The Loudest Silence

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The shrill sound of my ringing cellphone greeted me early morning just as the sun was close to making its appearance for the day.

I groggily woke up and turned over to the side of my bed where my phone lay charging. Running a hand over my face, I cleared my throat before answering the call.

“Hello?” I answered, a yawn slipping through my mouth as the voice on the other line spoke up.

“Mason, I need you to come down to the cafe around 7 a.m. We have things to discuss.” My boss’s firm, but strict voice informed as I ran a hand through my messy hair.

Pulling my phone back from my ear, I squinted my eyes to see the time which read 5:37 a.m. I let out a deep sigh as I put the phone to my ear to reply to my waiting boss.

“You called to inform me of this before the sun even rose?” My husky voice, thick from sleep, questioned as I attempted to stay awake.

“Yes, and I have no regrets. Be there.” He concluded, ending the call before I could even have the chance to reply.

Letting out a deep yawn, I stood up, and stretched my body as a feeble attempt to brush off any grogginess and excess sleep. Glancing over to my right, I found a sleeping Fletcher, arms and legs held scattered across the length of his bed. His mouth was ajar and his hair stood up in different directions as he quietly snored.

“Strange kid.” I muttered under my breath as I moved towards my bag that carried the basic necessities I had packed. I didn’t pack much due to the fact that I knew I would be able to make trips to my apartment which was a short commute from the college.

Pulling out my towel, toothbrush, and clothes from the bag, I made my way towards the bathroom that was thankfully included in our room. I quietly shut the door before turning around and facing the mirror.

Staring back at me was a young man in his twenties. Dull green eyes illuminated under the sink lighting as dark circles took refuge beneath his eyes.

Even after staring back at myself for minutes, I felt like a stranger.

It felt as if I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

I had felt that way for years now.

I quickly brushed off the dark thoughts that threatened to occupy my mind, and turned my attention to getting freshened up for the day.

I spent time brushing my teeth before showering and getting dressed. I ran a quick brush through my hair to untangle any knots before making my way out of the bathroom and back towards the room. Upon walking in, I saw that Fletcher had awoken and was now sitting on the foot of his bed staring at the floor. I quietly made my way over to my bed and began putting my bags back in their original spots under my bed. I hadn’t unpacked and wasn’t planning to do it anytime soon.

I wanted to complete this job as soon as possible and move on to the next case boss would assign me.

I took a seat at the edge of my bed and began slipping my shoes on to get a head start to the cafe. It wasn’t too far, but I felt like walking rather than taking my car. It gave me a chance to walk around the campus once again to refresh my memory of where everything was located and allowed me to breathe in the fresh air.

I looked upon hearing Fletcher clear his throat and raised an eyebrow at him. He was dressed in a Spiderman T-shirt along with plaid pajama pants and now wore his glasses.

“Good Morning.” He greeted before letting a yawn escape through his lips.

“Morning.” I briefly responded as I finished tying the laces on my shoes. I glanced at my watch which now read, 6:17 a.m and got up from my bed. No other words were exchanged as I shrugged on a jacket and picked up my keys and phone. I was halfway across the room and near the door when Fletchers voice stopped me.

“Hey! Where are you headed so early in the morning?” He asked, now standing up. He pushed his glasses farther up his nose as he stared at me.

“Out.” I answered, fighting the urge to completely ignore him and walk out of the room without a response.

“At 6:20 in the morning?” He prodded, curiosity flashing through his eyes. I simply shrugged at him before turning and walking out the door without another word. The door slammed shut before he could muster a response and I quickly made it out of the dorm building and outside where the cool wind greeted me. The sun was out today, but clouds would occasionally make an appearance, concealing the light illuminating from the sun.

Shoving my hands in my pockets, I began walking towards the other end of campus where the cafe was located. I turned to look around me and wasn’t surprised to see that barely anyone was out besides a couple of stray students that were headed in the direction of the cafeteria.

My thoughts soon rang back to Fletcher who was more than likely trying to snoop around my belongings. Unfortunately for him, I had hidden any information about my real identity and there was a very slim chance he would have access to any of it.

Although he seemed to be friendly, he was far too nosy. He had no boundaries and was curious to a fault. It would be in his best favor to not ask too may questions and avoid me as best as he could, or he would end up like the others.

Ignored and hurt.

There was a reason why I kept my distance from many people, and I’d like to keep it that way.

The walk across campus seemed short as I soon approached the tiny cafe. A large oak tree loomed over the various benches and seats in front of the cafe where many customers sat. Students filed in and out of the wooden door that was ajar and propped against the wall of the shop. As soon as I stepped into the dimly lit shop, the aroma of fresh brewing coffee greeted me. I glanced around the familiar shop that I had spent many mornings and evenings in a couple years back as a student at the college. The cafe was a popular destination for many students on campus and was always bustling with customers due to their welcoming aura and cheap, but tasty coffee.

I took a seat on the table beside the window that overlooked the highway beside the college site before glancing around the shop. I wasn’t surprised to see that not much had changed. A small nook was stationed at the corner of the room where bookshelves were propped against the wall, overflowing with stacks of novels . Beside it was a large mahogany colored couch along with a few stray beanbags. Random pieces of artwork littered the wall all across the cafe besides various tables and chairs.

Glancing down at my watch, I checked to see that it was a couple minutes to seven and my boss would be here soon. Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes for a brief second before the chair in front of me was pulled out and soon occupied by someone. Opening my eyes, I looked into the familiar eyes of my boss who was staring at me with a slight smile to his face.

Rolling my eyes, I sat up in my chair before staring back at him with a questioning expression.

“How’s it going son?” He inquired as he took his jacket off.

“I’d be better if you hadn’t woken me up so early.” I deadpanned, causing him to chuckle.

“I’m an instructor today for a couple of the new trainees, so this is the only time today that I’m available.” He explained as he loosened his tie. Although he was nearing his early fifties, his strong build gave him the appearance of a middle aged man.

“That explains the suit.” I commented, gesturing to his attire for the day.

He simply nodded before leaning forward and lowering his voice. “I wanted to pay you a quick visit before classes officially begin tomorrow.”

I signaled for him to continue before running a hand through my hair that was messily falling on my forehead.

“Make sure that you never let your guard slip and do not let anyone know your identity or your intentions. Stay observant for any odd behavior and keep a specific eye out for the girl. The sooner you can get information out of her, the quicker we can close up this case.” He advised strictly. His tone left no room for arguments and I was aware that he was expecting only the best from me.

I nodded my head at him in understanding before he put his jacket on and stood up. He gave me a quick pat on the shoulder before making his way out of the shop.

Instead of heading back to the dorms, I opted on staying in the cozy cafe, allowing myself to enjoy silence and tranquility before the start of a crucial case.

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