- 75.2K words
There was a woman in the void. She was clothed in gold so bright, it was as though she wore the sun and on her head, there sat a crown of rubies. She was pregnant and she ran and she cried. She cried for herself. She cried for her child. She cried for the world. She was in agony, not just because she was about to deliver, but for her heart she was leaving behind. She looked back and she saw she was still being chased. She knew she could not outrun them but she kept running. Should they catch her, it would be the end of her and her child. She raised a hand and the darkness cleaved, showing the light of another world. She jumped through, hoping the darkness would not follow. It did. She cried out, begging whoever could hear to come to her aid, even when she knew no one was listening. She looked back again and she saw them running with her as well. The four of them. There was no surviving them and she knew this, but she was determined to give birth to her child and save it. Her kind knew not what love was but she felt it for the child within her. She would not let it die. She raised her hand again and the light cleaved to bring forth the gray. She jumped in again and they followed. She fought them. Their beautiful dark voices in her head, in her thoughts, telling her to come back. Telling her to stop fighting and that she deserved to die as well as her spawn. From world to world, she jumped, searching for safety. Still they followed, inching closer with each jump. When her feet could carry her no more, she flew with the wind. She looked back and saw their wings too. She cried out again as Death sent a flood of darkness her way. It swept, the worlds, devoring everything that had life, leaving nothing but ash behind. It followed her, faster than they could and soon, it was nigh upon her. She could not fly high enough or fast enough. With her last shred of strength and hope she screamed out in her language for help from the universe and the universe answered. A door appeared. A white door with white etchings on it. Runes like nothing she had seen before decorated it and it opened before she could touch it. Through the door, she saw green and she saw the blue of the sky and she saw that it was Earth, yet it was different. She saw beautiful monsters moving with speed on four wheels and she saw one of them in the sky. She remembered she had seen it before and she laughed. A different time. She looked back and her eyes locked with Death’s absurdly beautiful silver and dark eyes and she laughed for she knew she would live. And she jumped....but she could've sworn she saw something else. Someone else in his stead.
I had my first kill when I was sixteen. I was at senior prom, with my teen crush. Lean, tall, green eyes, blonde, kissable lips, pretty. He made my heart race. He said I made him want to sin. I took the compliment though. When he groaned, I thought it his desire for me. His green eyes became feverishly bright and he smiled at me like I was a goddess--and I was his goddess, for the moment. His lips had turned blue and he shivered, despite the tuxedo he wore that was twice his size.
"Are you cold, Jordan?" I had asked and he had nodded frantically and said, "Touch me Aine. I hurt so much." "Awn-ya." I had corrected but he had placed his soft hands on my waist and struggled to lift me up. After three unsuccessful tries, he got it right and I had wrapped my legs around his torso. He had kissed my lips reverently until they were swollen and had his hands underneath my gown. I had moaned when his hands cupped my still developing breasts and I had let him feel my desire for something more. Only, he could not take it.
I blink at the sudden remembrance. I catch myself toying with the pendant of my necklace, tracing the silvery swirls around it, over and over again, as if it would one day make sense to me. It is an onyx stone with intricate lines embedded into it so skillfully, it almost makes the stone look alive. The lines look like swirling symbols and though, i don’t know what they mean, i find myself tracing them when i feel solemn, like today. I let out a breath, roll my shoulders and pick up my hair brush. I brush my hair and reapply the black dye on my hair to cover the blonde roots. People never seem to take a blonde seriously.
Unease spreads in my chest and I suck in my lower lip. I shake my head and grab the files on what is supposed to be my makeup table. I skip staircases as I rush downstairs and stop short when I hear his laughter. He looks up from his wife's face and when he sees me, his smile falters, his jaw clenches and his eyes turn so cold I resist the urge to jerk.
"Good morning Father." I say, mirroring the coldness in his gaze. He nods once, dismissing me. His wife, Caitlin, looks up from the documents she holds and beams at me. "Good morning Aine. How--"She is saying but I'm already out the door, toying with my car keys.
I toss the victim's file on the seat next to me and slam the door. I grip the steering wheel hard enough to break it as I will myself to calm. I could not understand or explain it but my father hates me. I should be used to his harsh treatments but my chest caves in everytime he refuses to look at me and when he does, it is an appalling look. Like i am a stain on a white couch he wants removed but he doesn’t know how to.
Thinking about it reminds me of mom. Today makes it twenty four years since she passed away. It's my birthday as well. It is more the former than it is the latter. I need to get to Funky Petals later to get the flowers. I received a message from them earlier. If i didn't know better, i would think they look forward to her death anniversary every year. It used to hurt before...and truthfully, it still does. It reminds me of the fact that she died giving me life and sometimes, I don't think I'm worth the sacrifice she made. Father thinks so too.
A sigh escapes my lips. I'll go for the flowers later. Work first.
Cranking up Conan Gray’s Maniac to the highest volume and singing at the top of my lungs until i feel my pent up rage dissipate into nothingness, i ride through the streets of Edmonton until i come to a halt at Mrs Reid’s. "Detective Lavoie, to see Mrs Reid. RCMP." I add the last part with a show of my badge.
The guard eyes my badge with distrust and inspects my face before disappearing behind the now closed window. I dig my heel into the sand as I wait for a response. Thankfully, I don't wait long for the huge black gate slides to the right a little, creating enough space for just me to pass through. Point taken. My car stays out. I grab the files and head towards the opening. My pistol lay peacefully in my back pocket and my cuffs hang from the band of my loose pants. I press my lips together in a grim line.
With my senses on high alert, I step foot into the yard and the gate shuts behind me. At some point between passing through the gates and taking my first two steps, I am flanked by two huge men in black suits and receivers in their ears. The bulges in their torso indicates weapons—guns by the looks of it.
I look around the yard and i see more men stationed out back and at the balcony. More are scattered to the side and i start to wonder how many are inside the house. There are at least twelve of them. That’s a tad too much security for a house with fences taller than the building itself. It looked more like a fortress than a home. They usher me into the living room and go to stand by the doors after searching me and stripping me of my gun and pen knife. If i wanted to harm Mrs Reid, i’d need just my hands. Ignoring their presence, I let myself soak in my surroundings.
It was as impressive as it was massive. Plush white cushions decorate the huge living room area in a sophisticated manner. The white vaulted ceiling holds a chandelier so big it would cause instant death for whoever it fell on. Black shelves line the back wall and stretch out far enough I can't see where it ends. Three of the walls are glass that overlook a private...pool. There is no TV. The house is freaking sterile and the air smells untainted by cooking. Clicks draw my attention to the perfectly polished staircases and I watch Mrs Reid descend gracefully. I put my hand forward for a handshake when she's in front of me. Her gray eyes narrow and the frown on her face as she observes me tells me she disapproves of something. I resist the urge to look at myself. I care little about what she thinks. She doesn't take my hand. She stares at it like it is infected for a bit then turns her back to me and gives a signal to the men by the door.
They stare ahead and remain where they are.
I cock my head slightly, noticing the tightness in her shoulders and the way her long elegant fingers tremble. She is scared. She turns to me again when the men are gone, this time with her chin a fraction higher. Her sorrel brown hair has been placed in an elegant bun that make her features stark. Possibly in her middle fifties, Mrs Reid has the type of beauty that gets better with age and a voluptuous figure women my age would kill for. In her black pants and turquoise tailored blouse, she looks every bit the business woman she is meant to be. She sits and crosses her legs, giving me a view of her clean four inched black stilettos. I take note of the huge ruby on her index finger as she cups her kneecap with her right palm and says, "Have you any news on my son?"
Folding my hands behind me, I walk behind the couch and note the lack of lines on the floor beside the couch that come from pushing furniture around while cleaning or dropping on a couch. Perhaps, the floors were recently polished. "Did he live here with you?"
She stands abruptly and glares at me. "Of course he did. Where else would he go? He is my son. I am his mother. His only family. We love each other. Like i have told you countless times. If you have nothing new to tell me then you must leave." Her thin lips quiver and I see fear in her gray depths. Fear for her son. Though I know she is lying, I do not call her out on it. Instead, I turn away from her so I don't have to see her face as I speak.
"Dead ends, Mrs Reid. You're either withholding information from me or you're clueless where your son is concerned." I pause and turn to look at her again. Her eyes go all over to place as she is unable to look at me. I see her hands tremble before she hides them by crossing her arms.
"I have searched every possible location he could be. Every location you've given me. His accounts have not been touched. All of his accounts. His phone's last location from the GPS before it lost signal was here. In this house, Mrs Reid.” I pause. “Where is William Reid?” She stills.
Her eyes widen and she stares at me like I must have gone mad. "I reported him missing."
I shrug. "Raise the alarm first to avoid being suspected. Oldest trick in the book." "I am his Mother!" She screeches.
I shrug again. "Have you read the papers lately? You’d be surprised what ‘Mothers’ do to their children."
"Officer Lavoie!" She yells, trembling. "You are out of line! I would never harm William."
She is crying now. "He came to the house. To me. For the first time in a while. I couldn't be there when he wanted me to. I was trying to make up for lost time." She collapses on the sofa and looks at her hands clasped together on her lap. "He was different."
I had known that before coming here. It is in the files. Every friend, worker, acquaintance, had said the same thing. Over the last couple of months, he had become withdrawn. Looked more haggard. Stared at empty spaces like he could see something they all couldn't. I was hoping Mrs Reid could tell me something different. It is one of the reasons I am here.
I fold my arms and hold the files to my chest. "How so?" "William has always liked his space and a comfortable distance from people. He used to say it helped him breathe more freely. He was reserved, even as a child." A faint smile teases her lips. "He turned up perfectly, my boy. Beautiful, successful, happy--at least they told me he was. When he came here, he seemed that way at first. Until a couple of weeks ago He would come back to the house, late, looking over his shoulder in fear as if he was expecting something. He became aggressive every time I asked if something was wrong. He would tell me not to ask questions or interfere and then he would break down and beg me to stay away from him."
I arched a brow. “Interfere with what?”
“I don’t know.” Her voice was strained and she swallowed hard before continuing. “I was scared, but what frightened me most of all was when two days before I noticed him gone, I had gone to his room to bring him dinner. He had gotten so lean I was worried. I had heard him yelling and things crashing. He had been talking to someone, begging. I thought I heard him say, 'we had a deal. You cannot take me now' before I called the men. It had taken three of them to knock down the door."
She pauses and looks at me with wet eyes. "My son was alone. He was talking to himself." I frown.
"Perhaps he was on a call?" I offer.
She shakes her head. "When they knocked down the door, he had curled himself into a ball on the floor. He was whimpering. I wanted to believe he was on a call. I so wanted to believe that. I checked. His phones had been turned off that day." "Has he ever displayed--" "No. My son was fine. He wasn't mad nor did he have psychotic tendencies or need therapy."
"Yourself and Mr Reid--" "Had problems. Every married couple does. Just some more than others and some unresolvable. Ours was the latter. Despite that, he grew up a fine young man. I am sure you have done your research. You will not come into my home and insult my family." She warns and i see an odd fire spark in her depths. I pause, suddenly seeing Laura Reid differently. A woman willing to go to any lengths to keep her illusion of a family together.
She is right though. I have done my research. William Reid was everything she described him to be and even more. He was a brilliant, eligible bachelor at his prime. A serious business man with several properties. It was common knowledge to all his friends that he had a rocky relationship with his mother. They had said, "William wouldn't even go there on holidays. He wouldn't even see her when she came to visit." They had found it odd that he had gone to her house all of a sudden. His stay-at-home maid who had been dressed too fancily to be a maid had said he just packed up a few things and left in a hurry. Like he was being chased. "I noticed he was gone and I reported this to you after a few days of being unable to reach him."
"And you did not mention this before, why?" I could almost read every thought she had on her face before she came up with the obvious lie."His reputation would have been ruined had this been exposed."
I nod. "Let me take a look at his room." She stands shakily and walks around the other side of the couch.
“Mrs Reid?” I call.
She turns around, eyes wide.
“It’s pretty.” Her eyebrows knit together in confusion and lines crease her forehead.
“What is?” She asks.
“Your...home.” I stress the ‘home’ solely to see her reaction and i do. Fear creeps into her eyes and she wipes her no doubt sweaty palms on her pants.
“Thank you.” She says quietly. I harrumphed with a slight nod and follow her up the staircases. The floors here are checkered and it smells like fresh furniture. Nothing seems out of place though. I notice a red flash in my peripheral, causing me to look up. There are CCTV cameras...everywhere. Every corner. I turn around in a slight spin, taking it all in. Not a single blind spot. The angles in which every camera is placed makes it impossible to have one. The structure and the decor of the house make it easier to surveil everything.
“What security detail do you use?” i ask, gazing up at the red flashes coming from behind another chandelier on the high ceiling. I stare at the camera and raise a brow, wondering who and why they need to watch Laura Reid.
“I don’t know. My husband employed them.” She says in barely a whisper.
She whisks me through a hallway with three doors and stops by third. I catch a whiff of musk and something sweet by the door. It’s the first scent i’m getting since i got into the house and it peaks my curiousity.
“Your ex-husband, Mrs Reid--” I am saying when she opens the door and the question dies in my throat. I stare at the room, partly horrified and partly amused.The room is completely trashed. Shredded papers decorate the torn sheets on his massive bed. The black walls have drawings on them. Not of people. Lines, more lines, symbols, marks. I could spot a few words like ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘where’ beside every symbol. I could make sense of none of it. A large mural of a man wearing white with beautiful white wings and an halo radiating on his head hangs on the wall behind the bed. Only, this angel’s eyes have been gouged out and his wings have been clipped. Glass from family portraits have been shattered on the floors and the cotton from the couch has been ripped out. I lock eyes with Mrs Reid. Everything screamed one thing. Insanity.She turns her back to me and says with steel in her voice, “He’s not mad. Find him, Detective, and leave my ex-husband out of this.”