The gravity of the situation exploded in this moment as a simple inquiry as to Michael’s whereabouts would turn into a city wide manhunt. Even the strongest of systems could have regurgitated at sight of the gruesome contents of the bag. Paula’s head was severed off and her face severely burned with some chemical making it near impossible to identify her. The torso was intact but her arms were severed off at the shoulders and her legs chopped into four pieces, at the waist and at the knees.
It painted a picture that said whoever had done this to her was a sadist of clinical thought. All ten of Paula’s fingers were missing, so had it not been for DNA her body would have remained unidentified as another Jane doe at the morgue. It was however Paula’s cursed or rather demonic looking eyes that stuck with you, her corneas had been burned to a weird purple colour. It gave the appearance of them having been stuck in their state during the middle of an exorcism.
At this point you could sympathize with Michael’s plight because if he had stuck around, how could he have protested his innocence? Who would have believed he had no recollection of what took place at his house? A dead body alone would have been damning evidence of his immediate guilt and this was even worse. It was a body brutally dismembered with clear signs of wanting the identity of the deceased not to be discovered.
The cops didn’t waste any time upon finding the body, they called in for reinforcements to start a door to door search in the neighborhood. While arrangements were made for the setting up of roadblocks around the city and the distribution of Michael’s picture to all major news outlets.
A few steps from the scene, by now the coffee mugs had run dry and people indulged in non stop conversation. The news of the bodies discoverey filtered rapidly through the crowd. The words “They’ve found a body,” were repeated nearly every 10 seconds for the next minute. An atmosphere of intense anxiousness was now around no.4 Hudson Road, as the neighbours now inferred from each other the last time they knew Michael was home. For those within the crowd it was like being suddenly sucked into the pages of a nail biting novel at the climax of the story.
Meanwhile as all this was going on, less than a 100 metres away in Ryan’s house a distraught Michael had somehow found his way into Ryan’s bedroom. Without any real insight as to how Ryan would react seeing him this early and uninvited, Michael’s nerves were on end. He found his neighbour and maybe friend at times, alone in bed still fast asleep. Michael thought of grabbing the car keys on the dressing table and making a run for it but he thought twice. He knew he had better chances if he had help or at least someone who would be on his side of things, giving him the benefit of the doubt before outright announcing him guilty. Still debating things in his mind, Ryan yawned as he woke up.
“The fuck Michael, what the hell are you doing here?” Ryan said in utter disbelief. He had a look of horror on his countenance as he kept staring at Michael. He was looking at a person he knew but fear shook him from within, as he couldn’t make sense of Michael’s presence in his room at this time.
He was right on the verge of believing he was having an optical illusion when Michael finally replied, “Ryan there’s a problem mate, a serious fucking problem you need to get me out of here.”
“Tell me what’s this big problem that has you in my house at such an hour in the morning,” Ryan retorted.
“There’s no time to chit chat we have to go now I’ll fill you in with the rest of the details on the way,” Michael said this while grabbing the car keys and pulling off Ryan’s blanket. He started walking back to the garage and his neighbour hastily put a shirt and his shoes on as he followed behind. They got into the garage and Michael opened the boot before throwing the keys to Ryan. “Drive directly to Uppington shopping market then stop and let me out there.” Ryan still bewildered nodded back as Michael climbed into the boot and he opened the garage door to leave. The moment he reversed out he noticed the police cars, vans and people all clustered around Michael’s house. He now understood the urgency of the situation but he was also cast into further confusion and wonder.
He was always up to help but at some point you had to draw the line, you had to limit the trust and kindness you were willing to show. ‘Was this the point of that limit?’ He quietly thought to himself. He feared going through with this first favour of driving Michael past the cops, was taking a tumble which would lead to a continuous fall. It was assisting in the escape of a criminal, which he knew from his binge watching of Crime Scene Investigation episodes carried a lengthy prison sentence.
As he reached the crowd gathered around Michael’s house he brought the car to a screeching halt. He looked for quite long at the situation outside, the ever effervescent crowd of his neighbours mixed in with a few unknowns and the slightly distracted officers who seemed deep in thought. A second later his mind was made up. He just hoped God would let him live with himself at what he was about to do…
-To be continued