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The Heart of the Matter

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Chapter 2 | Hanyah Custa

Hanyah’s Point Of View

“Anya, you have to hide from your mother.”

“Pa, just give me to her. You’ll get hurt. I already ruined your family.”

“No. She ruined it. She’s been cheating before we had you.”

“Pa, please don’t do this.”

“Anya, you are the only thing left in me. I can’t lose you. So never open the door unless it’s the password, okay?”

“Yes. Its ‘Hanyah I’m home.’”

“Good. Give me a hug. I promise I will get you out of her once your mother left.”

***

I don’t know long I’ve been out. I feel a sleep while waiting for papa. I’m sweating and I’m having trouble breathing. I touch the metal door and stair at its lock.

I think its already lunch time. I’m hungry and I don’t have enough energy. I touched my forehead. It’s hot. I’m having a fever. This is bad. My stupid body is acting this way again.

I held the lock but I promised me papa not to open this. So I decided to seat beside the door. I stair at the 5x5 meter long basement. Papa chose this place because of this. A secret basement to hide me when mama located us.

The dim light from a low watt bulb blinked. Someone is going down here. It must be papa. I’m hungry. I’m exhausted. I want to go out now.

*knock*

“Hanyah?”

I froze. It isn’t papa. I didn’t recognized the voice behind the door. Don’t tell me mama brought someone to get me for the black market? What did she do to papa? I should never leave him alone. I could-

“I know you are expecting your father. And he was really sorry that I have to say this instead of him.” What does he mean? No. Could it be… “Hanyah? I’m home.”

My body shivers. My body loses its strength. I want to break down and cry. I opened the door. I saw a teen around my age looking sad at me. Behind him are men with police uniform. The light from the setting sun enters the basement.

I shouldn’t leave him. If I let mama…

I collapsed on my feet but he catches me. I don’t want to process all the speculation in my head. I wish everything is just a dream.

“You can now rest.” His words comforted me so I let my body and mind rest for a while.

***

I don’t want to wake up but someone is touching my forehead. I am still holding a false hope and slowly open my eyes. I just regret doing it.

“You’re awake. I’ll call the doctor.” The nurse said.

After a few minutes, the doctor arrived and checked me. I scanned my surrounding and found myself in a private room in a hospital. The door swings open. A man and a woman in their mid twenties enter. They are wearing a police uniform but instead of blue, it’s black. It’s the same uniform from that day.

“Good day, Lieutenant, Sergeant.” The doctor greeted them after checking me.

“How is she?” the man asked.

He is good looking. The uniform suits him very well and I could bet how many nurses, patients, or bystanders turned their head on him.

Beside him is a beautiful woman. She must look good if she’s wearing a skirt police uniform. Her hair are tied but she looks hot on it. They look good together. I ship them.

“She’s stable now. She can go home within this week.”

“Thank you, Doc. I’ll visit you later.”

The doctor and the nurse left me with these two. Now… What do they want?

“Ms. Custa, I believe you know what happened. And we would like to express our condolences for your lost.”

I could feel the iciness from his voice. What a cold man. He gave me a folder. I opened it and saw the photos of my father’s funeral. I could recognize some of my father’s family member and his workmates. My tears fell into my eyes.

“You’ve been out for a two weeks and Mr. Custa was buried yesterday. We just want to check you and the timing is perfect. Anyways, his family wished you to not contact them.”

A month? Seems like I’ve rested for quiet long.

“I-I know that they don’t like me.”

“Your mother also committed suicide one week after your father’s death at the prison. Her family doesn’t wish to see you so either.”

I nodded. What a cruel faith. I lost my mother and father because of that stupid black market. To who ever put that price in my head, I will definitely look for them. But how could I ever do that? I can’t even find my real family.

“Sir, maam, I think you forgot to introduced yourself.”

“Oh. Right. Sorry. I am Police Lieutenant Philip Gregor. This is Police Sergeant Femi Achard. She handled your father’s case and her cousin is the one who get you out of that basement.”

He acted as if nothing embarrassing happens. I could see Sergeant Achard holding her laughter. We shake hands.

“I am Hanyah Custa. Also please have a seat.”

After having a seat, they gave me another folder. Inside are some of my personal info.

“We took it from the black market. A picture of you when you were 10 as stated. And a picture of your tattoo in your nape. They are offer a very high reward money.”

“Are you going to turn over me?”

“No. The Matter Association is against human trafficking. We will try to protect you as long as we can see no danger from you.”

“Matter Association?”

I’ve heard about them before but it’s hard to contact them. Matter users are a secret in the society. The authority always find ways to hide the existence of matter. Although some people know about it like my father, it is limited to the family alone.

“Yes. I know you still need time to grief but we are done with your foster parent’s case. We have a different case to discuss here and it includes your protection.”

“I see. Please continue.”

Sergeant Femi nod. She discussed the case and I didn’t expect that she’s a total opposite of Lieutenant Gregor. She sounds warm compare to the icy guy.

“For the pass six years, there were corpse found here and in the neighboring provinces with the similar tattoo in your nape. There are bodies of children and they died because their matter core was broken. It became a cold case through the years and you are the first person we met, alive, with that tattoo.”

I already know about this. This is the reason why I keep low profile. It’s not easy to look for my biological parents because someone could link me to the killers.

“Ms. Custa, we need information to track down the root of this case. Can you help us?”

If the icy guy asked me, I’ll definitely reject it. However, since its Sergeant, I have to do it.

“Yes. This is big and dangerous. So please be careful.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She ready her pen and notepad.

“It was a research held under the Matter Association.” They looked shocked. They must thought I’m lying.

“There are around 50 children in the laboratory. Around 8 to 15 years old. Some are sick like me. Some are not. But we have something in common. We are all matter user.”

I closed the folders I have in my hand.

“Honestly, I don’t know what kind of research they have. But I know that there are section because we were divided. After a year, the research became successful. But one doctor rampaged and killed the children under his section.”

“Then I remember myself running away together with other children. We tried to hide. But I can’t stand running for a long time. I just passed out and saw myself being taken care of an old couple.”

“I’ve told them that I have to see my parents. They were in the lab during the rampaged but they’ve told me that there were lost children in the town. Someone came looking for them then the next day, the children were found dead. They didn’t turn over me while I was unconscious for week and decided to adopt me.”
“The next year, there children took them leaving me in the orphanage. My first adoption was unsuccessful. Then, papa came to the orphanage and took me.”

“Do you perhaps know my matter?” Lieutenant Gregor asked.

“I can’t lie because I had detected your matters.”

“So you know I have more than one matter.” I nodded. “I appreciate your honest answer all this time. But, Ms. Custa, do you know who is behind the offer in the black market? What is so special about you that you cost that much?”
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