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Thriller Crime

Trigger warning: blood, self-harm, violence, slight sexual content

Crimson blood webbed out like tree roots down the porcelain sink. Lydia observed the blood with cool detachment as it dripped from her left wrist, which was slit by the pen knife clutched in her right hand. The blood evaporated within seconds, and she barely felt the pain. It was nothing in comparison to the ache from the absence of her fifteen year old son Nathan.

Lydia gazed into the mirror of the tiny washroom. Her grey eyes, underlined with wrinkles, were vacant with exhaustion and there was a sickly yellow undertone to her clammy skin. Today was the fourth day of her son’s disappearance, and she was determined to find his whereabouts.

On the first day that Nathan went missing, Lydia called the school principal frantically. “Has anyone seen Nathan Thompson? He never came home today.”

Principal Khan, an elegant woman who looked more like a princess than a principal with her thick eyeliner and voluminous black hair, responded in confusion: “Nathan Thompson? I don’t believe we have any students with that name.”

Lydia’s voice increased in pitch. “What do you mean? He was in grade 7. He’s been attending your school for the past two years.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t know of a Nathan.” The principal’s tone was sympathetic, but firm, indicating the conversation would go no further.

After wasting her breath trying to convince Principal Khan to care about her missing son, Lydia reported the case to the police. Inspector Claire O’Malley, a tall black policewoman, arrived at Nathan’s school the next day and interrogated the students and teachers. They all shook their heads, claiming ignorance of the existence of her son. Just thinking about it made Lydia want to wring someone’s neck.

When Nathan didn’t return home, Lydia waited three days for the police to do something. She realized with a sinking heart that the police seemed content to put up Missing Person posters and then forget about her little boy. After the first day, Inspector O’Malley and Principal Khan stopped taking her phone calls. Nathan’s large blue eyes haunted Lydia’s nightmares. In her dreams, he reached out to her with wiry arms and wailed at her, screaming “Mama! Mama!”

Lydia decided to take over the investigation herself. Today, she entered Nathan’s room and rifled through his laptop and diaries. In the diaries she found angsty poetry, journal entries and dark drawings of a child alone in a corner. There was one name scrawled all over the last page of his diary: Phillip.

Now, Lydia picked up a tube of dry, red lipstick and pressed it over her papery lips. She coated her eyelashes with mascara and her sun-spotted skin with expired foundation. She ran her fingers through her wiry dirty-blonde hair, threw on a pair of black leather pants and a white shirt, and left the house.

Twenty minutes later, the boom of the electronic music vibrated in Lydia’s ears as she approached the club. Scantily clad women and men in tight shirts peered at her from the line-up. Lydia passed the line and strode directly up to the bouncer. The bald Middle Eastern man, built like a brick house, sneered down at her. “Aren’t you a bit old for this joint, love?”

She leaned in, close enough to bite his ear, and whispered, “Would your wife want to know about your escapades with Anita over the last two weeks?”

His superiority morphed into a wide-eyed look of shock. “What the f***, lady. You stalking me?”

She smiled sweetly. “I won’t say a word if you let me in. But I bet your wife would especially be interested in the new gymnastic moves Anita was showing you yesterday.”

The man’s nostrils flared and he balled up his fists. She froze, expecting a punch to the face. Then his shoulders slumped and he pushed open the door behind him. He muttered to her as she passed, “If you say anything to my wife I’ll find you and kill you.” A shudder ran down Lydia’s back, but she pursed her lips and nodded as she swept past him.

As soon as she entered the tightly packed room, Lydia rammed into a body slicked with sweat, leaving a dewy stain on her arm. She jumped back and was instantly swallowed into a throng of humans writhing and bending to deep house beats.

Pushing her way into a relatively empty corner, she saw a handsome server dressed only in black pants and suspenders marching through the crowd with a tray held high in the air. She grabbed his shoulder and pulled him down to her height. “Hey, where’s the VIP room?”

His gaze swept over her imperiously. “The VIP room is hidden. It’s only for special members. You don’t look VIP, lady.”

“Well, you don’t look like you’ve been embezzling cash from your place of work either, but here we are.” Bits of her scratchy voice were overpowered by the pounding of the music, but he heard enough. His face turned ashy grey and he gulped.

“The VIP room is in the back.”

He escorted her to a huge gold-emblazoned door, then faded back into the masses. A thick wave of exhilaration and anticipation hit Lydia. After four days of hunting, maybe this was finally the end of the journey. Her lips trembled, contemplating that she might get an answer she didn’t want to hear. But at least it would be an answer. She gritted her jaw and pushed the door open.

She blinked as she entered, shielding her eyes from the onslaught of red shades that painted the walls and furniture of the room. Even the light that shone down from the ceiling was red. Teenagers in various levels of undress were wrapped up in each other in corners, on the floor, and on the countertops.

Lydia searched the room until she saw the boy she was looking for, naked from the waist up and making out with a blonde teenager in a silver dress. She’d searched his photo on Facebook before coming here. She trotted up to him and yanked him back from his embrace. His companion, floppy with booze, grumbled and left.

“Phillip, where is Nathan?” At 5’7, she towered over him. Golden flecks glowed in her grey eyes as she glared at him.

The boy stared at the floor, jumpy, afraid and drunk. He was shorter than her, built like a linebacker, but with the bravery of a lost puppy. “How’d you know my name? I don’t know a Nathan.”

She slipped her hand in her pocket and whipped something out. Calmly, she put her pen knife, gleaming in the red light, against his exposed throat. He froze. She came up so close to his face she could smell the alcohol on his breath. “You know who he is. Tell me.”

His eyes shifted from side to side. “Umm.. I really don’t know who you’re talking about.”

She pushed the knife in and it pierced his throat. A few drops of blood dribbled out. “Tell me where he is or I’ll cut your throat right now. You don’t want to try me.”

His eyes filled with stark fear. “Okay, okay! I guess I’ve seen him around here a few times. He was this tiny fellow, built like a baby deer. He told me we went to the same school, but I had no idea who he was.”

Tears sparked in Lydia’s eyes. Her sweet, antisocial boy, invisible to everyone but her. He didn’t even attend school enough to be registered as a student.

She shook Phillip’s shoulders. “So how did he end up missing?”

Guilt sprawled over his chubby face. “I… I don’t know…”

“Tell me or I’ll send proof to your dad of all the drug deals you’ve been doing. I don’t want him to start hitting you again, but I’ll do what I need to do.”

Phillip’s face washed pale white. “How do you know all these things about me?!”

After a few seconds’ pause, he said under his breath, “Nathan and I met two Fridays ago. The first Friday, we just chatted and drank, then went home. The second Friday, we ended up lying on the couch together. I’m not usually into guys, but he intrigued me. We drank tequila and smoked some weed.” His voice rose. “Then he suddenly moved in and kissed me, right on the mouth.”

He gulped, his Adams apple obscenely bobbing. “I lost my shit. I was scared that everyone would think I’m gay. It’s a blur now, but my friends said I threw him to the ground and kicked him in the face, the ribs, the nuts. He lost consciousness… and then apparently he stopped breathing.” He shrugged. “Maybe he was asthmatic or something.”

Lydia’s voice was tight. “What did you do with his body?”

“Me and some of my buddies buried it behind this club. We figured no one knew who he was, so no one would miss him.”

The golden orbs in Lydia’s eyes seemed to expand and emanate bright light. “He wasn’t asthmatic, you entitled asshole.” she hissed through gritted teeth. “You killed him. You killed my baby because he reached out to you. You were the only one he ever connected with. He didn’t even have a mother.”

Lydia grasped his neck with power that surpassed a woman her age and stature. She squeezed his throat as she slid him up the wall. Dangling above her, Phillip thrashed his legs and squeaked, “Let me go! Help me!”

The other teenagers decoupled from their partners to rush to Phillip’s side. Their hands yanked at Lydia’s shoulders and waist, but she felt no more than a feather’s touch. She remained in position, face trembling, eyes fixed on Phillip. One of the teenagers dialed security and begged for help.

At the sound of the security call, Lydia startled out of her rage. She opened her fist and let Phillip crumple to the floor in a heap. She sent a single text on her phone, and disappeared.

A few moments later, two security guards burst through the door. The first one, a lean but muscular man, crouched and checked Phillip’s pulse. “He’s breathing, just unconscious,” he barked. “Call an ambulance.”

Constable O’Malley marched in. She took in the scene of Phillip sprawled on the floor surrounded by eight teenagers and two security guards. “What the hell happened here? I received an anonymous text to come here.”

The lean security guard grimaced. “These teens were partying in this secret room. We’ll have to report them. They told us a lady came in asking about some kid named Nathan who’s gone missing. She almost strangled Phillip, then vanished.”

Realization dawned on the constable’s face. “Oh, we received an anonymous call about this Nathan boy a few days ago. We’re still trying to find out what happened to him. To be fair, I haven’t looked very hard, since there’s no pressure from above to find him.”

“I see. Maybe that was his mom who waltzed in here trying to get some answers?”

The constable shook her head. “Nah, his mom died five years ago of lung cancer. Poor Nathan lived in a homeless shelter for teens. He’s an orphan.”

The End

October 28, 2021 13:52

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9 comments

Kelsey H
06:49 Nov 01, 2021

I enjoyed this, I was wondering how she knew all this information about people, I liked the twist at the end which answered that!

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Nisha Shirali
18:01 Nov 02, 2021

Thanks Kelsey!

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Jon Casper
00:23 Nov 01, 2021

Very nice! I was so confused when I read, "He didn’t even have a mother," but then it all made sense. The story has good pacing, and the action pulled me right along. Nice job!

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Nisha Shirali
00:48 Nov 01, 2021

thank you very much, Jon!

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Courtney Moore
17:25 Nov 03, 2021

Great job! I like the rising suspense you built through the story.

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Nisha Shirali
17:42 Nov 03, 2021

Thank you!

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Charlie Murphy
17:39 Nov 02, 2021

Great job! The twist gave me goosebumps!

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Nisha Shirali
18:01 Nov 02, 2021

Thanks Charlie!

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Charlie Murphy
18:15 Nov 02, 2021

You're welcome! Can you read mine, "Teen Creatures?"

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