The interrogation went for hours but Derby stood firm on his stand that he didn’t know a thing regarding the corpse. It was frustrating for officers but they couldn’t change a thing. After seven hours of being in custody, he was allowed to go back but not before Brenton’s warning, ” don’t think it’s over. It had just started and my eyes are on you and you’ll be behind bars soon. ”
Derby chose not to retort at snobbish cop’s comment as he was already tired being awake whole night. He thinned his lips and let it pass. Sitting at the back seat of a police car which was allotted to leave him, he couldn’t help but think about last twelve hours. It felt as if a hurricane had disrupted his whole existence. Vista’s pleadings, her death news and him being the prime suspect. His life felt like a crime thriller movie or more like horror movie. What exactly happened? Was it her dead body and if yes, his conscience would never let him experience peace but his heart was speaking otherwise. Only God knew what the truth was.
He muffled a yawn and closed his eyes to rest but who was he kidding? Vista had occupied his thoughts to a point where he couldn’t think about anything else. He pressed his throbbing temple which was threatening to burst with tension.
After an hour or so, the car stopped outside his society’s gate and he stepped down. It was an office hour, therefore, many people were rushing out. Few shot him an odd look as he was escorted by a police car.
′ Great! Just great! ′
He tried to ignore an encounter with any of the neighbours and bent his head down. Finally, he was infront of his building. He rushed towards the lift and went inside. He was thankful for the fact that there was no one in there to bug him with any sort of question. After pressing eleventh button, he leaned backwards against the elevator and just when the doors were about to close, a tall person clad in black hoodie with sunglasses and a parcel in hand, entered inside.
Derby had acknowledged the presence but didn’t bother to look carefully until a humming voice invaded his ears. It was just two of them and the since the voice was very thin and feminine, he had figured it out that the person was a lady.
′ Maybe a delivery woman. ′ , he thought.
A sad smile surfaced on his lips , few people were happy enough to hymn while he was doomed as a culprit of a crime he never committed but soon enough, something caught his attention. She kept repeating just two lines,
′ Are you insane like me,
Been in pain like me? ′
He had heard this song by Halsey but right now, it was suffocating him, specially the last line. He looked in her direction with unease. Sensing his eyes on her, she stopped singing and without any expressions, looked at him. Since she was wearing sunglasses, he couldn’t make much of her face, apart from her red lips and pale face. Suddenly, a ping was heard and the lady stopped for a second before moving out and sang futher,
" you can’t wake up, this is not a dream,
You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being. ”
How badly Derby wished someone to accompany him right at this moment. He sucked in breath after reading the tagline written on the back of her hoodie -
′ Sins strike back with interest. Be prepared for yours. ′
Before he could understand any further, she was already out. Derby’s heart was thumping with fear and he shuddered hard. He wanted to go after her but he was rooted at his place and the doors closed, leaving him alone in the cage. Soon, he was on the eleventh floor and he had to step out. Exhaling and inhaling deeply, he tried to calm his heart. He kept repeating that the lady was just a creep, nothing else and these kind of dumb taglines were common but recent incidents had shook him up.
Terrors of last night were still fresh and on top of it, this creepy incident. His hands and body were shaking and he cursed loudly, ” Ahhh!F*ck! ”
He just wanted it to be a horrible nightmare but that woman’s line echoed in his mind, ′ you can’t wake up, this is not a dream. ′
Oh God! He was losing it! Is everything just a co incident or planned ? He couldn’t help but wonder and how was he supposed to explain everything to Miranda ? From where should he start this horrendous tale? He bit his lips before pressing the door bell. He prayed for everything to pass. Within seconds, the door was opened up harshly and there she stood with tired eyes. Faint dark circles were there beneath her eyes, indicating that she hadn’t slept all night, just like him. A moment of relief flashed on her face which was replaced by anger later on.
" Hey, Miran.. ” he leapt forward to hug her but she slapped away his hands and glared at him. Her expressions were firm and so was her voice, ” Where were you Derby? ”
He sighed out loudly, ” Babe... It’s serious. ”
" Don’t babe me and I don’t care how serious it is. Answer my damn question. Where were you? ” she screamed loudly at him.
Derby tried speaking , ” it’s related to Vista... ”
He was again interrupted by her slow claps, ” Wow! At first, you went to ask for divorce and some shit happened which you didn’t bother to explain. I was like, okay, let him have his space but then again, you went missing for whole night and didn’t attend a single call of mine. I hope you do realize that how messes up it is. Don’t you? ”
Derby held her elbow in a tight grip and shouted back, ” Oh yes! I should have attended your calls while cops were standing on my head blaming me for Vista’s death. I should have answered your phone calls just after I had witnessed a dead body which possibly is of Vista. Ain’t I? ”
Miranda’s face went pale after hearing this and just a whisper erupted out, ” What? ”