?” Officer Wilson asked, his stick like hand was shoved in the pocket of his pant.
A regret washed over me. “No, I thought it was her date.”
He nodded.” Okay. You may go for now. But for future investigation we might call you again.”
I gave him a nod, and without a word walked out from there.
Janice’s bereaved looking parents were standing by her room with my dad accompanying them, probably discussing her condition in his medical technicalities rich language.
A set of silver eyes met mine, and then I noticed the another person standing among them, his presence consoling my heart.
As I stood by him, he gave me an assuring look.
I looked at Janice’s mother. She was replica of her mother except for the red hair she had, a characteristic she got from her father.
Her mother’s face was puffed up from all the crying while her father’s hand were around her mother in a console he was trying to provide her.
My chest lurched as I looked at their hopeless state of witnessing their daughter barely alive.
“You kid should go home. It’s pretty late.” Mr. Audrey suggested.
“I would like to stay here,” I insisted.
He shook his head. “It’s past midnight, dear. You should probably go home. Come visit her tomorrow.” He sounded rasp, his voice broken.
“Yes, Ann. I’m here. You both should go home now.” My dad urged.
I relented. “Fine,” But before leaving from here, I looked at him with a desperation etched on my face. “You’ll give your this patient all your best.”
He gave me a small smile. “I will.”
I nodded, trying to suppress my tears. And then I left with him without a word.
“Are you okay? ” He asked as we reached his car.
I sucked in a huge breath and gave him a vigorous nod in response. I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to be strong for once. So I lowered my eyes to hide the tears that were at verge of bursting.
But he knew me better.
His finger arced my chin up, so that he could see in my eyes. Though I didn’t dare to meet his.
“Ann,” he whispered softly. “You can cry.”
My heart was overflown by these emotion. Unable to refrain, I bursted into tears. And he immediately pulled me in his soothing embrace.
“Shh... She’ll be back to her jumpy self in no time, Ann.” He stroked my hairs a I clung to him, sobbing.
“Why had I left her alone, why of all nights, today,” A guilt repressed over me.
He pulled back a little, so that those silver eyes looking at me direct. “It was not your fault.” His thumb grazed below my eye, wiping the tears away.
There was a silent as we gazed into each other’s eyes. This moment held a comfort and serenity that I needed.
I didn’t know how would I have dealt with it if it weren’t for Rayon... One of the best person that completed my life.
After crying my heart out, and consoling me through it. We drove off from there. A long silence following afterwards.
Even though, he tried to provide me the comfort, today had disturbed him, too. He was just pretending. So I could be strong.
I looked at him.
I could see the bother that held in those silver eyes. That perturbed mien as he raked his free hand through his chestnut hair while other was tightly clutched around the steering.
Even in this state, I couldn’t help admiring his comely face. That finest cheekbones adding to the appeal of his face while the abs peaking out of those muscled yet a leaned body made his appearance irresistible.
Girls were always after her. But he wouldn’t spare them a single look. He had a girlfriend that we knew after Janice and I tried to fix him on a date.
She was in Nevada, completing her honors.
It was a long distance relation. But somehow, it was working really fine. We hadn’t ever seen him being disloyal to her in any way. There weren’t many instances he talked about her, but when he did, I could see that love burning through him. He had eyes only for her. And it made me happy that he had someone to love. He deserved all the best he could have.
His eyes drifted to me and in nick of a time, I averted my eyes. And saved myself form mortification of being caught gawking.
The car stopped.
“We’ve arrived.” He announced.
“Thanks for the ride, Ray.” I mumbled meekly, clicking the car door open.
As I was about to step out, he spoke, poking my cheek. “Everything is gonna be alright.”
“Ray!” I said frowning. And I tried to do the same to him, but as my finger came for its target, he leant back, and my finger struck on the window at his side, and I chipped my nail.
He chuckled while I glowered, he didn’t know efforts behind growing caring for a nail, but the sound of his chuckle was intoxicating, and soon I found myself joining him in his laugh.
“Good night, bozo.” I said, getting off the car.
“Night.” He said, driving off from there.
I walked up to the front door, a smile from before lingering on my lips.
My feet knocked over something as I reached to the door. I looked down, a wooden box laid on the door mat. My name engraved on its lid.
My brow knitting together in perplexity as I bent to pick it up.
I without thinking much removed its lid. And inside the blue velvet surface of the box were a picture.
I gasped, my mouth gaped open as I looked at the picture in consternation. My heart dropping to my stomach.
This... This is...
A photo mine was in the box. I was sleeping in my old room at my parent’s place. My night dress was slid off from my shoulder and my leg was peeking out from my blanket.
A shudder of fear passed through me.
If it was still a prank then it had gone far too much...
But is it a prank?
As I dwelled over my thought, my phone buzzed. I hastily took it out of my hood in a daunting anticipation.
I gulped as I stared at the message from an anonymous number. I daringly opened it, bracing myself whatever it read. But no matter what I couldn’t.
(You look so innocent when asleep. P.S- Arranging your closet sometimes might be a good idea, baby.)
My body stiffened, tendril of fear rising on my skin as I tried not to hyperventilate. It could still be a joke, right...?