I Who Killed Me-Chapter VIII


AKA Xueyun, Contributing Writer

Chapter VIII

-Calling In-

Ⓒ 2023

“So you’re telling me you have to suddenly start travelling everywhere now? And because you need to see relatives?” Phoebe was not at all convinced, and I didn’t blame her. I’d never been a good liar. 

I didn’t even want to admit my lie was terrible. 

It was silent for a while, then my phone began to ring violently. Phoebe was trying to Facetime me. I declined it. 

“Lennon-! You answer me right now. I have no idea what is going on with you, but never in our four years of our friendship have you EVER wanted to go out, NO matter the situation.”

She tried again and I swiped the screen until I saw her irritated face. She didn’t even care about how she looked, a green face mask on, her brown hair pulled into hair rollers, and her makeup still on. “Yeesh, what happened to your face? You actually shaved for once?”

I rolled my eyes and laughed a little. “I have to look presentable for once.” 

“And what do you have to look ‘presentable’ for, exactly?” 

I looked away from my phone to the kitchen, where Sharifa was cooking. Whatever it was, it smelled nice. “Uh, well.” I looked back to the screen and Phoebe was giving me that stupid face that said, “I know you’re lying and you can’t hide it from me.” 

“C’mon. You can’t expect me to not be curious when you’re suddenly fixing yourself up abroad.” 

Sharifa looked at me from the kitchen as she stirred a pot of soup. She mouthed the words, “You can tell her if you want.” 

It felt dumb to be stuck in a situation like this. “What I’m trying to say is that I won’t be able to go to work, so I’m asking for help on what I say to our boss since I still need the job. I’m not even covering the costs for my travel right now.” 

Phoebe was quiet for a moment as she stared off to somewhere else in her room. She gasped and covered her mouth, flipping the camera and showing me her TV screen; it played the news. “Do you know about this? Isn’t it too dangerous for you to be travelling around when there was literally someone KILLED near where you’re staying? I mean, look! Don’t you see they have her body covered up? That means it’s pretty messed up.” 

She went on and on about it, telling me to just fly back home, but I kept staring at the TV. I didn’t see the woman’s face beyond the body bag, but I knew it was gruesome.

When the woman’s face appeared on the screen from a later date, I didn’t have that overwhelming sense of deja vu, or a dread that made my heart drop to my stomach. 

“Lennon, are you listening?!” 

The camera flipped back to showing Phoebe’s face, but she wasn’t wearing that go-lucky smile anymore. She was genuinely worried. “I get that whatever you have to do has to be really important for you to avoid coming back, but I’m going to call you any time I feel worried and you have to promise to pick up.” 

I wasn’t so sure about picking up ANY time Phoebe called, but whatever made her feel better I would attempt. “Okay, fine. I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not sure if I’ll get connection everywhere I’m going.” 

“Everywhere? Wait, Lennon-” 

I hung up before she could continue and set my phone face-down on the table. 

“How many more to go?” Sharifa set down a bowl of soup in front of me. For once, it didn’t smell horrid and gut-churning. 

“Two more calls,” I rubbed my forehead. “What’s in the soup?” 

She sat down across from me with her own bowl, “It’s called shorbet ads, an Egyptian lentil soup. No meat or dairy.” 

“Great.” I took a spoonful of the soup into my mouth. I was too hungry to think about the taste until the bowl was half empty. 

“What do you think?” 

“Well, I don’t have to hold my breath when eating it. I can actually enjoy the taste for once.” I shifted the empty bowl aside and sighed, “I don’t eat meat, so thanks for making this.” 

Sharifa nodded and set her empty bowl aside as well, “I’m not a fan of foods with heavy seasoning or aromas either.” 

“Guess we’re really like the same person.” I joked about it, but it felt weird to say it aloud. 

She stood up and took the dishes back to the kitchen, “I’ll let you finish your calls then.” Sharifa made me feel comfortable in my own skin, but, at the same time, she made me question myself. 

My phone began to ring again, except it wasn’t Phoebe this time. I brought the phone to my ear, “Martial, hey.” 

“You sound worn out. I figured I should call since you’ll be heading back soon. Just wanted to make sure you’re not going to miss your flight by sleeping in,” Martial responded on the other line with the familiar sound of office clamour in the background.

“Yeah..about that.” I took in a breath and leaned forward in my chair, “I’m not going back yet. I have to help a friend out.” 

“A friend? Since when do you have friends?” Martial laughed, but I couldn’t bring myself to laugh with him. “Phoebe spam-called me through my office phone saying you were going to travel for a while, but I have a hard time believing that myself. What’s going on, man?” 

I laughed this time, hysterically. “Actually, a lot of things. I won’t really get into it until I’m back though.” 

“You make it sound like you’re going to be gone for a while. Are you going on some secret mission to save the world or something? You can tell me; we’ve been friends for like six years.” 

“Oh, I’ll tell you. Just now isn’t the time.” 

Martial sighed. I could hear intense typing on the other side before I heard a creak of his rolling chair as he leaned back in it. “You do whatever you gotta do then. I get you don’t wanna say, so I’ll leave you be for now. I’m sure Phoebe is all over you about answering her calls so do the least for her and I’ll be fine too.” 

“Thanks for understanding.” 

“Yeah, just take it easy. I’ll see you.” He hung up first. 

I didn’t want to make another call and explain the whole situation again, but my mom wouldn’t let me off the hook if I avoided her calls again. I clicked on her contact and stared at the picture. Lots of people said we looked alike, in terms of expressions and hair. She had dark brown hair too, eye bags which she swore she couldn’t cover with concealer and a grim expression that always said, “I’m so worried that I’m losing my mind.” 

I brought the phone to my ear after I began the call. Listening to the phone ring always seemed to make me anxious, a growing anticipation that would never end until the other person answered, and a dread like back then when I saw the killer. 

The line stopped and I opened my mouth to speak, but the automated voice responded, “Your call is being forwarded to an automated voicemail. If you would-” 

I ended the call and looked at my mom’s contact again. I hated this feeling of anxiety and the unknown. It’s been like this ever since I got wrapped up in this mess. I tried again, bringing the phone to my ear.

The line seemed to ring on forever, but the automated voice responded again at the end. At the beep, I recorded a message: “Hey, Mom, it’s me, Lennon.” I paused, thinking of what to say, “I’ll figure out what time you can fly over next month, in the meantime, just make sure you stay safe. Bye.” I ended the call and leaned back in my chair.

“That doesn’t sound like a mother-son relationship.” 

I nearly fell out of my chair as Sharifa stood behind me. I’d been so focused and jumpy that I hadn’t heard her. “Jesus, Sharifa. Don’t sneak up on me.” I stood up and shoved in the chair. “And it’s complicated.”

She looked curious, but she didn’t say anything as I began making my way to the front of the shop. People still passed by the shop windows without a care, the sign flipped to say ‘closed’, and the plentitude of flowers seemingly staring at me in the blue darkness.

“You’ll be heading back now?” 

I turned around to look down at Sharifa. She seemed calmer than I, even if we were on the list to be murdered, and it frustrated me. “Yeah, I’ll see you.” 

Before I could open the door, she slipped in front of me and blocked me. “Make sure you get rest then. I’ll look into where we should head next if that’s fine with you.” She smiled, but it began to make me creeped out. 

I shifted her aside and opened the door. “Yeah, you too.” 

Once I was standing over my hotel bed, I found myself falling forward into it. I didn’t bother changing or showering. I was too worn out to think about having a nightmare of the murderer. All of this felt stupid, like I was crazy, or both. 


Rain poured down onto cobblestone paths, deafening the crowds of people and the rush of cars in the city. Water poured down against my umbrella as I walked alongside others. I looked up to the sky, a streak of lightning lighting up the buildings below for a split second before thunder rumbled under my feet. 

A familiar neon sign flashed ahead, reading Griboyedov Club, which I followed until I stood in front of a stairwell. I could hear the loud music mix into the sound of the storm below. Thunder roared again behind me before I sauntered down the stairs, pushed open the door, and closed my umbrella to lay against the many lone umbrellas. 

Flashing lights and deafening music pumped up the large mob of people as they cheered without a care as to the uproar outside. I pushed through the shouting and cheering dressed in revealing dresses or loosened business blouses. For some reason, it triggered me to see them like this. 

Past the people partying were tables and bars with stalking men. I walked up to the bar, leaning against it as I ordered a drink, but it was too loud to remember what I was even trying to say. 

The next moment I knew, I was heading out of the bathroom back to where I hid by the bar. I sat back down on the stool, turning it to face away from the crowd to sip on my drink. The bartender was busy talking to another guy while he cleaned a glass. The man was a clear foreigner, and he didn’t bother trying to fit in. Their conversation was difficult to hear given the loud bass, but I could tell the foreigner spoke fluently. 

“Lenkov! He says he’s interested in your work. Come tell him about it,” the bartender walked away to another customer as the foreigner stood up to sit next to me. I felt exposed like I was the one that didn’t belong. 

“Hello, I heard that you wrote a thesis,” the guy sat down on the stool next to me, bringing over his drink. He had a particular look in his eyes, something I would be able to pinpoint if I weren’t drunk.

“Yeah, what about it?” 

He shifted in his seat and took a swig of his drink before continuing, “I’m a fan of your work. I was wondering if I could get a signature?” He felt familiar, but it might’ve just been my imagination. 

I looked at him as if he were insane. “I don’t know who you are, but who the hell wants an autograph from someone that wrote a thesis about murder?” I was about to get up before he took my arm. 

I thought I saw the punk glare at me, but he only smiled the next second. “Please sit, Mr. Lenkov. I’d like to buy you a drink then.” 

Before I could decline the offer, he was already ordering one for me. The bartender slid the glass over and returned to talking to another frequent. He held out a pen and a small card to me. “An autograph or the drink?”

“Seriously,” I grumbled.

He set down the pen, but it fell. I stumbled and picked up the pen, slamming it down onto the counter before I picked up the glass. 

“Drink up,” he held up his glass to me.

“If I drink this then it means you’ll leave me alone.” 

He only nodded, clinking our glasses and drinking his down first. 

I watched for a second before I did the same. “Hm, haven’t had this drink before.” 

“Because it’s not on the menu.”

I was about to stand up and tackle the man before he laughed and set down the glass, “I asked the bartender to make something a little different, nothing more.”

He stirred the ice in his glass, smiling at the exact wrong time, “Though you might want to head home. It’s getting a little late.” 

Then, I found myself walking down the wet street, my folded umbrella in one hand and a business card in the other. The street felt to be moving, the ground shifting under my feet, and the sky morphing in with the buildings. A cold sweat dripped down my back, an overwhelming ache in my chest, and a difficulty to breath. I didn’t know where I was or what time it was. 

I fell forward, the stone-cold floor was more comfortable than I could remember. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and that tightening in my chest help me down. 

From behind me, I heard footsteps approach, “Thanks for the advice. Your thesis ended up working.” He walked around so I could see his face and that twisted smile. “I’ll see you soon.”


Once I woke up from the dream, I knew what was going to happen, or it already did. I swiped my phone beside me and turned it on to call Sharifa, but she was already calling.

“Lennon, you know, right?” 

“Of course, I do. We don’t have time.”


To be Continued…


Author’s Note: 

Dear readers,

This marks the end of I Who Killed Me for this school year! Since it’s a cliffhanger, this is like the end of a season for a series, but there will be more to come.

For those of you that have stuck ’til the end, I’m sincerely honoured and look forward to next year when I will complete this book and (hopefully) publish it to be bought as an ebook and/or paper copy. And by that time, I hope to be publishing another book of mine, which some of you may know as Appearances Alone.

I hope you all stay curious and patient as more stories will come. Summer is right around the corner, so enjoy it to the fullest!