I woke up the next morning still visibly shaken. Surely, I was seeing things. This isn’t the murder of Kitty Genovese. If there was really a murder, the other people there would have reported it, or at the very least, reacted to it. However, life seemed to go on like normal. Yesterday, I watched as a man on the street horribly strangled a girl to death. Her screams were inaudible, but I’ll never forget the look on her face. It was the look of pure terror and disbelief. She could not believe that she was about to take her last breath. I was across the street and could not do anything but stare in horror. By the time I made it across the street, they were both gone. The dead girl and her killer. They had vanished into thin air. I looked around wildly, but no one else looked concerned. Am I going crazy? Am I seeing things? But, no. I made an appointment with the doctor right after. They ran every test on my brain that could possibly have been done, and my head was as clear as the blue sky on a cloudless day. So instead of looking for this girl, I went home. I went to sleep, and I’ll never regret anything more.
Now that it’s a new day, I realize that I have to go to the police department. Someone has to know about this. I get out of my bed and put on my jeans and black sweater. As I slide on my Vans, I’m imagining just how crazy I’m starting to sound. But if I can save this girl’s life, it’s worth it. What if she’s still alive. I mean she didn’t look like it, but I didn’t see her take her last breath, so anything is possible.
I walk into the police station, and I must look haggard. The officer at the front desk gives me a hard look. I probably look like I’m another druggie who wandered in off the street. “Ma’am, my name is Kathleen Walker. I need to report a crime.” I realize how cliché that sounds. I have to stop watching those fake crime dramas. They’re getting into my head. The officer stares at me for a second later, and then she sighs. “What can I help you with today Ms. Walker?”
“Yesterday, I was walking home from the market, and I witnessed a murder. Well, it could have been a kidnapping, but there was definitely an assault.”
The officer’s eyes go wide. “You say that you witnessed this yesterday? Why are you just now coming in to report it?”
“Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone would believe me. It was in the clear daylight, and a man was strangling her in the middle of the sidewalk. I was across the road, and as soon as I made it to where they had been, they were both gone.” I looked down at my shoes. “I thought about trying to follow them, but I couldn’t tell where they went. To be honest, I was also afraid. No one else on the street had reacted to this scene, and I was concerned I was going crazy.” About two minutes too late, I realize that was the wrong thing to say.
“Ms. Walker, please follow me into the interrogation room. Officer Barnes will be here shortly to take your statement. Can I get you a cup of water or anything?”
I smile at her weakly. “No thanks. I just really want to tell my story so that y’all can get started on figuring out what happened to this poor girl.” The officer leaves without another glance at me. What felt like an hour later, but was in reality only about five minutes, another officer walks into the room. I assume this must be Officer Barnes. She confirms that about thirty seconds later.
“Now, you say that you witnessed a murder yesterday?”
“Well it could have been an assault because I didn’t see the woman die, but it was definitely an attack of some sort.”
“What do you mean exactly?”
“Well, like I was telling the other officer, I was walking home from the market when across the street from me I saw a woman being strangled. It was a man, and he looked like he was trying to kill her. I crossed the road as soon as it was safe, and they were both just gone. It was almost like they had never been there. No one else reacted or were even looking around.”
“You’re sure they had actually been there?”
“Definitely! I was really shaken up. It was such a weird experience that I immediately went for a psych evaluation. The doctor said my scans were perfectly clean. I’ve never had mental health issues before, and I’m too old to develop schizophrenia. I can email over the scans later if you need to see them.”
“No need Ms. Walker, but you do understand that this is a highly unusual situation don’t you?”
“Of course, I do. I wouldn’t be here if I thought there was any other option, but since no one else reacted, I assumed that I’m the only one who would report it. I’m really worried about this woman. Has anyone been reported missing recently? She had black hair was maybe five foot four inches. I would say fairly average weight. Maybe around 160 pounds.”
“Okay. I’ll give the description to our sketch artist. If you don’t mind hanging around for another 20 minutes or so, I’ll need you to identify that we have sketched the woman accurately.”
“Sure, anything you need from me.”
“Can I get you some water or coffee?”
“Um, I’ll actually take a water if it is not too much trouble.”
“Sure thing. Someone will be back here soon with a cup for you. Hang tight.”
I sit in the cold metal chair while I wait for the sketch artist. Officer Barnes seems a bit skeptical, but she wouldn’t have me sit here to view a sketch if she weren’t taking this seriously right? It takes closer to an hour for Officer Barnes to come back.
“Is this what the woman looked like,” she asks me as she slides the sketch across the table.
“Wow! That’s spot on. Do you know her?”
“She looks similar to Allison Martin the popstar who has been receiving death threats lately. Do you know anything about that?”
“I didn’t realize she was receiving threats, but of course I know who she is. Everyone knows who she is.”
“As of now, Ms. Martin is safely at home. She has all of her bodyguards with her, and our officer has confirmed that she is still there. Are you sure this is the woman you saw?”
“I would bet my life on it. Your sketch artist really nailed even the nuances.”
“How come you didn’t recognize this woman as Ms. Martin since you say that you know her?”
“I guess I was in too much shock. I just wanted to help her, and I felt like I had failed.”
“Well, one thing is for certain, we found a diary spelling out how exactly the person who has been threatening her would do the deed. You quoted it almost word for word. I’m putting you on a 72-hour watch. I don’t think it matters if it’s in a holding cell or a mental hospital, but you’re not leaving here until we figure out what exactly is going on.” Officer Barnes is pressing buttons on her phone. Next thing I know, she’s showing me a FaceTime video. On the other end of the call is Allison Martin. The woman I saw being strangled yesterday. This can’t be real. “As you see, Ms. Walker, Ms. Martin is alive and well. You’ll have to come with me.”
I go willingly because I honestly have no idea what’s going on. I know what I saw, but no one at the police office believes me. I must really be going crazy. Maybe a 72-hour hold is what I need.
“Ms. Martin,” her bodyguard, Mack, gets her attention as he walks into her room.
“It’s done. We have her, and at this rate, there’s really no chance that she’s going to be getting free anytime soon. Do you want to see her?”
“No. I know it’s done. You were careless, and there was a witness. Not to worry though, I convinced Officer Barnes that this girl was a nutjob and now she’s locked up as well. No one knows that my sister was even alive. Thanks to you, they now never will,” Allison Martin says as she gives Mack a wicked smile.