Fighting For Hope

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TWENTY-NINE

HOPE

I assisted in paying for the ride to get Grayson’s new friend home since he said he did not reside in this town, without prying for what he could have possibly done to have ended up in Calvin’s cell.

“I never thought I’d leave that hell hole,” Grayson muttered as he waited for another ride to stop by. “I need to speak to Josh and ask if someone has possessed him.”

I looked over to him with a raised eyebrow, silently telling him to clarify what he just said.

“For some unknown reason, he placed in that prison. One day, before I was about to set off for school, he came to my place, offering me a ride, then brought me here and guided me down. I have no idea what has gotten into him.”

It struck me like a ton of bricks. Josh was lying about how anxious he was for Grayson’s vanishment since he knew the whole time his best friend was stuck in a cell, only able to be brought out to receive torment. I am gleeful he did not leave the part of Grayson’s parents being in debt out of our call since it was what brought me to the conclusion that he was kidnapped.

I wanted to ask Grayson for the favour which caused him to be out of the cell in the first place and wondered if I should just use my voice.

The reason I don’t expose my voice to others was to remind myself that not everyone should know who I am, for every time my voice is heard, there is a chance I would ramble on about my atrocious past. I had defied that rule I made for myself when I first trusted and talked to Tyler.

I don’t regret it; I had forgotten how true happiness felt until he showed me. But every action has consequences and choosing to trust had resulted in his situation right now.

I was frightened to let go of my fear, to have everyone know who I am. I would rather conceal it, but as I shared with one, it felt tougher to hide the truth.

I looked beside me, where Grayson stared at the trees with a tug on the side of his lips. I am not trusting him, I assured myself, just sharing my voice. He won’t find out about my past as long as I keep quiet about it.

Just as I opened my mouth, a car approached, and Grayson held out his hand. It came to a stop in front of us, and both of us climbed in.

He shared his address with the driver, then looked over at me, probably expecting me to give the driver my address by a slip of paper. Instead, I looked over and mumbled in a hushed, but audible voice, “I need to talk to you, I’ll stop at your place.”

His eyes enlarged in the sound of my voice, nodding his head as the car started moving.

In ten minutes, we found ourselves outside the door of his house, a little cottage which I had always dreamed of having for myself. It is bewitching and the best house I have ever eyed—the idyllic comfortable size. I grew up in a palatial two-story house and moved to a mansion, then a sumptuous modern apartment, yet this cottage caught my eyes most.

It was quite modest, not contemporary or deluxe, and have ample space in front with floras and bushes covering the area. I could smell the scent of fresh nature, and I had never felt so tranquil even in my own house. I could almost picture a family living in it and how blessed they were to be together.

I turned over to Grayson after I hear the car we were previously in drive away.

“I have a favour,” I said, forcing a smile.

He did not disguise the stunned expression that took over his face as he heard my voice for the second time. Perhaps he had thought I could not speak, like half of the people who could recognize me in school.

“Yeah. Definitely, what is it?” he said after a while.

I dug out the thumb drive in my pocket and held it in front of me. Anything can ruin my hope now. If he were unable to help, or the missing footage can never be recuperated. Yet, I stood with faith in front of my possible key to everything.

“I remembered Tyler saying once that you are quite great at computing. In the thumb drive, there is a video with a missing part which is vital for me to find,” I briefly explain. He took my proof from my hand and inspected it for a while.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to,” he said, causing a spark of joy to explode within me.

He told me to follow as we walk towards the door when he let a string of curses escape his lips.

“I remember Josh stealing my keys,” he grumbled, before knocking on the door to his own home.

It was not long before a woman, who I assumed is his mother, unlocked the door and dropped her jaw at the sight of Grayson. Within seconds, the two shared an embrace while I stood close, feeling a pang of jealousy.

I never had a person who shared my blood to hug me with such affection. The impact in which it hits me felt almost explosive.

She mumbled something inaudible and pulled away, eyes brimming with tears.

“Oh God, Gray. I cannot wait to tell your father that you’re back. How glad he’ll be…”

She then catches my eye and then unexpectedly, she broke into a smile.

“This is Hope. I’m inviting her to help her with something, in return for saving me from that horrid place.” He vaguely mentioned Calvin’s cell, but the statement had already made his mother’s eyebrow perk up.

She did not say another word before pushing the door wider for us to enter. We stepped into the cosy, perfect sized living room and entered Grayson’s bedroom where there was a wooden table placed in an inconvenient area with a bulky computer on it.

The room was much smaller compared to mine, a pricey hotel-sized room. Although it was half the size, there was still enough space to walk even with the bed, a prodigious wooden wardrobe, table, and stool.

He sat comfortably on the stool, plugged my thumb drive in his computer and skipped to right before my mother plunges the knife into my father. A familiar message popped up, signifying that the missing clip could not be found.

He left clicked, letting the mouse cursor explore the choices, then clicking faster than my mind could register.

I raised my eyebrow, awestruck at the speed and knowledge of computing. Tyler was not lying when he said Grayson was great.

Over a few minutes, after confidently pressing a few letters and numbers on the keyboard, he came back with the conclusion. “The video was downloaded halfway then probably clicked away. I can recover it.”

A smile spread across my face, and I felt exhilarated beyond words. There was this glisten of future that flashed by my eyes, showing a sign of the peace I thought I would never have.

With a few more professional clicks, the rest of the video, which was previously gone changed into stripes, seeming as if it was loading.

Then in a blink of an eye, the black screen changed entirely into the scene ten years ago. A second passed, and my mother in the video lowered the knife and buried it in my father.

Grayson’s satisfied expression utterly changed to become both tremor and repugnance. It did not seem like a movie, all blood that splattered was real, and it was never transcribed or directed.

My mother stepped out of the way, clearly looking guilty of the blood she spilt. The camera then got the view of everything my mother was blocking—the pool of blood, the knife, my father and Calvin Woodland with a sickening smile.

I was seen all along, in my bright dress, looking down at the scene. Fear was evident in my eyes, but I saw it change as quick as a flick could switch, and it became a look of animosity and disdain as I looked at Calvin.

“We’ll get rid of the body and evidence later on,” he said, turning his back and leaving with my mother trailing not far behind. I blink away the tears that clouded my vision when I remembered the last conversation I had with my father. It felt like it was happening again, except I understood things in a more mature view.

His voice hit a part of me which no one else ever could even reach for. I never once forgot how incredibly special he was compared to anyone else.

The last words he had ever managed to say then sounded, comprehensible and audibly from his computer.

“Don’t trust anyone but yourself, Angel, or you will get hurt.”

That very warning that I have been so careless with. If I would have just listened to it, maybe I would have never talked to Tyler, but then again it was him which helped me fill the void I thought would incessantly be empty. I might never be able to complete this goal of mine. Even if I did get the thumb drive, I would have no one to approach since I would have no knowledge of who Grayson was.

The video ended abruptly, and although I was glad to know the proof was now a whole, it was discomposing to see the moment which demolished my life for the second time.

It was silent as the video falls into darkness, and Grayson did not make a sound, probably trying to make sense of the video.

It did not take long before a soft, incoherent mumble escaped his lips and he looked at me with disbelief.

“That was you.”

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