It was an odd feeling I had when I woke up that day. Something in my very core that conveyed to me, this was the day. What day? I asked myself as if some obscure part of my brain could answer me. I shook the feeling off as I slipped out from under the warmth of my bed covers.
Seconds later, I peered out my bedroom window and instantly knew what had me feeling so on edge; It was only last week the detectives had found my neighbors dead body and the mere thought of it chilled me to the bone.
Not even I was aware of when or who had committed such a morbid act. Which was a bit unusual for me given my strong attention to detail and keen intuition. Well, I say intuition, but it feels so much stronger than that. It's far from normal, people have told me, but I have been this way since I was a young child. Odd things were always happening. Friends spilling their drinks seconds after I almost warned them, adults tripping over some foreign object moments after the scene has flashed through my mind. From job losses to the gender of my nephews, these inner feelings have never let me down. I have trusted them, depended on them, and now live by the guidance they provide.
Forced to shove my many thoughts aside, I hurriedly dressed for work and grabbed a breakfast bar on my way out the door. If I wasn't careful, I was going to make myself late.
The day was already dragging for me, and although I had gotten to work on time, it seemed the more hours that passed the slower they came. So, I began to let my gaze wander around the office at all the familiar faces around me. I realized that all of these people, who have been my friends for quite some time, had first started as strangers to me. Now, looking back, I remember having thought several things about them. That Myra would never come out of her shell. She hasn't. How Louis would no longer drink coffee. He doesn't. And how my best friend Liz would grow angry that I received a promotion ahead of her. She had, it was clear by the scowl she sent my way.
When finally the clock struck 5:00 I heaved a sigh of relief and grabbed my bag. I was more than ready to head home, but feeling the need for companionship, I decided to give my boyfriend a call.
“Hey, what's up?”
His voice sounded a bit strained and I wondered if I had called at a bad time.
“I was wondering if you'd want to come over tonight. I thought we could watch a movie, maybe order dinner in?”
“I have some work stuff to catch up on.” He hesitated. “I'll be there at 7:00.”
The phone beeped his goodbye before I'd had a chance to reply and I wondered at his tone of voice. He seemed stilted, professional even, and I resolved to question him about it first thing.
I had seen less and less of Ethan after he began working as a lawyer. Though our relationship had started long distance, it was only a few months before he had wanted to meet. So, when a prestigious law firm offered him a job in the area, it wasn't long before he was packing his bags.
I thought back to the last time I'd seen him, and realized it had been nearly a month ago. It seemed he was always too busy to talk. Yet, less than four hours later I found myself sitting beside him while enjoying his favorite kind of pizza.
“Anything interesting happen lately?” He questioned between bites.
“Just the neighbors murder.” I replied somewhat sarcastically.
He only nodded in acknowledgement, and I wondered how he could be so nonchalant about something that had affected me for the past six days.
“What about you?” I remembered my resolve to speak with him. “You seemed hesitant over the phone. We haven't seen each other much lately and I wanted to ask you if everything is alright?”
“With us? Sure.” He shrugged.
As he clearly was not interested in conversation tonight, I reached for the TV remote and chose to let the sound of the television cover our silence.
I was in the middle of frowning at the crime shows ending when a sudden knock echoed through the house.
Ethan jumped and I cringed as the loud sound came again, this time followed by a voice that identified the man. It was a police officer. I looked to Ethan in confusion before starting quickly toward the door.
I reached for the latch when his strong hand rested firmly on my forearm. I stilled though he said nothing as he led me toward the back of the house and into the kitchen.
Choosing not to resist him I hissed in his ear. “What’s going on?”
He shushed me immediately and tightened his grip on my arm as he pulled me behind the counter.
“Stay quiet.” He instructed.
I was never one to listen to commands and I was beginning to be annoyed with him. He hadn't done anything wrong, I knew that much, so I yanked myself away from him, and protested whatever stupid game he was trying to play.
“If you won't tell me why you're hiding I swear I will yell as loud as I can right now until you tell me what is going on.”
“I ran a red light. I thought if I outran him it would be fine, but he must have followed me.”
I raised a brow in confusion and bit back a laugh. The police do not randomly follow people and wait outside for an hour before knocking. “How much of an idiot do you think I am?” I muttered. “I'm going to open the door. Whatever they want they will be gone in no time.”
I had only taken a couple of steps before the sound of a cocking gun stopped me cold. “What have you done?” I whispered in astonishment as I stared at the glistening metal in his hand.
“Nothing I didn’t have to.”
I could see his jaw muscles tighten as he glanced quickly at the door, and back to where I was standing only a few feet from him.
“Whatever it is, I'm sure we can get help.” I reasoned thinking some misunderstanding had taken place.
It was then a harrowing thought began to take form. My heart was pounding, but still I chose to believe the best of him. I had known this man for five months and there was no way I could be wrong about him. Nevertheless, I could not stop myself from asking. “Do you know who killed my neighbor Jerry?”
His head snapped in my direction and I felt my heart stop. Could it be my own boyfriend was capable of this?
“Did you kill him?” I spoke slowly but received my answer quickly with the barrel of his pistol in my face.
“If you ever say that name again you will be dead too.” He spat.
My heart sank and I tried to ignore the sour taste in my mouth. I had only one choice and I took the opportunity quickly. “We're in here!” I yelled, my voice sounding strange to my own ears.
“You fool!” He grabbed for me but I was across the kitchen now and the men in uniform were pouring in from all angles. “Don’t come any closer or I'll kill her.” He shouted.
“Don’t move.” I heard a loud voice yell. “Lady, come this way.” the same voice coaxed but I stilled where I was, half in fear and the other half in disbelief.
“He won't hurt me.” I stated as I turned toward him. “You've got to tell me how it happened.”
Ethan grit his teeth and I saw his guard lower for only a second. “He murdered a girl in wyoming. The judge ruled not guilty, but I know he did it. She was my wife.”
Upon the flood of information my stomach roiled and I fought the urge to throw up. He was already married. I did not have time to dwell on that information. Instead I looked him in the eye.
“You have a choice to make because I'm walking away right now. You can shoot me or not, but I know you won't. Whatever you've done in the past, it all ends now. You're not a bad man. You and I both know that.”
“Shut up!” His hand tightened on the trigger and his eyes were wild in panic. “You don't know anything.”
“You're not going to pull that trigger. I know that, and so do you.”
My intuitions had always been correct but never had I tested them as far as I was about to now. I swallowed my fear and took a step away from him.
“Stop or I will shoot.” I heard the hate resonating through him as his voice shook. “Don't think for a second that I won't.”
I ignored his warning and continued my escape across the kitchen the seconds that passed seemed like eternity. The officers looked so far away but knowing they were my only safety, I continued my retreat.
From that moment on, everything became a blur of smoke and loud voices. I heard multiple gunshots ring out and as a searing pain tore through my entire body, I realized I'd been shot. I fell hard, but somehow as I did, I saw Ethan's body crumple to the floor as well.
Even after his betrayal my heart was aching with the reality of it all. I had been so confident there had been good in him or at least that he would not have gunned me down. How could I have been so utterly mistaken.
Barely conscious I flinched when someone tore at my shirt to examine the wound. I felt so far away now as if I were on another planet, detached from the world, only able to hear things and totally unable to move.
I then heard a woman call an ambulance and another say I'd be okay as she was attempting to stop the bleeding. I tried my best to stay awake through the pain and concentrated only on the words I could hear.
“Check the man.” Another officer ordered and I heard Ethan from somewhere near me. His breathing was labored. I knew without a doubt that he was dying, yet somehow he put forth the effort to mumble as they carried him by. It was the last sentence I heard before losing consciousness. “So much for intuition.” He scoffed. “This time I guess you were wrong.”