Who are you?
“Lai…Laaii…Hello, Earth to LAI!”
“Leave her alone Mara, she’s trying to concentrate”
“Why are you always on her side Ren? She doesn’t even consider you her friend”
“What are you talking about we’re besties”
“Nooo, I’m her bestie, right Lai?”
“Would the both of you shut up already? I’m trying to study”
“Oh come on Lai, It’s Saturday. When you called us, I thought you wanted to hang out.”
“Yeah? I’m pretty sure I asked if you wanted to study together”
“Well I thought you meant ‘study’ like flirt with some boys or something.”
“Do you only think about boys?”
I rolled my eyes and continued to study.
“UGH…I’m so bored! Hey Ren, do you want to ditch and go find some guys?”
“No, I’ll just stay here with Lai. That’s ok with you right Lai?”
“Do whatever you want, you’re already here”
“Yay!” She hugged me and I brushed her off
Mara sat there annoyed by us “whatever, then I’ll go buy us some snacks, ya’ book whores”
She left with a pout on her face. I paid no attention to either of them, I just sat there with my typical bitch face.
“Lai, you really haven’t changed, have you?” I looked at her pissed wondering what she meant by that. She smiled and kept talking. “what do you want to do when you graduate?”
“Get as far away from here as possible”
“Why? You have your grandmother here, are you just going to leave her?”
“She’s fine on her own, she’s always been. She’ll probably be better with me gone”
“Don’t say that, I’m sure she enjoys your company…. You know Lai…” she said while grabbing a cushion to lay down on the floor. “I sometimes envy you; you should be more grateful with what you have.”
“What are you?…”
“Anyways, I want to have the things I never had while growing up”
“And what is that?”
“It’s a secret”
“then I won’t ask, not like I care”
“I know a girl that made that happen, she found a prince and he swept her off her feet. A real-life Cinderella…Do you think that will happen to me?”
I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes for half a second and sighed. I turned to her and with a bleak expression I answered, “I think that’s bullshit, do you really believe in this fairytale nonsense?”
“Why are you always so hostile about these things, can’t you just see the brighter side of life?”
“I’m just being realistic!”
“Realistic?! You never care about anything but yourself. You’ve always been that way. I thought you would’ve changed by now. But seeing as you just erased everything from the past, I’m guessing you never gave three shits about anything else!”
“You know what Ren? FUCK YOU! What makes you any different than me, you’re just a jealous bitch that envies everyone around you! And you don’t know shit about me! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”
She grabbed her things and stormed out of the house. As she opened the door Mara’s surprised face was revealed, standing there with a bag of chips on her hands. Ren stopped mid-way “Lai, I really hope you can fight those monsters inside you…they’re rotting you from the inside out” She shut the door almost to the point of breaking it, and Mara stood there without uttering a single word.
After that incident, Ren would glance at me from afar, but she never spoke to me again, until graduation. She approached me that day with teary eyes.
“Lai, I know we haven’t been talking to each other, but I didn’t want to part ways like this. I’m sorry for offending you back then…You were probably right though I was jealous of you, but I meant it when I said I liked you. I’m probably a terrible person, and I know that I’m being selfish, but I hope that like me, you can find happiness one day”
She hugged me, smiled and walked away. Waiting for her was a tall, older man. I couldn’t distinguish his face clearly, but by what I could see, he was somewhat handsome. He was an elegant man; his presence dulled the other people around. I felt kind of bad for standing there and not saying anything, but the truth was that I didn’t know what to say. She grabbed the man’s hand, and I noticed he was wearing a wedding ring, the man glanced at me and grinned, then they walked away together. I never heard of her again till I received her wedding invitation, she was marrying that mysterious man.
“Help me out a bit so I can understand. Are you saying that kid is alive? And how would you know this?”
“I’m not sure, but I have this feeling”
“You have this feeling?”
“Yes, just park the car over there, we’ll walk from here”
“Is this the reason you brought me back to the foster place? Do you remember everything now?”
“Not quite, but I’m having some flashes of my memories, and I think there might be a clue here.”
“to find the boy?”
“Yes…Remember when you found me passed out by the tunnel?”
“I didn’t find you, you texted me remember?”
“What? What are you talking about I didn’t text you?”
“Then are you not Lai? Here, someone sent me this text that day. By the time I got there you were already on the ground”
He showed me a text from an unknown number with the location of the tunnel.
“What? What are you talking about? You said it was a coincidence”
“I thought you would remember, but you didn’t, then I forgot to tell you”
“That is not something you just forget…give me that” I snatched the phone from his hands and tried dialing the strange number.
We’re sorry, but the number you’ve dialed is currently unavailable…
After multiple failed attempts. Someone, or something answered the phone. A loud static noise was heard, and a heartrending cry was heard from the other side. A faint whisper nulled my senses “o homem do saco está perto” (the sack man is close)
I turn around and stare at Lucas, who’s standing there expressionless. “What is it?” he asked. I remembered Lucas mentioned the sack man before, but it had slipped my mind. When did I begin to trust him so much? No matter what, none of his stories seemed to match up. Something was not right. How did he possibly know about the sack man, when he believed the boy was dead? I’m sure the boy had said that multiple times in my dreams. I gulped, instantly regretting this decision.
“Lucas, we should stop”
“What do you mean?”
“I was talking nonsense earlier; I think all of this is messing with my head. We should just go, seeing this place again is making me dizzy.”
“You drag me here to look for clues, now you want to back out? Didn’t you come to find out the truth?” He put his hands on his forehead and sighed. “Lai, the first time I saw you at the wedding, I knew exactly who you were. What I couldn’t understand was why you were there. You used to talk about how you wanted to leave everything behind, but somehow you always end up meddling in other people’s business…Do you want to know why Ren married Tiago? Because he promised he would protect her and give her the best life. The same words he told Juliana, that he would be the better man. Better than any other, better than me…Now let me ask you something Lai…Would you believe such shallow words?”
“No, but to be honest, I don’t even believe myself, so I have a hard time believing any words, including yours.” I reprimanded
It was stupid to had said that in front of this man, but I just wanted peace. I got myself into this mess, so I had to get myself out of it, even if I’d end up dead like the rest. I was certain he wasn’t meant to be trusted, he knew much more than what he was telling me, but if his intention was to hurt me, he would’ve done it by now. That or I’m an idiot and have no idea how a sociopath’s (or psychopath’s) brain works. Not sure what to think of his mental condition at this point. I kept saying I wouldn’t make stupid decisions like the characters in a horror movie, yet here I was making the same mistake over and over again. It’s like I’ve been infected by the imbecile horror chick virus. I gathered some fake courage and questioned him once again.
“What does any of this have to do with me wanting to leave?…You’re resenting, aren’t you?” I bluffed “Tiago was always the favorite in everyone’s eyes. So, you figured it would be better if they hated him and cared for you instead. Is that why you lied to your mother about Juliana? Is that why you got tangled up with his wife and filled Ren’s head with empty promises? But still, your brother got the best out of everything, so you used his son against him. You did all of this so you could feel loved…didn’t you?” I was spewing complete BS. I had no idea what I was saying or if any of this was true. My intention was to provoke him to get him to speak the truth. I was trying to push him over the edge, and by the look in his eyes, I could tell he was about to break. Either that or he was about to murder me, he looked extremely pissed.
He stared quietly for a couple of seconds, he lowered his gaze and swallowed to regain his composure. I was sweating even though it wasn’t hot, and I chipped my nails to the point of almost reaching the skin. He looked at me again and spoke
“A lot of shit goes on inside that pretty little head of yours, don’t it munchkin?”
“Yeah, I tend to daydream a lot and sometimes I make mystery plots in my head, and you seem to do the same, changing the subject so drastically like that. But you know, I don’t think that what I just said is that farfetched, don’t you think?”
“You should be a mystery writer…You’re right, I admit it, everyone preferred Tiago over me, but what would I gain out of making my brother go mad?”
“I don’t know, you tell me?”
“Well, there were actually times I thought of all those things and I might’ve executed one or two mischievous plans, but you know what stopped me from becoming like him?”
“You should figure that one on your own Ms. Mystery Novel Writer…But I’ll give you a hint. There was one person that put me first no matter what…But I’ll leave it at that. We should go back home before it gets dark.”
We walked silently towards the car and neither of us said a word the entire way back. Who was he referring to? Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I thought? He was definitely hiding something, but I shouldn’t push him to much if I valued my life, although I didn’t value it that much.
That kid was alive, and I had set myself to find him, but while keeping my distance from Lucas, he knew more about the boy than he’d let out. For now, I would go solo, who knows maybe I have a gift for these sort of things (I don’t, I suck at this). One thing was certain though, whomever was trying to communicate with me, was it Juliana or the boy, didn’t want either Tiago or Lucas to be involved.
To be continued…