I Who Killed Me – Chapter I

I+Who+Killed+Me+-+Chapter+I

AKA Xueyun, Contributing Writer

Chapter I

-Sinking Qualms-

The bell above the restaurant door chimed as I walked in. There were few people chatting that morning, but the majority spread throughout the restaurant. Most were there to talk about business over breakfast, though there were a few that sat in front of the windows in a tired daze.

Unlike the evenings, the restaurant was filled with a pleasant smell of powdered donuts and coffee. The red and brown-stripped wall on the farther end of the restaurant was favoured by most and was always occupied by at least one couple, though today, there was no one. For some reason, it was quiet. 

From the kitchen, a familiar beaming face appeared, “Morning, Lennon! You’re here pretty early! Today’s oddly empty, for some reason. Must be because of the news yesterday.”

I nodded at her. “Morning, Phoebe.” Rounding the counter, I walked into the kitchen with her. The smell of the kitchen was even better than the foyer, mixed with the fresh smell of juice, coffee, pancakes, and donuts. 

“Well, don’t you look grand this morning. Let me guess,” she said as she snagged a jelly-filled donut from a tray. She took a large bite out of it, strawberry jelly oozing onto her hand. “It was your mom that called last night.”

A sigh was my only response as I pushed past her. I entered the staff room to put my things away and change into the standard restaurant uniform. Sometimes I wished she wasn’t so nosy and would just keep to her own business, but that just was Phoebe. 

After clocking in, I returned to the kitchen where other cooks arrived and also began to get ready for work. Phoebe was busy mixing a bowl of pancake mix, allowing me to slip around her and back to the front of the restaurant. 

Unlike ten minutes ago, the restaurant was now full of customers all waiting to eat breakfast. Those previously there had left to avoid the crowd. 

Many in the restaurant were talking whilst they waited for their orders. I took the orders as quickly as I could to make up for the lack of staff at the front with me.

On TV nearby, the news station from yesterday played. 

“At approximately 5 pm yesterday, twenty-six-year-old Aemilio Fontes was found dead in the rainforest near the Foz de Iguacu waterfalls. Tourists, most commonly, are lost in the rainforests of Brazil and have later been found dead, but the police have already confirmed that this is not the case. Fontes was found dead, with a blow to his head and needle punctures on his neck. The police are still searching to uncover the cause of this mysterious murder, but it is believed he suffered a heart attack after-”

When I looked up at the screen, a picture of the man was shown, a few days prior to his death. I felt a sharp pain to the left side of my head, followed by a throbbing ache. I was stunned, holding onto the countertop to keep myself from falling over. 

My head spun and a ringing in my ear began to form. I placed a hand over my neck. It felt like two needles were placed against the side of my neck. 

“It’s a shame you didn’t get to enjoy the waterfalls.”

A voice echoed in my head as I did my best to compose myself. The voice was loud in my head, but distant at the same time, as if I were living in a memory. 

-⏳-

The car ride was silent aside from the noises of the city. I glanced at the driver’s seat, his expression stern as he glared at the road ahead. I looked back to the road, still processing what had happened. 

“You know you scared the living hell out of Phoebe,” he finally spoke, not taking his eyes away from the road. 

I glanced back to him again, then sighed. 

I could feel him look at me before he looked back to the road. “You going to tell me what is going on?” 

The hum of the engine drowned out my thoughts. I attempted to piece together a good response, but nothing would be able to explain better than silence. “I’m fine.” 

“You are clearly not fine,” he snapped back, raising his voice. “For the Lord’s sake, Lennon, you passed out in front of customers on the job! You’re lucky you’ve only been put on leave for a week.”

“Can we not talk about this?” I sighed, rubbing my temples to ward off my headache. Just the mention of what happened irked me. 

“No. We are going to talk about this,” he continued. “You’ve been at this for months now to pay off a debt that isn’t even yours, and it isn’t showing any sign of letting up soon.” 

I opened my mouth to add on, though he continued before I had the chance to, “Phoebe told me that you’ve been working multiple jobs at once and always bear it in silence, but this is enough, even for the honor of being called a ‘man’.”

“It’s not about honor, Martial-”

“Then what is it about?” he cut me off. He sighed, taking his glasses off and hanging them on the collar of his shirt. “You’ve been excused for a week. I already made a call for you for all those other jobs of yours.”

“What?!” I turned to him with pure rage. “Turn the car around. I can work.” To be betrayed by my own friend was more than enough to make me raise my voice.

He scoffed, shaking his head. “You and that useless stubbornness. Your boss told me he’s not accepting work from you until you’ve got yourself together, so it doesn’t matter how much you want to work. You’re going to get rest whether you like it or not.”

Before I could hear him say more, we arrived at my apartment complex. He looked at me as he pulled the car up, but I didn’t look him in the eye. 

“If it helps, you can start looking into places you can visit and things you can do. Anything that will keep you from thinking about work or almost seems like a miracle now,” he spoke again, though he was trying to be sympathetic now.

It was quiet again. “Lennon, as your close friend, I worry about you. I know I haven’t been the best at talking with you, but you know you can always call me.”

He laughed, a trait that always seemed to be a characteristic of his. Laughing to hide the pain. “Trust me, I’d much rather get a call from you instead of a call from your boss that you passed out.”

I began to get out of the car, pulling my coat on tighter as I glanced back at him. There wasn’t much I could say, but so much at the same time. 

“If anything happens, make sure to give me a call,” he said with a small, but worried, smile before I shut the car door. 

A gust of wind brushed through my face, shocking me awake. I turned around to begin making my way to the door of my complex, tucking my hands deep into my coat’s pockets.

“Call me tomorrow!” he shouted behind me from his car, but I didn’t turn back. I waved my hand before I entered the building. 

I thought over what Martial said. I had a doubt he would sympathize with me, even as I shared nothing. 

“I suggest you accept that break and make the most out of it. You never take breaks anyway, so it’ll be the perfect opportunity for you to lighten up and get a hold of yourself again,” Martial had said, walking to the exit of the clinic with me. 

“And all of that stress,” he had turned to me with concerned eyes. His stiff suit made me feel stupid for being dressed in only a thin coat, grey sweater, and jeans. “Get involved in something other than work, for your sake.”

My breath appeared in the air as I sighed and closed the door to my apartment behind me. The dim sky brought out the settled misery in my furnished home, resembling how I felt at the moment. 

I turned on the TV, kicking off my shoes and raising them onto the coffee table. The news played again, covering what had happened to that Brazilian man. 

I watched again, hoping to figure out if what I felt really was because of the news or was just stress from the moment. A similar explanation was given: a hit to the head, needle punctures to the neck, and a heart attack most likely. 

My head throbbed for only a moment, but it was similar to then. I stared at the picture of the man, trying to remember. The voice that I had heard before I passed out was still fresh in my mind. Who was it? And was it my imagination? 

“It’s a shame you didn’t get to enjoy the waterfalls,” I reiterated. Whatever that might have meant, I most definitely did not make it up. 

Then I realized why those words sounded so familiar. “I had a dream last night.” I stood up, walking to my room to back step.

Pacing through my room, I muttered nonsensical words, trying to remember.

 I was in the forest. I was uneasy, but I don’t remember why, and it was the middle of the day. 

“Why was I uneasy though?” I sat down on the foot of my bed and lay down. 

Walking, no, running through a forest. I was being chased by something. But when I have nightmares I usually can remember them, so why is this one so blurry?

 In this ‘nightmare’, I was being chased, running through a forest. When I turned around, I was hit on the head- 

I sat up, covering a hand over my mouth. 

It was a rainforest, the Brazilian rainforest because I saw a Spix Macaw. I was being chased in a rainforest. Then, when I turned around, I was hit on the head with a bat, and when I was on the brink of consciousness, I heard those same words. 

Getting up and returning to my living room, I opened my computer and pulled up an article on that man. I read through the contents of a familiar news program. 

Fontes was found near Iguazu Falls in Brazil. His body, at most, was a day old as maggots had only begun to appear. Nearby, a bat was found hidden thinly beneath dirt and bushes. We believe this was used to knock Fontes unconscious by his murderer. 

Pictures of the waterfalls were pasted, the blurry image in my dream clearing as I examined the pictures. One of the pictures was taken at the crime scene, though with Aemilio’s corpse already transferred to a mortuary. A Spix Macaw hid in the background of the picture, staring into the camera with dark eyes.

I scrolled down, shaking the uneasy feeling the bird gave me.

After a biopsy on Aemilio Fontes, the strike against his head was found to be nonlethal; therefore, eliminating his cause of death. The needle punctures found on his neck are still being examined, but we believe that Aemilio was killed after receiving something lethal directly into his bloodstream.

His heart attack is most likely due to the substance given to him via a syringe.

I sat back, utter belief on my face. My hand shook as I placed it over where I felt the punctures on my neck earlier. All of the dreams that I had, and that murder…there has to be an underlying meaning to all of this.