Chapter 15: .onila
“What does “dot Onila” mean?” Scott was asking as if the man’s weird punctuation really mattered.
“I don’t know, I was thinking about the fact that he knows my freaking name,” I answered angrily. Scott was taken aback by my sudden burst of anger. I apologised but didn’t really mean it. I was terrified. I didn’t even care that I wouldn’t be afraid. This was the single most horrifying thing that had ever happened to me.
I had been naïve to think that the multiple break-ins were just coincidental. Of course they weren’t. Was anything in life truly coincidental, or was it all part of a set chain of events?
“Dot Onila has to have some kind of significance,” he said.
“I honestly don’t care at this point,” I admitted, wanting nothing more than to sit down on the pavement. It was pretty late and I was exhausted.
“It’s your life. You should have more respect for it,” Scott said.
“No, Scott! I haven’t slept well in a week. What I need is a good night’s sleep. Then we can start looking at this damn punctuation issue of yours!” Again, Scott looked hurt, but he didn’t say anything. We walked back to 45 Sundrive Avenue in silence.
There was a police car parked in front of number 45. I was going to ask Scott if Chrissie had turned around and followed us, but before I could ask he pushed me down behind a bush. An officer came out of the building. He had a man dressed in all black behind him. It wasn’t the Staring-man. He was black and looked to be in his twenties. The police officer was much older. He must’ve graced his early forties. His hair was on the greying side of salt-and-pepper.
“That’s Darren,” Scott whispered. “He’s a senior officer. I don’t really like him.” So much I gathered from the tone of his voice. It was resentful.
“What is he doing?”
It looked like they were having a friendly conversation. Innocent enough, I thought. We couldn’t make out the words they were saying to each other. We were too far away. Plus the breeze carried their voices in the other direction.
They stood there, talking to each other, for a good fifteen minutes. Darren handed the man in black an envelope. It was your standard white envelope that you could get at the post office. Nothing special about it. It was still very suspicious that an officer of the law handed an envelope to this doubtful man. I became very apprehensive of the whole situation, wanting nothing more than to get out of there. Scott’s rustic apartment seemed like a dream compared to the situation we were in.
The man in black then took off. In the car that was parked behind the police car. It was the white van. The man got in on the passenger side, so another person had to be driving. As they drove past, I couldn’t see anyone on the driver’s side. Darren pulled a packet of cigarettes out of his pockets. But as he lit the cigarette, it was clear that it wasn’t tobacco he was smoking. Even though the wind led the smell in the opposite direction, I could clearly feel the scent of cannabis.
I looked to my side to see if Scott had anything to say. He was gone. I turned to Darren and saw the silhouette of Scott moving towards him. He had his hands in his pockets, casually strolling along the pavement. I decided that enough was enough. I came out of the bushes and quickly followed Scott down to Darren.
“Fancy seeing you here,” Scott said. Darren dropped the joint on the ground.
“Well, it is one of the bases of our investigation,” Darren said. They eyed each other up, trying to look for a sign of weakness.
“Who was the man?” Scott asked.
“No one you know.” Darren took a deep breath. Most likely to collect himself. “I thought you weren’t allowed to bring her to the crime scene,” he said, pointing at me with a crooked finger.
“But you won’t tell anyone, will you?”
“Is that a threat?” Darren was fuming with anger. They were standing face to face. Darren had wrinkles. His eyes were wide open and almost round. He was one of the creepiest men I had ever seen, and I had seen Dylan high so that said quite a lot.
“If you ever bring her to the scene of a crime again, I will kick you out of the force, making this investigation your last.” His voice was cold, and his words even colder. I looked at him and shuddered. His voice was dead serious. There was nothing friendly about him and I understood why Scott had sounded so resentful.
His eyes followed us as we climbed into the car. He just stood there. Shrouded in darkness and mystery. As I entered the car I screamed at Scott.
“Drive, drive, drive.” And he obliged. As we drove past number 45, I could see Darren smiling at us. His teeth sharp and yellow. He almost looked like some kind of nightmarish creature, too scary for the real world. As we passed him, it was like time slowed. I looked him directly into his eyes for a couple of seconds. I saw nothing there. No empathy, no compassion, not a care in the world. He was a very dangerous man, I gathered. Only from the short interaction we had, I gathered as much.
“He was smoking weed,” Scott said to himself. The rest of the drive was silent. It looked like Scott was trying to hold his tears back. He bit his lower lip and it quivered.
As soon as we entered his flat, Scott locked the door and broke down on the floor of the hallway. He was rocking back and forward as he was crying angrily.
“Calm down,” I said and stroked his hair. His sobbing for a while. He looked up at me through tears in his eyes. We sat like that for a while. The silence around us, as we just stared into each other’s eyes. I heard the sound of the sink dripping. The drops hit the ceramic with what sounded like big crashes. His eyes were so green. They looked like green velvet.
“Hi,” I whispered. The clock made loud sounds as the second hand moved around the face.
“Hi,” he answered. I moved in as slowly as I could. Our noses were touching. He closed his eyes. I could feel his warm breath against my lips. He smelled like cinnamon buns.
A sliver of light danced across my face as a car drove past. The curtains were just open enough to send a small strip of light into the hallway. I moved the last centimetres. My lips were on his. At first they were just pressing against him. Then he started moving. Softly and gently, but I could definitely feel the movement. My heartbeat sped up, as if I was scared again. Only this time, I wasn’t. Our noses grinded against each other. His body was too far away from me. I sneaked my hand around his waist and he did the same to me. He pressed me against him. I could taste the salt of his tears, but I didn’t care. I felt so happy. Like all the endorphins in my body were released all at once. My tongue danced against his lower lip, asking for entrance. Just as I did that, he pushed me away. Breathless he muttered an apology, as if this was his fault.
“I really should have more self control,” he said.
“It was my fault. I don’t know what came over me,” I frantically said. Remembering Chris. He hadn’t even crossed my mind as we were kissing. That was a bad sign wasn’t it?
“Bloody hell,” he mumbled.
“I know,” I smiled at him. No, I beamed. I was still pushed close to him. If I really wanted to I could lean in and kiss him again. But I didn’t. Even though my smile was wide, I felt sorry for Chris.
“What do I tell Chris?”
“Do you have to tell that bastard anything?” I thought about it. Chris had hit me, and he was a drunk. I didn’t actually want to tell him anything about this. He wouldn’t understand. We had only kissed because of the stress, right?
“You look like shite. Take my bed. There are clean sheets in the wardrobe,” he said.
“Thanks.” I got up, and grabbed his hand to help him get on his feet. He stroked my wounded cheek before leading my to the bedroom. It was dark in there, but he turned on the lights when he saw how uneasy I got.
“You can sleep with the lights on if that makes you feel better. I’ll be in the living room, just shout and I’ll come running.”
“Thanks,” I repeated as I looked at the bed. It looked so friendly and inviting. It was quite cold but I just wanted to curl up. Scott exited the room and I got into the bed. The sheets weren’t as dirty as he made it sound like. I shut the blinds and fell asleep as soon as I got comfortable.
I was dreaming I think. I thought this because the Staring-man was there. Scott was there as well. He wasn’t wearing anything, so I got very uncomfortable. We were at a dinner table in what looked like a mansion. On the plate we had delicious roasted potatoes and meat of some kind. I started digging into the food, only then realising how hungry I was. The Staring-man smiled, just staring at me as I ate. I grew increasingly uncomfortable as his smile grew. The meat was really nice, but I hadn’t tasted anything like it before. I finished my first plateful and asked the butler for more of this delicious meat. He came with a plate. On the plate lay what looked like a human head.
“What is that?” I asked. Scott and the Staring-man smiled as the butler turned the head around. It was my head on the plate. I had an apple in my mouth and my eyes were glossy as if I was crying. I calmly excused myself and ran through the corridor of the mansion. All the pictures were of me. They showed me in all kinds of stations. Some so horrifying and degrading that I couldn’t look at them for more than a few seconds. I was dead in many of the pictures. Some showed the many ways to kill me. I was crying as I ran down the never-ending hallway. I heard footsteps behind me. I turned to see that the Staring-man was following me. He walked slowly, but somehow he was gaining on me. I continued running, screaming for Scott to come help me. The hallway started shaking and I lost my balance. I fell and the Staring-man was standing over me, looking down with his piercing green eyes.
“Wake up Onila,” he said. His voice was desperate. He really wanted me to get up.
“Wake up Onila,” he said even louder. The hallway started shaking even more.
I opened my eyes. Sweat streamed down my body and I felt cold. Scott was standing beside my bed, his hands around my shoulder. He looked worried and had a small dent between his eyebrows.
“Are you awake?” he asked. I nodded and looked at the clock. It was eight in the morning.
“I’m awake.” My voice sounded so weak.
“I was worried, it sounded like you were having a nightmare.”
“I was. Thanks for waking me up.”
“We need to go to the rehab centre. Thomas Oxford has started talking,” he said. He had a thin, skintight shirt on. The creases revealed that his clothes needed ironing. There was a big hole in it, right beside his left shoulder. I could help him sew that.
“Thomas Oxford?” I asked.
“The druggie from the incident. He wants to talk to me.”
“Are you sure I should come with?”
“I’m not leaving you alone in the house. Darren won’t be there, so I don’t think we have to worry.”
I had a bad feeling, but I joined him out into the early morning air. He smiled at me as I sat down in his car, but I knew this would mean trouble for both of us. ns 188.8.131.52da2