Pete saw me coming from the corridor of the company. At first, he didn’t recognize me but when he saw Hugo coming, he knew I was Cloe. It seemed as if we three were having lunch at the school’s lunch place where we all used to gather up together having a chit chat for our future. And then, we talked a lot until Hugo had to stop us.
I reached Aunt Veronika’s home and was shocked to see the cats gone. At first, I thought I’d come to the wrong house but I was sure this was her house.
When I went inside, I saw mom packing her stuff. I asked her what was wrong but she said everything was okay.
‘Oh! You might be worried about the cats. Oh no, Veronika has taken all of them for a veterinary test. They’d come back by night.’ said Mom.
It seemed so great to be all alone by myself in the entire house without cats. Mom was amazingly happy and she was feeling private, for once.
I sat on the sofa kept in the living room which was sheathed in cat marks and scratches. I took out my phone and checked it. There was a PDF file sent to me by an unknown number. I opened the PDF to check.
At first, I knew there was something wrong but when I opened it, I got jittery. There were five photos of me inside it. The sight of this made my legs numb.
Me going to the company in Chicago,
me drinking coffee with Jennifer back when I was at Mom’s place,
Me handing the cup of coffee to Indigo Junes,
Me taking the bus to go to work and Me standing beside the ambulance when the cops were investigating Teresa's catastrophe.
And now, I knew I would black out again. Not by others but by my own panic attacks. Someone was perpetually torturing me and I could not let this happen any longer.
‘Mom! Mom! We need to leave. Right now.’ I said panicking as usual.
‘What? Cloe? What are you saying? Where will we go?’ asked Mom.
‘Anywhere but far away from here. I know there’s someone watching us here. And this area isn’t safe for us anymore. Can we please arrange a better place for ourselves?’ I explained.
‘No! You need to explain the situation first, Cloe.’
I showed Mom the pictures from the unknown number. Of course, she got startled and we ended up going to Mom’s friend’s place who was a widow.
``We're really sorry for disturbing you or should I say, pestering you with our emergencies, Fiona.’ Mom apologized.
‘No, Reb. It’s totally okay. And Cloe has always been so close to me. Even though I last saw her when she was very young I still miss her to this day. In fact, I’m very excited to have you guys on board for a couple of months.’ Fiona said, while she was still finishing her hot chocolate.
‘Oh no, not months. Just some weeks Fiona. And believe me or not, we would be indebted for this much too.’
Fiona told me and mom to help ourselves with the room situated right beside Fiona’s own bedroom. The house was very big. In fact, I doubted how Fiona could live in such a lonely place. We arranged a better room for us. Fiona insisted Mom choose a separate bedroom for herself so, I ended up getting my own room at last.
Out of nowhere, I saw a cute little teddy bear beside the bed. I took it in my hands and was going to press it softly when Fiona spoke ‘No! Please don’t touch it.’
I jumped. The teddy bear was no longer in my hands as I aimed for keeping it back at its place.
‘What’s wrong with the toy?’ I asked.
‘Nothing is wrong with the teddy bear.. It’s just… I never allow anyone to touch it since it belonged to my daughter, Amelia. She… died and I can still smell her baby perfume in this teddy bear. If you’d touch it, the smell would fade away so please let it be how it is. I’ll take it from here.’ explained Fiona.
‘Sure. You didn’t need to explain this much. I would’ve kept it back if you’d tell me to stop touching it.’
Fiona smiled and went out of the room.
Even though Fiona left instantly, my mind couldn’t think of anything else but Fiona’s weird way of saying “Baby perfume’s smell would fade away” as if her daughter comes to touch it everyday. But without further whingeing, I decided to stay away from this matter.