One Murder For Another

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Chapter 17

“Excuse me!” Khalil heaved, trying to catch his breath, but his emotions were to scattered for him to focus on one thing. “Excuse me!” he repeated again, louder this time, as he stumbled up to the tall wooden counter in front of him, the man behind it looking up at him with both curiosity and annoyance. Khalil’s loud bustling had woken the place up, and now about twenty pairs of eyes were glued to his disheveled figure, still he couldn’t be discouraged.

The man behind the desk stood at his boisterous interruption, revealing a six foot figure sporting an intimidating golden star badge and an even more intimidating glare. Khalil gulped audibly, his heart beginning to beat of his chest as a crippling wave of anxiety rushed through him. The last time he had been in a police station, he had ended up in a pair of shiny tight handcuffs, stuck behind a pair of tight police station bars and he wasn’t looking to end up in the same position again, but this was to important to back out now.

“Can I help you son?”

“I-” he paused, thick saliva rising in the back of his throat like bile, but the need to do the right thing was stronger than his crippling apprehension, and he began again. “I have information about the Mendes Estate Fire.”

“Um-” the policeman shook his head back and forth. “The Mendes Estate fire? That case has been closed for years-”

“Yeah, yeah.” Khalil cut the giant of a man off, waving his hand through the air as he mimicked the policeman’s head shake. “I know. I know. Gas leak. But I -I have information that might open the case back up.”

The man was looking at him skeptically now, and it was only making Khalil more anxiously angry. “Please sir” he was pleading now, but the man still looked apprehensive. “Please.”

“Just-” With a loud scoff Khalil pulled his phone from his pants pockets scrolling through his photos until he found the picture of the statue he had taken an hour before. He shoved the phone across the wooden counter, right underneath the man’s nose. “Just look.” he finished. “Look”

The man eyed both Khalil and the phone twice before he grasped it between his large fingers, his brows furrowed as he attempted to discern what he was looking at. “It’s a statue?” He asked confusedly.

“That statue was supposedly burned in the Mendes Estate fire years almost nine years ago, but it wasn’t. It’s right there.” Khalil jammed his finger onto the screen of the phone, tapping it aggravatedly. “This statue was on a list of valuables lost during the fire, but it clearly was never in the fire. How would the Mendes’ have known to take out their valuables before the fire was started unless they knew about it.” Khalil watched as the policeman’s eyebrows furrowed in front of him as he contorted his face in questioning expressions, listening to his explanation. He hoped that the tall man was following his accusations.

“This proves that the fire was planned. It was set on purpose, and the Mendes family knew about it. This means you have to open the case back up!” He couldn’t contain his emotions now and he was practically vibrating, unable to sit still.

“You have to open the case back up.” he spoke again, quieter this time as he watched the man scratch his beard, looking back and forth from the phone in his hand to Khalil’s awaiting stare.

“These are some very serious accusations son.” Khalil’s face fell. “I m-mean how do you even know this is the same statue.”

“I-I” Khalil stuttered, unable to form a coherent sentence. His hand clutched the cold metal around his neck, but it was no use. He could feel his blood boiling inside him, his eyes burning with the intensity of his emotions that he was so desperately trying to control and failing.

“T-This just isn’t enough substantial evidence to open the case back up kid. I’m s-sorry, but it’s not enough.” The man hit the button on the side of his phone, turning the screen black as he slid the case back across the slick wooden counter. “If you can find some actual hard evidence, like maybe some type of legal papers, or a statement from a witness, but if the fire was nine years ago I doubt-”

All this trouble, Khalil had gone through all this trouble, all this meddling, and now he had nothing to show for it. All he wanted was for people to know the truth, all he wanted was for people to know that the Mendes’ weren’t as innocent as they pretended to be. They took lives and they got away with it, but that was supposed to have stopped today, all of it was supposed to have stopped.

Khalil could see the man’s lips in front of him moving, but his words were muted and suddenly the only sound permeating around Khalil was the distinct sound of sirens, red and blue lights blaring in his peripheral vision. He was stumbling around the police station now and he could feel his chest tightening as he shoved his body against the metal rim of the door. Cool fall air blasted him as he stumbled into the gravel parking lot and a second later his vision had gone completely black.

The ambulance was gone, and yet somehow the blaring sirens were all he could hear as he watched his family be carted away with him. He was left standing in the middle of the street now, the gathering crowd all watching him intently, waiting to see what he would do, but all he could manage were blubbering gasps and a stream of tears that never seemed to want to stop.

“Are you ok?” a whisper behind him jolted him upright, his hands wet from his own snot and tears. It was a girl. “Are you ok?” she asked again, but he couldn’t bring his mouth to form words, he wasn’t sure he would have made any sense in the moment anyway, his brain was to muddled.

“Those were your parents weren’t they?” He didn’t have to speak for her to know the answer and she nodded solemnly as she stepped closer to him, her eyes soft and sincere in the sea of all the nosy onlookers.

“Do you have any other family?” He finally regained the courage to nod, his river of tears coming to a halt as he began to take in the figure of the interesting little girl in front of him, her eyes glowing as if she hadn’t just witnessed a murder. He wished he could have been as naive as her.

“Don’t worry.” she took his wet hand in hers now, and he found himself surprised at the comforting gesture. She didn’t seem real. “Everything’s going to be ok. My parents can help you.” She seemed so assured that he couldn’t help but drink in each word she spoke. He just wished that everything she had said hadn’t been a lie.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

The buzzing of his phone in his hand brought him catapulting back into reality and, for the first time, he found himself wishing for yet another nightmare, anything to escape the reality of his present. Without even glancing at the caller id, Khalil answered the incoming call, but nothing could have prepared him for the voice on the other side.

“Khalil?”

“Mina?” he breathed out, hoping that his breathlessness was unnoticeable, and suddenly he became aware of soft sniffles emanating from the other end of the line.“Hey? Have-have you been crying?” It seemed they had both had bad days. Another sniff answered him, confirming what he had already knew to be true. “Hey?” his voice was soft now, all annoyed malice completely disapperating.

“I need to get out of this house Khalil.”

“Your parents?”

“I need to get out.” she repeated, and he could hear the tears in her voice, threatening to spill over at any moment.

“Yeah. Yeah, ok” he nodded his head in complacency, finally dropping his grip on the hard metal pendent around his neck. It was scary how she could change his mood so fast, and he had to constantly keep reminding himself that this entire setup was temporary when she was around him. He always seemed to get lost around her, but he couldn’t afford to lose her. Not yet. “Um-Where do you want to go?”

“Have you ever been to a fall festival?”

A/N:

The next chapter is going to be REALLY good......lots of Malil / Kina content. Toxic relationships are my favorite *cough* Nate Jacobs could ruin my life *cough* :) Please comment thoughts about the book, I really feel like I’m just taking to myself at this point, it honestly doesn’t even have to be about the book. Just tell me something interesting!

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