Chapter 22 – ‘Goodbye’
Emily walked into her lounge and found Vincent sitting there. He was so quiet that she hadn’t even noticed him in the house. He looked towards her, and as she was about to walk back out he called her. ‘Sit down’. She looked at him, not knowing whether to remain or simply ignore him and walk out. She felt different, years of hatred towards this man seemed like it had faded, just slightly faded within her mind. Almost like the colour of walls, over time even the strongest colour begins to get dim even after it has been coated many times. Emily lowered her eyes, she felt less condemnation towards this man who had displayed little good in all the years they had been married. Emily sat down, away from Vincent. He looked at her, as though he didn’t recognize her, it made her feel suspicious. Something had happened to her, it may have been what happened at Michael’s or being at her mother’s grave.
‘I’m sorry about your mother’. Emily looked up at Vincent, but said nothing. ‘I had a call from the sheriff’s office, a man was missing suspected of being murdered. They fished his body outta the river this morning’. Emily looked at Vincent, the only thought she had ‘it was Michael’. ‘He used to be an officer in this town. I worked with him, his name was Ray Del Toro. A good man’. Emily felt relieved, ‘What does this have to do with me’?
‘Nothing, except I wanted to ask you how well you know Michael Martyn’? Emily felt all strength leave her legs, like she had been given an injection, something that was going to kill her. ‘What ……. does this have to do with him’? Vincent sat forward, ‘You think he is capable of killing someone’? ‘No, he’s not’.
‘You sure about that’?
‘Yes I am’. Emily looked in Vincent’s eyes. ‘We are still looking for a murder weapon, the one with which he shot Hugh Charles. Maybe he even killed Jennifer Charles’.
‘He killed no-one. Not everyone is a killer in this town’.
‘Not everyone but most of them are. His brother was and this cop, my friend was part of the search party who went after your boyfriend that night. Maybe Michael Martyn found out and got him back’. Emily stood up, ‘How would he know about your friend’?
’The cops across the bridge says people on ‘the strip’ say someone was looking for Del Toro. I sent my officers over there with a mug shot of Martyn. If we get a positive I.D, we’ll bring him in and throw the book at him’.
‘Why are you telling me this, you enjoy hurting me or are you scared of him’? Emily walked towards the door, as Vincent stood up, ‘I’m telling you so that you tell him to leave us alone. He says in the hospital that my officers shot him, then he goes after one of the cops who went after his brother. Who’s next? Just tell him to keep the fuck away from us and if he don’t, then I have orders from my father to do whatever is necessary’.
‘Like you did with Gabe that night’.
‘I didn’t kill Gabriel, I told you that but I should have for touching my girl’. ‘Your girl’? Emily glared at Vincent, ‘What does that mean to you? Am I your girl, like you have this fuckin’ sofa, or you own this table’, Emily kicks the table, as Vincent watches her, ‘Do you own me like you wear that gun’? Emily reaches for Vincent’s gun as he pushes her away, ‘I LOVED YOU, I …..’. Vincent holds up his finger, and then leaves the room. Emily stood still, this conversation was happening seventeen years too late. It had been delivered by ‘Father Time’ like an overdue parcel, which had lost its labels a long time ago. Vincent had never talked about what happened that night, he had never denied killing Gabe before, but today he did. Maybe he never killed Gabriel, and suddenly things from the past were coming back like an old friend. So what did happen that night? Her mother dying and all those feelings coming back for Gabe all over again was a mystery, what happened at Michael’s house was so mixed up. Emily felt like she had opened a door and there on her doorstep, was this familiar face, who looked like Gabe.
Kay had packed her things, it was time for her to bid farewell to this room which had been her home for months. This assignment had taken longer than many of her previous ones, but alot had happened here and she knew that she would never forget this town. As her father used to say, ‘sometimes you visit a place and even after you have left it, the place never leaves you’. Ajay had already loaded his bags into the car as Kay watched. She brought her last piece of luggage down into reception, there was a niggling thought in the back of her mind, to go and meet the people she had spent so much time with. Hans didn’t even know she was going and she preferred that, after what happened at his apartment. Maybe she felt embarrassed because of the way she behaved or she still felt betrayed by a man she trusted. She did trust Hans and liked him but he hid things from her. Then there was Michael, it didn’t matter if she said ‘goodbye’ to him, it would just be a formality and she didn’t believe in that. People are never how they seem, it’s a truth she learned a long time ago but every time she is reminded of it, it hurts like hell. Ajay came inside ‘I’ll take your stuff’. Kay smiled giving him that look, which said ‘Come on, please’. Kay picked up her bags, and went outside, and there was Michael standing by his wagon. He looked at her, almost like he was looking through her, his eyes were silent but they wanted to say many things. He looked lonely, like he had been abandoned and was looking for someone he recognized. Kay approached him reluctantly, once again making the first move.
‘Kay, you going somewhere’?
‘Yes’, Kay felt awkward, ‘I’m going back home. Ajay convinced me, plus my work here is done’. Michael stood closer to Kay, looking down as he spoke and then raising his head to see Kay’s pretty face, ’You were just gonna go without saying ‘goodbye’.
‘I hate goodbyes, sometimes it’s best to do it like this’.
‘I got things to say to you, I haven’t had a chance since the shooting but I ….. I need to talk to you’. Kay looked away for a second as Ajay walked quietly behind them. ‘I have nothing to say to you, Michael’. Mike looked at Kay, he felt hurt as though someone he cared about no longer wanted to know him. ‘You can go tomorrow, just hear me out’. Ajay spoke as to break the tense atmosphere that had descended outside this shabby motel, ‘We better head off Kay, it’s getting late’. Michael looked at Kay, ‘Just one more day, please. Kay you saved my life don’t kill me now. You spent God knows how long here, one more day for me’. Kay looked into Michael’s eyes, they were desperate and it reminded her of someone else, her son. ‘Okay, I’ll stay till tomorrow’.
‘What are you doing’? Kay turned to face Ajay, ‘It’s okay, I’ll set off first thing in the morning’. ‘Kay, your work here, with these people is finished’. Michael looked at Ajay, but said nothing. Ajay walked towards his car, ‘I’ll expect you back tomorrow evening’.
Mike and Kay looked at each other for a few moments before he walked over and picked up her bags. ‘It’s okay, I can take them back up’. Mike smiled, ‘I know, but let me do this for you’. He picked up the bags and walked them back inside, watching Kay as she spoke at reception telling them she needed her room for one more night. They will be glad it’s not like they are overrun by demand or anything. Michael took the bags into the room, as Kay followed. He turned around to look at Kay but suddenly didn’t know what to say. Even after the short speech he had given outside, he was now lost for words. ‘Kay if you don’t mind, I would like to take you somewhere’.
‘Just a place. Where I find the most peace. We’ll come back after a short while’. ‘Okay’.
Mike drove Kay down the same road, where Kay had found him that night, there were no signs left of what happened. They stopped further down. Michael held Kay’s hand as he guided her through the bushes, ‘Be careful, some of them got thorns, these branches’. Kay smiled as she managed to make her way through them, ‘Well, I’m quite familiar with these type of forests, I was raised in a small town close to one’. Michael turned around, surprised, ‘I didn’t know that’.
They sat by the stream, ‘It’s nice, here, peaceful’.
‘It is, I got lots of memories here’. Kay sat next to Mike, realizing he was much happier but different. He had locks of hair hanging down to his shoulders and a beard, which was getting thicker. ‘Can I ask you something’? Mike looked ahead at the stream, ‘As a reporter, or a friend’? ‘I’m both’.
Mike looked at Kay and smiled, ‘Sure’.
‘Why did your friend do that to you’? Mike’s face went serious gradually, like he was putting on a mask belonging to someone else. ‘He was my friend’. Kay didn’t understand what Mike meant. ‘I don’t …….. understand’.
‘You read the bible’?
Kay shook her head, ‘As a kid but not really understood it’.
’Nor did I …….. until now. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, we are those brothers and Joseph…… he’s gone’.
‘Who did you betray’?
‘Alot of people’!
‘Did you cheat on him’? Mike looked at Kay. ‘I think I did’.
‘What does that mean’? Kay looked into Mike’s wide blue eyes, they were deep and she could see the reflection of the stream in them, it began to feel as though she was drowning. Kay’s eyes gave way to tears, tears from the stream.
‘Jen was my friend and I loved her’.
‘Mike, I know you. I can feel you somewhere inside me. I had your blood on my body, I couldn’t …… wash….. it …… off. Even now’! Kay began to cry as Michael kissed her slowly. They embraced and kissed lying down beside the edge of the stream. Michael lay down next to Kay, ‘I feel good when I see you. Ma says that hate is our choice, it’s not about what has happened to us but it’s about who we choose to be. I feel different when I am with you, I don’t wanna burn the world when you are with me’.
‘I am with you, Mike. I wanna stay with you but ….. I have a life in the city and a job’. Mike sat up, ‘I know and I would never ask you to leave that. Just stay for a few days and it will all be over’.
‘What’? Kay sat up as she held Mike’s hand, ‘What will be over’? Mike looked around, looking behind at the bushes as though something had startled him. ‘What’s wrong’? ‘Nothing, let’s go back’.
Mike drove back along the narrow roads, Kay looked at him realizing how troubled he was. ‘Mike if something’s wrong, you will tell me right’? ‘Yes, I would’. ‘What were you saying back there’? Mike turned to face Kay.
‘What happens is not up to me, I just gotta go with it’.
‘With what’? Kay felt a nervousness, he was speaking in riddles and not making any sense. Mike was always disturbed, she knew that from the first moment she met him but he never spoke like this. ‘Are you in trouble’? Mike said nothing, as he drove back into town towards the motel. ‘I been in trouble all my life but he is bringing the trouble now’. ‘Who’s that’? Mike looked at Kay, then looked away, his words stopped. ‘I’m not a monster, Kay’. Mike stopped outside the motel, ‘If you stay, I’ll take you to dinner tomorrow night’. He had become nervous, edgy and unsure of himself. ‘Mike, do you need help’?
‘I don’t need anything’, Mike raised his voice, ‘My mother took me to a shrink, but I’m fine’.
‘I’m not saying you aren’t. We all need help sometimes, to move on’.
‘There is no moving on until the wrongs are put right and they will be, soon’. Kay held Mike’s hand, ‘Tell me Mike, what do you mean? I’m scared of what you are saying’.
‘I don’t know Kay’. Mike stopped as he brought his hands up to his head, he held his head for a moment like it was going to explode, ‘I don’t know what I say sometimes, it feels like I forget things ….. I lose time …….. I lose time’. Michael was trying to keep himself together but he was failing. ‘Mike, let me help you, we will go to see a doctor in Chicago. I will take you back with me, just for a few weeks. Will you do that, for me’? Mike looked at Kay, ‘Yes, I will. Kay, I’m scared too’. Kay got out of the wagon, as she turned to look at Mike, she spotted something in the back of his vehicle. They were stains……. of blood.