Chapter 17: Chapter 17

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 60

Kate squirmed within herself to be anywhere but the hospital, the sterile white room, and the bed she felt prisoner to. It felt like time had stopped and she was left out of the crucial elements of what was happening beyond the building. As her head fell back against the pillow she let out a groan to release some of her frustration and pain. She closed her eyes tightly in hopes that when she opened them again she’d find herself in her home with Tyler. He’d be running in and out of every room, a dog toy dragging behind him, Rontu hot on his trail, and a constant giggle to his own antics filling the air. But she knew it was an impossibility; His laughter would now only resonate in her memory. 

“Is this a bad time?”

Kate looked towards the familiar voice. Alex stood in the doorway and was almost unrecognizable. The right side of her face was an array of purple and blues, her eye almost swollen shut. She looked defeated and beyond exhausted. Kate tried to sit up as she approached but the tearing pain kept her still.

“Don’t,” Alex said as she drew near.

“What’s going on?”

Alex exhaled and Kate knew the news was not going to be anything she wanted to hear.

“Just tell me.”

Alex looked her over, then spoke. “Can you recall any more details from that night?”

“What’s going on?”

“I need to hear everything you remember. Then I’ll explain.”

“Your partner was here two days ago asking me the same thing. He clearly was doubting that I had seen Damian.” She studied Alex, her features fell to the statement. Kate felt her protective wall rising, and for it to be in result of something Alex did or said was a new sensation. “You’re not even on the case, so why bother?” 

“It doesn’t mean I stopped. Please.”

Kate swallowed and thought back. She didn’t want to relive any of it, but she knew if it helped she had to delve back into the nightmare. 

She looked past Alex and spoke, “I had put Tyler to bed then read for a while, cleaned the kitchen, and I went to bed around eleven. Before I went to my room I checked on him. He was fast asleep with Rontu on the edge of his bed.”

“Did you have any concerns about anything?”

“Of course I did, that’s why I had called you. But, as the day went on I think I was just being paranoid. Didn’t realize how wrong I was.”

“Why didn’t you answer any of my calls or text?”

“I didn’t get any of them,” Kate answered in confusion. 

“I was trying to reach you all day, I felt bad for playing down your worry, and wanted to see if there was anything I could do. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t.” Kate stopped her. “This isn’t on you.”

“I was,” Alex tried to continue but stopped and dipped her head in the clear guilt encompassing her. “So you went to bed,” she said looking back up in encouragement to continue the recollection of events.

Kate took the hint and switched gears back to her memory. “The house was locked up tight, and Rontu didn’t budge when I looked in. He usually investigates every creak. He didn’t even respond to me, but I didn’t think twice about it.” She paused and looked away. She tried to visualize the doors; if she had locked them, or closed the windows. She had a set routine every day and night to make sure they were secure and safe. Alex stood patiently for her to continue.

“I was asleep, then he was suddenly over me, I don’t know how he got in. I kicked him off and fought. I had started to overtake him, but then I got weak and suddenly I couldn’t move.”

“Do you know if he drugged you?”

“I don’t know. All I remember was not having any control of my body and it was really hard to breathe.”

“You couldn’t move, but felt everything?”

Kate acknowledged her statement with a nod. “I wanted it to all stop, but I thought of Tyler and tried to fight.”

“It was Damian?”

“It was dark, but the table lamp on my dresser was on and he was over me and he didn’t try to hide.” Kate looked at Alex. She could see her question as a need for reassurance. “I mean, he didn’t say ‘I’m Damian’ but his eyes and features. He constantly talked about how I took away the only person in his life that mattered. It wasn’t hard to put together.”

 Alex stared at her.

Kate immediately spoke to her silence. “But, you’re not sure.”

“I believe you.” Alex’s voice was insistent and Kate wanted to accept she had one ally.

“But no one else does.”

Alex clasped her hands in front of and her eyes shifted slightly. “Everyone else sees only what’s in front of them.”

“And what’s in front of them?”

 Alex hesitated, then let the information out in one breath, “Jeremy has confessed. There’s the security camera capturing him jumping into your yard, fingerprints, and along with a log that details drugs that could have been used to sedate and partially paralyze you, there is a journal that shows he was possibly stalking you.”

Kate was momentarily speechless. She felt she had been thrust into a parallel narrative that she was having trouble seeing through. Had she been wrong? Had really seen Damian? In her investigation, she spent almost a year getting to know Caleb, his habits, his family, his associates. Damian was low on her list and disregarded him since he was a rich party kid. Then there was Jeremy. Had he really been there? How had he so easily been set up? No, she knows who she saw, so, how had they managed to frame Jeremy so fast? Unless, it had been in the works since it all unraveled at Manuel’s dock. 

“How is this happening?” Kate said, still not wanting to believe it. 

“Something bigger is going on, and I think there are a lot more players than we thought. It’s going to be hard to fight, but-”

“Right.” Kate interrupted; she didn’t want to hear any more about how the truth was being covered up.

“Kate, I’m not going to give up. I may have found something.”

“It doesn't matter.”

“It does.”

“No, it doesn't. Tyler’s gone and nothing you do will bring him back. Sloane’s won.”

“Don’t do that, please.”

“Don’t what? Just stop, Alex.” 

The situation became clear to Kate. She wanted to just give up Byron, Achilles, and Jeremy. Peter’s death was in self-defense but the cover-up was so deep now any revelations would only put Alex in more danger. Anyone involved had a target on their back. Alex’s was getting bigger as she pushed for the truth. Kate wasn’t going to drag her down any further.

 “You know my answer to that. I’m all in here.” Alex insisted.

“Then do what I ask. Forget whatever the truth is and don’t look back.”

“Kate, don’t do this.” Alex didn’t hide her shock and hurt. “I’m sick of everyone telling me to move on or let it go. I’m a part of this too, I get a say.”

“Have your say then, but what good will your voice do? No one is listening to either of us.”

“So we make them.”

“I can’t, and you need to stop. Just go.” Kate let her head fall away to show she was done conversing. Pushing Alex away was the only way to she knew she could protect her.

 

 


Submitted: September 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.

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