Chapter One: Day 8
The memory comes to me like a massive shock that I feel throughout my entire body. It is like a vivid image that stays in my sights, and no matter how hard I try, it never ceases to stand out. It is the only thing I can see, can recall, and can remember.
The memory is horrific. There are two men. They are arguing, and then one of them, the one with the short beard, attacks the other man. The man that is being attacked calls out, but I never moved, I just watched. I watched as the man with the beard strangled him, drug him back when he kicked and crawled away, and then watched as the man hit him over the head with a glass bottle. I only watched. Watched as the man was brutally killed and I did nothing about it.
“Sir?” comes a voice. I snap out of my dazed state and look up at the nurse. Her face twisted in both confusion and annoyance.
“Sir, do you remember anything yet?” She asks. But I can’t. The only thing that comes to mind is that event. Not a favorite color, no family members, and no name. Who am I? How did I end up in the hospital?
“I can’t-I can’t remember anything,” I choke out dryly, “What is going on? Why am I here?”
The nurse sporting the Amanda name badge gives me a wide-eyed look and then walks out into the hall, only to return with a man wearing a lab coat. His badge says Robert E. Johnson and his thick rimmed glasses make him look smart.
He begins to talk but I hear nearly nothing. Only bits and pieces of what he is saying. In an accident. Off the bridge on 1620 street. Severe head trauma. But then he says one thing that make everything seem to flood back in like a deluge. School dance.
Everything becomes clear. The prom, the masks, the music, the flashing lights, the thick air surrounding warm bodies, and the murder.
My gut twists at the thought of what happened those days leading up to the murder. I quickly lean over the bed and the sour taste of vomit fills my mouth and then ends up on the floor.
“Mr. Grey, are you okay,” calls the doctor. But I am not okay.
“Emerson,” the nurse says, trying to get my attention, but I continue to run through my never ending enigma of memories. I saw two men get into a fight. One of them was killed. One of them was the killer. I know both of them. Know their faces, their names, and their voices. I know who killed Adam Jones.
I stare him for what feels like hours. His green eyes, his messy brown hair, his busted lip, the thin trail of crimson red that runs from his upper lip and across his defined cheekbones. He is Adam. He is dead.
I stop staring at the lifeless body before me and continue my work. Wrapping the body in tarp, I then drag it into the small closet and begin to board the small room shut. The crime scene is nearly a 10 minute walk from the abandoned house and if the cops went looking, they would never think about looking in the building. An abandoned two-story house off the main highway was not the first place to look when someone is killed at the school prom.
They might not even think Adam was dead. Tons of kids run away from Sunnyville Prep. They might consider him another lost cause and let his parents know what has happened. No cops involved.
As I put the last board up to the doorway, I peer inside for the last time. The wrapped body sits unmoving. Part of me wants him to scream again, move a little, be alive. But he is not. I place the final board and grab my bag, but something next to it falls over. A blue backpack belonging to Adam.
I know I should leave it here but I have a urge to take it. I grab the bag and sling it over my shoulder and leave. Into the dark and windless night, where the fresh dew is beginning to form as the sun slowly peeks from beyond the purple horizon.I walk by the school gym, at a distance, and see it has begun. Numerous cop cars are at the building along with a few vans for who knows what. I stop and stare for a brief moment before continuing home.What happened yesterday is done, I can not fix it, I can not go back and save him, save myself. My gut rings with guilt and my head spins with adrenalin. Dozens of thoughts run through my head as I walk home. Did I do the right thing? What if I get caught? I need to tell someone. No. I need to stay low. Oh god, what have I done?
The scene was a gruesome one. My stomach churned with both sickness and curiosity. This case needed to be solved, and I was both cursed and privileged with doing so.
A rather large, dried puddle of blood covered a good square yard of the alleyway and shards of glass and splinters of wood littered the pavement. Trash was spilled from the silver cans and wrappers and other junk laid about in a hectic manner.
We detectives knew little of what was going on. One teen missing, Adam Jones, attended the Sunnyville prom and then disappeared. Blood found. Lots of it, enough to suspect death. No cameras. The buildings here are old and the owners just as. They can barely use a calculator let alone function a video recording system.
Adam Jones could have just run away and the puddle could just be spilled juice or discolored oil, but I think worst case first. That is the only way to get anything done around here or in this job. You have to hope for the best but always prepare for the worst.
Adam Jones could be alive, but he could also be dead. We have no witnesses, no body, and no clue as to what happened at the dance last night.
I watch the forensics officer take a sample of the liquid. This is a game of could be and what if. Blood or oil, run away or victim, dead or alive, something happened to Adam Jones, and I was going to find out what.