Saturday, April 29, 2017


Jenn sat in the police precinct, utterly silent. She did not shift in the cold, hard, plastic chair she had been escorted to, and her blank gaze did not move from where it had landed a half hour ago, reading and re-reading the same 5 words on a certificate hanging on the wall. A foil emergency blanket lay loosely around her shoulders, placed there by one of the faceless EMS who had arrived on the scene. Dried blood still streaked her face in some places, seemingly a product of a large, hastily stitched gash at her hairline.

She had already given her statement. That car had been new, bought a week ago to get her to and from the veterinary school that Dr. Green had offered to pay for, if she would work for him for five years after she graduated. Coming back from the night class, she’d been tired and more than ready to get home, but even at 12:30 am she was careful to obey the laws. She’d only been driving 5 miles above the 40 mph speed limit.

Jenn closed her eyes. The dark of midnight washed the back of her eyelids, and she took a deep, shuddering breath.

The light was green and she smiled to be so close to home, enjoying the cool rush of night air on her face as she accelerated through the turn. Her high beams lit on a figure approaching too quickly, and with a sound wrenched deep from her gut Jenn stepped as hard as she could on the brakes- and met no resistance. Her blood turned to ice in her veins. A split second later and she had already traveled 66 feet, barreling towards the defenseless human still standing in the middle of the road. Choking on a scream, Jenn yanked the steering wheel to the right, tires squealing, but the world had no mercy. The initial sound of impact was dull and wet, and then destruction followed on light feet. As her car spun out, headed irreversibly towards the banks of the Rainbow River, she knew that if she lived, as long as she lived, she would remember the glassy, empty eyes of one Rory Langely.

The squeal of a door and quiet footsteps did little to rouse Jenn from her reverie. “Miss Sonyac?” The policewoman’s voice was gentle. Jenn slowly turned her head to meet the woman’s eyes, her movements wooden. “I’m Danica Jules, police chief here.” Chief Jules waited for a second, to see if she would get a response. Jenn said nothing. If she tried to speak, she would cry again, and she physically had no tears left. “We’ve finished the preliminary investigation of your car, Miss Sonyac.” Chief Jules’s face twitched, as if she were going to attempt a reassuring smile and though better of it. “I have good news and bad news. The good news, is that you will not brought up on any charges relating to this tragedy.” Jenn startled enough to snap partway out of her fearful daze, the devastation about Rory and what had happened clearing somewhat in her head. “You were not at fault, Miss Sonyac,” the chief explained, “your car failed. My next question, though, is extremely important, so I need you to think very carefully about your answer.” There was a pregnant pause, and Jenn sat up a little straighter, necessity stabilizing her emotional state.

“Do you have any enemies, Miss Sonyac?” Jenn blinked, opened her mouth, shut it again, and settled into watching Chief Jules for a beat. That was the last thing on this earth she had expected.

“I’m sorry?” Jenn needed to make sure she had heard what she thought she’d heard.

“Do you have any enemies, Miss Sonyac?” Chief Jules’s face was grim. “Your brake lines were cut, ma’am, deliberately made to leak fluid until you could no longer stop and would inevitably crash. The murderer got Rory, but make no mistake about it. The original target was you.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An Upstanding Citizen

Jenn woke up, threw her covers off, rolled out of bed, and as soon as she put her feet on floor on the right side of the bed, she knew. It was going to be a crappy day. She normally got up on the left side.

Walking through the park on her way to work, dark clouds still broiled over Jenn's head, despite the happy sunshine streaming through the leaves and mottling the path green and yellow. The mountain range of trash she slogged through, a friendly present from their neighborhood raging storm, didn't help either. Gusting out an affronted sigh, Jenn kicked at the nearest piece of trash. She really didn't feel like cleaning this up, but who else was going to do it? The city? Ha. Christ, what's the point of being an upstanding citizen if all it does is rope you into more work? She stalked into the Animal Hospital and blew past Mr. Green's friendly greeting with a muted growl. Thank god dogs don't talk.

20 bulging trash bags, 10 worn-out puppies, and four hours later the clouds had slowly cleared over Jenn's head. It feels so good to be productive, she thought as she swung the last bag over the edge of the dumpster with a clang. Walking inside and wiping the sweat off her face, Jenn called brightly, "Hey, Dr. Green? I've finished walking the dogs, what else ya got for me?"

Dr. Green walked out of the back room, having changed out of his scrubs and into normal street clothes.

"We haven't got any appointments today, so I'm actually going to close up shop early and then go help clean up my neighborhood. You're free to go, my dear. Will I see you at the Little Mermaid showing tonight?"

Jenn shrugged. She wasn't that big a fan of Disney movies, they were all so trite and sexist for the most part. She didn't really want to chill at her apartment alone either, though, now that she was over her foul mood.

"Maybe." Satisfied, Dr. Green's shining bald head disappeared out the front door, a faint "See you there!" floating behind him. Chuckling softly, Jenn pulled out her phone and hit number one on her speed dial. 

"Hey, Scarlett? Yeah, sorry I was such a pill this morning. Anyway, you wanna go with me to see the Little Mermaid in the park tonight?" Hanging up, Jenn bounced lightly on her place, collected her bag, did a last check around and then loped easily towards home.

She couldn't keep the corners of her mouth from lifting. If I died now, she mused to herself, I'd die happy.