I don’t know what I expected to happen. I guess since I had such a profound new perspective enhancing my case that I’d get significant communication that confirmed my theory about the killer’s anti-human mindset. To discover something so deep and meaningful only to have it followed by a trivial matter seemed unimaginable unimaginable until I saw the caller ID. Logically, I should have known it was just Ben returning my call, but it still disappointed me to lose that momentum that I had just built up! I begrudgingly answered the phone, “Hello, asshole! Taking a break from your whores to talk to me?”
He hesitated slightly before he told me, “Uh… I’m having dinner with my parents. They can hear you…”
“Oh!” At first, I regretted my choice of words, but then I realized that I didn’t care about sparing his feelings anymore. “Did you guys know that your son is a man slut?”
“Okay… I’m gonna take this call in another room…” As I heard him making his way to an area out of his parents’ earshot, one of my mother’s cats went onto my lap. I stroked its fur, but I really wasn’t thinking about the kitty much. The longer it took for him to get back on the phone, the more irritated I got! Finally, he got back on and chided me, “That was rude!”
I laughed derisively at him. “I’m being rude? You cheated on me and stole all my money, and you wanna lecture me on manners?”
He pointed out to me, “We’re married, so it was both of our money!”
“BOTH OF OUR MONEY!” I roared. I stood up so fat that I sent the poor cat flying across the room! Don’t worry, it didn’t get hurt, but it did give me a dirty look as I berated him, “Look, I didn’t like bringing this up when we were still married ’cause it didn’t matter to me, but I make a lot more money than you! You put me in a situation where I had to go out on my own, so I should have access to all the money I worked my ass off to earn! But fine, for argument’s sake, let’s say it’s both of our money. You didn’t split it evenly and blow your half, you spent almost all of it! I spent forty plus hours a week making most of that money, and all that effort got blown by your prostitution addiction! You didn’t even leave me enough to survive on! So, no, you don’t get to claim ownership of that money! You stole from me!”
“Woah, woah, woah! What do you mean, ‘when we were still married?’ We’re still married,” Ben brought up.
I let out a noise of disgust because I definitely mentioned divorce to him before, and he obviously still didn’t get it. I thought perhaps that I didn’t make myself clear before, but after that response, I truly believed that he was still in denial. It bothered me that I had to tell it to him again, and just as I prepared myself to let him have it, Wade unceremoniously burst into the house. “Whew! What a night! WE had this group of people come in from-!”
I indicated to my phone and informed him, “Um, I’m on the…”
“Oh, okay!” He plopped down onto his favorite chair, and I always forgot how badly he smelled until I got close to him. I stood up and headed towards my room to take the call, but then he blasted the TV and bellowed, “Hey, hon! Our favorite show is on!”
“Who’s that? Your new boyfriend?” Ben probed.
I tried to reply back to him, but Wade kept shouting to my mom about what was happening on the random show he turned on, and my mom only heard portions of it as she prepared dinner. He realized that I wouldn’t heard the call in any part of the house, so I stepped outside.
As I got onto the front stoop, I remarked, “That was my mom’s husband. Listen, you need to get it through your-!”
It started pouring down rain, and I knew that I couldn’t complete this conversation in the house, so I decided to run to my car. I wasn’t about to hang up, I wanted to get this over with! Before I could get to my car, I heard Travis’s voice call out, “Where’s my bike?”
“I don’t know!” I barked. I didn’t let him ask me anything else before I got into the car. It felt like such a relief to get out of the rain! I turned on the speaker phone as I pulled out my wand to dry everything off, and as I worked, I finally revealed to Ben, “I’ve already left you! I don’t wanna be married to you anymore! I want a divorce!”
“A divorce? Please, baby, I can change!” he moaned.
I hardly listened to his sniveling. The rainwater prompted my cellphone to open up several apps, and after I dried it off and started closing everything, I noticed the map from Aidan’s tracker showed him moving. I watched it as he headed eastbound. He had already gone out of Anaknock, but if he moved out of Slygow county, I’d have to go get him! From the way he was moving, I got the sense that he would go out of bounds, so I conjured my car keys and waited for the moment he crossed the line. He got closer and closer, and just when he neared the edge, Ben got my attention, “Babe? Babe! Are you listening?”
I bluntly said to him, “No. I gotta go! See you in court!” He tried to argue with that last tidbit, but I wouldn’t let him. I saw Aidan land on the border, and I used all my concentration to magick myself there. A flash of light enveloped the car, and then, poof! I disappeared from the lot.
As I tailed his bright yellow, luxury sports car, I paged dispatch, “This is Detective Shannon Vidette. I’m in pursuit of a suspect who’s under surveillance, he’s heading out of our jurisdiction. Requesting permission to proceed.”
“Detective Vidette, what is your location?” the dispatch operator responded.
“I’m in…” I saw a flash of light surrounding his vehicle, and I felt determined not to let him get away, so I stepped on the gas to propel myself forward enough to get included in his spell. It worked, and once again, I disappeared into the night air!
I landed directly behind on an unfamiliar road, and we were going too fast for me to check my navigation so I could determine my location. Dispatch repeated its request, but I didn’t know what to tell them. “I’m… I went to…” All of a sudden, Aidan hopped out of the car and began running. I ran after him and continued my conversation with dispatch on my cellphone, “I’m in a foot pursuit.”
The dispatch operator queried, “A foot pursuit where?” When I couldn’t come up with an answer, dispatch inquired, “Are you in danger?” Aidan unexpectedly stopped, and as I raised my wand in preparation of a possible combat, dispatch concluded, “It sounds like we have an officer down. I’m using your GPS to send back up immediately! Stay calm, Officer Vidette, help is on the way!”
I ignored my phone as I continued to hold my wand up towards Aidan. He just stood there gazing out into the distance. I didn’t think he planned to harm me, but I had no idea what his intentions were, so I commanded, “Don’t move!”
“I’m not moving,” he reacted with unexpected calmness.
“I know, I meant don’t move from this point further.” It irked me that had a snarky attitude after he led me on a chase!
He challenged me, “Why? You have no authority here.” I’d never admit it to him, but he had a valid argument! Despite that, I kept my wand raised in case he decided to attack. He turned to me with a slightly remorseful expression and put his hands behind his back. “You can cuff me anyways if it makes you feel better.”
I approached him with caution. It had to be some kind of trick, I thought. It didn’t make sense to me that he would take such a great effort to escape only to surrender so easily like that! I pulled out my cuffs, and my nerves were through the roof as I inched towards his hands. I fully expected him to suddenly lunge out and carry out his nefarious objective, and it truly shocked me when I put the cuffs on without trouble! I actually stood still for a second, waiting for some kind of catch, and when nothing happened, I couldn’t help but cry out, “What the hell! Why? Why would you-?”
“I knew you’d follow me,” he explained. “I could also tell you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, so I thought you could use the break.” Before I could scream that putting me through a pursuit like that was hardly a break, he added, “This is the beach town I go to when I wanna relax. You told me your work never brought you to places like this, well, now it has!”
“You did all this just as an act of kindness to me?” I stared at him with the utmost skepticism.
He asserted, “Well, I kinda got the impression that not a lot of people have been very nice to you recently, which I don’t think is at all fair! You seem like such a good person, and you deserve that kind of treatment!”
It really bewildered me to hear such an accurate assessment of my situation! I wanted to feel touched by the gesture, but I reminded myself of his adept ability to read and manipulate people. I didn’t want to fall for his ruse, and my apprehension still clutched to the notion that he had ulterior motives for doing this. I worried that accepting his attempt to cheer me up would put my guard down, which would cause me to leak vital information or get blindsided by an attacker lurking in the shadows. Either of those scenarios playing out would have made much more sense to me than what appeared to have been absolute honesty! I didn’t understand why he’d behave so compassionately towards me, but I also didn’t detect an ounce of deception, which just left me totally confused. “I… You… We’re really by the beach?” I know it sounds a little silly that, out of all the questions swirling in my head, I chose to ask about that, but I really wondered if we had actually traveled to the coast. I wouldn’t have put it past him to fool me into thinking that we did that so he could stir up my emotions and really expose my vulnerability.
“The ocean is right in front of us! Take a look,” he invited.
“No!” I fixed my focus purposefully to the ground. When my father planned out that seaside vacation twenty-seven years ago, I built up tremendous anticipation for the opportunity to travel, but once we caught my mom committing infidelity and their marriage fell apart, the idea of going anywhere outside of Anaknock scared me. That incident felt like a bad omen, and I lost any inkling to venture outside the city I resided in. The very concept that I had just done it didn’t feel real! Catching a glimpse of the coast would just confirm that I did, indeed, journey somewhere, and I didn’t know what would happen if I accepted this fact, but it frightened me to risk everything I had left just to see some water! I knew that lots of people traveled everyday, but if I did it, I believed that something bad would occur. I didn’t want to tempt fate, so I wanted to avoid the reality of my current circumstance if I could help it!
Aidan appeared to have inferred what I was going through because he correctly assessed, “You were scared to travel.” I didn’t say anything so I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of being right, but I think my lack of a response confirmed his theory. “We don’t have much time before they get here. You’re gonna have to face your fears eventually, so why not get it over with?” I didn’t want him to continue to bug me about it, but, once again, he was completely right. I’d obviously have to look up sometime, especially when my colleagues got here, and I didn’t want to risk freaking out in front of a large group of my peers. I mean, I saw pictures of the beach prior to that, so I reasoned that I wouldn’t see anything drastically new. I decided that I may as well relent to his wishes, and when I finally saw it, my jaw dropped!
Pictures didn’t do the beach justice! The water glittered like a jewel, and it stretched further than I could imagine! The colors of the sunset made it look like a painting, and I could feel a coolness in the air that I’d never felt before! I could hear the waves crashing gently against the shore, and even the aroma it emitted invigorated my senses! I could understand why Aidan frequented this place now, and it made me ponder what its effect on my family would have been if we had visited here all those years ago. Just the very thought of its inherent healing abilities brought tears to my eyes! Thinking about what could have been if we had come here was too much for me, and I couldn’t help but weep!
Aidan gently commented, “I’d hug you right now, but… you know…” He gestured his head towards his back where his cuffs were.
With the heavy weight of the tumultuous sentiments bearing down on me, I felt like I’d collapse if I didn’t brace something at that moment! Temporarily forgetting all of my previous prejudices against him in this instance, I threw my arms around him and just let myself sob into him! He leaned his head in so he could convey his support, and after the initial wave of this episode lessened a bit, I remembered my assignment. Through my crying, I stated, “This doesn’t change anything about the case!”
“I know!” he softly acknowledged while continuing to hold me. This comforted me in a way I had never experienced before! I began to feel a pleasant warmness in the pit of my stomach that radiated throughout my body. No one spoke a word, so all I could hear was the waves and my heart pounding. I picked my head up, and as my eyesight met his, I could see genuine care exuding from deep inside of him. It just heightened the beauty of his eyes! His lips curled into a tender smile, and a part of me thought they were so inviting… All of a sudden, it dawned on me- Sandra was right, I did feel attracted to him!
I heard sirens blaring, and I instinctively jumped away from Aidan. As I saw police from this town arrive, I could feel myself flushing. I hoped that no one noticed my brief temptation of impropriety, and I regretted letting myself succumb to any rudimentary desires that I unknowingly harbored. “Sorry for the confusion! My suspect used magic to transport us, and I lost my orientation.”
“Don’t worry about it!” an officer reassured me. “We’re glad you’re alright!” She turned to Aidan and warned him, “Don’t try any funny stuff with us! One way or the other, we’ll make sure you get back to Slygow county!”
As they escorted him to a squad car, I got reminded of his criminal nature, and I felt very irresponsible about what just played out! He found a weakness, and I wondered how he might use it against me! It hurt me to think he had faked his affection to get something out of me, and I considered that perhaps I had made incorrect assumptions about him. Just when I contemplated giving him an apology for my misconceptions, my cellphone rang. It was Sandra, and I could imagine this event made her worry about me, so I picked up the call and assured her, “It’s okay, I’m fine!”
“I know you are! I’m not calling about that! They just found another body with your killer’s DNA on the scene!” she revealed. As I watched the vehicle carrying Aidan drive off, I got angry again. Maybe he didn’t want to console me at all, I thought. Maybe he was trying to create an illusion of innocence so that I wouldn’t catch on that he had just fled from a murder scene!