You see it in their eyes when the people you love trust and believe you. You can just tell. And I didn’t need to be psychic to know that although I doubted so much, I knew they actually believed me.
I had just told my friends everything that had happened that night, with every single detail I could remember.
It was a long period of silence and shocked faces. “Are you okay?” Mia asked.
“Is Craig okay? I mean, that’s all I fucking cared about.” I replied.
“He’s okay. He’s back home, but needs to take a couple of days off to recuperate.” Jeremiah added.
“Adrian…we can help you out with this one, but this time we definitely need to set up a condition.” Gabriel stood up from the couch and walked around the living room, where we were.
Everyone looked at me as if they had already discussed this. Alejandro gave me a look that remained stern. And that was when I knew what was going on and what the condition was. “Of course Alejandro suggested this!” I roared.
“That is the condition, Adrian!” Alejandro exclaimed. “I do not give a shit about about how this ends and how it began, all I care about is you maintaining you mental health.”
I then remembered that his mother also suffers from GAD. He had probably seen all the symptoms and that was probably why he was first to believe and trust me than the others.
“That way, you’ll be meeting us halfway.” Mia whispered. She walked towards me. “I do not support what you did. It was irrational and stupid…but we’ve all done reckless and stupid shit here and no one is perfect. It must be fucking hard having to deal with what you’ve dealt with and that is why I think therapy can help you.”
“I can come with you to every session if you…” Gabriel paused, knowing there was a possibility I wouldn’t agree to that.
“Fine! I’ll go to therapy.” Only because I can’t keep being the only one seeing apparitions.
Someone entered from the main door and right after, we heard footsteps coming towards the living room. “Alejandro, I…”
It was David. After his return from ‘out of town’ business, something about him had changed…and not for the good. He was more of a dad, kinda like how he was when he was married. He has noticed some ‘off’ things about me ever since he had come back, but he goddamn knew how I hated it when he meddled.
“My god, Adrian…why are you here? Why are you all here and not in school?” David took off his shades.
“Mr Spector. Adrian had collapsed at the school corridors.” Mia explained. “We could have taken him to the infirmary but…”
“I insisted they take me home.” I interrupted.
“Oh. Are you okay?” He walked in and towards me.
“I am fine, dad.” I assured. I wish I really was.
He nodded. He still had a skeptical look I always avoided to question, as it would have opened a can of worms. “Alejandro, I need your help with the groceries at the boot. And I think it’s time you get rest.” David added.
What? Was he euphraxically kicking them out?
“Of course. We have to go back to school.” Jeremiah felt the tension.
So did the others. “Yeah. It was good seeing you, Mr Spector.” Jason smiled at him.
David blankly nodded. What was going on with him?
Everyone instantly left in Jeremiah’s convertible. When David came back to the living room, after escorting them out with the fakest smile ever, his face changed towards me. He walked towards me with now an angry facial expression.
“Okay dad, you need to tell me what’s going on.” I was becoming scared.
He did a small exasperated laugh. “Adrian…I have tried by all means to be a good and reasonable parent to you and tried on many attempts to make up for what I did to you, but you have no right to treat me like a stranger.”
“Dad…what are you talking about?”
“Be careful before you lie to me, Adrian. Because I’ve had it with your hypocritical nonsense.”
“The detective labelled you as a person of interest in the case of Craig Fernandez!”
An earsore splatter of plates echoed from the passage leading to the living room, meaning that Alejandro was eavesdropping.
“Alejandro get in here!” David exclaimed.
Alejandro was a dog with its tail between its legs when he entered the room. His legs were bent a bit with his head down. “Mr Spector, I apologize for that.”
“For what exactly?!” David roared.
Alejandro looked at him with teary eyes. “For keeping this from you. I swear I was keeping best your son’s interests.”
“More than mine?! Are you here because of him or me?”
“Okay dad, that’s enough!” I yelled. “You do not talk to him like he’s some scumbag you found in the streets. This is all my fault!”
David paused, realizing that I was right. “You should have come to me first, Adrian!”
“And tell you what? That I almost killed my friend?”
“Yes. I did the same with Benjamin and I would still do the same even now.” David’s voice pitched tenderly.
“I’m scared, dad. I’m really scared.” My voice cracked as tears escaped my eyes.
He sighed while approaching me with a hug. And yes, I needed that. I needed relief and closure from all these tension. Most importantly, I HAVE TO speak to Craig.
“It’s okay sonny. All you need to do is go upstairs and get some rest. I’ll explain to the school what happened.”
Detective Lucy knocked on Craig Fernandez’s home. It was a strange environment for her, Crane Hills that is. She was from Clinton Hills, an often quiet environment. Crane Hills was the opposite. Crane Park had an amusement park and a children’s party right across Crane Avenue.
But she had to focus. It wasn’t distracting, but it was more or less an eerie feeling. She had not been out of the house ever since her daughter committed suicide. Being a divorcee and a childless woman, it sure felt lonely to be outside work. Her partner, Detective James, suggested for the past months that she works on paperwork as he does the opposite: scout for the bad guys.
Craig finally opened. He had a large bandage around his head and supported his balance with clutches. They upset him. In fact, generally, powerlessness upset him. If not having to rely on his sister for things such as lengthy walks, he had to ask his alcoholic mother.
“Detective Lucy.” He sighed tiredly.
“May I come in?”
He moved out of the way. Ms Fernandez came to the lounge as well, where Craig directed her. “Detective. Tell me you have some good news.”
Detective shook her head. “Unfortunately, I don’t. But we have to prohibit any visitations, especially suspects. That includes Craig’s friends.”
“Isn’t this wonderful.” His eyes rolled. “Look Detective, I want to let this go. It was probably some homophobic punk who saw Adrian Spector and I kissing.”
“You’re dating Adrian? So you’re serious about this gay shit? And Detective, how did they even get inside that club. He’s 17!” Ms Fernandez erupted.
“Mama! Please!” Craig roared.
“Yes, Ms Fernandez. They could have gotten in because they didn’t check any ID. They usually don’t to other students. We’ll attend that later. But first, we need to find out what happened.”
“I was attacked by some homophobe! How is this implausible!?” Craig grunted.
“Isn’t it strange that he had to break a mirror to attack you? Seems to me there was an altercation. You said Adrian Spector was in the room with you?” She took out her notepad and pen.
“Yes, but he had no reason to attack me. We were kissing.”
“And you didn’t notice the attacker’s face? Clothing?”
“No.” He looked into her eyes. He then looked at his mother, who now looked worried than angry.
“Ms Fernandez, we have a killer roaming the streets named The Ghoul. He attacks with no apparent motive. Majority of the abducted victims are women, who have been scalped, and just when we thought that was the psychopath’s motive, he abducts men as well. As the department, we would appreciate every information that could help with this investigation. It is not a minor matter.”
Craig’s eyes instantly brightened. “Detective. I have an idea.”
The Detective kept silent. Ms Fernandez looked at her son with interest.
“How about you hire someone? Maybe a PI disguising as a new student at Clever Cats High? Maybe this person isn’t The Ghoul. Maybe it’s someone from school. It could be one of my friends.”
Ms Fernandez blasted into laughter. “What? That’s some stupid idea, son. Mason wouldn’t do such…”
“No no, Mrs Fernandez. This sounds like a great idea. No one suspects a kid. Yes, I have someone in mind who can help. We usually do this for inside jobs such as bank robberies. But this could work. I’ll talk to Mrs Jolie.” Detective Lucy smirked.
Craig’s eyebrow raised. “If I may ask, Detective…we’ve had five students killed, including Niall Johnson…why did you not take their cases personal, yet you think this one is?”
“Because now he feels closer than ever before.”
“And why do you think you’re here?” Dr Langford, one of the therapists found by David, asked.
The room was a brown warm colour with a typical therapist’s office…the desk, the comfortable couch, the small plant at the end of the desk, the blinds, the book shelf and, of course, a box of tissues. The room wasn’t depressing, it was exactly where I would spend the rest of my life in.
“Because I’m fucked up. I’m fucked up to an extent that I can’t even see my old therapist.”
“And why is that?” His eyebrow furrowed. And may I mention? This man was the embodiment of attractiveness. His eyes were a blue colour…just like Benjamin’s. Attired in usually tight shirts that hugged his muscular physique and German-cut hair…like Benjamin’s.
Basically, he reminded me strongly of Benjamin.
“I had developed this…bond with him. It would be a disappointment to him if he found out that I was in therapy again.”
“You think he’d be disappointed…because you’re in therapy?”
“I mean…therapy can and does show one how fucked up their lives are.” I fidgeted.
“I can say as a therapist that it’s not true.” He whispered in his therapist voice.
“Yeah, because you’re a therapist.”
“Yes and because I had studied for therapy for more than five years, assessing different kinds of people. I think it can show development, desires and can bring self-awareness.”
“Pfft! When people recommend that you ‘go to therapy’, it’s traditionally because they think there’s something wrong with you.”
“Do you think there’s something wrong with you, Adrian?”
”Not really. Dad recommended it, so did my friends. I must be surely losing it.”
“Losing it?” He echoed.
I sat upright with my legs folded on the sofa. “I mean, I’ve been experiencing a lot of…weird things.”
“Weird, as in…unusual?”
“Look Adrian…” He sighed. “I honestly cannot help you if you’re only here because of your father and friends. I can only help you…if you truly want to be helped. I’m not psychic and I’m definitely not a wish-granting factory which means that every step we take is going to be a gradual, heavy step towards your progress.”
I nodded. I felt attacked with the truth, which I appreciated although it stung. “Yeah, I’m doing this…” I trailed off.
He nodded as I looked into his eyes.
He smiled. “I love that attitude, Adrian.”