The Loudest Silence

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I trudged into the dull room, duffle bag in tow along with a determined attitude. I was here to complete a mission and I intended on fulfilling it. I came to a halt half way into the room as I stood in front of two identical beds connected to two small desks. I let out a sigh as I recalled living in a room identical to this three years back when I was a student actually attending the university.

“Second time’s a charm.” I mumbled irritably to myself as I fixated myself onto the tiny bed. The bed itself wasn’t very long in length and would no doubt leave my feet hanging over the edge due to my height. My eyes danced over the tidy room before my gaze fixated straight ahead where another bed lay. Though the room was currently unoccupied, the personalized bed sheets along with posters littering the wall above the bed was enough to indicate that my roommate had reached the room before I did.

As I sat there in the empty room, memories of my life three years ago consumed me. I thought back to my very first day as a freshman in college where I was curious, naive, and agitated. The whole day before college move in was spent fretting about the new journey I would be embarking on, and what life had in store for me. I lightly scoffed to myself in pity of the person I used to be. Little did I know that a few years down the line I would be facing the greatest tragedy in my life, not only changing my outlook in life, but the person I used to be.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by someone obnoxiously pushing the door open, causing it to slam against the wall as they filed into the room, a bucket of laundry in their hands.

I watched carefully as the boy, who looked to be about 18 years old struggled with the laundry basket that was half his size. His thin arms looked as if they were about give out any moment because of the weight of the basket and before I could lend him a hand he dropped the basket onto the bed in front of him.

He distractedly let out an exhausted sigh and swiped a hand over his forehead to wipe off a few beads of sweat that had formed. He seemed to be oblivious my company in the room as he tried to catch his breath. I cleared my throat to announce my presence which caused him to jump in fright at my voice. I concealed a snicker that threatened to slip as he quickly turned to face me. The boy who looked to be a freshman wore large glasses that covered half his face. His curly hair lay disheveled atop his head and he wore a thin T-Shirt with a comic book sketch on it. He stood at an average height and was incredibly scrawny which explained his struggle with a laundry basket earlier.

“Sorry, I didn’t realize anyone was in here!” He exclaimed as he a ran a hand through his hair. His eyes darted back and forth as he avoided looking into my eyes and a red tint covered his cheeks.

I simply waved him off in response before turning to my duffle and pulling out a few files that included information about the case and those involved in the investigation. Seeing as I needed to know exactly who and what I would be dealing with, I quickly began pulling out the pile of papers. Leaning against the headboard of the bed, I flipped through numerous pages, acquiring substantial pieces of information about my targets. I ignored the firm set of eyes that I felt on the side of my head from my roommate and continued skimming through the pile of papers.

I was in the middle of reading a two year cold case that was possibly associated with the suspect when I heard a throat clear.

“So whats your name? I didn’t think I would have a roommate since the paper said I would be occupying this room alone.” He questioned as he pushed his glasses up his nose. He was sat cross legged against the wall on his bed staring at me, as he awaited a response.

“Mason, and it was a last minute arrangement.” I answered vaguely as I stared him down. He gulped visibly and fixated his gaze elsewhere as he began fumbling with his thumbs. I continued to stare at him as I observed his behavior. One of the many things we had learned in our introductory courses for criminal justice was the importance of body language. The way a person behaved was incredibly significant and body language was the key to piecing together a person.

“Well, I’m Fletcher Lewis.” He introduced nervously causing me to stare at him amusedly. Not only was his odd behavior entertaining, but it reminded me of a few friends I had in high school, the same people I had cut off when my had life spiraled downward.

Upon my lack of response, Fletcher once again cleared his throat before peering over at the files laying on my lap. “What are you reading?” He queried while squinting his eyes. Rolling my eyes I continued reading where I had left off, purposely avoiding Fletcher's question. Besides me not wanting to make friends, it didn’t feel right to feed lies to Felix on the first day of meeting him. Despite my reluctance to do so, I had a feeling I would be forced to continuously lie to him due to the fact that he seemed extremely curious and nosy.

I felt his eyes burning holes on the sides of my head which led me to cock my head upwards to meet his gaze. I stared at him irritably to which he simply responded with a expectant look.

I let out an annoyed sigh before muttering, “A letter.”

“Oh, from who?” He pestered causing me to glare daggers at him. He quickly looked away, mumbling a quick apology at his question before he began scrolling through his phone. I silently cursed Mrs.Williams for pairing me with the worlds nosiest person who just so happened to be my roommate for the duration of this investigation.

Silence soon engulfed the room, much to my satisfaction as I continued reading each file. I soon came across a file with the name Wright printed on the top of it and swiftly opened it. As I read, I familiarized myself with the suspects I would be dealing with and the numerous crimes they were guilty of. I clenched my jaw as I stared down at various photos of dead bodies that had been discovered and snapshots of the crime scenes. Bloodied and bruised bodies stared back at me as I read through each case that was left unsolved due to the lack of evidence to convict anyone. A sickening feeling surged through me as I thought of all the undetected crimes committed by Rick Wright. Knowing he wasn’t incarcerated enraged me because he was roaming around freely destroying the lives of innocent people.

People who committed crimes just as bad as Rick Wright were the reason young lives were taken away so easily.

People like him were the reason Nicholas Reed was no longer here.

And because you failed to be there for him as a brother, a small voice sounded in my head as I rubbed my eyes in frustration.

I was suddenly pulled away from my thoughts by Fletcher who was now humming a tune to himself. He seemed to be in his own world as he obnoxiously murmured lyrics to the song. He must’ve sensed my stare on him since he abruptly stopped as he met my eyes. He sent me a sheepish smile before sitting up, “Do you want to play twenty questions?” He happily asked as he moved to sit cross legged. His eyes were bright and he looked excited as he folded his hands onto his lap.

“No.” I grunted as I pinched my nose in frustration at his adamant pestering.

“Great, I’ll go first.” Felix announced, ignoring what I had said a few seconds ago. His response unleashed the sudden urge for me to land a punch on his face however I held myself back with great restraint.

He opened his mouth to speak when suddenly the shrill sound my phone blared through the silent room. Pulling the device out from my pocket, I looked down to see the caller I.D ‘Boss’ flashing on the phone. I quickly received the call, placing the phone against my ear.

“Morning sir.” I greeted, glancing over towards Fletcher who was now attempting to carry his laundry basket towards the closet on the far side of the room. I watched carefully as he placed the basket on the ground before kicking it lazily with his feet towards the closet . I shook my head at his antics before tuning in on what boss was saying over the phone.

“I need you to pick up some papers from Mrs. William’s office. She has a few legal documents regarding the investigation so make sure you get them.” He informed quickly as I made a mental reminder to pick up the papers.

“I’ll pick them up today.” I answered before bidding our goodbyes with the intent of meeting soon as soon as the plan was in motion.

I let out a deep sigh as I tossed my phone to the side and stood up from the bed. I stretched my strained muscles before slipping my phone into my pocket and grabbing the files from my bed. I gripped them in my hand, knowing that if I left them here, Fletcher would undoubtedly look through them, scarring him for life.

I glanced over at him, noticing that he was now occupied with his phone. Shuffling towards the door, I muttered a quick goodbye before the door shut behind me, successfully tuning out Felix’s question of where I was headed. Slipping my hood on, I began the walk through the familiar campus, my jumbled thoughts in tow.

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